Saturday, February 19, 2011

THE UNPLANNED FUTURE OF PERSONAL FANTASY AND THE FICTION IT WILL SPAWN














A couple of months ago, I rather glibly announced that I was commencing work on what would be the fifth in my series of Victor Renquist novels. At the time it was perfectly true and, for that matter, still is. The only thing I failed to mention, since I tend not to talk too publically about works in progress, is that I had chosen what proved to be a decidedly grandiose theme. The nephilim were returning to Earth to check on the 12000 year progress of their genetic seeding that had not only created humanity in the first place but also various strains of by-product sub-species of vampires and demons. The added kicker was that if, when they got here, they didn’t like what they found, they’ll erase the entire human experiment. It seemed like a damned fine idea at the time, Renquist had already faced Cthulhu, Merlin, Reptile men and nuke-wielding Nazis in the Hollow Earth, so why not go for broke and have my non-human hero confront the creator aliens. I still have no problem with the concept, but – despite all efforts to pretend otherwise – I just have to face the fact that damned book is threatening to turn into an epic in which Victor Renquist is only one of a number characters through whom we watch the panic and disorder as the nephilim are observed making their majestic way in from the outer rim of the solar system. (And if none of this makes any sense, I can only suggest that you pick up a couple of my novels and sample the ride.)

Then there was also the matter of the nephilim themselves. I found myself moving in part into a more abstract fiction mode based on a grand misunderstanding of string theory. If the nephilim were so very superior, advanced, and different, they must also occupy a very superior, advanced, and different universe. They cannot merely be bio-entities in metal ships. They mutate into something completely different slipping in and out of multiple realities and forcing me to use skills honed in previous works like Necrom and Jim Morrison’s Adventures In The Afterlife. The fear is, of course, that this is just the aging author attempting to braid the multiple threads of his fiction at risk of some Justice League of America clusterfuck in which an author tries to integrate all of his fantasies into some spurious Farren universe. I think I’m too smart to allow that to happen, but I have to admit the whole project is turning into quite a mind-snapper (and will scare the shit out of a publishing environment at a time when most are too timorous to risk anything but celebrity cookbooks.) But my hope is that it will be truly great provided I live to finish it.

Here are a couple of snippets. This one is from the POV of a minor entity in the Nephilim Oneness…

Clear of the membrane and over the bridge, the Oneness inflated and multiplied. It sluiced off the black matter now it was no longer required, streaming it from the gaping dorsal and anterior nacelles in dense clouds of blood-like quark-particles, that sparked at their instant of annihilation. New dark energy scoops extended. The creaking hull fought massive interior stress and grew rigid, rapidly thickened against the New Vacuum. Newtonian gearing ground upon itself, only partially lubricated. The unyielding grated on the more unyielding, while interior bulbs reacquired their fluids, and the primal glands inhaled and extended. Flow-valves regulated the paths of liquid tides and the bore-courses of bright super-cold vapors. Massive pistons thrust deep into their receiving cylinders. Cells defined themselves and units detached in autonomy. Flares in the whiteness reestablished motion in sweeps of swirling convection and flurries of carbon snow. Flesh recognized its own nakedness, and the isolate minds of the bio-entity multitude gravitated to their assigned stations.

And this is from the very different POV of Gideon Windermere, a character who previously appeared in the novel Necrom.

As if in confirmation, he noticed her lace panties were still on the coffee table, draped over some empty beer bottles, the contents of which they had used to chase the absinthe/tincture cocktails. He could not totally remember how the undergarment had arrived there. By the time they had reached the stage of shedding their clothes, they both been high as kites and mildly hallucinating. He picked up the wisp of lace, but then had no idea what to do with it, and dropped the panties on the floor. He was already feeling more warm and fuzzy than he had before, and he didn’t want to think about Lucinda. The FedEx box was waiting for him, and Gideon Windermere reluctantly picked up the switch blade with the mother-of-pearl handle from beside his computer and snapped it open. The switchblade was something of a good luck token. He had acquired it on drunken night in Paris while he was still a young man, and, against all odds it had stayed with him ever since. With the open blade, he got down on the floor beside the box, approaching it with the kind of caution usually reserved for bomb disposal.

Click here for Elvis Costello

The secret word is Phew

SPACE OPERA
















Click here for The Rolling Stones 

Friday, February 18, 2011

THE GREAT WHITE HORSE












I just love this. The idea of a huge white horse towering over the Kent countryside echoing the great white horses carved in prehistoric chalk hillsides is nothing short of magnificent and fills me with delight. It also sets me wondering how long it is intended to remain there. Is it designed forever, to survive and mystify the distant future like the Stonehenge or the Sphinx? (Of course, when I lived in the Lower Manhattan in the 1980s, I used to ask myself the same question about the towers of the World Trade Center.)

“A giant white horse has been chosen as a new £2m art commission for south east England dubbed "Angel of the South". The design, by former Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger, was selected from a three-strong shortlist as part of the Ebbsfleet Landmark Project. His design for the public art commission will see a horse standing on all four hooves at 33 times life-size. Once built, it will dominate the north Kent landscape, standing as high as Nelson's Column at about 164ft (50m).” Click here for more and a video.

Click here for the Rolling Stones

The secret word is Shadowfax

OH PLEASE…


















A video game based on The Great Gatsby with graphics that look like the goddamned Mario Brothers? Is this the future of fiction? I gotta tell you, as I contemplate the future of my own fiction this doesn’t help any. (But more of that in the next few days.)
Click here for the dire details.

WHY COULD ROBERT CRUMB BE SO FRIGHTENINGLY ACCURATE?

DON'T YOU MISS THE 20TH CENTURY?

(By popular request) GRATUITOUS JULIE NEWMAR

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A COUP BY ANY OTHER NAME













While what I’ve seen of the world’s media have been hailing a “triumph of people-power in Egypt, a small-but-nagging internal voice has been pointing out reality may be closer to an old-fashioned military coup. Jim Lobe offers analysis…

“WASHINGTON - Four days after the stunning departure of Hosni Mubarak from the presidential palace in Cairo, analysts here are still trying to determine whether his ouster represents a revolution heralding the advent of democratic governance or a coup d'etat staged by the already-dominant military. Egypt's new military rulers have vowed to pave the way for a democratically-elected civilian government, but there is still no true way of knowing how they will disperse their new authority over the transition. (Gallo/Getty> Despite the media euphoria, scepticism among Egypt specialists about the military's intentions has been running pretty high here since Mubarak's resignation. Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for example, warned the "rise of the Military Command Council (MCC)" could result in a "huge step backward", while Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer now with the neo-conservative Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, predicted that the army "will test to see how much autocracy (and wealth) it can keep in its hands." Click here for more

Click here for The Who

The secret word is Smokescreen

THE FROZDICK FAMILY












Verity Frozdick knew it all would end in tears.

THE GEEK! THE MOTHERSHIP!














In the movie all I’d really ever seen was the lights, and shadowy spars, and thus I was fascinated to see this picture of the actual production model of the mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind now preserved in the National Air and Space Museum in Dulles Va.

Click here for The Captain

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BACK OFF, DOG, I WAS FIRST



















Which comes as fascinating news to me, especially as, for some time now, I have been spasmodically working on a collection of short stories about cats.

"It has often been said that the dog was the first animal domesticated by humans. The date of this has long been placed at 14,000 to 20,000 years before present. Recent analysis of mitochondrial DNA of dogs, wolves, and other canines show that dogs had actually split off from wolves 135,000 years ago. I propose that not only have paleontologists been mistaken about the date of the domestication of dogs, dogs were not even the first animals to be domesticated. This place of honor belongs to the ancestors of the common house cat, Felis catus. The cat was the first animal to be domesticated, more than 4 million years ago, long before the genus Homo evolved. And in fact it was the cat, or rather the loss of cats, that molded and shaped the evolution of Homo. (If “domestication” doesn’t sit well with you when applied to the relationship between a prehuman primate and a cat, think of it as a quasi-symbiotic relationship.) There are many unexplained matters in the early history of hominines. How could the australopithecines survive in Pliocene Africa? No tools for hunting, too small and weak to complete with other scavengers, teeth (in the gracile form) unadapted for plant eating, they seem to have been unable to even feed themselves. And the slow and small australopithecines would have been easy prey for the first large carnivore to come along. Where did they spend the night? In spite of their disadvantages, australopithecines managed to survive almost unchanged for 2 million years. How? And why did these survivors suddenly evolve into a new genus, Homo, just then the large carnivores were dying out? The answer to all these questions: the Pliocene Pussy Cat." (Click here for more)

The secret word is Hissy

LET THE FLYER BEWARE












I suppose Homeland Security on the take was inevitable, especially in New Jersey where “everything is legal as long as you don’t get caught.”

“A TSA supervisor stole money from passengers who went through his security checkpoint and accepted bribes and kickbacks from a colleague. Michael Arato, a supervisor at Newark Liberty Airport, admitted on Monday that he regularly took money from passengers during security screenings and deliberately targeted foreigners who could not speak much English. The 41-year-old, from Ewing, admitted in federal court that he permitted a worker he supervised to steal $10,000 to $30,000 in cash from traveller's bags over a 13-month period. During one recorded conversation, the two TSA agents discussed an on-going competition between them that involved stealing from passengers in the presence of their TSA supervisors. Another time, the pair discussed how they did not feel bad stealing from foreign passengers who were leaving the country with 'our money'.”

Click here for a weird mix of the Wilburys

ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME?

DON'T YOU MISS THE 20TH CENTURY?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

IN YOUR GUT YOU KNOW SHE'S WRONG

One of the great reliefs of moving operations from the US to the UK is a sense of relief that I am finally out from under the miasmic cloud of the uniquely American form of the insane Christian Right, the demented hillbillies, the aggressively ignorant, and the grasping shadow billionaires who manipulate them. I am, of course, well aware that Britain has it’s own more than adequate portion of nasty nuts – Enoch Powell through Oswald Mosley in recent history – but I’m very happy to be spared what was previously that daily chest-beating barrage of doomsday scenarios, dates for The Rapture, lectures on how zygotes have immortal souls, the need for holy assault weapons, and images of Jesus Christ riding a dinosaur six thousand years ago, plus all the routine lemming lurches to the horrors of theocracy. But don’t get me wrong, I’m under no illusion. If the United States went zealot crazy, the impact on the rest of the world would be disastrous and perhaps even nuclear terminal (the missiles are flying) but at least I no longer have to listen to it day in and day out.

Click here for something European the Christians are really going the hate.

The secret word is Hosanna

VALENTINE’S AFTERMATH















In all of the Valentine debris left over on the web from yesterday these carnivorous kittens on World of Wonder must get honorable mention.
Click here for Nico

ANOTHER WEIRD COMIC

I’LL LET YOU WRITE THE CAPTION

Monday, February 14, 2011

JURASSIC LOVE










On Valentines Day I bring no hearts and flowers (heart broken, flowers wilted, what else do y’all want?) but I do pose an interesting question of what might be called erotic paleontology. How did the Stegosaurus ever manage to fuck?

“Figuring out how Stegosaurus even could have mated is a prickly subject. Females were just as well-armored as males, and it is unlikely that males mounted the females from the back. A different technique was necessary. Perhaps they angled so that they faced belly to belly, some have guessed, or maybe, as suggested by Timothy Isles in a recent paper, males faced away from standing females and backed up (a rather tricky maneuver!). The simplest technique yet proposed is that the female lay down on her side and the male approached standing up, thereby avoiding all those plates and spikes. However the Stegosaurus pair accomplished the feat, though, it was most likely brief—only as long as was needed for the exchange of genetic material. All that energy and effort, from growing ornaments to impressing a prospective mate, just for a few fleeting moments to continue the life of the species.” Click here for more

Click here for Buddy Holly

The secret word is Arrow

RAND MOVIE PROMISES TO BE A DOG

Almost a Valentine in itself to learn from our good pal Richard Metzger on Dangerous Minds that Ayn Rand’s klepto-fascist inflation will not go mega-Hollywood, and John Galt will not be the new Gordon Gekko…

“Well, they’ve released the trailer for the first part of a projected trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. It’s taken over 50 years for the story to get from the page to the screen and from the looks of this, perhaps things were best left that way! Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway have all been touted at one time or another to portray Rand’s heroine, Dagny Taggart. Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt have both been bandied about to play the novel’s world-stopping hero, John Galt. So who got these roles of a lifetime, ultimately? Some chick you’ve never heard of and a dude who was on Beverly Hills 90210 and Highlander: The Raven! (He also happens to be the trilogy’s director, bless his heart). This looks about as good as one of the Left Behind movies. Perhaps that’s fitting.” Click here for the trailer.

THE FROZDICK FAMILY












The word most frequently applied to Angora Frozdick was “inexplicable.”

WE DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR CUTE














(Image supplied by our pal Elf Hellion)

DON'T YOU MISS THE 20TH CENTURY?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SUNDAY BREAKFAST



















Although I am now busily recovering from the first assault by my new UK micro-ecology, I have spent that last few days surviving on a diet of on a diet of soup, Tuc crackers, Vegemite and ginger ale, which can hardly be described as Rabelaisian. A side effect of this limited nourishment is that I’ve been having the most vivid fever dreams of the full English fry-up and as soon as I feel fit enough I will be sitting in a cafĂ© ordering a the culinary equivalent of Russian roulette for a self-induced heart attack. (And yes, I have switched brand loyalty from Marmite to Vegemite. It’s all to do with consistency and spreadability. Does that make me a class traitor?)

Click here for Joe Brown and the Bruvvers

The secret word is Lard

MARILYN SEZ...














“Get the pervert midget out of here!”

ELECTRIC CONFESSION













Last Sunday – before I was so virally interrupted – I mention a 1989 novel of mine titled The Armageddon Crazy in which, under a Fundamentalist Christian theocracy, holograms of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse cause mass panic. The same story also featured electronic confession booths that were supposed to be routed straight to God, but in fact were hooked into the secret police. Seemingly all things predicted must come true these days, as our pal Joly reports…

“Even for the most ardent Catholic, it can sometimes be tricky making the time to confess your sins. So the Church, as part of a new technology-friendly push, has now approved an iPhone app that lets busy Catholics admit their wrongdoings while on the move. Selling for $1.99, "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" was developed as an aid "for those who frequent the sacrament and those who wish to return," according to Little iApps, the firm behind the idea. Its makers insist it is not a replacement for confessing in person with a priest, but instead helps to keep track of all the evil things you have done since the last time you confessed by ticking off some of the most common failings. Deviants get the opportunity to add their own, bespoke, sins as they go.” Click here for more.

Joly also included some apt commentary by Lauren Weinstein…

“With word that the Catholic Church has now endorsed a “confession app for iPhones and related devices, two trains of thought immediately occur to me. First to mind is the potential law enforcement bonanza whenever searching for Catholic criminals, especially in states like California where the California Supreme Court has recently granted authorities access to smartphones and other devices' contents without even needing a search warrant. [Update: February 10, 2011: The Vatican has now effectively banned the app, stating that "under no circumstances is it possible to confess by iPhone." Their full wording suggests that Android and other platforms are also excluded. Priests the world over sigh in relief.]” Click here for more and also apt video clips