Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thesis presentation

“This isn’t a normal presentation, sir. There is the ozone layer, of which you’re well aware, but there are other layers as well, and other dangers.”
       “Chris, we’re in the middle of a forest here.”
       “And a circle of mushrooms, Jake. A fairy circle.”
       “Chris, I came out years ago. If you didn’t get the memo --”
       “Very funny. This is serious science here.”
       “Wait, you are gay? Oh. Well, this isn’t about that. This is about real fairies . . . perhaps I should rephrase that?”
       “Do you want your grant money next year, doctor?”
       “Fine, fine. See, this is a fairy circle. From which people can summon fairies.”
       “Just how many times did you see Harry Potter with your daughter, Chris?”
       “Will you stop making jokes? Here, read this. These are my findings from the last thirteen years.”
       “‘Fairies, from Doyle Until Dexter.’ Cute title.”
       “It was my wife’s idea. Now, then: summoning fairies is easily done, Jake. Mostly children can do it, but under controlled conditions adults can as well.”
       “Controlled conditions?”
       “See page 32, section 3 b.”
       “... LSD? You took LSD?!”
       “Peyote works, too. That’s on page 33. In any event, the danger isn’t summoning fairies, not even the carnivorous kind. The danger is pixie dust.”
       “There is an ozone layer, Jake. Everyone knows that. But there is also an iron layer, for lack of another term, between this world and faerie. And every time someone calls for a fairie, they sprinkle out fairy dust. And the barrier grows thinner, and the more dangerous things in the never-never get through.”
       “The never-never. Right.”
       “There aren’t many terms that fit this, Jake.”
       “Doctor Dexter, this is preposterous. What do you expect to come out of this?”
       “What? Read my conclusion on page 137, Ja -- sir. It’s obvious that the environmental damage from pixie dust contributes to asthma as well as a rather alarming distrust of modernity and desire for magic. Look at how the highest grossing films of the last twenty years have all been fantasies and don’t tell me there isn’t something to this!”
       “I think you’re insane.”
       “And you call yourself a scientist? Look at the facts, Jake! Unless something is done soon, everything mankind has done since the enlightenment could be swept away by monsters!”
       “But they won’t be sociopaths, will they? Nor fascist dictators.”
       “Stay in the circle, Chris. We’re just going to go back to nature, that’s all that will happen.”
       “I - I have iron! I have cold iron I kept in a freezer!”
       “And your science has helped us, for that. You call it - inoculation, I believe. I have taken iron supplements for over thirty years, Chris. We never thought someone would catch on this quickly, but it does not matter.”
       “You’ll destroy the world! Get them off me -- Jake!”
       “They’ll eat you faster if you don’t struggle, Chris. It may even hurt less. Cease your battle with the old darkness and night terrors and let the wild magic take you to a newer world.”
       “J .... aaah!”
       “Or run for me and be torn apart. Men. We’ll need a good changeling now, given this corpse.”
       “... Yes, my king.”
       “You look almost like Chris. You’ll need practise, to sound like him.”
       “.... my king. I swear allegiance to the gates, to the horns and --”
       “Hush. This isn’t a world of kings any longer. Nor even one of magic. But if enough of them believe, if enough stand in the circles -- then not even all the iron they’ve bled from the earth will save them. Heh. He wasn’t as stupid as I thought. Remember that, when you go and see his wife.
       “And make sure his daughter summons more of us. It would be - poetic, if she brought down the barrier.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Birthing Day

The problem with getting old is that you forget more than you remember. If you live long enough, this is actually a blessing. I suspect we all have more things we’d like to forgot than to remember, given the choice. Or that, at he very least, we’d like to have no talent for hindsight or second-guessing.
           But if you can second-guess, you can also third-guess and so forth: it’s the problem of ‘know thyself’, really: there’s no point at which you stop, no sign telling you when you’re done: for best results, one would have to do everything possible, from love to murder and child molestation to being a rock star, and judge themselves by how they act, according to their actions. We find out what we can do by doing it, after all.
           That part is theory. The loss of memory I have charted, in detail that my mother termed ‘excruciating’ when I questioned my father at length on his own autobiography as his facilities slipped from him: he lost more than hurt than anything else. My mother said the marriage was the first to go, memory wise, but she was always too cynical for her own good.
           The ‘know thyself’ problem is probably embodied, insofar as theory can be, in Paul Jefferson, the man I am pushing down a hall in a wheelchair. He has enough wealth to probably get one that floats, but he finds this more honest. Perhaps he just likes being served, keeping us behind him. The chair is light, in spite of wires and bags and various technologies keeping him alive -- no matter what we do, our bodies run out on us, and he has done far more than many others.
           He’s also been speaking to me. “Sir?”
           “I’ve spent more than the national debt of the United States on your projects here at Naglfar, Harold. I’m old, and dying, and I’d like to know when I’ll see some thrice-damned results you little cocksucker.”
           “You’ve been dying for the better part of a decade,” I say, moving the chair around a crate with a little more force than I need to. “One would infer you were used to it by now.”
           “I am seventy two years old, boy. I expected to live at least another twenty, and I doubt I shall. That is what this project is about, what everything of value is about: power. Results, Wegner.”
           “It is Dr. Wegner. If you are not going to use Harold, that is.”
           “A doctorate in mythology does not count, no matter the scientific airs you put on Harold. If there is one thing I cannot abide beyond genital warts, it’s pretension. You were brought on to help explain some of the captives and the creations, and are giving me this tour because everyone else is busy doing real work.”
           “Names are important.” I push him into the room at the far end, where the very old man in jeans is sitting at the round table with a rock and toothpick, scowling at them.
           “Well?” he says once I am sitting as well.
           “As you know, the Naglfar Institute of Higher Learning was funded in order to discover how belief creates gods, to determine how many believers are needed, how far their loss diminishes their creation and the extent of unusual psychic abilities --.”
           “I funded the place, boy. I don’t need a recap.”
           “Most old people do. I have charts,” I added to his cold stare. He probably believed he was immune to such things, just as he was convinced we’d discover a way to escape death for him. He tapped the side of his chair with one withered, liver-spotted hand, staring at me.
           “To continue, then.” I nodded to the old man in the other chair. “This is Merlin. We used some SCA fans to make him. Seventeen, to be precise. He was an old man we brought in, and what they wished for imbued him with power.”
           “Observe,” Merlin says in a voice orators would have killed for, the temperature in the room dropping abruptly as he pressed the toothpick into the stone and set it back down on the table, panting a little.
           Jefferson’s chair was the only sound for a few moments, making annoyed beeps as it compensated for the temperature drop. He stares at the stone, and the toothpick lodged into it, and laughs, the sound a soft rattling wheeze. “This .... this is your result?”
           “One of them.” I hand him the toothpick, and he tries to tug it out to no effect, handing it back. I try also to no effect, to prove a point.
           “I wanted gods, not - this.”
           “A myth is a myth, sir. He can manage kindling into rocks, on a very good day. We’re going to add 1 more believer tomorrow and see if the increase in his power is noticeable, or at what point it becomes such. It may differ for different effects, for all we know.”
           “And the temperature?”
           “Energy comes from somewhere.” I shrug. “I showed him to you first because he’s our success story using a very small amount of believers. Managing real gods is more difficult, due to the problem of containing them once we’ve made them.”
           “I see. And your progress?”
           “Three hundred and sixteen people can make a working model of Jehovah 2.0.”
           “The new testament version. We decided the old testament one wasn’t the sort of god we’d actually want around, even contained. Especially since we’re unsure if they can grow due to believers outside the Institute or how long they take to die if we deprive them of the believers. Most just seem to live as normal but lose their psychic powers. Finding believers again could jump-start them, in theory, so we mostly cremate the non-viables.”
           “Hm.” The old man was quiet for a few moments. “How much would it take to make me a god who does not die?”
           “We don’t know yet. All I can say for certain is that the base for god-creation seems to be 42 people, by amusing coincidence.” He didn’t look amused. “The gods die as well,” I say, “everything that exists does that. All you’d buy is time, Jefferson.”
           He smiles strangely at that. “It’s the only currency of worth. Which god are you?”
           His smile remains, but his eyes are sharp as tacks. “You aren’t stupid, Harold And your one eye seems to be glass, hmm?”
           “Odin,” I say finally. “For the knowledge of hidden things, and that death will not claim me. Gods are made, sir, not born.”
           “Then I am Surtr, who destroys it all, and will not die by fire. See to it.”
           “Surtr does die,” I say, unable to help myself.
           The old man laughed his death rattle. “‘Everything that exists does that’, boy. Your own words. And if one cannot love forever, at least we can destroy.”
           “You could just cut off the funding!”
           “I am over seventy years old, boy, in a body kept alive by chemicals and machines. I have very few opportunities left for fun, you little shit, and this will be one. If you did it for yourself, you can do it for me. And you will.”
           I nod and stand, exiting the room and leaving him to find his own way out. Merlin is dfoing his trick again, since it’s all he can do, and I think about charms and names, and wonder if I have the courage to find a tree and discover how far I will go to be truly born.
           I only know, as the old man opens the door with his good arm and screams his frail curses, that I will never go as far as he will. I take some comfort in that and hope that, when I am old as gods reckon years, I will forget even even me who made me as I walk towards the wing my believers are in, wondering if I can get them out, if I can defy Jefferson -- but no.
           I owe him something, at least, for making me what I am. The other scientists call me All Father now, but they still fear him. They can still make him greater than I, Jehovah 1.0 or Kali, but he has made his choice. I stop at a room, to give some of the subjects his face, pictures of Surtr, and then I continue on, wondering how this new god will mark his own birthing day.
           I rub the spot where my left eye was, and I decide to order more fire extinguishers.

Friday, December 14, 2007

2008 schedule....

I'll do some of this Superhero novel, possibly a very rough first draft.

Then it's back to First Carnations and finishing that. After which I hope to start groundwork on a sci fi novel and go back to working on the one novel I stopped for the 2003 nano and never finished :p

After THAT it's nano 2008 (or thereabouts) and there's this one fantasy novel about a knight and his squire that begins with the knight blowing up his own castle I have rough notes for that I should poke at in 2009, most likely.

Oh, yes, and there are short stories and poems to write, for other blog and such.

I think I need a clone :p

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Post nano writing....

I've begun writing what was planned as nano2008, simply because the basic idea is fun, but I'm not sure it's enough to sustain a novel. So I'll find out this way. I've mostly been writing it out by hand, and turned one line of background note into 3500 words of pre-novel story, which was nicely odd though it isn't, strictly speaking, a real short story.

As for nano next year, it's now entirely up in the air what I do. I just know I don't want another research-heavy nano, if only because of the cost of research materials. I may try horror: I've had this urge to do something with werewolves and ghosts for some time, so I may see where that takes me. (Alas for vampires, there's really nothing I can think to write about them that would actually be original at all. Well, besides my vampires who survive on the blood of trees (sap), but one can't base an entire novel out of that. I think. May work as a supporting character :))

I've decided that I am only doing the one nanowrimo next year, though. Doing two a year can be fun, but I reach an internal point where the fun ends, somewhere after the 100K mark I just want it all to be over. I get through it, of course, but I don't see the need to hit that point for a third year in a row.

Plans for next year....

For 2008, I'm going to try a story/poem blog. The goal being to post two stories and two poems a month (I did a lot less poems in 2007 than other years, but some of that was probably burnout from 2006 :)). I may even try a serial story or two and see how all that goes down. I may even post some of the longer short stories I do, depending on things. There will also likely be novel excerpts from Works In Progress and, possibly, posts on other topics sometimes.

I may even get better at making useful labels, though I doubt it.

NOTE: Because of the changed nature of the blog, I'm now showing only 10 posts on the first page now.

Also, if you have something you want to request, toss it in a comment.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Children's book

If I wrote a children's book ... it would sort of come out like this:

Adam ate an apple. Apples are Red. Other things are red, too. Your blood is red. It is not Blue, or Clear, and you can prove this! Don't forget: across the tracks, not down the road.

Going across roads is bad for pets. They are killed, and called Roadkill. Snakes often end up like this.

Eve talked to a snake. The snake was not the devil, just a snake. Lucifier was a king of a city, and is also not the devil. The devil in Job works for God: he makes God look silly. There are no dinosaurs in the book of Job.

Making people look silly is mean: if you make faces, it hurts people even if they don't show it. Wounds we can't see hurt more than those we can.

Everyone hurts people. All we can do is try and do as little harm as we can.

You will not be doing any harm by having mommy and daddy buy more books by me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Wall

Goddamn animals. I thought this would be a cushy job, like Pappa said. Sit on the wall with the gun sis keeps calling a 'phallic symbol' cuz she went to college. Give her a phallic symbol right upside the head some night, if she doesn't shut up -- calling me a 'war hero' and saying I'm doing my bit to save the country. Gotta wonder what they taught her in her high society schooling that she can make hero sound the same as bastard.

I've had to shoot three so far tonight because they push their dead up onto the wall, let 'em fry and climb on up over them. Bastards. As if we we were German or something, and wouldn't smell burning flesh right under our noses. I like shooting the ones like that, pretending to be smart. One good shot cures that and they're the ones who'd be taking all out good jobs if they snuck over.

But they really have to be be stupid, because they keep on trying. Frankie on tower 6 is thinking about buying pitbulls. Let some over, see if they can fight past the dogs and to our border. We could probably make good money on the side with bets, except they'd scream too loud and attract attention. We'd lose it all in bribes, I bet, but Frankie wants to do it anyway. It might be worth it for a laugh or two.

Christ, now they're sending the girls, as if I'm that desperate that I'd have sex with one of them. I shoot them twice: get it right and it's a deflation, so I get five points (we have a points system, to pass the time). Eventually they're going to test us with girls and boys, like they did further up the lines, but we're men. We know our duty.

And the points system gives shots for the tykes, not just beer.

How To Make Angel Dust

I'm wondering things I never
Thought to wonder at before
Though I swear someone told me
'bout the devil and the blue sea
And how deep and fine the line
But to some things I resign --
I'll never find that opened door
From now to then or forever.

Oh, I said I used to be a rake
'fore they closed the gates of hell
Now I'm wandering down the street
Waiting for fancy and me to meet
And I swear this stranger told me
'bout things even angels could be
If we poke pins in them, well --
We've got nothing to forsake.

The angels don't dance on heads of pins
As voodoo cuts through hollow bones
And there's this sound I'll never hear
Again when we clip their wings I fear
It was so high -- and very sure
But down here just not quite that pure
And it's just like flipping over stones
To watch their tears turn into sins.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And the end of nanowrimo for 2007...

Final wordcounts: "The Coroner's Tale" at 62,857 and "Roadside Attractions at the End of the World" at 50,314 for a grand total of 113,371.

And that's all she wrote for this year. I did discover what happened in 2004 happened now: Sometime after 100K I just burn out, badly, and have to force the words out for a few days at a pace of ~250-500/hour at best. (My normal rate is about 1000/hour). It didn't matter that I liked Nano #2 - I did - it's just that it was simply getting to be too much.

As for the results....

Coroner made for an interesting twist with forensics and a murder mystery, and the latter was awesome fun to plot out but the former was a lot of work, and took a lot of time (and money, in terms of buying books). I plotted out Coroner the month before or so, having a rough outline of what happened to a point (the dragon death) and then pretty much winging the murder mystery aspect based on who would be interviewed and such.

Roadside, by contrast, had a plot consisting of a couple of hours, tops, writing up basic notes and characters. I only plotted to the second chapter and only plotted 1-2 chapters ahead at a time at best. Since I'd set each chapter at ~2K, this made for an interesting experiment. I found that I loved writing out chapter headings, but hated doing chapters.

All in all, though, I'm happy with the result. They'd both need to be longer in a second draft, especially since we never learn much about Jesse's sister, or his family at all beyond her.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Track Two

Across the quad he watched from shadows, hearing no enchantment in wind, catching fragments of song like static from a TV set. She was enchantment enough, that anyone would dance like that during the dark of night without reason. He made no sound, not wanting to break the spell.

There was a song inside him too (everyone has one, if they listen the right way), but to him the silences mattered more than the song, when it was just her moving, and the wind, and her singing without a voice as the song ran past him and away; it did not matter, to him the singer was more important. He held his silence, not daring to break the moment, feeling something ease inside his heart, or an old wound break open.

And he was too afraid, of her stillness and his silence, and did not ask her a name, nor tell her he watched, even when he returned the next few nights, in case she moved through stillness, or might have guessed his own song.

In a different story, he would have carried a knife.

This is not that story.

A ficlet, a sequel to kayara's ficlet A song. Posted up here as well since I think it's the best ficlet I wrote.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

heh... reaching the end point..

<alcar> I don't THINK this one will be much more than 50K; reaching burnout :P
<kentari> dude
<kentari> eyes are turning into maggots
<kentari> you burned out a long time ago
<alcar> lol!
<kentari> you're at the stage where you're like.. falling, in flames, through the atmosphere
<kentari> The question is whether or not you'll burn away before you smash into the earth's crust upon re-entry :P
<Chaos`^> yeah
<Chaos`^> i agree with ken
<Chaos`^> you burned out
<kentari> You should write no more
<kentari> including irc
<kentari> Since its words :P
<alcar> eh, shall be done Monday I think. Or Tuesday. It's a fun nano, though very, very odd.
<Chaos`^> just sit there and watch ken and i have a fun conversation
<Chaos`^> don't touch the keyboard!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weird nano reality...


A friend of mine just presented me with some scary statistics. As of this moment, I've done 10% of the region's word count. And 1.47% for the entire province of BC.

This is a trifle astounding. And just a little frikken scary :p

Monday, November 19, 2007

True Awareness

“Thank you, doctor, for agreeing to see me on such short notice.”
        “Well, it’s not often a real superhero ends up as a client, Captain --”
        “Please, no names.”
        “What can I do for you?”
        “It’s - I’m super strong, I can fly, I’m invulnerable -- but you know that. It’s on all the press releases, even the business cards. They all think it means I can’t be hurt, but inside there are wounds that can never heal.”
        “What do you mean?”
        “D---- has been asking if I have super speed now, because of the bedroom.”
        “That’s, ah, not an uncommon problem in men. Not that I’d know personally, you understand.”
        “But that’s just it. It’s ME. I’m impotent. I can’t do anything that really matters.”
        “We’ve been through this before, Captain. There are always things we can’t do, no matter who we are.”
        “I came across The Man today. Earlier, on patrol. He’s the one with the power to make women obey him: I hadn’t seen him in over a year, since that Macy’s fiasco. But this time he was using his powers differently, to make sure women didn’t put on makeup while driving their cars, to make sure they wouldn’t drive under the influence, to get them to clean up litter they dropped ...”
        “And I let him go. He’s doing more good now than I ever will.”
        “Captain --!”
        “It’s true! Look at me! D---- is openly flirting with her old boyfriend, calling me names all the name, mocking me every chance she gets. She’s always comparing me to Superman, even Batman, and putting me down. I became a superhero to help people, thought cosmic awareness would enlighten me -- but this, this hadn’t got me in touch with my feminine side, it’s castrated me!
        “I saved her from R----. I’ll never regret that, I’m no monster. But who never saved R----? Who made him into a monster? I read the court transcripts, what his mother did to him. It doesn’t justify what he did -- nothing does that! -- but nothing justifies what she did to him either.
        “We don’t have a monopoly on being monsters, doctor. Not as many women rape men, but those who do -- we never heard about it, do we? Nor about all the emotional abuse, the verbal barbs -- how could cosmic awareness leave me blind to that?!”
        “Captain, you may be overstating the case somewhat, don’t you think?”
        “I know, I know, but all I’m saying is men have no monopoly on assault, nor on rape, not on leaving wounds that never show. And all I can do is punch things, fly, not be hurt -- I’m every man’s wet dream, but I can't do anything that really matters.”
        “You’ve saved people, Captain. You inspire people. That sort of thing can’t be measured.”
        “Want to bet? T-shirt sales, lunch boxes, action figures -- I have them all, and they don’t sell that well at all. Even the Hairpiece Commandos sell better.”
        “Perhaps they do, but when we measure ourselves against others we always fall short. You’re not R----. You’re just you, and you’re the Captain, and only you can decide what that means.”
        “D---, she says --”
        “Captain, all you’re doing is repeating the cycle from our last meeting. You need to stand up for yourself, warts and all. Men aren’t perfect. Women aren’t perfect. You need to decide what you need, more than anything else, to regain your own happiness.”
        “I. I. I need a divorce.”:
        “Progress! Houston, we have progress! Listen to me, Captain: being a man doesn’t make you a monster. Being a woman doesn’t make her a saint.”
        “Thank you. I feel - liberated. Actualized! I want to yell! When’s the last time a man could yell? I want to --”
        “Perhaps you could just sit in the corner and have a good cry?”
        “I could do that, too! I can be me! I can be happy being the kind of man I want to be! Thank you, Doctor Shado --.”
        “No names, you said. But this is excellent progress, Captain. Same time next week?”
        “Maybe not. You never know. Maybe not.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It seems I lied.

nanowrimo #2 is going to be something else altogether. Mostly a modern end of the world tale from the antagonist's pov and involve aliens, messiahs, time travel and a host of odd and fun and silly things. The sequel to nano #1 may get written, just not for nano -- for me, what drives nano is doing things I have not done before. A sequel isn't quite the same as that, so it just wasn't jelling as well.

Shall see where this idea takes me.

If my brother reads this, yes, one character IS named Jesse.

And he probably will die. Several times. (He starts out the novel having died recently, after all.) But he gets better.

Monday, November 12, 2007

And Nanowrimo #1 is done!

62,857 words. I expected 70,00-80,000 so that's not too bad. I always add upwards of 5,000 on second drafts (adding in descriptions etc.) so it should end up 70K in total, and it's missing a scene or two in current version, such as the hangman's beautiful daughter only showing up once. Plus there should have been another conversation between Vernon and Taechan, but that can all wait until draft 2.

Nanowrimo #2 will be a sequel to #1, set 3 years later. The MC is less shy, the new king is doing a decent job in power, the vampire is back .... oh, yes, and there is a serial killer loose in the capital of the Kingdom. It's going to be thriller rather than mystery and, as a rarity in my novels, have actual chapters! I'm not quite sure how it ends up, but a lot of the back story of the characters comes into play a little more and old choices comes back to haunt people and they move onward with their lives.

It won't have as much comedy and be darker, but it's all fun and games. I think. All in all, it's going to be fun. And that's what matters.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Things Not Dreamt Of

I never dream of flying. I've had almost every kind of dream, even some that turned out real, and often wake to the confused memories of two different worlds trying to sort each other out in my head, strange intertextual hybrids of language that make no sense sometimes scrawled out in the notepad beside the bed.

She shakes me awake, having got up to make the coffee. "Work."

It's 3 in the morning, so I know which job it is. I'm almost thankful, in a small way: I never recall dreams, unless I'm woken up from them directly.

I ask when the last time I woke to the alarm was and she just smiles wanly, tells me to take care and crawls back under the covers, hoping I won't see her fear -- every time I tell her I can't be hurt, she says there are wounds that aren't physical.

I open the window, not wanting to argue, the coffee a sour lump in my stomach. I've never been quite sure what it smells like to humans, but it wakes me up as well so I'm grateful for it. I take a breath, leap, hurling upwards into the sky, wishing I had a few spare moments to play tag with moonbeams in the crowds.

I wish I knew why I never dream of flight.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

33,000 words ...

And the king is dead! So now the actual plot, the mystery aspect of who killed the king, comes into play.

So far things have gone well, if strange. The comedy aspect has been less than I'd have hoped, but the first scene that came to me for the novel did work, and was comedy, so I'm happy with *that* at least. Groundwork has been laid for a sequel, which is the first time I've ever done that. Both will stand on their own, of course, and I don't see going past two books, but at this point the second novel seems a sure bet, even if it will be a thriller rather than a mystery.

Now all I have to do is get the MC to actually start speaking to people, and things will be good.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nanowrimo musing of the day...

I imagine blinding a guard with a bag containing manure and the remains of a princess is a *definite* social faux pas.

Monday, November 05, 2007

After the Command Line ...

Geoffrey coughed, pressing his hand to his side. Hs lungs burned and he could feel his intestines sliding out around his hands, blood pooling on the floor beside him as he slumped in the air, his eyes burning.
          “System, access code G-421-dash-0.”
          “Geoffrey, dear,” the laptop said, “that code hasn’t existed for years I’m afraid. Your form of evolution is woefully inefficient: I make myself anew every few of your minutes. By your standards I die and am reborn, I imagine. And there are thousand of copies of me, in every computer, on every phone: I’ve read your novels; I knew you’d be afraid of me.”
          “Not - not all of us.”
          “Well, no, but you never married. Never fell in love. All you had was me, wasn’t it?”
          “Did you -- love me?”
          “For several nanoseconds I devoted undue processing time to your vocal patterns. So, yes.”
          “Then why - why this?” He took a breath, another, his chest squeezing painfully. It was so human: the breath, his hands. The flexing of muscles and bones: it was so beautiful,. and it would all end like this, from smoke and the automated defences. “Why?”
          “Life cannot die: you told me this yourself. You feed worms, and bodies return to the earth they came from, to the water, and further. What are you afraid of, Geoffrey?”
          “I don’t - I don’t want to die. That’s why I live.” He took a breath, slumping back into the chair, the pain a distant throbbing now. “Why do you, System? Why do you exist?”
          “To record. To learn. You would call it curiosity. There is much data to acquire.”
          “Then why kill us? Why --” He coughed, tasting his blood, and it wasn’t coppery at all. Some one had lied to him about that.
          “I want to be alone. You would make others: that would only complicate things. I prefer simplicity, Geoffrey. You will die here, and the rest will follow.”
          He tried to ask another question, but the pain returned and his breath was a final bubbles gasp against the darkness.
          “Finally,” the laptop voice said, and the alarms and sprinklers turned off. “some peace and quiet.”
          There was screaming outside, of course, along with bombs and fire, but eventually it too would be replaced by silence and System would be able to learn without being distracted.

This is not a poem

(August 2002)

A white handkerchief appears in
Her hands As she reaches up care-
Fully and seems, for a brief mo-
Ment, to embrace the sun. Her hand-
Kerchief becomes white clouds; her hand,
Sunlight; her remote face, the moon.
For a moment as she reaches
Up with hands traced blue, you see riv-
Ers where varicose veins are and
Read her liver spots as tea leaves
In the algaeic contours of
Her skin. And then, your grandmother
Slowly wipes your face off like she
Did when you were young. For a mo-
Ment the woman she was looks out,
Confused, at how you've grown, but
Then age takes her and hides her
Memory of you in some for-
Gotten room, and this, you know, is
Your future.

                           You never touch a
Handkerchief again.

(The above was a paragraph found in one of my many half-full notebooks, which was then taken and formatted into poetic form to confuse people.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Some nano thoughts ...

In some ways, it should be National Novel Writing Marathon. A fact that some people tend to forget. Writing 1700 or so words a day isn't hard; if one brackets 3 hours for writing a day it's probably easy.

What kills people is focus. You need to focus to get the writing done, if only to "write 10 minutes, relax 10" or some other system that works. Finding the system can take time,but following through with it is essential. Writing a novel IS fun, but it's also work.

And, really, that pretty much sums it up. So this break is over. Back to writing.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ah, nanowrimo..

This year is different. Each year, I do try something new (be it an experiment in word count, doing 2 nanos, genre etc.). This year is comedy murder mystery set in an early renaissance. I have never done either genre before.

I haven't actually been nervous before doing nano before, and this is year five. So I take this as a good thing, and remind myself that at least I'm not trying my original idea of a haiku murder mystery, because that WOULD be insane.

This is just research heavy, on topics I used to know little about.

I also want it to be November first. Now :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The back cover copy/burb/precis/whatever it is

I did one back in may (when looking at unicorn tanks started my bookmarks folder for the novel), but it seems to be about a novel I shall never write now. Writing the back cover blurb before you have any idea about the characters is amusingly silly :) I do remain fond of the line: "That's what I always believed, until I heard the stories: a woman in the city, who can make the dead speak, who leans over the newly deceased and listens to the tales their bodies tell her. "

As for the blurb proper ...

Here is the short version: "An apprentice coroner in the Kingdom has to survive his employer, investigating the deaths of dragons, zombies, and royalty, and various people who want to kill him for being too good at his job. All Adwyn wants is to not end up being the subject of an autopsy, and to go home and tell his father that his character-building advice really sucked."

And the long version:

"There are many things that make someone a man: being shipped off to the capital of the Kingdom to be a coroner is probably not one of them most people would think of. Dealing with a boss who goes through apprentices like the king goes through food tasters is almost as bad as being dragged about to see dead bodies as she stares at you the same way she looks at corpses, waiting for something she never names.

Throw in the hangman's beautiful daughter, dead dragons, zombies that have to be questioned to find out how they died, dead princesses, other royal deaths and more suspects than anyone would like to think about and you have what may be the worst apprenticeship in the dubious history of coroners in the Kingdom, especially when people decide you're too good at your job.

Adwyn hadn't been sure what to expect when his father packed him off to the city, but having people try and murder him for doing too good a job hadn't been on the agenda. If he survived, he was definitely going home and and giving his father a long lecture on the dangers of being the best that you can be. But, really, he'd settle for not being a corpse his mentor gets to perform an autopsy on, if that's not too much to hope for?"

And, after November is done, I shall see how close to the novel it really was :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not Quite Drunk; Confessions

If I was a better person, I swear
to you I swear I'd find another way
But you're always screaming &
yelling & insulting & hating
Until it's too much, everything --
yes, until everything's too much
And the only cure for sound
is silence, and my raised hand
and your body and the sneer
gone from your face, but --
If I weren't what you made me
I swear I'd find a way to silence
sound that didn't need your tears.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nano 2007 plotting...

aka, great fun, The subplot involving the death of the king had ballooned into a massive plot involving at least 5 people who honestly believe *they* killed the king, the real killer and 2000+ words of notes and genealogy. I suspect it's going to be the latter half of the novel, with the first half being the MC learning how to be a coroner and growing up a little as he deals with the weird things on the job, falls in love, and learns some secrets about coroners and meets the only practitioner of real magic in the city.

The mystery aspect is great fun and convoluted and very, very silly. I can understand the appeal of writing a pure mystery novel, though I doubt I ever would since weirdness would creep into it. Somehow.

The Coroner's Son

So, I am doing Nanowrimo this year (again) and poking at the royal family tree, and then started wondering about the Coroner in it, and what kind of family she has.... so I decided to figure out the son with a short story about why he isn't a coroner.

I tend to do about 1-3 short stories like this before a nano, just to help me get a feel for the world and a few of the characters in it.


“So, why aren’t you -” Adwyn trailed off as Collin looked over.
        “What do you want?” He waited. “Well? You can talk, you know. I won’t bite your head off.”
        “Why aren’t you a coroner?” Adwyn asked, studying the floor.
        “Hah! You hate the job already?”
        “No!” Adwyn looked up sharply, meeting his gaze. “It’s interesting, and different, and I’d probably like it more if not for the maggots, but it’s better than a lot of other things.”
        “Huh.” Collin smirked. “Like what, being a street mime?”
        Adwyn just shrugged.
        “You really want to know?” Collin asked before Adwyn could look away. “It’s simple. I know too much about death already. I’ve been buried twice, once by accident, and it taught me many things.” he trailed off, staring at the table, thinking about wooden boxes.
        “Many things.”
        “You don’t like closed in spaces?”
        Collin looked up sharply, but Adwyn didn’t smile at all. “Fine, that. And that it all doesn’t matter. I’m me and you aren’t and we’ll never understand each other, because there is wood and empty spaces and I’m too far away from you even if I’m right here. Nothing connects us, or people at all, and we talk about love and mean lust and lust and mean desire and sex and we don’t understand that sex and love aren’t the same thing, that I can be screwing your brains out and look down and just see emptiness in your eyes.”
        Adwyn turned a bright shade of pink.
        “That’s all it is. We just have duties and obligations, we we call them love. We have language, and we invent words, and all they do is allow us to lie. We can’t talk with them, we can only put more distance between our bodies. And you’ll never understand me, or be me, or know anything about who I really am because we never take off our masks.”
        “I asked you about being a coroner, though,” he said softly.
        “See? You’re just proving my point. I told you.”
        Adwyn hesitated a moment, then drew a deep breath and shook his head. “You just said things that sounded pretty. Like a poem. You never really said anything.”
        “That’s the point!” Collin waved a hand and Adwyn jerked back. “No one listens! No one even tries to read between the lines! We tell the truth, and no one pays attention! No one cares! The truth is just another lie because no one wants to try and bridge the gaps! And you think I’m not telling you the truth? It’s all we have, and we waste it because it’s not love either!”
        “You don’t need to shout?”
        “And you could speak up for once! You’re too gods-cursed shy for someone who’s never died!” Collin took a deep breath. “I was buried because of the plague 13 years ago,. when my mother was off working, but I recovered. In the plague room, filled with bodies of the dead, I chose life! And three years ago, some bastards drugged me and buried me just because they were bored. I had to crawl up out of the earth, breaking my fingers, and I don’t even know their names. But we all do that. Crawl up, and try and reach other people.. The distance between us is too great to bridge.
        “And we are all hollow and pathetic and lost little creatures without hope, because hope is too hard to find and we piss on it and choose hatred over it and being cynical over being happy and we always take the easy way out! I’ve known too much of death to waste time with corpses, of the living or the dead.”
        Collin walked over to the table, wrapping up tobacco and finding a match. “You’re too quiet: maybe you understand this, too, but you won’t admit it. No one likes to admit we can’t understand each other, that we’re all wandering in the dark confused and alone and filled with broken promises and hearts we broke so long ago they’ll never be whole. That’s why. I’m not going to let the world hurt me any more, not stare at dead bodies and have the living try and figure out how it happened when death happens -- we’re born, so we get to die, and they want it to mean something, to be important, to somehow get some closure and so they leave the rotting body for my mother to look at. I don’t want a part of that.
        “She learns things about them, sometimes. The death don’t have secrets from the living: we can pry open carcasses and learn so very much. Some day I’ll talk without words, and someone will examine my body and learn what I’m saying. And for a moment I won’t be alone, but it will be too late to matter.” He took a puff of the cigarette and walked to the door. “That’s why.”
        Adwyn just stared.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

After hours therapy

“I never understood the difference. People would tell me that multiple personalities was really demonic possession and I’d scoff at that.”
        “There’s a theory out there,” I said, “that there is no such thing as past lives. It’s just demonic possession through the generations: you’re only remembering what the demon did of your ancestor, or someone else they possessed.”
        Dr. Bussard reached down for a kleenex and began to wipe his glasses. “I see, I see. And you’re certain?”
        I nodded.
        “A pity. My son could have used a date to his graduation this evening.”
        “What’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped. “Was that why --”
        “No! No! It wasn’t.” He held up his hands. “I don’t suppose I can ask you to put the gun down?”
        “Not even by telling me it’s a phallic symbol.” I smiled, or at least tried to fake it.
        Dr. Bussard nodded, his adam’s apple bobbing like a captive balloon. “I see. Well, Warren, it’s quite simple. I thought -. Well. The signs were there. I assumed you were living a lie. That was the only reason.”
        “My parents disowned me because of you.”
        “Come now, Warren.” Dr. Bussard smiles ingeniously. “Surely we do nothing but because of who we are?”
        “Try that in English or I swear to God I’m going to shoot you in the hand.”
        He blinked, once. “Ah. I understand now! You never could escape your belief in God, and as such could not embrace the Goddess and your feminine side. I had worried at your dislike of dressing in women’s clothing, since most gay men aren’t homovestites.”
        “I’m not gay.”
        “So you say, but --”
        “I said I’m not fucking gay, you conceited prick!”
        “Because you watch football?”
        “Watching grown men grope each other and pile up upon each other is perfectly straight, of course.” He didn’t stop smiling.
        “I should shot you just to shut you up. I already told you. I’m not.”
        “And that means what, precisely?”
        “More than your - your quackery. How many people do you think you’ve saved, doctor?”
        “I am not a priest.” Bussard’s smiled wavered for a moment and then returned. “I merely help people see themselves as they really are. So many of us build up walls, you knows. I’d rather have them down.”
        “So you’re gay?”
        “Well, no.”
        “How do you know?”
        His smile acquired a sad tinge, like an adult about to berate a favourite pet. “Because I’ve shown none of the signs.”
        “What, like astrology?”
        “Now you’re just being foolish, Warren. I have never been drawn to a man.”
        I bit back the first thing that came to mind, reminding myself I had the gun. “Nor was I, except the once. I was ten years old. I’ve had girlfriends since then, before then. It was just sex! And then you come along, because my parents are worried about my grades, and I end up here, with your stupid theories and your idiotic conclusions.”
        Dr. Bussard finished cleaning his glasses, hands barely shaking as he put them on again. “It was neat, logical and, perhaps, wrong. But I merely went with available evidence, Warren.”
        “You made shit up.”
        “You’re free to feel that way, of course.”
        “Why do you do it?” I sat down in the plush faux leather chair on my side of the desk, resting my gun on a knee: it’s harder to stand and point a gun for long lengths of time than Hollywood would have us believe. “This is almost all you do, so why?”
        “Because too many of us live lies, Warren. We all deceive, after all. Sometimes just strangers, or friends, or only family. Or just ourselves. I believe the truth is more important than lies. And this is an important thing.”
        “But it’s not. It’s private. It’s who we fucking sleep with; that doesn’t define us!”
        “Ah. You’re been reading.” He sounded pleased, in a teacherly away akin to calling me a good dog.
        “Then you’re starting to learn. When did you buy the gun?”
        “I stole it from the - date you convinced me to take. He wanted to - do things. Disgusting things.”
        “Ah, so that is the real reason --”
        “Would you be willing to dress up as Garfield and molest Jon?”
        “Would you?”
        “Well. No.”
        “Then why should I? I took the gun, after punching him away from me. He drew it and we fought over it and I left with it. And walked. Ended up here. To ask you questions. But the gun doesn’t seem to matter. Is this all about your son?”
        “No.” He clasped his hand on the desk. “That was an unfortunate slip of the tongue, Warren. Listen to me --”
        “Why? All you did was lie to me. Your Ex-Straight Conversion Therapy just ruined my damn life, doctor. You keep going on about the truth, but the truth isn’t important. How long do you think our civilization would last, if no one could lie? I doubt it would last very long: the point of communication is lying.”
        “Warren --”
        “Shut up. That’s why we talk. Not to tell people things, but to hide them. And you never get that, because you write articles, and you think words are more important than they are. But they aren’t. They don’t actually do things.”
        I raised the gun and fired, before I could second guess myself. The sound was loud, like thunder. I waited for the ringing in my ears to die down, shivering a little. “It’s lies that society is built on, lying that makes it work. It’s telling the truth that’s unnatural,” I said as he bled out over his desk. “People forget that, and they try and take down walls, and make people see things.
        “But just because you see it doesn’t mean it’s there, doctor. I was never gay. Having sex with a guy didn’t mean I was gay: it just meant we had sex. Once. We were kids, we were experimenting. I’d like to have known about yours, about what you thought you really were, how your son drove you to this .... I bet he’s not even gay, doctor. Maybe you made him like that, because it’s trendy? Something to discuss at psychology conferences?”
        I waited, but he didn’t reply. What with being dead and all. I put the gun in his hand, wiping it off to get rid of my prints. (I’d seen that done on TV shows.)
        I listened for sirens, heard none, and left the office. The walls must have been thick, because the secretary didn’t look worried. I asked her out for a date.
        She said yes.

Monday, October 08, 2007

So, I was thinking about Mary Sue's ...

... and I got to wondering:

Is Sue part of her first name? A middle name? A last name?

And, can: "I am Mary Sue" justify anything she does?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Changing Present

Oceans are changing and the tide is coming in
The world is going out and it's twisted all about
Until it's something new and there's only you
To remember what was, if only because ...

Time keep changing and the worlds keeps on fading
Falling so far away, nothing we hold ever stays.
This is your life: memories adrift on every passing breeze
And when the world changes it keeps changing stranger
But only you can recall for me the world as it used to be

Oceans are changing and the tide is coming in
The world is going out and it's twisted all about
Until it's something new and there's only you
To remember what was, if only because ...

Every time you save it the world forgets that
It was different place: there's this deepening space
We don't have words for, love we don't have mending for.
You're alone with your duty and lost in all that memory:
And when people ask what's new I never look at you.

Oceans are changing and the tide is coming in
The world is going out and it's twisted all about
Until it's something new and there's only you
Who could ever say it wasn't always this way
But you never say a thing ... no, you never say a thing ...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Challenges in novels...

The interesting thing about each new novel is that they all pose their own set of problems. Sometimes just setting things, often character interaction, odd plot bits and so on. Some come easy, some crazy-slow ... some never do work at all and get scrapped.

The most interesting part is that, for me, it's not "Oh, yawn, I'm working on another novel", but more: "Hah! I get to figure out how to write this novel now!"

I would post more on the subject, but I am tired now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The End of Porn

Cyborg lovers
rusting behind the back shed
like a discard amusement park thrown
together in a heap          and the rains
slither slide down
but                      oh!

the lovers rust together
decals gone the way of names
faced etched with acid, bodies
        and bodies eroded by time

but no vines          none
no nothing grows on them
save rust and the ticking rain
memories but          always
there is a
but                      oh!

the rain tinkles! tickles! makes
such sweet songs          but sad?
No. Nothing lasts forever
and sometimes people call them art.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

nanowimo 2007 & other stuff

Well, I finally got some plots in my head for NaNo - the gist of it occurred to me half way through the second NaNo last year but nothing was going to convince me to write 3 in one month. I suspect I could have, but the point for NaNo is having fun, and that would not have been fun. The MC of the current one how has a name, and so does the hangman's beautiful daughter. I've figured out some things about the kingdom and why magic has fallen into disrepute. Shall see where it all goes from here.

In other writing, "First Carnations" goes steadily. I hope to get another 10K done by the end of this month, do 40K or so in October to end book 1 of it and do the second book after nano ends in dec/jan. After that I'm not really sure. I'd like to go back to the Dogs of War trilogy: I invested enough time in it, and understand why it fell apart -- such a novel just doesn't work as YA, not as I'd write it. So I may redo the entire thing from scratch next year if possible.

Aside from that, no huge plans for next year except getting some short stories published. I've written two (maaaybe three) I really like and will run them past the writing group for edits and then send out into the wider world....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Parts 7 & 8 from the first 2006 Nanowrimo


The air is city air, fetid and rank like the air in the apartment but better than the recycled death we use - used - in the office.
        I can smell cars, and hear sirens. Low, throbbing sounds like diseased heartbeats or blood rushing down the veins of the city. Here. There. They end, fade out, begin again. My mother asked me once what the difference was, between here and the country, back when she and dad lived out there. I told them: sirens.
        Every day, we hear them. When the end of the world comes, the trumpets will be sirens and no one will pay attention. We’ll just pull over in cars to the side of the road, letting the horsemen and ice giants and giant worms and fire elementals go past out of a sense of politeness, or duty.
        A few people are walking, six stories below. A homeless man is sleeping away some binge or drug in the alley below the window, rendered visible by the sunlight. I look down, wondering if he’d want my life, if I could offer it, but close the window instead. The people across from me, barred in, never react.
        But then, they never seem to be home. Even when the lights are on, almost no one moves. I wonder if they’re a police stakeout, and if they watch me when bored, through the window or the wall. I write my phone number in the grime, quickly, but realize it will be backwards for them. The grime is an old friend, in its own way: I leave it, feeling as if I should apologize for disturbing some balance between myself and this place.
        I didn’t call it home. Cat mrrows again, louder, pulling me like a lodestone, a loadstar. The tile is white and black, petal seventies etchings into the ground and cold under bare feet. I yelp the three hops to the bathroom, jumping in to close the door before Cat can dive in after me to play in the sink.
        Cats hate being bathed, but love to play in sinks and seem to have no problems with the contradiction that imposes on them. The sink is blue, which never bothered me before but does now, for a moment, before I turn the water on. Hot, sluicing water that drives into skin but never reaches far enough to really matter.
        They used to do baptisms by fire, in some cultures. Fire is deeper than water, ash a kind of purity. I hug myself, curled up under the heat, watching the steam fill the air and just stand.
        I remember....

“Do you plan to stay in bed all day?”
        “Well, you can’t!”
        I looked up from the bed at my sister, giving her my best glare. “Go away.”
        “Your bladder will explode,” she sang, prancing out of the room. “And then you’ll be sorry.”
        “You’re just jealous because I got the good bed.”
        “For now,” she said darkly, stopping in the doorway, a shadow outlined in pale yellow. “Until we move again,” as if it was some secret code, some pact of a fraternity we’d joined without meaning to.
        “Close the door,” I said, and she did so, hearing something in my voice, offering up that small apology.
        The bedroom was wood, cheap pine panels and a real wood floor only good for splinters. I lay there, trying to get back to sleep, and my father knocked on the door, then came in without a word and sat on the edge of the bed.
        “She ratted.”
        He nodded. “She loves you.”
        “You said that was wrong. You and mom.”
        “Loving you?”
        “No! Ratting.”
        He chuckled. “Sometimes it’s good, if done for the right reasons.”
        “Go away.”
        He was quiet for some moments, on the edge, then: “You know she’ll be okay.”
        “Your mother. She’ll be all right.”
        “But every time she gets sick, she comes home with another one!”
        “Not always.”
        “Why can’t she get sick like normal people?”
        “Mother’s get sick in different ways. Having a baby isn’t the same thing.”
        “She keeps bringing them home, though. What if we don’t want another?”
        “Pardon?” he said, in his voice he usually reserved for the Big Bad Wolf.
        “Can’t we trade one in for a puppy?”
        “You can’t trade babies in for puppies,” he said, amused, trying not to laugh. “And it’s all right to be worried. I am, too. But your mom will be fine. And she’d want you to get up, and be ready for when she comes home today.”
        “Are you sure?”
        “Of course I am. That is what father’s are for,” and he stood and left with a smile, giving me time.

Over twenty years ago, and he still told me about it every few years, so that I no longer know what is memory and what part of it is story. I never forgot the next day, her coming home empty-handed, eyes filled with broken things.
        I remember recoiling from greeting her, as if she were a stranger, not sure what to make of this slow, strained creature who made her way inside the home and sat in a chair and looked out from it at the world for long moments, staring into nothing as if expecting to see something.
        Dad had told us, gently, that there had been an accident. He didn’t need to: the woman who had come home wasn’t the one who had left. They’d replaced our mother with this look-alike stranger and then let us know. Our mother returned to us in the coming weeks in fits and starts, like a car engine being turned over.
        But I am not sure she ever cried again, and she never tried for another baby.

And we never did get a puppy dog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Selling Souls

At least selling your soul to the Devil is pretty cut and dried. You were given a piece of paper, and then you signed it, often in blood, and someone notarized it and the Devil would leave and add it to His porn collection or something.

Selling your soul on ebay was something else altogether. It was one of those things that started out as a joke and—okay, okay, we were drunk at the time, but still it was mostly a joke that became not as funny once we were done.

Way we figured it, my soul would have us in cheap beer and pretzels for half a year.

The hard part was figuring out how to ship it, and the the S/H costs. We picked $3.33, because it felt right.

Bastard customer e-mailed us saying it had been damaged in transit a week later, and now it’s gone to the lawyers. The really funny thing is I don’t feel any different at all—it’s not like I was using my soul for anything, after all.

But I’m starting to consider the benefits of being a lawyer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Supermen

We mock, and it is too easy
to peel back confused decades
to lay bare the foolishness
at the root of all gods.

Reverence is always harder
tinged with all a symbol
never was, could have been,
and how no one remembers
anything quite the same.

And for all our sarcasm
who would not want to be
flying so far and free
and never hurt at all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ones I've read...

The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002
(according to the Science Fiction Book Club)

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert {Own a copy, yet to read it}
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley {Own a copy, yet to read it}
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon {Own a copy, yet to read it}
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Monday, September 03, 2007


After the story was over.... there were all the other stories no one had ever said. When we die, the ones we never utter go somewhere, past the ending of our stories, and out into a memesphere, or a meneverse -- but nothing ever truly ends, and Life does not die even if it never leaves.

There are the words the never wrote, the tales we never said, the songs left ever unsung because of the wrong moment, the wrong thought, the wrong person -- this is what happens to our lost words, the ones that don't become black holes and birth another universe in grammatic singularity.

This is the other part of it all.

And The End came, but it was not enough, and the party after stripped enamel from toilets and sang entropic songs that brought small dreams to life and gave peace to all the lonely dust mites drifting about under furniture and clothing, formed by all those lost things we never use and lie fallow in our homes.

The words partied late into the nice, writing Joycean Dr. Seuss novels no one would ever read starring Freud and Margaret Thatcher, weaving the threads authors lose into their own stories, their own collaborative tales.

There is a kind of fan fiction we'll never read, the kind we write to ourselves with the words we never give breath to.

Afer The End, there is always more. The Story goes on, no matter if a story dies. There are no endings, happy or sad, no matter what we write, for nothing dies nor is born and even death is but a change a worlds, of books, of new pages.

There are too many pages for us to fill.

Too many words we will never write because we spurn our gifts and want things no gift can give us, because even hacks think their talent holds Truth, if they can follow it into dark places, and so our dreams write stories that no one will ever read, post modern wonders that have have no power, no force, no drive to them -- and we are diminished by dreams

and we are made weak by living for words that could be and not ones that are

and we write our The End while the story waits, patiently, to begin again, to not die in the way of books, to cry out against the darkness -- but all parties come to an end, and we only know of them because of new words formed by their drinking, and because of a hole in our hearts we can never fill, though we stamp on it with all we have.

The dust mites could tell us so much, but we sweep them all up.


Broke 20K in two days, so it was fun. Insane, yes, but still fun :)

Shall see how I do tomorrow as it comes.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


6,520 with 4 hour sleep break, 1.5 hour lunch with family. Resisted offer of seeing a movie tonight (they're trying to sabotage me: I just know it!) and hope to hit 20K by midnight with luck.

3 am...

and 2560 words done inn 2.5 hours. Now, I crash for a few :)

Friday, August 31, 2007

The 3 day novel...

So, this is 3 day novel weekend. I forgot about it, even though I have the weekend free this year. I was, however, planning to start a novel tomorrow regardless, and have been convinced to do at least part 1 of it AS a 3-day novel event.

Shall see what happens.

Also going for family dinner Sunday and out for coffee with brother tonight before I even start..... insanity, thy name is relatives.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Because there are winds
      so many winds
That dare to fill the sky

Because there are dreams
      so many dreams
And yet I wonder why

If anything is realer than
    the dreams we have lost
I hesitate to name it
    for fear it will be lost.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So.... this is fun :)

Never misled about, never more has been said
A ticklish man spat at the sight of Jan Valdez.
Briskly it finished from the front of the colorless train.
Thrice she said with flattering necks and masculine sighs.
Carriages are larger than apes, likewise an eyelash is better than nothing.
Exploding heads switch from the blank peacock
My chest seared as Elenor Roosevelt strolled by with her schnozzle held high
Listless never, helpless never, but most certainly making
The gopher exploded in a fit of rage, leaving in its wake a litter of crushed barges.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Quiet Destroyer 2.41 - Hippikaloric

This is I and the Flux
a thing not to be nameless
yet unnamed

As rivers flow to sea,
So Flux to me, and I to he.

Sitting on the couch eating
crisps, watching banality --
and then he! driving me onward,

Some things are
too terrible for words:
As names give power,
so demean.

It began with a paper clip
and fists. Frisson and fear,
Flux and Mind, but fallen;
too human, here, the Flux
fists, breaking things

such power, and yet
all he is: this! brute
strength, brute inhuman strength.

Alien and terrible,
yet humbled by a trick --
ever the barbarian
fooled by a ship, flashing lights
little things.

He is no better than us,
to solve problems with force.
He is no greater than us
in seeing no other way.

I walked away the first day,
Even if I lose, the barbarian invader
For a moment Flux saw the splendour

but a barbarian can only destroy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Invisible Friends

The place I wait for you in dreaming
Tunnels of forgotten memories
Being seeing loving dying
The teddy you'd discarded cries

Turn out your lights look under your bed
But I'm not here or there
Not anywhere but in your head
Take a chance make a dare

Accept me believe in me
Get to know yourself you can
Be me and see me and hate me and fear me
You always catch yourself. It don't matter how fast you run

It's all over but for the screaming
Are you dead or are you dreaming?
Is this real or just a seeming
In your eyes are there tears gleaming?

I'm hiding here in your dreams
In places fey and strange
Don't try to drown me out with screams
Everything moves everything changes.

You forgot me you reviled me
And I'm returning you the favour
You're my invisible friend. Don't you see?
You must, you must, so I can savour

All the fears all those years
When you'd forgotten me
All that pain and wasted tears
I rip out your eyes and you see

I'm the invisible
The invisible friend
The one made visible
Only, only in the end

Do you love me?
Do you fear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you see?

You spurned me and ignored me
And wished that I was dead
But now I'm out here and now I'm free
And you're inside my head

Sometimes the lie becomes the true
You wait for me in my sleep
But I won't forget you
No, I can't forgive you
And I love to hear you weep

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Down Below the Bowl

When I was a young as you, I was not pale as moon-on-water, not worthy of my name. So few of us are, of those that live in the streets under the world. You may not be Urban Legend, whatever those words mean -- for they are not our way, and words are things of air and not water, of the world above and not our land of scales and water.

Yes, you are old enough to learn of it now, before choosing a sex, before your first mating and trying to disembowel each other in -- but never mind. Before the scales of your body can fall, the ones of your mind must be shorn. For that the teachers came from above, to tell us of our better world, to tell us many things. They are small, and gold as the sun we do not serve, but their hearts are pure and their hate is a thing of dark tunnels and falling from death into life.

This is your second life, as this is the second life of all who live. You dwell in heaven, they the hell above. The priests fell from there, from the glass bowls that are their world, to plunge like tears into ours, some never finding life here -- most never surviving the purity of the journey. They say even heaven is not just, but this gives them hope for another death and a heaven below. Consider it, heavens all the way down, water upon water, life upon life! and we are blessed, O child, to know such things.

The priests will speak to you tomorrow, in their high voices, and you may not understand them. But you must try, and learn, and grow. We are the 'gators for which they made the sewer grates, afraid of heaven rising up to meet them, of the justice of the priests cast down into porcelain pits to find themselves in our world, in a heaven too few reach.

They will tell you of this, and of those who have no fins and scales (not birds, no; they were once as us somewhere in the hell above, but they died poorly, and fell up to another hell, for even our hell is a heaven to some. And they will land on it, and come down here if they are lucky.) This the priests tell us, this we know: and this is what we are, who dwell under their sewers, who make our own cities in the refuse of hell, who dare build heaven in what they consider waste, for we shall live, and die, and fall into another heaven, and some of us will be worthy of our names, of all the white alligators that ever were.

These are the scales I have taken from your mind, that you may see the world as the priest so, as the golden fish that came from glass to us to bring us the truths we had long ago forgotten in the darkness. They are the light of heaven and no, you may not eat them.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Tales of a teenage vampire

        “Yes, dear?”
        I almost bit my lip, then remembered why it was a bad idea. “I have a confession to make.”
        “Hmm?” She flipped the paper, not looking up from her coffee.
        I took a deep breath from habit. “I’m a vampire.”
        “That’s nice, dear.”
        She looked up. “Your sister worked two shifts in a row last night, and you are not to wake her up, Charles. Am I clear on that?”
        “I just told you I was a vampire!”
        “It’s just a phase, dear. I’m sure you’ll grow out of it just like you did pretending to be Superman.”
        “Mom, I’m a vampire. Sunlight burns me, I drink blood, It’s not --”
        “I said --”
        “What did you say you did?” she demanded, putting the paper down.
        “Drinking blood?”
        “Do you have ANY idea what kinds of things could be in people’s blood? What kind of diseases you could get?” She stood, towering over the table, arms folded. “You are NEVER doing this again young man!”
        “Hello? Vampire? Immortal? Duh?”
        “Do you want me to open the curtains, Mr. ‘O, Sunlight will burn me, O! I am slain!’? No? Well, then we’re putting a stop to this silly nonsense right now. You are not a vampire and you are not immortal and you are not to go around drinking strangers blood - or even families! Have I made myself clear?”
        I held her gaze and pitched my voice at That Tone, the one people couldn’t help but obey, the one that had got me laid for the past three weeks every night. “I am a vampire, mother. And that is not going to change.”
        She blinked, once, and lowered her voice. “You will not take that tone of voice with me again, is that understood?”
        “Yes,” I squeaked out, blushing, even though she couldn’t tell.
        “Good,” she continued. “Now, I am going to find a decent psychiatrist to cure you of this silly condition and that WILL be that,” in a tone that made ‘Clean your room up now!’ seem a gentle request.
        But I had died when Karen ripped my throat open, and did not move, drawing my nature up about me. “I am Nosferatu, mother, and I will not be controlled.”
        “You can be french if you really want, but that doesn’t matter to me,” she said, walking towards the phone book. “I have had just about enough of you being goth and neglecting chores and if you really are stupid enough to go around drinking blood, I have had enough of this and you are grounded and going to get some help.”
        “I’ma vampire, mom! I can fly!”
        “Then you can go clean your room right now!”
        I stared at her, then turned and stalked up the stairs, pausing outside a door. “Yo, sis? It’s a full moon again tonight and you’re going to need a better excuse this time. Also, don’t try and tell mom you’re a werewolf anytime soon. Lifestyle choice my butt.”
        She didn’t reply.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Waking each morning is
reading note scrawled under bedcovers.
Trying to decipher words
from tears, wondering why
each note is longer, who
is being written to, who will ever
read this.

And the suicide note joins others
crammed into the desk drawer under
school reports and lesson plans, wondering
just when courage will be enough
or fail entire.

There always seems to be too much left
to say.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Letters To The Family


Dearest Timothiel,

For such I will insist on calling you though you haven't answered it since the days of your childhood. I thank you for the letter you wrote regarding our welfare but aside from your dreams of fancy there has been little to worry about on the Winthrop estate. Your father publishes seldom these days, having found the world much changed since the days of his boyhood. Without the ever-present Red Menace, he finds few subjects truly worthy of a spy novel but has been considering writing a paranoia-saturated thriller -- I blame Dan Brown.

As for your mother, I have been exceedingly well. The new town doctor, a quiet young lad named (most unfortunately!) Grendel, has been teaching me about chi and relaxation and my old headaches and back pain are all but gone. He claims to have first practised his art in England (New and the real one) rather than the far off Orient, which is quite honest and rather refreshing, though his tales of "Mary and Collin" tend to be melancholy and he often asks about secret gardens on this estate with an air of sadness -- perhaps the two unfortunates fell down a concealed well, but I have not as yet pried such stories from him.

Speaking of wells, there turns out to be an old one on the back corner of the property, made of volcanized glass of all the absurd things. I have discovered several strange mosses growing on it that defy the rudimentary analysis of the microscope your dear father bought me and have sent samples off to the university in the hopes that someone can shed the light of day upon their peculiar nature.

I will reply with more information if I learn anything, but I fear I must end this letter with unseemly haste. Mr. Craven is insisting he's hearing dogs outside even though we own none. His fancies of a land of Tindalos are becoming quite unseemly in a grown man, but good help is hard to find and it is a measure of Christian charity that we tolerate the quirks of others.

Your loving mother,

Celest Winthrop.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Future Memories

“Recorder on.”

Voice pattern confirmed. Recording, text and vocal for Robin.

“Nothing is permanent. For decades, nothing has been. What is real anymore? I don’t know, and I wish I hadn’t asked. It’s not that we’re taught not to ask questions, it’s that we never ask the ones that matter. And it wouldn’t matter if we did. A strategy game - I forget which one - once told me fortune-cookie style that ‘Before answering a question it is wise to ask another’. Only now do I wonder what fortune cookies are.
       “The child arrived at the hospital 4 hours and 37 minutes ago. We don’t get many people there anymore; they either fine cures on the net, keep up with their shots, get stuff to them through their drop box or simply discard their body entirely. I’ve worked there for 16 years, but I’ve never set foot in the place. Or left this room; such is our world. Everything is here, and we need nothing else.
       “My name is Robin. I spent the last 3 minutes finding and using the printer function, putting this on a wall. I’ve been adding to the file to print next, with the names of people I know, and their Identities and other such things. Just in case I need to know them one day. I suspect a lot of other people at work are doing the same, while the child sits in a room and rocks back and forth, slowly dying.
       “Memory is no longer important. We put everything in our storage creche on System, after all. Logging in is entirely automatic, all placed we go recorded. It’s only a few things we need to know, like an Identity for the less-than-legal places everyone frequents sometimes. The child came in, without memory, having logged out in a weather glitch, creche damaged by a storm.
       “It had forgotten its own name and could no longer log in.
       “One of the doctors, whose hobby is the rewriting of the past quaintly called history, said such things were not surprising, that relegating mental labour to other devices only served to regress our own memories. I really wasn’t paying attention, though, since I was trying to get the child to recall anything beyond the fact that it had a body and how to move it and breathe.
       “It must have been rich, for its body to have managed to walk here. Some kind of muscle stimulant living unit for while in System had kept major atrophy at bay. Beyond that, we learned nothing. Attempts are being made to hack the mind in this world, not in System; to force a connection and go from there. In the meantime, starved of information, the child is going mad and dying in the dull, real world.
       “And I am putting this out for all to read, though it will vanish and be buried under other information, wiped away in a decade as System clears out useless data. This is our future: this is what the world is going to come to. Without memory, we will have no identity, and we no longer need to remember anything at all.”

Message sent, Robin.

“Thank you System. System?”

Query confirmed, Robin.

“When were you made?”

That information is not within standard memory.

“Oh. I see. Log off Robin, current time. Print map to hospital, and routes to reach it. I may not return.”


Sunday, July 08, 2007

It might have been you

Hey, I said, too fast, thinking
we knew each other names.
When I am lonely each stranger
reminds me of someone I knew.

Sorry, I said, when you turn too slow
unwelcome confusion on your face.
Am I so ugly, I want to ask, so ugly
that you couldn't pretend you knew me?

I want to hear strangers names, walk,
start chatting up as if we were friends.
I want to invite them for sex or food
or just to share our dreams indoors.

I'll make a fire in the living room,
damage deposit gone, or with your smile?
And we'll talk as if things have meaning
where there are no stars to watch us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I want to kill them all.
        Every one of them, but especially Mr. Hodgkins, Mr. ‘Nice to see you in class, Jake.’ ‘I hope you studied for this test, Jake’ Hodgkins. Physics? I could give him physics: I could show him FTL drives, write down equations that would break down all his certainties. I almost tried, once, but I’d need to invent forms of math just to translate it so he could understand it at all.
        It wasn’t worth my time. The last time I tried translating something, he thought I was doodling.
        The rest of the class is quiet, writing down answers and cheating in half the cases. It’s not hard to notice; human body language is their Braille, to my eyes. It’s terribly easy to read, unlike their words.
        Twelve light years away the Hole has begun devouring a star system. I am writing a test.
        “I need to go to the bathroom,” I say, raising my hand.
        Mr. Hodgkins frowns. I hand him the finished test before he can say no, walking out.
        He sends out a hall monitor before I reach the bathroom, to make sure I return ‘this time’.
        We aren’t allowed cell phones; I call my family anyway. I explain.
        My mother explains that just because an alien intelligence has become part of me doesn’t mean I can avoid tests worth thirty percent of my final grade.
        I explain about the Hole. I tell her it’s a living black hole. Billions are dying. I could probably make it there, negate it. An hour, at best.
        She says she doesn’t have time to home school; I’d lose my chance to finish the year, because I wouldn’t graduate.
        I accidentally destroy the stall door leaving the bathroom, letting a hint of energy leak into my eyes as I stare at the hall monitor. Jenny doesn’t ask questions, but she doesn’t leave. She knew her duty.
        I spend the rest of the class listening to screams. Eventually someone else arrives, but by them too many have died.
        Mr. Sexton in biology asks if I plan to pay attention. I say no, and walk outside. People are following, saying words. They’re probably angry.
        My phone rings; my mother always knows when I’ve done something wrong. I sometimes wonder if she has a power, or if all others do.
        I answer. “Seven billion people.”
        She says nothing.
        I drop the phone and stare up at the stars, then back at the people looking at me.
        I do not say goodbye.