Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Book Four is Completed
In about a year I expect to complete the second anthology, in what I've called the "Chronicles" line as their working title during the writing process, and then return to long form fiction earlier in the Ever War timeline. Today I am basking in the glow of being one step closer to completing what I see as an entire cycle.
Keep watching this space for more updates.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Is my anthology now possessed?
Hideous puns aside I am incredibly happy to have gotten to this point. To have the book so close to completion and to have gotten to spend so much extra time expanding the scope of the story has been fulfilling to say the least.
The most difficult part, other than the little tidbits of research I've had to do for detail purposes, has been making sure I don't disrupt the continuity of the story as I go along. Sometimes this means I'm hunting through my own work to make sure I don't contradict myself (sometimes, Walt Whitman, I can't just shrug off contradicting myself).
Due to the editing process and the commission of covers for this book and the next anthology (the covers will be created at the same time) I'll probably be looking at an Early January release as opposed to a late release this year. Nonetheless, it is that much closer to completion and that much closer to release!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Another One Bites The Dust
One thing I'm trying to do is expand on stories or situations alluded to in the primary books and really expand upon those. I think it will help refine the world for readers as they get access to situations that simply don't come up in the books. The way various cultures relate to one another at peace time, in the lead-up to war, and during war time are all different and were all things that deserved their time as part of the narrative.
I've tried, as much as possible, to make the stories a fresh and new experience for people who have read the full story and want additional time with characters they already know. At the same time I think any of the stories stands alone as a unique piece and could be read by a novice without needing to read the other stories.
The pace has slowed down with all the extra work I've been producing for It's Geek Time, but I'm not behind schedule and that 's what matters.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Things Are Progressing Nicely
One thing I have found is that in a quest to strengthen the reality of their world many Fantasy or Sci Fi authors will waste valuable story time for the sake of developing otherwise minor characters. I dislike the loss of momentum of these little dalliances cause. On the other hand I truly enjoy the additional, albeit unnecessary, indulgences of these stories forming a more complete perspective.
Essentially these two dissonant feelings are what spurred me to write these two short story collection books that, once separated from the main volumes, do not slow down the primary story arc, but they still provide additional information for people who want it adding depth to the world. An offer of compromise between the two versions of myself as a reader. As Whitman wrote, "if I contradict myself then I contradict myself."
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Has It Been That Long?
Monday, June 21, 2010
The Ark Scenario
I watched 2012 today and while I did not find it a particularly enjoyable movie it made me think about the Ark Scenario that they propose in the film, which was similar to the Ark Scenario included in Deep Impact (the difference being if there was a lottery to choose people to go on the Ark or if you could buy your way on).
The fact is an Ark scenario wherein people are chosen is probably the optimal solution from a purely Darwinian perspective. The problem is that most of the people that design and orchestrate such an operation would not actually be on the (in relation to total global population) short list of people who should be included.
What follows is a list of how an Ark Scenario would most optimally be designed in regards to survival of the species by importance of occupation and know how. The maximum age limit for people allowed to board the Ark is 40 or 45 in the case of Medical Doctors. With the exception of Medical Doctors no one that is knowingly infertile should be allowed to board the Ark (Exceptions can be made for Medical Doctors who have gone through menopause.
There is no minimum age for the Ark and there should be a large percentage of children allowed on board so they can learn the trades of the populace to ensure the future propagation of the species. People in ill health or drug addicts would also be barred from boarding the Ark. The population will have enough demands for long term care as it is, we cannot afford to spend resources on someone who has a pre-existing condition that would require constant maintenance. There will also need to be a larger female population than male.
1) Farmers: Farmers become the dominant hierarchical occupation, and as many different variations of farmers as possible meaning type of food, terrain, climate, and latitude. After the cataclysm we won’t be able to anticipate what type of terrain will survive or what type of climate it will reside in so we need as many options available as possible. As society is starting over they will have to provide food for an entire species.
2) Doctors: Medical Doctors become the second most dominant hierarchical occupation and even though specialization isn’t quite as important as it once was, experience is. The preferred experience level of doctors will be 10 – 15 years worth of practice outside of medical school. This allows for a period where a doctor will be familiar with myriad symptoms and their most likely causes, but will be able to practice for the longest duration possible and can keep the populace healthy. All doctors are also teaching doctors. In this case Medical Students are important as they will soon become Doctors, but they walk an odd line between student and contributing societal member, as such they don’t hold the distinction of being a Doctor nor all the protection of being a child.
3) Mechanics: Machinery will be the relics of the world that was and the people that can keep gears turning will be not just useful, but necessary in the new world.
4) Electricians and IT: Our last vestiges of technology will stop to work after a while, but the longer we can keep them functional means the longer we can preserve the essence and memory of our past culture.
5) Botanists: People with a wide knowledge of plant life will be well suited to survive in a future world where much of the terrain will be harsh, unwelcoming and possibly deadly.
6) Chemists: Medicine will dwindle quickly as a population is confined and the ability to create new medicine will be an important skill.
7) Veterinarians: If we want to learn to continue herding animals and using them as a source of meat and milk we’ll want Veterinarians to help us keep them alive as long as possible.
8) Engineers: The ability to design new technology to meet our needs, or to rediscover old technology that had been thought lost to us is paramount to rediscovering and re-conquering a new world.
9) Child Care Workers: With a population that is largely divulged of youth there should be a number of people who are trained to work with children, especially since many of the children will be orphaned after being chosen to survive without their parents.
10) Assorted Scientist scholars: Biologists, Physicists, Mathematicians, Economists etc. These are the lower end of the sciences which are to be preserved if only for the younger generations to use to help craft and guide the future civilization, but as they don’t directly affect our survival as a species they are essentially the bottom of the barrel in the new hierarchy. Unfortunately researchers and field experience isn't a pre-requisite for this area of expertise.
Once the maximum possible volume of survivors is determined a percentage of population should be decided for each vocation. A candidate list should be compiled from each vocation that only allows people that meet all qualifications. Once that list is compiled a lottery should be held for the open spots based on the percentage of total population that vocation allows.
No one should be allowed to buy their way on as the survival of the species requires we have a strict attachment to what is best for the entirety of humanity. It should also be expected that currency would change after the cataclysm.
There is a short list of jobs that will be allowed no spaces on the Ark as these occupations are self-sustaining. They will recreate themselves from among the survivors of the cataclysm. If your job is on this list, (hey, I’m on this list) please remember, it is not personal; it is the survival of the species.
8)Customer Service Representative
9)Priests, gurus, shamans or theologians
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Why Soccer will remain a 3rd world sport in the US' view
A: No; a sport that allows mystery fouls to be called without explanation of what foul was committed or what player committed it (not only did the ref refuse to explain anything to the team or the crowd, but to the media afterwards as well) that results in a goal being taken away and affects not only a single win/loss, but also tounament standing (US should be the head of their group with Slovenia in second and England in third, but that goal ruling made Slovenia dominant favorites to move on with United States scrapping it out with England for the next spot) will not catch on here.
I'm sure the rest of the world is probably content with Double Secret Probation Fouls being issued, but we are not. Also, the World Cup officials have proven themselves a joke for being willing to fire that ref for the duration of the cup, but not overturning his phantom foul call. Weak Sauce. That should not work for any fan.
How long is it until the Super Bowl again?
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Peter Jackson and Quentin Tarantino on the other hand may both be offended by this odd mish-mash. Never the less it amuses me and so I'm sharing it with you. In fact the thought that inspired it was finding out that Guillermo Del Toro will no longer be directing The Hobbit. I was imagining who I thought would be best to replace him and as my mind scanned directors it amusingly stumbled over the thought of Tarantino directing it. It is true that he has not yet thrown his hat in the ring to direct an epic sword and sorcery fantasy and I do hope that at some point he conjures something up, but I don't think his pop and patience directing style best suits the work. My hope is Del Toro's friend Alfonso Cuaron can be talked into stepping up and taking the helm.
Ok, back to real life and to figuring out which story I'm going to tackle next. In the mean time I'll leave you with this:
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Importance of THE END
Stephen King's Magnum Opus The Dark Tower is by far one of my all time greatest inspirations and upon my first reading I failed to grasp the true power of the ending, the real ending that is. While there is an epilogue of sorts to comfort many readers the true ending is before that, and King says as much. He is of course paying homage to Browning's poem Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came (a title that is itself an homage to prior works) wherein the point of the poem is that the journey is more important than the destination and King honors the theme of the poem as the finale to this series that spanned the bulk of his career (so far).
