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Reading My Stef at City Lights

I was really nervous about reading from Mathematicians in Love at City Lights last night. Like City Lights has always symbolized hip beatnikdom to me. I remember when I first walked in there in 1970, it was like entering a temple. And when I moved out here in 1986, I went straight to City Lights and saw my first issue of High Frontiers, which led to all the fun with Mondo 2000.

My wife and I went up a bit early to walk around North Beach. And then it was time to face the music.

They always have my SF novels in the basement room at City Lights, which is nice.

The reading was in the little upstairs room with the poetry and the beatnik books, with Jack Kerouac alley right outside the window. In the event, the reading wasn’t very intimdating after all. I forget that by now I’m a lot further along the road to Mount Parnassus than I was back in the day. By the way, the next picture is on Grant Street, and isn’t of City Lights. It shows, rather, a human soul leaping upward.

I rose the occasion and did a good, highly political reading. I forgot to photograph the audience, but I got a good tape.

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One of the more colorful characters at the reading was Paul McEnery, a friend from the Mondo 2000 days, he stuck around to chat at the end.

And then Sylvia and I went to Cafe Greco and had some tiramisu. I’m a free man.

Well, not quite free. I’m still endlessly screwing around with plug-ins for the WordPress blogware. And, dammit, I thought I was done with computer programming. The only upside of the tedious labor is that, judging from the past, I’ll probably transrealize the pain into something interesting in the stefnal postsingular world of my current novel. As Gurdjieff said, “No effort is ever in vain.”

What is “stefnal”? My editor Dave Hartwell used it an email the other day, he was saying he liked my proposed book title Hylozoic as it’s so stefnal. So I went on Google and unearthed a definition in the context of an April 21, 2006, post in a Nightshade Books Discussion, the info from no less a man than Paul Di Filippo:

“Historically, within the genre, stef has been another long-standing term for science fiction. The derivation comes from the old scientifiction, which was always abbreviated stf. The vowel was interpolated so that one could actually pronounce the term. Stefnal has three fewer syllables than science-fictional, always a plus for economical writing. Additionally, it functions as a totally baffling shibboleth.”


2 Responses to “Reading My Stef at City Lights”

  1. Gary R Boodhoo Says:

    Hey Rudy, just wanted to say how great it was to hear some of your new ideas and talk a bit about [n+1]. Posted a couple of photos of you on flickr that you may find amusing.

    stay cool!

  2. Ira Madclaw Says:

    Throwable graffiti LEDs open source!

    Check it out, Rude Dude.

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