I suppose I ought to write something here. I wouldn't want you to think that I was an enormous, sentient computer from the Andromeda galaxy merely masquerading as a human to lull your suspicions until the time when my armada of conquering robot arachno-weasels reach Earth. No, that wouldn't do at all.
So. The basics. I'm a mid-forties, tall-looming, book-reading, cat-serving, Michigan-living, cheese-eating, beard-lacking data warehouse analyst and fiction writer--see my website, GaryWOlson.com for more information on the 'writer' part, and for news about my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light.
In addition to posting (and reblogging) pictures and items I find amusing, I also have entries from my blog on my main site crossposted here. I'm also on Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and heaps and heaps of other places. See any page of my site on the right-side column under the "Me on the Intertubes" heading.
I am not a taco.
Good day, everyone, hope summer is treating you well. I’ve been nose to the grindstone this past month on my latest project, an urban fantasy novel called Redscale. Three weeks of character sketching and outlining has led to a story that’s moving much more smoothly from my fingers to the keyboard than other projects I’ve started in the last couple years. Turns out I’m not a ‘pantser’, no matter how easy it seems at the start to just start charging in on the writing.
So, from now on, I’ll not wear pants when I write. Lesson learned!
Here’s a few things that have caught my eye in the past month or so…
Author Jim C. HInes posted an essay by Elise Matthesen on , on reporting sexual harassment at science fiction conventions, based on her own experience. She talks about how she dealt with it, and tips should it happen to you.
Author and editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt needs some support through a difficult financial time. Help defray his expenses and get some good sci-fi books in the process via his GoFundMe page!
Speaking of fundables, there’s this Kickstarter for a movie adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth that’s shy of its goal with just two days left. As a longtime PKD fan, I’m really hoping this one makes it, and will be making a pledge this weekend.
Chuck Wendig posted this great bit of 50 Rantypants Snidbits of Random Writing and Storytelling Advice. If you’re a writer, read this… but only after you make your wordcount for the day, else bad things will happen. Baaaad things.
Microsoft’s robot touch screen lets you palpate a brain. I never thought I’d say this about a Microsoft thing, but this is kind of awesome. Now I can find if I’ve been doing it right.
Here’s a look at how the science of Jurassic Park has evolved. Simply put: we know more now than we do then, but we still like our dinosaurs more ‘then’ than ‘now.’
Here’s an online petition regarding ending the U.S. gubbermint’s NSA spying program. Not that a single online petition’s gonna do it, but if you’re interested in getting active on this, it’s someplace to start.
In the meantime, here’s a site with a handy list of tools and sites you can use to keep the NSA’s PRISM program from eyeballing you all the damn time. Get the tools. Use them.
It turns out it’s possible to turn an iPhone into a handheld biosensor. The future, we are in it.
Finally, it’s been confirmed that a star system with three potentially habitable planets has been found. Now how to get there…
The good news is that I’m working on first drafts of not one but two dark fantasy short stories, with the aim of shuffling them off to a couple different anthologies for their editors’ consideration sometime in late February. It’s been a good time since I’ve written at this fast a clip, and it feels pretty damn good.
The other good news is that I’m fixin’ to self-pub one of my older short stories, The Body in Motion, sometime in March. It’s a far far faaaar future science fiction horror story that mixes virtual reality, cannibalism, and creative problem-solving. Good times! It’ll be available on Kindle and from Smashwords initially, and later on for Nook, iTunes, and so on, all for 99 cents.
The bad news is that because of all this busy-ness, I’m fobbing this links post off on you, instead of more considered content. (Yeah, it’s also true we’re living in a world ruled (in both the public and private spheres) by short-sighted, malicious, and moronic meatbags hellbent on grabbing those final tiny bits of power and money they aren’t already squatting over, whilst plotting how to escape the now-inevitable financial, social, and environmental collapse they’ve engineered by using our starvation-plagued bodies as rocket fuel to take them to their secret underground compounds on the moon. But that’s not news anymore, is it?)
Here’s Charlie Jane Anders with advice on how to write fiction for money without selling out too much. I’m filing this one away for when I find someone’s who’s buying.
Author Chuck Wendig serves up 25 hard truths about writing and publishing. Hard, terrible, monkey-laden, and recommended reading.
There’s a geneticist out there who claims to have sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA. Can’t wait to see what the sterling skeptical minds at the History Channel make of it!
Meanwhile, back in the land where real science kicks the awesome, scientists have developed a Star Trek-like tractor beam. For microscopic objects, mind, but still kickin’ the microscopic awesome.
Finally, here’s a video of Gary Busey explaining things about Hobbits. I… have to go lie down now.
Where has the week gone? Hmmph. Once again, I’ve not gotten much writing done, due to a combination of business, tiredness, and procrastination. I’m also suspecting I need to stop putting off going to the eye doctor for a new prescription—though my contact lenses are mostly good, my glasses are getting further and further off, to the point where I have to take them off if I want to read (when I don’t have contacts in). I suspect that factors in to my procrastinating tendencies.
