The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘SF’

When ‘Good Enough’ is Good Enough

Posted by BigWords on April 7, 2016

There are things which are plausible enough in and of themselves to pass for an explanation, and there are things which demand explanation in order for some clarification beyond the Shrug of God. Then there are things which you can drop in with no thought other than the cool factor – and those are the most interesting references. For me, whenever there is something thrown out there that suggests foresight, there’s always a tingle of excitement that the universe lined up things just right.

Okay, this is stretching the original text, but just read the subtext:

It is the great prerogative of Mankind above other Creatures, that we are not only able to behold the works of Nature, or barely to sustain our lives by them, but we have also the power of considering, comparing, altering, assisting, and improving them to various uses. And as this is the peculiar privilege of human Nature in general, so it is capable of being so far advanced by the helps of Art, and Experience, as to make some men excel others in their Observations, and Deductions, almost as much as they do Beasts.

Robert Hooke; Micrographia (1665).

And while we are at it…

The next care to be taken, in respect of the Senses, is a supplying of their infirmities with Instruments, and, as it were, the adding of artificial Organs to the natural.

Robert Hooke; Micrographia (1665).

Doesn’t that just scream transhumanism? Am I the only one who sees that?

Consider this a challenge of sorts – don’t settle for merely repeating the same quotes seen peppering the text of every other novel. Dig deeper, read works which you wouldn’t otherwise consider, take the time to understand the message you are delivering, and (the really important part) bring something new to the table. Originality isn’t a requirement, because we all know where striving for that leads, but at least carve out something new.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Taking Off

Posted by BigWords on December 26, 2010

or, One Man And His Spaceship
by Gary James

Firstly, some words by way of explanation for the following…

(if any story needed an explanation – or an apology – then this is that work)

Yes, I know it is rude to make you wait, but this requires something of a preface due to the nature of the story (such as it is) being so damn weird. It didn’t start out so strangely, but the thing pretty much told itself after I tried to do something unusual. You can read more about the way it was meant to play out after the actual story – so to refrain from spoiling the sheer weirdness – but I’ll begin with the reasons it exists at all. There was a small conversation about erotica on Twitter, and I managed to get dragged into writing something “hot” (and you can judge the results for yourself) by the evil trio of Regan Leigh, Claire Gillian, and Scarlett Parrish (she of ‘teh smut’ fame).

So… I pointed out – quite vehemently – that I suck at writing something anything even near the area of erotica. I don’t have the patience to do the slow build-up, and when I do… Lets just say that I need breaks to go think about something else every now and again. The writing of erotica is made all the harder by dint of the strange notions which occur while I am in the process of writing. That’s probably enough to set up the story, though I may have undersold the sheer awesomeness of the squick factor. If you are strong enough of stomach to read on, then you have no-one to blame but yourself for the mental images which might break into your consciousness over the next few hours thanks to this.

Happy nightmares…


Cade’s heart pounded as the restraints tightened against his chest, pulling him into the solid, made-to-order seat. The slick nylon fastened at each shoulder, around his waist, and under his crotch, forcing his back straight against the chair; the sensation of being seated whilst facing skywards already sending blood rushing to his head, exasperating the tension and excitement coursing through him. Breathing harder than he expected, Cade adjusted position slightly to alleviate the slight pressure on the small of his back, though the movement merely succeeded in freeing enough space between his body and the chair to engage the light whirring of motors – once again the straps pulled at him. As the manipulation of his body ceased, feelings of vulnerability fleeted across his mind as the silence of his surroundings became apparent again. Too tight in his clothes. Too warm in the confines of what small space there was to move. Too tense.

A voice seemed to speak softly from far away, and Cade instinctively reached one hand out in front of him. His fingers managed to find the smooth panels easily – soft edges and silk-sleek screens ready for his commands, and more than willing to accommodate his orders. Craning his neck, he saw a small hatch open in the wall behind him, revealing a cluster of thin, long wires integral to the operation of the ship. They writhed in position, as if dancing to the tune of some unheard melody, before emerging – shimmering in the half-light, oiled and ready for the merging necessary to give Cade control. Slipping gently over him, around his throat, into his suit, down across his sweat-slicked body, the wires began attaching themselves to per-prepared positions. While the robotic tentacles began slipping into his veins, man and ship becoming one, Cade realized for the first time how dry his mouth was.

Tethered, bound, and helpless, the ship began probing his mind as well as his body. Electrical jolts fired across his temples as wires slipped across his chest, brushing against his nipples as they continued making their way into other places. He let out a grunt, his left arm jerking in spasm and no longer solely his to control. Another cable wrapped itself around his waist, three punctures in his side making clear the permanence of the transformation and the extent of his violation. The flashing lights to the corner of his view revealed to him that the unwavering eye of the ship was doing more than merely watching through the procedure. The ship had been manipulating – playing – with him as it gauged his reactions to each new touch.

