Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day of the Triffids

Unique and classic all at the same time: "Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham.  A triffid is a rapidly growing and reproducing tree capable of walking and striking a man dead from ten feet away with a poisonous stinger.  Probably created by a human scientist and accidentally spread across the globe, they are a mere oddity until a "comet" causes an amazing green meteor shower viewed by almost everyone on the planet.  They all wake up blind.
A few sighted people are forced to figure out the tragedy and fend for themselves while a majority of the blind stumble about desperate for help.
Published in 1951 in England, this book is a pioneer in the PA genre.  It deals with the complex issues of rebuilding society including how to deal with cities filled with the rotting dead, whom to save when you can't save everyone, and tensions between different philosophies: religious, neo-feudalistic, military, and utopian.
Glad I picked it up and sorry I took so long.  Always interesting to see how different people treat the apocalypse.  How we are different and how we are the same.  Both Wyndham and I began by stating what was absent, what was missing, and why something must be very wrong.  The conservative 50's Britishness of his characters was also an interesting touch to a guy reading it 60 years later.
Next up: "Equations of Life" by Simon Morden

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Scanner Darkly

I took my time with Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly".  I read it over 2 nights.  I'm not sure if I want to go out and do lots of drugs or never do a drug again.  A great insight into the subculture and a bewildering view of the future of law enforcement.  Imagine going to the office and interacting with anonymous people anonymously, reporting on yourself and your friends without revealing your identity, and not knowing if the person across the desk from you is the dealer or user you are chasing.

It's fiction that opens up the mind.  The sort of stuff I've been looking for.  Not PA either, but that's coming.  Next up, a classic in the post-apocalyptic world I've never read: "Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Confessions of a Crap Artist

The binge has begun.
I read "Confessions of a Crap Artist" by Philip K. Dick.  The whole thing.  It was not what I expected.  Certainly not PA or even sci-fi.  It's the story of a man who collects junk, hoards newspapers, hatches crazy ideas, and is unprepared for life in the real world.  Turned out to be just as much a story about his sister and her husband.  It started slowly, but once I got through the first hundred pages or so, I couldn't put it down.  The hooks were in me.  I needed to know what happened to the characters.  At midnight I saw I only had fifty or sixty pages to go, so I said "what the hell" and just finished it.
Mr. Dick does everything I don't do.  Lays out detailed characters in first person.  Gets deep into psychology and philosophy.  Dissects human relationships.  I'm just a simple guy with a bird who likes eyeballs.
I got two of his books from the library and need to get something to read next weekend.
Next up: "A Scanner Darkly".

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Admit I Have a Problem

I have a bad habit.  I'm a binge reader.  When I read, I read way too much.  I don't do anything else.  I chew up pages all day.  I've read a 400 page book in one sitting.  Last vacation I took, I read 3000 pages.  I have a problem and I admit it.
So I haven't read much over the last year or so.  If I did, I'd have never written anything, would never have spent time with my wife, walked my dog, played with my son, petted my cat, or gone to work.
But I need to read.  I need it bad.  Real bad, man.  There are post-apocalyptic classics I need to read, books by my friend Kim Culbertson I need to get to, and I really should re-read The Book of Revaltions.  Yes, tell my mother I just said that I need to read the Bible.
What great stuff should I be reading?  "Day of the Triffids"?  "Omega Man"?  I want to read a lot of PA stuff, but also just a lot of stuff.  For about a month or so, I'm going off.
And then I promise, once my page-lust has been satisfied, I'll get back to work on "Cathartes Aura on the Road from Nowhere" and some children's books with my wife/illustrator.  Perhaps "Super Flying Baby" or "The Zloby and Oli Detective Agency".  But until then, I need a hit, I need a dose, I need a Megablast.
I need your help.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Auntie's Books Community Read

Sunday, April 17th, as part of Spokane's "Get Lit" festival, I will be reading at Auntie's Books.  They are having an open reading for all local writers.  1-3pm. 402 West Main, downtown Spokane.
I love to read this work out loud.  If anyone else knows of a good place and time to do a reading, please let me know.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Sale

An amazing feeling.  My first real money sale. I've given some digital copies away to friends and family, but someone paid for one through Smashwords a day and a half after release. Maybe it will be the only sale, but I've never been so excited about $3.09.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Ready Early

I couldn't wait.  I spent all weekend reading, re-reading, counting lines, counting syllables, and re-working the cover.  I actually found and corrected at least 40 lines in my rough draft that were 9 or 11 syllables.  Biggest headache of the entire project.

Can you find the 9 syllable line in the First Forty Lines at the top of the blog?  Be the first to tell me which one and you get a free copy.

Go to my Smashwords page to purchase yours.  And if you do, please review.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Would have been Embarrassing

Looking at the text for one of the last times before I submit to Smashwords, I found that the 41st stanza only had nine lines.  No wonder that one never felt right to me.  Mortifying.  Almost ended up with only 9,990 syllables.

I have already re-counted and yes, there are 1000 lines.  I will be counting the syllables tomorrow.  Ten at a time.  Can't wait.