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Posts by Cedar Sanderson

Life is Like That

I find that writing while being interrupted constantly is impossible. It is equally impossible to write when my brain is full of fluff and nothingness, echoing back at me when I inquire of the ideas it was providing me at any other point than this one, when I sat down at a keyboard. I turn to my notebook where I could have jotted something down while I was in one of those moments of inspiration, but Lo! there are only meaningless scribbles, signifying little. I sit and stare at the screen. I write a list of bits we need for household projects. I wonder why me? Why would anyone want to read about writing from me? Read more

Assumptions and Misunderstandings

I stumbled across something earlier this week and immediately thought, ooh! I can use this for research! My second thought was something else, though. The article on social media had trumpeted that a grave was excavated containing ‘Three Amazon Warrior Women’ to paraphrase the headline. There was a grave. In Russia. And it had been partly robbed. There was, I commented, nothing Amazonian whatsoever about the site. Warriors? Maybe. The problem is that there’s a definite bias to reporting of such finds, because feminism. Which robs the real power of the legacy these women have left in their death rites. It’s not that they may have fought alongside the men. It’s certainly not that they were fighting the patriarchy. We don’t know enough about their culture to make those assumptions. Women of their time and place may not have known a patriarchy existed, or cared if it did. Transposing modern mores and concerns onto the bones and artifacts simply serves to obscure and confuse the real data we can pull from the traces of the past. Read more

The Science of Dystopia

We see the concepts of dystopia and utopia explored many times in SFF. Arguably, they were at the beginning of the genre, with Thomas More’s Utopia having been written 500 years ago now. You can still read his novel, through the magic of the internet, however. In recent years, it seems writers have been more focused on creating fictional visions of dystopias than they have been in trying to set up utopian societies. Given our cultural case of the blues for the last hundred years, this is understandable. Given also that attempts to create utopias over the last few centuries have largely ended badly, well, I’m not sure I can blame the modern writer for being drawn into the dark dystopian world. Read more

Prompted Writing

I’ve been toying with an idea, so hear me out for a minute here. Years ago I was part of a prompt group. I don’t remember just how I got involved – through a friend, I think – but at a time when I struggled to find the time to write, getting a little prompt once a week and then writing was very helpful to keep me going. The comments I got on my writing also helped motivate me. You can find some of my prompts here, and here, and here. I did this for a year or so, taking part when I could – you weren’t locked in to doing it every week – and was very sad when the project folded. I’ve missed it, off an on, since then. Read more

FlySafe School, Ltd.

Science Fiction, fantasy, anything in between, most of these stories focus on the big problems. Really big problems, with plenty of drama. Save the village, save the world, save the universe! Life as we know it is over! We read them to dream, to let our imaginations wander. To reconnect with that sense of wonder we felt as a child learning about the world around us with wide eyes and a mind full of more questions. I was thinking about this yesterday as I dealt with Drama at my house. Well, to be specific, at a Taco Bell and a BMV. It’s not entirely my story to tell but it left me thinking about life’s little dramas, and how they might play out in a SFF setting. Read more

Cover Art: Compositing

This all started because I was very cheeky to a friend recently. Tom Rogneby writes wonderful stories, with a dry wit I really enjoy, so when I saw the cover for his upcoming Boogeyman book, I was both happy, and sad, all at once. It’s complicated. I know the value a cover can give to a book. And I know that I’m probably more critical of book covers than your ordinary reader, because I am also an artist, and someone who specializes in creating book covers and the art, layout, and so forth. So bad book covers make me cringe. Usually, I shut up and scroll on. There are a lot of bad covers out there but it’s like babies. You don’t tell the lady her baby looks like it might have some warthog genes, even if they are on the dad’s side. Authors, especially authors who have paid good money for a crappy cover, don’t want to hear that their baby looks ugly. Shut up and scroll, Sanderson, shut up and scroll.

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Implications

As I sit down to write this, it is the very early hours of Pearl Harbor Day. A day that can never be forgotten, a black mark on the calendar like few others in American history. As I was sitting in the dark at my desk contemplating what to write, digging my bare toes into the warmth of the sheepskin rug, and firing off a snarky comment to a friend’s message from overnight, I debated with myself what to write about. It’s the little things. It’s the implications of ‘what if…?’ that allure those of us who write fiction. I’m not a historian, a mere dabbler, but I do know a little bit about what happened in China in the late 1930s. I was contemplating that, and the Holodomor, and other massive genocidal events, comparative to the Holocaust that was in full swing at the time of Pearl Harbor. The difference? Record-keeping. We have minutely detailed records, photos, even video, that came out of Germany after the war. In the places where no one was writing anything down? We can only speculate. Speculations, on the other hand, can be backed up with forensic evidences, so we have a pretty darn good idea of what could have become of us if Pearl Harbor had been a pivot-point in the other direction. Read more