Caressed by the ship, wires brushed Cade’s hair from his forehead and began massaging his neck, nuzzling his ears with care. A few more had begun to move in front of his face, tickling his lips as they held his face in position. Pulse 220. Cade tried to concentrate, not helped the blood rushing to his brain – the wires had nearly completely covered his flesh by the time he managed to slow his breathing to light panting. Too warm. Too damp in his sweat-drenched clothes, and the tingling, brushing touch of the ship’s ministrations driving him crazy – the flickering ends of the wires had found his crotch and ass. Cade groaned as the tip of a wire found and began entwining itself around his cock.

Taking in a deep breath, Cade wondered if the butterflies in his stomach was his nerves or the ship’s intrusion into the deepest parts of him. A wire pushed into Cade’s mouth and brushed at his too-dry tongue before he had the chance to prepare himself, while the one around his cock tightened, moving slowly along his shaft to his piss-hole, flickering there for a moment. Cade arched his back,surprised, inadvertently increasing the pressure at his mouth as the cables stretched into his cheeks and down his throat. Gagging, struggling and writhing, his heart pounded faster as his cock hardened at the touch. A cable slipped into his ass, and Cade pushed into the chair, pulling his feet back under him.

The ship was coming alive now, vibrations rippling through the frame as engines began powering. There was a heat coming from without as well as from within, further distracting the pilot from any semblance of concentration. The shaking of the ship seemed to excite the artificial tentacles more, and as his cock was pulled from without, it was stretched from within. More of the cables had begin working their way into Cade’s mouth and ass, twisting and flexing as the ship thundered approval of its’ new captain through the deep groans of heated metal expanding. The noise in the cockpit had reached thunderous levels by the time he was enfolded completely.

Cade’s toes pressed hard into his boots, and his heels pushed against the lower part of the seat for purchase; for what seemed like an eternity he arched his back painfully against the restraints, heart pounding. Far, far too hot, a layer of sweat being all that was between him and the multitude of cables writhing over him. He was one with his machine, finally and forever.


At this point you are quite possibly staring at the screen, asking yourself “What the fuck did I just read?” Well, it’s something that skewered out of my hands after the second draft. It was meant to be a nice scene about a pilot remembering the last moments Earthside with female companionship, but soon spiraled out of control as I began editing it. The resulting piece (which I really don’t need a psychoanalytical reading of, thankyouverymuch) pretty much wrote itself. You can take from that whatever you want, but I would be happy if this stood as a lasting testament to the fact that I should never be allowed to write a sex scene.

You can start screaming and clawing at your eyes now, and thanks for reading…

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Halo Made The News?

Posted by BigWords on August 27, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when eager otaku wet themselves in anticipation of a game which will no doubt fail to deliver, yet still froth at the mouth when a leaked copy of the game makes the rounds. Yawn. Apparently people haven’t learned their lessons from Half Life 2, because the already-yawnworthy Halo: Reach-Around – sorry Halo: Reach – has the rabid fans (and by rabid I do mean the foaming-at-the-mouth sense) to spare. God knows why, for a series built on the dubious premise of killing aliens because… Well, I guess because they are aliens. Yes, it’s one of those games. They might as well call the game Young Aryans In Space and be done with it, because the tone of the game is essentially “kill everyone who isn’t one of us.” The horrible and offensive plot is nothing compared to the awful graphics of the first two games. Sinister undertones are commonplace in FPS releases, but there is no excuse for ugly.

Microsoft is already taking action to fix the problem, but for the millions of twelve year old boys who live and breathe the game (anyone older will undoubtedly see the Heinleinian bullshit for what it is) it isn’t exactly a concern. Jeez, the sooner Halo fans get laid, the better. This is really your generation’s Uplink? The new Deus Ex? The “greatest achievement of gaming thus far?” Fuck. It’s a shallow, fascist, wank-fantasy about the superiority of humans, with a plot that probably makes complete sense to the immature fanbase, but it really is beyond even my ability to to summarize. The main character (an action figure whose poses elicit laughs rather than impressed gasps) is as paper-thin as the physics of the ridiculous Halo itself, a physics-breaking gameplay environment that seems to have been designed on the back of a napkin.

Oh ye merciless gods, there are even books about the twat in the shiny plastic suit whose adventures we are meant to care about. The Master-Race Chief is a self-styled hardass who seems to be mute. Or brain-dead. Maybe both. The rest of the human characters are as ill-defined as

…fuck this. I really don’t care. Seriously. How did this even become news? I’ll do the exactly the same damn thing I did with Halo, Halo 2 and Halo 3 – I’ll wait a few months, then pick up a copy at Gamestation for £4.99. I’m not wasting good money on shit like that. Excuse me while I go off and play something more worthy of my time…

Posted in Misc., Over The Line | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Interview With My MC – Bellamy

Posted by BigWords on March 24, 2010

With apologies to Query Tracker

C’mere. I have to ask you a few questions, and – well, I know you’re busy defending the world and everything, but could you please sit still for a few minutes while I run through this list of questions? This wasn’t my idea, but I need you to play along, okay? It’ll only take a minute or two, I swear. You can go beat someone up, or open a doorway to a parallel universe, or have sex with an alien, or whatever, just as soon as we’re done here… I really need you cooperation right now.
Firstly, how old are you?

