Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Noise overwhelmed signal.
So this version stripped out over two-third of the characters. One of the major plots had been banished, several characters no longer exist so minor ones are gone as well. I don't need more plot or more characters to make the story stand up: it just needs to focus on a small core and build on that. At least, that is my hope and desire this time around. We shall see how it goes.
And for the record, this entire draft is the fault of a certain prompt making me reconsider scrapping this entire section of the character's lives. Without it, Cam won't exist and that isn't fair at all. So ... it needs to be small. It needs mundane things. It needs to strain the weird relationship Bryce and Wray have and see how well it holds together.
It will also have an appendectomy in it now.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Religion counts as well, since one can argue that its primary purpose is social control/conformity. That's not to say it is what religion is about, but effectively what it becomes as a tool to maintain social order. If you want to avoid a revolt, you make sure people can't even conceive of it or convince them that they will be vindicated in some future time (via heaven/reincarnation/the dead all being equal and so forth).
The more obvious and gruesome spectacles to distract people also serve as warnings, much as being called a witch did in times gone by -- they told people that this is what happens if you screw up and warned them against stepping too far out of social norms. That betting on them is also the norm and can allow one some measure of wealth and perceived control over their lives is definitely an important factor in such events, but the fact that they become necessary for a society could be considered to imply a breakdown or at least symptomatic of a massive change in said society.
Elizabethan England was having the Protestant/Catholic wars straining ideas of what it meant to be of one faith or the other, and the price of conversion vs. that of souls, whether the nation could be considered godly and so forth, while the Roman empire was bursting with slaves and falling apart at the seams. I suspect that a society with less discrepancy between the rich and the poor in terms of wealth would require less overt or obvious means of social control, but it is likely a difficult theory to study.
Friday, June 14, 2013
The smell was worse than surströmming. Even people who didn't know what surströmming was knew that the moment the corpse of the god washed ashore. We didn't know it was a god, not then, but we all knew what it smelled of: imagine the worst thing you can smell. No, worse than that.
Imagine what the despair of hope smells like, then the sour smell -- more a taste of a body days dead -- that bypasses the olfactory entirely to lodge in the liver. An apotheosis of plague.
The god was scarcely bigger than a man, and by the time we'd begun to understand it was almost too late. New York had been contaminated by one, ground turned sour, the air a bruise.
We burned it, using napalm and curses. It took children in the end to get the fire going but the god did not infect the land and that was enough for us.
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Even though the waiting room was empty, she sat right next to me.
I was sitting on the cheap metal and plastic chair, fingers having dug grooves into the metal. I didn't trust myself to get up. Wasn't sure what I'd do if I moved.
"You shouldn't be here." I didn't look over. My voice was flat and cold, even to my ears. It was long past visiting hours; security had decided no one was paid enough to try and get me to leave. I look human. I'm not, and didn't hide it from them.
"Wray." She didn't reach over, didn't touch.
I turned my head. "Ghosts don't belong here."
Cam flinched, as if the words were an exorcism. "I'm your friend."
"You're not Bryce's."
"He'll be fine. They're just removing his appendix."
"He's a magician. He can bend the world. This shouldn't have --."
"That doesn't make him perfect," Cam said, even softer.
I could have made a joke, then. Didn't. Nothing came out. I eat corpses, never bothered me at all, but right now my stomach is twisted up in knots, the air thick with the smells of chemicals and death.
This is a place people go to die. I don't say it out loud. At least, I don't think so, but Cam reads my face and raises a hand. Drops it. She's made of magic, like all ghosts: touching me might destroy her, but I can see she wants to.
It pulls me out of the fear. A little bit. "Why are you here?"
"Three weeks before I died, my best friend downed pills. I took her to emerg, sat in the waiting room. Didn't call her family, because they would have blamed her. Didn't call mine because they would have said I shouldn't have made low-class friends in the first place. I sat. I waited. No one should wait alone, Wray."
"He's alone. In the room. With the doctors."
"I know. But I don't think they'd do their best work with you watching them?" she said.
I blinked. She didn't flicker, didn't vanish to some other place, but looked as if she wanted to. I snickered, forced myself to let go of the chair. "Okay. Good. Good point." I ran my fingers over my face, trying to pull words together. "Fuck."
It wasn't "I'm scared." It wasn't "Thank you." But she seemed to get it anyway.
I looked at the clock. I waited.
Monday, June 03, 2013
I'll continue with Boy& Fox, at the slow pace I'm doing now, let other stuff marinate. And in defiance of that, slowly write more poems. I don't consider myself good at it -- I wouldn't subject the world to a book of them, for example (chapbook or otherwise) but it's a nice pov to throw my brain into, to tease out pure economy from words.
Also to dig up old stuff and revise it, which is always an interesting experiment. Shall see how the next month goes.
Saturday, June 01, 2013
In this case, it would be incorrect to assume Occam’s Razor. Mostly cuz Occam used to it to justify God as the simplest solution to near anything, when the Devil fits better. Thing is, see, if you have a problem the simplest solution is to no longer have a problem. And if you don't think it's easy to kill yourself, you've never given the matter much thought.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
"All clove trees not controlled by the Voc were uprooted and burned.And then I came across how "according to the Canadian federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 75 percent of the world’s mining companies are headquartered in Canada", and how said companies have sued publishers out of existence for trying to print books on the subject. On this, the internet becomes quite awesome.
Anyone caught growing, stealing or possessing clove plants without authorisation faced the death penalty."
It did get me to wondering about how one regulates and controls multinational corporations and at what point their existence clashes with ideas of democracy (though arguably not capitalism, if one defines it as profits before people). And also how interesting such situations can be in fantasy and alternate history/sci fi novels. Trade is important and making such things the cornerstone of a novel could prove interesting, if handled right.
Makes me consider a fantasy world were magic is a minable/renewable resource, corporations and artificial scarcity ....
Sunday, May 19, 2013
The female ogre turned from the fire, tossing the rest of her half-burnt meal to her mate and surveyed Boy with more cunning than malice, which worried him all the more. “The other meal is a feisty one,” she said in a voice twin to her mates. “You will make a better meal while hunger and thirst soften that one up.”
Boy made a scared sound at that, unable not to.
“You didn’t think we’d eat you?” the ogre said, quite baffled.
“I don’t know what you are,” said Boy.
“We are ogres,” she said, though she named them without a morsel of pride.
The male ogre looked up from peeling charred flesh from bone and bristled, tossing the remains of their food into a fire and raising his voice in a terrible wailing chant.
”Oh, an ogre is a monster made of shadow, made of spite
Always in pairs of him and her yet only one is ever right!
An ogre is a creature that slow-hunts and stalks their prey
And among their many features is a desire (cruel!) to play!
Far and wide the ogre wander to seek prey with claws and teeth
If up to you an ogre saunters, death is something of relief!
For an ogre is a nasty beast, steeped in hunger, born of bile
But if made an ogre’s feast you’ll be cooked with vim and style!”
“Must you?” the female ogre said.
“It is our song, my darling,” he said, and Boy was certain the ogre had made it himself, so deep was his wounded pride.
“And if you sing it again today, I may have to kill you.”
“It is my fondest hope, poppet,” he said and they shared a ghastly smile.
“You’re going to eat me?” Boy said, more concerned with that than even how bad the ogre’s song had been.
“Of course!” The female ogre looked considerably surprised. “What else are humans for if not eating? You don’t even have any pesky fur to remove at all.”
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
I know how the story ends, or at least some beats of it. I don't know how it gets there and I know there's some plot things I need to change but so far the story is holding together. The only thing really slowing it down is that the scenes were Reynard (or Bess) offer up stories about him tend to lead to two days of not writing as I try and make up a story-within-the-story fairy tale. There have been two: I think there will be a third near the novel's end.
Aside from that, I have been able to make use of a little of the 66 pages I hand-wrote in Italy. From it, a poem-thing I will not be able to use:
I have not walked beneath the hills
Where man nor iron dwells,
Nor seen the clash of sun-drenched wills
Twixt angels fair and fell.
I have not seen a dream lord's snare
Hold fast a night-borne bane,
Nor seen a sword of blood rent bare
Or felt a mist-gods tears as rain.
But I have followed the empty songs
Of nameless children in the Waste,
And held to duty weighted of wrongs
And truth still bitter to the taste.
I have walked paths long left untrod... and yes, even in that version of the story, I have no clue why I put it in :p
To tame a dragon's searing flame,
And followed dreams and death where led
To shoulder love – and loss – and blame.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
"You bastard! A ring, now? Now?"
"But I love --."
"It's April 1st! YOU UNBELIEVABLE BASTARD!"
He was a magician,and that meant many things. But less with each funeral he attended.
His superpower was to set off car alarms just by looking at cars.
The seance was an ugly affair: a of a black goat was sacrificed, true Names spoken, awful forces bound to witness the act of her will upon the world.
"I don't understand," he whispered as he appeared beside her bed. Being dead hadn't been pleasant. Being dragged back into the world had been far worse.
"You died before me. We swore we'd be together forever. This way we will."
"But the living can't haunt the dead."
"You think so?" She smiled. "Just you watch me."
'Unexpected Pleasure': nickname given by the press to the world's most popular serial killer.
“You can go talk to him.”
“It’ll become politics. It always does and I’ll say the wrong thing and screw it up.”
“Just be yourself,” Bryce said. “Wait, that won’t help.”
I punched him in the arm and he just grinned and gave me a shove to the door.
“You’ve done fine so far, Wray. No one is dead yet.”
“That’s when politics breaks down?”
“No, that’s when it becomes interesting.
"True winter is being so cold that we forget what warmth is. Sometimes it is like that, with your mother and me."
"It’s all gone sour. All my plans, my goals, my dreams. The ugliness under my grand ambitions has swallowed it whole: when I try to join It, the Singularity just laughs at me."
"The day it stops raining will be the saddest day of all. If the sky no longer cries for us, we shall have to cry for ourselves."
"What kind of god judges and forbids judgement in turn?"
Her wit was so sharp that no one laughed when she finished the joke, too busy checking to see if they were bleeding.
"I am sorry I could not meet with you. I have been very busy not dying: it does take up an inordinate amount of time."
"I know humans can kill us but on their own, without luck and a really good weapon? It’s not going to happen. Your average high school student won’t have access to a rocket launcher or sniper rifle." She thought about that.
"We can’t find the truth if we’re too busy trying to escape out fears."
"What if they’re the same thing?"
Fake Fact: Las Vegas is really an alien theme park.
"You cannot hate me half so much as I hate myself."
"Maybe not. But I can give it a go."
You can make more money by giving something away than by selling it.
What if history was subject to peer review?
A story idea rummaging in the back of my head:
Re-tell Cinderella, from the pov of a boy named Ash, his wicked step-brothers and the princess at the ball.
From old novel notes: stuff I will probably never use.
STARVE: Society to Achieve Responsible Vampire Emancipation
GROWL: Grassroots Organization for Werewolf Liberation
"You can tell the truth and be kind," Boy said. "Or be silent."
"And that serves truth, does it?" Reynard Fox pressed, circling him as Boy followed the hints of the path in the woods.
"You think silence is better than lies, a world rendered mute better than one with song?"
"I don't know." Boy looked away from the fox. "I think, I think even if I was whole with memory, I still wouldn't know. But I bet a fox that everyone knows tells lies could get away with an awful lot of truths."
Reynard Fox let out a soft yip at that. "Oh, that is true as well," he said, because he couldn't not boast if given half a chance. "If you are clever enough, you never have to lie at all."
"You're going to eat me?" Boy said, more concerned with that than even how bad the ogre's song had been.
"Of course!" The female ogre looked considerably surprised. "What else are humans for if not eating? You don't even have any pesky fur to remove at all."
You never realize how fragile a story is until you tell it to others and it falls apart under their regard. Only the great lies can survive this.
"No one becomes a ghost unless they have something to hide, something so big that death itself cannot release them from it."