One of the greatest of American films generally, and certainly the most incisive and insightful one about the criminal life.
Sometimes I get ideas for a project by way of nothing but a potential piece of cover art.
Fantasy can be used as a distraction, but its job is to give us new ways to look at what's around us every day,
To kill them or not kill them?
Discussing four future projects of mine that all took shape this year.
This year did leave its mark on me. I only now see this.
The single hardest thing I could try to write would be a children's book.
With many of the stories I've taken up only to abandon, what was most interesting to me about them seemed impossible to communicate to others.
On a narrow, reductionist view of fiction (and not a very good one, for that reason).
Time for a look back and a look forward: what I did and what I'm doing.
A thunderous fusion of jazz and industrial rock, way out of print but absolutely worth seeking out.
I don't care if SF is possible, I care if it's plausible.
On creativity: The opposite of inhibition is disinhibition, not uninhibition; an act, rather than a state.
What's sad about Ready Player One (and Two): the commanding power cultural nostalgia holds over people in bad times is worth exploring. Just not in a story like that.
2020 just about killed my enthusiasm for reading, which was finicky to begin with.
"The album that killed Skinny Puppy", an only partly realized concept record about a cult movement, has much to recommend it after 25 years.
The latest toy in the house: an XBOX S.
An introduction to the roster of characters for "Welcome To The Fold", starting with the leads.
Drafts of a work are experiments. They just point the way, and help you narrow it further.
This year I did something I'd long avoided: I hosted Thanksgiving at my place. (For three.)
The "remastered" version of "Flight Of The Vajra" is now available!
My newly uncrated Dell notebook, and my general unease about anything brand spanking new.
The new laptop I picked up on the ultra-cheap lived up to the old adage that you get what you pay for.
How the influences on "Welcome To The Fold" came together to form its story.
I've toyed with the idea of going on camera for fun and (possibly) profit. I never follow through, though.
Barrows Dunham's 1947 work of popular philosophy deserves the widest possible audience in 2020.
We found a minor but unsightly formatting issue in the remaster of "Welcome To The Fold". Our bad.
Akira Kurosawa is reputed to have said that whenever he is asked which of his films is his favorite, he replies, "My next one." A phrase I've taken to heart.
Happenings at Chez Infinimata that are not current-events-related.
The world awaited is not yet the world attained, but we took a step in the right direction today.
It is not required to substitute ugly things for lovely ones in the name of some spurious bid for truth.
Just a few things as the First Tuesday In November approaches.
On reinventing horror tropes for the modern moment.
What do you do when you're best known for a throwaway work?
The proof copy for the remastered "Flight Of The Vajra" has landed. With a big thud.
Why "they're all terrible" is the philosophy of suckers.
Sometimes you solve all the other problems, not this one.
A reason why I haven't written any time travel stories: I don't think time exists. At least, not in the sense of something we can travel through.
I had to fight the urge to make changes to 'Flight Of The Vajra' in its new edition.
The all-new Infinimata Press edition of my psychological thriller / fantasy / headtrip is now for sale!
Two cheers for democracy, and all that.
How everything from research on cults to classic shōjō manga fed into 'Welcome To The Fold.'
No good teacher worth their salt says "Don't do X." They say, "If you do X, this is what's involved."
How my new book 'Unmortal' started as "a fantasy story that discovers it's actually cyberpunk", and is now that plus something different.
On the dual-world setting and double-life people in 'Welcome To The Fold'.
How my new novel 'Welcome To The Fold' started as an attempt to address roleplaying games in fiction.
The remastered version of my novel 'Welcome To The Fold' is almost done!
New editions of 'Welcome To The Fold' and 'Flight Of The Vajra' are coming.
On the notion that if our moment in time were a story, nobody would believe a word of it.
The "remastered" version of "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned" is now available!
'At Close Range', 34 years later -- and on the telling of stories about those with doomed lives.
On portraits of the artist as a complete jackass, and why we need new kinds of stories about artists.
I found a nice surprise waiting for me on the doorstep today: the proof copy of the newly-remastered version of "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned."
If I didn't feel before like I was living in a science fiction novel, this year sure clinched that feeling. But not for the reasons you might think.
On the largely ineffectual ways we've grappled with the corruption of public morals.
After some puttering, I think I finally have a good new cover design for 'Summerworld'.
And once we do, what do we take away from it all?
For some of my books it's a lot harder than I realized to create good cover art.
Why some people respond to reports of deaths in numbers with minimizing tactics.
Why spam scams are illiterate by design: to weed out the skeptical and keep the suckers.
A look at the upcoming "remastered" editions of my books "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned", "Welcome To The Fold", and "Flight Of The Vajra".
On the progress of the reissue program for all my earlier books under the new Infinimata Press label.
The soundtrack for my new novel 'Fall Of The Hammer'.
On Stjepan G. Meštrović's notion of the "postemotional society".
My new fantasy/adventure novel (well, it's a lot more than that, really) is now available on Kindle and in print.
I don't want better versions of the past. I want a future that has the kind of better only the future can offer.
Proof edits on 'Fall Of The Hammer' almost done. It was worth it.
In re the magic of editing on something other than a screen.
On the marriage of popular and artistic sensibilities (not that they were all that far from each other?)
'Fall Of The Hammer' inches yet closer to release. Just a few lingering changes, and a lesson learned from same.
A discussion of the themes in my new novel, and how they are embodied there.
On the terror of facing a blank page (or screen), for the N-th time.
A discussion of the supporting cast in my new novel, and the roles they play.
Awaiting a proof copy of my new novel "The Fall Of The Hammer".
"How come it is easier for us to imagine the end of the world than a modest change in our economic order?" Let me take a crack at this, including how it relates to SF.
I've launched the blog landing page for my new novel, The Fall Of The Hammer! Orders will be taken real soon now!
Calendar on the wall tells me I've been running my new blog software for about a week now. Successfully!
From uneasy sleep came the uneasiest of dreams.
When we can't think our way out of it, that is.
An introduction to the roster of characters for my new novel, starting with the main characters.
A blueprint for how to do the impossible -- namely, follow up a classic: give it to another artist of vision and stand back.
Me vs. doing sequels, yet again.
With my blog, that is? I hope not, as great things are afoot under the hood.
I dove deep this week into rewriting my blog software. Almost didn't come up for air.
How everything from 'The Stars My Destination' to 'Streets Of Fire' (and even 'Justice League', in a negative way!) fed into the making of my new novel.
A rundown of some of the other stories and films that influenced 'Hammer''s growth and direction.
With your sources for a story, it ain't where you start, it's where you end up, and how you get there.
The alterna-past setting and backstory for my new novel, 'Fall Of The Hammer'.
How to seek out stories that intelligently confront the moral complexity of the 21st century.
Sometimes adapting something, as one form of remaking it, can do it a favor.
How my new novel 'Fall Of The Hammer' started from a project I'd abandoned over twenty-five years ago.
In a conversation with a friend, about the way our crazy moment in time is shaping our creative decisions, I kept coming back to a phrase I've said to myself before: "Let's not try to understand all this too quickly."
Much hard work ensuing here at Chez Infinimata, and on multiple fronts: current book, new book, software.
How much of a debt I owe not to science fiction or fantasy, but another genre: the hard-boiled noir.
The problem with much criticism: it proceeds from the flawed premise that art is hierarchical.
I meant to blog a little more this week, but life happened, and I also stumbled face-first into what I can only call a code hole.
Not a great week or so, to be honest. Much emotional rollercoastering, much of it project related. And not in the ways you might think.
Blogging software, rewritten from scratch.
Should I rewrite my existing blogging app, or ditch it entirely? (Spoiler: DIY! DIY!)
Meaning, go straight to the good stuff and don't make people wait.
Welcome to the next generation of my personal publishing imprint.
Every single time I start a new story, I'm starting from scratch in more ways than one.
Goodbye to a man with a little more vision than most, and whole lot of heart.
On the ways self-publishing gets dinged as illegitimate, and how to rebut them.
Some progress notes in re the latest novel, Fall Of The Hammer.
It's hard to do your own thing, and for good reasons.
For fun I ran down a list of popular culture things that nobody really had expectations for, but which sort of escaped their box and went on to become major cultural landmarks.
What is it I really want from popular culture? Typically something rare.
What does it mean to say that I want to tell a given story about a given person or a given thing? Why me and not someone else? What do I bring to the table?
According to the fossil record, I quit using Facebook about four years ago, give or take a month. I'm still off. I regret nothing.
And how we might be able to write about it.
On new work in progress.
I never want to make the argument that we should refrain from making things easier as some kind of hedge against mediocrity.
My turn to throw out props for a black creator, one who doesn't get much press in any circle: filmmaker and author Ousmane Sembene.
Things SF&F need to do, in no particular order.
Depth of connection with an audience, even an audience of six, always wins out over sheer numbers.
The panels for Renaissance VirtualCon went very nicely. I'll be posting video playback links for them as soon as I have them on hand, in case you couldn't make it.
I'm going to be appearing as a panelist on two panels at the Renaissance Press Virtual Conference. Register now, slots are going fast!
Over thirty years later, a record as jarringly fresh now -- maybe more so now -- than it was when it first undermined everyone's expectations.
A new notebook computer enters my hands, and once again I'm boggled by progress.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief." Easier said than done.
If I could sum up the problem of modern politics in only a few words, it would be this: the asymmetry of the motivations of the participants.
