Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ladder to Heaven

Oh shi... waddup?

Taking a break from my 9/11 festivities of playing Civilization and watching Amazing Race reruns on Hulu.

This week blew by but was a whirlwind of stress, frustration, and a heavy workload. Regardless, I still managed to get started on chapter 18 for To Slice The Sky. Nothing substantial, but at least I can cut out the parts I know I don't need, or have changed too much to work as is. It seems to always take me about a year to get up to this point, and all I've done this year is work on the novel in my free time, the small bit that it is.

For class, I'm currently reading Philip K Dick's Martian Time-Slip. I've gotten a little over halfway through it so far and have been enjoying it immensely. It's another mind-bending study on psychology and humanity's future, as well as the ripples death causes through people's lives. It's a very fast read as well,

Last night I watched Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 action masterpiece, Point Break. It was awesome as per usual. I'm fairly certain that Point Break is the greatest action movie ever. For real. Die Hard and Commando aside, Point Break is top to bottom a well put together, gripping thrill ride. And it was most likely the last time Gary Busy acted like a human on film.

Well, I don't have anything to offer for this week. Unless you want to see a bunch of pictures of me taking back America on 9/11.
Coming across the waters
The invasion begins
Splitting the atom
Irradiated wasteland blues.

See ya next week.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Excuses to day drink and start fires

What is up my D-O-G-E's? How does you this Labor Dabor?

Blah blah, sorry missed last week, and this is a day late, blah.

Trust me, not much was missed by me not checking in. Just busy days at work, and busier times at night, learning EspaƱol and finishing up The Martian Chronicles. I also finished writing the next chapter for To Slice The Sky. It seems like Act II has mostly been revisions and full on rewrites to accommodate a slumping mid-section that didn't really rise action, and sort of meandered about without much direction.

It's been a pretty mixed bag of emotions doing rewrites for this draft of the novel. Here we are staring down at the last quarter of the year, and I'm 1 chapter away from closing up Act II. Granted, everything for the novel flows considerably better, and should just need a proofreading and slight tune-up around the newer additions to get everything uniform. So I'm sort of exasperated with myself for not being further along in the process, and that I've done such huge sweeping changes on things that weren't working. But on the bright side, I'm also realizing that since I began the outline back in Summer of 2011 that I've thankfully become a better writer during that period and can discern that what I had at first was crap, and now I'm able to craft much more coherent narratives. At least I think I can. You're more of a judge of that than I am.

I've also decided that for the omnibus version release of The Lilim Chronicles wave 1, I'm going to have to go back and do one last retouch on By Starlight as well as Urban Legends of the Future. For the release, not only will I be editing the two collections, but also making some needed changes to make the world more cohesive. They'll be getting new--unifying--covers, and I'll be rebranding myself as well.

I've been working on a writing assignment for my Spanish class, and my original topic was going to focus on Latino/a science fiction authors. I came across two major problems, 1) I needed articles in Spanish, and everything I found on the topic was in English. & 2) Every article was pretty much a repeat of, "Where are all the Latino/a science fiction authors?" A quick look at the name at the top of this website, or the name above the link you clicked to get here, probably has you wondering, "What the hell does that have to do with you, gringo?" Well, my father's European surname and Western naming conventions aside, I'm Mexican from my mother's side. I specifically made my character Decker Mexican-American because pretty much the only Latina character I've had to look up to in Science Fiction is Vasquez from Aliens, and while externally I'm a blue-eyed, lightly tanned, whiteboy I grew up with my mom's family in Los Angeles.

In my writing, I've wanted to express a lot of my frustration with being trapped between two worlds as a mixed race person in America, and try to write a lot about conflicting dichotomies, and while it's all well and good, I don't feel that my voice does anyone anywhere much justice coming from another white guy trying to tell everyone how to live. That, and my current pen name is clunky as hell, and being called, "Chris-py" my whole life is pretty old after thirty+ years. So after two paragraphs of justification, with the re-release of my wave one books, I'm going to be changing my pen name across the internet, borrowing my mother's maiden name. So, my book making moniker will be Christopher Fernandez going forth. Doesn't that just flow so much better? Say it out loud with an accent: Christopher Fernandez. ¡Muy picante!

Reconnecting to a culture that got lost in pre-civil rights era American white washing has been a thing in my adult life that I've tried to achieve, and along with learning Spanish like my aunts/uncles/mom never did, this is just one more link in that chain. Not like I'm planning on changing my actual name, but as far as pen names go, Bollweg just ain't sexy. Which is probably one of many reasons I've never heard it used during intimacy.

Aside from moral queries into what is and isn't cultural appropriation, I finished reading Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Man, what a fantastic read. It definitely is a collection that builds upon itself and got way better with each passing story. In particular, I really loved the chapters Usher II (where a former English professor builds Poe's House of Usher on Mars, inviting all the moral watchdogs from Earth on a deadly tour through it), the highly reprinted, "There Will Come Soft Rains," (a story of an automated house when there's no more humans to automate for) and the final story, "The Million-Year Picnic". For being such a fan of poetry, I'm really surprised I wasn't ever as enthralled with the lyric delivery of Bradbury's prose back in high school. It's so flowing and evocative that pages disappeared before my eyes before I realized, "Oh, shit. I was so wrapped up in the flow, I don't know what I'm reading about." And going back, realizing all these beautiful words I'd read were about such bleak and alienating topics.

Even if the science has harshly shown everything about The Martian Chronicles to be a Space Opera fever dream from 1950, the biting satire on Cold War American life, and the destructive tendencies of well meaning Americans when faced with the consequences of our cultural lifestyle, is as fresh as it was 66 years ago. Yeah, sixty-six damn years, and we still haven't learned a damn thing, and are possibly on the verge of making all the same mistakes we've been warned about for over half a century. It's things like that that make me wonder if everything I wrote about representing the Latino-American science fiction writing population is a waste since clearly humanity has learned jack and shit from reading SciFi over the years.

But at least we have smart phones now.

Well, without further ado, here's chapter 16 from To Slice The Sky. Dog: