Wednesday, November 30, 2011


So, the reason I haven't posted much recently: I've been writing up a storm. Not that I've ever posted here regularly, mind you. That's just the current reason for my lack of posts.

I'm unreliably employed at the moment, y'see, and so I took the opportunity to try NaNoWriMo. I didn't mention it here because I didn't want to jinx it.

And I succeeded. 50,000 words in 1 month. Plus several hundred beforehand, too. Meaning I'm now at the halfway point of the novel I've been working on for years.

One more month. One more month of powering through another 50,000 words, and I should be done with the entire novel.

...And then, I'll start in on the editing. Or I'll let it sit for a while, maybe work on another project. I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it. For now: I'm halfway done with this damn thing! Woo!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I was pretty surprised when I saw this T-shirt. I probably shouldn't have been. But I've been following this book series since 2004 and even THEN I was a latecomer, and I can't get used to it being this majorly popular TV show... Not that I don't love it, just sayin'.

"Damn It Feels Good to be a Lannister T-shirt" (If you don't get the reference, what are you doing here? Go watch and/or read "Game of Thrones" already.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I've recently started watching this show. I expected it to mildly entertaining. It turned out to be much better than mildly entertaining.

For one, the character of Walter Bishop, played by John Noble (known best for playing Denethor in Lord of the Rings), is one of the best characters I've seen on television or film, thanks to a deft combination of excellent writing, direction, and acting.

For another, the show's mytharc actually reveals shit on a regular basis. Stuff happens on this show, and I'm not even all the way through season 1 yet. (Reviews seem to indicate that things only get better.)

So of course I end up reading this article last night. If you are too lazy to click that, the summary is: Fringe is in danger of cancellation. Again. Apparently it's been in danger of cancellation each season due to low ratings, despite superb writing. Maybe it's a false alarm, but still - I'm getting a little tired of excellent shows being cancelled early because they don't get an immediate audience. Especially shows that obviously play better on DVD than they do on television. (See: Angel, Firefly, Rome, Deadwood, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and the list goes on. Counterpoint: The Wire, and... uh, The Wire.)

Hopefully Fringe doesn't get the bite that so many others have had. It's gotten as far as season four at least...

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Blog Title #4

...because it occurred to me that "Fairies, Sex and Spacemen" was a bit NSFW if it's up their in big bold letters.

So now it's the subtitle. Yeah, that'll do it.

And now I've titled the blog "Then Again", which is perfectly appropriate considering how often I rethink everything. Including the blog title. Which I may well change again, if I decide I don't like it. WHO CAN SAY.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The SCP Foundation

Since about March, I have found myself involved in an online community again. It's a little website called the SCP Foundation". It's a primarily horror website, inspired by creepypasta and evolved into something new and different and entertaining. Maybe you've heard of it. If you haven't, maybe you should check it out. Go ahead. I'll wait.

While I'm at it, I'll mention my most popular contribution to the site so far: SCP-1000: Bigfoot. (I'm so proud.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jane C. Hines

Here, on the blog of Jim C. Hines, you can find a truly excellent post about the difference being a man or woman makes, even when it shouldn't: Jane C. Hines

The sad thing is, I know a whole ton of people (mostly men) who would claim that this disparity simply does not exist, with many words and plenty of rancor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Update

I'm not sure if I should be proud that I really do post in this blog regularly, or ashamed that no matter what I've tried, so far I've failed to post regularly. Seeing how old John Scalzi's blog is, and the fact that he's post almost every day, has reminded me that I need to post more often.

I'm between jobs at the moment, so I should really work out a system now, rather than waiting until I get full-time employment again. Sure, only a few people are reading this blog now, but once I get this current novel published, I might even go up to a few dozen, and what happens then? I'll be totally fucked, that's what will happen. (Or maybe nothing. You never know).

Maybe I should try posting every day (that I have Net access). Even if it's only one line. Why not, I suppose? It'll be good practice. I guess. Maybe. Maybe it'll just be a distraction from all the other shit that I need to be doing.

Now, let's see how long I can keep that up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Reason to Like George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin is having a good year. First, Game of Thrones is now airing as a(n apparently fantastic - I haven't been able to see it yet) HBO show. Second, he finally finished Dance With Dragons after six long years.

Now a clueless reviewer labels GoT as male fantasy, and Martin takes issue with this.

A choice quote:
if I am writing "boy fiction," who are all those boys with breasts who keep turning up by the hundreds at my signings and readings?

In the light of certain sf/f authors identifying their stories as male-oriented - like George Lucas - it's great to see a major male fantasy author standing up for female fans and saying, fuck you, this isn't just for boys. Martin was already my favorite epic fantasy author - this only raises my esteem of him.

Read the whole thing here: "Boy Fiction?"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gender Gym

I've realized that so long as I'm working on a novel, I will never keep this bloody blog updated unless I write about what I'm writing about while I'm writing it. (That sentence got a little convoluted.)

I write for two consecutive hours every day; I also work full time. And then I have a happy, complicated love life that needs time devoted to it. I don't really have extra time to think up blog posts. But if I write about what I'm doing in my novel, well, then it sorta counts as brainstorming, doesn't it?

(First off, in these posts I'm going to call my novel Aether. That's not necessarily going to be the final title, but I need to pick something for now.)

What have I done recently?

I just changed my magic system. Again. This time, it's because several people whose opinions I trust have pointed out that my magic system is getting fairly unique. So I shouldn't just call everything 'magic'. Still, I think the word 'magic' is pretty descriptive, and if I call it the One Power or the Force or Mindcraft or something I'm going to feel a little pretentious, which isn't exactly what I want from this book. I'm still thinking about what changes to make.

I also gender-flipped a character several times. This is a character who I've gender-flipped before, but she keeps returning to her original female gender. Currently I think I've settled on making her a biological male who identifies as female. I think that's where she might stay. Though already I'm thinking about the possibilities of her as a biological female who identifies as male. Or someone who changes his/her gender every few years (magical character, so I can do that).

Usually I go the other direction on this gender flipping. When I first had the idea for this novel (farther back than I care to admit), most of the characters were male. Of course they were. Most sci-fi/fantasy works are populated almost entirely by straight white men. Because of this, I feel very conscious about the number of female, queer, and minority characters in what I write. There's little reason why a fantasy novel shouldn't pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors. So many of my characters started off as straight white males, and ended up queer, nonwhite, and/or female.

So why am I debating changing her gender to male? Well: I actually have too few male characters in charge of the Secret Magical Community. (She's one of them.) The male characters are mostly in the "Assimilationist" faction of the community, which means they're embracing American Christian attitudes, for better or for worse. That includes anti-queer attitudes, negative sexual beliefs, belief in a male-female Stay In The Kitchen hierarchy, plus other generally unpleasant but common things. While this doesn't make them the Bad Guys, it certainly doesn't put them on the side of our protagonists.

This is a problem, because with this setup, it can look like I (as the author) am trying to say:

A) Female leaders are incompetent, and female-led communities are doomed to failure, because in the story - well, let's just say a lot of Bad Things happen. Worse, the POV character that interacts with the community the most is male, which could make him seem like a Necessary Male Hero (here to save these womenfolk from themselves!).

B) Males are generally bad, sexist/homophobic people. More of a stretch, since I have male POV characters as well as female, and also I am male; however, 'male' is usually associated with 'straight', and the male POV characters as well as myself are pansexual.

C) Both. Females are incompetent leaders, and males are bad people. This may not initially make sense, but how many traditional conservative women have you heard say "all men are pigs"?

So the solution is easy: Make at least a couple of the community leaders male. Most of the community leader characters, however, need to be female for either some story reason or because I'm attached to the idea. The character in question has no reason to be either gender, though.

So why not make her male and be done with it? Possibly because she started out female, and I keep thinking of her like that. But more importantly, changing her to male doesn't actually make her any cooler (I have to admit that changing lots of my males to females did make their character concept cooler). In fact, I worry that she loses some 'cool' factor as a male. This isn't particularly logical, of course - it's solely based on personal preference. 'Cool' is a hard thing to quantify, so I may be thinking about this for a little while longer.