Even Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, which is being finished posthumously, seems to be honoring the contract between author and reader with a three part ending that is in part written by Jordan himself and wonderfully completed by Brandon Sanderson.
The ending of LOST has been controversial in that it truly seems to have rent a rift among the followers of LOST with one camp being those who hated the ending (and or did not understand the ending) and those who for the most part enjoyed and appreciated it. I would fall into the later camp. For my part I felt it answered questions, found ways to surprise me, and made a bold choice in ending the series in a bittersweet repose and an epilogue that lasted either the last few minutes of the series, or for the final season depending on your point of view. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it brilliant, but it was brave. I feel that LOST managed to capitalize on its ending in a way that BSG failed. I still feel that the more appropriate series end to BSG was at the halfway point through the last season. It was bleak and desolate and left some serious questions hanging and for my money is the perfect conclusion to a series that was so hard hitting. The rest of the final season was, in my mind, never really able to capitalize on the momentum of all the previous work outside of a few key moments (such as the surprise suicide). It seemed to suffer on the very current need to explain too much and give us a happily ever after that shows and movies have. I still think Cloverfield, a movie I quite enjoy, is a stronger movie if it ends about 5 minutes earlier (the copter crash), in a similar way that Spielberg's AI would have been stronger if it ended in ice at the bottom of the ocean (if it's not 20 minutes before the end it sure feels like it).
Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, however, deserves special mention because of its catastrophic breakdown of a conclusion. It's as if the writer's couldn't figure out where they wanted to go with it so they mashed together Saving Private Ryan, Return Of The King, The Patriot, and Peter Pan followed by scenes that feel completely arbitrarily tacked on and make no logical sense following the progression of everything before them summing up to an epic fail. The saddest part of the ending is that the rest of the movie is anywhere from fair to quite good and it destroys what would have been an otherwise very enjoyable film. It probably didn't have enough frivolity, as one would normally expect with Robin Hood, to be a classic, but it did have some provoking imagery (such as the orphans in the forest) and a magnetic villain (maybe charismatic would be a more appropriate word, lest people think Robin Hood was battling Magneto).
While not every story is wholly dependent on a strong finale in order to make the work as a whole stand out a catastrophe of an ending can ruin what would otherwise have been an enjoyable jaunt between storyteller and audience.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
One should never take for granted the subtle influence that accurate details can sway over fiction. Or, at the very least, accurate as they are known in the present. I'm specifically thinking of H. P. Lovecraft who made a reference to Piltdown Man at a time when it was considered science fact and was not yet known to be a hoax. Now it's an almost comical addition to one of his best stories (The Rats in The Walls), but at the time it was a factual detail added to infuse the story with some gravitas.
For my part I chose to use less field terminology and more sensuality than I did in the case of the breach birth. Then again... I've never really liked boats so I may have been disinclined to stay long enough to really cement any of the information in my head.
Anyway, my first short story anthology is halfway complete, and I'm still targeting the second half of 2010 (very late in the second half I presume) for its release.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Books and Philanthropy
With the dinner planned I have to figure out how my particular skills could aid in the fund raising process. I will be donating a signed copy of pre-release pre-edit hard cover copy of my combined trilogy of books as an item for a raffle. Normally this type of raffle would be a 50/50 with half the proceeds going directly to the lodge, but in the case of an event like this the items are donated gifts and 100% of the money raised for the raffle goes to the donation funds. While I normally strive to limit release until I am satisfied with the work the need to help drive funds for such a worthy cause supersedes my personal dilemma and minimizes it. If someone would be willing to buy a raffle ticket in the hopes of getting a copy of my book, and the proceeds are going to help people in need... let's just say it has a way of diminishing any potential typo embarrassment.
In other news my next book is nearly halfway completed. I'm hoping to release it by the end of this year. It will be a short story collection that takes place spread throughout the time between books 1 and 2, and then I'll be directly to work on a second short story collection book that bridges the gap between books 2 and 3.
The joy of working with short stories, compared to a standard novel, is that I can focus on secondary or tertiary characters that I wanted to delve into a little more without slowing down the pace of the main books by derailing the tale with plot lines that don't forward the story. It also gives me the freedom to explore some parts of the world a little more thoroughly than the books allow for. The two books work almost like DVD extras, providing more depth for people who want to partake, but for people who do not the three primary books provide a story complete and whole without what are essentially the literary version of side quests.