Bellamy: Older than the hills, dear boy. Delicious, isn’t it – the final line of defense for our great nation, and I need to run off to take a piss every five minutes. That new chap in the big chair – well, it needs to be rather large to accommodate his girth, doesn’t it – jolly old boy tried to close down our little neck of the woods. I remember Heath trying the same thing. You do know that he was killed and replaced with a fapper from Broadmoor, don’t you. Bloody good days. I’ve been around so long that the fresh intakes all call me Mother for some reason, cheeky little scamps that they are. There was a Yank, back in the seventies, who had been cut out to dry by his agency… Always called me the old man, even back then. They found his suitcase, the only possession he had, floating in the Thames in ’82 or ’83 I think.

If the house burned down, what one thing would you want to take with you?

Bellamy: Oh, that is a splendid question. What would I take? I suppose I should say my medals, but those are all hush-hush, so it wouldn’t matter to anyone if they vanished forever. There wasn’t even a ceremony. The one thing I would miss more than any other would be the rhino-horn dildo which the lovely Mr. Chirac gave me for preventing France from being overrun by those damnable… Oh, but I have said too much already. Occupational hazard, old boy. Other than that delicious item, I would probably take my Walther PPK. I took that firearm off a MI6 agent whom I beat him senseless. Brund? Bland? His name doesn’t matter any more I suppose, not after that incident with the Sheik.

Describe your hands.

Bellamy: My hands? Oh, you’re a finger man… (Bellamy slips off his gloves) These have been in more people than I care to mention. I try to take care of them, moisturizer, lubricant, the occasional nail varnish, but saving the world takes a terribly toll on personal grooming. Ectoplasm plays havoc with the pores, same with the temporal ah… timey-wimey stuff. A friend tried to explain the reason, but that disappeared in that ridiculous blue confabulation of his before he told me where he gets his grooming products from. His arse is the smoothest I have ever seen on a grown man – human or not.

Describe your nightstand, dresser, or bathroom counter. What’s on top of it? In it?

Bellamy: Well, on my nightstand is the usual accouterments of a well-to-heel gentleman about town, I suppose. Along with my personal firearm, a few compromising photographs of minor royals, my mobile telephone. Bernie sent me a scale model from the British Rocket Group, one of their more phallic designs. Chap knows how to keep his friends amused.

What is your favorite food?

Bellamy: Now, now… Choosing one delicacy over another is unthinkable. I indulge in all hedonistic pleasures. Oysters and shrimps, my dear, oysters and shrimps. (grins as he wipes his mouth with a handkerchief) One meal which stands out above all others was a night in Litchfield… I was there tasked with securing the remains of the angel buried beneath, but such trifles are irrelevant… I shared a meal with delectable Miss Knight. The taste of heaven upon my lips. And hers, later on, I like to imagine.

Describe your economic/political status.

Bellamy: Economics and politics is subjective, so I tend to manipulate whatever movements are beneficial to the greater picture. I must admit to my share of missteps, first and foremost being the conflagration with the EU. I didn’t realize my small steps would bankrupt Iceland, or cause such terrible, terrible harm to Greece. Whenever people describe the world in such solid terms, as they are wont to do in the case of currency and politics, there is the undeniable feeling that grand plans are utterly ignored in favor of simplicity. There are more things in Devon and Okell, as they say. I favor the notion that reality is what we make it. For some that is literally true, but I keep clear of the queerer chaps and chapesses. Ex-men indeed.

Where do you have a scar or birthmark? Describe circumstances surrounding your scars.

Bellamy: I am a tapestry of pain, dear child, a tapestry of pain. I don’t intend to bore you with the details…

What is the last book you read? What did you think of it?

Bellamy: The most recent manuscript to fall into my possession was Bertie’s diary. Such a sad and sordid tale, chronicling his fall from power, and that Wallis woman… If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that his tales of black magic and ceremonies were the scribblings of a madman. He gets some details wrong – It wasn’t, for instance, Rasputin who opened the Westminster seal, but a mediocre magician named Malvoisin. So useless he trapped himself in a mirror, or at least that’s how the story goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned himself into a eunuch with those gibberings of his… But back to the point at hand – Bertie’s penmanship was beyond question, especially in the paragraphs where he elucidated on his nocturnal emissions.

Do you have an embarrassing habit?

Bellamy: Don’t we all?

Give one vivid memory of a parent or parental figure.

Bellamy: I can only remember fragments of my life outside boarding school. It was home for me. The hand-around’s and morning toast are a thing of legend for very good reasons.

What is a dream (in sleep) you often have?

Bellamy: In my dreams I am running. I am always running. Chased, I should say. That is my life, and I would chose no other. Sometimes I think of settling down, then I remember what happened to Beatrice, and to Clarence, and even – rest his soul – old Larson. Sometimes I still hear his voice. At night. In the dark. His screams still haunt me, following behind me as I run.

Do you have a lifelong dream or aspiration?

Bellamy: There are few things I wish for myself, due mostly to my position, but I would so dearly love for there to be a more open dialogue about those behind invisible doors. We are so sheltered by official secretdom that it has become impossible to investigate occurrences without bumping into at least one or two drifters from the dimensions – and for all the evidence which exists, they are still considered fairy tales for the masses. I’ve been to the dazzling beyond, my boy, and seen what blazes there. There is no question in my mind and there should be none in yours. I dream that one day we will accept the Dreaming

How do you go to sleep, and how do you wake up? (i.e. position in bed, etc.)

Bellamy: Sleep is a luxury, and I tend to catch forty winks when I can. Truth be told, it’s more like thirty winks, but length isn’t important, it’s the quality which matters. Or so I’ve been told. (Bellamy grins)

What is the last thing you wrote?

Bellamy: I filed a report for the Bletchley boys yesterday, outlining the problems with our constant surveillance of the Brussels interlopers on our shores. The trio of agents they have interfering with British matters is troublesome, especially given their ability to discern things which no normal person could possibly discover. One of their number is British, but the woman is from French stock I believe… She certainly qualifies as a threat to national security regardless. The American seems familiar also.

What grosses you out?

Bellamy: (Bellamy laughs) There is little in this realm which could force me to lose such a carefully crafted veneer of casual bemusement. I was, however, most disturbed by a town in Maine… Hobbs… The people there, and the things which will not leave my mind… But your phraseology…To be disgusted is to not understand, and it is my role to understand those things which cannot be understood.

Who is the person you like the least? Why?

Bellamy: (Bellamy shifts uncomfortably) The Directive. A more despicable trio of malcontents there never has been. I will say no more.

Tell me about the last time you cried.

Bellamy: I cry every day. And I dance every day. To cry and to dance is to feel alive. A tether to the breathing, hurting world around us is so important when dealing with the encroaching darkness. (Bellamy lights a cigarette)

What is something you feel guilty about?

Bellamy: Larson. I regret letting Larson die. He was a private investigator I hired off the books. His partner, Lamont, and he were to watch over an individual I suspected of being involved in a conspiracy to hand more power over to the EU. He was killed in a hit and run so-called accident, but evidence pointing to the involvement of outside agencies was clear. He died because of me. Because of my recklessness, and my arrogance. I regret that the most, of everything I have done. And I have done so, so much to be ashamed of…

Describe what you do when you look in a mirror.

Bellamy: Through the looking glass lies the truth, and all lies. I can see the past, the present, and the future – all in a sliver of silver-backed glass, reflecting the universe back to me. Mirror mirror, on the wall… It is one thing to see yourself, another entirely to see everything. To see the universes so clearly.

Describe yourself sitting in your favorite spot.

Bellamy: There is a stone arch bridge, over a stream and surrounded by fields, near Bletchley. I cannot reveal the exact location for obvious reasons, but that bridge has always been a special place… Has always held special memories. I remember standing on the bridge in my first years in this crazy business, hoping to find answers in the ripples of the water, asking the refracting light what I should do, and listening to the wind whisper secrets to me. I learned so much on that bridge.

Tell me about a very treasured item.

Bellamy: (Bellamy thinks for a moment, taking long breaths from his cigarette) Possessions, on the whole, are replaceable. I’ve lost so many friends that I treasure those who remain. (the cigarette is stubbed out on an ashtray) Aside from my essential belongings, I try not to become too attached to items, fond as I am of them.

Do you have a nervous tic or habit?

Bellamy: I smoke rather too frequently to be considered the model of health. (a pause) My resorting to magiks is also troublesome, given my disdain for those who proliferate in the use of arcane methods. And I sleep with too many people whom common sense would preclude from any meaningful association.

Tell me about your siblings…if you have them.

Bellamy: Alas, I was an only child. An unwanted one at that.

What is your favorite sound?

Bellamy: The sound of waves crashing against the shore of this world from beyond, and the song of eternity ringing in my ears. There is beauty in all music, but I have a certain fondness for Berlioz – his music reminds me of the things which exist just out of sight yet not out of mind. There is magic in those notes.

What is your favorite smell?

Bellamy: That, dear boy, is most certainly classified.

Thank you for taking the time out from, uh… Whatever. I really don’t want to know the details.

