How to seek out stories that intelligently confront the moral complexity of the 21st century.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/30 17:00
Good essay, great closing lines:
Narrative is not the power to choose outcomes, but it is often the power to tip the scales when someone is hovering between action and despair. You can find hundreds of images of protest signs with lines from Orwell, but a few years ago when Japan hosted a world peace summit, the organizers hung a very different sign in the main hall: “We Must Make a Future That Would Not Make Astro Boy Cry.” So many tools that galvanize resistance come from fantasy and science fiction. We who, with Tezuka and with Le Guin, explore imagined worlds, alternatives, and other ways of being must not narrow that larger reality, not when it has so much power to shape action, hope, or surrender. So let’s keep broadening our broader reality, so we can also broaden the possibilities of this one.
Sometimes adapting something, as one form of remaking it, can do it a favor.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/29 17:00
The other day we got to talking about when remaking something actually does it a favor. I deviated from the original ideal a little and thought about how adapting something, as one form of remaking it, can do it a favor.
Many mediocre books can be turned into good-to-great movies, for instance, by stripping away everything that doesn't need to be there (turgid prose, irrelevant "atmosphere", nonsensical convolution) and replacing them with the directness and elegance of visual storytelling. I'd rather see a good movie version of a bad book than a bad adaptation of a good one. But that doesn't mean I'd rather see people never attempt to adapt a good book into a great movie, and only go for the low-hanging fruit.
How my new novel 'Fall Of The Hammer' started from a project I'd abandoned over twenty-five years ago.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/27 17:00
Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the screech of dial-up networking was a common sound, I hatched an idea for a novel called (drumroll, please) The Fall Of The Hammer. The core idea: At some undefined time in history, the world shattered into a mosaic of times and places, each interpenetrating with the other to some degree. Against this backdrop, there was a ... uh ...
You see the problem. I had a setting, but no story. But I tried to write one anyway, and got about sixty thousand words in before hitting a brick wall and giving up.
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."By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/26 17:00
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.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/24 17:00
Much hard work ensuing here at Chez Infinimata, and on multiple fronts:
No, I'm not a workaholic, why do you ask?
How much of a debt I owe not to science fiction or fantasy, but another genre: the hard-boiled noir.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/20 08:00
Looking over what I have so far for my most recent work, and the notes I assembled for Fall Of The Hammer and especially Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, it hits me how much of a debt I owe not to science fiction or fantasy, but another genre: the hard-boiled noir, or the crime drama generally. (I pitched AONO to some folks as "GoodFellas meets Strange Days".)
The problem with much criticism: it proceeds from the flawed premise that art is hierarchical.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/19 17:00
On a whim I checked out a compendium of Stanley Kauffmann's writing on film. Most of the reason I bothered with it was to find out about movies from his time that I might have missed, not because I like Kauffmann's criticism as such. The experience ended up being more of a window into certain attitudes held by cinematic tastemakers of his day, most of which have dated poorly.
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.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/19 08:00
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. Both Folio and the rewritten blog app ended up eating into my time, in the sneaky way programming insinuates itself into one's time and attention. ("Oh, so you solved that little complexity, did you? ... maybe you can solve this next one, too? ... and the one after that? ... ") But I did manage to get myself at least provisionally on track to finish other work.
I enjoy programming immensely in the same way I enjoy writing: I do it because it fulfills something for me personally, even when I know a good deal of the time I'm not very good at it. The only thing I'm really good at is recognizing my own mistakes and fixing them before they get too chronic. I imagine Folio will be good enough for other people to use and benefit from, although I'm less certain about my blog software. It'll still be out there for those who want it, despite the fact that WordPress has that market sewn shut for most people.
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.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/14 08:00
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.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/13 08:00
No historical allusions intended with that title. Just that I spent this weekend, and the last couple of days, looking long and hard at my blog software, and decided to begin afresh with it. Creating an entire solution from scratch once gave me the chops I needed to do it again, and to not make the same mistakes I did last time.
Should I rewrite my existing blogging app, or ditch it entirely? (Spoiler: DIY! DIY!)By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/06 08:00
This weekend I took the software I wrote to maintain this blog and a couple of others, migrated it to a new development environment, and took a good long look at it. I hadn't actually done anything to it in quite some time — it got to the point where it ran Well Enough for me not to need to do anything with it, and the problem with something that runs Well Enough is that it saps you of the motivation to push things to the next level. Forcing myself to sit and look at the code put some of that motivation back into me.
Meaning, go straight to the good stuff and don't make people wait.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/04 12:00
This is rather sad, since the movie and its underlying material were written by Greg Rucka, an old friend:
The biggest mistake The Old Guard makes is the same mistake so many modern film adaptations of established material make these days: it’s all set-up. Yes, this is one of those adaptations that’s actually a secret prequel. This isn’t so much about The Old Guard as it is about how the group becomes The Old Guard. There’s even a post-credit scene that’s directly meant to set-up a franchise. It’s the dumb mistake that filmmakers keep making again, and again, and again: a story that says, “You know all that cool stuff you like from the source material? The stuff we’ve been hinting at? Well, we’re saving that for the sequel!” Note to filmmakers: Do you know what’s a better idea? Giving viewers that cool stuff in the first movie instead, and not counting your sequels before they hatch.
After reading this I jotted down a phrase: The payoff is the setup. Meaning, go straight to the good stuff and don't make people wait. Don't try to stretch one idea out into five. Don't worry about using up this one great idea because you're afraid you won't come up with anything else as good later. Trust yourself to be able to keep going in new directions.
Welcome to the next generation of my personal publishing imprint.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/02 00:00
Welcome, everyone, to the next generation of Genji Press: Infinimata Press.
Some time last year, I mused how the Genji Press brand wasn't relevant to my current work anymore. I'd created the brand back when I was still thrashing around for an identity, and so the Genji Press brand originally stemmed from my then-pervading interest in all things Japan. Two of my early books, Summerworldand Tokyo Inferno, were direct products of that curiosity.
Over the next several years, my interests expanded, and I found myself feeling more uneasy about how suitable "Genji Press" was as a collective label formy creative work. But I kept the name mostly out of habit, and spent more time thinking about the projects themselves than what branding I was going to use for them.
All that came to a head last year, when I decided it was high time I changed things up. I consulted with some friends, threw some names around, and Infinimata Press came up the winner. I've been quietly assembling the changeover of the blog in the background for some weeks now, and now the switch has been thrown at last.
Some questions, answered:
Will the old URLs for Genji Press still work?
Yes, they should all redirect to their counterparts here. The general URL structure of the site hasn't changed. You should still update your bookmarks, though, and your feed readers.
Will your books be reissued under the new imprint?
Yes, that's the long-term plan. My latest book The Fall Of The Hammer will be the first to come out under the new label. The others will be reissued in reverse chronological order with the new branding and with some other gussying-up.
Can I email you if I find a broken link on a page?
Certainly. See the address below.
Will your email address change?
The new email, email@example.com, just forwards for the time being to my existing email. Both old and new emails should work indefinitely.
Welcome back aboard. Here we go once more.
Science fiction, rebooted.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind