Archive for the ‘Writing’ category

Leverage: The Bank Shot Job

December 31, 2008

The usual yelling at you: If you haven’t yet caught up with Leverage on TNT, you’re depriving yourself of the best new TV series of 2008.

Roll credits:

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Writer Jeff Schult Has A New Blog

December 31, 2008

Into Temptation: Sexual Networks, Culture and Society

“Into Temptation” is a not-necessarily safe-for-work (or anywhere else) forum about evolving social-sexual networks and how they have changed and are changing lives. It will also loosely chronicle the research, writing and publication, I hope in 2010, of a book by the same name.

Jeff was ahead of the curve with medical tourism (see below links).

I wonder if he’s read Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis?

That might be news for him!

Previously here:

Jeff Schult: New Medical Tourism Site
Spitzer: The Last Drop
Meet Jeff Schult (And His Teeth!)

But It’s Still A Fine Madness

December 31, 2008

Some Days Are Better Than Others

I’m sure that all of you who write have experienced it.

Things seem to be going well. The words are coming out smoothly. You’re in the flow. And then…

You hit that place, that certain point, where you can’t seem to go any further. The words and ideas have suddenly stopped. It’s like beating the bottom of that damn ketchup bottle, and nothing, but nothing, will come out!

Oh yeah.

But it’s still a fine madness …

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… even when it makes us feel like that!

Follow Arjun Basu On Twitter

December 31, 2008

And you’ll get a wonderful story in a tweet. He calls these “Twisters.”

This is a collection of some from the past few days:

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Follow Arjun Basu on Twitter.

Reading Is An Investment In Thinking

December 31, 2008

The Long Decline of Reading

It takes hours to finish a book, even for the fastest readers. This wasn’t a problem when books had less competition, but with the three massive timesinks of cable TV, videogames, and the internet, people look at that massive time investment, and they get apprehensive. Sure, they know that books can be just as enjoyable as movies or games, if not more. They may even feel guilty about not reading. But what if this book is no good? What if I end up hating it? What if I can’t understand it? Imagine all the time wasted! And so they stop before they even start.

A long, detailed, and excellent article.

Strangely, public libraries aren’t mentioned at all.

Interster Episode Two: Saboteur

December 31, 2008

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The basic story is this. Earth is testing a new Star Cruiser, the SK Woltemade, that has a powerful weapon.

The Krokons are still intent on gaining inroads against Earth.

Buks de la Rey is assigned to personally deliver orders to the Captain of the Woltemade because Professor Zed thinks communications lines are being spied upon. We are introduced to a robot named Pikkie who insists he should accompany De la rey as Lieutenant Buys has come down with Mars Flu. De la Rey tells Pikkie to stay on Earth.

The Krokon Prince goes to that fixer of all things, the slimy Gorman. In exchange for some concessions (as usual!), Gorman agrees to plant a saboteur on the Woltemade, to cause it to plunge towards a nearby star. When the crew have been overcome by the heat, the Krokons can move in and tow the ship away to disassemble it for its secrets.

Pikkie stows away on De la Rey’s ship against orders. Also on board was the saboteur! In a neat little twist later on, the stowaway Pikkie kills the stowaway Saboteur.

Pikkie also winds up doing a spacewalk to save the life of Buks de la Rey.

Now onto over one hundred screensnaps!

Click for screensnaps galore

The Horror Of Paper Books

December 30, 2008

This is a post I’ve kept putting off. Things happen.

Then Wayne MacPhail tweeted this photo he took inside a bookstore:

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It gave me a feeling of absolute horror — and I knew the time had come to actually do this post.

There I was several months ago in a bookstore. One of the few still remaining in Manhattan that offers overstock at incredibly-reduced prices.

And I found a book I would have liked to have.

But I couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

I kept having flashbacks to all the times I’ve had to get boxes, put the books in boxes, carry the damned boxes, move the damn boxes, unpack the damn boxes, and again arrange the damn hundreds and hundreds of pounds of printed paper books.

That book would have been another pound to lug around. Another frikkin object hanging like an albatross around my neck, limiting my mobility, weighing me down, reminding me that it will remain when I’m gone.

Let me say again: I really wanted the book.

But I physically could not buy it.

I’ve developed a bizarre allergy to printed books — of the kind that are bought and owned and have to be moved around and that are always looked at and that are also a reminder of one’s mortality.

Library books I don’t have that problem with.

I can temporarily lug them home, even have a pile, read them, and then poof! back to the library they go.

But I want to own books.

I feel a guilt at not giving writers their rightful payment for reading.

Plus, with things being the way they are — and have been — I can no longer count on any public library having a copy of anything on its shelves. I once had to go to the Northern part of Manhattan just to read a short story by Barry N. Malzberg because only the City University had a back issue of the pulp magazine it was printed in!

This is another reason why I am an eBook militant.

I’ve never been a paper fetishist. My first collection of books were mass-market paperbacks. I never liked the size and weight of trade paperbacks and hardcovers. But I eventually amassed a collection of those too. I couldn’t help it: Publishing had changed and there was no longer a guarantee of anything in hardcover or trade paper moving down to cheap paperback!

But the book as an object I came to see for what it is: A cage for the words within it.

It’s the words — it’s always been the words — that interested me. Never the packagaing, never the jail the words were locked-up in.

I can’t be the only one out there who feels a sense of material liberation with eBooks.

Recently, a writer I’ve written about in this blog left a Comment offering to ship me a whole big bunch of books I’d blogged about. I never published that Comment because I couldn’t explain why I couldn’t accept more printed books. Even free ones. Even free ones from a writer whose work I admire!

So, this post has been something I’ve needed to do, in reply to that writer.

And to also explain why I have come to absolutely hate printed books.

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Yes: But they’re better weapons as eBooks!