There’s a meme going around in writing circles called “The Next Big Thing,” in which an author answers a set of questions regarding a project he or she is working on. I’ve done been tagged, and my answers will appear next week. This week, though… you get links!
There’s something recently started up called Rolling Jubilee, focused on buying up debt (held by U.S. consumers) that’s being sold by banks to a speculative market of debt buyers (with the intent of abolishing the purchased debt, rather than trying to collect it). An inspired idea!
Large-scale commercial production of biofuel from waste is close to starting up. This looks like a game-changer for ethanol and other alternative fuels.
TheOatmeal.com put up this awesome comic on various aspects of the creative life. I loffed.
Here’s a Tumblr account near and dear to my heart: Why Authors Are Crazy. Loads of snark on the publishing process as seen from the authorial perspective, mainly in the form of reaction .gifs.
That’s… about it. (Told you I had the tiredness.) Have a weekend, why don’tcha.
Work on the Untitled Mad Science Novel continues apace, though not as quickly as I would like. I’m on chapter 5 now (17k words); when I get done with chapter 7, about 11k in verbiage from now, I’ll switch tracks and get to revising The Morpheist. I want to get that one in the hands of some beta readers—or possibly a freelance editor—before year’s end. For months after I finished the first draft, I was content to leave it in a dark folder on the hard drive, with only vague intentions to deal with its problems… but now it’s talking to me again. (A’course, the problem with this is that UMSN won’t shut up. I’m having a blast with it.)
My friend Bryan Thomas Schmidt has a Kickstarter going to fund a science fiction anthology titled Beyond the Stars, with some big headliner names attached. I like me some meat-and-potatoes SF sometimes, and this is all that with some tasty, tasty gravy, so I’m supporting it. Take a look, and consider doing so too!
If your world domination plan revolves around the use of remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches, the way mine does, this is some good news.
3D printers are proving to have many uses here, but they have even more uses—some critical and potentially revolutionary—in third world countries.
Here’s an article on cellulose nanocrystals, and their potential uses as Building Materials of the Future. The future will be weirder than you or I can imagine (and believe me, I’m pushing at it when I work on The Morpheist…).
Would you plug your brain into the Internet? Yes. Next question?
Finally, here’s some news that makes me fear for the safety of Canada’s borders: Canadian cheese-smuggling ring busted. The cheese cartels in Wisconsin and Minnesota will have their vengeance, I assure you.
Happy Friday, folks. Hope those of you in the U.S. had a great Labor day weekend. I didn’t end up doing a whole lot, but managed to get in one more BBQ night, and saw a couple of movies. The Apparition was ‘meh,’ through and through, but The Possession was a pretty solid and gripping possession/exorcism chiller—not really groundbreaking in terms of plot, but well executed.
As far as writing goes, it’s been a bit slow. Well, not really, but instead of foraging ahead to new and exciting word counts, I’ve been revisiting past chapters of my Untitled Mad Science Novel and doing some large-scale revision, to bring events and characters and backstories in line with fixes I’ve come up with for things that weren’t working. Next week I should get to chug on along with new verbiage.
In the meantime, here are some random interesting links and things. (I’ve also got some Fading Light-specific stuff, but I’ll save that for a separate post.)
Here’s an article on some of the new ethical and political issues that are arising and will be arising from coming biotech advances. Biopolitics cuts across current ideological classifications, it turns out, and makes for some strange bedfellows. Interesting to me both on the face of it, and as a source for story ideas.
So, now people are making their own satellites to put into orbit. DIY science rocks.
IO9 reveals all you wanted to know about dinosaur cosplay in the 1930s. Because that was a thing then. Yes.
Driverless cars will be legal in California in a few years. The future, we are in you.
DMCA: An Author’s Best Friend. This links to a guide for writers on how to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to get bogus copies of books on pirate sites taken down.
Here’s a car that runs on compressed air. Not really the speed and range I’d need, but cool nonetheless.
Science has determined that gibbons on helium sing like opera stars. I can only imagine what that grant proposal must have read like.
Great SF authors share their biggest writing setbacks - and how they triumphed. This should be of interest to any writer, not just SF writers.
The first of the multi-author interviews regarding the anthology Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous is out on author Lincoln Crisler’s blog. He saw it, reared back, and karate-chopped it into three parts, the first two of which are here and here. I’m not in these installments, but a number of my fellow FL contributors are—including William Meikle, Jake Elliot, Ed Erdelac, Nick Cato, Dorian Dawes, Gene O’Neill, Tom Olbert, Carl Barker, Tim Baker, TSP Sweeney, Adam Millard, Ryan Lawler, CM Saunders, and Gef Fox. Get some insight into Fading Light and the monstrous minds behind it!
I was going to ramble on after this (in another blog post) about things I’m currently writing, rewriting, considering, and so on, but as I was tired and headachey last night (when I would have wrote it), and I’m gonna be on the road much of today and gone ‘til Tuesday, so… next time. Probably.
After a bit of time away from the social media maelstrom, for my grandmother’s funeral and other assorted bits of business, I’m back. But as I don’t have much to talk about at the moment (save for writing, which I think shall be another post altogether), it’s all going to be about the links this time. So, yay.
