On the marriage of popular and artistic sensibilities (not that they were all that far from each other?)
There's a story I've told before about one of the first times I remember buying books with my own money. I had, I think, a dollar-fifty in my pocket -- a staggering amount of dough for me at the time (I was, I think, nine?), and I bought three books from the fifty-cent paperback bin at the bookstore. One was a Star Wars novel and the other two were the first two books in Yukio Mishima's Sea Of Fertility tetraology. To this day I still don't know what drove me to do that, but there was something about them that made me want to read them, and it took me years to work up the skill to do it. But something about both of those things mattered, especially when I learned how to fuse them.
'Fall Of The Hammer' inches yet closer to release. Just a few lingering changes, and a lesson learned from same.
I haven't yet received the proof copy of the dead-tree version of Fall Of The Hammer, but I have already found and fixed some changes in the manuscript, They are minor, but they're of the kind that the way something is worded can make a major difference. Words meant for one character mean something entirely different when spoken by another -- especially when it's the other character who is the one best suited to speak them. Trebly so when it's in a part of the book that sums up so much of what you want from it. That kind of thing.
If all goes well, I should be able to get the proof copy in (mostly for the sake of checking margins, cover, etc.) later today or tomorrow. Any other changes I spot in the text will go back into the Kindle edition. And so with any luck, we should have all this ready to land in people's laps right after Labor Day or so.
A discussion of the themes in my new novel, and how they are embodied there.
Last time I posted in this series, I talked about the characters, major and supporting. This time around, I'll run down some of the major themes in the story as I saw them.
On the terror of facing a blank page (or screen), for the N-th time.
Most anyone who has written anything longer than a blog post -- and maybe even that, too -- knows the terror of a blank page or screen. Endless possibility is the same as no possibility at all, and so you hesitate. Even typing any one word seems wrong, because of all the things it cuts you off from instead of all the things it opens up.
You'd think after having done this for a dozen or more book-length works by now, I would know better how to deal with it. Well, I deal with it marginally better than I used to. The trick is to remember that any starting point is only ever one possible door into a room that has many of them.
A discussion of the supporting cast in my new novel, and the roles they play.
Last time I posted in this series, I introduced a few of the main characters: Jotham, the protagonist; his sorcerer comrades Miss Mab and İlhan; and their acquaintances in crime Teryl Heylinde and Gapardino. Along the way, they encounter a slew of other important folks:
Awaiting a proof copy of my new novel "The Fall Of The Hammer".
Come Friday or so (these days, I'm not sure I can trust even the speed of light to be consistent), there should be the thud of a parcel hitting my doormat, and inside will be the proof copy for the recycled-trees version of The Fall Of The Hammer. If all looks good, I'll make publishing links live for both it and the Kindle edition, as I want both to go live simmulmultannyusly.
"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.
Here's a line you may have heard floating around recently (I think it's from the movie The Pervert's Guide To Ideology): "How come it is easier for us to imagine the end of all life on earth – an asteroid hitting the planet – 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!
Right now all there is to see is the blurb page and the previous blog posts discussing it, along with a link to all the Behind The Scenes discussion (which I encourage you to read, they're two tons of fun).
I should have actual purchase links up in a week or so, as I still need to get back a proof copy of the dead-tree edition and make sure that's all copacetic. But the Kindle edition should launch real soon now.
After this, I'll be going back through my catalog in reverse chronological order and reissuing previous titles under the Infinimata Press imprint (as opposed to the now-defunct Genji Press imprint). In some cases I'll be reworking the cover art; in others, I'm leaving well enough alone.
This was a fun book to write, and I hope it's also a fun book to read. They should all be like that, shouldn't they?
Calendar on the wall tells me I've been running my new blog software for about a week now. Successfully!
Calendar on the wall tells me I've been running my new blog software for about a week now. You might have noticed a burp or two by now -- some links acting weird, some inline images flipping around or not loading, etc. Nothing fatal, and in fact I enjoyed teasing out bugs like that, many of which were due to the blog's codebase being old and inconsistent. Each one of those issues routed out and stomped flat was another way for me to establish consistencies of behavior I'd never set up before.
From uneasy sleep came the uneasiest of dreams.
Last night I dreamed I was standing in the foyer of the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center in New York City, a place I have been in many times for both work and fun. It was empty, as I imagine it is as I type this, but I suspect my dream version of it was drawn from all the times when I walked into that foyer before whatever festivities were planned had started in earnest. I could hear my footsteps echoing up to the glass-and-metal lattice of the roof and around the marble and concrete below and besides me.
I was alone, and the more I walked, the more I realized I was entirely alone, that there was no one in the building, and maybe not even in the block or the whole of the city or anywhere else beyond that.
When we can't think our way out of it, that is.
Not long ago I bumped into a little book called Structural Fabulation, by Robert Scholes (the Internet Library also has it), subtitled "An Essay On Fiction Of The Future". Scholes wrote it in 1975, when as Fred Pohl and Fred Pohl IV put it in a discussion of SF on film, it was a time when SF was not "out", but still not quite all the way "in". The book is an argument not merely for SF as literature, but for SF as a special kind of literature, one particularly suited to helping us live in our world now that it has been irreversibly transformed by both the scientific and postmodern worldviews. It's something that seems like such a truism now, we don't really talk about what it means anymore, but it seems like high time to dust off the idea and give it another close go-round.
An introduction to the roster of characters for my new novel, starting with the main characters.
In my previous installment in this series, I talked about how the major influences on my forthcoming novel The Fall Of The Hammer came together to create the story. Now, to talk about the characters that populate that story, beginning with the main cast.
A blueprint for how to do the impossible -- namely, follow up a classic: give it to another artist of vision and stand back.
There was, to my mind, no earthly reason to make a sequel to Blade Runner, any more than there was a reason to make a sequel to 2001: a space odyssey. But they did in fact make 2010: The Year We Make Contact with Arthur C. Clarke, if not with Stanley Kubrick, and it was good although short of great.
And they did in fact make Blade Runner 2049, with screenwriter Hampton Fancher, if not original author Philip K. Dick, and with original director Ridley Scott as producer and Denis Villeneuve in the director's chair. What they delivered stands so comfortably next to the original, and yet with so much of its own to offer, that it suggests a blueprint for how to do such an impossible thing: just give it to another artist of vision, assuming you can find one, and stand back.
Me vs. doing sequels, yet again.
(Yes, this is going to be a discussion about sequels and prequels and such.)
Constant Readers must know by now everything I've done has been volume 1 in a series of 1. it's a habit (no better word for it, I think) I slipped into right after I completed Summerworld, the first offering from Infinimata Press (or, Genji Press, or Glinebooks as it was known then).
After Summerworld came out, I spent about a day mulling over possible successors -- Autumnworld and Winterworld, with all the implications of downfall/death/eventual rebirth encoded into those titles. But the more I turned it over in my mind, the more I realized I'd said everything I wanted to about those characters and that world, that even talking about how they might pass things along to whatever successors might arise wasn't that interesting to me. What I really wanted to do with that story was leave it completely behind and do something new that had nothing to do with the previous thing.
With my blog, that is? I hope not, as great things are afoot under the hood.
With any luck, the answer will be "not really". Good, because that means the software I'm using to run this blog has passed one of its first big tests: republishing my entire blog, and some new entries, without breaking anything. The old software's still humming along in another directory just in case, but so far everything seems to have passed the first round of basic testing.
I dove deep this week into rewriting my blog software. Almost didn't come up for air.
I sometimes wonder if in another life I was a deep-sea diver. I have a tendency to go into things and not come up for air until blood vessels on the side of my face explode. Case in point: this week and most of the last one, eaten up by me rewriting my blog software from absolute scratch and ... and ... and actually rewriting it from scratch, gang! It runs, very well, and it might be as little as another week before everything you see before you is switched over to it.
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.
In my previous installment in this series, I talked about the major influences on my forthcoming novel The Fall Of The Hammer. Here, I'm going to talk about the way those influences came together to form a story.
A rundown of some of the other stories and films that influenced 'Hammer''s growth and direction.
Back in Part Two of this series, I talked about the bare idea behind Fall Of The Hammer, and the general outlines of the story it inspired. Here, I'm going to dive into some of the other media that influenced how Hammer took shape 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.
Sorry, busy week, hence the silence. In re a discussion of Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation:
... the film’s ending isn’t so much a mockery of subservience to an audience’s expectations, but rather a depiction of how a skilled writer can construct meaningful purpose from even the most banal expectations and formulae.
It ain't where you start, it's where you end up, and how you get there. I had the lowest possible expectations for the likes of John Wick, and not only did I get rocked back on my psychic heels three times in a row (and soon it'll be #4 and #5), but I ended up taking inspiration from it for at least one, possibly two, other works. But I suspect people would struggle to connect the finished work with the inspiration, and that's fine -- that's the sign the inspiration is working as fuel and not as a template.
The alterna-past setting and backstory for my new novel, 'Fall Of The Hammer'.
Back in Part One of this series, I talked about how I scraped my new novel's ideas from a couple of long-dead ones. The ideas themselves mutated drastically once I had them together under a new roof.
This page contains an archive of posts for the month of August 2020.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind