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Posts from the ‘WRITING’ Category

Science fiction, today’s reality and all the rest

(Morning all. I’m up to my eyes trying to finish up the final edits on Risen from Ashes, to be released Feb. 4th. I’ll be honest, I forgot today was Tuesday. So I went crawling through our archives and found the following. I’ve updated it some but the sentiment is still the same. The original post appeared Aug 5, 2014.)

Science fiction was the first “genre” fiction that I fell in love with. As a kid, I can remember reading everything the school and local library had with space ships and faraway planets as part of the plot. I dragged my parents to every SF movie to hit the local theater. Lost in Space and Star Trek were must sees on the TV. Why did these books, movies and TV shows call to me? Because they offered a look at a future that was exciting and a bit dangerous and they let my imagination run wild. Looking back, I can see just how true that was. When my friends and I played and decided we’d be the characters in our favorite shows or movies, it was almost always science fiction-related. And why not? We got to play with really cool laser guns and fight aliens and explore planets and fly in spaceships. What more could any kid with an overactive imagination want? Read more

An author to learn from

I’ve been working hard at the fine art of making myself itchy (putting ‘earthwool’ or glass-fibre insulation in the wall cavities of our home.) so I thought it had been a long day and it was time I decamped…

Well, de Camp. Lyon Sprague de Camp, 1907-2000, author of many fantasy, sf and non-fiction works. I happened to mention him to a young author I like and respect, who said he had read almost no de Camp… and I thought, sadly there are probably a lot of sf/fantasy readers and indeed writers who have never encountered de Camp’s work. That’s rather sad, not because he was the best author that ever wrote, but because there is quite a lot of value to gleaned from his work. Like Clifford Simak, the ideas are terrific – but sometimes you wish the story execution was better.
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Can I Quote That? Ask Your Lawyer

At least, that’s the short version of the answer.

The slightly longer version of the answer would be: how long has the original author or speaker been dead?

This has come up a few times when I wanted to quote more than just the title of a song or poem. The rough rule of thumb for fair use in a commercial setting (your book) that I was given has been five words. If you quote more than five recognizable words, then you are getting into copyright law’s turf. The rule comes from academia, specifically what constitutes plagiarism, and a real copyright law site suggests that you can go a touch farther. In one case, I knew I didn’t have a prayer of using the lyric, because it was (and as far as I know, still is) tied up in a nasty copyright fight between a performer and the writer of the song, and the distributor.  That’s the sort of fight no author wants to wade into, so I made up some lyrics that fit the mood of the song and went from there.

Making up something is always safe. Doing your own translations is also safe. Read more

How Do I Do This Thing, Again?

SNOWMAGEDDON IS COME!! Okay, not so much. Once again, we were promised much, and much wasn’t delivered. Muchly. I find this more than acceptable, as Snowmageddon: PNW Style is not my favorite style. I far and away prefer enduring the love child of the Everfrost Tundra and the Howling North Wind in a locale equipped for such occasions. Like Colorado, or failing that, any locale with more than a single snowplow for an entire landmass, however less than enormous. [Update: Snowmageddon is more or less genuinely come. Three inches (much for this region) and still falling. Horde is home from school, base is closed. We have no snow shovel STOP Send dog sleds STOP]
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That’s Entertainment–Or It Should Be

Wow, the last few weeks have been anything but calm for the industry. We have the continuing saga of the RWA/Courtney Milan debacle. Social media, which my mother calls the worst thing ever to be invented, has seen some of the woke scolds doing their best to dance on the graves of some of the biggest names in SFF. All this and we are only two weeks into the new year. Let’s hope this is not a portent of the year to come.

I’m not going to spend much time on the controversies. There’s been enough written a bout them already. But if you want to see how the MSM is handling the RWA situation, check out the updated article over at CNN. To say it does some hand-wavium to avoid any real research into what’s been going on is putting it mildly. The sad thing in all this is, like what we saw with SFWA a few years ago, RWA is going to be lessened by this controversy and the way it’s been handled. When any organization allows a few folks who know how to leverage social media to set policy, to drive off long-time members and fans, you have a problem.

As for the social media idiocy, there have been a cadre of woke scolds creeping out of the shadows to diss Isaac Asimov for daring to put his arm around a woman years before his death. An action the woman in question said was consensual. Others have been doing their best to drag Mike Resnick, one of the nicest men I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, through the mud over comments he made decades ago. They do this just days after Mike’s passing. They don’t give a fuck about his family and friends. Nothing matters to these folks except their own “feelz” and they don’t care if their attacks are well-founded or not. Read more

What were you reading?

We’ve all read those reviews – the ones that leave us scratching our heads and saying “What book did they read? ‘Cause that wasn’t the same one I read.”

Okay, aside from the review of one of Peter’s space operas complaining about the alien invasion of earth being cliched (there are no aliens, and it’s not set on Earth, but on a space ship), usually the reviewers are actually talking about the same story. The mental furniture they use to view the world, and the emotional baggage they bring to the story, is just radically different from ours.

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If You Ain’t Cheatin’

It’s not early, but it *feels* early. It also feels late, which is apparently a function of parenting. Correction: it feels like I’m late. More or less perpetually. Also, I had an oops. I awoke early, this morning (for a given value: earlier than the rest of the house, but later than normal routine, which is acceptable, as we’re still traveling, though tomorrow) and I’m still feeling like I was supposed to be somewhere. This is the problem with getting so far outside my routines that they more or less don’t matter anymore. I look up at eleven-mumblety and say, “oh, right: despite that flying thing, tomorrow’s Tuesday, and I haven’t written, this week.”
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