Thursday 6 December 2012

Means? Justified!

Anyone who has been, has had or has known of a teenage boy anytime in the last two decades can attest to the life consuming talents of videogames.  Somewhere along the line of one of the aforementioned was some kind of educator, or perhaps just a doe-eyed idealist who believed that there was some positive lesson to be taken from the beast and reapplied to a productive purpose and educational videogames were born.

For decades edutainment in all of its forms has generally been regarded as a fool's errand.  The kind of thing that committees push at board meetings six months before their entire department/company is looking for new jobs as they watch whatever isn't nailed down get sold off to pay each hand that is owed.

It could be argued that there have been some few success stories in the past, like the Carmen Sandiego  games that sometimes came packed with single volume encyclopaedias, but for the most part any educational content in a game that could be be deemed even remotely entertaining was purely incidental.

Then there was Duolingo.

Duolingo launched just over a year ago, and comes at it from a different tack.  Instead of starting from a desire to entertain, it starts with those core game mechanics that not so subtly engage our pavlovian responses.  The very same ones that have been employed to encourage us to drop coin to reach the next level or earn extra skills in World of Warcraft or Farmville.  Except Duolingo has a far more insidious agenda.  Polyglotism.  Yeah!  I'm not kidding.  They actually want you to learn and use languages other than English.  In the real world!

Whatever you do, do not go to and sign up to learn French, Spanish, German and/or Portuguese for FREE in an addictive format that will leave you conjugating verbs in your kitchen, on the bus  and in front of your children/parents.  You'll tell a friend and they'll tell a friend.  Lovers will meet up in darkened hotel rooms to master German nounal genders while the muted tv flickers in the corner washing their multilingual debauchery in a pallid light.   This is a disease.  This is a danger to all people.  Languages other than English could become an epidemic.  Imagine the havoc that would be wrought if this kind of thing were to spread. This is the nightmare.  The one they spoke about.

Duolingo is crack for people who like to travel.

For 10 points: An english word that pluralises by inserting the 's' into the word instead of at the end.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Fifty ways to get yourself to Disneyland

I soliloquise from time to time on the topic of what ever happens to be going.  There are some topics that tend to reemerge more often than others, and the quality of books I have not read is definitely an area in which I will often make out as though I am some sort of expert.  More so than, say, someone who has read the book in question.

I bring this up not as a confession of some wrong doing, but as a lead in to something I said in a recent installment of my regularly scheduled episodic verbal opinion piece I like to refer to as Bit Shit Lit. Crit. for people who have had a drink (or two).  The way I remember it is little bit like, "From what (few) excerpts I have read, when you hold Fifty Shades up against anything by Hemingway, it is just not very good."

This has been edited slightly, because I may have compared it to another book (yes, that is what I did), that perhaps not a lot of people have read or even heard about.  Instead I chose yet another book that my experience has lead me to believe is more widely commented on than it is read.

This is a true thing, but Fifty Shades of Grey doesn't sit up next to A Farewell to Arms in the same way that Debbie Does Dallas doesn't sit up next to Citizen Kane.  I draw this comparison because Fifty Shades of Grey seems to be encouraging people to get themselves to Disneyland.  It also seems to be encouraging people to experiment with other ways of getting themselves or others there, and some people are finding that they need to strap themselves down hard to the roof racks to ensure that they make it all the way to Disneyland without getting left behind.  Maybe you need the Lonely Planet Guide to Disneyland in your life more than you need an emotionally and psychologically taxing ending that might put you off the concept of parenthood altogether.

I know which one I would give to an expectant mother.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

George and the Mouse

You may or may not have heard that George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05b.  A deal which includes all of the Lucasfilm franchises and subsidiaries, which means that Disney now owns Star Wars.  Not ones to waste time, Disney have already announced a release schedule for future films in the franchise starting with Episode VII in 2015 then followed by one new movie every two or three years.

There seems to be a great many fans who have some concerns about the direction in which Disney will take the franchise.  To them I say, 'It couldn't be worse than The Phantom Menace'.

Disney aren't bad at this sort of thing.  They don't buy up franchises just to fill them with mice and ducks.  Recently they have let them run pretty much as they did before, except giving them the benefit of having one of the world's most prolific and successful branding machines behind them.  They bought Pixar in '06 and Marvel in '09, and no one seems to have been complaining about the quality of those franchises in the meantime.

It is also worth mentioning that with the purchase of Lucasfilm, Disney also now owns Indiana Jones, Monkey Island (through LucasArts) and Willow.  WILLOW!  I want Willow 2: The Peck Returns.  Madmartigan could also have his own series of spinoffs where he just gets into trouble and then fights some guys then gets the girl.  That is the bigger picture here.  In the same way that they opted to get behind the film adaptation of an obscure Marvel property like Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, that is a space raccoon with a blaster), Disney has the resources and the man power to milk all of the Lucasfilm properties, not just focus on George's personal need to justify the entire prequel trilogy debacle to the fan base.

Monkey Island/Pirates of the Caribbean crossover!  I'm done here.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

In hub we trust

Dear Blizzard Entertainment,

I'm on to you. You're really serving some sort of vowelless Lovecraftian elder god aren't you? Which one is it? Kth'Kchtjk, devourer of the willing? I bet it is.

You used to be cool.  Once upon a time you would allow the undernourished to gather together in a sort of communal appreciation of your products.  There we were huddled around the hub for digital warmth and reduced lag.  Hours and occasionally days would disappear as we fought back the Alliance or the Federation, or battled shoulder to shoulder through the conveniently layered depths of hell.  Did you know that you can play Diablo with one hand, leaving you free to eat pizza with the other?  Was that deliberate?  Time would evaporate leaving only the smell of takeout and the sweat of panic.  Only to emerge upon noticing the glistening sunlight reflected in the grease slicked forehead of the player sitting opposite us.

Apparently you would rather we did all of this from our own little suburban isolation tanks.  Kept far away from each other in case we accidentally bust out some d20 and pen and paper that shit, or even play us some Scattergories.  Imagine all those minutes of real human interaction that might happen, weakening your overlord until his tentacled maw can no longer reach across the abyss of space and feed on those of us who play female characters but are actually not female at all.  Not at all.

Surely there is someone still working for you who can figure out how to have LAN support while you big brother our fun with your persistant internet connections.

Yours sincerely,

Jacob "Katpanic" Henwood

I bet your mum is at someone else's house on a reasonably priced rig for some tea and Torchlight II right now.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Makoto Shinkai, 'the new Miyazaki'

I couldn't tell you how long ago I saw Voices of a Distant Star, which was the first Makoto Shinkai film to really register with me in my little corner of the pop-culture swamp that I play in.

Voices does this thing where it gives you all the toys for which Japanese animation has become famous, and then makes you play a different kind of game. Maybe it is the same kind of game, but played differently. I'm not sure.

It was years later when I came into possession of The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which struck me as a similar sort of experience. The product of the same mind and the same hands. Then I realised only recently that 2007's 5 Centimetres Per Second even existed, in which Shinkai wove something far simpler and far more engaging while sitting at the very same loom.

There is something intimate in every aspect of the way he made all three of these films. Something that makes you feel as though you're rifling through other people's private photos as they themselves read excerpts from their own diaries. He has made something truly exquisite out of loneliness where each thread has been specifically chosen with such extraordinary care.

Shinkai often frames shots to be empty of characters, instead focusing on their shadows as they move across those strange geometries that we find when we stare across a familiar setting from a different angle for the first time. The same place we see every day now existing as somewhere else.

For this reason it came as a shock to me when Shinkai was recently hailed as 'the new Miyazaki'. It made no sense to me. The Shinkai with which I was familiar made films that were distinct from anything else I had ever seen in the entirety of my life. Films that told deeply relatable stories amongst the familiar set pieces of Japanese animation. Miyazaki tells amazing fantasy stories. Stories that are as wondrous as it comes.

All I could see between the two were oceans.

Until I saw Children Who Chase Lost Voices.

Shinkai's latest film is heavily reminiscent of some of Miyazaki's more adventure driven films, but this is superficial. While his influences are definitely clear, Shinkai's weave is still visible in the characters and the themes.

Shinkai has stepped out of the style that he established as his trademark in order tell a story that might be told by a different director, but not in the way it would be told by a different director. In the end though, I would recommend this film to Miyazaki fans before I recommended it to Shinkai fans.

I would also recommend that you seek out his earlier work.

I haven't seen his stuff with the cats.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Love is made of things

Love is finishing its run at the moment. If you enjoyed 2001: A Space Odyssey and Moon, and thought that a combination of the two might be right up your alley, then this movie is for you. This isn't to say that there isn't anything for anyone else, or that that is all there is to the film. It definitely brings something new to the party, but its heritage is clear.

I'm not bringing this up as points against it. Films are like other films. This film shares a few style-things and theme-things with those films, but this film also has its own things. Things that make it distinct. Things that encourage you to participate more in the audience interpretation schtick that art likes to lord over more straight forward narratives.

I managed to see it for free. So, I don't know how I might be feeling about it if I had dropped $16.50 for the privilege, but Love is a beautifully shot, character driven, sci-fi art film with classic pacing that occasionally priortises art over clarity.

I also like the soundtrack, which is a thing that The Lion King has.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Anti-post-utopian feminist bio-punk in a neo-noir-western setting, where all the cowboys wear blindfolds and ride dinosaurs

Label makers and delirium

While obsessing over my views on Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology I managed to identify the culprit as being one Lawrence Person, who in his "Notes Toward a Postcyberpunk Manifesto" laid out an early definition of the sub-sub-genre. Person prefaces his manifesto with an admission of recklessness: "Critics, myself included, persist in label-mongering, despite all warnings; we must, because it's a valid source of insight-as well as great fun." Fun it may be, but we need a line. At this stage anyone looking in is staring unprotected into a whirling cluster-fuck of loose definitions and shifting criteria.

Someone opined at me the other day (some weeks ago) that "it is all about marketing", but more often than not anyone trying to sell you media runs around checking family trees and filing DNA tests to establish even the slightest genealogical relationship between their product and that popular, successful, good looking one you spent money on last year. Sucker Punch was advertised as the slutty cousin of Inception and Alice in Wonderland, successful films from the previous year. They didn't want to tell you that it was in reality probably not going to appeal to the same audience. Marketing just gets complicated if they start talking about too many different flavours, they want you to buy all the chocolate ice cream they have to sell you. Fractal genres comes later, and is perpetrated by consumers and academics with label makers and fever sweats.

In the days of my more brazen youth I too was prone to a sort of footloose participation in fractal genres that allowed me to appreciate terms like non-pro-Judaic existentialist vampire fiction and faux-feminist urban fantasy, but this behaviour is the symptom of a sickness of sub-division that drives people to read 'genre' as 'brief description in twenty-five words or less'. Person wakes briefly from his category induced delirium just long enough to point out that he does not consider postcyberpunk a genre in its own right, but merely an observation of a trend. I can buy into this, but the damage has been done. In the height of his fever he cast a new body out into the increasingly amorphous label-palooza and regardless of his intentions it is gathering mass.

Bill's Adventures in Interzone

Cyberpunk was a move into something new, but at the same time there was a lot that wasn't new. In the same way that proto-punk existed before anything that was clearly defined as punk, there was a sort of proto-cyberpunk lashing about half-formed, eyed off by the alphas of science fiction who were at once sure that this thing would not take from them their pride, but certain that it would be able to. Proto-cyberpunk is not a genre, it is an acknowledgement of the direction in which things began to move.

When it came into its own, early cyberpunk was a caricature, prophesising in distended chins and elongated ears. It was to more traditional speculative fiction what Naked Lunch had been to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. You can still see the old moves, but Wonderland is now Interzone and the people involved are broken, drug addled perpetual fuck-ups who are more likely to trade a lover for a typewriter than have tea with a bunny. It was Middle Earth built in neon and concrete where the wizards needed internet access, the elves wore black leather, and Sauron ran a Zaibatsu from an office in Tokyo.

Later cyberpunk is less overt, its features are cleaner. You aren't really seeing the emergence of something new. You're seeing refinement. To draw on the same reference cards that Person does, Cyberpunk depicts a traffic jam in front of a video-billboard, tricking us into thinking we're at a drive-in waiting for the feature to start. The ads are never going to end. Postcyberpunk is still showing us that same situation, but the illusion is more convincing. We're still waiting for the ads to end but this time there's free wi-fi.

