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The Lair Of Gary James

Archive for January, 2011

Some More Thoughts On Marketing

Posted by BigWords on January 29, 2011

So it is probably time to give meaning and structure to the contents of the last post, having taunted and tormented you with it long enough. The idea was really quite simple, though I never expected such a large bump in stats. Jeez guys, it isn’t that people need to hear the same shit regurgitated a thousand different ways, but in my brief examination of the whole “make money online” nonsense, I have found a bewildering lack of thought and foresight. Of the handful of books I flipped through in preparation for this little thought-experiment, the same dull, tired and unimaginative information is disseminated time and time again. I’ll save you a bunch of money (and a whole lot of time) by distilling the contents of most of these books, blogs and articles into one easy-to-understand sentence –

Put links up everywhere and hope people will click them.

Um… No. Really, no. This is the equivalent of the kid shouting “Hey mom, lookit me. Lookit what I did. I set my head on fire, mom. Lookit me. I’m gonna be famous on YouTube. Aaargh. My head. Aaaaarghhh.” It has the same aura of desperation and unoriginality which flows from the pores of people who let camera crews follow them around as they go about their day to day business, and just because the ploy worked for Ozzie Osbourne does not hold that people want to see other former stars do the same. It’s the fat guy in the cowboy hat, sweating profusely as he hawks used cars, talking faster in the hopes that the heart attack he had before going on air doesn’t fully hit until his paid minutes are up. If the notion that links alone are the solution to everyone’s money problems, then things are much worse than I thought in online marketing.

This approach is so wrong in so many ways that it is difficult to know where to begin. I find it incredible that people are still writing about the way marketing was done in the late nineties, and that people are still buying into this crap is even more worrying. The only thing accomplished by providing countless links to one single page (for there is always a nexus point people are pushed to in traditional marketing) is to give people the opportunity to purchase an item. It’s a one-shot deal. It’s a quick fuck up a side alley, which both parties will think no more of come the morning. And the kicker? People don’t learn anything from this technique.

Before you start complaining that I’m being too dismissive of putting links into every forum post, blog comment and tweet, I’ll lay out some simple facts for you to ruminate over. A sale – specifically a download – does not guarantee that people will bother to read / listen / watch the download. It’s not the only problem you will face if you’re looking at marketing as an attractive money-making opportunity, but it is the big one – if the people who have purchased from a link once don’t follow through by enjoying the download, what is there to bring them back? The old methods of shouting attractions out to a largely disinterested audience have been replaced by infinitely more complex interactions by salesmen and “audience” (for they are such), people advertising wares must change their behavior also.

The role of marketing is NOT to sell things. Selling things is a by-product of advertising, but it is not the primary reason to advertise. The true role of marketing is to change the perception of those who are being advertised to. The main objective is to build a base of customers who will return again and again to buy more things, and this is the reason links are pointless. I can’t state this enough, because the pervasive attitude of the books on the subject are so far from the mark that they give a false impression of human psychology. We aren’t wired up in a way which looking at meaningless links will affect in any meaningful way.

How often have you heard people say they record television shows so that they can skip the adverts?

We remember things by context and narrative, so by engaging in a discussion with people, marketers stand to have a much better impact. The way that such a discussion can be created – to create a relationship with consumers which might last longer than that one solitary purchase – is not in the realms of brain surgery. I’m talking about some really simple and interesting things here. It doesn’t have to be of the scale nor complexity of a massive ARG, and it really doesn’t have to take a year to plan. A little fun and experimentation can go a very long way, and I’ll go one further than that- if the first link on a Google search is the link to the product, I’m gonna buy it, and then forget to check out the rest of the links.

By providing a little difficulty into the process of getting something, and by making me work for the thing I am looking for, I am forced to read about it further, and (hopefully, if you have done your job right) get more enthusiastic about the process of getting my hands on it. This increases my odds of actually reading / listening / watching the damn thing, so it is in people’s best interest to have the point of sale lower in Google rankings than the material which discusses the product. It’s part of that long-term relationship-building which will lead to interest in future material from the same source. There’s no secret to getting people returning time and time again. Oh wait… I haven’t explained the image yet, have I?

A minor confession here – the pic won’t help you. Much like the rest of the information online about marketing, which panders to instant gratification and completely ignores any long-term strategies for the extended shelf life of the product, it is a phantom. It’s Keyser Sozer. The truth of the central phrase (in clear English) is all about the interaction with whoever is looking at it. It sells itself as a path to something, and that is precisely what this post is all about. I’ve been here before, and I still hold that people aren’t trying hard enough to keep people coming back to them time and time again, because serious and prolonged investment in propagating the image of a product (more than “Hey, click the link dude”) is the most important part of any enterprise. Also, by drip-feeding information and making people follow a trail of crumbs to the product, which is a way to have a conversation with purchasers, the mess of links which are clogging up sites will soon dwindle.

This is about being smart, as much as it is about being visible. This visibility, so lauded by mediocre hands, has made many products anathema to me. I have no idea what Covonia (or however it is spelled) is, but because of the prevalence of the adverts, I now have no interest in ever purchasing it. I hate those adverts. Being very visible can HARM you.

“Hey mom, lookit me. Lookit what I did. I set my head on fire, mom.”

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Unlimited Money From Social Networking

Posted by BigWords on January 24, 2011

Being in possession of mysterious and arcane knowledge is useful. It also enables me to do things which may seem impossible. I am willing to share with the enlightened the tips and tricks to making untold wealth, merely using blogging and other social media – YOU can become a millionaire if you follow the instructions carefully and with caution. This is not a pyramid scheme, nor is it a hokey Get Rich Quick scheme, but it DOES work. All you need to to take the first step on your path to wealth and fame is to follow the simple instructions I am about to impart. Of course, it would be abject madness to allow just anyone to partake in such knowledge. Thus some means of weeding out unsuitable candidates is required…

For those of you who may not be aware of the complexities which the ILLUMINATED are privy to, the following is directions to a highly sensitive document which will bring you the wealth you seek. All you need do is use your mind to slip off the shackles of conformity and set out on your path to the future you deserve:

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A Question Of Authorial Respect

Posted by BigWords on January 22, 2011

Playing a little game of “What If” now, because I want to ask a question, but I don’t want to be completely open about exactly what I’m up to. Those of you who know the general elements of what this is regarding may want to take a back seat, as I don’t require more calls of “Bloody hell man, get on with it already.” This isn’t another attempt at delaying the inevitable approach of the-thing-which-must-not-be-referred-to. Really. Honestly. It is a valid question which I haven’t seen pondered enough, and as it has some passing relation to the things I am currently going through, it seems a decent enough time to raise the issue with people who may have a more objective viewpoint from which to approach the suspect. I’ll get to the big question in a moment, but first I’ll set out a hypothetical situation from which I will move on.

If a title is on the market – irrespective of its’ provenance (traditional vs. self-published, paperback vs. digital book), and ignoring the qualifications of the author – and has been for some time, how long (if a time frame is to be brought up) is the correct period to wait before a similar title might be considered? For our imaginary title, lets stick to non-fiction (as there really are no new ideas in fiction, merely variations on a theme) as that is where the issue really gets tangled up. Are we, as writers, subject to some unspoken rule about not interfering with another author’s work by bringing out a competing title for a certain amount of time, or are we beholden to readers, who demand choice in their purchasing habits? Is there even an issue here?

Adding to the problem:

  • If both books are about a specific sub-section of an area which has not been fully documented to date, does this matter?
  • If the sole book on the market is from a respected author, what are the obligations the second book must make towards the first?
  • When preparing for publication, are we obliged to inform the author of the competing title of the imminent approach of a new title?
  • If there is sufficient reason to believe that an updated edition of the first book is going to be released, should work on a book be stopped, or postponed, until the other title has had a chance to recoup its’ investment?

This is normally the place where I screw around and have fun, but this question has been nagging at me for a few weeks. I take the rights of authors seriously, and the idea that, by omission or ignorance, I might negatively affect someone else is really pressing on my mind. I know there is a call for a definitive work about the thing I am thinking of (which some folks will already know), yet I keep backing off because of a title which appeared a decade ago. It’s far from a perfect reference work (this is no slight on the author), and I keep returning to the prospect that my work on the subject might actually be important. Not important as in world-changing, but important for those interested in the subject.

So here’s the issue – Am I stepping on anyone’s toes by continuing this project? It’s not as if the purpose of the two books would be a problem, as the one I am writing is more in-depth, as opposed to the shotgun approach which the extant title took. I’m also going to completely ignore a few of the quirks which the existing book presented. It’s an entirely different approach, though there is room to believe that they would be seen as competing entries to a small market. If there had been a few different titles out there, this would be less of a quandary, but the fact that my book would be the first to openly tackle the same subject makes things all the more complicated. Maybe I’m over-thinking things wildly, and making a problem where none exists…

Having looked at areas where people have been the first to publish a book in competition with an existing title, I have noticed a tendency for things to get… Well, “messy” would be an understatement. The accusations which arise when people enter so small an area of publishing, no matter if they have a perfect reason for presenting their work, makes prolonged consideration of the pros and cons a requirement rather than an afterthought. It really matters to me that I do not anger the individual in question, as his work – whatever I think of its’ presentation of the data – is a landmark in certain geek circles. Going forth with the project is giving me headaches which no fiction has ever managed, and some degree of impartial commentary on this would really be appreciated here.

I could say “fuck it, I’m going ahead whether people like it or not,” but that leaves me with the possible conflict I wish to avoid if at all possible. I’m not even sure there would be a problem should this be brought to the attention of the individual whose work I may be threatening (which is, in itself, a pretty big statement I really don’t want to make this early), as they seem to be genuinely love the subject. If someone is so enthralled by such a (relatively) small interest area, then further information should be welcomed… Right?

Jeez, I can’t believe I’m trying to talk myself out of completing the damn book after so much work. As it stands at this moment, there is nothing to say that there could be some degree of collaboration should events require it. I’m willing – with caution – to share further details of what I am working on, but I really would prefer this to be handled in a way which does not drag undue attention to something which needs (at least) another few weeks to get all the pieces in place.

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Some More Thoughts On Books

Posted by BigWords on January 14, 2011

I’ve touched on this before, but the subject of book design – and everything that a person can do to ensure the best product possible – refuses to go away. People keep coming up with new ideas, recycling old ones, and borrowing others from monthly publications, The nature of publishing is not too far from the attention starved kid in the back of the classroom desperate to have some validation of their existence, constantly pulling pranks and cracking jokes so notice will be paid of him (for it is nearly always a male), and this has been so for decades. The attempts to induce casual purchasers of titles to pick up a book has resulted in some very gauche gimmicks – from the hologram cover (notably used on Wes Craven’s Fountain Society, though better known as an aspect of the Dork Age of comics) to jewel-covered titles. Yes, it seems that there are people with too much money on their hands. The various attempts at attracting buyers has not been entirely successful over the years, and a handful of truly unattractive books have managed to make it to the shelves – none of which I will name here, in an attempt at retaining some degree of impartiality here.

A recent conversation turned my mind back to a notion which, initially, seemed as if it was a throwaway remark intended to get people thinking on the ways that the future was rapidly becoming the present. Adding digital content to hard copies isn’t a new concept, with CDs having been included with books since the nineties (there are a few great examples, a lot of fine uses, and a couple of pointless additions to the main text), but there hasn’t been a game-changing example in a while. One of the main problems with adding things to a book has been the manner in which the items were grafted to the basic design of a book. The cardboard CD sleeve design on inside covers is annoying (and nearly always a source of annoyance and interminable frustration in retrieving the disc), while the small foam stub has issues regarding the replacement of the CD or DVD-Rom. This is an important piece of the complete book if it is deemed worthy of inclusion, but too little attention is payed to the way in which it all hangs together. I’m more interested in a means of adding digital content which removes the need for such contrivances, and which steps neatly around new problems.

I can’t find the precise link to where I previously covered this, but I pointed out that hardback editions of popular titles were the best place to test-drive the fusion of the traditional and the digital. If you look at the spine of a big hardback title, you’ll notice that there is a gap between the binding and the actual spine of the book. By extending the edge of the book slightly there will be enough room to slip in a memory stick, and as memory sticks now have more than enough room in their memory, the concept of having the full text in a number of formats is not out of the question. This goes back to extended treatise on e-books I did as well, and I still insist there are much better e-book formats forthcoming.

Before anyone gets the idea that I’m somehow slighting e-books by referring to them in the same post as I go over “gimmicks” then I assure you that I am not maligning them. Far from it. Having stated before that eBooks are something which will slowly emerge as a full media separate from traditional publishing, there’s no need for me to further elaborate on their status. The current technology behind them is baby steps. That’s all getting me further away from the central idea I’m pondering, and the ways in which books can take advantage of their design.

When I started thinking about the gimmick-covers I immediately thought of books which tied in their content to the design of the cover. There are a few examples of DVD cases acting as showcases for the skills of the design team which prove that the packaging is sometimes more impressive than the contents – one of the Saw films (IV or V) has a circular saw mechanism in a little window on the box, which (after some words from John Kramer) starts churning away at flesh unseen… he clear plastic being already rendered to appear as if blood is spurting across the inside of the packaging. Yes, it’s a lame gimmick for a second-rate film, but it managed to attract my attention for a few moments. Had this been used on a film which I considered less childish in its’ theme, I may have actually bought the box instead of the regular packaging. Synthesis between cover and content is key, and with no thematic link, and cover effect is worthless.

Books, then. I like the idea of having something unique (or which at least attempts the illusion of individuality), so having something crafted on the cover is appealing. I was looking at samplers, and the conceit of having an actual sampler on the cover of a book about samplers hit me. It’s a neat idea, but my fledgling steps towards the art form have been less than successful, despite spending an ungodly amount of time coming up with a design which I thought was really funny – a zombie theme, naturally. Gauging how long I have spent unpicking the damn thing and attempting to make it look even halfway like something I would have hanging around a living space – never mind showing in public – means that the production of such things aren’t entirely without problems. Maybe having one on a cover isn’t the best idea I have ever come up with, as the production process would require an extended period of trial and error in the design stage.

The size of a book, in instances where adding things to the cover is concerned, really does matter. Would I buy a book which reproduced album covers at full size? Probably not, unless the reverse of each image had a substantial degree of contextual information. Would I buy it if it had an actual LP glued to the cover? Yeah. I really would. it’s a gimmick as much as anything else, but it appeals to my sense of the surreal, and has an unusual element. Unusual is good, because it immediately engages the reader in questions. There was a lot of talk about the first video advert in a magazine, and soon – when the kinks in the technology have been worked out – I can imagine a video cover on a book. Before the cries of “heresy” and “blasphemer” erupt, I am not claiming that such a move would be a step forward, nor a great advance in literary wealth, but it might shift a few more copies of a book which would otherwise not shift as many copies. Sales are damn important to both an author’s reputation and a book’s long-term status, so the first person to have such a cover would need to make sure that the title on which it is first implemented be damn good.

The proof of gimmick covers is not just in the world of comics (where the otherwise predictable and cliche-laden X-Men #1 sold a million or so copies), but also in the way that DVDs with multiple covers has become the norm. We are living in an age when the attention span of the consumer has to be taken into account, and any publicity which can be generated by something so seemingly simple as cover ornamentation must be looked into as an enhancement as much as it is a declaration of content. Content may be king, but the cover is the queen – that which people pay attention to, and which commands attention. I’ll refrain from the “just like a woman” comment, as I’ll only end up getting grief for that…

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A DVD Review, Actually

Posted by BigWords on January 10, 2011

This is out of the ordinary for this blog (though not entirely unexpected from me), but as I am constantly being urged to give Love, Actually a chance – by someone who should know better – I went and bought the damn film on DVD. This, as you can well imagine, drew a considerable amount of raised eyebrows. I probably buy too many films there, because at the checkout no less than three people asked me if I knew it was neither a horror film nor a weird French film. Yes. I know exactly what it is. It’s a comedy. And yes, in case you were thinking that I was merely going to state the fact that I had watched it, I AM going to review it.

