The Accidental Terrorist : Science Fiction
            

Tuesday Funk, 100th show, December 6, 2016, 7:30 pm
I'm delighted to be appearing tonight at a very special edition of Chicago's Tuesday Funk reading series.

It's the 100th episode of the long-running series. In honor of that occasion, current hosts Andrew Huff and Eden Robins have invited all the former hosts back as guests.

Please come out to Hopleaf tonight at 7:30 to see not just me but also Connor Coyne, Reinhardt Suarez, Hallie Palladino, and Sara Ross Witt. It's upstairs and it's free! It'll be a terrific show!

It's Tuesday Funk—Chicago's eclectic monthly reading series where good writing and good beer mix. (Hey, I coined that.)

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Having watched Valkyrie recently, I've been thinking about the intersection of art, commerce and religion. I know, that's probably not the kind of discussion the filmmakers intended to provoke, but here we are. Germany started it.

Every so often a big kerfluffle flares up in the media or the blogosphere about what famous entertainer is or isn't a Scientologist, and why. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Isaac Hayes, Beck, Chick Corea, Edgar Winter, Chaka Khan, Mark Isham, Greta Van Susteren—we're supposed to avoid giving them money so we don't inadvertently support their reprehensible "church." Leonard Cohen, Paul Haggis, Jerry Seinfeld, Courtney Love, Gloria Gaynor—once were Scientologists, but now they're on the okay list. Neil Gaiman—wait, what's the controversy with him? I'm not supposed to read him because his relatives are Scientologists?

Frankly, keeping score like this is ridiculous.

As much as I dislike Scientology, discriminating against artists because of their private beliefs is a losing game. I hate the fact that there were Crusades, and a Spanish Inquisition, and institutional coverups of child sexual abuse, but that doesn't mean I'm going to deny myself the work of Catholic writers like Graham Greene or Tim Powers, or Catholic filmmakers like Kevin Smith. Will some of the money I pay for their stuff end up in Vatican coffers? Possibly, but I'm not naive enough to think that any of the money I give or receive is pure. We live in a pluralist society. We can't help the fact that our money is going to circulate through parts of the body politic that we don't like. The only judgment we can really make is how we respond to the art, how pure and universal and human it is, how ennobling or demeaning or thrilling or dull, how free from or full of agenda or polemic.

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Reading tonight!

            

Just a reminder of the reading tonight at Flourish Bakery Cafe, 1138 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60660. I'll be appearing with five other authors and poets. What a bargain! For more information, please see:

http://tuesdayfunk.blogspot.com/2009/08/tuesday-funk-16.html

Here's a personal invitation:

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Tuesday Funk Reading, September 1, 2009
Hey, Chicagoans! I have a reading coming up just under a week from now, Tuesday, September 1, 2009, as part of Chicago's Tuesday Funk Reading Series.

The reading starts at 7:00 pm sharp at:

Flourish Bakery Cafe 1138 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago, IL 60660
That's just east of Broadway, just west of the Bryn Mawr stop on the Red Line.

I'll be appearing with Robyn Detterline, Billy Lombardo, and Dancing Girl Press poets Stephanie Anderson, Kristen Orser, and Susan Slaviero. I'll be reading from my memoir The Accidental Terrorist. Copies of my chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century will be available for purchase for a paltry $4.

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The mighty Dave Slusher has posted the new episode of his fine Reality Break podcast, an interview series focusing on science fiction and other genre literature. In this eighth episode, he talks to yours truly about writing and podcasting The Accidental Terrorist.

This interview was recorded in 2007 but has not been heard until now. Besides my own book, we talk about memoirs in general, writing after 9/11, my experiences growing up Mormon, and how those all have informed my fiction.

Dave is a terrific interviewer, and while I usually wince when listening to myself, I'm very, very happy with the way this session turned out. I hope you'll have a listen. If you enjoy it, thank Dave!

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Tuesday Funk

            

And here's the flyer for the Tuesday Funk Reading Series, where I'll be reading this coming Tuesday along with Elisabeth Blair and Gina DiPonio.

Hope to see you there!

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Hey, Chicagoans! I have a reading coming up just over a week from now, Tuesday, April 7, 2009, as part of Chicago's Tuesday Funk Reading Series.

The reading starts at 7:00 pm sharp at:

Flourish Bakery Cafe
1138 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
That's just east of Broadway, just west of the Bryn Mawr stop on the Red Line.

I don't have all the details yet, but there will be two other readers, giving you a full hour of prime literary entertainment. I'll likely be reading from his memoir The Accidental Terrorist. Copies of my chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century will be available for purchase for a paltry $4.

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Cut and pasted without hands

            

LDSF-2: Latter-Day Science Fiction
I'm not sure what Parables Publishing is up to, putting the entire text of their "classic" LDSF anthologies online. I guess they're trying to drum up some publicity for their long-overdue fourth volume of science fiction for Mormons. Good luck to them.

Why do I care? Well, the first story I ever published, "Cut Without Hands," appeared in LDSF-2 back in 1985. I was sixteen when I made the sale (payment in copies), and I was beside myself with joy. Unfortunately, editor Benjamin Urrutia lost my address and couldn't send me my author's copies. I assumed the project had died on the vine—until the spring of 1987, when I was a missionary in Washington and received a letter from Mr. Urrutia. He had read about my brush with the law in the paper and was writing to ask if I was the same D. William Shunn who had given him a story for his anthology.

Much as I wish my little piece of Mormon apologia would quietly vanish, copies of LDSF-2 still show up in used bookstores every once in a while, so I can't be too upset that my story is now up on the Web for all the world to see—in total copyright violation. I'm not inclined to press the matter, though Philip José Farmer and the estate of Avram Davidson (both authors had Mormon-related stories reprinted in LDSF-2) might feel differently. So go read this odd historical curiosity before someone more litigious than I gets wind of it and the whole thing vanishes. (You'll have to scroll way down, or search on "cut without hands," since the Parables folks seems to have only rudimentary HTML skillz.)

Another story you might want to read while it's still available is "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" by hyperpopular LDS author Jack Weyland, which immediately precedes mine in the table of contents. This story is significant to me only because I hated it so much, even as a young Mormon missionary. Its central conceit was so smug and insular and made for such bad science fiction that for two decades I carried around a desire to write a story that proceeded from the same premise but took it in an entirely different direction.

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ShunnCast #42

            

Epidode #42 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill attempts to tie off a few last dangling threads and bring the whole enterprise to a poignant yet thematically satisfying conclusion.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=42

See also [info]shunncast.

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ShunnCast #41

            

Epidode #41 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill, after only a brief taste of freedom, is told to sit down, shut up, take the money, get on the plane, and pretend the past week never happened.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=41

See also [info]shunncast.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
cheaper than your
local Mormon
missionaries.

Order yours now!

About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!