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.
Back in Part One of this series I described how the germ of the idea for Flight Of The Vajra came from a while slew of disparate project ideas that never came to fruition. The core of the idea, though, came from a completely different direction.
Reflections on something like 25 years of blogging.
I think I started blogging, if that's the word that applies to what I was doing, in 1996 or so, when I first got an io.com shell account. I know I started blogging around 1999 or so, when I bought my own domain name and began filling it with content generated by ... ColdFusion? And then Microsoft FrontPage, and then Movable Type, and now a CMS of my own devising. I was a DIY guy all the way, even if that wasn't what I would recommend to others. And I've learned a few things along the way.
How my novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' began as multiple unreconciled attempts to write a "big and bold" space opera.
Somewhere along the line, I think I made a pledge to myself to try writing at least one story in every genre I can get my hands on, until either I run out of genres or I myself run out, period. Among the bases I've already rounded include space opera, and that in what I hope is a big country way. But boy, did it take a long time to get there.
(Note: Some of this has been rewritten or taken from a previous post I did on this subject, so there is some duplication of material.)
The soundtrack for my novel 'Wecome To The Fold'.
With each book I write, there's almost always a soundtrack of some kind to go with it -- music to match the mood and tempo of each scene. That said, I find I almost never listen to the music in question when writing or editing the scene in question, as I find that too distracting; there's other music I have specifically for the writing process.
Odds are you can find most, if not all, of these by way of your friendly neighborhood music streaming service.
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.
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.
Last time I posted in this series, I talked about the characters, major and supporting. This time around, I'll run down some of the major themes in the story as I saw them.
A discussion of the supporting cast in 'Welcome To The Fold', and the roles they play.
Last time I posted in this series, I introduced a few of the main characters - Kijé and Annika, the two faces of the main protagonist; her boyfriend Renton and his matching alter ego Berardinis. Now some notes about the rest of the cast:
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
Someone once said that American movies are about plots while European movies are about characters. That goes double for crime films. When they're about assembling a team for One Last Job, they're about the team, or the job, or the betrayal. Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast uses all that as backdrop for a contrasting character study: Gal Dove (Ray Winstone), the soft-in-the-gut ex-safecracker who does not want to leave his comfy Spanish villa for one last job; and Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), the bulldog soldier in Teddy Bass's (Ian Macshane) crime army who most definitely wants him to do it, and will latch his teeth into Gal's ankle and drag him bodily away from his wife and friends if he must.
Dove has no earthly reason to even consider Logan's offer. He lives with his beloved wife Deedee, an ex-porn star, in a mountainside hacienda with an in-ground pool. Every night it's barbecues and garden parties with his friend Aitch and his wife Jackie, also both emigres. One fine day a boulder detaches itself from the hillside behind where he's sunning himself, crashes into his pool, and almost pancakes Dove. That rattles his eyeteeth, but it does so far less than word that his old not-really-buddy Don Logan has decided to drop in.
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.
First, a confession of cinematic unhipness: Until sometime earlier this week I never did watch Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now all the way through, beginning to end. Only fragments on TV, or maybe a few minutes glimpsed over someone's shoulder when they watched it. Somehow I kept kicking the can of that experience down the road, until finally Coppola brought out a 4K restoration of his preferred cut of the film and I stopped procrastinating and gave it an evening of my time. 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, even if it you can't quite cinch shut the bag it's packed in.
Most great "war films" are not about war but some other subject we can only approach fully through the context of war. Paths Of Glory was about the kind of cowardice only possible in the power structures that prosecute war. The Grand Illusion was about how men of principle and discipline are set against each other because war demands it. Apocalypse Now is about how war's insanity is normalizing, both on the individual and collective level. War, especially one as ambiguous and protracted as the one in Vietnam, does something worse than make us mad: it makes us wonder if it was ever a good idea to be sane in the first place, when things can become this broken.
How science fiction and fantasy stories live and die by their technical details, for both better and worse.
I spent most of this week at work dodging cars (metaphorically speaking) and trying not to get flattened (again, metaphorically speaking). Left me in a state of blear, which in turn made it hard to concentrate on anything creative. Just as well, as right now Unmortal has some "blocking issues" that need shaking out before I can continue. Nothing major, and nothing I haven't faced before, so it's something I recognize when I see it. I know it well enough to know it isn't the enemy, no more than a red traffic light is the enemy. Amiable chaos, but still chaos.
A new flatbed scanner joins my in-home digital creation arsenal.
I had more money left over from my PC upgrade than I realized, so I spent a little more of it on something I'd been mulling for some time: a desktop flatbed scanner. Nothing too over-the-top, just an Epson Perfection V39. It's part of what I have come to call the In-House Art Preservation And Digital Collage Society.
Two, two, TWO new translations of Machado de Assis's amazing novel came out when my back was turned!
Somehow, when my back was turned, two new translations appeared of one of my favorite novels, Machado de Asssis's Epitaph Of A Small Winner a/k/a The Posthumous Memoirs Of Bras Cubas. One is from Penguin; the other from Liveright. That brings the total translations in English of this singular piece of work to four. I cut my teeth on the original, from the 1950s, and I've read the 2nd one (which is more for scholarly interest than literary quality), but I'm now making a near-term project of reading the others and seeing how they shape up.
When I'm happy, this record reminds me of what I'm transcending; when I'm not, it reminds me of how to transcend.
This is an album about death, which means it is, inevitably, also an album about life. I wrote that preceding platitude, or something like it, the first time I heard Superunknown, and immediately felt embarrassed for having done so. The idea that death and life are the face and back of the same coin is a triviality along the lines of water's dampness. Then you spend a little time, or maybe a little more than a little time, in the shadow of that truth, under the weight of it, in the belly of it, and it's not a fortune cookie anymore.
Yes, I know I only checked in a couple of weeks ago, but man have things uncorked here!
Yes, I know I only checked in a couple of weeks ago, but man have things uncorked here! This is Rumor Control; here are the facts.
This page contains an archive of posts for the month of February 2021.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind