gwox: hovereye (hovereye)

PersonalLAST TIME ON GARY’S BLOG: Our hero, the looming yet strangely beguiling Writer Lad, was hip deep in writing a first draft of an urban fantasy with talking raptors and flying sharks and things like that, unaware that he was moments from being captured by Amphi-dodecahedron, the Avatar of Fish-Based Geometry, to be used as an oblique angle in his decidedly fussy war against Cartanga, Finder of Small Pebbles, whose underhanded tactics and undercooked pasta were the subject of thousands of savage Yelp reviews, all written by Professor Ivan Sharpski, ex-KGB tap dancer and girl friday to Gummo Lemmingsnort, noted New York Times Bestselling Author of “That’s Not Chicken, and Probably Not a Taco, Either” and several not-so-bestselling horror novels featuring occult detective and part-time spatula Bacon McGee, a concept derived from a 1923 article on Bootlegging Badgers and the Flappers who Love Them, as mis-transcribed by Randall Everwood, a.k.a. the Shadow Over the Breakfast Nook, aided by a ratty English-Klingon dictionary, a vole paid off by Joe Don Baker, and Dr. Leslie Ann Cartier, inventor of the least joyful whoopee cushion ever documented.

We join Gary, already in progress.

Hmmm, guess it’s been a while since I last wrote a non-repost blog-entry. See, what happened was I broke free from the chains that bound me to the black pit and roamed the moors, slaking my thirst for blood just got busy with a lot of stuff, both writing and non-writing, and something had to give. Also, an anniversary trip to Niagara Falls, some car crash and replacement car buying drama, work stress, and so on. I’ve moved on, why can’t you?

Ha! Seriously, though, you don’t want to hear my lame, lame excuses. You want to know what’s going on now. And that is… writing. I’ve got a steampunk horror story I’m trying to wrestle into shape, and another short that may or may not get written after that. Redscale is on hold until the new year. Possibly longer, if I go and rewrite/polish/finish off/ship out The Morpheist, the biopunk novella I first-drafted more than a year ago. I’m putting together another short, Fabulous Beasts, for self-publicational glory later this month. My next non-self-publication is coming in January, with a story in Angelic Knight Press’s Fairly Wicked Tales.

Plus, December is eating my head, and we’ve barely started the month. So there’s that.

Reading-wise, there’s a lot of good stuff out there that I’m gonna take this opportunity to push at you. If you’re an urban fantasy fan, you’ve gotta check out Manifesto: UF edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann. It’s got twenty-three envelope-pushing urban fantasy tales by the likes of Lincoln Crisler, Jake Elliot, Teresa Frohock, and many more. If ghost stories are more your speed, check out Bryan Hall’s The Girl. It’s an evocative and compelling story heavy on atmospheric dread that I enjoyed a lot.

My friend Eric Burns-White has been putting out entries in his Mythology of the Modern World series on Amazon and Smashwords. They’re short, sharp, sometimes satirical, sometimes haunting mythological stories composed as answers to reader questions posed to him. The Sky of L.A. is Yellow/Gray is my favorite of these so far, but all of them are highly entertaining.

Another friend, Angi Shearstone, put out the second issue of her BloodDreams comic not too long ago. It’s a sharp tale of a conflict between vampires and hunters that ensnares a troubled punk rock singer and his friends, with gorgeous fully-painted artwork. Absolutely no sparkling going on, I promise. (I reviewed issue 1 a long while ago.)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt, meanwhile, has two anthologies out, both of which began life as Kickstarter projects. Beyond the Sun, which features science ficton tales of colonization of new worlds, has a number of outstanding stories (by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Cat Rambo, and Maurice Broaddus, among others). Raygun Chronicles, an anthology of golden-age-style space opera stories, just recently came out, and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

Speaking of books I’m really looking forward to reading, Emmy Jackson’s second novel, Empty Cradle: Shiloh in the Circle (set in the world of his previous novel, Empty Cradle: the Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson, which I reviewed a long time ago). The first one was damn good, and I’m expecting this one will be as well. Plus there’s Greg Chapman’s new horror novella, The Last Night in October… holy crap I have a lot of reading to catch up on!

(Note: there are a lot of Amazon links above. I’m not participating in any affiliate thing here, I promise–it’s just convenient for me to link there, to show you I didn’t just come up with these things in a caffeine-and-pork-rind-fueled fever dream. Because I know that’s what you’re thinking.)

That’s all for now. I’m signing off and heading for the tub. Don’t forget to tip your server!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Elena Ray/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

WritingSo, I was tagged for this Next Big Theme writer meme going around. Twice in fact, by Bernie Mojzes and then by Lee Mather. And finally, I slouch into action and answer!

Essentially, this meme is ten questions about one of one’s work-in-progresses. I’ve got two at the moment: a mad science novel tentatively titled This Island Monstrous and a biopunk novella I’m just starting on second-drafting, The Morpheist. TIM will take a long time to finish, never mind find a publisher for, while I’m hoping to get The Morpheist to a good home sometime early next year. So I’ll make The Morpheist the subject of this here thing.

1. What is the title of your book?

The Morpheist.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the late nineties, when I was making my first stabs at writing short stories, I wrote a short called The Morpheist, set in a vaguely cyberpunkish future, wherein my protagonist and a techno-dream-eater entered a relationship for reasons that were especially sketchy for the techno-dream-eater. It was not a good story, exactly, but there was the kernel of a good story there, rooted in ruminations I’d had at the time about the nature and value of dreams.

So, casting about for something to write last year (after Brutal Light was published and my idea for Entering Cadence went to pot), I looked it over and decided there was Something I Could Do with it. I decided to recast the future it was set in as more of a biopunk-esque setting, as so much of what I read of future science these days points to a convergence of the technological and the biological. I didn’t want to expand the short story, though, so I came up with a new situation and set of protagonists, with the protagonist from the old story showing up as another character (which also allowed me to break up and include the old story, rewritten heavily, in interludes).

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The only one I have a clear idea for is my main protagonist, Cal. As I was writing it, I thought increasingly of a youngish version of Adrian Brody. It wasn’t until I saw Skyfall, though, that I realized Ben Whishaw (Q) was close to ideal.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

“In a world dreams and the technology to make them real have all but merged, Cal Silen seeks to rid himself of his ability to dream by hiring a rogue dream-eater with a tragic past, a hidden agenda, and enemies determined to expand their hold on millions of minds.”

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Of course these are the only two possible options, aren’t they? Pffft.

Being as it’s a novella, I don’t see this as something to shop to an agent. I’m also not keen on self-publishing, given my low visibility as an author right now. So, I’ll look for a small publisher for which this kind of material will be a good fit.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 2-3 months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I’m sure there are comparables, but I’m drawing a blank right now as to what they would be. The world it’s neither dystopian nor utopian, exactly, but rather a sort of collision of a number of dystopian and utopian trends. The story itself is about the place and function of dreams, and what might be lost if the ability to dream is given up.

As far as influences go, there are several, starting of course with Paul di Filipo’s Ribofunk, which both started the biopunk subgenre and attempted without success to give it a less derivative name. William Gibson’s Neuromancer is up there, particularly as regards the ‘original’ short story. Probably also a few volumes from Philip K. Dick.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As is usual with me, it’s a confluence of things. I follow futurist news with great interest, and find myself caught up in speculation about how trends in nanotechnology, biotechnology, virtual reality, social interaction, body modification, and climate change might play out. I’ve long had an interest in dreams, lucid dreaming, and nightmares, and their value in our lives, beyond being a purge of subconscious detrius.

10. What else might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite the subtext of dreams and their meaning, it’s not weighted down with metaphysical speculation (unlike, say, Brutal Light). It is science fiction, and while I’m only a layperson in my understanding of the science I delve into, I do try to be true to it as I can. I also embrace, as much as I can, how effing weird and perverse I think the future is going to be.

So… now it’s my turn to tag some hella-talented writer folks whose next big things are things I would love to hear more about. There’s some what I know have already posted their answers, or at least been tagged to do so, so I’ll try not to be duplicative. I hereby tag Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Eric A. Burns-White, Greg Fishbone, Su Halfwerk, and Emmy Jackson. (Which in no way obligates, as I didn’t ask beforehand, and even if I did, it still doesn’t obligate, so I don’t know why I even brought it up.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

LinksWork 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.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: 3poD/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

PersonalI’ve been on vacation this past week, and in fact still am. Last week involved a trip up to Torch Lake, Michigan, and my aunt and uncle’s place there. Had a great time, managed to get by with no great sunburn (unlike other years). Visited some wineries up in Leelenau County there and picked up a few bottles.

Yesterday was my birthday. The original plan was for Kristyn and I to go to Cedar Point for the day, but rainy weather reports made us postpone that (to tomorrow, in fact). So we largely spent the day amusing ourselves with mini-golf, go-karting, arcade games, pancake-house-visiting, and wine-imbibing. Not all at the same time, mind.

So, that’s been my week. Unfortunately, not a lot of it has involved writing, though I have spent a good deal of time thinking through what I’ll be working on in the coming weeks and months. I’m hesitant to call it a plan, as that involves a rather optimistic idea that no fresh shiny ideas will barge to the head of the queue and take over my fingers. Since that’s pretty much been the story of my writing so far this year, I’ve got to be realistic.

WritingBut. I think I’ve more-or-less worked out how things are going to go through the rest of the year. Starting with my Untitled Mad Science Novel. Untitled mainly because all the ideas I come up with for the title turn out, upon a quick Google search, to already have been used. Fortunately, that’s about the only thing that’s stopped at the moment, as the writing itself for it is going very well, with about 13k (of a projected 80-90k) words first-drafted. The genre, broadly, is Humorous Weird Dark Science Fantasy with a side of WTF. My goal is to finish the first quarter of the first draft by mid-September, then move on to…

The rewriting of The Morpheist. I have a very rough draft of this 29k biopunk novella, which needs to have multiple things fixed, some detail added to the description of people and places, and some adjustment to make it look like the things I came up with for my main characters during writing were intended all along. You know how it is. My goal here is to get this to a point where it’s coherent, polished, and maybe ready for a few beta readers to tear into it. Then I’ll return to UMSN and tackle the second quarter of the first draft, which should take me to the end of the year.

At the same time all this is going on, I’ve had a notion to dig deep into my past and revisit my old Nihil Nations stories, starting with Electricity in the Rain. It was my first publication, serialized in the pages of Mythic Heroes (the first four parts, anyway–the fifth never saw publication as the magazine died out from under it). It’s a dark science fiction take on the emergence of people with super abilities, and how the world reacts (closer in spirit to The 4400 than Heroes, though it predates them both by a long shot). With some heavy rewriting (my style at that time was still (cough) evolving) and new material, it could make novella size. If I decide to go ahead with this, it’ll likely be at the same time as the other two projects above.

Sometime in there as well, I hope to bash out a short story or two. Maybe some short-short flash fiction; it’s been quite a while since I attempted any, and that may be the only way anything gets done with everything else I’m trying to work on. Quite possibly something with bugs in it. I’m thinking bugs.

How’s by you?

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. First photo: Elena Ray/Bigstock.com. Second photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

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!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

August 2017

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