Here’s an IO9 article on the rocket rider who became a 19th century obsession. I find stuff like this endlessly fascinating, despite the likelihood of it being some form of hoax (on the part of 19th century sources, not io9).
How a conservative Republican lost her fear of universal health care. Even though I’m not a conservative, I appreciated the perspective.
Hold the presses! Booze may be good for old bones! (Yeah, yeah, I know. “In moderation.” That’s why I renamed my townhouse “Moderation, Michigan.”)
For writers: How not to be a clever writer. Some good advice I probably should take.
Robot swarms aim to bring buildings to life. Completely not a setup for a cheap-o SyFy movie. Really.
Okay, I’m not sure what battle knowing this would be half of, but here you go: Explained: why we wear pants. Because: REASONS.
I had a quick little blog entry all written yesterday. It was the story behind a funny photograph I took seventeen years ago, on my first trip to the Pacific Northwest. It was a picture of a mountain, and a terse little sign that told me where it was. I figured I’d scan the picture when I got home, post the blog entry, and that’d be that.
The problem with that was, and is, finding the photo. It, and a swath of other pictures from that era, seem to have disappeared on me. Likely they’re in another box o’ pictures somewhere, probably itself buried in one of the larger boxes in the basement. I haven’t the patience to go hunting for it now, so instead, I foist upon you… the links!
Another Leap Towards True VR. This is about another of those little things coming down the pike very shortly that will drastically change how you interact with computers… again. It’s a little device that allows you to treat any computer screen like a touchscreen… without actually having to touch the screen.
Here’s a piece on a robot avatar body being controlled for the first time by thought alone. Still a long way from Surrogates (or Avatar, for that matter), but closer than you might think.
Speaking of robots, here’s one that can beat you at rock-paper-scissors 100% of the time. Ah, but how does it do with rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock?
For writers: 20 essential tips on rewriting your story until it shines. Always useful to keep in mind.
The Rocketeer who Became a 19th Century Obsession. IO9 presents the possible real-life origins of steampunk icon Mr. Golightly.
Biology’s Master Programmers. On the problems biologists are encountering with trying to make real-life biopunkish stuff happen.
It has been a long week for me, for reasons I can’t really talk about. I was going to see if I could kludge together some book reviews, but… maybe next week on that. So, let’s see… what can I talk about?
There’s writing, of course. The Morpheist is at 26.5k, and I’m thinking I can get it to the end (about 32k or so) within the next two weeks. As first drafts go, it’s rough enough you could use it to shave a moose, but it’s workable enough to go on with. Once it’s done, I’m gonna put it away for a little bit (but not too long) and work on something else, but I’m not sure what just yet.
I’ve been kicking about an idea to record me reading the first chapter of Brutal Light. Either just as an audio freebie or something to go up on YouTube. Of course, if it goes up on YouTube, I’m gonna have to come up with some visual bits to add to it, so it’s not just my comical-lookin’ mug up there reading for 7-10 minutes. I want to attract people to the book, not drive them away…
I haven’t seen too many movies on the big screen this year, for some reason. There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to see, but they just seem to whoosh by. Last ones I went to were… let’s see if I can remember… The Hunger Games and The Avengers (both of which were as good as I’d hoped, and even a bit better). More and more, I don’t end up seeing the movies until they end up on DVD. And it doesn’t really bother me. (In other news, you kids get off my lawn.) I think I should be able to get some friends together to go see Prometheus this weekend, though…
Theme from ‘Super Skrull’ by Ookla the Mok. I have the CD that this is on, but I only re-listened to it recently. Super Skrull is possibly one of the silliest characters ever created by Marvel; this song does him justice.
Author Tim Marquitz has the first chapter of his new dark epic fantasy novel, Embers of an Age, posted for your reading pleasure. Also, the book that Embers is a sequel to, Dawn of War is now free on Kindle!
If Earth is invaded by aliens and you were going to place a bet on the outcome, here’s why you’d be foolish to bet against them. In case that was something you were going to do.
Gladiator Ariel and other crazy designs from a nonexistent fighting game. My wife would demand we get this game, if it existed. I would cheerfully comply.
Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types. I’d like to say I’m a Chaos Muppet, but in all honesty, I’m probably an Order Muppet. I will not comment on my eyebrow size.
Right… time to get on with Friday. Hope yours is a good one!
New on my blog: Fading Light, Reading Pics, Site Maintainance, Free Links In which I share some random link stuph for Friday, plus news on upgrading the Joomla installation for my website, pictures from the reading/q&a/signing I and other authors did a week and a half ago, plus this: I got some good news recently — my bizarro/horror short story Goldilocks Zone was accepted into the anthology Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, edited by Tim Marquitz. That’s the awe-inspiring cover on the left, with artwork by Jessy Lucero—click on the image to see it in its full-size tentacly glory. Fading Light's gonna be droppin' on September 1st from Angelic Knight Press, and in addition to my story, it features monstrously good tales from Malon Edwards, Jake Elliot, Lee Mather, Edward M. Erdelac, and more.