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Hey! Welcome to the Blog of Eternal Damnation!
Here's where you will see all the latest crap
about the Web's hottest Speculative Fiction ezine,
Bambi's Eschatological Underpinnings.
And every now and again, just for sport, we just might
include a little bit about Fiction Inferno:
the Literary Magazine that Burns You Up.
Friday, February 28, 2003
A friend and co-worker died today. Ross Kurzer was basically a good guy. He could be a little abrasive at times, but you always knew he meant well. In fact, that is the single thing about Ross. He always meant well. Wanted to do good. Wanted to make a positive difference. Tried to do the right thing. He had an interesting life and a loving wife and he will be missed by a lot of people. R. I. P. Ross, R. I. P.
posted by Max E. Keele 12:51 PM
Thursday, February 27, 2003
And a long soak in a hottub, followed by a two hour massage.
posted by Max E. Keele 3:37 PM
Oh yeah, and a really really nice villa on a hillside in Tuscany.
posted by Max E. Keele 1:29 PM
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Here's what I want. I want a lightsail star-yacht stocked with books, movies, music, and singlemalt, and enough sentient-but-loyal robots to run it. I want a flying car. VTOL, please. I want a time machine. I want a tiny pet dinosaur (two-legged type, preferably not too vicious) but a two-foot high wooly mammoth would be cool, also. I want an 80"+ flat panel plasma hdtv display that shows looped video when the tv is off. So I can have a picture window looking out over anywhere I want. Like Valles Marinaris. Or Hell. I want a prehensile tail. I want a pristine signed first edition hc of Man in the High Tower, Player Piano, and Lord of the Rings. I want another 50 years of living with my lovely wife. I want all those advocating the new American Imperium to just shut up for a minute and think about what "pre-emptive retaliation" means. I want this headache to go away. I want the world and I want it.....
That's not too much to ask, is it?
posted by Max E. Keele 1:05 PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
A screaming came across the sky. Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon 1974
The sky was full of ships. "The Sky Was Full of Ships," Theodore Sturgeon 1947
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out. "The Nine Billion Names of God," Arthur C. Clarke 1972
posted by Max E. Keele 12:54 PM
Monday, February 24, 2003
For extra credit, please identify the book or short story wherein lies each of the following lines:
A screaming came across the sky.
The sky was full of ships.
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
posted by Max E. Keele 10:18 AM
Friday, February 21, 2003
War, Pestulence, Tragedy, Disaster. I am gonna crawl into a deep hole, and duct-tape it closed. There is something fundamentally wrong with this millennium, and I don't think I want any part of it.
posted by Max E. Keele 6:56 AM
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Some more I thought of later....
15. The Dispossessed, LeGuin
16. Gun, With Occassional Music, Lethem
17. The Killer Inside Me, Thompson
18. The Big Sleep, Chandler
19. On Beyond Zebra, Suess
20. 1984, Orwell
21. Clockwork Orange, Burgess
22. The Revelations of Saint John the Divine, Some Mad Stoner from Antiquity
posted by Max E. Keele 3:46 PM
Here is a partial, off-the-cuff, non-inclusive list of books that have informed my writing style over the years. Not necessarily the best (or even my favorites, although most of them are on that list too), just books that have stuck to me in terms of voice and direction. In the order I remembered them.
- War of the Worlds, Wells
- Brave New World, Huxley
- Bill the Galactic Hero, Harrison
- Stand on Zanzibar, Brunner
- The Cornelius Chronicles, Moorcock
- Nine Princes in Amber, Zelazny
- Dangerous Visions, Ellison
- The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, Ellison
- The Man in the High Castle, Dick
- The Lathe of Heaven, LeGuin
- Ubik, Dick
- Dhalgren, Delany
- I Sing the Body Electric, Bradbury
- That One Set of Books with the Rings, and Orcs, and Elves and Stuff, Tolkein
I'll probably think of more later.
posted by Max E. Keele 7:03 AM
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Writer's Tip # 654108
Dues ex Machina
(God in the Machine)
The term Dues ex Machina comes from Greek theater. It refers to a common (if cheap and amateurish) technique of solving a character's intractable dilemma by injecting a god. In example, we last saw our hero, Larry, tied to barrel that's heading towards a 10,000 waterfall with a pool full of venomous alligators at the bottom, and then, right at the edge, up pops Poseidon (for the first time in the story) with an offer of a helping hand. Voila, Dues ex Machina.
In more relevant terms, Dues ex Machina crops up in many insidious ways. I see this in fantasy stories most often, but it happens in hard science fiction also (I have dubbed this the Gordy LaForge Effect. "The trilithium pan-dimensional gakaflow is just enough to counter transtemporal flux radiation. We're saved!"). Fantasy's ability to bend reality through magic makes Dues ex Machina tough to avoid sometimes. Unless you've carefully thought your magical physics through, and planted the rules firmly, it's damn easy to just whip out the old +9 spell of save-our-hero's-ass.
For many writers, it is far simpler to invent a perilous situation than it is to extricate one's character from it. Care should always be taken to justify a character's escape--both motivationally and practically. Would our hero, as already described and developed, be able to do this thing? And is this means of escape plausible given the constraints of the narrative world you've built? I usually try to pre-shadow any important means of escape early in the story. This technique is best if kept subtle. From the previous example, if we let slip in previous narrative that Larry once learned a minor spell of Reverse River, and make it a believable part of Larry's World, and even demonstrate it in a way that doesn't reveal the peril to come.... Well, let's just say to hell with it. I never much liked Larry anyway, and those 'gators are getting hungry.
posted by Max E. Keele 10:41 AM
Monday, February 10, 2003
My stars are in the House of Fuckup, with a transit of the Planet Dumbass, and a conjunction with the Node of Unforeseeable Bad Luck. If I can just get past today, things should improve, with an impending Opposition of the Entire Universe. I'm looking forward to that.
posted by Max E. Keele 6:36 AM
Thursday, February 06, 2003
Two interesting people I've been in some contact with lately:
1. Ursula K. LeGuin. I met her at a book signing a couple of weeks ago. I scored a first HC edition of City of Illusion and got it signed. She is a wonderfully accessible person, and even though I was pretty much in awe, we had a nice little chat. If I were putting together a list of the 10 most literary specfic writers, she would be very near the top. If it was a list of the 25 best specfic novels of all time, she might have two of them.
2. Ellen Datlow. I've been corresponding with Ellen since this summer, trying to do an interview with her. I finally got it finished, along with a sort of cyberpunk variant that was almost too much fun to write.
Official Datlow Interview
posted by Max E. Keele 1:18 PM
Monday, February 03, 2003
There is an all new issue of Fiction Inferno available for you to read for free. That's right absolutely free. Well, okay, not completely. It will cost you an hour or two of your time. And maybe a few braincells. What the hell. You weren't using them anyway, right?
posted by Max E. Keele 6:49 AM