Experiments in Ontological Relativism

and Other Brain Farts

Posts Tagged ‘sf’

NaNoWriMo Day 3 (and 4)

Posted by Jason on November 5, 2010

Yet again, I managed to write on day 3 and not on 4. I meant to post this yesterday, but I was hoping to get a little more down so that there wasn’t quite so abrupt an ending. Oh well. Comments are always welcome!

Forgive me for being so detailed, for, though I could write of the wonders of your beauty for days on end, you are no doubt wondering what this other matter is that has me so excited. In the due course of time, our Ark arrived at Angelorum, and we stirred from our months-long dreaming to see that blue-brown orb perched in the firmament like an exceptionally subtle gem on some immeasurable jeweler’s velvet. The countours of its continents were, of course, familiar to me as they are to all members of the Order; I found myself searching the coast-lines, half expecting to see the ruins of the great ancient cities. They were, of course, invisible from such distance, and I felt like a silly schoolboy for letting my eagerness overwhelm my reason.

 I exchanged my usual rough-hewn but functional habit for ceremonial vestments, affixing with the proper invocations first the symbol of the Order on the right shoulder, that of my Chapter on the right, the seal of my Mentor’s house at my collar, and the Raven-and-sun crest which is my own over my heart. I left my cabin to be greeted by Proctor Silas, similarly arrayed. I had thought myself childish in my eagerness to reach Angelorum, but the delight of expectation which shone on the Proctor’s wrinkled face far exceeded my own.

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NaNoWriMo, Day 1 (and 2)

Posted by Jason on November 3, 2010

So I’ve decided to give NaNoWriMo a go this year. I first heard about it three years ago, but every November since has made it impossible to participate. This year, I’ve got some things going on, and I don’t think I have much of a chance of reaching 50,000 words. Even so, I think it’s worth doing if it gets me writing again, and even if I reach half that number I’ll be happy.

I debated on it for a while, and I decided to post my (hopefully) daily progress here. This blog is intended to be a look at works in progress, raw and unedited, and things that I’m not sure what to do with yet. This is definitely both.

I’m not entirely sure where this is going yet, but my goal is just to enjoy the ride. I always enjoy feedback, but in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, none of this will be edited until after the end of the month. That is, assuming I make it there!

Since I didn’t get to write anything yesterday, this is my progress for days 1 and 2. I’ve already done some more today, and you’ll be seeing it soon. Anyway, I hope you get some enjoyment out of this!

6 [TK-MONTH], Anno Ordinis 1093

 My Dearest M——,

 I hope these words reach you with as much joy and excitement as that with which they leave my pen. Indeed, I write in such a frenzied hand that I fear you will not be able to read them, such is my hast in eagerness to set down that which I have to say. There, a deep calming breath and a steaming mug of the Licorice Tea that I love so has calmed my excited tremors and steadied my hand. Ah, a marked improvement already! Now, as you are no doubt wondering what has worked me into such a state, perhaps I should begin where last I left off.

 No doubt you will recall that, in my last missive, I told you how I had been chosen to accompany the Proctor on his sabbatical journey to Angelorum, the homeworld of our Chapter—and, indeed, our entire Order. After the great lengths to which I went in that previous letter to expound the loathing with which I viewed this assignment, the tedium of the long months in Fuguespace, the unbearable doldrums of such a ruined—if sanctified—backwater, you must be quite perplexed at the tone which I here adopt; indeed, my change of heart surprises none so much as it does me. Yet, I think, there is quite an excellent reason for it, which, if you’ll allow me to proceed in due course, shall become clear to you, my dearest one.

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Review – The God Engines, by John Scalzi

Posted by Jason on August 13, 2010

In lieu of actual content, here’s a review I wrote recently on Goodreads. I might also have another one up later today. Also, new fiction, coming soon!

The God Engines, by John Scalzi

Cover of The God Engines, by John ScalziOverall I really enjoyed this book. My biggest problem with it is one that I often have with novellas: it felt too short and left me wanting more.

The setting was, for me, the most interesting part. I feel like a lot was just hinted at, and much more of this world exists in Scalzi’s mind. I hope he returns to it one day.

The ending, though it flows logically, left me feeling a bit… cheated. As I said, I was just growing to really like this setting, but the end leaves it changed irrevocably.

Overall, this was a good, quick read. The illustrations are beautiful as well. I’d recommend it to fans of space opera and dark fantasy.

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Soulless (part 1)

Posted by Jason on March 20, 2010

[So here’s the beginning of a first-draft work in progress. If the beginning sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was 50 First Lines #31. Of course, that line is still free for you to use however you wish, but this is my take on one way it could go. Let me know what you think!]

“You may feel a mild burning sensation as your soul is removed from your body,” said a pleasant voice. “Please try to relax.”

Daniel forced his fingers to stop tap-tap-tapping on the hard plastic arm of the chair and tried to slow his racing heart through sheer force of will. Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t too late to back out. He was sure that they had people do that all the time. Sure, all he had to do was stand up, maybe make a joke about the chair being uncomfortable, and…

“Your soul has been successfully extracted,” the voice continued in its conversationally unemotional tone. “Thank you for your kind donation. If you are experiencing any dizziness, disorientation, or loss of memory, please remain seated. These should pass within one to two minutes. If such symptoms persist, please press the call button next to your…”

The voice continued its pre-recorded monologue, but Daniel just blinked. That was it? It was already over? He glanced around the small, featureless room, but nothing seemed to have changed. Not that there was anything to change: there were only the four clinical white walls, drop panel ceiling inset with florescent lights, and the red plastic chair. And himself, of course. But he hadn’t changed either, or at least he didn’t feel any different. He hadn’t felt anything at all. Wasn’t losing your soul supposed to feel… well, feel like something?

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Further Thoughts on “SyFy” – A D&D Story

Posted by Jason on March 17, 2009

Much has been said already on the whole “SyFy” debacle. Without rehashing it too much here, I think it’s safe to say that the response has been… negative. Overwhelmingly negative, with very few (if any) positive comments.

After what they said, I’m not really surprised. But thinking over it again today, I realized that there’s another element in play here that (to my knowledge) no one else has commented on yet. On some level, whether we realize it or not, I think we geeks feel betrayed.

Maybe that’s not obvious right away, so let me explain… No, let me do one better. This is (supposed to be) a fiction blog, so why don’t you settle in, get some popcorn, and let me illustrate with a story.

  “Cool Kids Don’t Play D&D”

Sid wasn’t my first Dungeons & Dragons friend, but I thought he was my best one.

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Guidelines for Safe and Sane Post Mortem Exercise (part 1)

Posted by Jason on August 21, 2008

1. You’re Dead! Hooray!

So you say you’ve recently joined the ranks of the Conscious Deceased? Well first of all, congratulations! Unlike in the past, when being dead was considered a disability and often met with scorn and prejudice, today being Deceased is considered a healthy and acceptable lifestyle choice. In fact, it’s the fastest-growing movement in the world, with over 40,000 men and women converting every day. Don’t fear the Reaper, get him on speed dial!

Despite the wealth of advantages death brings, there can be some drawbacks to your new condition. But don’t worry! These can all be managed with the proper combination of diet and exercise. This guide will get you started on the road to managing your Deceased existence with health and style. Soon, all your friends and coworkers will be asking you how they can die too!

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Reality Hacking

Posted by Jason on August 9, 2008

Jim’s reality was on the fritz again. Dammit, he thought, isn’t it easy to do anything anymore?

He’d been trying to hack a new Deus into existence in his personal ontosphere; nothing special, just your average metaphysical personification, limited sphere of influence, a few personality quirks thrown in for flavor. Hell, he wasn’t even gonna try to backdoor it into the global pantheon–not after what happened last time, anyway. It’d taken the Sysarchs a week just to reestablish basic material-plane physics after that. Jim still summoned a test-imp into the public Midrealm areas before he’d trust gravity enough to download himself there.

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The SF Ghetto

Posted by Jason on August 8, 2008

This is a response I posted today on an old entry in Mur’s blog. I figured I’d throw it in here, too.

I’ve always found there’s an odd schizophrenia in the literary community when it comes to speculative fiction. It’s mocked, derided, and, yes, ghettoized; and yet, our society holds up works which are undeniably part of the genre as some of its most treasured works.

I think I’m cribbing a bit from Orson Scott Card here, but it seems that whenever a “mainstream” writer has a particularly important story to tell, they reach for the speculative fiction toolbox. The same people who look down their noses at the genre section of the bookstore genuinely cherish works like Farenheit 451, 1984, Frankenstein, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, Slaughterhouse Five, The Chronicles of Narnia… The list could certainly go on. But, they say, those are works by real authors. Huh. Apparently Shakespeare was wrong on that whole rose/name thing.

Or to come at it from another angle, take Star Trek. Sure, not one of the great literary accomplishments of the field, but even so, look at how visionary it was. People laugh at it as kids’ stuff, what with its communicators and tricorders and voice activated computers and happy humans in space, at the same time as they’re talking on their cellphones, using their PDAs and voice dictation software, and chatting with their multicultural friends.

The real world we live in every day is boring, and often depressing. I’m much more interested in exploring what the world could be, for better or for worse.

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