Showing posts from November, 2011

Unknown unknowns

'We are not frightened by much that is not strictly conceivable' George Eliot, Middlemarch I take this to mean that we cannot fear what we cannot imagine. In Setif Five, I want to present unbelievable things. Unimaginable things. Images that make no sense. It should be disconcerting. Our explorers will understand nothing of what they see and experience. To be told in small animations, images and occasional text. Still don't know how it will be presented


There are a couple of people out there who got my free ebooks refunded on Amazon. That's something, but I don't know what. Otherwise around 6000 copies of 22 titles were NOT refunded there this month ...

bad bunny comic

Setif V Scene One

hi def ...                                                                            low def ... it's a very rough first draft (very rough indeed !) Also plan to scroll in the text (and in a different color) rather than its current placement. Still it's amazing how much you have to learn in order to do the smallest thing. Unlike writing, where you just put words down in order :}

setif scene one part two

use node editor to composite the 3d view with a background image. scene one has the same but without the text. concatenate those in the video sequence editor. next to have the capsule descending. then a final text-over, and that is scene one rendered in VGA 640x480 - made a huge difference in rendering performance. also using procedural texture on the sphere rather than a complex image texture

'trying' is how you learn how much you don't know

attempting to turn in even one simple scene of a blender movie has shown me how little I know and how much I have to learn. I'm planning on working with the Setif V story, since I'm never going to actually write it. Scene one is very simple and even at that I'm failing and flailing. I do have a deep space image texture on a background plane, and a rotating asteroid with a texture image on it. I am rendering this now as an .avi and just this alone takes a long time and a lot of memory. (>120MB for 80 frames so far, out of 240) I want to add a landing capsule descending and disappearing into the still-rotating asteroid, and some text, stationary or scrolling, that reads 'the first manned mission to a verified SETI transmission site' followed by some audio (four beeps and a muffled transmission') followed by more text that says 'outcome not so good' that's ALL. that's all I want to do. Getting the capsule, though (transparent gif over mesh sh

Mode shift

Done with the self-publishing scene (not that I was really involved - just a few comments and discussions here and there) and the social media scene too (ditto). No more promo or marketing (not that I had done much of that either, had a facebook page and made some occasional promo-release-announcement tweets) Time now for new formats. Single scene panels. Small animations. Drawings with text. All of hte above in combinations. Storytelling in different ways. No audience. Just me

rampant rock - 3d book cover

Blender progress

far from perfect, I know, but a measure of progress. It's actually 3d solid (mostly) and ready for armature and texturing. From a Lara Croft model. and Sammy the Nickelhead  Creature, from metaballs-to-mesh

Ego and Artist continued

appending to a previous post I've found three distinct areas where this problem is dealt with - before, during and after. Before undertaking any work, the artist's ego is all in (what should I do, what can I do, what do I want to do, with heavy bold emphasis on the word 'I'). During the work itself is when it's easiest for the artist to put the ego aside, and get lost in the doing. After the work, though, the beast rears its ugly head once again! Now the artist has to DO something with the work, get it out there into the world (the work demands it). The challenge here is how to do that, how to promote the work without so much self-promotion? Especially in these times, where the artist is often more the product than the work itself. The world of corporate culture wants to sell the creator more than his or her creations (which is why singers have to be so damned pretty nowadays! it's not enough just to sing). In my case, with my free ebooks, I've tried to ap


Everyone who reads a story becomes its author. Everyone who sees a picture becomes its taker. Everyone who views a painting becomes its maker. There is only one creator to begin with, but once in the world, everything has many.

Mapped, Reduced. (A Short Story)

Mapped Reduced A Story by Tom Lichtenberg “Too much information,” groaned the old man as he stared out of the window. “Always was the problem. Same thing then as it is today.” “What do you know about information, pops?” grinned the young boy, not taking his eyes off the large computer screen in front of him. “You couldn't tell a megabyte from a big sandwich!” “Kids”, the old man sputtered. “That's right, go ahead and spit it out,” the boy laughed. “You had your day, old man.” “In my day,” the geezer began but the boy interrupted. “I know, I know. You did a day's work and you did it with your own two hands, bla bla bla.” “We did it the right way,” the other insisted. “Up close and personal. Not like this,” he waved at the bank of computers that lined the walls of the room. The two had the entire floor to themselves, it seemed, the entire forty-fourth floor of a sixty-six story building in the heart of the city, yet they kept to one small office in the fa

warrior ghost in cezanne trees

gnod - global network of dreams

gnod is an interesting referral engine for music, movies and books. worth checking out. For Roberto Arlt is referred the expected Borges and Cortazar and even Dashiell Hammett, but unexpectedly Orwell and Kafka as well.

Self Publishing and You

Watch "Self Publishing and You" on YouTube A video by yours truly (sometimes plays sideways, thank you youtube!)

The question

The question isn't always 'what does the story have to offer YOU?' Sometimes question is 'what do YOU have to offer to the story?'

Entropic Block

Impossible Musical Instruments


(working title - SETIF FIVE - Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence Failure # 5) Based on a conversation with a friend about the movie 'Restrepo'. A pseudo-serious sci-fi story. It's happened a few times. The SETI program has picked up signals conclusively analyzed to be rationally sourced. Each time a mission has been dispatched to the far-flung origin of the signals. Each time the mission has failed to encounter the intelligence responsible. They have been too late (by a very long time) or otherwise unable to make contact. By the time of our story, however, these experiences have resulted in great technological gains and new methodologies. A crew of three is dispatched through a randomly occurring congruent vertex. Return will be possible at indeterminate intervals, which will be carefully monitored by the vessel in which they travel - an impenetrable, hard-shell sphere of embedded infrastructure known as Girlie (GRL-Y). The crew consists of the Captain (Marjori


This is part of a "declaration" by the Occupy DC people: "Corporatized culture warps our perception of reality. It cheapens and mocks the beauty of human thought and experience, while promoting excessive materialism as the path to happiness. The corporate news media furthers the interests of the very wealthy, distorts and disregards the truth, and confines our imagination of what is possible for ourselves and society." While I agree with every word, how does this statement really help accomplish anything? Whining about our crappy culture is not the same as changing it. Didn't Karl Marx point this out 150 years ago?

impossible musical instruments

Seeming is Believing - Three Story Reviews

One of the values of story-telling (and art in general) is how it can make you see the world differently. Not just help you, but make you, and not just seeing from another person's point of view, but fundamentally seeing differently. Most stories don't even make the attempt, and those that do often fail - either through the fault of the writer or the reader. I've had the experience many times (from reviews of my own stories) where the reader has completely missed the point, or shown me where my story lacked what it was wanting. These three writers' stories did not fail in making me see the world differently. The "small stories" of Willie Wit always turn on your foiled expectations - they are never what they seem - and in the end you have to look back on everything you've just read and re-view it from the final perspective. 'Where the Sun Sets' by Avella Write has a similar effect. On one level it's a story of old-world versus ne


Idea for somebody's doctoral thesis - the history of the commodification of story-telling, the development of the fetishization of the book (divorced from its contents), the reification of the storyteller, in short the complete alienation of the whole concept of people telling each other stories. Also, how fiction-as-art is different from music in its social presentation, and when fiction-as-art became different (if there was a 'when'). I have this idea that until fairly recently (less than ten generations in the West, at least), for the majority of people, there was no great difference. People told stories to each other, and people sang songs and played music to and with each other. The individuals with talents in these areas contributed those talents, just as the people with different skills (baking pies, for example) contributed those. This is hardly a romanticized view of things. We barely realize these days how extremely different our cultures have become from the

Fissure - Set Design

I hope to put a model in this post if I can get it right in Blender. This idea I had for a set design for a production of Fissure Monroe. Essentially, cut the stage in thirds, each third partitioned by a wall, each third fronted by panel doors or screens which silently retract/fold-up/nicely. Inside each partition is a rotating set of characters - you never know which one will be in which partition as the spotlight switches from scene to scene and only one partition at a time is visible. The suspect, the store dick, the pundit, and the witness rotate in and out as they are interrogated by a front-of-the-stage-roaming Inspector Mole, except for when the stage clears of all the others and it's a parading Dawn Debris doing her intermittent monologue. Lighting is key to the whole thing. very raw notion

Impossible Musical Instruments

blenderized bezier curve-to-mesh


Since a friend introduced me to the great open-source 3D and animation software ' Blender ' a few days go, I've been pretty much obsessed with learning the basics. There are absolutely tons and tons of free tutorials ( video and wiki and both ) and the software itself is both incredibly powerful and incredibly complex. It's right up my alley in many ways - I've done some (rudimentary) computer animation before and have long wanted to do more, the software written in Python (which I've been happy to return to in my professional life this year), and best of all, it's open-source (practically my religion. I give away my fiction in the exact same spirit - all of these people are GIVING to the world without asking for anything in return. I LOVE that and am glad to do it with what I have to offer). Another cool thing is that as I've been learning I've been teaching what I've learned to my son, who is also enjoying it, as he does working with GIMP. I