Further Reading

Interested in some of the material that inspired cyberpunk? Here is a selection of proto-cyberpunk from a couple of different genres:
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Do Androids Dream of Electric SheepFlow My Tears, The Policeman Said and A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Crash, Concrete Island and High Rise by J. G. Ballard

Saturday 11 August 2012


I've found enough time recently to be able to spend a fair amount of it with the book. When I'm there I've been holding it up to the light side by side with something written by better hands and imagined by a better mind. It's hard not to be disappointed when you compare the thing that you have made with the summits of science fiction. I have not written Tiger! Tiger! (The stars my destination), but I have written something else.

This is an unproductive pattern of thought in which to be stuck. I am trying to take something away from the time I spend in this place though. Tiger! Tiger! does something in terms of pure economy of story telling that impressed me when I first read it. It is lean and it is wild. If it were an animal you would look upon it's near skeletal deformation and twisted light bleeding hide and might be mistaken in thinking that it was incapable of surviving the harshness of even the mildest of winters, but year in and year out it would be there again in the spring. Alfred Bester wrote something that is voracious and unnatural and once I became familiar with it I began to question the ability of some of those other creatures around me that had begun to appear obese and domesticated by comparison.

When I read my own book I hope that it might have this same sense of economy. That I too might find the majority of the excess discarded when the book is complete. That is what I aim for, but as I mentioned earlier I have written something else.

Thursday 9 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

It's long. It feels long. It's a little over ten minutes longer than The Dark Knight, but it feels so much longer than that. I wouldn't say I got bored while watching it, but there are some pacing choices I had the time to question while watching the movie and a noticeable amount of superfluous dialogue and belaboured setup/payoffs draw the film out unnecessarily.

An explanation for the length of the film is that it loosely adapts a seventy issue story arc into a single film. SEVENTY! That seems like a mistake right there. To their credit there are a great many things from the source material that the Nolans elected not to include, but at times it does feel as though they could've gone further. There is still a lot of padding.

I'd recommend it if you're heading out anyway, but I'm not on board with the acclaim it has been receiving. The most exciting thing about this film is that the next addition to the Batman franchise will be something entirely new.

Unless they make another origin story.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Now Hiring: only pseudonyms need apply

I've been stalking about the Farm lately. I've been trying not to draw attention to myself. I keep my distance. The creatures I see in the fields are stranger these days than they have been, but they are still familiar. I still see my brushstrokes in the their casual gait and in the way that they feed. They are mine, and I long to be among them again.

Looking at them without engaging, I see more clearly the way that they are penned together despite their differences. Allowed to roam amongst each other without restriction.

It is not an alien concept that one might create new farmers, cut from the cloth of the original, to help tend the herds. Iain Banks made himself another farmer. One who would tend to his science fiction, while he tended to the mainstream herd. Stephen King brought one to life to reduce market saturation, only to take its life when his usefulness had passed. Dodgson wrote about mathematics under his own name, and about Wonderland under Carroll's. Asimov wrote as French to accommodate the varied nature of the creatures on his farm.

I've seen my creatures, and I think they might need labeling. Same farm, different product. People know what they're getting. It's not a dissociative identity disorder thing, it's just branding. Such an unfashionable word, but I think people like to know what they are letting into their heads. Don't you?

How varied are my creatures? How many people do I need to be? How many people could I be? Perhaps if I were a dragon and a dentist, as well as a farmer, I could create an army to tend my herds.

Think of all the faces I could have!

Sunday 8 July 2012

Same farm, different product

It is nearly midnight when and where I am at the time of starting. I am listening to Off World Music, which is one of a few bootleg Blade Runner soundtracks that I've acquired over the years. I've spent the day in bed, because my back did something without me while I was sleeping. I'm at that point in the night where after my sixth cup of decaf I realised that I need to label my two coffee jars. Around the same time of this particular epiphany I also realised that sleep may be elusive tonight.

There is a thing that I call The Farm. It is the place that I populate with those things that will become my stories, and those things that already are. It is the place where I keep snippets, outlines, theories, characters and broad concepts. It is also a place where I keep my literary theories to myself.

I enjoy spending time at the Farm. I like the lack of structure that exists there. There are structures in the Farm, but they are still concepts. The Book has no more chapters to be written. It is a whole thing. It is a thing that demands that I make its structure far more real than I think I was ever prepared for. For the time being I have a reprieve. There are other things in my life that demand attention. So much attention that I do not have to engage with the book in a way that will bring the structure it craves from me.

So, for the time being, I only have the time and the head space to visit the Farm.

It is past midnight now, and I can feel that cold pain that sets in when your body catches up and it too comes to the realisation that it will not get something that it needs.

Monday 25 June 2012

Getting yo' mirrorshades rewired

I've recently taken the time to meander through the thoughtfully compiled Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, which is meant to chronicle those steps being taken to move us away from the near future menagerie of zaibatsu assassins and keyboard cowboys that cyberpunk established in the early eighties.

Though its editors previously rolled out the Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology this book emerged from and stills stands ass deep in the reproductive juices of Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, which was seminal in shaping the man who writes this blog.

Cyberpunk, as the name implies, is a species of postmodern science fiction that started to appear in the late seventies and began to find its feet in the early eighties. Like postmodernism it was a thing that was always going to happen. Its DNA was shaped and prepared in the opening salvos of the industrial revolution, and by the same token it was always going to produce its own progeny that carried with them the family resemblance in their tropes and the way that they swaggered.

There is a problem with what they are trying to establish here. While at its most axiomatic cyberpunk is about the keyboard rebellion, the traits and tropes that it has laid exclusive claim to can be found in less trendy science fiction as far back as the twenties, and in usage is a much broader term with a similar policy for rigidly acknowledging its borders as the People's Republic of China. There is no room for post-cyberpunk to lurk in its wake. The stories in Rewired are standing too close.

Kelly and Kessel are participating in an increasingly obsessive trend towards a fractal model when talking about genres and sub-genres in a fool's errand to hit the nail on the head. This is part of a bigger conversation about how and why we engage with all mediums of media and the degrees of meaningfulness of the categories we use to keep them separated. It is also part of a conversation about the contemporaneous use of categories that are defined by what they are not.

As a compilation of reasonably contemporary postmodern science fiction highlights covering a decade from 1996 to 2005 Rewired rolls with the big boys. It concisely packages the major tropes in chronological order, explored by only the most talented pens. It is especially interesting if you can get your hands on a copy of Mirrorshades.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Prometheus has broken my eyes and the way that I sleep

Look, yesterday I did manage to see Prometheus.

I saw it with a man I know. I'm not sure how he is feeling right now, but the new thing that Ridley has made permeated me in a way that I thought didn't happen anymore. Some part of it took up residence inside me, which is what the original film did to me, and I'm not yet at a stage where I can comment confidently on whether or not I actually liked it. I can tell you that I got home and lay face down on my bed for an hour to process.

This thing that I have witnessed is far closer to Alien in concept and intent than anything that has occupied the temporal space between them. In many ways I feel vindicated, as assumptions that I made about the mythology of the series have been confirmed, but at the same time it has started something new that affects the way I see people as they pass by me in the street.

I've had conversations with people about the film since I saw it, and I'm not sure I can see the same borehole in their psyche that I seem to have come away with. It has invaded my dreams, and they are now far less welcoming.

Monday 18 June 2012


I will be seeing Prometheus tomorrow.

To say that I have waited a long time for the release of a film that is related to Alien without being about Ripley would be an understatement. It has been a long time since I was amazed by Aliens.

I wasn't even a third of the way through Alien by the the time I had seen more in it than is in the entirety of everything that followed. I'm not aware of many people in my life who agree with me.

From the first film alone we take away so many questions. Where is the other ship from? Why are the eggs on board? What senses does the alien possess for processing the environment around it? How did 'the company' know there was something there to be found in the first place? Were the aliens engineered as a kind of tool for genocide, used to prepare planets by clearing all indigenous populations before returning to dormancy? Does the alien use the DNA from its host to help it adapt to its new environment? Can the alien survive in the vacuum of space?

No other film in the series really elicits this response. Worse than that, they drift further and further from any of the questions that were worth asking or answering with each sequel. Everything that gave the first film depth is destroyed or abandoned to follow a story about Ripley.

Prometheus is the sequel (or prequel) to Alien that I have always wanted.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Some people stand in the darkness, afraid to step into the light

“When I feel difficulty coming on, I switch to another book I am writing. When I get to the problem, my unconscious has solved it.”
- Isaac Asimov

I've used this quote before. It is my lifeguard in what often feels like an ocean of pages and words that are capable of losing all meaning at a moments notice. It is something I cling to for safety, but at the same time something with which I am not entirely comfortable. In this way my lifeguard is also an octopus.

We must all have these from time to time. Advice, methods or guidelines that we have adopted, that seem to work, but we don't feel entirely comfortable with the processes until it is actually clear on each separate occasion that they're working. An old octopus lifeguard of mine is my method for writing essays, that to most people appears so counter intuitive that they will not even attempt it. People just flat out refuse. At first I wasn't entirely comfortable with it either. It seemed too convenient. We need to embrace the octopus.

I am reluctant though. The lack of appeal in this little kernel of wisdom is in the writhing suckered tentacles of our previous relationship, which was abusive and unhealthy. I used it unilaterally as the foundation for a cornucopia of poor literary decision making and general copping out. Apparently the octopus lifeguard is also my ex-girlfriend now. 

The point I am actually trying to make with this increasingly convoluted metaphor is that sometimes you need to look at how you've been doing things and accept that it isn't working, and that just because you executed it poorly last time doesn't mean that there is a fault in the octopus (or the method). 

At the moment there is only The Book, but most of the time I spend with it is horrible and unproductive. The other side of this is that there are also one hundred and thirty-two other stories in various stages of The Process. Some of these have been put aside because the structure and characters exceed my current ability and experience, while others have been outgrown, and others still are trapped in there own circular logic. They aren't all like this though. Some of them are just waiting. Waiting for the The Book to be finished so that they can audition for the lead. Well, one of these budding understudies is being promoted to the status of The Other Book (or The Second Book, I haven't decided yet). They will share time in my life. Neither one will be treated as the dominant role. 

To be clear, the books are ballerinas and the process is the Baywatch Octopus. You can have as many ballerinas as you want, but only one octopus. You can suck back on ballerinas like they're going out of style (seriously, they aren't real people, they're metaphorical people), as long as it doesn't impact negatively on your relationship with the Octo-Hoff. I'm sure I could've made some better choices with this metaphor earlier on, but I'm enjoying it now. The point being that I am staying wary that this approach has been handled poorly by myself in the past, but sometimes it's worth trying old things anew.

Embrace the Octo-Hoff, but keep it professional.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

One adult for "Ender's Game" will cost you $16.50 and a piece of your SOUL!

Here's the dilemma. I recently discovered that Orson Scott Card, writer of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, is so opposed to same-sex marriage that he is on the board of director's for the National Organization for Marriage, which is an organisattion who were originally established to prevent the legalisation of same-sex marriage. While reading into this I also discovered that he had a history of saying some fairly repulsive things about homosexuals.

From the way I am presenting this information you have probably picked up that I am not riding the same political, philosophical or religious train as Mr Card, and that these discoveries prompted conflicted feelings towards both Ender's and Speaker, both of which I still count amongst the most influential books in my life.

This isn't the first time I have had my politics run up against those of an author (or artist) whose work I respect. Much of my fantasy writing is clearly influenced, both in style and theme, by Poe and Lovecraft, but I do not share their politics or philosophies. Lovecraft's writing gives the very clear and distinct impression that he was racist, homophobic, antisemitic and misogynistic, and I am not going to defend his beliefs with that old "product of his times" chestnut. Plenty of his contemporaries showed no evidence of these prejudices. Irrespective of these beliefs Lovecraft was an amazing writer and storyteller with a unique and horrifying imagination, and his impact on contemporary popular culture is, in my mind, quite often deeply understated.

Likewise, William S. Burroughs was a man with a skewed and ever changing view of the world that at different times led him to Scientology, an obsession with narcotics and the belief that playing with guns was a good idea. Amongst his many accomplishments are Junkie, Naked Lunch, the Nova Trilogy and the accidental shooting of his wife during a "game' of William Tell. Despite not being as widely regarded as I believe he should be, Burroughs had a habit of influencing influential and popular writers. Without his books late Twentieth Century literature and everything that followed and is yet to follow would and will be a very, very different game.

