December 13th, 2012


And That's Why Robots Without People Are Cool.

I haven't written a short story since last year. Sirius was, in fact, the last one I wrote.

Now, however, that the book is done, I have time to do a few different things before I head into a new, large project. I have a few ideas, from a comedy, to a book about apocalypses, another about revolutions, but I haven't settled on any, not yet. Time will tell exactly what will happen, but until then, I have spare time to write where the time was used to write a book, and I am going to use that time to write a few short stories, I believe.

There's a couple of stories I've had around for a while, including one I came up with while sitting in a buffet in Minnesota, somewhere. I tried to write the story once, but it didn't take, and I am going to give it a second short, ditching the narration, changing it from first to third person, switching some of the content around and rebuilding it around the original idea, with a few ideas I have had. In other words, I'm keeping the title and trying a new story. I have a couple of Dead American stories in my head, including one about David Carradine, and one about William and Edgar Burroughs who, when I was much, much younger, I thought were brothers. I plan to call that story the Burroughs Brothers, but it requires a bit of reading first and I am toying with the idea of making it a cutup story. Also, it might be long--and long things, I dunno, anything that becomes a novella or larger, becomes so much harder to sell, so we'll see. And I have a Red Sun story planned, and a few other bits and pieces, such as a story about a sin eater, and a ghost story, and I suspect when I have gotten through those, I'll be ready for a new large project. Which of course, probably sounds silly to discuss, since no one asks for anything, the book just done isn't sold, there's an agent and a publisher to find, and etc., but it's no big. It's my time to spend as I please, and if you're not working for what you love, what are you working for?

But it's a strange thing, shifting from a novel structure to a short story one. The form change requires you to alter your mindset. In a simple way, you have to reduce rather than expand, you have to be precise where you might not be. But where plot and subplot become smaller, your choice of language expands. What is hard to sustain for the length of say 120,000 words is much easier on, say, 6000. What is a difficult narrative challenge on that same length, is easier on a shorter one--and you can be more daring, more experimental on a smaller scale for less risk than what you would spend on a larger project that may take a year or two to complete, if you're not confident on the artistic outcome. Or the financial one, if that's how you fly. But there is, at any which way you look at it, a whole mindset change that you have to go through, a whole new voice and suit and set of tricks that you can employ.

Anyhow: I'm off to keep working on that, so peace, laters, and alla that.

Oh, and here's a question I have that I thought of while I watched the trailer for Pacific Rim:

Why, then you have giant robots to fight giant monsters, would you make it so that the people who control the robots are linked in some way that causes the drivers to die while they're sitting in safty? Sure, sure, its an old trope, but why? It's just so unnecessary. Take the people away, have cool robots, you know? I mean, people suck. Especially movie people. They're all finish and no rough. And that line about canceling the apocalypse is awful.

Which is why robots without people make far superior merchan... I mean, films.