Posts for 2014

It Was A Long Year, It Was A Very Long Year Dept. (2014/12/31 11:00)
And now, before 2014 is ticked off, a peek back over my shoulder.

You Figure It Out Dept. (2014/12/28 05:00)
On the consequences of not knowing what you really want.

The Next Big Thing Dept. (2014/12/23 04:40)
Where from here for me?

No Little Pink Glasses For You And Me Dept. (2014/12/22 10:00)
"...to be happy to be alive in the full knowledge of all misery, our own included."

All Doors, All Windows Dept. (2014/12/21 10:00)
Learn a little something creative from someone on the other side of the aisle.

Nailing Jelly To The Surface Of The Pond Dept. (2014/12/20 10:00)
Getting your ideas together for a new story can be just that tough.

Don't Dream It, Be It (2014/12/17 04:00)
You could be the change, or you could just hold your breath and wait for it.

A Healthy Level Of Disconnect Dept. (2014/12/15 10:00)
On not getting too attached.

Fifty Million Elvis Fans Strike Back Dept. (2014/12/12 11:00)
Because if it's popular, it has to be good! Right? Right?

Many Legs And No Brain Dept. (2014/12/11 10:00)
There is no creativity by committee, but we love to believe otherwise.

My Way Dept. (2014/12/09 10:00)
On my end: Less blog, more books.

A Better Man Than This Dept. (2014/12/06 10:00)
Belief's a label you earn, not self-apply.

Give It Up Dept. (2014/12/04 12:00)
On the Fiction of Resignation.

A Momentary Pause For Breath That Refreshes Dept. (2014/11/25 10:00)
I'll be back.

No Analysis Please, We're Audiences Dept. (2014/11/24 10:00)
Analysis is not an assault on the audience's identity.

Good Guy, Bad Guy, I'm The One With The Brain Dept. (2014/11/18 10:00)
Why black and white views of the world are self-inflicted, and self-crippling.

Test To Destruction Dept. (2014/11/17 10:00)
On the idea of "troll it 'till it breaks".

They Blinded Me With Science Dept. (2014/11/16 10:00)
On why non-SF writers sometimes disdain SF, continued.

The Liar In The Mirror Dept. (2014/11/14 10:00)
On the fine line between "I only believe in facts and logic" and "If I believe this, it must be logical and factual".

The Pixel Factory Dept. (2014/11/12 10:00)
On Pixar's alleged slide into crass commercialism.

Faking The Funk Dept. (2014/11/10 10:00)
On the word "fraud" as a term of critique.

A Classic Dilemma Dept. (2014/11/09 10:00)
Young-adult fiction and the classics, once again.

All Of My Heroes Have Been Dead Men Dept. (2014/11/07 10:00)
There's no hero worth having that's not also worth growing past.

My Ears! My Ears! Dept. (2014/11/04 10:00)
Few things hurt a writer worse than having a tin inner ear.

Der Ding An Sicht Dept. (2014/11/03 11:00)
Writing: the work that validates itself. (But who really believes that?)

Right Here, Right Now Dept. (2014/11/01 10:00)
Action in the present moment: for you and you alone.

Nice Job If You Can Lose It Dept. (2014/10/30 10:00)
The world does not owe creative types a living -- not yet, anyway.

Here's A Little Dynamite To Stick In Your Craw Dept. (2014/10/29 10:00)
More on nothing ever being "mere entertainment".

Fictioned Science Dept. (2014/10/27 10:00)
On creative work presenting itself as science for the sake of legitimacy.

Sometimes Middlemen Matter Dept. (2014/10/26 10:00)
Publishing companies: the unknown ideal.

No Such Thing As Bad Publicity Either, Right? Dept. (2014/10/25 10:00)
Why "any reading is good reading" is not a great defense of reading.

Building A Better Lightning Rod Dept. (2014/10/24 01:00)
There's no waiting for creative lightning to strike; you've got to get out there on a hill with a kite and a key on its string.

Scout It Out Dept. (2014/10/19 10:00)
Amazon's new publishing curation system: the non-wisdom of crowds.

Be Yourself, Lest You Be Someone Else Dept. (2014/10/17 10:00)
On weirdness as a substitute for being original.

Top Of The Heap Dept. (2014/10/11 03:00)
Storytelling descending; marketing rising.

You Are What You Dream Dept. (2014/10/08 10:00)
Even our entertainments are works of art whether or not we like it, and have the chance to be taken very, very seriously by somebody out there.

So What'chu Want Dept. (2014/10/07 10:00)
"Write the book you want to read" also requires that you know what kind of book you really want to read. Not easy.

Guardedly Successful Dept. (2014/10/06 10:00)
Why the success of 'Guardians of the Galaxy' was a two-edged sword.

Brainsmanship Dept. (2014/10/02 10:00)
On the way we contrive our behavior to conform to the expectations of others, both good and bad.

Think, Thank, Thunk Dept. (2014/10/01 10:00)
Authors rarely impress me with the depth of their intellectual rigor, and I suspect that's because they don't see themselves as thinkers.

Wear Your Heart On Your Page Dept. (2014/09/29 10:00)
Why a compassionate writer is a better writer. (A somewhat roundabout discussion.)

It Ain't Me Dept. (2014/09/27 07:00)
Are you your characters? And should you apologize for them?

Here's Your Engraved Invitation Dept. (2014/09/26 10:00)
Writing: there's a best way, a right way, and in the end, your way.

Second Round Draft Choice Dept. (2014/09/23 10:00)
2nd draft of "Welcome to the Fold" under way for real now, with a few bumps in the road.

Nonbiodegradable Dept. (2014/09/21 10:00)
On ephemeral culture that never gets around to being ephemeral.

Do It One More Time Dept. (2014/09/17 04:00)
On the philosophy of sequels (and why I'm on the "against" side).

Men Of War, Men Of Peace Dept. (2014/09/16 10:00)
On the contradictions (?) between Buddhist nonviolence and the violence that protects it.

Oh, You Want To Live Forever? Dept. (2014/09/15 02:00)
Ideas of immortality, old and new, re-examined.

Tell It Again Sam Dept. (2014/09/15 10:00)
How I write, and how I rewrite.

The Adventures Of Lem(my) Caution Dept. (2014/09/13 01:00)
Why great SF has typically been cautionary and not just visionary.

Die Neue Mensch Dept. (2014/09/12 10:00)
The new American man doesn't have to be a dudebro or a feminized wimp; he can be a step in the right direction.

Critique Is Magic Dept. (2014/09/11 10:00)
My Little Insight: "'there's a point where a pleasant lack of cynicism ... becomes insular naivete.'"

The Hieroglyph On The Wall Dept (2014/09/10 10:00)
A peek at the Hieroglyph, up close.

Smoothly Tooled, Roughly Drafted Dept. (2014/09/10 10:00)
On finishing a first draft, and my tools of the trade.

Hieroglyph The Third Dept. (2014/09/09 10:00)
Yet more on 'Hieroglyph' and a better future for all who can afford it.

Hieroglyph Redux Dept. (2014/09/08 01:00)
On 'Hieroglyph', take two.

Heaven Is A Flying Car And A Laser Gun Dept. (2014/09/08 12:00)
Why an anthology of techno-positivist SF raises hackles with me.

Next To Last Stop Dept. (2014/09/07 10:00)
On being almost, almost, almost done with this book, and how I got here over the past year.

Get In Line Dept. (2014/09/05 10:00)
On the creative trap of First, Second, No Good.

A You-Shaped Hole In The World Dept. (2014/09/03 10:00)
On standing on the shoulders of giants, but only to jump free.

Two Cultures And In Between Dept. (2014/09/01 10:00)
Are SF and literary work at odds because creators of the latter are trained not to think out of the box?

Certified Copy Dept. (2014/08/31 10:00)
How to learn from the authors you admire, without cloning their work.

On Staring Away From The Abyss Dept. (2014/08/30 10:00)
Let's gaze into something other than the abyss - but not our navels either.

Those Who Do Not Curate The Present Are Condemned To Repeat The Past Dept. (2014/08/29 10:00)
How gaming and SF share an inclusivity problem.

The Rightest Thing Dept. (2014/08/28 01:00)
On a lot of things: Spike Lee, SF, hard-to-swallow endings, and stacking the deck.

Did I Call It Or What Dept. (2014/08/27 10:00)
Coming soon: a real-life version of a fictional technology I dreamed up for a book.

Talk Down To Me Dept. (2014/08/25 10:00)
Does success make it impossible to speak truth to power?

Hey, It's A Living (Or Not) Dept. (2014/08/23 01:00)
On writing for a living vs. living for writing.

Jerk My Chain, Please! Dept. (2014/08/22 10:00)
Why we accept the existence of crass psychological manipulation as part of the unspoken cost of modern living.

A Tonic For The Troops Dept. (2014/08/21 01:00)
A little love letter to my readers.

The Radical Politics Of Doing Nothing Dept. (2014/08/21 10:00)
Sometimes the best argument is the one you walk away from.

The Snore Of Reason Dept. (2014/08/20 12:00)
Breeding monsters, and all that.

Guns And Butter Dept. (2014/08/20 10:00)
Why does it always come down to having to choose between science and art, between Shakespeare or the bomb?

Tout Comprendre C'est Tout Pardonner And All That Dept. (2014/08/14 10:00)
To understand doesn't mean we have to forgive. See: comic book movies, et al.

Self-Improvement Dept. (2014/08/13 10:00)
"As long as people are reading something..."

Also For A Limited Time Dept. (2014/08/11 03:00)
I could use a little help from my fans.

For A Limited Time Dept. (2014/08/11 02:02)
For sale. Best offer!

Last Year's Model Dept. (2014/08/04 04:00)
Hollywood's mania for sequels makes sense in light of how forgettable the films are. With no follow-up, who would remember they even exist?

Me Me Me Dept. (2014/08/04 10:00)
On the self that plays tricks on the self by being the self, or something.

Krug's Rules, Pt. The Last Dept. (2014/08/03 04:00)
"Simplify, simplify."

Wise Up Dept. (2014/08/02 04:00)
On why taboos aren't just prejudices.

Krug's Rules, Pt. 3 Dept. (2014/08/02 10:00)
On daring to be silly.

Chicken Little Hits Again Dept. (2014/08/01 10:00)
It's the end of the world as we know it, yet again.

Krug's Rules, Pt. 2 Dept. (2014/07/31 10:00)
"Question the question."

So It Was Written Dept. (2014/07/30 04:00)
On the fluidity of canon in comics and Buddhism alike. No, really.

Krug's Rules, Pt. 1 Dept. (2014/07/30 11:00)
The first of four ways to broaden your horizons, courtesy of Paul Krugman.

Fat In The Head Dept. (2014/07/30 10:00)
Nobody "earns the right" to be abusive.

Next One Is Real Dept. (2014/07/29 10:00)
The best projects are always the ones that haven't been started yet. That's the problem.

Freak Flagged Dept. (2014/07/28 10:00)
Real diversity is about more than just letting the freak flag fly.

JDE Blues Dept. (2014/07/25 05:30)
On the dangers of being Just Different Enough.

You Suffer But Why? Pt. The Last Dept. (2014/07/25 10:00)
Last ride on the suffering train, I swear!

You Suffer But Why? Pt. 3 Dept. (2014/07/24 10:00)
On ending suffering not being what you think it is, 'n all that.

How To Improve The World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) Dept. (2014/07/23 10:00)
Don't just do something, sit there!

You Suffer But Why? Pt. 2 Dept. (2014/07/21 10:00)
On suffering being attachment, 'n all that.

Honk If You Like Baudelaire Dept. (2014/07/20 10:00)
On media as a water-cooler subject, and how it becomes about everything except itself.

Yackety Twit Dept. (2014/07/19 07:00)
Your humble narrator has finally learned to use Twitter effectively. Cue the shock and gasping.

Someone Else's Eyes Dept. (2014/07/15 04:00)
The eyes we give creators to look through aren't even their own anymore -- they're a composite of everyone else's.

Elysium (2014/07/14 10:00)
An attempt at politically tinged SF, but only an attempt: such are the risks of not thinking through fully the implications of your premise.

Talk Is Cheap, Thank Goodness Dept. (2014/07/13 10:00)
More on why it's good that some books might never be filmed.

Running Time Dept. (2014/07/12 10:00)
Why a long movie that attempts to emulate a novel is a tough proposition, but not an unworkable one.

Disrupt Yourself Dept. (2014/07/11 10:00)
Why "disruption" starts at home in creative circles.

Young Adult, Not-So-Young Adult Dept. (2014/07/10 10:00)
Why adult fiction doesn't speak to adults anymore.

The End Is Extremely F---ing Nigh Dept. (2014/07/09 10:00)
It's the end of the world as we love it.

Sell It Or Shelve It Dept. (2014/07/08 10:00)
The how-to of writing is something to be outgrown, not followed to the end.

Success Stories Dept. (2014/07/07 10:00)
It's not that we don't learn from success, it's that we learn all the wrong things.

Page Down Dept. (2014/07/05 10:00)
Not every book is a first draft for a movie. Or should be.

Your Brainwashers Come With Smiles Dept. (2014/07/01 10:00)
Just because someone speaks geek doesn't make them your friend.

Computive Creating Dept. (2014/06/30 10:00)
On how good writing about computing and video games has been with us since the 1980s.

(Don't) Do It Again Dept. (2014/06/27 10:00)
Remakes: the poor man's newness.

Ah, The Good Old Days, Weren't They Awful? Dept. (2014/06/25 10:00)
Looking backward keeps us from looking forward.

Karma Chameleon Dept. (2014/06/24 10:00)
Yet another example of pop spirituality getting it wrong.

Freedom ... To Wipe Tables And Shine Shoes Dept. (2014/06/22 10:00)
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to sell.

The Positive Snob Dept. (2014/06/22 10:00)
On making a *constructive* argument for creative snobbery.

No New Sunsets For You! Dept. (2014/06/19 06:00)
Creativity, repeating itself. (Or why you don't remake lightning in a bottle.)

Dr. Goodreads Dept. (2014/06/17 02:00)
On why hyping yourself always feels like it should be someone else's job -- except when it really isn't.

You With Your Fandom, Me With My Fandom Dept. (2014/06/15 10:30)
Fandom should be about more than just emotionally protecting one's territory.

The Good Old Dark Ages Dept (2014/06/11 01:00)
You can only play the "honesty" card for sex and violence so many times.

No Time Like The Present Dept. (2014/06/11 10:00)
To engage with the world in the here and now, or to withdraw? The case for both.

Binge & Purge Dept. (2014/06/09 10:00)
Why I hoarded; why I stopped.

The Books Or The Lifestyle Dept. (2014/06/04 10:00)
There's little in the way of serious literature out there about the psychodynamics of role-playing games.

You've Seen The Headlines, Now Read The Book Dept. (2014/06/03 10:00)
Is tying your work into current events smart self-promotion or just spammy?

My Water Cooler Runneth Over Dept. (2014/06/02 07:00)
On the communal enjoyment of entertainment and the 'paradox of choice'.

Flop Of The Pops Dept. (2014/05/31 10:00)
Empire's greatest-movies list is skewing unpleasantly towards spectacle and superficial fanboyism.

There's A Hell Of A Bad Universe Next Door, Let's Go Dept. (2014/05/28 10:00)
"The most shocking dystopian novel is the first one you read..."

Blog Hop (Around, Y'all) (Dept.) (2014/05/27 10:00)
Or, how I do what I do when I do what I do.

Execution Ground (Painkiller) (2014/05/26 10:00)
When John Zorn and Bill Laswell joined forces, the results were nothing short of seismic.

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Interruptions Dept. (2014/05/25 10:00)
Oh yeah, here I am again. What I've been up to.

Fixed In The Mix Dept. (2014/05/12 10:00)
Why combining one thing with another should be about producing something greater than just the sum of its parts.

The Fantasticks (And The Realisticks) Dept. (2014/05/11 10:00)
It's the real, not just the fantastic, that is most alluring in a fantasy.

Fan Smart, Fan Dumb Dept. (2014/05/02 10:00)
Fans owe it to themselves to understand why they love something, and not be satisfied with mere self-flattery.

Gone Baby Gone Dept. (2014/05/01 10:00)
Dead is forever, but it's also not the end.

The Curation Is Worse Than The Disease Dept. (2014/04/29 10:00)
Amazon's self-publishing program is no curation program.

Squinting Into The Future Dept. (2014/04/26 10:00)
If looking to SF for a vision of the future is a bad idea, can we at least say which SF we're talking about?

The Right Thing And How To Do It Dept. (2014/04/25 10:00)
On George R. R. Martin and repentance.

Big Apple, Little Apple Dept. (2014/04/15 10:00)
On leaving New York City behind.

But Here's What It's Really About Dept. (2014/04/14 10:00)
The story isn't the pitch, but for readers, it often is.

Hold Your Collective Breath Dept. (2014/04/13 10:00)
On how there can be "suspense without surprise".

The Shelf Is Full Dept. (2014/04/11 04:40)
Are there too many comic book movies? No, just too many movies made from the same prefab story beats.

Act Your Age Dept. (2014/04/07 10:00)
The great books of the here and now may be wholly invisible to us except in retrospect.

To Push All The Right Buttons Dept. (2014/04/05 10:00)
Flatter the audience at your own risk.

Pounded Out And Pounded Flat Dept. (2014/04/04 10:00)
Me versus template storytelling, again.

A Critical Hit Dept. (2014/04/03 11:40)
Me versus blurbs, again.

But All My Friends Loved It Dept. (2014/04/02 10:00)
On the difference between "culture" and "lifestyle".

Dream On, Dream Off Dept. (2014/04/01 03:20)
Give the people what they want. Or you can give the people what you want.

Power Up Dept. (2014/03/29 10:00)
On the political in the creative.

Talking Head Dept. (2014/03/24 01:00)
Talkin' to Andrew Conry-Murray.

A Peek Forward Dept. (2014/03/24 10:00)
The SF of the past is an artifact of its time, but also much more.

Now That I'm Enlightened I Expect To Be Just As Ignorant As Ever Dept. (2014/03/19 10:00)
I have no instruction manual for how to do this 'creative' stuff. No one does.

To Scratch One's Own Itch Dept. (2014/03/18 10:00)
I started writing to see more of the work I felt had vanished.

Reading Is Fun(damental) Dept. (2014/03/15 10:00)
Hit the books! Harder! Harder, I say!

No Plan Ever Survives First Contact With The Enemy Dept. (2014/03/13 10:00)
Plan ahead, lest you find yourself behind plan.

The Rest Is Silence Dept. (2014/03/09 10:00)
In dying is all.

Liberation and Ecstasy (Vasilisk) (2014/03/08 10:00)
Japan's underground tribal unit didn't record much, but the best of its moments are here in one convenient place.

The Crack In Everything Dept. (2014/03/07 10:00)
How I turned an intellectual failure into a creative success.

Oldboy (2013) (2014/03/05 10:00)
The worst thing about Spike Lee's 'Oldboy' is that it could well have been made by most anyone.

Categorically Speaking Dept. (2014/03/04 10:00)
To what extent do labels like "comic book" or "SF" influence our creation?

Do It Yourself, Just Like Everyone Else Does Dept. (2014/03/03 10:00)
On the problem of "cargo cult creativity".

