Monday, June 14, 2010

REVIEW: Kanira Baxter – Chapter Two Pelak IV

kanirabaxter-comic-slice-2 The WHITE KNIGHT receives a transmission sending them to a watery planet. A world with a problem: namely a colony that suddenly stopped talking to the rest of the civilized universe. Upon their arrival they discover some disturbing factors—one in particular which happens be the colony, empty of people.

The space opera continues in full force and we learn a little bit more about the crew and their reasons for following Kanira. And we get to learn about how the watery world happens to be a prime distributor and producer of sushi. Not unexpected, I think, lots of water means lots of fish!

Of course, with all the colonists gone dark maybe sushi production might take a hit.

Fun takeaway? In this one we get to see Meglen, the mouse-like alien Myanai, sometimes walks on all fours. And also why certain sushi isn’t exactly the best thing to tangle with.

Expect some common space-opera themes, well rendered sci-fi scenery and some really angry seafood.

Link, via Comic Genesis.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The best thing about growing older, and it’s not growing up

Everyone wonders if they’ll die in interesting times—the old oft-retold Chinese curse that places its recipients in a strangely unfortunate situation. It’s a parable almost. “May you live in interesting times.” Believing how something so innocuous sounding could be a curse.

Growing older is interesting times; perhaps, at least, it’s an interesting reflection.

Only through changes in the world do we have a chance to compare ourselves now to ourselves then. To see what’s change and what stays the same; or perhaps what keeps happening again-and-again. I’ve lived through some strange events—only some interesting—which have made life stranger for all of us. Things like 9-11 or the various wars-that-aren’t-wars, the election of a black President to the United States of America. But these, unless affected directly, are hardly “interesting times.” They’re just more of the same, swinging like a pendulum.

Growing older doesn’t mean growing wiser, nor more sedate really. Being a writer doesn’t just mean sitting around in front of a glowing screen—or a softly buzzing typewriter—it also means living. Getting out there and looking at the world. It means that those interesting times might as well become my words onto the paper so that I can not just connect with my audience but give them the broad stroke of my lifetime.

In growing older I also grew up on Mill Avenue.

Series that I write like Mill Avenue Vexations exist in an idyllic continuum of the street. Attempting to combine the curiosity and living-breath of the current street with the romantic ghosts of its past. My past. A lifetime ago, within my lifetime.

As writers we are not just historians of people, places, and things, but some of us reproduce worlds never visited, places that only exist in our heads. And we get older with them as well. Both the purely imagined to the imagined-from-real. As we age, we accumulate different parts of our life, and shed others. Certainly a teenager doesn’t have much of an experience to write about mid-life-crisis or living in a cubicle farm except bought cheap from the stories of others (thankfully I know neither of these by experience, but I sometimes I wonder.)

The trick, I suppose, is not to become conformed to the mundane times; or caught up in the interesting times so much that we make them mundane. Readers look to us to highlight, contrast, and stark out their world, to give them a lens they cannot access through any other means and to become that lens we cannot let ourselves grow too comfortable.

Grow older. Age that imagination like a cyclist training for the Tour of Germany. It’s not just the start—muscles bulging, brow trickling with sweat, breath bated—to the finish line—triumph in the veins, the burn of adrenaline, the tears dripping over cheeks—but also the vistas in between, the drama of the other racers, the strange, beautiful journey.

Not everyone can make that race; but with our help, and as we age with them, they can imagine it.

Reposted from Kyt Dotson’s Red Room blog.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kindness from the fanbase

Today I received an e-mail from Paypal that someone extremely awesome in the UK sent me $2 based on reading Vexations. I am absurdly grateful. Every, tiny drop counts. I haven’t written them back yet (and they deserve some kind of thank you note, I just haven’t the energy.)

Today has been rainy out here. No thunder & lightning, but the gales of water sheeting the sky just the same.

Friday, June 04, 2010

How Vex Harrow met Cory Doctorow

Just properly published this one, “Hell Cory” by Kyt Dotson. It’s been in the forums for ages (since 2007 when I wrote it.) So now, I’ve brought it out of there and put it where it belongs, amid its siblings in the proper story queue.

If you haven’t read it before, mosey along and peruse it.

The image (and part of the story) is a homage to

Link, via Mill Avenue Vexations.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

REVIEW: Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium, by Robert C. Rodgers

arcadia-snips-and-the-steamwork-consortium Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium is a rock-solid, hilarious foray into a steampunk dystopian alternate past. It’s been getting some rave attention over at Web Fiction Guide and there’s some very good reasons why. Keep reading and you’ll understand.

What a calculating beast is man

Deep within the strong-beating brass heart of every steampunk aficionado is a vacuum chilled series of hopeful gaslit rooms filled wall-to-wall with books. And one day soon, one of those shelves in my heart will have this book.

Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium is a tour de force of silly mixed with the macabre, scabrous copper tinge of blood. It manages to wind the dizzying height of humor and edge it aptly with careful cuts. From the very first chapter—and the chapter that hooked me—it makes its lighthearted swipes at the imagination and drew smile after smile. At first the steampunkish metaphor and simile seemed heavy-handed, overwrought in fact, but soon they became fuel for the whimsical engine of my delight.

Victorian attitudes abound in the brass-city, a dystopia in its own right but not in our future, but our accidentally forgotten alternative-past. A place where villains and heroes alike have an almost cartoonish bearing on a world that manages to tempt suspension of disbelief with daunting and brazen attitude but never ceases to both enchant and frighten at the same time. This tale has left me in fits of gooseflesh laughter more than once.

Expect strong humor mixed with the oil and grease of industry; expect grand legerdemain run through the cogs and wheels of progress and chewed up by clever antagonists, incompetently-competent protagonists, and even a bit of social commentary about the Victorian attitudes about gender wars. Why I even caught an almost-reference to the old television series “Remington Steele” (wherein a woman detective hires a male “face man” to pretend to be the investigator.)

Even people not inclined to the steampunk aesthetic will probably enjoy this story. It has a little bit of something for everyone. Little explanation is needed for much of the far-fetched mathematics and mechanics of the lunatic mind as it’s deeply buried in laugh-out-loud metaphors; allowing the conspiracy, detective work, and general slapstick amazement to drive the story onwards.

Link to review (via “Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium” @ Web Fiction Guide)

Direct Link: Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium.