All posts for February 2022


Here Comes The Pain

I fight the idea that the only sensible response to a world that seems to be driving itself mad is to hide under one's desk with one's head in the wastebasket.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-24 17:00:00 No comments


I fight daily — hourly, sometimes — against the idea that the only sensible response to a world that seems to be driving itself mad (and madder) is to hide under one's desk with one's head in the wastebasket. Sometimes I come out the other end triumphant; sometimes I come out the other end numb but at least still functional. I will take numb-but-ticking over most other alternatives further down the menu.

One way I fight it is by thinking back to a conversation I once had with a friend that I know I've quoted here before.

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Tags: psychology sociology these troubled times

Science Fiction Repair Shop: Arrival

An actual SF movie, not just a tarted-up shoot-'em-up, both because of the breadth of its ideas and how they are lovingly personalized.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-23 12:00:00 No comments


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I've lamented before how most science fiction movies are not science fiction, but an action movie with a flimsy overleaf of SF stapled atop. Arrival is an actual science fiction movie, and one of the finest to come along in recent years, both because of the breadth of its ideas and how they are lovingly personalized.

The premise (as derived from Ted Chiang's short "The Story Of Your Life") involves what by now is a fairly shopworn SF staple: first contact with aliens, by way of a klatsch of giant ships that materialize over different corners of the earth. (See also: V, Independence Day, Childhood's End, Alien Nation, etc. etc.) A linguist with a now-desolate personal life, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is summarily drafted by the hard-nosed Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to decipher the alien language and establish two-way communication. The first and most pressing question they want answered is why they are here, and whether or not that answer deserves a first strike as a response.

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Tags: Denis Villeneuve Science Fiction Repair Shop movies review science fiction

Over The Top, Out The Bottom

If there was an envelope I wanted most to push, it was envelope of "accessible and fun" as it edged up against "complex and challenging".

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-22 21:00:00 No comments


If I haven't been posting much lately, it's only because I've been face-deep in the first stages of writing Shunga-Satori, the next novel. As I half-jokingly say, that's the one people are more likely to hate outright (or, maybe even worse, shrug off indifferently) than anything else I've ever done.

Every book I take up functions in some way as an envelope-pusher for myself, but the envelope is never pushed in exactly the same way twice. Sometimes it's the top edge of the envelope that gets pushed; sometimes it's the sides. To abuse this metaphor even further, this time around it's the bottom of the envelope getting shoved at. It's the most introspective, and for that reason potentially alienating, thing I've done since Welcome To The Fold.

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Tags: Shunga-Satori creativity experimentation writing

Yours And Yours Alone

Whatever it is you make, make it so yours they can never take it away from you.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-20 17:00:00 No comments


I once read a description of David Lynch's filmmaking approach, based on the experiences people had with him when he was making Eraserhead, and one of them went something like "It was like we were making the movie one frame at a time." Not long after that I found out about Stan Brakhage, whose approach to filmmaking was literally that: he hand-painted dyes on film ("Eye Myth"), or exposed them a frame at a time to substances ("Mothlight"). It took me a while to grok that "handmade" was not a description of the process so much as the work ethic. Not even that it was a matter of being painstaking, but of being personal in every respect.

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Tags: creativity creators indies writers writing

Ask Yourself This

Whenever I've said to myself "I'd like to write a book like X", I always had to ask myself, why? And to what end?

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-15 12:00:00 No comments


Out of one frying pan and into another fire I go. I spent the past week, and the weekend, working on the outline and details for the next book, Shunga-Satori, and one thing that leaped out at me was the way my desire to work on the project had tightened and focused. And on looking back across previous works, I see a pattern worth unpacking in detail.

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Tags: Shunga-Satori creativity ideas

All Of This And Nothing

More about Buddhism's most misunderstood concept, "emptiness".

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-12 12:00:00 No comments


Buddhism nerd that I am, I've glommed onto a few key texts in the canon (inasmuch as such a tradition can have one) that light me up bigtime. One is The Zen Teaching Of Huang Po, which I've mentioned in these pages before, and which I encountered by way of the long-extant John Blofeld translation. It isn't the most meticulously precise rendition, but it gets the spirit of things across nicely.

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The other is Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, abbreviated as MMK and better known in English (and a hell of a lot easier to pronounce) as Fundamental Wisdom Of The Middle Way. I poked through about five or six different translations of this notoriously challenging text, but none of them helped make sense of it. (One of them had a commentary that bore no discernible resemblance to the underlying text; it was ... how to put it? ... a bad fansub.)

Finally along came the Mark Siderits / Shoryu Katsura version (linked here), and I can confidently say this is the one to start with, if only because it's so much easier to follow than the rest of the competition. It's also the one that helped me finally wrap my mind around the conceits in the underlying text such that it didn't also melt my brainstem. The conceits in question are at the heart of Buddhism, and also some of Buddhism's most misunderstood aspects.

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Tags: Buddhism Zen belief translation

Unmortal: Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 8: The Soundtrack

The soundtrack for my new novel "Unmortal".

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-11 12:00:00 No comments


In the time leading up to the release of my new novel Unmortal, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book — its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.

(See all entries in this series here.)

With each book I write, there's almost always a soundtrack of some kind to go with it — music to match the mood and tempo of each scene. That said, I find I almost never listen to the music in question when writing or editing the scene in question, as I find that too distracting; there's other music I have specifically for the writing process.

Odds are you can find most, if not all, of these by way of your friendly neighborhood music streaming service.

Note that the scene descriptions may contain spoilers!

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Tags: Behind The Scenes: Unmortal Infinimata Press Unmortal soundtracks

Unmortal: Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 7: The Themes

A discussion of the themes in my new novel "Unnmortal", and how they are embodied there.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-10 12:00:00 No comments


In the time leading up to the release of my new novel Unmortal, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book — its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.

(See all entries in this series here.)

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.

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Tags: Behind The Scenes: Unmortal Infinimata Press Unmortal themes

If I Wouldn't Want To Read It, I Probably Wouldn't Write It

The title tells it. Let's dive into this idea and see what comes up.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-09 12:00:00 No comments


"What kinds of writing projects are you drawn to?" I asked a friend once. They ran down a couple of things that made a project seem like a candidate: this kind of main character, that kind of setting. Then I asked, "What about the opposite?" "Well," he said, "there's a lot more kinds of things I don't want to write than I do want to write." I wasn't sure I could agree with that — how would you begin to quantify it? — so I responded with what seemed like a compromise: "If I wouldn't want to read it, I probably don't want to write it."

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Tags: creativity creators writing

Unmortal: Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 6: The Supporting Cast

A discussion of the supporting cast in my new novel "Unmortal", and the roles they play.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-07 12:00:00 No comments


In the time leading up to the release of my new novel Unmortal, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book — its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.

(See all entries in this series here.)

Last time I posted in this series, I introduced a few of the main characters: Jahya and Teşkul, the sua-wielder and her sword partner; Othei and Runak, an ex-officer of the authority that brings sua into the world, and the sua codex she's stolen from them; and Fioka and Azual, the sua revolutionaries who each have very different plans about how to bring liberation to their people.

Along the way, they encounter a slew of other important folks:

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Tags: Behind The Scenes: Unmortal Infinimata Press Unmortal characters

The Dizzying Whirl Of The Perfection-Go-Round

That last long stretch of finishing up a book is often taken up with nattering about the kinds of details only you and one other jerk can see.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-05 12:00:00 No comments


A friend of mine and I got to talking the other night about how that last long stretch of finishing up a book is often taken up with nattering about the kinds of details that you feel like can only be seen by two people: you, and the one person out there who can see right through your story and out the other side because you didn't pay attention to that one exact detail.

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Tags: creativity creators editing

Look For Our New Facelift

Some design- and art-related thoughts on assembling a new Bootstrap 5-powered theme for this site.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-03 21:00:00 No comments


After hustling Unmortal out the door, I spent a few days assembling what has now become a Bootstrap 5-powered version of this site's theme. The BS3 theme served me for a good long time, but the core technology is two revisions out of date, never worked all that well on mobile, and had more cruft in it than the gap between the stove and the countertop. Time to make a sween cleap of it.

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Tags: design

Unmortal: 'Unmortal' Is Now Available!

My new novel, "Unmortal", eighth in the Infinimata Press lineup, is now available in both paperback and ebook editions!

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-02-01 12:00:00 No comments


I'm pleased to announce my new novel, Unmortal, eighth in the Infinimata Press lineup, is now available in both paperback and ebook editions.

Here's what it's all about:

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Tags: Infinimata Press Unmortal books

See previous posts from January 2022

See future posts from March 2022