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.