Sunday, June 8, 2014

brain dump

There's been a lot going on in my head lately, some of which will interest you and some of which will not. I'll stick to the stuff that will interest you, but bear with me if this post veers too far into stream-of-consciousness.

1. One of my favorite fetish artists, Hajime Sorayama, has a new book of art on the market; and he also has a bunch of fantastic new paintings on his Facebook page. Go have a look.

2. I'm still working on my Choose Your Own Adventure story, which will be called "What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything?" It's a lot of fun to write, but also very challenging, and this sucker is going to be huge when it's done. I mean really, seriously huge. That's the nature of the CYOA beast. Anyway, I still need two or three beta readers, but the size of the book means I need to give bigger thank-you gifts to those who accept the challenge. Here's the new plan: volunteers (chosen on a first-come, first-served basis) will receive a free final version of the e-book, another free e-book (either one I've already published or an IOU for one I haven't published yet), and a choice of personalized Easter eggs to be embedded in the CYOA. If this interests you, just keep the idea tucked away in your brain for now. I'll keep posting updates until I reach the end of the draft stage, at which point I'll ask for volunteers.

3. Back in March I blogged about a weird/cool/MC-themed book called Annihilation, the first in a trilogy that I couldn't wait to read in full. I said that the author, Jeff Vandermeer, had already written books 2 and 3 and would be releasing them in the coming months; and that I planned to pick them up right away because Annihilation was that damn good. Sadly, I've only just picked up Book 2 (Authority) today. All I can tell you so far is that it's off to an excellent out-of-left field start. In the very first chapter, you get the kind of huge revelations you'd normally expect to find at the end of the third book in a trilogy - which, of course, means there must be dozens of bigger revelations down the pike that I don't even know enough to anticipate yet. This is very exciting. Also, thanks to the wonders of e-book technology, I can search back through Book 1 for words like "control" and "thistle" and even "breakfast" and see how Vandermeer was planting seeds (another of his clue-words) in Book 1 for ideas he develops in Book 2 - and presumably develops further in Book 3.

That's the advantage of writing your whole epic before you publish the first part: you have the control (hah) to do precisely this sort of seed planting. It's a major reason I didn't start posting Sleepwalkers online until I was near the finish line, but you can also chalk that up to anal retentiveness. Hmm, well, I suppose Vandermeer might be just as anal retentive as me, to do what he did with his Southern Reach trilogy. I have no idea about his personality, but it strikes me that you have to have a certain bloody-minded perfectionism to write that way (J.K. Rowling certainly had it, and look how far it got her. Love or hate the Potterverse, you have to admit she kept total control of a very complicated plot over the course of seven books. David Lynch couldn't even keep control over Twin Peaks for two seasons).

And now I'm struggling not to babble about Authority. The things I've read so far wouldn't count as spoilers to anyone who's read Annihilation, but they'd be huge spoilers to anyone who hasn't, so I'd better keep my mouth shut. I'll just say that Vandermeer has a talent for creating very odd, flawed, and totally believable characters who refuse to fit the molds you want to put them in. I already have a very different opinion of the Southern Reach and the people who run it, especially the new kid on the block who is also the new protagonist on the block: poor, ironically nicknamed "Control." Half of me wants to kick him, and the other half of me wants to hug him. It'll be interesting to see where Vandermeer takes the character.

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