January 8th, 2008


[links] Link salad, drop shipped from Omaha

jeffvandermeer busts open the seamy underbelly of genre fiction

Synthetic Biology — A short defintion from Wired's Geekipedia.

Will War Drive Civilization Underground? — Pessimistic futurism from 1942.

APOD with a photo montage of Jupiter and Io — Wow. Just wow.

More on outer planets and moons — Money shot: "Such an ocean would be energetically hospitable for terrestrial marine macrofauna. The availability of reductants could be the limiting factor for biologically useful chemical energy on Europa." More wow.

Legislating reincarnation — Like legislating morality, only weirder.

George Bush on George Bush — "I can predict that the historians will say that George W. Bush recognized the threats of the 21st century, clearly defined them, and had great faith in the capacity of liberty to transform hopelessness to hope, and laid the foundation for peace by making some awfully difficult decisions..." Hey, the president's bucking for the Sidewise Award! On behalf of the reality-based community, and brown people everywhere, I wish him luck.

5 Myths About How People Vote — This article is a little fluffy, and seems to leave some key points off the table, but still interesting reading.

Language Log deconstructs Huckabee's reference to "vertical politics"

The Washington Post on the (possible) collapse of Hillary's campaign — Of interest primarily to political process junkies, I think. But definitely of interest.

[process] "Don't bother me, I'm thinking."

I don't like to talk about process while I'm writing. You'll note I've been posting word counts and WIPs. The word counts are primarily for me to be accountable in public — working live, without a net. The WIPs are meant to be fun for you. Process stuff? As I've said before, that's like thinking about gyroscopic precession while riding a bicycle. I don't know about you, but I fall off.

However, I will offer an observation or two here. This very intensive production mode I've been in just lately is new for me. I've always been fast, and I've long been capable of prodigious bursts of output, but now I'm a bit slower and considerably more consistent. But when I'm doing these big days, my brain won't shut off. I have a terrible time getting to sleep, and it almost feels like I'm in an altered state. Which of course makes me wonder if brain imaging studies have been done of writers deeply embedded in their working fugue. In my case, I seriously suspect some different language centers are in play, just as if I were speaking a foreign language. I'd volunteer if someone has the lab and the time.

Anyway, lying awake at night with my brain in gear, things come to me. A week or so ago, I had a conscious insight into what Green is about, thematically. Last night, after I quit writing and went to bed, I had a conscious insight into Green is about, plot-wise. Yes, I know it sounds insane to write 170,000 words then discover the plot, but Fred has been covering my ass quite well. He always does. (Having an outline helps, too.) I don't have much retro-conning to do as a result of this thinking. It's more like discovering the inevitability of the ending inside the gnarled grain of the text.

And I think that's always true of good fiction, or even decent fiction. The nature of the ending is inevitable from the nature of the beginning, but not in an obvious way. It's all about the pacing of the reveal. This is, of course, one of those pieces of writing advice which borders on both profundity and uselessness, but I think it's my shiny for today.

My bicycle awaits.

[personal] Omahahaha

Here in Omaha. The Hertz random upgrade program has delivered unto me a silver-gray 2008 Ford Escape with Missouri plates. Work beckons. More word count tonight, with even the slightest amount of luck.

I'm off into the cold.