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Posts from the ‘SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY’ Category

A Baseline for Damage

A friend brought up something I hadn’t considered before: damage to the human body incurred while exiting a moving vehicle and what that looks like, for writing purposes. I hadn’t really given it much thought before, because reasons. Dorothy Grant was in the same conversation however and she suggested looking at motorcycle accidents,  then tied it into writing and what changes she had to introduce so her character could survive the event. I’m going to expound on that, because a baseline needs to be established. And because, as I’ve learned at LTUE from the various panels, no single person knows everything. Part of what helps others is sharing your knowledge about a specific given topic.
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A Bonfire of Vanities

As we seem to be caught up in a bonfire of vanities (in Savonarola sense rather than the Tom Wolfe novel) where anything that might lead people to ‘sin’ (in the eyes of the modern fanatic, of the new ‘religion’) must be destroyed, I’m wondering how long before they come for books, and the authors. The authors who are part of the Woke cult are already much under its sway, but that’s because the esteem of their co-religionists is so important to them, and to be ostracized from the cult is worst of possible of possible punishments. This is why ‘Requires Hate’ and her little coterie of nasty camp-followers and disciples – an irrelevant group with no influence outside their little circle of fellow believers, were able to wreck careers and lives… inside their circle. They tried on those outside… and found their accusations and demands laughed at by people who placed no value on their or their cult’s regard. So they used their power where they were powerful. Read more

Blast from Antiquity – Overthrowing the Evil Tyrant

It’s been a bit of an insane week at work (or rather, at my desk at home, working), with the inevitable result that I am not braining right now. ‘Tis a sad fact of my existence that the more intense things are at work, the less I can brain outside work.

So, have a blast from the past that’s a bit more than 10 years old (ye dogs! It doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing this for that long, it really doesn’t) and lightly edited to clean up the nastier typos and whatnot.

Overthrowing the Evil Tyrant

And why it’s not quite as easy as it sounds.

We’ve all met them. Usually male, although the Evil Empress or Queen occasionally gets a look-in, the Evil Overlord, whether the CEO of Evil Inc. or the Emperor of the Galaxy, or a petty prince of some forgotten nation in Fantasyland, is something of a staple in science fiction and fantasy. Usually he, she or it exists mostly to be overthrown.

When you come down to it, it’s usually pretty easy. Not necessarily easy at the “toss a trinket into a volcano” level (yes, I know I’m oversimplifying. Shut up.), but there’s a big Final Battle of some description, the Evil Overlord dies, and all is happiness, sweetness and light. As often as not, the Evil Overlord is some kind of kludged-up metaphor for the hero’s journey to some kind of enlightenment (something the hordes of Tolkien-imitators usually fail to notice is that Frodo did not gain ‘enlightenment’ per se. He was irreparably wounded by the trials of his journey, and ultimately unable to remain in/on Middle Earth. There was a happy ending, but it wasn’t for him.).

So why do tyrannies in the real world last so long? Read more

Vampires, Airships, and Romance, Oh My!

Yes folks, I said it. I meant it- this novel has all four and more, because why not? What could possibly go wrong when you combine all 4 of these ingredients in a Victorian-era Europe, with Noble Houses engaged in subterfuge against each other? Absolutely nothing, right? Heheheh. Wrong. Hope you’ve got your safety harness rigged up proper, this book is a fast-paced and rollicking fun time!

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The Perfect Novel for an Afternoon- Rimworld: The Rift

A man can never have too many friends. He can only have too few. JL Curtis’ new novel Rimworld: The Rift demonstrates this principle from the very beginning. Danny Ortega is a  drunken sot. Bedecked in bad hygiene, the stench of his latest bender covering him like some malignant cloud of Suck and Fail, its immediately apparent that Danny has pushed out of his life anybody who might care for him. 

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Tock tick

Ve know your trope makes ze genre tick, ja. But ve vill interrogate it until its resistance is exhausted and is it villing to TOCK!”

I happened to read yet another critic saying that a book in a competition lacked what its competitors had – They defied classic genre conventions, interrogated tired tropes, and celebrated inclusivity, and it merely reflected the sort of sf that was popular in the 80’s. Read more

I need a new word

Or possibly an old one, because I’m sure this issue has been discussed before. Something like “MacGuffin,” but with a different meaning. I want a word for “pseudo-scientific rationale that allows science fiction writers to get past known scientific problems with a story.” You know, like positing wormholes to account for FTL travel? Read more

A Way Out

Fine, fine. We’re all doing fine, here. Nope. Nobody’s losing it. Not even a little. I swear. Okay, in all honesty, we’re actually going pretty well, here at Caer Dave. Things are shockingly normal, though I keep waiting for it all to get really weird, really quickly. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I’m heartened by the signs of growing disgust with the political aristoi and their nonsensical handling of current events. Anyway, here: have some fiction.
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Reviewing JL Curtis’s Rimworld series

Amongst the multifaceted variety of challenges authors face, there is the tendency to get lost in the weeds. This can happen to anybody. Ever met somebody who is a fan of dragons? Their work will be replete with dragons. In every form possible. This tunnel vision can quickly grow wearisome. Picking up JL Curtis’s Rimworld books, I was slightly wary of winding up stuck in the weeds of naval aviation. Thankfully, that never happened.  

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An (uncertain) Future

I was on the periphery of a group of trad sf/fantasy authors discussing what effect the Covid-19 pandemic would have on authors. You might think ‘none’. After all, with the exceptions of the Hollywood-type authors who write great novels on their laptops in coffee-shops… we’re a precursor of the isolation dress-code.  Sweat-pants may well be the height of sartorial elegance for 2020 (or at least the most worn item of clothing), but we were wearing them to work long before everyone else. Read more