When the gods shoot blanks: Auspicious omens sometimes aren’t

The universe is full to bursting with new science fiction. How does any of it win recognition?

Last Thursday morning, in Bangkok’s Suan Rhotfai, next to Chatujak Park, we were treated to the best display of flowering trees ever — varieties of pink and purple cherry and plum blossoms, gorgeous golden showers like vivid yellow weeping willows, only better.

What, beyond the standard onset of the hot season, might have inspired this spectacle? It occurred to me this was launch … Read more

Writerly occupational hazard: Superpositioned free unfree

Jack Shackaway here.

schrodingers cat
Friends have just suggested I join them on a sailing trip at the end of November. Joyous news, right? Not so. Now I have to weather the usual squall of anxieties and conflicting inclinations, maybe even a massive storm of dither.sailboat drawing

“How soon do I have to tell you one way or the other?” I ask them.

 

“You’ve got a problem with free sailing trips?” they say.

The problem. Following an extended period of freelance-writerly doldrums … Read more

Homo app

app (n.) 1. originally from computer software app*lication; 2 (n.)  bio smartphone and tablet app*endages, most commonly specimens of Homo sapiens.

When extraterrestrials finally arrived on Earth circa 2021 for a look around, they discovered that the dominant life forms were evolved digital communications devices. Subsequent investigation suggested that these creatures had only recently emerged on the scene, and at first the aliens couldn’t see what had given rise to them.

But then one team noticed tiny bio … Read more

In thrall then & now: So what’s new?

people with gadgets on bts

The other morning on the BTS Skytrain I found myself bemused at the sight of nearly every one of my fellow passengers in thrall to digital devices. Each was oblivious to all the others as they pawed away at Facebook pages, e-mails, tweets, games, music and phone calls. One young renegade was actually reading a book.

More than bemused, I was struck by the sense I was living in a science-fiction story. But then, resisting the impulse to check … Read more

Colonialized: The Peak Experience

vic peak sara enhBelow us lies a massive growth of porous luminosity, its cellular steel and glass exoskeleton inhabited by various species of soft light. A colossal marine organism has emerged to colonize the harborside. Brighter creatures enjoy mutualistic relations with the colonial host. Some of them, Logo spp., are neural parasites that prey on humans.

Sara and I stand atop the Peak Tower with a bunch of other creatures, not yet colonial but through the wonders of digital technology fast evolving … Read more

Novels: Mental health threat or therapy?

 “The solitude of writing is … quite frightening. It’s close sometimes to madness, one just disappears for a day and loses touch.” Nadine Gordimer

“It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.” Shirley Hazzard

It’s often said that the writing of novels can be a symptom, maybe even a cause, of insanity.

Perhaps a person does have to be mad to write novels, to spend … Read more

Mayan malarkey, reasons to relax in 2012

So what’s new?

Whoop, whoop. The end is nigh, the end is nigh!  I’m told the ancient Mayans predicted that massive quantities of bad shit will hit the global fan this year.

Whatever, eh? It looks as though the Horsemen of the Apocalypse got a way early start on things, because it they’ve been galloping through our gardens for quite some time already.

I’ve experienced a wee taste of this myself. In fact it started around 7am on New … Read more

Get your free books here: What’s good enough for Paulo Coelho…

This is to announce a new feature of this blogsite—a new page, and a source of free books for those who ask. (Click on “FREE BOOKS,” at the top of this page.)

I’ve been inspired by eminent author Paulo Coelho and his recent blog about his own “Piracy Page,” and the merits of giving his work away for free. (Comments on his post express a range of attitudes toward the issues of piracy and creative products being offered … Read more

Grundnorm of writing style


Dorothy Parker’s opinion of the most widely recognized writing style manual in the English language:

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

But those who nevertheless persevere and do become writers should understand this: One cardinal principle underlies all other rules of style, … Read more

Inspirational hobologoist aphorisms & epigrams

Insights into the hobologoist mindset.

Money corrupts.

Impecuniousness rools, OK!

 

 

 

Artists must suffer.

I have my principles.

Solipsism means never having to say you’re being corrupted by money and prizes.

I like semi-colons; commercial editors can go screw themselves.

I like [literary practice of your choice]; commercial editors can go screw themselves.

Hobologoists don’t write query letters.

Nobody ever read Antoine Blorschacterforth either.

Save the trees, save the bytes, save having to explain to critics why … Read more