Saturday, January 31, 2009

Geek Movie Moment

I woke up with these two songs from the Rankin and Bass production of The Hobbit running through my head.

"The Greatest Adventure"

"Roads Go Ever Ever On"

Say what you want about this movie, but I almost wore out my copy (taped from HBO).

I even had the record.

And can it really be a bad movie when John Houston plays Gandalf?

As cheesy and folksy as it is, "The Greatest Adventure" is actually a neat "call-to-action":
...The chances, the changes, are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is there if you're bold
Let go of the moment that Life makes you hold
To measure the meaning can make you delay
It's time you stop thinking and wasting the day
And the other? "Roads Go Ever Ever On"?

Just a nice, folksy, and kinda wistful little tune.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting 'Borged

Traipsing through the Intarw3bz revealed this eye-opening post (no pun intended).

Seems Tanya lost her left eye in a car accident and is exploring the possibility of
capitalizing on the current advancement of technology to enhance the abilities of my prosthesis for an augmented reality.
In the original post on her blog, Tanya lists some of the augmentations she's looking at. Among these:
  • DVR
  • MPEG-4? Recording
  • Built in SD mini Card Slot
  • 4 GB SD mini Card
  • Mini A/V out
  • Firewire / USB drive
  • Optical 3X
  • Remote trigger
  • Bluetooth wireless method
How frikkin' awesome would that be?

CyberEye. I haz one.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It Is Revealed...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Philippine Speculative Fiction

While rummaging through the Intarw3bz, I ran across this blog post.

A quick perusal of the page made my eyebrows go up.

Apparently, there's such a thing as "Philippine Speculative Fiction."

Intrigued me, it did. Intrigued me because, as it happens, I'm Filipino.

Intrigued me because, I wasn't aware there was a category called "Philippine/Filipino Spec Fic."

I read the post, then went searching through Google for more info. That led me to a series of posts (here, here, and here) trying to determine what constitutes "Filipino science fiction."

And even this one on Filipino Sword and Sorcery fiction.

I've read the posts.

Now my question: Why does it matter?

What is the point of categorizing from an ethnic standpoint?

Is it a matter of cultural identity?

Okay, let's say it is.

So what?

So the writer of Novel ABC is Filipino and portrays Filipino culture within the work.

Again: so what?

A story is a story is a story

Why the need to pigeonhole it simply because of the author's ethnicity?

The post series's author mentions Solaris by Stanislaw Lem:
Lem is Polish and wrote the story in Polish, but in no way do we consider Solaris to be a simply Polish science fiction novel. We are so drawn into the suspense of the story that nationality becomes an insignificant distinction. Solaris is a haunting psychological thriller that explores universal human condition, as well as a fantastic addition to scifi canon.

So what then? Should we stop writing Filipino science fiction in favor of scifi of the more universal sort? Certainly Filipinos should aspire to write good science fiction, but I don't know if it's possible for Filipinos to altogether stop writing Filipino science fiction. In a sense, any science fiction that a Filipino writes still is Filipino science fiction.
If we take that last line and apply it to Lem, "any science fiction that a Pole writes still is Polish science fiction."

Yet the author just said in the previous paragraph that "nationality becomes an insignificant distinction" with respect to Solaris.

Okay. I think my brain just exploded.

Back to the main point: Why does it matter?

Why not just call it all science (or speculative) fiction?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Currently Reading: 1/26/09

Out on Blue Six didn't last for me. I fell out of the story about a quarter of the way in.

Sad. It had some really cool bits but it just petered out on me.

So I turned to The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross.

Excellent.

Math meets sorcery meets Lovecraftian creepies. (Which made me think of another novel using math as magic--Mathemagics by Margaret Ball--only in that one it's fantasy-type magic and no Lovecraftian creepies).

The book collects two stories, "The Atrocity Archive" and "The Concrete Jungle." Both follow the exploits of Bob Howard, operative for The Laundry, an elite clandestine unit charged with protecting the world from computer science/math-based magic gone awry.

I just finished "Atrocity." I'll be turning to "Concrete" shortly.

But first, The Stepsister Scheme (which I mentioned in a previous post). I'm two chapters in and I'm enjoying it.

I can tell this is going to be a fun ride.

Also up next on the "To Be Read" pile are:
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn
Peacekeeper by Laura E. Reeve
The Heart of Valor by Tanya Huff
The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

KnM Update

Part Four of "Easy Money" is up.

Today, the shit hits the fan.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Plotting, Revisited

From the essay, "Sword and Sorcery, Dragon and Princess" by Darrell Schweitzer*:
You need an action plot. Sword and sorcery is not a field of deep psychological introspection. This is not what the readership comes to sword and sorcery stories for. Try for overt conflicts, plenty of physical action, and rapid plot movement. That is, if they're plotting to overthrow the barbarian king in chapter one, by chapter two, the palace should be invaded by Serpent Men of Valusia, and in chapter three, the hero is magically whisked away to the Black Crypt of N'Kai. You get the idea.
Why do I bring this up?

