Sunday, February 24, 2008

Again With The Future Is Here!

I've kept my trap slammed long enough. I just read this article:
or about the seventeenth one like it and it's time to spout. The following is my comment to that post, although the blog is moderated so I don't know that it will show up there:

This conversation starter runs amok all across the science fiction blogiverse. It's not the job of science fiction to predict the future. Science fiction's obligation is to fiction, not science.

Fiction consists of millions of simulations (stories) which help humankind understand itself. "What would I do in a situation like that?" "If I did that, what would happen to me?" "That guy acted like a complete ass, I hope he gets his comeuppance!" It serves one of the most basic needs of human beings, the exploration of themselves and others as they interact with one another. Fiction is a brother to gossip, but throws the net of possibilities much more widely.

Science Fiction goes wider still, exploring human actions, interactions and reactions in situations that cannot happen in the current reality due to technological limitations. The speculation is fun. It isn't meant to predict.

Occasionally, from the tens of thousands of science fiction stories that have been written, a speculated technology might come to pass in reality and we gasp and assign "genius" labels to the writer. This is how astrology works too.

We are not running out of ideas in science fiction. The future is not closing in to clamp shut upon us and create a nightmare of forever present. What is happening is the fruition of extremely tired science fiction tropes, beaten to death in literature and film. Films dominate American popular culture and the studios won't bank on ideas that are too outlandish. We've strapped ourselves to the wrecking ball weight of our past good ideas and we don't want to be set free because the unknown is too uncomfortable. Then we marvel at how science-fictiony our lives have become when capitalism catches up with ideas that were new decades ago. "Hey look, I've got a PC and a cellphone! I'm living Star Trek!"

There are thousands of ideas out there in science fiction literature that have not yet popped into existence. More are being created every day. The human imagination is unlimited. There are even ideas that might confuse a television audience. But don't worry, they'll catch up when today's ideas are adapted for the mass media audiences twenty years hence. They'll seem new to the public then.

I'm astounded that science fictional folk like ourselves get drawn into these conversations when we're the people that are reading about the fresh ideas on an almost daily basis. We know the score. We know the reality. Why are we feeding the Big Media Bimbos?

And one last thing: If the future is here, then where the fuck is my flying car?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Follow The Bouncing Ball

Just about to mow and I spot a bunch (flock?) (gaggle?) (herd?) of seventeen white ibises cruising around my yard. I waited and let them fill their bellies on our bugs and slugs. I didn't want my dog to scare them off. This photo isn't of one of them. My yard is somewhat drier.

The great thing about being an ADD-riddled spaz is that you don't sweat jumping from project to project. My Process Five story is on temporary hold after a couple of days work while I polish up an old story for an anthology submission. The deadline is in ten days. The anthology is Jonathan Strahan's Eclipse Two and the story is For the Love of Ceelie (Number 26 in the canon). I used to think it was well-written, but it's five and a half years old and my chops have improved somewhat. I've always liked the story. I consider one of my more solid science fiction stories and it was the first of my stories to get the attention of a certain editor who had previously shown no interest in my work. So over the next couple of days, I can only make it better and I hope it will find a home.

I feel like I'm running a pound with that last sentence. I'd like to place each of my puppies with a loving family. Provided they pay for its shots and the spaying or neutering. Believe me, you don't want one of my stories getting knocked up by the story next door. No one will ever take that litter off of your hands.

It's getting late and I've been told to make supper. Damn, I wanted to mow, too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Problem With Satisfaction

I’ve got to do some serious writing in the hopes of making some scratch and that’s part of the reason I haven’t been posting stories. The stuff I post here is short, often taking up only half an hour of my day, from conception to post. It doesn’t seem like it should interfere with any other writing I want to do. Except it does. There’s this weird thing that happens when I finish something with which I’m pleased. I’m satisfied. There’s no need to write anything else. Once you’ve eaten and you’re satisfied, you don’t look for more food. And so by completing something, even if it’s only a couple of paragraphs that I like, I lose my desire in the short term. If I do any more flash fiction it’s going to come at the end of the day, after I’ve done other work. Satisfaction is a wonderful feeling, one of the best in the world, but it can stop you cold if you don’t manage it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Novel Writing Has Taught Me

I’m a short story writer.

Twilight in Mumbai is the fourth novel I’ve gotten more than two-hundred pages into and each one feels the same to me. A big hairy mess. They have all stagnated in varying states of disrepair. If I had a stove with a middle burner between the front and back burners, that is where this novel would go. It’s no longer going to be a primary focus, but I will be working on it regularly. So I don’t expect it to be done by October 31st like I had originally planned. I told some of you that I would definitely be doing NaNoWriMo again in November of 2008. I’m not so sure of that now.

See I’ve got my mojo back, but it’s because of short stories. I spent a good chunk of my vacation working on a short story (Unit One) and I was extremely excited to be working on it and that hasn’t happened since early last summer. So, that story being completed, I’m moving on to another, with a working title of Process Five, from comic book scripts I wrote for an unpublished series I created called Unity, which some of you may have read.

I’m still keeping a hand in Twilight. Don’t ask me why, but the entire novel was squashed into five chapters. Have you ever read a five chapter book? Neither have I. I’ve broken it down into seventeen much more manageable parts and I imagine it will grow more chapters in time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Number 59

Okay, Unit One is officially number 59 of The One-Thousand and it is out trying to make its way in the world. I wish it luck.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sleepy Time Soon

My brain isn't working so well right now. I'm crashing in mere minutes. Yes, this is very early for me.

I finished up a new short story yesterday called "Unit One" and sent it off to my first readers. Depending on what they tell me, I'll tinker with it on Thursday or more and send it off to find a home in the publication wilds of the Northeast. Then and only then will it take its place at number fifty-nine of The One-Thousand.

I've broken down the hairy mess known as "Twilight in Mumbai" into more chapters to make it easier to wrangle. I've gone from five insane megachapters (don't ask me what I was thinking) to seventeen chapters. I'll jump back into that fun tomorrow.

Good Night all.

Monday, February 04, 2008

This Is Totally Fucking Bizarre

And I love it.

Today is the Day:

Experience Pathetic Doldrums Vicariously Through Me!

No story. I’ve just got unparalleled verbal diarrhea today, I don’t know why. I have a good friend upon whom I often thrust meandering speeches such as this one, in the form of e-mails, but I decided to turn this one into a post to give her a break. Writing e-mails to her is almost like throwing bottled messages into the ocean. She never replies. If I didn’t talk to her outside of e-mail, I’d never know if she’d received them or even if she’s still alive. Still, it’s cathartic and if she deleted the messages before reading them, I’d never know. I’m on vacation this week so I may be posting more stuff like this. I feel like I’m on some sort of writing crack today. I hope it keeps up.

The thing with the stories is, I’d had a streak going from January 1st through the 23rd, one story a day. The first week, my hits broke a record for me, then they went steadily down, so I asked myself why the hell I was doing it. And I stopped. I’ll post stories intermittently now.

Strange things happen when you come back to a part of a story you haven’t looked at in a while. I’m going through my novel and I found this little speech by my main character which makes no sense to me at all. I’m sure it made sense to me when I first wrote it. I’m leaving it as it is for now, hoping I’ll remember or get in the right state of mind to understand it in the future. I made a little comment next to it saying, “What the fuck did I mean by this?”

We haven’t had my preferred type of Ramen noodles in the house in a week or more and I’m going through withdrawals. I may have to drop everything at some point and buy noodles.

There are psychological and relational patterns that run through everyone’s lives. This is a human truth, which I’ve discovered through observation. Take a look at yourself and your co-people in life and you’ll see it too. A person can run the same pattern over and over again throughout their entire lifetime, like hooking up with abusive men again and again, or getting free things from people all the time. I just realized a huge pattern in my own life a couple of weeks ago. It’s almost the theme of my life. Again and again I impress people when they first get to know me and then as time goes on I never live up to that expectation that they have of me and they are inevitably disappointed in me. This makes it easy for me to get a job but difficult for me to get promoted. It happens on a small scale and it’s also the trajectory of my life. I showed huge promise as a kid, and have failed to live up to it. I was aware of this pattern to a smaller degree for years, but it was only recently that I understood how pervasive it was. The first step to breaking a pattern is to recognize it, so I hope I can change it now. This means I’ll have to get better at things as time goes on. That sounds like work. No wonder I haven’t changed yet.

I’m peeing like I’m on a beer binge today. I have to keep drinking so I don’t turn into a giant man-raisin. If I do turn, at least I’ll be sweeter, I guess.

I just got noodles. I saw the cutest kid on the planet at Publix and a bird that flew around inside the store. I hope they don’t have motion detectors, they’re going to have a miserable time tonight if that bird doesn’t leave.

More later, I think.