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The “Buck Rogers” Quandry – In Which I Contradict Previous Views

Posted by BigWords on February 20, 2010

If you have been reading through the posts here for any length of time you will probably be aware of my opinion on the accuracy with which a character’s continuing adventures should be to its’ originating material. The whole debate about screwing with a character’s personality, the setting within which they operate, the surrounding characters, the tech level (and a hundred other details) is open to discussion once more, as I find the constant chatter concerning the proposed Buck Rogers film has managed to overlook a simple fact – the original incarnation of the character is a racist thug. That comment is probably going to upset a few people, but is the nicest thing I have to say about Anthony Rogers.

The views of the character were seen as acceptable back when Philip Francis Nowlan’s novella Armageddon 2419 was released, and contemporary authors (Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft to name two) pushed similarly bigoted ideals onto the stories they churned out, so it isn’t as is the story stands alone as an Aryan call to arms. Armageddon 2419 is, in many ways, a poorly written story (not as bad as Airlords Of Han, but still…), featuring unsympathetic characters and illogical plot devices throughout. Ah, and I mentioned the sequel, which deserves a word or two of its’ own.

Airlords Of Han is shit. This may come as a shock to anyone who believes that Buck Rogers stands alongside Flash Gordon, The Rocketmen and Lensman as a paragon of the Golden Age of SF characters, but it is undeniable that an entire chapter devoted to the explanation of the fictional technologies of the future is a waste of paper and time. When it does manage to stay on track, the even crueler depiction of the Hans (a race who do not believe in either respect or the soul) reinforces the surplus of negativity with which I have always associated the character. So… Ignoring my previous entreaties to stick to the original depiction of a character, adapting the books is out of the question.

What of the comic strip? When the comic strip started, a few years later, the more obvious elements were removed at the expense of even more logic., and… Well, aside from the fact that Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Lensman, the original Battlestar Galactica and a thousand lesser films and television shows have already churned over the same ground – and sometimes to much better effect – I believe a loose adaptation of those stories may prove more fruitful. And the SF element is greater in the strip than the two novellas, wherein the level of technology has been stunted due to a prolonged war (entirely situated on planet Earth) with the Han. I never liked the television series, so I don’t know why anyone would consider it to be worth updating – at least in a straight retelling. In the mode of a parody (deep into Spaceballs territory) it would be fine, but really… Do we need that?

In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of defeat, but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress toward a victory.

Alfred North Whitehead

And so I will contradict myself.

All we need (that is, all we really need) is for a character named ‘Rogers’ to find himself at some point in the twenty-fifth century – not necessarily in 2419, but that would be a nice touch – and to get into a few scrapes. Wilma (who does appear in the novellas) should really be present, though Twiki can be safely ignored. That’s pretty much all we need in a film script bearing the title “Buck Rogers” – though there will always be the nagging doubt that another property would be deserving of a remake more than a soggy old, used and abused, hokier-than-hokey SF anomaly. Okay, so that’s maybe a tad too critical of a deliberately camp old television show, but I stand by my assertion that there are many (more deserving) properties which deserve better treatment.

You might agree, you can certainly disagree, and even if you can’t raise the energy to care, a film will probably arrive at some point.

Armageddon 2419 is available online at Project Gutenberg Australia
The Airlords Of Han is available online at Project Gutenberg Australia

Posted in comics, Over The Line | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Even Being Overworked Is No Excuse For A Lack Of Inspiration

Posted by BigWords on February 14, 2010

I’ve barely had time to do anything this week, yet I seem to be compiling notes for things I have yet to consider writing. Comparing a lack of actual writing to the dulling of a blade might be a touch too self-critical and analytical, yet there has to be something in the notion of the art of writing as comparable to cutting through… Something. I don’t hold to the conceit that there is anything particularly important about one suggested work over another (some ideas are terrible, but the state of the idea rarely matches the state of the finished piece), so trying to placate the inner editor with assurances that quality can arise from such loose affiliations of idea is an interesting and infuriating process.

The steampunk movement may have been around for a while, but I have never dared broach the subject with any real intent towards completing a full story; and yet everywhere I turn I seem to be given slight and obscure hints at the things I can attack on my own terms. Mechanical adaptations of digital technology is incredibly hard to make work, even in a fantasy setting, yet some real-world applications of theory have made me stop for a second and consider what could possibly be done – and this all started off thanks to an article on an expensive watch.

I received a forwarded a link to an old article on the De Grisogono Meccanico DG, which is a digital watch, inasmuch as it has a fascia which, on brief inspection, looks like any other watch, yet is composed entirely of clockwork innards. I love that the art of making it entirely mechanical has produced something truly steampunk, though the creators would probably disagree – it is art and technology hand in hand, moving towards new ways of thinking on function and appearance. The notion stuck with me for a couple of days, and when I later discovered a DVD nestled amongst my non-fiction collection which set out the history of radiation. I have to admit that I hadn’t watched the DVD since I bought it, but finding it again made me think back to the watch – no, I’m not sure why, before you ask.

