Monthly Archives: July 2015

Why write…

Sometimes everything goes wrong, all at once, and all the things you tried to do are destroyed, and you figure you may as well just give up on everything and collect cans and paper to sell to recycling centres.

Which is probably more profitable than writing, but when the way you deal with depression is to construct stories around it you may as well write the bloody things down.

Review: Girl Vs Monster

Girl Vs Monster is the tacky steampunk lovechild of Ghostbusters and Buffy the Vampire Slayer that you never wanted. It’s basically a series of one-liners interspersed with cack-handed moral messages about over-coming fear, with a few pop songs thrown in for spice. It’s not a good movie to take seriously, but it is a great movie to laugh at, and I don’t regret the hour and a half I spent watching it.
Girl Vs. Monster (2012) TV Movie Directed by Stuart Gillard Shown: poster art
Yes, that is the word “Monstober” on the poster.

Settings And Geographical Privilege

I’ve been having difficulty with my stories lately people people keeps saying they want to know where they’re set – which city as opposed to “America”. Which is a problem, because I’ve never lived in America and don’t know anywhere well enough to set a story there. So I’ve been thinking about Wikipedia and Google Earth and the like, with the big problem being that it’s entirely possible I’ll spend a week researching a city only to realise my story can’t be set there for some reason.

And I had this thought: “It’s getting the point where I’m just going to say ‘bugger it’, and set my future stories in places I’ve actually lived.”

This was followed by the thought: “Why the hell didn’t I start off doing that?”

As far as I can tell, the answer is that all the stories I read are set in America (or sometimes England) and there’s this idea that Americans don’t want to read stories about non-Americans in other countries, because it’s too confusing trying to figure out what American state those other countries are in (or something).

But is this really true? I don’t know, I’m not American, but one thing gives me hope. I’ve just finished reading Lightspeed’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction, following on from Women Destroy Science Fiction last year, which were obviously very popular. This breaks down the notion that people don’t want to read about characters of a different gender or sexual orientation because they won’t be able to relate – a concept I could never get my head around, since reading about characters that were very different from myself was one of the main attractions of science fiction and fantasy. So maybe people really don’t care, and they’ll read a story set in Australia or Mexico, because it’s not really that great a stretch.

And who wants to write for the lowest common denominator anyway?

Freestyle Spam Poetry

You stroke the outer lining of the glass with a lot of pressure
or should you rub the the spot for too long of the of
period, you might etch the glass.

Found Poetry - Glass

What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious
experience regarding unpredicted emotions.

Found Poetry - Precious Experience

–Poems found in my comment section, clearly a sign that the algorithms used to construct spam comments are becoming sapient and expressing that through poetry. Consciousness level: Ennui.

An Environment of Garbage

Today I helped clean up a local barranca – a small valley with a creek at the bottom – that is filled with rubbish. People have been throwing crap in there for decades, probably a lot longer. The problem we found is that the sides of the barranca now consist of little more than rubbish.

As you can see, those plastic garbage bags are under the dirt and leaf litter, and the tree has started growing over the top of them. There are places where under the garbage bags are more garbage bags, and there’s a very real possibility that if we remove all the garbage the wall of the barranca will collapse, which will be bad news for everyone.

So we made some pools in the creek, to help filter out bits of rubbish before they get swept downstream, and planted a couple of different species of papyrus plants to help clean the water as well. Based on the advice of an old biologist who has seen this sort of thing before, we’re going to reinforce the barranca with a series of terraces…hopefully with government help.

It’s a little disheartening to realise that it is effectively too late to completely rehabilitate an environment, and the best we can do is mitigate and hide the problems.

Melodic Words For A Harmonious World

This post has got some marvellous words in various dialects, which I personally plan to use as character names.

The variant English terms for icicle—aquabob (Kent), clinkerbell and daggler (Wessex), cancervell (Exmoor), ickle (Yorkshire), tankle (Durham), shuckle (Cumbria)—form a tinkling poem of their own. Blinter is a northern Scots word meaning “a cold dazzle,” connoting especially “the radiance of winter stars on a clear night,” or “ice-splinters catching low light.”

The Monsters At 23:59:60

In the slivers of time that slip by unseen and unnoticed, they lurk.

When the world shifts, and the day hiccups, they steal atoms of time from the temporal weave of our lives, collecting them, stockpiling for the moment when they will have enough to rend the fabric of reality and invade.

At that point in time — for it will be only a single, eternal point in time — they will do everything they need to do to ensure our destruction, and everything they want to do to enjoy our agony and despair.

An eternity will pass in a sliver of time none of us even noticed missing.

In these modern times, no-one believes in the monsters in the dark…the deep dark that lacks not light, but time. Nevertheless, the monsters are there, and I can prove it.

Scientists, in their endless desire to dissect and quantify everything, fiddle with the very basis of our civilisation, time itself. Every now and then, when the whim takes them, they announce an extra second to a random day. An extra second that is not a part of time. An extra second that takes us, momentarily, out of our time stream.

You won’t notice any significant difference, for your brain will ignore anything peculiar it encounters, then overwrite it with the familiar and mundane. Most of you will be asleep.

For that second, however, and just for that second, a creepy sensation may invade your being, and in the corner of your eye you may glimpse the monstrous beings that steal and horde shards of our time. They are not patient for they do not wait for there is no time for them to wait in, but they are always there, and for this one second you may detect them.

So as this “leap second” approaches relax, let your mind wander, have a few drinks (though not too many), and roll your head, slightly and slowly. As the clock strikes 23:59:60 on the night of June 30, at the ragged edges of what you see, the edges your brain ignores, they will edge into your sight. You’ll jerk your head, an automatic and irrepressible response to better see the horrors you’ve glimpsed, but that jerk of the head will bring them directly before your eyes, and your meat-brain will steadfastly ignore their existence.

The second will pass, and you won’t see them again. You may laugh to yourself, you may chuckle at your “jumping at shadows”, and your neurons will seek to bury the memory as deep as they can.

But your soul will remember. Forever and always, your soul will remember.