Here’s a little bit of free advice: You have only yourselves to blame if you tell me watch a film I have no intention of watching. Posts such as these are likely to be the outcome…

There’s probably cause for concern when a comedy opens at an airport. Films which have early scenes set in airports tend to have Very Bad Things happen to the characters – Airport, Die Hard 2, The Terminal (an aptly named film if ever there was one), Snakes On A Plane – but I know, even as the credits flash across the bottom of the screen, that I am in for the kind of torture even Prometheus would balk at suffering. The first line of the film (via narration) sets my mood for the next half hour:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.

Already I’m wondering what kind of sick bastard would invoke airports in an attempt to induce heartwarming feelings in the audience – and it’s raising my spirits to think that, at some point in the film, Hugh Grant might deliver something as legendary as “It rubs the lotion on its’ skin” to cement the initial impression of his character. If that wasn’t enough, we get “treated” to a reminder of 9/11. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be so preoccupied with the opening narration of a film – truth be told, if I come across such things I tend to fast forward until there is less telling and more showing – but this fascinates me. I immediately Google film reviews of Love Actually to see what the popular opinion seems to be, and everyone else has apparently managed to block this out.

As a counterpoint to Hugh’s divine opening narration, I have to point out that airports make me feel nauseous. I have the nagging suspicion that this feeling will remain for the duration of the film…

The film begins properly, with Rab C. Nesbit taking the piss out of Rufus Scrimgeour’s singing abilities, and the outlook for an interesting viewing experience raises somewhat. My fidgeting ceases when the deathly line “This is shit, isn’t it?” is uttered, and I can’t help but think that Richard Curtis included it for the sole purpose of acknowledging the quality of the script. I agree wholeheartedly with the rather meta joke. Then… Well, things get very, very strange. Emma Thompson reveals to the audience that Liam Neeson’s wife has just died, in what must go down in history as the single worst telephone conversation ever. The only way she could have made it worse would have been to suggest he go on a skiing vacation to Quebec to take his mind off things.

And we get treated to clips, all of them having zero sense of context for the viewer, though the sight of a teenage boy wearing a wedding dress does manage to make me smile. British films… So quick to resort to cross-dressing as comedy. Matters don’t improve with Hugh Grant’s first appearance on-screen, in which his perverse lust for airports is explained – he’s the Prime Minister. Which explains so very much. Better yet, we have a glimpse into the reason Martine McCutcheon’s Hollywood career crashed, burned, and got swallowed by a black hole. She is neither funny nor interesting as a “new girl” in No. 10’s household staff, and it takes me all my strength to resist skipping to the next chapter. As it happens, the scene immediately following this train wreck moment is rather good.

The sight of The Operative marrying the teenage boy in drag is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. A musical number breaks out, and I hope desperately against hope that someone will liven things up… It’s maybe not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as the moment where a we get to see Arthur Dent dry-humping a topless blond, but it’s bloody close. Martin Freeman (not related to Gordon, sadly) must rank in the top ten most unlikely sex symbols on the planet, and having Ali G Indahouse on his résumé doesn’t help matters any. It’s a wonder the actress he is performing with can keep a straight face.

A scene which looks as if it was cut from Four Weddings And A Funeral manages to be even more draining than expected – and I nearly lapse into a coma before it cuts to the aftermath of the wedding. Unfortunately Richard Curtis’ directorial style is that of an eight year old boy with ADD, and we cut to yet another scene before the expected hi-jinks can occur – we never get to see relatives of the happy couple dancing on tables, any drunken fighting, or the slutty bridesmaid (there’s always one) disappearing with the priest. I almost throw the DVD remote control across the room. The sight of Alan Rickman eases my annoyance immediately, and – in the space of a few lines of dialogue – raises the bar for the quality of acting so high that I am amazed by what comes next.

Bill. Fucking. Nighy. Even in films like this, where his talents aren’t exactly stretched, he still manages to steal every single scene he is in. On the scale of cool he lurks just below Samuel L. Jackson, such is his awesomeness. He’s so brilliant that he doesn’t even need lines – with a glance, he can say more than other actors manage with a ream of dialogue.

I’ve said before how much I like watching him, but he really shows why he’s bulletproof in the radio interview scene. He may be gesticulating wildly and hamming it up, yet he’s more restrained than the twitching, rabid possibly-serial-killer-biscuit-fetishist PM as played by Hugh Grant. In the midst of a meeting of the cabinet, he can’t help imagining the things he would do to Martine McCutcheon – and as long as she is prevented from releasing another album, I’m with him all the way. I almost feel sorry for her, then I remember Perfect Moment…

“It rubs the lotion on its’ skin.”

It feels like the DVD is stuck on random chapter select, as it skips back to Martin Freeman and a topless Joanna Page. Not that I’m complaining. The scenes featuring the disrobed miss Page seem to be aiming at a slightly different crowd than the rest of the movie, and it occurs to me that someone more familiar with the sight of naked flesh – Barry Sonnenfeld, perhaps – might have made more of possible plot developments which hanging around half-naked could give the film. At least it’s a nice long scene of her tople- Hey, what the hell? I don’t want to see Liam Neeson moping around… How much longer does this film have to go anyway? It feels as if it has been running forever, and there is no end in sight to the film. I would willingly swap places with Prometheus if it meant I didn’t have to sit through any more of the film.

When I check the OSD, I see that it has only been running for half an hour.

The despair is about to be magnified with yet more scenes between the psychopath PM and his next victim. I think there’s something really familiar about his performance, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

As if everything that preceded this point wasn’t enough to induce mild brain damage, I am faced with the sight of Ant and Dec. Suicide becomes more appealing with every passing moment of their charmless, inane presence. If it wasn’t for Bill Nighy’s excellent line at the end of the scene, I would have opened up my veins by now. I hit half-watching the screen, hoping that there will be something even mildly amusing to see me through til the next Nighy scene, then the film shifts gears unexpectedly on me. Hank Grotowski turns up as the US president (though it seems he has dumped Leticia in the interim), and Hugh gives him a string of blatant lies – claiming that he’s never been able to tie a girl down, we get a glimpse into the way he has been able to carry out his murderous fantasies in the face of public scrutiny. This is a PM with balls bigger than most kaiju.

The press conference which escalates the mad PM’s weirdness nearly succeeds in revealing just how far around the bend he has gone, but he stops short of drooling and masturbating in front of the cameras, thus giving him a little more time to lure his assistant away to her demise unchecked. I nearly vomit when he has some sort of a fit, shaking and shuddering with wild-eyed mayhem in his eyes.

It’s only when the manuscript flies into the lake that I realize I am watching a strange alternate-history fantasy rather than a film set in the real world. Who types out a manuscript on a typewriter anyway? Have you ever tried to write more than a few dozen pages on a typewriter? I have, and I can guarantee you that it is it is the most agonizing thing ever. Really. It’s right up there with listening to Martine McCutcheon sing. Worryingly, the message the film seems to be making – with at least three of the stories thus far – is that it is not only acceptable to sleep with the people you employ, it is expected. This is emphasized repeatedly, so it seems that it is more than a coincidental theme running across the stories.

The film gets even stranger (unbelievably, given how fucked up it is so far) when the groom from the earlier wedding scene admits his love for the boy, who has come in search of the wedding video. The theme tune to Roswell gives the game away – they’re aliens. They’re all aliens. It explains so, so much.

I especially like the way the PM gets to deliver his serial killer line – “Redistribute her.” Yeah, and why don’t you do it yourself, you lazy bastard? Having gone this far into the realms of madness, is he getting squeamish about having more blood on his hands? It’s doubtful. There are so many disturbing aspects to his character that it’s most likely an attempt to groom a partner for his murderous rampages. Having sat through the better part of an hour, I turn the audio off and start making up my own dialogue for the characters, which mostly consists of them bitching about being stuck in this godawful film.

“Is it over yet?”
“Hell no. I haven’t injected heroin into my eyeball yet.”
“Better hurry up. Martine might start singing any moment now.”

I play a hand of solitaire, and when I glance at the screen I see Alan Rickman is shopping. This isn’t a British street he is on, because there are no homeless people on the street, nor drunken people staggering from pubs. Hell, there aren’t even any hoodies stalking the streets. It looks like a street, but knowing the film is set in a parallel universe where psychotics don’t steal people’s mobile ‘phones when they’re talking on them explains some of the incongruities in the shot. Alan Rickman’s luck doesn’t hold out, because he soon finds himself being served in a shop by Mr. Bean, who only narrowly avoids tying his finger to a present he is wrapping.

The eighty minute mark manages to up the ante for the fantasy argument, with a dorky loser striking the jackpot with three women, though we have no run-on scene to indicate if this is actually the case or if it is the set-up for something else. I like to imagine that it is Americans getting their revenge for the events of the Hostel movies, and the poor bastard is soon going to find himself being dismembered in a dank warehouse somewhere. Really, he only has himself to blame for not checking if they had bulldog tattoos or not.

I suddenly realize I’ve been watching this for an hour and a half, and panic. Films shouldn’t feel this long. The repeated use of the word “actually” in the script is, actually, really fucking annoying. Actually. On the basis of this one film, I’m ready to actually skip any future films actually written or actually directed by Richard Curtis. When the groom-guy steals the sign-as-speech schtick from Bob Dylan, I decide that the boy is actually kinda good-looking, and the fact so many men fancy him begins to make sense somewhat. It’s still a far-fetched idea he could have so many admirers, but as this is a fantasy film I’ll let the matter slip.

There’s a special kind of pain when Hugh channels Dwight from Sin City, and the ending… Gathering all the characters in one room and hoping that it qualifies as a resolution to the storylines is ridiculous. There is a few strands left – neverending, awful stories which keep dragging on. The film, I am certain, is merely torturing me at this point. When the kid breaks into a run past airport security I hope that the film will finally come full circle, and we’ll get a twist on the ending of Twelve Monkeys, but the precocious little bastard gets away with it. In this world, where serial killers don’t get made prime minister, he would have been shot in the head long before meeting up with his squeeze…

Past the two hour mark and I am exhausted. Trying to keep interested in these idiots for the sake of this post is the most exhausting thing I’ve done so far this year, and even the joyful sight of the end credits is not enough to make me crack a smile. Despite all that, Love Actually managed to be more entertaining than the American Pie series of films. True, a colonic with a rusty pipe cleaner is more entertaining than those films, but any comparison with reasonably good films is a waste of energy. It’s better than Bean, though not as funny as Hotel Paradiso, and even in a straight fight with Dumb And Dumber it wouldn’t come off well. I still can’t believe I shelled out eight quid for it, but at least this puts an end to people urging me to watch it.

I can’t write off the shopping trip to pick up the DVD as a complete waste of time, as I did pick up an Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver as well. It’s the small mercies which make the time spent watching the DVD worthwhile…

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Resolutions, And Other Things

Posted by BigWords on January 9, 2011

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, then you will know that I tend to do things… Differently. This post is a perfect example of being ever so slightly off kilter. Because the other stuff distracted me at the opening of the year I haven’t got around to doing my new years resolutions yet, which is a shame because of their importance in framing the reasons why I have been so busy lately. Yes, folks – it’s because of resolutions that I have yet to announce that I have been so quiet… That’s the level of logic we’re hitting here, so I may as well lay out everything. Oh, and I’m going to explain the puzzle I left you to play with at the end of the AW Musical Chairs Blogfest, but you should read through the resolutions first, to see why something like that is appearing at all.

And yes… Before you make note of it, today is my birthday, but I’ve already mentioned the fact that they tend to go awry, so steering clear of the subject is the smart thing to do.

Resolution The First: Submit More Material. Lots More.

This is where people should avert their eyes, because you’re probably not going to like what you read. It’s a way of thinking that has served me well in the past, so it seems like it will work for my writing as well – I’m going for coverage rather than prestige. There are a few blogs I have read where people have pointed out that they don’t submit to non-paying markets, and that strikes me as a massive missed opportunity. I’ve already sent out six pieces, and it is only the ninth of the month, so (as I pointed out on Twitter earlier) you’re hopefully going to get tired of seeing my name in print.

Resolution The Second: Post More Information.

I’m going to get things rolling soon enough on the epic book lists again, but I’m thinking of revisiting the stalled guides as well. The one which I had big plans for in the summer of 2010 will be reworked to appear as a series of smaller pieces, where I can devote more words to the material than would have otherwise been possible, but I’m also staring at the groundwork of a genre guide which will supersede those already covering such material. It’s always annoyed me that the material gets too large for use in anything, but by ignoring the printed mediums it opens the possibility of truly definitive works.

Having taken the time to open a Goodreads account, I suppose that fits under this banner as well, as I really do need to update it with books. By following Resolution The Third, this should become an easier proposition to take care of…

Resolution The Third: Make Better Plans.

Things seem to get derailed awfully easily, so planning well in advance for disruptions to plans makes sense. This may seem a weird choice for a resolution, but it is something which, had I thought if it of in my twenties – making backup plans, and backup plans for my backup plans – could have saved me a lot of money and time over the years. I’m still in the middle of things which are directly related to the lack of backup plans, but I’m digging myself out of that slowly and surely.

If I had been prepared to deal with unusual events, I could have had a whole lot more free time in 2010 to write, and to have fun, and to… y’know. Do stuff.

Resolution The Fourth: Move Preemptively On Things I Want

I’ve spent a lot of time of the last year seeing things happen, while thinking about the pros and cons of going all out to get ahead on things. Waiting to see how things are going, and watching others make their move, didn’t work out so well. I’m going to try and be a whole lot more proactive, setting things in motion in advance of when I need them. This could count as an addendum to Resolution The Third, but by placing it as a separate entry I should be better prepared to follow it through.

Resolution The Fifth: Raise The Stakes.

Things are going to get much, much more complex in my writing. I’m wearying of simplistic, and the opportunity to fully explore how high I can raise the intellectual bar appeals to me. Using foreign phrases and obscure words may be frowned upon, but I intend to use every trick in the book from now on to keep people on their toes. I’ve played with being the smartest kid in the room before, but it’s far past the time when I should have shrugged off the simple in favor of the complex.

Please try and keep up while I show off how smart I am.

Speaking of which, I did promise to reveal the secret stuff hidden in the AW Musical Chairs Blogfest, so here goes:

Kerilyn (the name of the main female character) is a Gaelic name meaning black, which fits with the dark tone her character carries throughout most of the story. It is no coincidence that the male lead is named Lucas – a name commonly held to mean ‘light’ in naming tradition.

The following is where the change slips in:

Standing at the main entrance to the park, Keri pondered how two weeks of brief companionship had changed her expectations of the park, and how it had ceased to loom so large on her mind. There were still nights where she would awaken in a cold sweat, but the darkness had lifted.

Firstly, I shortened her name to Keri, then I compounded this by stating “the darkness had lifted” in the body of the text. Yes, it’s probably too blunt a version of the Meaningful Name trope, but it has a certain appeal…

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

AW Musical Chairs Blogfest

Posted by BigWords on January 7, 2011

Week One (January 7th)

Regan Leigh’s blog, and her entry: Untitled (Horror)
Gary (you’re here), and my entry: The Lake Of Hope And Sorrow (Romance)
Claire Gillian’s blog, and her entry: Call Of Duty — Mom Ops (Comedy)
Amanda’s blog
Grady Hendrix’s blog, and his entry: The Three Cases Of Almanac Jones

Week Two (January 14th)

Diane (Dolores) Dooley’s blog. and her entry: The Morrigan (Urban Fantasy)
Ben Bradley’s blog
J. (Agnyl78) Elyzabeth’s blog, and her entry: One Night (Erotica)
[there are two blogs linked, so click through to both of her blogs]
Jamie’s blog, and her entry: The Bully (YA Fiction)
Cole’s blog, and his entry: The Bunker (erotica)
Scarlett’s blog
Hillary’s blog, and her entry: Winter Wool (Contemporary Lit)

Week Three (January 21st)

Julia (IdiotsRUs) Knight’s blog
Janine’s blog
Aheila’s blog
Jhuk’s blog [not participating this month, but check out her blog regardless]
Mike’s blog; and his entry: High Scaler (Historical Fiction)
C. Scott Morris’s blog, and his entry: Untitled (Children’s Lit)

Week Four (January 28th)

Sianshan’s blog
Ralph Pines’ blog
Rob (rmgil04) G’s blog
Proach’s blog
Regypsy’s blog
LadyCat’s blog

The Lake Of Hope And Sorrow
by Gary James


Kerilyn brushed an errant strand of russet hair from her brow as she attempted (valiantly, though with decreasing chance of success) to ignore the man strolling towards her. Taking her time, she nudged her sunglasses up to cover her eyes, hoping that he would walk on with neither comment nor attention paid to her. Ten minutes was all she asked for. Ten minutes of peace and quiet, where she could immerse herself in thoughts of nothing but the ripples expanding across the surface of the lake, watching as they spread out to touch the shore from the smallest of touches. Such precious moments of tranquility had to be taken full advantage of, for their rare beneficial properties eased complex torments which she barely understood. Pulling her jacket tighter around her, despite the heat, Kerilyn could sense the man moving closer. His steady gait, his confidence, splashed jagged waves through the peace she so craved.

“Hi there.”
She turned to face him, letting him stare at his own reflection in her mirrored glasses. Opening her mouth to respond to him, she caught herself. The lake. She turned from his gaze, sighing. “I come here for peace and quiet, not so that I can be chatted up.” Saying more to him would only encourage further dialog.
“Sorry, it’s just-” he paused. The sounds of water splashing against the pathway engrossed Kerilyn’s attention, and he flustered a word twice before he could continue. “I saw you here. The other day, I mean. You looked so lonely that I thought you might want someone to talk to. Perhaps..”
Kerilyn counted her breaths from the fading of his words, and, when it seemed he would refrain from his attentiveness, breathed deeply in the smell of freshly cut grass. As sunlight tingled on her skin, she reflected on the fading embers of his concern for her.
Without speaking, he nodded and walked on.

Kerilyn stood for a moment, caught in the ever-changing lightshow dancing across the surface of the lake, then turned to see if the man had gone. Hands thrust into the pockets of her jacket, she began to make her way out of the park.


As she approached the park the next day, one hand idly brushing against the railings, she reflected upon the encounter. Hoping that the man would not be there, Kerilyn swung open the gate and entered. The trees crowding the side of the footpath provided some shade, allowing sunlight to dapper through in streaks of light before her, guiding her to the place where she could lose herself in contemplation. For a moment, as leaves rustled in the wake of birds taking flight, she felt the burning intrusion again. Angered at her response, when silence was all she should have offered, she determined that she would not speak to him again. Closing on the water – her space – she saw him. Sitting halfway around the circumference of the lake, cross-legged with one arm draped along the back of the bench, he watched her as she walked.

Biting the inside of her cheek, Kerilyn took to her usual spot at the edge of the lake, resisting the temptation to look over to her unwanted companion. Water lapped against the banks in soothing waves. Controlling her breathing, concentrating on the serene center of her being, she glanced at the bench to see if he was still there. He wasn’t. His approach, as before, was one which was as measured and relaxed as she had ever seen. Too flustered to deal with another round of his attentions, she moved to leave, though the call of the water held her in place long enough for him to arrive, unbidden. Almost without effort, he seemed to bring out in her something near anger.

“Hi there, mysterious lady.”
She glared at him from above the rim of her sunglasses, unamused. “I thought I made it clear that I was in no need of company.”
“It doesn’t hurt to try my luck.”
He remained silent for a moment, hoping, perhaps, for witty repartee. Kerilyn did her best to disappoint him in all regards.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then. Take care.” With a nod of the head he departed.


Stepping into the park, aware that the man would likely be there for the third day in a row, Kerilyn tried to push thoughts of his disruptions into her routine from her thoughts. Almost immediately as she passed the threshold from the city to the greenery, with footsteps muffled by the grass underfoot, he announced his presence.
“Well, fancy bumping into you out here.”
Kerilyn took off her sunglasses and faced him. “There’s such a thing as stalking, y’know.”
“Me? I’m hardly a stalker. We just happen to frequent the same location at roughly the same time. I didn’t even know you took this path into the park.”
No, Kerilyn thought. I don’t usually come this way, but I did so today specifically to avoid you. As she began walking again, she made a mental note to avoid the park for a few days. Just long enough for the lovesick puppy to find a new playmate.
“Don’t you ever get lonely, standing out at the lake by yourself?” He matched her pace, slipping into his well-worn nice guy routine once more.

Kerilyn sighed, lowering her gaze. “What do you want?”
“I see a pretty woman standing by the edge of a lake, all on her lonesome, I get to wondering why she is all alone.” He let out a small, though warm, laugh. “You looked so sad, out here by yourself. I thought that a friendly face, and someone willing to listen, would be good for you.”
Staring at him from behind her protective lenses, aware that her shield of indifference had been dented, Kerilyn replaced her sunglasses. “If you must know, I go to the lake to remember.”
“Must be an awful good memory for you to spend so much time here.”
“Someone-” She thought for a moment how best to phrase the thoughts drifting through her mind. “Someone I know died on- died in the lake.”


Standing at the main entrance to the park, Keri pondered how two weeks of brief companionship had changed her expectations of the park, and how it had ceased to loom so large on her mind. There were still nights where she would awaken in a cold sweat, but the darkness had lifted. As Lucas wandered up to her smiling – always smiling, she thought – it felt natural to smile.
“And we meet again.” He gazed into her eyes, “Brown. Your eyes are brown. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without your sunglasses.”
Her hand reached up to her face. “I must have left them at work.”
“Other things on your mind, huh?”
Keri smiled. “Don’t you go getting the wrong impression.”
“And a smile as well. Today is bringing all kinds of firsts.”

Lucas raised a hand to Keri’s cheek, and she could feel a blush blooming under his touch. “I have a surprise for you, but you’re going to have to trust me.”
“Trust you? I barely know you.”
“Well, there’s plenty of people around, and it’s not as if you don’t know me.”
“And what is it that I have to trust you about?”
“You’ll see. First though…” He reached into his pocket, removing a long piece of cloth, “You’re going to have to wear this?”
“A blindfold? Seriously? You haven’t gone and bought me a pony have you? I made that wish when I was eight, and I’ve since learned that they aren’t the delightful, sweet-smelling creatures I once imagined them to be.”
“Not a pony. Put on the blindfold, and you’ll find out soon enough.”


Walking hand-in hand, Keri felt increasingly self-conscious at the heat of Lucas’ grasp. “I can hear the water. Are we near the lake?”
“We’re nearly there. Just a few more steps.” Lucas moved behind her, moving Keri into position with his hands on her waist. “Are you ready?”
The blindfold slipped from her face, and Keri found herself staring at a small wooden rowboat, two oars laid across the stern. Her gasp of shock at a reminder of the worst day of her life did not seem to register with Lucas.
“I can’t.” She pulled from Lucas, “I can’t go back on the water.”
“No. Maybe not today. But when you are ready, and whenever you want, this will be here. For you.”
Kero looked into Lucas’ eyes, only barely aware she was speaking. “Thank you.”
She knew that one day, maybe not soon, but eventually, she would go with Lucas to the center of the lake in that vessel.

Posted in Misc., writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

2010 – Deaths W-Z

Posted by BigWords on January 4, 2011

Waldron, Ann Wood (December 14, 1924 – July 2, 2010) New York Times obit
Walker, Albertina (August 29, 1929 – October 8, 2010)
Wallot, Jean-Pierre, OC, FRSC (May 22, 1935 – August 30, 2010)
Walters, Eric (July 4, 1937 – August 18, 2010) Journalist
Lady Walton, Susana, MBE (August 30, 1926 – March 21, 2010)
Ward, Colin (August 14, 1924 – February 11, 2010) The Anarchist Library; Guardian obit; Independent obit; Telegraph obit; Times obit
Warren, Mary Anne (August 17, 1946 – August 9, 2010)
Watkins, Alan Rhun (April 3, 1933 – May 8, 2010) Political columnist Independent columns; Telegraph obit; Times obit
Wattar, Tahir (al-Tahir Wattar) (1936 – August 12, 2010)
Weaver, Kenneth Franklin (November 29, 1915 – September 20, 2010) National Geographic writer and editor
Webb, Sharon (February 29, 1936 – April 29, 2010) Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction bio
Weber, David Joseph (December 20, 1940 – August 20, 2010) Historian
Wedlock, Fred (May 23, 1942 – March 4, 2010) Songwriter website
Weismiller, Edward Ronald (August 3, 1915 – August 25, 2010) Poet and scholar
Weiss, George David (April 9, 1921 – August 23, 2010) Songwriter
Welles, Christopher Jewett “Chris” (December 11, 1937 – June 19, 2010) Business journalist
Wells, Colin Michael (November 15, 1933 – March 11, 2010) Historian Times obit
Welsh, Donald Emory (October 6, 1943 – February 6, 2010) Publisher
West, Bernie (May 30, 1918 – July 29, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB; New York Times obit
Wheeler, John “Jack” P., III (1944 – December 2010)
Whitman, The Reverend Robert Shaw Sturgis (July 27, 1915 – February 9, 2010)
Wieghart, James Gerard (August 16, 1933 – February 21, 2010) Editor and journalist
Wijn, Pieter Cornelis (May 17, 1929 – October 6, 2010) Comic-book creator
Willensky, Elliot A. (1943 – March 29, 2010) Composer
Williams, Brian (1956 – October 4, 2010) Illustrator
Williams, Eric Cyril (1918 – 2010)
Williams, Professor George Christopher (May 12, 1926 – September 8, 2010)
Williamson, Al (March 21, 1931 – June 12, 2010) Comic-book artist Lambiek; Mark Evanier tribute; Comic Book Resources tributes; The Comics Reporter obit; Dark Horse Comics tribute; Guardian obit; io9 gallery
Williamson, James (1983 – 2010) Journalist
Willis, John Alvin (October 16, 1916 – June 25, 2010)
Wilson, Ed (Edson Vieira de Barros) (July 29, 1945 – October 3, 2010) Songwriter
Wilson, William Proctor (July 2, 1921 – March 7, 2010) CEO of Butterick Publishing Company
Windham, Donald (July 2, 1920 – May 31, 2010) New York Times obit; Telegraph obit
Winslow, Donald James (1911 – 10 July 2010)
Winslow Tom (Thomas Griffin Winslow) (November 13, 1940 – October 23, 2010) Songwriter
Winstone, Harry Victor Frederick, FRGS (August 3, 1926 – February 10, 2010) Author and journalist Independent obit
Winters, Kathleen (1949 – 2010) website
Wisdom, Sir Norman Joseph, OBE (February 4, 1915 – October 4, 2010) website; IMDB; Guardian obit; Telegraph obit
Wiseman, Donald John, OBE, FBA (October 25, 1918 – February 2, 2010) Academic
Wolfenstein, Eugene Victor (July 9, 1940 – December 15, 2010)
Wolper, David Lloyd (January 11, 1928 – August 10, 2010) website; IMDB
Wong Tin-Lam (September 11, 1928 – November 16, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Wooding, Geoffrey (February 20, 1954 – January 26, 2010) Architect
Woodson, Ali-Ollie (September 12, 1951 – May 30, 2010) Songwriter website; Independent obit; New York Times obit
Wright, Claud William (January 9, 1917 – February 15, 2010)
Wright, Lionel Percy (Lan Wright) (July 8, 1923 – 2010) SF author
Wrightson, Patricia (June 21, 1921 – March 15, 2010) Guardian obit; Misrule tribute (blog); Times obit
Wussler, Robert J. (September 8, 1936 – June 5, 2010) Journalist and co-founder of CNN obit; LA Times obit; New York Times obit

Xenides, Adriana (Adriana Coutsaimanis) (January 9, 1956 – June 7, 2010)

Yan, Romina (Romina Yankelevich De Giaccomi) (September 5, 1974 – September 28, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Yanovskiy, Rudolph Grigorjevich (Рудольф Григорьевич Яновский) (June 16, 1929 – January 13, 2010) Philosopher
Young, Betty Lou (May 18, 1919 – July 1, 2010)
Younger, Major-General Allan Elton, DSO OBE (Tony Younger) (May 4, 1919 – July 5, 2010)

Zakariyya, Fouad (1927 – March, 2010) Philosopher
Zenger, Erich (July 9, 1939 – April 4, 2010)
Zeno, Sheikh Muhammad bin Jamil (1925 – October 8, 2010) Scholar
Zia-Zarifi, Abolhassan (August 20, 1926 – October 4, 2010)
Ziegel, Victor “Vic” (August 16, 1937 – July 23, 2010) Sportswriter
Zinn, Howard (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) Author and historian website; obit; Guardian obit; New York Times obit; Telegraph obit
Zuyev, Maksim (Макси́м Зу́ев) (November 11, 1975 – March 18, 2010) Blogger and journalist
Zwerin, Mike (May 18, 1930 – April 2, 2010) Author website

Any addictions, corrections and links to original sources appreciated. There are conflicting resources available for some of those listed here, and it has been a struggle to cut through to the facts. I’ll ask you to keep all comments relevant, and – if possible – supply more information to complete the list.

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2010 – Deaths T-V

Posted by BigWords on January 4, 2011

Tabermann, Tommy (December 3, 1947 – July 2, 2010) Poet
Takens, Floris (November 12, 1940 – June 20, 2010) Mathematician
Talankin, Igor (И́горь Васи́льевич Тала́нкин) (October 3, 1927 – July 24, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Talbot, William Phillips (June 7, 1915 – October 1, 2010) Former journalist
Taliano, Charles “Chuck” Jr. (May 9, 1945 – June 4, 2010)
Tamura, George T. (November 27, 1927 – February 11, 2010) Artist and author
Tanner, Duncan (February 19, 1958 – February 11, 2010) Historian Guardian obit
Tanner, James Mourilyan (August 1, 1920 – August 11, 2010) Medical author
Tansey, Charlotte (1922 – August 26, 2010) Scholar
Tantawy, Muhammad Sayyid (محمد سيد طنطاوي‎) (October 28, 1928 – March 10, 2010) Scholar
Tatematsu, Wahei (December 15,1948 – February 8, 2010) Novelist
Taylor, Anne Froelick (December 8, 1913 – January 26, 2010)
Taylor, Dennis (November 13, 1953 – October 17, 2010) Tennessean obit
Taylor, Mackenzie (September 8, 1978 – November 18, 2010) website; Guardian obit
Taylor-Burroughs, Margaret (November 11, 1917 – November 21, 2010) Artist and author
Tenn, William (Philip Klass) (May 9, 1920 – February 7, 2010) website; IMDB; io9 obit; The Mumpsimus tribute (blog); New York Times obit; Wired tribute
Thalbourne, Michael A., Ph.D., (March 24, 1955 – May 4, 2010) Academic
Thomas, Gwyn “Jocko” (1913 – May 5, 2010) Journalist
Thompson, David (September 13, 2010) Murder By The Book publicity manager Jeff Cohen tribute; Maggie Galehouse tribute; Houston Press obit; Mulholland Books tribute
Thompson, Elspeth (June 26, 1961 – March 25, 2010) Journalist and author Guardian articles; Telegraph obit
Thorvall, Kerstin (1925 – April 9, 2010) Novelist
Thuermer, Angus MacLean (July 17, 1917 – April 15, 2010) Former journalist Telegraph obit; Washington Post obit
Tibet (Gilbert Gascard) (October 29, 1931 – January 3, 2010) Comic-book creator Lambiek
Tillsi, Khalifa Mohammed (خليفة محمد التليسي‎) (May 9, 1930 – January 13, 2010) Historian and translator
Ting, Walasse (October 13, 1929 – May 17, 2010) Poet
Tinkham, Michael (February 23, 1928 – November 4, 2010) Physicist
Tishchenko, Boris Ivanovich (Бори́с Ива́нович Ти́щенко) (March 23, 1939 – December 9, 2010) Composer website
Tlou, Thomas (June 1, 1932 – June 28, 2010) Academic
Tobe, Keiko (1957 – January 28, 2010) Manga artist
Tobias-Duesberg, Helen (June 11, 1919 – February 4, 2010) Composer
Tobin, Jack Adair, Ph.D. (June 15, 1920 – June 19, 2010) Anthropologist
Toda, Morikazu (October 20, 1917 – October 6, 2010) Physicist
Todorovski, Gane (May 11, 1929 – May 23, 2010) Poet and historian
Tolstaya, Natalia Nikitichna (May 2, 1943 – June 15, 2010) Translator The Voice Of Russia obit
Tookoome, Simon (December 9, 1934 – November 7, 2010)
Tordeur, Jean (September 5, 1920 – January 27, 2010) Belgian author
Torode, George (September 30, 1946 – April 20, 2010)
Tozer, Norman (July 13, 1934 – July 14, 2010) Reporter The Stage obit
Tralins, S. Robert (April 28, 1926 – May 20, 2010) website; IMDB
Traoré, Mahama Johnson (1942 – 2010)
Trapp, Agathe Johanna Erwina Gobertina von (March 12, 1913 – December 28, 2010)
Travis, Doris Eaton (March 14, 1904 – May 11, 2010) IMDB; Independent obit; New York Times obit
Trefousse, Hans L. (December 18, 1921 – January 8, 2010) New York Times obit
Tubb, E.C. (Edwin Charles) (October 15, 1919 – September 10, 2010) website; Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction bio; IMDB; Guardian obit; Independent obit
Tuck, Donald Henry (December 3, 1922 – October 13, 2010) Bibliographer
Tucker, Robert Charles (May 29, 1918 – July 29, 2010)
Tully, Darrow J. “Duke” (February 27, 1932 – June 20, 2010) Journalist and publisher
Tunney, Eric (September 9, 1964 – March 28, 2010) IMDB
Turchin, Valentin Fyodorovich (Валенти́н Фёдорович Турчи́н) (1931 – April 7, 2010)
Turner, Wallace (March 15, 1921 – September 18, 2010) Journalist
Tyler, James (August 3, 1940 – November 23, 2010) Guardian obit

Udall, Stewart Lee (January 31, 1920 – March 20, 2010)
Utterback, Bill ( 1931 – 2010)

Valentin, Louis (Louis Valentine) (September 10, 1930 – May 3, 2010)
Valz, Sir Ian Michael (August 28, 1957 – April 28, 2010) Playwright IMDB
Van Vliet, Don “Captain Beefheart” (January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) website; Guardian obit; Rolling Stone obit; Telegraph obit
Van Wood, Peter (September 19, 1927 – 10 March 2010) Songwriter IMDB
Vardar, Ahmet (1937 – February 25, 2010) Journalist
Vargas, Gabriel Bernal (February 5, 1915 – May 25, 2010) Lambiek; The Comics Reporter obit
Vega, Janine Pommy (February 5, 1942 – December 23, 2010) Poet website
Veturi Sundararama Murthy (January 29, 1936 – May 22, 2010) Songwriter
Ben Viccari (1918 – May 6, 2010) Journalist
Vicinanza, Ralph M. (August 8, 1950 – September 25, 2010) Locus Online obit
Vieyra, Emilio (October 12, 1921 – January 25, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Villamil Cordovez, Jorge (June 6, 1929 – February 28, 2010) Composer
Vimcy (Vilayattasseri Mullambalath Balachandran) (November 25, 1925 – January 9, 2010)
Voznesensky, Andrei Andreyevich (Андре́й Андре́евич Вознесе́нский) (May 12, 1933 – June 1, 2010) Author and poet obit

Any addictions, corrections and links to original sources appreciated. There are conflicting resources available for some of those listed here, and it has been a struggle to cut through to the facts. I’ll ask you to keep all comments relevant, and – if possible – supply more information to complete the list.

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2010 – Deaths S

Posted by BigWords on January 4, 2011

Sa’d, Dr. Ahmad (אחמד סעד‎ / أحمد سعد‎) (November 25, 1945 – April 20, 2010) Journalist
Sado, Mikhail Yukhanovich (Михаил Юханович Садо) (June 9, 1934 – August 30, 2010) Scholar
Saeedpour, Vera Beaudin (March 27, 1930 – May 30, 2010) Scholar
Sæter, Einar (December 6, 1917 – November 10, 2010) Newspaper editor
St. Peters, Crispian (April 5, 1939 – June 8, 2010) Songwriter website; New York Times obit
Salani, Corso (September 9, 1961 – June 16, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Salazar, Max (April 17, 1932 – September 19, 2010) Music writer
Salinger, J.D. (Jerome David) (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) bio; IMDB; Observer tribute by Lillian Ross; New York Times obit; Telegraph obit; Times obit
Samuels, Professor Michael Louis (September 14, 1920 – November 24, 2010)
Sánchez Junco, Eduardo (April 26, 1943 – July 14, 2010) Editor and journalist
Sandall, Robert (June 9, 1952 – July 20, 2010) Music journalist Telegraph obit
Sanguineti, Edoardo (December 9, 1930 – May 18, 2010) Italian novelist
Santo, Alda Neves da Graça do Espírito (April 30, 1926 – March 9, 2010) Poet
Saramago, José (November 16, 1922 – June 18, 2010)
Sarason, Seymour Bernard Ph.D. (January 12, 1919 – January 28, 2010) Psychologist website
al-Saray, Riad (1975 – September 7, 2010) Journalist
Sarno, Joseph W. (March 15, 1921 – April 26, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Satō, Chiyoko “Shio” (December 6, 1952 – April 4, 2010) Manga artist
Sayle, Murray William, OAM (January 1, 1926 – September 19, 2010) Journalist and novelist The Australian obit; Independent obit
Scalapino, Leslie (July 25, 1944 – May 28, 2010) website
Scarpelli Furio (December 16, 1919 – April 28, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB; Guardian obit; Independent obit; Telegraph obit; Times obit
Scarpelli, Henry (1930 – April 4, 2010) Comic-book artist Lambiek; Archie Comics obit; Comic Book Resources obit; Nerdage obit
Schäfke, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich (July 21, 1922 – April 4, 2010) Mathematician
Schaft, Irene (August 9, 2010) blog
Schatzman, Evry Léon (born 16 September 1920 – 25 April 2010) Astrophysicist
Scheer, Hermann (April 29, 1944 – October 14, 2010) website
Schenck, Wolfgang (February 7, 1913 – March 5, 2010)
Schildberger, Michael Julius (April 4, 1938 – June 2, 2010) Journalist and author
Schimmel, Robert George “Bob” (January 16, 1950 – September 3, 2010) website; IMDB
Schlingensief, Christoph Maria (October 24, 1960 – August 21, 2010)
Schioppa, Tommaso Padoa (July 23, 1940 – December 18, 2010) Guardian obit; New York Times obit; Telegraph obit
Schmidt, Hannelore “Loki” (March 3, 1919 – October 21, 2010) Environmentalist
Schneider, Stephen H. (February 11, 1945 – July 19, 2010) Science writer IMDB
Schoenherr, John (Juy 5, 1935 — April 8, 2010) magazine illustrator bio; Encyclopedia of Science Fiction bio; Bear Alley tribute (blog); New York Times obit
Schorr, Daniel Louis (August 31, 1916 – July 23, 2010) Journalist New York Times obit
Schröder, Hans (July 28, 1930 – April 6, 2010) Artist
Schroeter, Werner (April 7, 1945 – April 12, 2010) Screenwriter website; IMDB; Guardian obit; Independent obit; New York Times obit
Schurmann, Franz Herbert (June 21, 1926 – August 20, 2010) Historian
Schwaiger, Brigitte (April 6, 1949 – July 26, 2010)
Scithers, George H. (May 14, 1929 – April 19, 2010) Editor and SF luminary Juno Books obit; Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction bio
Scott, Nathan (May 11, 1915 – February 27, 2010) Composer
Scott, Lady Scott, Phillippa (Felicity Philippa Talbot-Ponsonby) (November 22, 1918 – January 5, 2010) Guardian obit
Seaton, Peter (December 16, 1942 – May 18, 2010) Poet
Sebree, George McClellan, III (August 26, 1932 – March 7, 2010) Journalist
Segal, Erich Wolf (June 16, 1937 – January 17, 2010) Author and screenwriter IMDB; Guardian obit; New York Times obit; Telegraph obit; Times obit; Washington Post obit
Segawa, Yasuo (April 5, 1932 – February 18, 2010) Book illustrator bio
Sela, Lhasa de (September 27, 1972 – January 1, 2010) Songwriter
Selçuk, İlhan (March 11, 1925 – June 21, 2010) Author, editor and journalist
Serling, Robert Jerome (March 28, 1918 – May 6, 2010) bio; IMDB; obit; New York Times obit
Sevela, Efraim (Эфраим Севела / Efim Evelevich Drabkin / Ефим Евелевич Драбкин) (March 8, 1928 – August 18, 2010) Author and screenwriter IMDB; The Voice Of Russia obit
Severn, David (David Storr Unwin) (December 3, 1918 – February 11, 2010) Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction bio; 1930-1960 obit (blog); Times obit
Shade, Hastings (May 20, 1941 – February 9, 2010) Linguist and mythologist
Shah, Rajendra Keshavlal (January 28, 1913 – January 2, 2010) Poet
Sharma, Devi (October 19, 1921 – March 30, 2010) IMDB
Sharp, Dennis (November 30, 1933 – May 6, 2010) Author, editor and historian
Shealy, Rod, Sr. (December 22, 1953 – August 18, 2010) Publisher blog
Sheasby, David (September 20, 1940 – February 26, 2010) Playwright Guardian obit
Sherman, Jane (June 14, 1908 – March 16, 2010) obit; New York Times obit
Shi Tiesheng (1951- December 31, 2010) Chinese author
Shibano, Takumi (October 27, 1926 – January 16, 2010) Japanese translator and author IMDB; File 770 obit (blog)
Takeshi Shudō (August 18, 1949 – October 29, 2010) Japanese screenwriter IMDB; Schoolgirl Milky Crisis obit (blog); tribute
Shvarts, Elena Andreyevna (Елена Андреевна Шварц) (May 17, 1948 – March 11, 2010) Poet Guardian obit; Independent obit; Jewish Quarterly tribute
Sicherman, Dr. Harvey (1945 – December 25, 2010)
Sievey, Christopher Mark (aka Frank Sidebottom) (August 25, 1955 – June 21, 2010) Official website; podcasts; IMDB; BBC tribute; Bleeding Cool tribute; Guardian obit; Telegraph obit
Sigurðardóttir, Fríða Áslaug (December 10, 1940 – May 7, 2010) Icelandic novelist
Silber, Irwin (October 17, 1925 – September 8, 2010) Editor, journalist and publisher website; Guardian obit; Independent obit; New York Times obit; Next Year Country obit (blog)
Sillitoe, Alan (March 4, 1928 – April 25, 2010) IMDB; Guardian obit; Left Lion obit; Telegraph obit; Times obit
Sillitoe, Linda Buhler (July 31, 1948 – April 7, 2010) Historian and journalist
Simoneit, Ferdinand (June 14, 1925 – April 3, 2010) Author and journalist
Simpson, Robert Smith (November 9, 1906 – September 5, 2010) New York Times obit; Washington Post obit
Singh, Kunwar “Billy” Arjan (August 15, 1917 – January 1, 2010) Wildlife author Tiger Haven Society; WWF tribute
Siras, Shrinivas Ramchandra (1948 – April 8, 2010)
Sitchin, Zecharia (January 11, 1920 – October 9, 2010) website
Skillend, William E. (April 26, 1926 – February 21, 2010) Translator
Slabbert, Frederik van Zyl (March 2, 1940 – May 14, 2010) Guardian obit; Independent obit; Telegraph obit; Times obit; Washington Post obit
Smith, Carl Milton (March 15, 1927 – January 16, 2010) Songwriter IMDB; Guardian obit; Independent obit; New York Times obit
Smith, Sir Cyril, MBE (June 28, 1928 – September 3, 2010) Guardian obit; Independent obit; Telegraph obit
Smith, E. Gene (August 10, 1936 – December 16, 2010) Scholar
Smith, Gordon William (1920 – 2010) Star-Telegram obit
Smith, Jerry E. (April 8, 1950 – March 8, 2010) website
Smith, Myrna Yvonne (May 28, 1941 – December 24, 2010) Songwriter IMDB; Classic Pop Icons obit
Smoljak, Ladislav (December 9, 1931 – June 6, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Smyslov, Vasily Vasilyevich (Василий Васильевич Смыслов) (March 24, 1921 – March 27, 2010)
Snyder, Cameron Crockett (October 9, 1916 – January 29, 2010) Sportswriter Baltimore Sun obit
Sobran, Michael Joseph, Jr. (February 23, 1946 – September 30, 2010) website; New York Times obit
Soggin, Jan Alberto (March 10, 1926 – October 27, 2010) Scholar
Serrano, Joaquín Soler (August 19, 1919 – September 7, 2010) Journalist
Solomos, George Paul (aka Themistocles Hoetis) (September 16, 1925 – November 8, 2010) Journalist and poet Guardian obit
Sonnenberg, Benjamin, Jr. (December 30, 1936 – June 24, 2010) New York Times obit; Washington Post obit
Soosaar, Enn (February 13, 1937 – February 10, 2010) Critic and translator
Sorensen, Theodore Chaikin (May 8, 1928 – October 31, 2010) Political writer
Southam, Ann, CM (February 4, 1937 – November 25, 2010) Composer
Spender, Natasha, Lady Spender (April 18, 1919 – October 21, 2010) Guardian obit
Stapley, Richard (aka Richard Wyler) (June 20, 1923 – March 5, 2010) IMDB
Star, Susan “Leigh” (1954 – March 24, 2010)
Starkie, Martin (1922 – 2010) IMDB
Stawiński, Jerzy Stefan (July 1, 1921 – June 12, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Steakley, John William, Jr. (July 26, 1951 – November 27, 2010) website; IMDB; Dallas News obit
Stein, Joseph (May 30, 1912 – October 24, 2010) IMDB; Guardian obit; Independent obit; New York Times obit; Telegraph obit
Steinmetz, Sol (July 29, 1930 – October 13, 2010) Lexicographer
Stewart, Anthony Terence Quincey (1929 – December 17, 2010) Historian
Stigen, Terje (June 28, 1922 – August 14, 2010)
Stites, Richard Thomas (December 2, 1931 – March 7, 2010) Historian
Stock, Dennis (July 24, 1928 – January 11, 2010) Photojournalist
Stojanović, Svetozar “Sveta” (Светозар Стојановић) (October 18, 1931 – May 7, 2010) Philosopher
Story, Christopher Edward Harle, FRSA (1938 – July 14, 2010) Political author
Stow, Julian Randolph (November 28, 1935 – May 29, 2010)
Strick, Joseph (July 6, 1923 – June 2, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Strohmeyer, John (June 26, 1924 – March 3, 2010) Pulitzer Prize winning journalist
de Stroumillo, Olga Elisabeth Terese “Minky” (May 17, 1926 – March 11, 2010) Journalist
Studwell, William Emmett (March 18, 1936 – August 2, 2010) Librarian
Suarez, Roberto A. (November 27, 1942 – February 8, 2010) Screenwriter IMDB
Sucher, Dorothy (May 18, 1933 – August 22, 2010)
Surve, Narayan Gangaram (नारायण गंगाराम सुर्वे) (October 15, 1926 – August 16, 2010) Poet
Sutzkever, Abraham (אַבֿרהם סוצקעווער / Avrom Sutskever / אברהם סוצקבר) (July 15, 1913 – January 20, 2010) Poet
Sweezy, Nancy (October 14, 1921 – February 6, 2010) Author and folklorist New York Times obit
Sykes, Roberta “Bobbi” (August 16, 1943 – November 14, 2010) Author and poet
Sylvestre, Guy (Jean-Guy Sylvestre) OC, FRSC (May 17, 1918 – September 26, 2010) Literary critic

Any addictions, corrections and links to original sources appreciated. There are conflicting resources available for some of those listed here, and it has been a struggle to cut through to the facts. I’ll ask you to keep all comments relevant, and – if possible – supply more information to complete the list.

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