Even if you had it, then what?
Welcome to the latest release of my wiki/org tool for writers and creative folks.
Naming things. Especially stories.
The more outside your bubble you have at your command, the more you have to answer any "what if?" in your work.
I might have been, though. And I still wish I was.
It never helps to force a story to be about something.
I never wanted to be a "Zen SF&F author". If I did receive that label, I think I'd be very unhappy about it.
If I was a filmmaker, my latest book would be at what could be the "answer print" phase. Done, but not quite *done*.
Why SF&F have something to teach us even when it isn't "real".
When is it OK to say, "Screw the world, I'm'a do me"? And when is it just being a self-indulgent twerp?
If people critique your themes or intentions, that's a sign you've leveled up.
Welcome back to third grade.
On the idea of: "Writers are liars and fabricators, but not b.s.'ers."
On Sir Popper's beautiful mind as an antidote for this terrible moment.
More on how most writers are not good givers of writerly feedback. Few people are.
On how my friend and fellow writer Matt is against the idea of the "hook" as a narrative mechanism.
At some point in my life, I realized I didn't want to "go back" to anything, because there was no such thing as "going back".
A note to myself: Be careful how you describe your story to others, because any one word can produce an image that doesn't match the reality.
On the idea of writing a novel that encompasses the whole of life (and other delusions).
On losing touch with friends, and the difficulty of making new ones.
Fantasy casting for a film that never was.
I want to get Fall Of The Hammer finished and put to bed so I can get on with the next big thing.
"The universe doesn't care about our feelings" isn't an excuse to be mean. No condition of life is an excuse.
We change all the time, and with every change comes a new kind of definitive.
I'm not on anyone's schedule but my own, although it's sometimes hard to remember that.
Why I wasn't going to do post-apoc, or apoc-in-general, stories -- yes, even long before COVID-19 came along.
I've long been wary of using fiction as a system of polemic, not because I don't care about the world we live in but because such things typically make for bad fiction
More on how SF's main purpose isn't to predict the coming of specific things, but to understand how we might respond to them, whatever they are.
Apropos of nothing. A rundown of some favorite movies of mine that have yet to enjoy a physical HD reissue.
The point isn't to run away from what's around you, but to see something new despite it.
On keeping the edit wheels turning on "Fall Of The Hammer".
"If infinity is too big for you, live in the day."
When all this madness first really lit up, I made a promise to myself: I wasn't going to post anything here that was simply an echo of anything you could find anywhere else.
Since many of you are stuck indoors right now and going a little stir crazy, I have some nonfiction reading suggestions that shed light on our moment from different directions.
"Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned" is FREE on Kindle this week only. It's "Strange Days meets GoodFellas". I think you'll like it.
On those who believe in incremental solutions -- progressive and conservative alike -- and those who believe in burning the whole house down and starting over.
SF and fantasy both have shelf lives, but drastically different kinds.
Okay, maybe I do have a few pointers that might be useful.
Like most of you, I'm "sheltering in place" -- which is actually not all that different from what I already do. The difference is that now I don't have a choice.
A third letter to a dead friend.
Just a quick note about what's new in Chez Genji (writing, programming projects, etc.)
So why don't I in fact like endpaper maps and genealogies and all the rest?
Why I try not to write any story that needs a map in the endpapers or a genealogy.
Using Python to build, well, everything.
My personal wiki project's Github repo is now live!
Another letter to a long-dead friend.
"Since all art finally affirms something, if only its own value, some attitudes thus dance better than others."
Progress report on my personal wiki software; organization for creatives and everyone else too.
On that feeling you get that the modern world is just too damn complicated.
I'm way behind on everything these days, and the biggest reason for that is there's just so much more of everything. But it's no crime to miss out, is it?
I guess this means I can add "game developer" to the rack of hats I wear?
The true weirdoes, god love them, can't help themselves. I wasn't one of those folks, and I knew it.
On Scrivener, Granthika, TiddlyWiki, and now my project for helping writers organize their work.
Why I no longer write reviews of stuff for my own site.
Why I don't mention Zen much in "mixed company".
It's not about being ready; it's about being willing to fail.
Most every story I've written has a soundtrack.
None of this happened overnight. Neither will overcoming it.
What do you do when you want to do everything?
At first people think creating things is more like discovery than construction.
Spiritual advice don't mean a thing if it don't come from within.
Each work is a bridge to the next one.
Zen's influence on my work.
No, this isn't about pets; it's about making the tools I use for my creative work.
The new needs friends, not evangelists or apologists.
On letting an old domain name roll away.
On art as the alleged antidote to life -- although life is no illness, is it?
Kicking off 2020.
This page contains an archive of posts for the year 2020.
Other Lives Of The Mind