The Victorians knew enough to make glow-in-the-dark items, and the numerals seem (somehow) to glow anyway. And everything looks better in brass and mahogany anyway, so the ideas bubbled away under the surface. Somehow, despite my self-awareness that time was not a luxury this past week, I had managed to cobble together the hint of a mirage of an idea. Coupled with a love of old films, the idea stretched to fit in the sewer sequence from The Third Man, a gag about The Turk (the chess-playing automaton controlled by a hidden grand master) and some strange concoction of Hartlepool monkey-hanging and The Island Of Dr. Moreau – it turns out that the monkey could talk, but because it was speaking in an African dialect…

Then, on Friday morning, I awoke with an idea about migraines, headaches, medical procedures and telepathy, bound together by loose strands of half-remembered technology articles and science programs. There was a much talked about game wherein the player uses their mind to control an on-screen icon (of some sort) a few years ago, and there have been irregular updates on the possibility of telepathy-via-technology over the years – though scientists rarely, if ever, use the word telepathy due to the non-scientific nature of the process. It’s been a while since I read William Gibson’s writing on the possible scenarios of future-tech, and I may have enough wiggle-room to untangle new and weirder aspects without stepping on anyone’s toes.

If only I had time to write at the moment, I would be in my element.

And here is where I’ll lay out why you can never predict when an idea (or several ideas) will come crashing into your mind – it all has to do with receptiveness. I was looking for an escape from the constant pressure of being where I was meant to be (and on time), remembering what has to be done, in what order things have to be done, even whom I am meant to discuss things with… All very dry and serious thoughts. The subconscious (where the primal stew of imagination bubbles away undeterred by the inconsequential matters – of vital importance to everyone else) has a pressure valve which prevents people’s heads exploding a-la Scanners. It relieves our frustration gained from the mundane by formulating the fantastic.

I carry a notebook with me at all times, for when I get a small insight into the fiction I have yet to craft.

Ah, but notebooks are analogue… The thoughts are, like most handwritten material, jumbled out-of-order and useless without context. I’ve yet to find a method which anticipated when the small ideas (such as those above) will arise, and I’ve taken to leaving blank pages between thoughts which are so obviously from different things – the notes on the watch, for example, are set apart from the notes on the SF story by a good twenty blank pages or so. Enough that, when I come across more details with which to play with, I’ll have plenty of room to explore them without nudging into another story’s notes.


I know I haven’t updated the blog much lately, but I’ve been really busy. Add to that the fact that I left my laptop in the same room as a complete idiot at the beginning of the week, and thus had to fix it back to my liking, and you’ll see why I’m not exactly in the mood to spend time online. “Must try harder” is gonna be written on my gravestone at this rate.

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How Unforgivable Does An Artistic Work Have To Be Before Enough Is Enough

Posted by BigWords on October 26, 2009

There is a thread on Absolute Write about reading a second book by an author whose first book ain’t quite up to scratch, and it got me to thinking about how bad something has to be before a creator’s entire canon is ignored. In some ways I am able to see past the voice of a writer, or filmmaker, or musician, or any other art, to accept the output for what it is, but a small part of me knows that there is more to life than slogging through an annoying or ill-conceived concept for a few good moments. There are some big event releases coming up which I’ll be waiting a while for due to this very topic.

Avatar, James Cameron’s return to the big screen may be endlessly hyped by some, though after the dumb True Lies, an obnoxious Titanic remake, and his terrible Entourage cameo, I don’t see how he has any reason to expect my money. I’ll wait on the DVD, only if the film gets good reviews, or the television premiere if it sucks ass. The notion that he has anything new to say in the realm of SF is doubtful, especially when the idea behind Avatar is examined closely. It sounds like the plot of any number of novels by people who have something to say.

George Lucas, the man to blame thank for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is another individual who has lost any respect from me. Did he fall on his head and forget how to direct? Jeez, it’s a good thing that the fanbase ignored the terrible aspects of his second trilogy long enough for him to turn a quick buck. I’ve been wary of Star Wars properties since those films, but there have been a few games (The Force Unleashed and the Lego tie-ins) which pulled back some of the wonder from those first Star Wars films. Better than Jedi Academy at any rate…

I’m more forgiving to people who strike me as people I could have a drink with and not be irritated by. Even after Land Of The Dead and Diary Of The Dead failed to impress me, I guess I would still check out any new film George A. Romero comes up with. Is that an asshole / box office equation that I’ve just come up with? There are other creators I forgive poor quality work from, and Clive Barker – once hailed as the future of horror by no less an authority than Stephen King – is one who goes straight to the top of that list.