Very interesting article about 'Thinking, Fast ad Slow': Michael Lewis on the King of Human Error | Business | Vanity Fair

Pigeon Weather Designs

trying out blogger's new dynamic views with this cover art page . think i like the snapshot view the best for this

Last Word on "Indie"

The title of the post ("What's so 'Indie' About Indie Writers?") was in the form of a question, and I think that question has been amply answered. As some have pointed out, I was interpreting the word 'indie' in an aesthetic sense, meaning 'cutting edge' or 'unconventional', whereas the more common interpretation is in the economic sense of 'independent', as it's used for coffee shops that aren't Starbucks, or bookstores that aren't chains. I think that's perfectly fine and now I'll just shut up. of course, the snot-nosed brat in me wants to say that now that we know that Indie means Small Business I ought to go tell my Indie barber about it, and the Indie market down the street, so they can update their advertising. It's true the market for self-published books has changed thanks to technology, but self-published books are still the same -indie publishing is DIY vanity publishing and that's not a b

Indie Wrap

Feeling a little guilty about calling out 'indie writers' on the pretentiousness of calling yourself 'indie' instead of just accepting the factual term 'self-publisher' and putting that stigma to rest. 'indie' is such a too-cool-for-school kind of word but hey, if it makes people feel better about themselves and what they're doing, then who am I to be a party-pooper (except that I am pretty much a party-pooper in real life. sorry) The best thing that came out of that post was this comment. This was interesting and I'm glad to have prompted it wcmartell   says: November 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm I can’t speak for Indie Music, but Indie Films are just films made outside the system, often self financed and sometimes with small to non-existent crews. These movies are *made*, then sold to a distrib or self distribbed. So they are made on spec (as opposed to a studio film). The roots of Indie Films are B westerns and B horror movies… and “Race Fil

Cover Art - Rampant Pheromonix (again)

still trying to get it right. kinda like this one

What's so "Indie" about Indie Writers?

Henry Baum's recent post on selfpublishing review (about foul language in self-published books) raised this issue, which has been on my mind for a while. What IS so "indie" about "indie writers". Is it merely a fashionable term, a wishful thinking? The term comes from the "indie" film and music trends of the late 20th century, but I think those artistic fields are fundamentally different in important ways from book publishing.  Both music and film require much more equipment, technical expertise and money, and usually involve more people as well, whereas writers only need to type into a computer, save their files, and upload them to online providers such as Amazon or Smashwords. Another important distinction is motivation. Self-publishing seems to me to be a different game entirely. From what I've seen, most "indie" writers are not rebelling against any industry standards. Independent films are generally movies that the major studios w

Bad Language and Self-Publishing

Henry Baum has a good post on this subject , how he's gotten a lot of blowback on having bad language in his books, when there's no similar reaction to such language in indie movies (or indie music). My comment on the subject: I got the same reactions about “Freak City” and when I went to check there were only seven fucks and three shits. BFD! But I do like Marc Horne’s idea – he put out a “Clean Version” of his “ Automatic Assassin ” (which I actually preferred, a matter of taste). Couple of points, though. If you get your stuff out there to a wide audience, you’re going to hear the whole range of reactions, so you’ve got to take it as a positive. In America, there’s a lot of puritanism (most of it coming from the kind of hypocrites who get caught with underage hookers sooner or later) and a whole lot of self-righteousness. Language is one of those nerves. Grammar is another. As for indie publishing versus film/music, it seems to me it’s a whole different game entirely

Freak City - Cover Three

time for a new cover, just in time for winter. this bungalow also makes an appearance in Zombie Nights and Secret Sidewalk, a sort of subtle link between three trilogies

Some Call It Drama

I always thought of ' Fissure Monroe '  (now FREE on Amazon) as a sort of theatrical production, but never really promoted it as such. It consists of 4 concurrent cross-examinations by Inspector Mole and 1 simultaneous monologue by the private detective Dawn Debris. I originally wrote the book in an accounting ledger book in columns of different colored-ink. It's hard if not impossible to produce that way in actual book form, so in the ebook version I selected one order of events (out of many possible) and set it down that way. 'Fissure Monroe' is a sci-fi satire of a rather typical "me" style. As they say in movie previews ... 'in a world ...", well, in a world where beauty is no longer skin-deep, but now judged by skeletal arrangements perceived through special x-ray glasses, a black market in fashionable bones arises, controlled, of course, by organized crime with links to high-ranking officials (natch). When a rich lady's leg-bone