There hasn’t been a lot of activity here in the last few weeks, but it comes with good reason. I suppose when its quiet here, that usually means I’m busy elsewhere, which is completely the case the last few weeks. There’s a few bits of “to do” things that have been in my way, at such a rate I haven’t been able to clear off enough to really sit down and put something together for the Colony. Course it’s not just the colony… that’s been on hold. It’s a deadline season, as a lot of you if you come around these parts often are pretty use to. When work builds up… well paid work gets priority.
That’s not to say I don’t miss this little space. I am eager to get back to editing out the rest of Truth and Consequences so I can start writing new bits of it, which will be coming, before the end of the month I think. I’m also behind on new reviews that have been building up, and I’m emendated with tons of topics I want to write articles about. So this “other work” can’t end soon enough! Continue reading
I have little shards of projects, that I randomly find sometimes. Drawings bits of stories and those kinds of things. Sometimes I see them and get inspired to do something with them. Usually I just look at them and vaguely remember what they are on about. They tend to be a good thing to post to the blog when I have no idea what to post. Obviously this is one of those pieces.
This bit I’m calling shattered. The post date on the file was from 2007. Yet the politics involved looks like it was written yesterday with everything going on in the world. It reminds me of possibly a set up for some sort of pulp adventure, I did nothing with. I really have no idea. I don’t even remember writing it as sad as that sounds. Its set in Los Angeles, which is interesting. I have a few of these random bits of writing that are based in LA. One day I’ll write something properly set in town.
But at any rate, I’m posting it here. I hope you enjoy it.
The armed soldiers came in like ghosts. Their foot falls nor did their guns put off more than hisses as they marched over the bottom floor of my house. They made their way through my two story A-level like Bolsheviks with a similar agenda. They weren’t after my flat mates though. They were reputable young professionals. And I would find out each and every one of them disappeared that night.
I should have been just as “disappeared” as the lot of them were. I was no less reputable as a professional; it was only my field had a way of getting information into my hands that perhaps wasn’t meant for my eyes. So I knew things. And somehow I got on the list of people who knew too much. Funny thing was the information they were looking to seize I hadn’t yet even decrypted. I had been up all night just straightening out the metal heads of the physical unit so I could try to read the damaged magnetic strips. And perhaps if it wasn’t such a chore, I would never have had a god damn chance of getting out. I would have been in a dark solitary cell or worse.
One of the more famous paraphrases in cartooning is one that Matt Groening of the Simpson’s fame made. It’s about how you can gauge the strength of your character design by being able to distinguish your characters even from a silhouette. That is to say even with no details just the shape of the character should make its identity known. I’ve
always liked that concept. And though I can’t say that all my character designs have stood up to the silhouette test that bit of advice is always in the back of my mind.
Of course as writers we don’t have a silhouette test. We’re not a visual medium, so unless you’re a weirdo like me who draws all the characters in a novel for fun, there is not a ‘character design’ as there is in visual media. Granted this could be greatly debated. As many an author spends more time thinking about how a character looks and moves than his or her political leanings. But, even still we don’t have the same kind of silhouette sort of deal that Groening referred to on the writing page. Though I do feel we have a similar track to gauge when we go about developing characters.
As you may have heard, my old site had a bit of a server crash. So instead of trying to deal with that fall out, on the free server I was at I went and properly created phact0rri.com to make myself official in the web services type of sense. So that is why you’re looking at a new URL with a new blog site that looks different and seems a little void of content at the moment. It is a work in progress, so I’m sure there will be a lot of changes coming down the pipeline both for the website proper, and with The Colony.
At the moment the site pages haven’t changed at all. Writer.phact0rri.com is still really the only active hub page on the site, with little changes. It was my starting point as far as designing these ‘info-portfolio’ sort of pages so to speak. And I’ll be adding more, as time allows. If you’ve never been to that page, clicking on’ website’ will get you there. There are some dead links and a few areas I plan to fix before I embark on the next of these. You have been warned.
Certain Magical Index Cover
A Certain Magical Index is a series of light novels by Kazuma Kamachi that tell all the strange happenings that one Tōma Kamijō, goes through after meeting a girl who has memorized 103,000 magical books and documents. Set in a ficticious ultra technologically advanced section of Tokyo called Academy City, the series explores both the real world costs of science and technology, juxtaposed with the fall out of psychic powers and dynamic magic abilities. If this sounds like an anime series, well there have been two, not to mention a manga, a spin off book series and a feature film.
For those unfamiliar with Light Novels, they are a Japanese version of the illustrated novel. In length they are to be considered novellas and many tend to be collected serial chapters from fiction magazines. A Certain Magical Index is illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. Due to the brevity of each volume, I decided that I’d review the first three volumes in one review, as a way to feel that I obtained enough character and plot information to give a full review. NOTE: For those who have seen the anime, Wikipedia informs me that volumes 1-3 would be following up to episode 14, though I have yet to see the show so I don’t know how accurate this is. Continue reading
Every once in a while, my compassion outweighs my common sense, and I decide to write something unrelated to the ebb and flow of the Colony of Cybernetics. They are not completely off topic. The importance of these choice subjects make them inspirational at some level. But they are purely opinion pieces which, you may or may not agree with. And of course they may challenge you at some level should you wish to read them.
Since news sites, and networks have begun pumping out stories about the Agricultural Protection Act, I’ve gotten into many the conversation about the Ag-Gag legislation. There are undeniably a lot of people who are confused by the legislation. Not to mention what this means to them as consumers. But most importantly to me, what it means to the safety and welfare of the animals which this bill centers.
So before we go any further we should talk about the law and what it is. The Agricultural Protection act and all its peers (that is it’s not EXACTLY the same write up in every state) have three bullet points that encompass it’s reach. The first is that they wish to make it illegal for someone to seek employment at an agro-business with the sole desire to film or document its going ons. The second bullet point is, should they somehow do that anyways and film an incident of misconduct then they are required to give the footage to local law enforcement within 24 hours. And the third bullet point is to induct anyone in defiance of the act in the ever growing Domestic Terrorist Watch list.
I’ve read a decent amount of New Pulp in the last year and a half. This has greatly been the bi-product of wanting to support writing fellows. Of course it is also the genre that many anthologies my own writing has been included in for the last six to eight months or so. And if there is one thing I’ve noticed is that New Pulp feels less protean than Classic (OG, Real, the original, etc) Pulp in the types of stories that fall under its banner. Most of what you get with New Pulp Novels is The ‘Man of Action’ type of stories. And where this surely can be debated, as I’ve not read even close to the tremendous bulk of New Pulp Novels that seem to flow in a never ending stream; it’s not rare for me to feel déjà vu when I read something in the genre. I often ask myself, where are the Psychotropic stories of creatures from other planes, where are the planet shuffling captains of space, Where are the gun slinging outlaws, Where are the soldiers cracking wise, and most importantly where are the steamy noir detectives?
When I opened up Hugh Monn, Private Detective by Lee Houston Jr and saw the cover art I instantly knew at least two of my favourite tropes of largely ignored subject matter was going to ready for me. But surprisingly I got a bit more than that. I got stories filled with real people, I loved and loathed. Despite being set in a Philip K Dick-isque vision of life on another planet.
Hugh Monn is a collection of old Noir style Detective stories that have heart and human warmth that has been missing in just about any story in the genre I’ve read thus far. An emotional transparency that lets you get past the flaws it does have and enjoy some good stories. Read on if you’re interest is perked.