Because that's the framework I use for Kat and Mouse (albeit SF rather than sword and sorcery) and I hope I'm true to it.


*in How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by J.N. Williamson

Shoutout!

A fellow AW'er just released her book.

Well done!

Let's break out the champagne.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Readers

Specifically, beta readers. Those folks who serve as our frontline critiquers (or "critters" as some call them.)

I've heard people say that you shouldn't use friends and family members as betas.

"They'll just sugar-coat their reactions. Tell you what you want to hear."

That my be true for some.

But not so in my case.

My Wife is my beta. Once I've written, revised, and polished a piece, I hand it to her and say "Have a read and let me know what you think."

You're probably thinking: "Yeah, she'll tell you how great you are, how it's the best thing she's read ever."

Not quite.

Sure, she'll tell me what bits she liked. But she'll also crucify me for things like passive voice, plot inconsistencies, and bad clich├ęs, among others.

And she can be harsh.

I find if I can entertain her with a story, I'm on the right track.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chicks With Guns: 1/20/09

Ripley - Aliens

More KnM Updates

The serial is now listed at Web Fiction Guide.

Very cool.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Poe's Day!

Happy 200th Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe.

My favorite of his poems has always been "The Raven." Corny, yeah, but I remember being in 5th Grade, finding out it was the next poem we would read in English class, and getting goosebumps.

Not sure when I first came across the poem. Might've been while rummaging through the bookcases in the spare room downstairs and in the garage.

Here's Christopher Walken's rendition.

Another by Basil Rathbone.

And a performance by the one of the greats of Horror Films Past, the inimitable Vincent Price.

KnM Updates

Episode 2, part 3 of "Easy Money" is now live.

This is the calm before the storm, folks.

The first of many storms for our duo.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Day After...

Yesterday was our housewarming party.

We spent much of the week cleaning, unpacking, putting shit away, and making everything look nice. Then did prep work on the eats Friday night.

That's done.

Back to our regularly scheduled program...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Week

Going to be occupied for the next few days. Writing and recording involved.

Might be quiet hereabouts but don't fret.

Back soon.

Carrie Vaughn on Urban Fantasy

Carrie Vaughn just finished a 3-part post series deconstructing Urban Fantasy (here, here, and here).

Lots of food for thought.

Have a look.

Recommended Reading: 1/13/09

Middle-/low-tier Marvel heroes get the Warren Ellis treatment in Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

The funniest superhero comic I have ever read. Laughed my head (and ass) off reading this.

Uncle Warren is the shiznit.

The 12-issue run is collected in two trades: Vol. 1: This Is What They Want and Vol. 2: I Kick Your Face.

Go get them now.

No, I'm serious.

Go.

Now.

Chicks With Guns: 1/13/09

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Xena: Warrior Princess"

I salute the woman who put "kick-ass heroines" on the pop-culture map.

Say what you want about the show.

But she became an icon, dammit.

She was on the cover of TV Guide, for frak's sake!
See?

I salute you, Warrior Princess.

"Ay-yiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!"

That said, I leave you with this parting word:

KmM Updated

"Easy Money" Part Two is now live.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kick-Ass Heroine Goodness

I just picked up the new Jim C. Hines book, The Stepsister Scheme.

Check out the cover--
Awww yeaaahhh.

I'm sold.

You are, too. Now go buy the book.

(Incidentally, Jim recently asked his fans to talk up the book. I'm there, sir.)

...ahem...

*clears throat*

GO BUY THE BOOK!

/pimpage

Friday, January 9, 2009

On Plotting

I will freely admit to "plotting by formula."

What about you? How do you plot your stories?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now Playing: 1/9/09

More audio drama fun:

Happy listening!

KnM News

WEB MENTIONS. Dave at QuasarDragon continues to keep tabs on our new installments. Thanks a million, sir. You're all kinds of win in our book.

STORY UPDATES. The next KnM escapade is back again on the worktable. Just need to iron out a few things and then it's off to edits and revisions. I should be finished with this one by month's end. I think.

This will be Episode 5. A short one. Involving breakfast foods and assault rifles.

Episode 6 is currently in the planning stages. Jess (my lovely wife) suggested a few story bits that I like a lot and will be incorporating. I probably won't get to the actual writing of 6 until 5 is done.

That's all for now.

(cross-posted to The Red Dog Bar*)


*What's The Red Dog Bar? For those following the serial, it's a behind-the-scenes blog where I hope to include fun bits about the making and writing of KnM as well as the spot for serial news (which will get cross-posted here). If you're curious, have a look.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chicks With Guns: 1/6/2009

Sarah Connor - Terminator 2

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year. New Adventure. New Trouble.

Start off the new year with a bang.

"Easy Money, Part One" is now live.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!

It's 2009.

A fresh start begins now.

Let's get crackin'.