Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Take Alien, the movie, (“In space no one can hear you scream”) and then look at the sequels, which are pure action SF, with multi-mouthed H.R. Giger monsters, bad-asses with exotic guns, cool technology (for the time), a nightmarish dead colony backdrop, and a pure horror ending. Did one of the aliens manage to get on board—planted in Ripley’s stomach—to bring death and destruction back to Earth?
|Nightmare by Abildgaard|
|Nightmare by Gauguin|
File Size: 514 KB
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books (May 1, 2006)
Winterdim (print edition) or Dryad (ebook) by Chris Howard
Print Length: 662 pages
Publisher: Lykeion Books (November 9, 2011)
When I think of horror, SF and Fantasy together as genres I tend to see a big bog between two slippery hillsides. You can't get from one hill direct to the other - SF and fantasy usually don't mix: their license to suspend disbelief comes from mutually opposed sources, science and magic. But both genres can slide down into the bog, representing the horror genre, as fast as you can say "demon"—or "alien."
The big difference between hills and bog is that the hill genres have the bog as an option—or in more common terms, they can offer the reader wonder as well as horror. The bog doesn't do wonder. Even if treasure is buried there, the emphasis is on the dead men's bones accompanying it. Comedy there may be, and entertainingly black, too, but wonder, no.
This doesn't mean that the bog is any worse than either hill genre, or that such traffic should be prevented by border guards. Indeed, where would the hill genres be without the darkness option? Someone like Nietzsche once remarked, either of Homer or Greek mythology, that, in paraphrase, the greater the light, the blacker the shadows it casts—you'll excuse the vagueness, I haven't turned up the quote for years, and it's too long to resort to Google, even if I cd. remember it right. Nevertheless, the idea rings true to me. The greater the wonder a fantasy text can evoke, the greater the horror it MAY evoke. And a fantasy text with unrelenting light and wonder wd. be somewhat like a medieval Christian heaven: great if you're immortal, but if you're still under the sun, eventually conducive to eyestrain and headaches rather than alleluias.
This assumes that the writer of such a roller-coaster story is "in control"—well, intentionally sliding up and down the hill, because who of us is ever "in control" of a story as we write? But unintentional slides can produce awkwardness, bathos, and at worst, audience hilarity when you wanted shudders. I recall a local Hamlet where the ghost walked a "battlement" above and behind the stage. Fine, except that ghost shd. be uncanny, inhuman, silent, unconnected to earth. As this one walked, the audience cd. see his feet shuttling below his robe. They cracked up, and the performance never recovered.
Evoking the spookiness of wonder's dark side is not easy, either. It helps to recall the dictum of Old Gothic best-seller Mrs. Radcliffe: "terror and horror are so far opposite that the first . . . awakens the faculties to a high degree of life; the other contracts, freezes and nearly annihilates them . . ." And for Radcliffe, terror's power lies in "obscurity and uncertainty." That is, let the reader imagine horrors and outdo your efforts, rather than present the monster full frontal and fail to raise a shiver.
|Peake’s Sketch of Flay|
Author Tananarive Due, who is dubbed as a horror writer, mixes fantasy quite skillfully in My Soul to Keep. This novel begins with the tale of “Jessica,” a young woman who falls in love, only to discover that the perfect man of her dreams is 400 years old...and the member of an Ethiopian sect of Immortals.This saga spans continues through three more novels (The Living Blood, Blood Colony and My Soul to Take) all are built upon a fantasy setting— spiced with bone-chilling horror and suspense.
D.K. Gaston, author of The Friday House, and Lost Hours, while not described as a horror author has elements of it deftly woven within his plots. Tad Williams does the same, when he inserts a larger than life sociopath in his epic fantasy series, Otherland.The fantasy framework of these novels is in fact necessary in order to construct “the world right beneath our noses,” that is the mainstay of speculative fiction. When horror is present, it adds a delightful bit of scary suspense to the mix—like popcorn and chocolate. And hey, who doesn't enjoy a little sweet with their salty from time to time?
To narrow that down a bit, does the posting of stories, novels, and art for free downloading, reading, viewing, and even sharing, make any difference in print book sales, in attracting more traffic to an author's or illustrator's blog, in doing anything to help that artist's career?
I give away a lot. I have a whole blog dedicated to some of my Creative Commons licensed content. I post my art regularly here on theophrast.us, on Flickr, deviantArt, and other art forums and presentation sites. I posted an SF novel Nanowhere almost four years ago under Creative Commons license. I post 3 to 5 panels for my web comic Saltwater Witch every week.
Free, all of it. Free to download, to read, to share, some of it out there for years.
Does it work, giving all of this away if you're just starting out? (I know it works if you're an established author, celeb, marketing guru, so I don't need the Doctorow, Scalzi, Anderson, Godin, etc. cases).
I'm curious to hear what other writers, illustrators, and readers think. Maybe you can guess what I think by what's on my blog or the Saltwater Witch site. I'm considering posting my entire novel Seaborn, which came out last July. And I'm wondering about the effectiveness of free. I completely get Tim O'Reilly's aphorism that the problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity. Maybe my real question is does giving things away solve that problem?
This is what you get when you have kids in junior high school...and they're reading The Outsiders.
So here's the meme: pick a fictional character, one of your own or a favorite from any author, and come up with something to describe them--a cool name, draw the character, a written description--as if they were in S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders.
Okay, not really, although you're welcome to run with it. This is going to be the first panel in the very next page of Saltwater Witch--along with a short block of narrative about the voice in her head.
I spent a couple hours painting a new shot of my character Kassandra . Click the pic for a much larger view:
Alice and I walked up to the Stratham town center to vote a few hours ago, setting out just before the polls opened. We're in New Hampshire, and everything opened here at 8 AM. Parked voters' cars line our street.
Lines were long, but wouldn't have been too bad if I wasn't already sick--I'm down, as they say, with a wicked awful cold. Anyway, long lines, got through them, went behind the curtain, filled in ballot, and slid it into the machine.
While standing in line talking, it occurred to Alice and I that Chloe--our oldest child--will be able to vote in the next presidential election. Isn't that crazy?
If you don't already know, the image on the left is from the cool Yeti-bama t-shirt from the coolest of cool design companies, Gama-Go in SF. They're all sold out, the proceeds went to the Barak's campaign.
You tell me this isn't the creepiest thing you've seen in a while. I'll set it up a little, and then I'll let you see for yourself.
Okay, I'm writing, in the middle of a short story about a chef who...never mind. It's not important. I type two words, "body bags," and I stop to wonder about that, thinking CSI, TV crime shows, Law & Order, etc. And then I decide to Google those two words.
You try it now:
I'm looking at the ads, the highlighted group across the top, reading stuff like "our products are made in the u.s.a. for human and animal remains..." and "The best heavy-duty body bags, Leakproof & sturdy. Fast shipping" and "Custom Cadaver Pouch Manufacturing. Popular models in-stock for order!" Yes, there's an exclamation point after "in-stock for order"
Custom f*%king cadaver pouches? WHAT THE HELL'S GOING ON HERE?
It is October...hmmmm. Some sort of Google Halloween meme?
So, now I'm wondering... Can I play?
You, too. What other creepy Google searches can you think up? And can you beat body bags?
Your turn, Skott, Con, Julia, Pam, and Tobias because I thought you kicked ass with Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin, but now that I'm halfway through Sly Mongoose, I've found there is far more ass to be kicked--far more than I ever dreamed!
I don't know what made me think of this, but I've been traveling lately and when I travel I get more time to sit around and do my introverted thought games, gathering wool, and just wondering about things. We traveled a lot growing up, and I went to four different high schools, two different middle schools, and I don't know remember how many grade schools--a lot of memorable ones, but one teacher stands out over the rest.
I thought of my sixth grade teacher, Sister Sally. It was a long time ago, so I'm sure I'm a little bit off, but picture Julie Andrews (Sound of Music) with a bit of the Flying Nun (Sally Field) flown in. My sister Dia and I went to St. Monica's on Geary in San Francisco for two years, and my first year there my teacher was Sister Sally. She wore light blue while all the older sterner nuns wore black. She also put on a musical production every year--different year to year. My sister's class, the year after me, did Music Man. My year we did Fiddler on the Roof. Picture me at eleven years old with a fake beard and big boots playing Tevye for a scene, singing as deeply as I could--Sunrise Sunset--to a girl in my class. Just crazy.
So, now it's your turn, name one of your favorite or memorable K-12 teachers.
Carole McDonnell passed me the Best SF Movie scene meme...
There are some famous, favorite scenes already mentioned by Carole, Stacia, and others, great scenes from Gattaca, Blade Runner, Dune, Logan's Run.
So, I dug around for something not yet mentioned:
The Fifth Element, the scene in which Zorg (Gary Oldman) explains how the universe works, how things are to the priest Cornelius, and ends up having to be saved by his captive.
Here's the scene on YouTube:
It would be difficult to tell you why I love The Fifth Element. I know a lot of people hate it, put it down as one of the worst SF movies, but there's something about the mix of Gary Oldman, high-speed rocket taxi chases, operatic cut scenes with murder, countdown timers on explosives, good versus evil, the end of the world, and futuristic kitsch that works for me.
I'm a level 1 vigilante on PMOG (Passively Multiplayer Online Game). I've created one mission--setting out lightposts, and navigated through a pile of others.
I've already earned some badges:
1. Indie, for players who go a 24 hour period without using Google
2. Torch, for players that visit 100 URLs over a 24 hour period
3. Fellow Traveller, for players who complete more than 8 missions
I'm so close to completing The New Sirens--working title of the sequel to Seaborn, that I took time tonight to go back and look at notes from my writing/crit group for the early chapters. One of the sentences called out as "nice" in chapter one is,
She kicked higher, pulling Shelly by the hand, one foot bounding off Ochleros' arm, up to his shoulder where she set her feet down and leaned an elbow against the sea-demon's ear.
Forget about the context, sea-demons, who Ochleros or Shelly is, or whether this sentence is really "nice," and focus on the hand, foot, arm, shoulder, feet, elbow, and ear. That is a nice pile of body parts in one place, seven of them. I didn't do this on purpose, it came out in the action. She's in the water, kicking to a nice high, comfortable place--and as everyone knows, sea-demons just love to have their ears elbowed.
Okay, it's meme time:
How many body parts can you plausibly jam into a sentence without simply listing them? Internal parts as well. I for one would like to read a sentence with "lung," "earlobe," and "big toe" in it.
Not going to tag anyone. I'm going to x-post. Open to all. Leave a sentence in a comment here, or post it on your blog, journal, or wherever you soapbox.