Nightmares And Madmen Dept.

When you replace the "nightmare" with "insanity", what happens?

I imagine a fair number of people reading this are familiar with Shin'ya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo: The Iron Man, that grotesque little masterwork of Japanese indie cinema — "like H.R. Giger and Yukio Mishima had each other's body-horror babies," as a friend of mine once quipped. What's odd is how Tsukamoto's follow-up, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, had a bigger budget and better production values, and yet is far inferior on almost every other level.* Thomas Weisser's capsule description of the two films in one of his Japanese cinema guidebooks provided the single best sussing-out I've seen to date of what went wrong: Tsukamoto had "replaced the nightmare with insanity."

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Tags: art creativity imagination

Flight of the Vajra: 'Flight of the Vajra' Is In The Running In The Nerdist's Space Opera Competition At Inkshares!

ATTENTION READERS/FANS OF MY WRITING AND MOST EVERYONE ELSE TO BOOT: I need your help! I have just submitted my far-future SF fantasia Flight of the Vajra to The Nerdist's new Space Opera competition over at Inkshares: Here are...


I need your help!

I have just submitted my far-future SF fantasia Flight of the Vajra to The Nerdist's new Space Opera competition over at Inkshares:

Here are the details about the competition:…/nerdist-space-opera-contest

What do you need to do?

Simple. Pre-order the book. ($10 at the lowest tier.)

If you've considered buying a copy of this previously, but held off for whatever reason, this is just the excuse you need!

The more pre-orders I score by March 15, 2016, the greater my odds of winning. Winning means I get my book distributed by the Nerdist in their collection, and there may be "an opportunity to co-develop your work into other media such as movies, TV series, and digital productions."

If you can't spare the money to pre-order, at least do me the justice of adding yourself as a reader. The site's easy to set up membership with; you can log in via Facebook or Twitter.

Spread the word, share the links. Help me make this happen!

[Note: For the time being I am leaving the original Amazon product links up for Vajra. However, if the Inkshares folks say yes, I will have to take down my current edition of the book due to their contract. I don't have a problem with this personally; just that if the links go offline at some point later, that'll be why. I'll keep everyone posted should that happen.]

Tags: contests Flight of the Vajra Inkshares publicity publishing real life The Nerdist

Big Wheel Turnin' Dept.

I remain busy.

Busy week, not much time for blogging (will explain why by this weekend). News of my little world:

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned programming projects real life writing

The Big Snub Dept.

At what point does "doing your own thing" become mere contempt for the audience?

New Details on the Kevin Smith Moose Jaws Movie & More

[Smith] talked about his approach to movies nowadays and how he isn’t aiming to please general audiences anymore. Towards the end of his little spiel, Smith said: “I used to want to make movies for audiences. But if you’ve seen Tusk, and after you’ve seen Yoga Hosers, you’ll see that I really don’t give a shit about the audience anymore.” After posting about this online, many people have taken it as something incendiary towards the people who go to see his movies. However, his position is really one that a lot of filmmakers should have. Smith isn’t saying that he doesn’t want the audience to enjoy the movie or that he’s purposely making movies that they won’t like (though some would disagree with the latter), but he’s simply making the movies that he wants to make.

Exercise for the reader: At what point does "doing your own thing" shade over into — or fall headlong into — mere contempt for the audience?

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Tags: audiences creativity creators Kevin Smith movies

Eyes Wide Shut Dept.

Harlan Ellison is best known for his fantasy and SF work, but he was also responsible for The Glass Teat, a two-volume collection of columns he ran in the L.A. Free Press from about 1969 through 1972. The subject was...

Harlan Ellison is best known for his fantasy and SF work, but he was also responsible for The Glass Teat, a two-volume collection of columns he ran in the L.A. Free Press from about 1969 through 1972. The subject was ostensibly television; the real subject was The Tenor (read: Terror) Of The Times.

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Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: A Bigger And Better Excuse Dept.

When does justification for a creative decision fall short?

Working on the second draft of the outline for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned today, something occurred to me as I found a detour around a plot roadblock. Time and again I've come up against what looks like plot holes, things that caused me to stop what I was doing and argue with myself. Does this not make sense? Why is it really here in the first place? Should I do something else?

Round and round turns the hamster-wheel, until a day or two later an answer pops out. Sometimes I scrap what I had in mind and come up with something else. Other times, though, I end up keeping what I have, only with a far more detailed justification for it.

The latter makes me deeply uncomfortable. Did I actually figure out how to make the element in question work, or did I just come up with a better excuse/self-justification for why I should leave it in?

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Tags: editing writers writing

Listen Without Prejudice Dept.

How to hear them out when they say you're wrong.

Further notes on the posts from earlier this week. If our instincts for what kinds of advice to accept or reject are based on our tastes, how can we be certain our tastes are better than someone else's? (This was Matt's question, but it is also mine.)

The way I think about it, it's not a matter of our tastes being "better" than the next guy in the same way that we can, say, achieve a higher bowling score or a lower golf score. What matters is being self-aware — knowing why we have the preferences we do, and being conscious of the ends to which we use them.

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Tags: criticism critics writers writing

Them's Fighting Words Dept.

On "pretentious" and "elitist".

More from yesterday. I promised I would talk more about the terms "elitist" and "pretentious." 

"Elitist" and "pretentious" are such thought-stoppers, aren't they? I suspect that's the idea — all you have to do to pretend you don't have to engage with a particular thing is to stick such a label on it, and that seals it over as thoroughly as Pandora's Box wasn't.

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Tags: audiences sociology writers writing

Plugging One's Ears Dept.

On ignoring bad advice, part two.

My friend Matt Buscemi had something sharp to say about my previous post: "You get to ignore stupid feedback when you're read enough and gotten enough feedback to know that the feedback giver's advice comes from an experience narrower than your own."

I think at this point I've earned the right to ignore feedback I think is foolish, because I've had at least some practice at determining what kinds of feedback are suited to making a given thing better.

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Tags: criticism critics editing Welcome to the Fold writers writing

I Did It My Way Dept.

How to figure out if your way is in fact a dead end.

At some point in every writer's career, I imagine, there comes a moment when they say something to the effect of "I wrote it that way for a reason."

I'm still on the fence as to whether this is the sign of a writer finally coming into his own, or a mudpit that can engulf the boots of someone at most any stage in their career.

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Tags: creativity creators David Lynch Roger Ebert

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I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be made into something more than just a way to blow stuff up.

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