The world awaited is not yet the world attained, but the fighting spirit burns on.
Escapism is just the snidest word for something that our collective survival may well depend on.
In a story that spans multiverses and multi-selves, do we even need to talk about a "self"?
On editing the paper proof of "Unmortal", always a radically different experience from a digital edit.
And how to ignore them, especially when they pertain to releasing a finished work.
How "Dune" (2021) 's reception as both a cult item and a mainstream entertainment are significant.
"Unmortal", the new book, is ready to go. I'm pleased with what I ended up with.
How the core idea for my new fantasy novel "Unmortal" spun out into an alternate history of civilization.
"If I stop to look at reality, I think I’ll be struck down, and I don’t want to be." -- Pedro Almodóvar
At what point can you say to yourself "I know what I'm doing" and not be arrogant or pigheaded, but simply correct? Is there in fact any way to know this for yourself?
On the creative paralysis that existed in the worst times of my depression.
"The act of chasing everyone is probably keeping you from reaching anyone." - Seth Godin
I'm not against the idea of stepping to different drummers, but how the word "nonconformity" has had all the meaning tortured out of it by thoughtless use.
How my new novel "Unmortal" started as "a fantasy story that realized it was cyberpunk and woke up screaming".
Friends of mine and I were talking about the idea of a canon or pantheon of great movies, and how to select them. We had a fun debate about the criteria, and eventually I drew up a list.
Cult movies? In my UHD 4K format? It's more common than I thought it would be.
A peek into the near future of Infinimata Press, and maybe also the far future.
In re: "People care as much or more about their identity and having it validated as they care about material interests."
On being haunted by those I've known, and no longer know.
When we talk about the ugly asymmetries in modern politics -- one side is far less sane than the other, let's face it -- talk arises of whether or not said people are in fact out of their minds.
A few notes of gratitude.
Most of my curiosities about things are not aroused by awards.
A creative energy, one worth taming.
I dreamed about a whole new way by which the new would be sought.
What's next for me after "Unmortal"? Uhhhhhhh...
Is it productive to think about a blog the same way one thinks about one's attic or basement?
On getting hung up finding the right word.
And the beginning of something far better in my creative life.
If you meet one on the road, you know what to do. Right?
Even the books I'm proudest of, I can still find fault with. The ones that I'm less proud of, well ...
After a certain point in my career, I saw no reason to apologize for writing stuff that made big leaps and took big risks.
If I were to make a Venn diagram with two elements labeled Things I Have Fun Watching/Reading and Things I Want To Bring Into The World, one would be an entire subset of the other.
What lessons there are to learn from Bad Movies We Love.
You don't have to pump out a novel a week to be "productive". You just have to be able to sit down for a few minutes a day and do something to turn the wheel a little.
Want to buy copies of my books signed by yours truly? Here's what you need to do.
On that tricky phrase "Do not compare yourself to others."
Sometimes, a readership. Not that it's worth it.
One must have concrete critical standards of some kind, or one ends up in a kind of death spiral of hopeless idealism.
I give you permission to shoot me if I ever turn into a tiresome old bore.
The "arc of coming-together" for my new book was very much in line with how it's been for me with past projects I thought highly of.
What's the real creative motive - making something, or making something of yourself?
The best art all looks effortless, and the best artists all make it seem like play.
Show the things that are best dramatized; tell the things that are best spelled out.
if you want to be read, aim for the middle. Don't write total crap, but don't write stuff that's only going to be of interest to a self-selecting few, either.
Dead projects of mine, and their tombstones.
One of the reasons we call some people "geniuses" is because of (among other things) their disinhibitions about feeling stupid.
On the balance between a story with too many rules and not enough.
Last night I had a dream that was among the most vivid and terrifying I have ever experienced, possibly the most vivid and terrifying I've had yet.
The whole of my back catalog has now been reissued under the Infinimata Press label. Pop your own champagne.
There is a place for all of us there, and we just have to bring whatever we have with us to it.
I tend to keep my mouth shut about projects until they are actually in some kind of sharable, discussable condition, and even then I keep details close to the vest.
I've found I do my best work when I'm not self-consciously trying to comment on my moment in time.
The issue I have with tentpole franchise entertainment is not that it's unentertaining, but that it provides the wrong lessons for creators.
How I sometimes model my approach to a book as if it were a movie for the mind.
If there is a "throughline" for our moment in time, it's not something that condenses itself down to the kind of overarching planning found in fiction.
Something is not "artificial" because of its means of production, but if the act of producing it, in whatever form, goes against your inner convictions.
How I've tried to avoid using the template of a real-world story for my own fiction.
The mere fact that David Lynch's Dune was made at all, and in the Hollywood of the early 1980s to boot, is something of a miracle. Would that it was a better adaptation of the source material, or just a better movie, period.
Learning to find your own take on things you read or watch gives you a sense of what you can bring to your own work, too.
Making my blogging system faster by doing less.