Cabal, a book I love as much as I am infuriated by its missed opportunities, is still with me after fifteen years of re-readings. His Books Of Blood were brilliant, and I can forgive him pretty much anything for their existence alone. His film career may not have panned out quite so well, and I’ll comfortably ignore Rawhead Rex despite it sitting on my DVD shelf alongside his other cinematic outings. I bought it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll ever watch the fucking thing – collector mentality only goes so far.

Those are familiar names. My opinion on their talent is irrelevant. Suckers will still shell out money for any old crap that is associated with Star Wars (and how else could stores shift Jar Jar Binks toys?), but that kind of loyalty has long since left me. I (thankfully) missed the One More Day storyline in Spider-Man as it was happening due to endless and awful Spidey crap from the late nineties. I hold my grudges well. Only… The Spirit (the DVD of which I finally managed to get running) is shit. I’m sure everyone is in agreement on this. Does that mean I should wait and see if Sin City 2 is okay for human viewing?

Frank Miller, whose work is divisive when discussed in polite company, is one of the very few comic book creators who have yet to create something completely unreadable. DK2 is a hard book to love, but it isn’t as terrible as some make it out to be. There is a rhythm and a specific cadence to his writing that instantly appeals, and his artwork on Sin City, while reminiscent of both Hugo Pratt and Jim Steranko in places, is a breath of fresh air. The Spirit is an anomaly, and I’m sure he will put it behind him.

I haven’t mentioned music yet, because that is trickier to separate the artist from their work. Many times I’ve heard a song which is catchy but at the same time doesn’t sound like it belongs to the performer. It isn’t necessarily that they are doing a cover of a famous track, it’s just that they aren’t the best singer for the song. Can you imagine anyone else but Roy Orbison singing In Dreams? No. That is a perfect match between singer and song, and it is a good benchmark for anyone to compare against.

Most people deserve at least two opportunities to prove themselves. If we implement the one strike rule, then James Cameron’s career would have amounted to a shit sequel to Piranha. No Terminator, no Aliens and no Titanic… It’s a good way of looking at most artistic endeavors.

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My NaNoWriMo Novel Is A SF… And A Horror… And A Thriller… And…

Posted by BigWords on October 21, 2009

It isn’t surprising that I couldn’t work out what I wanted to write for NaNo, given that the blank canvas laid out before me could take any number of turns. The work, as has been pointed out, doesn’t have to be a novel of outstanding brilliance and originality, it is merely required to hit the fifty thousand word mark before the end of November. Most of the ideas I generated in the last week have been short stories, maybe novellas at best. Not a problem.

The thought that I might be able to tie these disparate elements together in a patchwork of overlapping events was one which only came to me this morning as I sat down with a cup of coffee and a smoke. Maybe it was a moment of divine inspiration, it might have been desperation… Hell, it could possibly have been an injection of caffeine to the system which finally nailed the concept in my brain. I’m gonna be writing a novel made up of novels…

Which is a dumb way to think of the idea, but I can’t think of a better way to put it. There seems to be quite a lot of history building in my subconscious already, and I have the feeling that I may be writing closer to 400k rather than 50k when I’m done with this. I’ll try to get the main story out of the way during the month, and – if I have time – begin filling in all of the strands which aren’t essential to the overall universe.

Exact information would be hard to give without me beginning anything, but I’m sure the SF elements will be heavy to the front, with horror and comedy bubbling beneath the surface. The thriller aspect should be handled with the nature of the plot, but I’m not sure how many other genres I can draw from. This might work after all…


The first person to say “cyberpunk” gets poked with a sharp stick.

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I Have A Cunning Plan…

Posted by BigWords on October 17, 2009

I’m still wandering from idea to idea without so much as an inkling of what my NaNo will be about, though the notion of adopting “dares” seems to be one which has real appeal. They will, of course, need a through-story to make sense of them, and a proper sense of time and place. Some ideas which are being bandied around sound really fun to tackle, and I may have to decide on a genre quickly if I’m gonna add more, but the following seem to have merit:

Have a character who kills people via txt-tlk.

Interesting, but it might be a bit of a hard sell.

Use as many AW user names as character names as you can.

Oh yeah, this one is gonna be interesting.

Make your characters play ‘The Game.’
BP if someone says, “I lost the game” at the climax.
DBP if the game is a plot point.

Maybe. I like the notion of an ARG being a plot point.

DARE: Use the words lubrication, moist, and intercourse in your novel

This… I kinda HAVE to do, don’t I?

DARE: Have a character say “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” to another character.

I like.

Include a character who makes constant references to the internet meme of your choice.
-BP if the internet doesn’t exist/hasn’t been invented yet in your world.
-DBP if no one questions this character until at least halfway through the story. That includes references to it in thoughts.
-TBP if the character ends up turning evil because his/her ways were questioned.
-QBP if they become the main villain.

Have a character who only says one line
BP if they say the line in every scene they’re in
Double BP if the line makes sense in the context of the scene
Triple BP if it turns out to be an important plot point

DARE: Have a belligerent robot.
BP: If he was programmed that way.
TBP: If the purpose of his creation was to drive the entire world insane.
QBP: If the programmer did this by accident, but was happy with the result.

Dare: Incorporate Vampire-Robot-Nazis who are also zombies into your plot.
BP if one Vampire-Robot-Nazi who is also a zombie says “You’ve just been Philed in.” after shooting somebody several times.

Damn… So many good bits of business to use, and I still – fucking pathetic, I know – have no plot. The one thing I have set my mind on is the fact that I’m exploiting the Friday the 13th date in the middle of November. That’s when all the nasty horror stuff will appear, though with the suggestions that I like from AW and the NaNo boards being more SF in nature… Yeah, this is gonna take some hard work to accomplish.

The geek in me loves the following:

Have one of your battles be an RPG battle, and record commands, damage taken, limit breaks, etc.
– BP if all your battles are like this
– DBP if at least one of your battles is a random encounter, with the monsters spawning literally out of nowhere

I might just do an entire novel set in the City Of Heroes game.

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Pick A Genre, Any Genre…

Posted by BigWords on October 16, 2009

NaNo is approaching fast, and I still haven’t even decided which genre I’ll be using for my entry. That’s right, I’m completely and totally out in the wind on this. I should decide soon, but there are so many crazy things that seem like they would be fun to try. If November rolls around and I still haven’t decided on a specific genre I’ll be forced to sit down and type the first thing that comes in to my head, which won’t be pretty…

The options are endless, though somehow intimidatingly small. A western? Nope. Still tinkering with the mess I’ve got the last one into. A thriller? Too plot-heavy to wing it, and there wouldn’t be enough time to come up with an amazing twist or three. A detective story? Maybe. I like the work-backwards’s way (mangling the English language here, bear with me) in which they work, but the one month rule is a bit tight to do one justice.

Fantasy? Very possibly the genre which will save my ass. I like the strangeness I’ll be able to play with. SF? Tied with fantasy, though perhaps too much to deal with in one month. Horror, then? Oooh, yeah, a very real possibility, but it won’t be zombies. The zombie novel I dusted off and checked through looks too good to waste energy on aping, and I will be coming back to it after November.

So I’m left with… Erotica? Sheesh, trying one for the first time with the whole pressure of NaNo would be insanity, and I’m not sure what new insight I would be able to offer that genre. Comedy, possibly? Aaah, yes, my old friend comedy. Though my taste in humor is very, very dark, the prospect of trying to remain in a funny mood for a whole month will probably result in one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever written. Parody might be do-able.

Maybe autobiography would be too self-indulgent, unless I decided to drag up a lot of old shit that is unresolved. I’ve been witness to some incredible, and some very illegal, things over the years, so settling old scores by telling the world where the bodies are buried (metaphorically) would also be therapeutic. It might get me greenlit by an unhappy reader, but at least it would be interesting and a unique angle.

And I have yet to work out if it will even be a novel. I’ve always wanted to write a musical along the lines of the Morrison-era Doom Patrol comic. A giant ball of light in the middle of a stage singing how having sex with one’s self is so grand… Heh heh, that’ll probably be my Christmas pantomime idea, so I better leave it till later. A comic-book script will be tough to hit 50k with, unless I come over all Alan Moore with the descriptions.

A computer game? Which brings up an interesting question I hadn’t thought of until now… Does computer code count towards the final word count? Hell, I could hit 500k (maybe more) if I was allowed to go wild with code, and I could turn in an actual finished (if kinda small) game if I was left alone for a month. Maybe I’ll bolt myself away and unplug the ‘phone so I have no distractions…

Wow. So much choice, and so little time left to make up my mind.

I want to keep clear of anything anyone else is doing as well, just to add to my problems. That’s one of the reasons I’m so picky about my work – I can see so many similarities to the works of others. I’ll check the SYW area of Absolute Write every now and again, and nearly every time I do so – or closer to every time – I end up scrapping a handful of ideas because they have been covered so well by others.

Nathan Bransford said that originality was impossible over in his blog, but I still want to strive for something that feels unique. Something that rings with a sensibility that could not have come from the mind of any other writer. I want, to put it bluntly, to be so fucking original that it hurts. Yeah, that’s the ranting of a spoiled child, but I’m not gonna apologize. I’m in crisis mode here.

Two weeks and counting. This is probably gonna be a very long two weeks, filled with possible storylines emerging, bad ideas being mocked and an unhealthy amount of liquor being drank. Two weeks of worrying – because worry is good – and frantic scribbles to see if I’m able to come up with a unique idea, told in a unique way, with unique characters. Hell, I might as well give up right now…

Maybe nobody will notice if I just re-write my favorite myths as extended superheroes-by-way-of-horror film mash. A drunken, mean Heracles bitch-slapping people for no real reason. I could even write it so it reads exactly like early Image comics. Hmmm… There’s an idea.

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