If these names don't register with you perhaps it might mean more to you to know that Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) was a devoted libertarian and gun enthusiast , Ernesto Guvera (The Motorcycle Diaries) was homophobic, C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) was a Christian Apologist, and Stephanie Meyer (The Twilight Saga) is a Mormon.

The way I perceive the universe doesn't run concurrently with any of these people, nor do I expect that it will for the handful of people who read my blog. Some of these people's beliefs bother me at the essence of the ideas behind them, while others bother me only when they are abused, but I cannot deny that I see something worthwhile in each of their bodies of work. More than that I am of the opinion that there is always something to gain from engaging with media that supports views other than our own. Something that is beyond the simple assimilation of differing views, but something that is in the act itself. Even more so if done willingly. Without differing views we end up reenforcing a bubble, and just because we engage with something does not mean that we automatically lend credence or validity to the ideas espoused within it.

I have known many people who I perceived as open-minded and still perceive as intelligent who have disregarded books solely on the philosophies of their author, most commonly when someone mentions Ayn Rand. It is apparently acceptable to hate on Ayn Rand and her books without actually informing yourself on her ideas or reading her books. I blame South Park for some of this, but the rest is a kind of  popularly enforced cultural ignorance. I'm not on Ayn Rand's bandwagon by any stretch of the imagination, but I can't deny that there is something deeply profound and astute happening between the pages of The Fountainhead, and to a far lesser extent Atlas Shrugged. As a matter of interest my only real complaint towards either book (especially the latter) is that they are absurdly long, and could have been written more concisely.

The reason I bring all of this up is that Ender's Game is currently in the process of being made into a film. The book itself does not condemn same sex marriage, and in fact there is even an intimate scene between two boys in which their affection for each other is expressed with a kiss. At this stage I doubt very much that Card is going to include any new materials to push his current agenda considering how long and hard the author has fought for a faithful adaptation of his book. So the work itself isn't something I take any issue with, but the creator is quite literally a fascist. So, the question you have to ask yourself is: Will any of the money earned by the film go towards opposing same sex marriage?

Honestly? I don't know. He may have already been paid in full for the film rights to the book as well as any role he had (as Producer) in the production of the film. He may be opposed to using the money from his art to fund his own agendas.

In the case of many of those that I mentioned earlier the question of separating the artist form their work is a much simpler one, because they are deceased, and unless their estates are up to some funky stuff I am unaware of we aren't running the threat of funding a cause in which we do not believe by buying their works.

Where do I come down on all of this?

I do believe that a work should be set apart from its creator and regarded and judged on its own merits, but should also be regarded and judged as a part of a whole body of work that includes the creator. Similarly I will not support those that condemn a work on the basis that it does not align with their own views, but while I think there is always something to gain from engaging in media that runs contrary to one's own philosophies, religions, politics and world views inherent in the act itself, I do get tripped up when you introduce the possibility of my own indirect funding of an agenda to which I am actually opposed. Would I have bought and read both Mein Kampf and Zweites Buch so as to better understand the ideas and events that lead to the holocaust if I thought for a moment that the money would go to further the causes and ideals valued by their author? Fuck no!

Ponder on it folks.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

"RE" THIS!: Episode 2 - Survival

Why do we feel the need to turn Shakespearean plays into teen-rom-coms, transform monstrous tyrants into more literal monsters or update Astro Boy? It is all for the same underlying reason, regardless of the superficial motives.

Survival through accessibility. We recreate a story to get more from it. To make it stronger. It is needless to to say that this doesn't always work. This can occur because the original is so heavily entrenched in the public psyche or because of the shortcomings of the newer versions. The triggers that lead to and the ways in which we go about re-engineering our stories are varied. Where some retellings try to shift a focus to increase the relevance of the story to contemporary issues, others might just reanimate, or add explosions.

Astro Boy was a Japanese comic serial that started in the early fifties called Tetsuwan Atomu ("Mighty Atom") which later became (in order); A live action television series; live action film; black and white animated series; colour animated series; second colour animated series; and a CG animated film (amongst other things). At every stage this was to make the story more accessible. This was also the reason that the series was translated into English. The other side of this is that when we talk about increasing access we talk about increasing the market too, but it amounts to the same thing with a different trigger.

In some cases the money trigger can work in conjunction with other triggers. It is common for stories, characters and settings to be rebooted due to an "unpainted corner". DC comics went through the process of retconning their multiverse multiple times eventually making it the plot in most major DC events. After years of painting themselves into corners they finally relaunched entirely in 2011, again using their shifting multiverse as the trigger. Leiji Matsumoto reboots his Harlock character on nearly every outing keeping only the characters and their motives. This allows him to tell the story he wants to tell without being hindered by his earlier writings.

Battlestar Galactica worked, because the approach revolved around accessibility. On a superficial level the new series looked much more real, which helped with our suspension of disbelief. At a deeper level the new series took a closer look at concepts that are more relevant to our own world, such as religious conflict, reliance on technology, failure of democracy, the horrors of war and human rights. On a personal level they made the characters  feel much more human and identifiable, with the inclusion of heavily flawed characters with flawed relationships. This focus on accessibility took a show that was cancelled after a single season due to poor ratings and turned it into a hugely successful four season series with wide spread appeal.

Unfortunately the most common method and trigger for rebooting anything is to take advantage of a trend. This is 'Trend-whoring' and it is boring. Recreating a familiar franchise to fit into an otherwise unrelated set of new criteria is irritating for everyone involved. I could get on Michael Bay's back about this, but if I ignore him maybe he will go away. Dino De Laurentiis, I choose you! And, oh, what a wealth of trend-whoring you have to offer. Two of his most recent production efforts have been Hannibal Rising and The Last Legion and they are the purest form of trend-whoring.

Let me set the scene. It is early years of the twenty-first century and Dino De Laurentiis is sitting at home thinking to himself "what are these origin films that everyone is talking about?", so he decides to google it. He stops musing over an artist's rendition of what he might look like as a giraffe and hops onto his computer. After a few minutes of searching he gets onto the phone with Thomas Harris and basically bullies him into a Hannibal Lector origin film. Don't like my version? He it is in Dino's words:

"I say to Thomas, 'If you don't do [the prequel], I will do it with someone else...I don't want to lose this franchise. And the audience wants it...' He said, 'No. I'm sorry.' And I said, 'I will do it with somebody else.' And then he said, 'Let me think about it. I will come up with an idea.'"

Take what you want from that, but my point is that the thought process and motivation for the film were fairly repugnant, and as a result the film is awful. Some people might argue that it is a prequel to the other films, but I disagree. I put it to you that it is so divergent from the original series in tone and characterisation that it is a reboot, and that is before you even get started on the story elements that don't match what we know about the lead character form the other films and books.

Unperturbed by the whole experience, Dino De Trend-a-whorus Rex gets back onto the internet to find out what else is popular, and hears about these things called Romans. He understands that they are a kind of soldier, and that they are all dead now. He then orders some artist's renditions of himself as a Roman giraffe, and decides that Romans are probably pretty popular after all. Blah blah blah, he got the film rights to an Italian book called The Last Legion and made another horrible film that not only disregarded the events of the novel, but also the course of history. Why bother getting the rights to the book in the first place? The answer of course being that trend-whoring is what happens when you suffer from a total lack of imagination, so you can't even think of your own ideas to trend-whore with.

Dumbass De Laurentiis is an extreme example of the kind of negative processes (and outcomes) that can be involved in the retelling of a story, but he isn't unique. Michael Bay retold Transformers and made it less relevant by downplaying the fuel and energy war that was at the centre of the original series. Is there something wrong when a twenty year old children's cartoon is more relevant to current events that your new movie based on the same cartoon? I think so.

I'm not going to come down hard on this. It is a thing that happens, and it can be done well. Blade Runner didn't even touch on one of the major plots of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but it is far more accessible to many audiences because it avoids the whole topic of religion. There are aspects of the film that are clearly part of the Hollywood machine, but they work well, and don't interfere with what is being said. Philip K Dick said of the film's relationship with his book that the two works reinforce each other.

If you are all geared up to hate on the latest Spider-Man film because Toby Maguire isn't in it, maybe it isn't Spidey that you like, but Toby. That right there is something you are going to have to come to terms with on your own time. Clearly I'm not saying there should be infinite leeway for any reworked version of a classic or adaptation of a comic, but think about why something is being done the way it is. When all is said and done, and you still get your discontinuity boner on perhaps you need to invest in something a little less mutable than stories. Try mathematics. I hear it is pretty rigid.

Thursday 12 April 2012

"RE" THIS!: Episode 1 - The Great Tradition

Contrary to things I may have said or are yet to say I'm not totally against reboots, relaunches and re-imaginings. It is a thing that happens. Not sometimes either. It is a constant thing happening and moving and changing and trending. Some people get traumatically bent out of shape about this. There little fanboy rage gets all up in their nasty little fists and they start screaming about how someone (original creator) or another (IP holder) has just jossed their entire fanfic catalogue. To such folk I shout, "Welcome to the history of storytelling". It is part of the Great Tradition.

I don't think that there is a single myth that hasn't been reworked, transposed, recast, updated, exaggerated, expanded, combined, retconned, appropriated, romanised, stolen, assimilated, reinterpreted or misinterpreted. This is just how we roll as a species. Everyone agrees that Heracles got him some labours that numbered twelve, but if you get your research on (not Wikipedia) there is a much longer list of labours apparently accomplished under the "Twelve Labours" (c)(TM) brand. This is because everyone town wanted a piece of the action. They wanted to point at a rusting '89 Magna and say "Heracles pushed that car to the side of the road when it ran out of petrol by himself, and Iolas had all his kids in it. Including the three fat ones."

This isn't a behaviour that has been confined to the ancient world either. Let's do an easy one.

Once upon a time there was a man named Vlad Tepes who was Prince of Wallachia. He earned a bit of a reputation for being an impaler. Same say this made him a horrible tyrant, others suggest he just liked knowing that people he didn't trust stayed where he left them.

During his lifetime he had a disagreement with some folk (mainly of the Ottoman Empire). Folk to whom he later lost. It was also these folk who we rely on for our account of his cruelty. Considering that the tales of hiss cruelty continued to grow for nearly a century after his death from these same sources is it fair to suppose that they were not entirely accurate? I think so. It is also important to note that during his lifetime and in the centuries that followed the people of his own country saw him as a hero.

A couple of centuries roll on and we get to the closing years of the 19th C. when an Irishman knocks out a novel about the vampire count of Transylvania, Dracula. This book combines the figures of Vlad Tepes (Vlad III) and Vlad Dracul (Vlad II) into a single character, who is actually a vampire hell bent on becoming a London real-estate mogul.

Twenty-five years later Team Germany bust out the classic Nosferatu starring Max Schrek. Dracula is called Orlok and he travels to Germany instead of England. The Author's estate tried to have all prints of the film destroyed, but their lack of thoroughness is our boon. As the twentieth century continued Dracula would be retold and the character reused hundreds of times, amounting to dozens of reinterpretations of both the historical figures and fictional characters.

That's not all folks. If you call now Bram Stoker's Dracula is a hydra of the Great Tradition. He adopted a traditional European mythological creature, and changed its "rules" just enough to suit his tale, thus creating the basis for the modern vampire.

Popular culture over the next one-hundred plus years would jump in to adjust and reconfigure the concept of a vampire to suit trends and limitations in special effects. Enter Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire (not the film, the book) that recasts vampires as lonely lovelorn creatures of the night. Then Buffy comes along and they start dating teenagers. By the time Stephanie Meyer throws her hat into the ring what is there left to do, but make them sparkle in the sunshine.

I've been guilty in the past of complaining about the "death of the classical vampire", but in all fairness Anne Rice, Joss Whedon and Stephanie Meyer are only participating in the Great Tradition. My definition was an arbitrary line drawn by myself (and others), where a better term would be 'pre-Varney vampires'. I do think it is important to make distinctions, because although they are all vampires, Edward Cullen (MeyerPire or Glampire) is a very different creature to Angel, or Lestat, or Orlok, or Dracula, or Varney. I think there is room for all.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Thanks for the memo D-bag, but we're all already on the same page!

I've never understood the seemingly constant need to reestablish elements of a story that already has currency. This is something that seems to cycle back around to the forefront of my mind whenever anyone makes a film out of a well known IP or any movie with a number at the end (or replacing letters or words in the title). Such a time looms now as over the next year we will be getting a a couple of reboots, some prequel stuff, remakes and who knows what else that might be relevant to what I'm talking about. A lot of the time the public knows the score enough for the film to just get on with the story.

Take a knee kids. If you are making a movie about Superman we all have a fairly straight forward idea of what a Superman is and how they get down, and unless you are doing something really different with your Superman you don't need to fill us in on the flying and heat vision. We're all there on that. We know the drill. Aliens who look like humans for the convenience of the plot jettison their son into space as their world dies. Ma and Pa Kent find the aforementioned alien baby in a field and raise it as their own. Eventually the baby turns out to get extraordinary powers from Earth's yellow sun, even though it's really white. There is at least thirty minutes of your movie right there. How much of this do we actually need for the last sixty to ninety minutes? How much of it do we already know? His origin story was covered in the film, three TV series and at least three comic series. This is important because the Superman reboot, Man of Steel, is on the horizon. How much of the film will be spent covering old ground?

A title that has less uncertainty about it is The Amazing Spider-Man. I've seen the previews and they make it very clear that it is another origin story, or at the very least about the early events in what could be considered the interesting part of Peter Parker's life, including getting nibbled by a radioactive spider. Where this film might differ, and I am speculating, is that this story is about the young Spider-Man. It is a story about a time when he is not only new at the whole super-hero thing but also still quite naïve on the whole. There are Spider-Man stories that really hammer into Peter's sense of self, and drive home some incredibly vicious lessons on responsibility and foresight, and from the presence of certain characters in the upcoming film it seems as though these are the stories they are planning to tell.

Generally speaking I don't like origin stories. Well, actually I do, but I like going off and discovering them, and I hate them for the sake of themselves. Hannibal Rising is a perfect example of this kind of behaviour, and not only was it one of the worst films I think I can remember seeing, but it wasn't consistent with things established in the other films. Good work on that one. Thanks for playing.

When it comes to prequels and origin stories, and in fact any film, telling some kind of story should come first. This is especially effective if you tell a story that can only be told with that character, or at the very least can't be told with every second character. If you feel the need to rattle through the dot points of the character's back story starting with the loss of their parents or guardians and culminating sometime after they started running around in tights and a mask the very least you could do is put some effort into accommodating an actual story into all of it.

This is where I actually really like the idea of rebooting a franchise every couple of films, or just ignoring the accumulating pile of discontinuity collecting in the wake like they did with James Bond for forty years.

You've got the IP. We know the score. Tell us a story.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Panda and I watched: Green Lantern

Panda and I love us some comic books. There are some brands (or titles) that appeal for different reasons than others. We like Watchmen, but we also like Green Lantern, Justice League, Hawkworld and both hold a particular fondness for Adam Strange. Normally when a franchise we like comes out we get in line psychologically. We don't actually line up. We're too lazy for that kind of behaviour. It is probably better to say that we put it on the to-do list. It becomes imbedded in our psyche, which we share, as a thing that will be done, and until it gets done we check and re-check release dates, figure out who we want to see it with, and speculate over the goings on that will be witnessed of which we are already emotionally involved. That is our modus operandi and that is exactly how we rolled on the whole John Carter situation. This is also how we rolled when Green Lantern was approaching, but due to poor responses that often included the word 'shit' we started avoiding it. We were worried. We didn't want to be disappointed, but I have been feeling unwell lately and that means that Panda gets what he wants, so we watched it.

It is not a good movie, but more than this it is not a good Green Lantern Story. I feel like they missed the point of making a movie and the point of telling a Green Lantern story, then to top it off they cheated us. When I say us I am not just talking about Green Lantern fans, but the story consuming public as a whole.

I'm going to digress and regress for a little bit. When I was nine I went to the US of A for five weeks with my friend Gabriel, who himself has made some interesting points on stories and story telling in his time. While there I bought some comic books and the pen and paper role-playing game DC Heroes. These materials introduced me to the Green Lantern Corps which took my fancy straight away. On a a not unrelated note: It was on this trip that I became curious about and eventually obsessed with how a game with actual rules could possibly cover the seemingly infinite uses for the GL power ring, which in turn rekindled a fascination with how games work.

Once I got back to Australia I started picking GL comics up whenever my local newsagent stocked them. I didn't really have access to the funds to procure back issues or trade paper backs at the time so I just read what came my way. I was reading pretty avidly for a couple of years when the "Emerald Twilight" storyline came along, which is a story of how a grief stricken Hal Jordan becomes the mind-controlling reality-bending Parallax.

Where is that story?

We won't get that story, because that was the end (for a while) of Hal Jordan being the Lantern. It wasn't an origin story. I know that they retconned it so that he had actually been hanging around "Since the beginning", but Parallax (who eats fear?) doesn't really belong in Hal Jordan's origin story. He comes later on when you are invested in the character. When the impact of him creating a construct of his recently deceased girlfriend because he isn't coping with the loss really hits you hard.

After I finished high school I would duck in and out of Green Lantern and from time to time I would pick up the odd omnibus or trade paper back, amongst them were "Emerald Dawn" parts one and two, "Secret Origin" and "Sinestro Corps War", which all catalogue Sinestro's fall from being one of the Green Lantern Corps' greatest heroes to becoming one of their most persistent enemies. This is a big story that explores the concepts of the ends justifying the means and the often horrific preemptive nature of order and control of a populace.

Where is this story?

We won't get this story because the creative forces behind the movie felt that it was important that Sinestro first dons his yellow ring in a mid credits sequence giving the event little to no impact. The creation of the ring itself feels a lot like it was added as an after thought. I am aware that Sinestro was a villain from early on in the piece as far as the comics are concerned and most of this story was told later, but I feel like they tossed away a great opportunity so that they could bust a grizzly for themselves (it's a term for masturbate).

Neither Panda nor I are total sticklers for continuity and neither are we hell bent on remaining true to all the details of the original source material, which rarely stays true to itself these days, but these divergences are just cheats that turn Green Lantern into another piss-weak origin film that doesn't really have an engaging story. My experience with the Green Lantern comics is that at their very core they are about will, fear, grief and varying concepts of what is right. Powerful stuff if you can show it. The recent film talks about some of these things a lot, but doesn't really give anyone an opportunity to convince the audience.

A lot of people have complained to me about Reynolds' casting, but as far as I can tell it is the writers of the film that have failed to convey the true heft of Green Lantern, and at the same time prevented themselves from being able to really give two of the most important stories in the franchise the weight they deserve. Likewise there is no real opportunity for Reynolds to really sink his teeth into the role of  Hal Jordan. This says nothing of the daylight robbery of Mark Strong's role. Imagine his surprise when, after being cast as one of the most interesting villains in the DC multiverse, they gave him a handful of dunce scenes and dialogue to match. It doesn't really matter if you are a Lantern fan or not, you have been cheated.

I would love to see a sequel, but I hope they really drill down to the core of the franchise and find the themes and the stories that don't get explored anywhere else, otherwise it is just another superhero movie based on a comic book, and there are a lot of those.

Panda agrees.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Playing old games

I recently made the conscious decision to return to a method of writing I have often (and repeatedly) turned my back on. When it comes down to it my only really useful skill as a writer is to be able to sit down and knock out a couple of thousand words of story in an hour. Which is about as much as you need if you want to write a new version of a chapter from scratch.

I actually highly recommend cultivating this as a method for essay writing. It is the one I used during my short stints at university. Sitting down and writing four drafts and then cribbing from all of them for the final is a much more fruitful and less time consuming method of writing just about anything. Write, review, write review, write, review, and so on. and so on. I know that it is a lot less stressful than mulling over a single draft wondering what is missing or isn't working. You pick those things out in the review.

Whatever other benefits there may be, I know that it is by far the fastest and least stressful method of writing that I have ever used. If it doesn't work you can have another crack. Try something different, try adding different characters to the scene, or try moving the scene to another room or geographical location.

My recent return to this method have tightened up the early chapters in the Book, and given me three of the best chapters I have written in months.

I swear by it.

Some assembly may be required,
dependent on the degree of care taken during shipping.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Everyone? Yes, everyone!

When I was a wee lad of about nine, or thereabouts, I read a few books from the Barsoom Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Though I have carried this around in my head ever since, it has been only recently that it was jostled to the forefront of my mind and I felt the need to say something about it. This is no doubt due in no small part to the ad campaign for John Carter, which hits Australian cinemas tomorrow.

I loved these books. I always thought that I got them from my cousin, who passed on many of his books to me. This may have actually been arranged by our parents and been without his knowledge, leaving him to wonder where all of his books were going. I believed that this was how I must have acquired the few Barsoom books that I had, but I recently discovered that he hasn't read them. I distinctly remember not reading A Princess of Mars first because it didn't sound nearly as interesting as The Warlord of Mars.

There were a number of reasons that the Barsoom series might be appealing to a lad of about nine, or thereabouts. It is full of sword fights, high adventure, amazing battles, ancient mysteries, fabulously monstrous aliens, and not a small amount of nudity. As E.R. Burroughs presents it, everyone on Mars is naked! The heroes don't wear pants, the princesses don't wear pants, and the giant aliens, whether they are green, red, white or kangaroo men, certainly don't wear pants. Discovering this made A Princess of Mars seem a lot more interesting, and it also made my reading them feel somewhat clandestine. I was starting to be curious about 'the ladies' and here they were. Naked. Naked in words.

I'm not at all bothered by the apparent lack of nudity in the upcoming film. I say apparent as I haven't yet seen it. Actually I know "a guy", he worked on it, and he swears there isn't any nudity. The aliens in the ads look pretty naked, but I didn't question him too closely on this. Perhaps Disney sees them like horses. No one ever wonders why the horses don't get pants. I would never expect a film based on this series to stay true to the original costuming, regardless of whether Disney was involved or not. It really would be a lot of nudity. There isn't really a point to be made here. I think some part of me just wanted to bring up the naked martians of my youth.

It is also worth mentioning that most of E.R. Burroughs' works are now in the public domain, a great many of which are available from Project Gutenberg, and many of them are also available free from the iTunes Store.

That is all.

Friday 2 March 2012

All the slow chapters...

I've reached a point with the Book where all of the chapters are there. The story is complete,...

(there it is)

my first instinct was to rewrite chapters, specifically early chapters with lots of dialogue. In rereading some of this dialogue I'm glad that this is an instinct that comes to me without provocation, but the next thing that I started doing I now want to stop doing. I think it is a similar instinct to that of chronic renovators. That little moment when the imp on your shoulder starts a sentence with "While you're down there you might as well...".

I've started rewriting whole chapters, expanding settings, and last night I wrote out a character. A character that appears in four more chapters, which now need to be rewritten to accommodate his absence.

I do this to my self. I really do.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Cultural Invader J

I am a student again. This was an ongoing state for me for some eighteen years.

I am training to become a linguistic missionary so that I can take part in what remains of the great English tradition of imperialism.

"You there, boy! Speak as I speak. Don't worry though, we will take some of your words like thieves in the night. We will sprinkle them throughout our own dictionaries as exotic linguistic gap filler. In decades to come most people will only guess that they were once yours by the awkward spelling. We will however have smoothed out your nasty little tripthongs by then. Run now! Tell all that you see!"

An unrelated note:

I am continually frustrated when clever premises for films trade off the original ending for something more salable. Minority Report is a film that often springs to mind when this topic comes up. In this Spielberg creation the premise simply acts as the set up for a series of chase sequences. The ending could be on the end of another film, and you probably wouldn't notice. I am bothered by this, because the source material has a fantastic ending that ties directly into the premise and the themes, and leaves you thinking "Well...shit!" (in a good way).

I bring this up because Total Recall is being remade and it is another film that is guilty of this story telling faux pas, though to a lesser extent. The ending in the original "We can remember it for your wholesale!", like in "The Minority Report", is a much neater fit with the premise (and themes). That said, Total Recall is one of my favourite films, despite its many flaws.

I will make time in my schedule for the remake.

For other examples of this see:
Repo Men (which suddenly becomes Abre los ojos/Vanilla Sky)
The Island (which makes a half hearted fourth quarter return)

Sunday 1 January 2012

Targeting the moon

I recently made a decision about a story that I am working on. This decision puts the story in the 'I need to hone my craft before I start work on this' pile. It is an old story. Aim up.