In a field that's trend-driven, all the most interesting and truly groundbreaking work can only come from the fringes.
I've got one of those projects in mind that needs paring down.
One thing I've long hated about myself is how picky I've become when it comes to my tastes in fiction.
A phrase I repeat to myself often, chiefly when mired down in the middle of a draft: "Trust the process."
One of the most humbling, and also clarifying, discoveries of my life was that while I liked weird stuff, I myself wasn't that weird.
Skepticism of one's own positions is difficult to cultivate, in big part because the rest of the world openly defies us to doubt ourselves constructively.
Some of the best stuff I've ever read has been posted on blogs with a sum total of maybe five readers, myself included.
Change is the essence of storytelling: we tell a story because we want to document something that has changed. Or someone.
Stories aren't diamonds of symmetrical perfection. They're pearls of asymmetrical beauty, and should be loved as such.
How not to succumb to the creative sunk-cost fallacy.
I'm pleased to announce Tokyo Inferno has been returned to print in a spiffy new edition, with remastered interiors and redesigned cover art!
How Akira Kurosawa's RAN changed my life.
Sorry about the silence. It's been a busy several days, not least of all because I got back the proof copy for the new edition of "Tokyo Inferno."
What's the difference between just "jamming some stuff together" to make a story, and molding raw material into something truly new?
The remastered "Tokyo Inferno" is on its way.
The hardest question: why, exactly, do I like or hate something?
How not to feel pre-empted when something you want to create resembles something else out there.
A new edition of Rilke's "Letters To A Young Poet" restores the long-missing other half of the conversation.
Why is it that the indie scene in music is so much more forgiving of self-production, where the indie scene in literature is less so?
"The ability to know when something is done is a skill."
Your job when writing a story is to listen to what this material is telling you it needs to be, and go there.
It's impossible to control what happens when people pay attention to you in numbers. Just respond as gracefully as you can.
It took a year to produce a first draft of "Unmortal". It was worth the wait.
When you are faced with a world this chaotic and nasty, is the only sane response to reject it wholesale?
With "Unmortal"'s first draft more or less finished, I think some wind-down is in order.
The remaster of "Summerworld", the first of my novels, is out at last!
My fifteen-minute guide to making professional-looking self-published book covers.
Darren Aronofsky's ingenious micro-budget debut, twenty-plus years later, holds up better than some of his bigger-budgeted efforts
A distillation of what I've learned from other creators who aren't writers.
How not to get stuck halfway through something you're writing.
How to deal with having half-a-dozen-plus possible future projects all cagematching each other to death for the chance to be next in line.
The books that made me -- specifically, the SF and fantasy books.
Why I don't have a metaverse for my fiction. (Not for lack of trying, actually...)
The wheel turns. It grinds slowly, but exceedingly fine.
"Our creative journeys aren’t linear, and our creative selves not always apparent"
"...the mind extends into the world and augments the capacities of the biological brain with outside-the-brain resources."
I was a terrible writer for a long time, but I didn't care how bad I was as long as I could keep trying, and could learn something with each trial.
I treat my writing career the way I do because I don't want it to become a "hustle".
The one thing about Zen and Buddhism that most stood out for me: the idea that everyone's already enlightened and just doesn't know it yet.
On not succumbing to the urge to just shove stuff off my desk and be done with it.
On the difficulties engendered by total editorial freedom.
We shouldn't confuse tragedy with misplaced sympathy for the devil.
Near-future SF has always struck me as the most precarious kind of SF, because of its sell-by date.
Or: Set a timeframe for your work, or someone else will. And you won't like theirs.
The more you go through the draft process and learn how to detach yourself from any particular incarnation of the material, the easier it gets.
A kooky example of science fiction from Hong Kong, a cinematic world that has relatively little SF to begin with.
Word broke the other night that Kentaro Miura, creator of Berserk, died earlier this month of an aortal dissection. "Devastated" doesn't begin to describe the feeling.
The soundtrack for my space opera, 'Flight Of The Vajra', were it to have a soundtrack.
A discussion of the themes in 'Flight Of The Vajra', and how they are embodied there.
I'm experiencing a resurgence of that feeling of how human life, my life, is a limited thing.
Yes, I have yet another new project to announce. One inspired by clipart. No, really.
On how the dharma is for doing, not talking about.
The greatest liberation about doing it yourself: gleaning from it the freedom to figure out what you really want to fill your days with.
On the absolute primacy of the present moment (part 6,312).
I've not lived a storied life, and I know it.
Moderna Dose 2: Something Something Boogaloo.
Twenty years later, the Wachowskis' digital fable still stands tall, outliving the slickness of the moment and attempts to misappropriate it
The first of the posthumous releases from Alan Vega (of Suicide)'s vault, and it's a good 'un.
Ersatz Vangelis and fake Tangerine Dream, coming up! And maybe something more original after that.
How not all fiction has to be "realistic" to be affective, and how new aesthetic standards can follow from that.
The remaster of 'Summerworld' is on the way, with as many deletions as additions and changes.
Here's a good article about the way novel lengths have been influenced by technology and marketing, with an except I found particularly enlightening:
A rundown of the supporting characters in 'Flight Of The Vajra', and the roles they play.
Why not propose something truly new, instead of just taking the old and rejugging it?
Many of my books owe at least a little something to their immediate predecessors, chiefly because whatever it was I did with the idea the first time didn't use it all up.
Good thing I set aside all that money for PC upgrades, right?
On choice paralysis in creative work and how to avoid it.
How I got the new art for "Absolute Elsewhere" to cover the book's spine without completely reworking it.
First design the cover, then write the book? Why not?
I'm behind schedule on Behind The Scenes and the remastering job, but I haven't forgotten about them.
For both myself and others.
A look back at the most deliberately frustrating album ever made for popular consumption.
On "the world of demons" in Buddhist study, and other things in it that are routinely misunderstood.
On being daring in a story, without that being an excuse for cruelty.
Some technical notes about the blog system I built here.
"I keep thinking," my friend said, "that if only I'd done more, we wouldn't be in this mess we're in now." Were they right?
It's easily to write badly. It's even easier to write badly when everyone else gets away with it.
Two different ways of making a story complete in terms of what it addresses.
On my long-honed sense of when something is rare and should be acquired, lest you never see it again.
Stephen Downes and a few wise words on the idea of "character".
The lone genius creative model, and all of its bothersome psychological baggage, really needs to go.
There's a division between the "gruntwork" and "creative play" sides of any creative endeavor -- the times when you just need to put words out, and the times when you need to toy mentally and daydream.
For an artist, worldview is all.
Progress on 'Unmortal', including a sneak peek at some wild new cover art.
I didn't leave Star Wars. Star Wars left me. And not in the way you might think.
An introduction to the roster of characters for 'Flight Of The Vajra', starting with the leads. (Including character art!)
Want to read one of my books for free, along with a bunch of others that might be interesting? Check out my currently running promotions through ProlificWorks.
How the diverse influences for 'Flight Of The Vajra' shaped its story.
Some novels by women you need to know about, and probably don't.
On how new influences keep every kind of art healthy, including and especially popular arts.
At the end of the day, it's just a fancy excuse to shoot a bunch of scenes in reverse.
What I'm working on these days, March 2021 edition.
Something is not original simply because it's the opposite of what everyone else is doing -- even if it does seem like that from the outside.
Artists can't talk people into or out of things that they weren't talked out of or into to begin with. They can only seduce them.
How everything from 'Dune' and 'Tron: Legacy' to 'Cowboy Bebop' fed into 'Flight Of The Vajra'.
You know how Woody Guthrie has THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS on his guitar? Peter Brötzmann's reeds should have signs that say THIS MACHINE KILLS, PERIOD.
How 'Flight Of The Vajra' took shape from a few ideas about what a far-future setting would look like, including materials sciences and belief systems.
Reflections on something like 25 years of blogging.
How my novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' began as multiple unreconciled attempts to write a "big and bold" space opera.
The soundtrack for my novel 'Wecome To The Fold'.
Want to read one of my books for free, along with a bunch of others that might be interesting? Check out my currently running promotions through ProlificWorks.
A discussion of the themes in my novel 'Welcome To The Fold', and how they are embodied there.
A discussion of the supporting cast in 'Welcome To The Fold', and the roles they play.
Ben Kingsley as a frothing mad gangster is only the first of many pleasures in this sleeper-gem of a crime drama that's only gotten better with age
The film is worthy of the best kind of jealousy, the kind that makes you want to go out and do something just as visionary and overwhelming.
How science fiction and fantasy stories live and die by their technical details, for both better and worse.
A new flatbed scanner joins my in-home digital creation arsenal.
Two, two, TWO new translations of Machado de Assis's amazing novel came out when my back was turned!
When I'm happy, this record reminds me of what I'm transcending; when I'm not, it reminds me of how to transcend.
Yes, I know I only checked in a couple of weeks ago, but man have things uncorked here!
More from Raymond Carver: study and learn from, but don't emulate, singular literary talents.
My own little fight against modern-day information overload: don't blog too much about it.
On a few words from Raymond Carver on ''experimentation''
One of the things Buddhism tries to get you to recognize within yourself is how all the things you are aren't "you".
New year, new PC upgrade.
If you're interested in reading my novel "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned", I'm now offering a giveaway on Prolific Works.
It's about time I checked back in with all of you as to what I'm up to, bookwise.
Title tells it.
The purchase links for Fall Of The Hammer went to the wrong books. This has since been corrected.
On the (easily misunderstood) Zen doctrine of not looking for fulfillment through outside phenomena.
Sometimes there is too much of a good thing.
Upgrade time. Not the best time for it, either.
With a wide-eyed and dismayed sense of overwhelm.