Jan 27 2011

Parker

I just finished up Dawryn Cooke’s Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit. Crime fiction comics at its finest. This is volume two in the series, so I’d recommend picking up The Hunter first, though this was a stronger book, in my opinion. So, so good. I don’t always agree with Cooke’s views on the comics industry, but the man can draw and tell a story.

It also made excellent bedtime reading for the kid. At this rate she’ll be running grifts on me at age three.

You should also read friend Stephanie’s new story here.

Oh, I almost forgot: China Miéville is doing a webcomic of sorts over at his blog.


Jan 7 2011

The Grid

I had a half-written review of Tron Legacy I was going to post, but didn’t get a chance. And now the film has been out for like six years, cinema time (cinema years are like dog years, except if you don’t make a bibillion dollars in three days everyone forgets about you). What’s the point? It is pretty. Bad script. You know the drill. I still enjoyed it, because I’m a big fan of the original. I love the larger concepts of the Tron universe, the idea that there are sentient (but severely limited and frustrated by their own ambitions) computer programs thriving and worshiping human beings as gods.

I got a big thrill when Tron said “I fight for the users!”

A quick comment on this Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark broadway show: it’s clearly not working, for whatever reason, despite other shows being just as stunt-heavy. What I’d love to see them do is focus on the civilian side of Spidey; have a show about Peter Parker and Mary Jane, these two crazy kids trying to make it in the big city that happens to be full of superheroes, one of whom happens to be Peter. Minimize the adventure aspects. Really, tell the story from MJ’s perspective. That would be different and interesting and something that hasn’t been done in film and definitely not in theater. We don’t need to see the fights; does someone think Spidey is really going to lose? It’s the lead-up and aftermath that contain all the drama. There’s no reason to have people bleeding in the aisles. And it would show a audience that likely never reads comics that there’s more to the characters than beat-em-ups.

Oh, friend Stephanie has set up a tumblr for writing prompts. Use them!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be off waiting by the phone for my call from the Spider-Man producers.


Jul 5 2010

Heyoooo

Erin has a new story up over at Every Day Fiction. It went up on the 4th, and is about the failings of democracy! Check it out.

And in honor of yesterday, happy birthday you poor, deluded, doomed nation.


May 27 2010

Mad Middle Men

Jens wrote an excellent post about self-publishing via the intertron, go forth and read. Then come back.

The past ten years or so have seen a massive amount of conflict between the internet and traditional publishers of all sorts – record companies, book publishers, radio stations, comic strip syndicates, television studios, etc. In many ways it’s the same old feud that has always happened whenever new technology comes along, whether it’s FM radio, VHS, cassette recorders, whatever. The titans of the old industry can’t keep up with the times, and thus fade to obscurity if they can’t adjust. We’re seeing this with those pricks over at the RIAA right now. And, I suspect, we are seeing it with the current batch of book publishers, whose attempts to sell via the new e-readers may be doomed to become little more than a novelty rather than the revolution they should be. I will explain.

The current struggle we’re seeing between the internet and publishers is not one of old vs new industry, though; it is a gang of middle men versus the artists. Historically, that’s what publishers are – a group of editors, salespeople, and lawyers who pay the artist some amount of cash to produce content, which, until recently, only the publisher had the resources to promote and distribute.

There are lots of ways various artists are circumventing all of that. I doubt I need to go into how self-published creators are becoming successful. And in the process, they often get to keep their properties and their profits. This is common knowledge, right?

Theoretically, publishers serve a secondary purpose, that of a filter, right? These are supposed to be people who can recognize good content. I would say on the whole, though, they have failed us in that regard. Failed us terribly.

I thought this was particularly interesting from Jens:

Many ebooks produced by major companies sell, incredibly, in the $6-12 range. JA Konrath prices his at $2-3 and makes up for it with volume – volume and the amazing 70% royalties Amazon pays.

I’ve had this conversation with a few friends recently. I was looking at the prices of the books in Amazon’s Kindle store and was impressed by the prices, but not in a good way. It was no cheaper to buy the electronic books than it was to grab cheap paperbacks. And this isn’t even counting the cost of the device, which I consider ludicrous (maybe I’m just a cheap bastard, though). I get the (debatable) value gains of an e-book over a print copy, but I also understand that it costs the publisher less to put out that file than it does to print a few thousand copies (that may not sell) to send out to bookstore shelves. If iTunes can, with massive success for all parties involved, sell songs for a buck, there’s no reason a book publisher can’t sell a digital book for $2-3.

Is the Kindle (and related products) awesome? Absolutely. I can’t wait for someone to invent a nice big color version for my comic book addiction. But their business model and philosophy needs to catch up before people lose interest, shrug, and toss this luxury aside in favor of the next flash-in-the-pan gadget.

Content should not be considered a luxury, I guess is what I’m saying. Publishers should want an e-reader in everyone’s hands, and we writers should want that, too. E-readers should do for fiction what mp3 players have done for music. Make the pretty leather-bound edition of our novel the quaint luxury that I put on the shelf to impress visitors, not the digital ink.

Surely 100 million people buying books at $3 a piece is better than 3 million buying at $10 a piece? Not just for the companies, but for society as a whole?

Because, ultimately, things are evolving to where the artists no longer need these people who are attempting to control and bottleneck our content. In their panic, those people are probably going to screw things up for all of us.


May 18 2010

“For the win”

as the kids say. Friend Jens has made his first pro sale! To the prestigious  Intergalactic Medicine Show, Orson Scott Card’s webzine. Look for that later this year.

As far as I know, this is the first of the writing group to make a pro sale. Let’s hope for many more to come!


Apr 20 2010

Multimedia

Ugh. 20 days! I have been immensely busy with work (and other things) of late. Corporate America is currently in a “Let’s keep producing more while not replacing all these people we laid off a few months ago” phase. It’s awesome.

A couple of recommendations for you today, from a couple of my wildly talented pals:

First up is this noir-flavored short from friend Aaron. I always want to work more with Aaron, but never get around to it. My loss!

Second is another short, from friend Alex. He actually shot this some time back for a web series that never took off (evidently the writer caved under the pressure). But it is pretty.

Third is the new CD, Five Deadly Venoms, from my comrades in the Mr. Bungle-inspired Shaolin Death Squad. These are people with whom I toiled in the unforgiving planogram mines and then drunkenly philosophized with until the wee hours of the next day. They know more about me than I am comfortable with. You should listen and soak in their wisdom.

I have seen Kick-Ass. It is awesome. I have more to say about it, but currently lack the energy to do so. Perhaps later.


Feb 22 2010

Listen!

I’m delighted to present “Aftershocks: The Musical” over at Everyday Fiction. I kid, I kid. It is, however, an audio reading of the story, read by M. Sherlock of the UK’s own Storm the Gates.

Sherlock enjoyed chewing me out a little for writing a story with such difficult names, and deservedly so. I can check “get called a git by a real Briton” off my bucket list. Next: Piss off Alan Moore with a film adaptation of Captain Britain.

Anyway, you should go give it a listen, even if maybe you read the story back in the day. Audio podcast markets are something I’d like to penetrate more, when I get around to it. I never seem to have something that’s the right length.


Jan 25 2010

Zounds!

Speaking of Every Day Fiction, they have recently added a podcast page for their stories. I have someone working on one of my stories even as you read this! So look for that sometime soon.

In the meantime, you can head here and listen to a couple of fellow Writer’s Inkers tales that have already been read.

Also, Stephanie had a fun zombie story go up over the weekend. Enjoy!

In writing news, I have been working on a new superhero story. I’m digging the beginning and may post an excerpt this week. It’s high time I wrote a story about a superhero who’s a bit of a jackass. I’m also drawing on some stories of friends’ experiences in Hollywood. Should be fun! It’s been way too long since I’ve actually finished something, so I really want this story to happen.


Jan 22 2010

EDF Two: EDF Harder

The second Every Day Fiction Anthology is out, featuring my story, “Apotheosis Cake,” as well as stories from Erin, Jens, Stephanie, KC, Gay, Frank, Kevin, and a whole slew of other great writers. You can order it directly from the good folks at EDF right here. It should be available at Amazon and other fine booksellers soon.

I unfortunately can’t make the official release party/reading in Canada (next weekend, I believe – if you’re in the Vancouver area you should check it out). But, I will be attempting to organize a local reading and signing, since there are several of us locally who have stories in the book. I didn’t get much response from the big booksellers last year, but I have found a local bookstore that might be amenable. Now that I have info on the book I’ll head over there sometime and see about scheduling an event.


Jan 12 2010

Decrepit

I probably shouldn’t do this, but an old friend from my halcyon X-Wing vs TIE Fighter days has posted a story I wrote way back in the day, entitled “Crystalline Flames.” As I recall, it was about a terrorist who falls in love.

I can bring myself only to skim it. This was written over ten years ago! I think this was written for the basic-level creative writing class at UNT, as I don’t remember it going through any sort of crit process.

A quick copy-paste into Word informs me that it’s a little over 6,000 words. Not exactly a quick casual read, but feel free to check it out and let me know if I should be embarrassed or not.

Scrolling through, I see a lot of “I” and cringe.

In the meantime, I think I’ve come up with a fun scenario for an Atlantis story. I’ve always struggled for an angle of attack on an Atlantis story, but I’ve come up with one I like and which suits my writing style well. I’ll be working on that tonight at the group write-in.