The Dim Fantastic

Parallel Worlds, Writing 9 Comments »

Question: when did “literature” become defined as “anything you read that makes you miserable, guilty and hopeless about the universe” whereas any story that not only entertains you but makes you feel happier when you come to the end has been relegated to the status of inferior pulp dreck for rubes and morons? Once science fiction was all of the latter, but then somehow the genre attracted the attention of the Littritchur Brigade, and it’s been downhill ever since. Personally I think someone at a university somewhere had their stacks of “Princess Theta and the Moonbeasts” paperbacks discovered and had to come up with an excuse quick lest they become the laughing stock at their next faculty party. Tell me the truth, is any of that “thought-provoking” “speculative” science fiction about how White Anglo Saxon Males (“metaphorically” disguised as humans) oppress women ‘n’ minorities ‘n’ other-sexuals (“metaphorically” disguised as aliens) really fun to read? Is it uplifting? Does it make you feel hopeful — which is the base mental state necessary to enable human beings to actually work towards improving the conditions of our life on earth?

No it does not. Barring a few exceptions, most of the “literary” science fiction that has been published is depressing shit that I wouldn’t let my kids near if I had any. I’d let them glom up piles of “racist, sexist” pulp about evil Martians and Space Princesses in peril, because they’d know it was fantasy, but they’d learn valuable lessons on fighting evil and protecting good, but let them absorb the lesson that the human race is destined to misery and oppression forever and that there is no good or evil, just blobs of arbitrarily arranged molecules, as so much “important” science fiction promotes? That would be child abuse.

And that, folks, is why I don’t like the new Battlestar Galactica, and much prefer the old series despite it’s late 70s-style cheesiness. Also, coming up, my list of sucky science fiction books and why you should never let college professors write the stuff.

Writing test

Writing 2 Comments »

The thing about me is when I decide to write something, I always get three or more story ideas going up at the same time. It’s like my mind produces mushroom clusters all over. Which is a kind of way of saying my mind is full of shit. Anyway, here’s a sample of one of the outbreaks. It may or may not develop into a story or novelette. I will give a hint to it’s plot: it’s sort of connected with the current troubles, but it takes place in the near future and isn’t much to do with what is going on in the exact here and now. And the conflict isn’t so much to do with global issues as more personal ones having to do with character and how ordinary people deal with sudden transforming events. I can see the vague outlines of the story as a whole, but I don’t have all the details yet — just atmosphere, and some of the characters’ outlines. I’m still looking for names. (I’m bad at names.)

Update: I think I’ll put all my writing stuff here. It’s a Livejournal site. I like the style of the main page — I wish there was some way to carry over the styles to the individual entry pages and comment pages though. Their default style for those is rather utilitarian. (Full disclosure: and early, pre-blog site is on LJ, though under a different user name. Here are those old entries. Notice the day I didn’t post. I was at my ex-BF’s house, watching the TV like the rest of the universe.)

My dream last night still weirds me out

Writing 5 Comments »

I don’t usually dream — at least nothing I can remember. But when I do, the dreams are invariably weird. Not so much for their content as for the complete conviction, while I am dreaming, that this is real — it’s actually happening — but not only that, I am equally aware (while I am dreaming) that I have a waking life, and that that waking life is false. Also, my dreams are usually just fragments, as if I suddenly broke into my “real” life in mid-happening, I’m me, but I usually don’t remember any specifics of who I am in my dream when I wake up. (I’m just “me” — I just don’t know who “me” is. It could be me, as I am really, or “me” as I am “really.” Confused enough?)

Anyway, in my dream last night this time I am suddenly looking up into the night sky because a very bright, lightning-like formation has broken across it. But the formation isn’t so fast that I can’t tell that it’s not lightning — it’s something else, a gigantic structure of some sort. I’m standing outside somewhere near a swampy area that is also near buildings — something like the neighborhood near where I used to live in in Miami, out in the west part where Tamiami Trail continued on past Sweetwater and a cement factory and on into the undeveloped land next to the Everglades, from about SW 112 Avenue to Krome Avenue. (That area has since been built up, I believe.) At the time there was an apartment or condo complex and a housing development on 112 Avenue, and then the homes petered out into flat lands that were mostly lots full of nothing but grass and stands of melaleuca and Australian pines.

Anyway, the landscape in my dream was sort of like that. I was standing outside one of the condos, staring up at the structure, which was oblong in shape, and could only be seen when something like lightning ran across it in a kind of zigzag. My first thought was “that’s an alien space ship, and it’s going to crash. That light is either something hitting it, or it’s own sort of distress lights.” I am vaguely aware of some people around me, the people of the community, all as shocked and worried as I am. And stranger still, we all know what the ship is, who it belonged to — there’s some sort of recent history involving aliens which had been the main worry in recent times leading up to this, and these events were somehow expected.

Anyway, the structure slid across the sky as a barely-perceptable shadow, and then the lights ran across it again, and we realized it was closer to the earth and also farther to the west. I had the perception that is was going to land in the sea on the other side of the land, and that the sea was far away like the Gulf, but not so far away that this was not going to be a disaster for all of us standing there. I started to turn away, realizing that it surely was going to crash any minute. An interval of time passed — not very long — as I made my way back through the crowd, which was just starting to panic. I was thinking of my cats. I didn’t think I could take my cats with me as I fled — I remember clearly thinking that the electromagnetic pulse would surely knock out all the electricity for miles around, which meant my car wouldn’t work, which meant that even if I did manage to drive some ways before the pulse reached us, meant I would end up having to walk, and my cats were indoor cats — they couldn’t walk with me and I had nothing to carry them with. I was thinking of just leaving the cat food bag open, and filling all my bowls with water, and trying not to realize that the cats would probably end up dying anyway, from the force of the blast if nothing else. And in fact, I doubted I would survive.

Then there was a low but heart-stopping “boom” and I turned involuntarily to see that the entire sky had gone pearl white. Then I saw the vast, grey-white (I remember the two different shades of white very distinctly) cloud of the blast, rather oval shaped instead of round, coming towards us from the west.

Then I woke up.


Writing 7 Comments »

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to work on a novel. I haven’t really started yet, but I think I have the vaguest of story outlines. It’s going to be a sort of fantasy/science fiction thing. The main character is a guy who has ended up living as a somewhat eccentric loner after three attempts at relationships ended very badly. I will then insert the common plot device of other characters breaking into his personal world, and then things go haywire as he finds out that 1) he isn’t from Earth, but another world in a galaxy far, far away, 2) he goes back — somehow, haven’t worked out how yet — to what he thinks is his home world, and 3) since there were very good reasons his parents fled to an isolated planet that knew nothing about the existence of other worlds, hijinks ensue, though not very amusing ones. In fact, he gets himself and his friends into an assload of trouble and the novel will be how he tries to get himself and his friends out if it though not without much pain and suffering. It sounds stupid and boring outlined like that — I’m hoping that the finished work is more interesting.

I don’t even have named for any of the characters yet. Well that’s what the internet is for — lots of “baby names” websites to waste my time on instead of writing look up character names. The tentative plot came about from me thinking about the standard fantasy “prince in exile returns home” story and how it might be played a bit with to be something other than the standard sparkly unicorns, dragons, and wizards tale. Or the scifi version — the shiny starships and planets stuff. I’m not going to go all deconstructionist, though. I like sympathetic characters and happy endings, or at least happyish endings. The environment I’m conceiving is kind of “crapsack world,” but not to excess. One thing I liked about Star Wars when it the first movie came out was the way Lucas conceived of a science fiction setting that actually looked as if people lived in it — especially in the bar scene and the other scenes on Tatooine. (The later movies seemed to mostly drop this, unfortunately, in favor of flashy special effects and big speeches.) For example, instead of “space clothes” (i.e., goofy uniform-looking things and jumpsuits on everyone — I guess no one will have to piss or shit in the future) characters got to wear clothes that looked like stuff real people would wear.

I may post excerpts here from time to time.

Words, words, words

Writing 2 Comments »

I have been thinking of starting my novel, finally, for reals y’all, this month. I was kind of inspired by NaNoWriMo*, though not inspired enough to join up. But it’s time I got down to brass tacks. Which is why I need to take a break from this blog.

Ha ha! Just kidding. It’s easier to give up heroin, probably. Still, most of what’s going on in Serious Blog Stuff is much too distracting to my tiny brain, so my posts here will probably just be stupid ones about British scifi tv and my cats. You know, as normal.

*Gah, that hurt to type. It’s so stupid. I know it’s an abbreviation for “National Novel-Writing-Month,” which sounds kind of bland, but couldn’t they have picked something else for their domain name? “NaNoWriMo” sounds like something a toddler would say. “What’s mommy doing today, hunnee?” “Na no wi mo!” Blaarrrgghh!