Ketchup, February 2014 Vintage Dept (2014/02/27 05:30)
What's kept me busy.

The Rest Is Silence Dept. (2014/02/24 02:30)
Goodbye, classical music.

The Details Matter Dept. (2014/02/22 03:25)
Is it knowledge of details or sincerity of enjoyment that makes fans?

Not Too Original Now Dept. (2014/02/20 10:00)
You'll scare everyone off.

Greatly Exaggerated Rumors Dept. (2014/02/19 01:00)
Of my death, that is.

You Suffer But Why? Dept. (2014/02/12 10:00)
Because, that's why.

My World, And Welcome To It Dept. (2014/02/11 10:00)
Why the way some fantasy authors hold the present in contempt should bother us.

The Smartest People In The Room Dept. (2014/02/09 10:00)
What happens when the room you're in becomes a monoculture. (Fandom-related.)

Artificial Stupidity Dept. (2014/02/08 10:00)
The smarter the machine, the more likely we are to cozzen up to it.

And A Pony Dept. (2014/02/07 10:00)
On the use (and abuse) of wish-fulfillment in SF&F.

Critical Hit Dept. (2014/01/31 07:00)
When James Agee reviewed Bugs Bunny, it was a thing of beauty.

Revenge of the Geeks Dept. (2014/01/30 03:00)
When SF is written by people who are fans of nothing but SF, it's bad news.

A Washing Machine In The Sky Dept. (2014/01/29 10:00)
Why literary fiction often chooses to be fantastic in such a straight-laced way.

Gentlemen, Start Your Photocopiers Dept. (2014/01/26 10:00)
Self-publishing shouldn't just be an excuse to recapitulate what exists.

Get Me Outta Here Dept. (2014/01/23 07:15)
I'm moving. Expect radio silence.

Epic Fail Dept. (2014/01/20 10:00)
Epics are about depth, not length.

all is not one (2014/01/19 02:25)
The systematic study of most any spiritual path (in my case, Zen) leads you, if you're lucky, to confront the incarnate meaning of the clich├ęs thrown around by people who have at best read a few books about it. "All...

Blowed Up Real Good Dept. (2014/01/19 10:00)
A bigger bang isn't always a better one, whether in movies or in books.

Apres Le Deluge, Quoi? Dept. (2014/01/18 10:00)
If you think of the artist as a person, an individual, you're less likely to construct your business around treating him with contempt.

Slush Piles Dept. (2014/01/17 10:00)
How both self-publishing and conventional publishing are doing authors and readers (and critics) the same kinds of disservices.

Throw Away Your Books, Go Out Into The Streets Dept. (2014/01/16 10:00)
You don't need all that stuff. Really. Especially if you "think it'll come in handy someday".

To Go Against The Flow Dept. (2014/01/12 10:00)
Why it's good to resist the temptation to just give people what they want.

Selling Last Year's Model Dept. (2014/01/11 10:00)
We'd sooner sell another version of the old than dream up something truly new -- and maybe it's marketing that's the culprit.

One Singular Sensation Dept. (2014/01/10 10:00)
Why creativity always needs some*one* in the driver's seat.

Sunk Costs And Time Regained Dept. (2014/01/08 10:00)
Why it's so hard for creative people to let go of something they've already sunk so much into.

The Prediction Fiction And Other Conniptions Dept. (2014/01/07 10:00)
On John McCarthy's odd comments about literary fiction vs. SF.

This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get Dept. (2014/01/04 10:00)
"In a few generations, there will be no new ideas, only popular ones."

Dream Off Dept. (2014/01/03 10:00)
Why do people assume "fantasy" means "unserious"?

You'll Ruin It For Everyone Dept. (2014/01/02 10:00)
Why I keep my work close to the chest until it's done, done, done.

Version 2014 Dept. (2014/01/01 10:00)
Where I stand and where I'm headed in the newly-minted year.

Genji Press

Science fiction, rebooted.

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