All posts for October 2018

Spelunking The Inner Archive

Compiling that list of influences the other day was like performing archival research on myself.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/29 18:00

Compiling that list of influences the other day was like performing archival research on myself. Some of it involved rummaging through my own shelf; a lot of it was closing my eyes and winding my thoughts back to all the times I'd sat on the floor of my room transfixed in something, and trying to remember what that something was.

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Tags: creativity  influences 

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' Is Now Available!

My new novel is finally out! Everyone on earth should buy six copies.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/29 10:00

Purchase on Amazon
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I'm pleased to announce that after way too many delays and pitfalls, my new novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is now finally available for purchase.

Your future is theirs for the taking.

Aki was just a punk kid, but he had the "Split"—a flash of near-future insight that came only in moments of danger, and that let him see the way out of danger.He wasn't alone, either. Yannick Seyrig had assembled a whole family, blood and otherwise, of Split-users like Aki. Under his wing, and with his guidance, they had the power to steal the world out from under everyone's feet.

Then one day the Seyrig family encountered the first disaster it didn't see coming. And when Aki found himself also facing dangers that even the Split couldn't ward off, he had to find a new family. One that could bring both his skills and theirs to a whole new level … and that could stop a heist where the score was nothing short of every possible future for the human race!

The Kindle edition is available here for US$6.99.

The print edition is available here for US$15.99.

Other editions are available in other territories, too; check your local version of Amazon.

You can read the first few chapters online for free.

For the background on this story, check out my making-of / behind-the-scenes series on it, starting here. Also, here's a suggested soundtrack.

A big thank you to the people who helped make this happen.

As always, I hope you enjoy it. As always, I hope I passed the audition.

Also bear in mind my TYPO BOUNTY! If you find mechanical mistakes in the text (spelling, grammar, inconsistencies, editing blunders, etc.), collate as many as you can find, drop me a line and I'll fix it up, and throw you a goodie for your trouble. Limit one goodie per person per book.

Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  Genji Press 

Under My Influences

The stories, films, music, and other things that stuck with me.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/27 08:00

A while back my friend Steve and I got to talking about what influenced us. On a whim, I started to write down everything I could think of that I know had an impact of some kind. Here's what I ended up with.

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Tags: influences 

Sometimes Nothing Can Be A Real Cool Hand

There's this line about Zen practice that comes up a lot, that it doesn't "give" you anything.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/26 17:00

There's this line about Zen practice that comes up a lot, that it doesn't "give" you anything. You get nothing for sitting zazen, which is entirely the point. It's not about "getting" something, but about being able to see what's already there. If you "get" anything at all, it's perspective, and even then it's not framed as an achievement but as a clearing-away of things.

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Tags: Buddhism  Zen 

Creativity Repeating Itself

“Every director has one film to make. He just keeps remaking it.”

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/25 20:00

From Paul Schrader:

Paul Schrader Interview: Film is a Dying Species – /Film

Last night I stayed for the first five minutes of Mishima. And his narration in the film is taken from his writings. And he says it in the narration right at the beginning, “I have found a new form of expression” and 35 years later I’m writing First Reformed and the character says “I have found a new form of prayer”. I wasn’t aware of that connection. It hit me last night. I saw that on screen. I said, wow, I had already written that, you know, Jean Renoir once said, “Every director has one film to make. He just keeps remaking it.”

Emphasis mine.

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Tags: Jean Renoir  Paul Schrader  artists  creativity  creators 

A Few Less Words Next Time

No good story is ever too long and no bad story is ever too short, but that's still no reason to waste breath.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/22 17:00

Among the struggles I had with Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned was the length of the thing. I didn't want to write a 200,000 word story, because that felt like a betrayal of one of my own principles. I kept telling myself, if I really had my druthers, I would have been able to whip through the whole thing in 150K or less.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  editing  writers  writing 

In Lieu Of Telepathy

You can't tell people anything; sometimes you can't even show them, either.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/21 08:00

Habitat Chronicles: You can't tell people anything

... without some kind of direct experience to use as a touchstone, people don’t have the context that gives them a place in their minds to put the things you are telling them. The things you say often don’t stick, and the few things that do stick are often distorted. Also, most people aren’t very good at visualizing hypotheticals, at imagining what something they haven’t experienced might be like, or even what something they have experienced might be like if it were somewhat different.... 

Eventually people can be educated, but what you have to do is find a way give them the experience, to put them in the situation. Sometimes this can only happen by making real the thing you are describing, but sometimes by dint of clever artifice you can simulate it.

In his book How Children Fail, John Holt talked about how one of the chief failures of education is that we have unrealistic expectations of to what degree language can communicate an understanding of something. We like to think explanations have some kind of magic power to them, as long as the explanation is clear enough and concise enough and pitched in language that the listener can connect with. But even then it still doesn't work.

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Tags: writers  writing 

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: We're Almost There

More 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' news!

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/19 19:00

Earlier today the proof copy of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned arrived. It's perfect! Except for one problem: the internal formatting is slightly off. I misjudged the size of a couple of elements. I've since fixed the issue and ordered another proof. I'll also have to correct the Kindle copy (which isn't out yet, stop drooling), since this issue affects both versions. But once all that is settled, you should see ordering information appear, and links to freebies and such, appear on the master page at the link above.

So, sometime in the next several days. Definitely before Thanksgiving.

And check out the snazzy new cover art:

Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  Genji Press  projects  writing 

Same Old, Same Old

Our Gray Goo Media problem.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/18 17:00

Media Gray Goo - Steven Savage

... doing the same thing keeps giving power to the same group of people and companies (usually Disney these days). We’re letting people own vast chunks of our culture, and the inevitable battles between “do it good and interesting” and “give me the gray goo I expect” are exhausting. Besides, we know in the end that the big companies are going to play it safe – and safe isn’t always the best thing for the culture. ...

Imagine a media culture with few to no dominant media properties. Imagine things actually ending for a change, and excellent media being rerun or reread instead of being extended. Imagine not having cultural space taken up by gray goo, but more, smaller things. ... Imagine fandom as more interlinked preferences than A Big Thing.

Steve's talking about something pretty familiar here. Mainstream culture is samey and repetitive; all the interesting stuff in on the fringes. It's his last sentence quoted there I want to zoom in on.

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Tags: fandom  popular culture 

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: An Early Thanksgiving Gift Of Sorts

'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' is about to drop!

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/15 08:00

Yesterday I put in my order for the proof copy of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. I've also finished assembling the Kindle edition of the book, so once the print edition is OKed — which could happen as early as the end of this coming week — the book will finally be out for real.

Took me long enough, didn't it?

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  Genji Press  projects  writing 

Kid Stuff

On how we've outgrown outgrowing things.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/11 20:00

Steve Savage's most recent post touches on how his media choices, for a guy in his fifties, are atypical for the demographic. His claim is that some of us seem self-conscious of how our tastes need to fit some demographic profile — that even in this day and age, it still feels weird for guys in their fifties who make really good bank to be interested in, y'know, kid stuff. I've always found this attitude mystifying, but I get where it comes from. It's an artifact of something we're trying to outgrow.

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Tags: media  society  sociology 

A Walk-On Part In The War, Or A Lead Role In A Cage

On The Minnie Effect in fiction.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/10 19:00

Not long ago I read a review of Naomi Alderman's novel The Power, which talked about something called The Minnie Effect:

The Minnie Effect, named for the eponymous character in Kathryn Stockett's The Help, is a phenomenon in POV novels where the best or most entertaining characters are given the least amount of attention within the overall novel whilst the least entertaining or boring characters dominate the narrative.

I've talked about this kind of thing in Disney movies, and also some of their derivatives (see my review of Rock & Rule). It's a weird issue that I've had my own struggles with over time, and I've identified what I think are a few reasons why it happens.

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Tags: The Minnie Effect  fiction  writers  writing 

Narcissism And No-Self

On a Zen concept vs a psychological one.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/09 08:00

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Last week I read for the first time a translated collection of lectures by a Japanese Zen master I'd only heard about in distant passing, Bankei. It affirmed, or maybe I should say reaffirmed, a number of things about Zen I'd bee introduced to by other figures, but hearing it all from yet another figure helped snap some more implications of it all into focus.

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Tags: Zen  psychology 

You Can't Beat People Up And Have Them Say "I Love You"

On the unneeded cruelties of the moment.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/06 08:00

There has been for some time now, in certain circles, an attitude that "things have to get worse before they can get better" — that the average person is so sunk down in their indifference and apathy that they have to be confronted with a downright existential threat before they can be motivated to act.

Therefore — isn't logic a wonderful thing? — it's a net positive that things have become so appallingly bad, because it means fewer people are motivated to sit on the sidelines. If things were good, we'd be allowing all manner of horror to be slid right under the rug.

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Tags: these troubled times 

Ray And The Great Unpluggening

How Ray Bradbury saw a cellphone-addicted future. No, not in that book about book-burning.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/05 17:00

Of the many things Ray Bradbury wrote that seemed most prophetic about our (horrible) moment in time, Fahrenheit 451 is not the one that comes most to mind for me. It's a short story named "The Murderer", written in 1950-something. Go look it up if you don't know it.

The story involves a man who lives in a time where everyone has two-way wrist radios (their version of a smartphone), and where they are used in much the same way people use Twitter or Facebook today — to brag, to bombard their friends incessantly with noise and useless chatter, and so on. The protagonist rebels against the destruction of his attention span by smashing the device. He is rejected as a neurotic who can't adapt to the world, but it's clearly the rest of us who distract ourselves every 20 seconds who are the really crazy ones.

Again: This story was written in 1950-something.

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Tags: Ray Bradbury  sociology  technology 

On The Other Hand, Insects Are A Pretty Efficient Lot

"Specialization is for insects", revisited.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/03 17:00

You've probably seen this quote a bunch of times now:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert Heinlein

It's not that he's wrong, only that he's not describing the whole picture.

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Tags: society  sociology 

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 8: The Soundtrack

The soundtrack for my new novel.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/10/01 17:00
In the weeks leading up to the release of my new novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book — its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.

(See all entries in this series here.)

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.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  Behind The Scenes: AONO  Genji Press  creativity  projects  soundtracks  writing 

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