January 29th, 2008


[links] Link salad for a Tuesday

Locus Online with a best of the year summary that mentions Mainspring Powell's | Amazon | Audible ]

A reader reacts to Mainspring

A Life of Their OwnThe Guardian on enduring characters. (Thanks to AH, via tillyjane.)

Graphene transistors — "A researcher at Stanford University has provided strong experimental evidence that ribbons of carbon atoms can be used for future generations of ultrafast processors."

Unlike me, Juan Cole paid attention to the State of the Union Address — He points out some of the highlights of this year's pack of presidential lies.

Death and Taxes — Where your 2008 Federal budget dollars go. (Snurched from snippy.)

[politics] Conservatism's greatest legacy

I've commented extensively on the ironies of modern conservatism. The GOP legacy of fiscal responsibility has created the worst budget situation in American history. The GOP legacy of strong defense has broken the military as badly as it has been broken in modern history, rivaling the post-Vietnam malaise. The GOP legacy of American power has reduced our international diplomatic, economic and military influence to the point that our nation quite possibly cannot recover its superpower status.

But I'm increasingly convinced the true political disaster that conservatism has inflicted on America is the elevation of the Tragedy of the Commons to a virtue. The anti-tax, anti-government rhetoric of the GOP has won quite a few elections, but the consequences to our infrastructure and our social fabric will be at least a generation in the unwinding.

On a purely personal level, it's frustrating that the people responsible will never know the difference, or feel the pain. Reagan had no clue, even long before his Alzheimer's diagnosis was made public. Bush 41 is smart enough to know and wealthy enough not to care. Bush 43 will never understand that he's not a second Lincoln. The win-at-any-costs strategists behind the — Rove, Ailes, Atwater, et al. — are people who by definition don't care. They led the charge in surrendering our long term vision of the public good in favor of a mantra that boils down to "taxation is theft."

The great triumph of modern conservatism is the elevation of personal privilege (defined as "rights") above the interests of everyone else's personal privilege, and even more so above the interests of society as a whole. That conservative triumph is America's tragedy.

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
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    the wind trying to tear the hotel apart
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[personal] Creeping off into the corn

Wind chill is -4 degrees right now here in Omaha. The front outside sounds like its trying to tear the hotel apart. I'm in my half-suite (another random upgrade), about to drive my rented Toyota Highlander (another random upgrade) to the office in this crap.

Why does anyone live in places like this?

In other news, the Omaha Beach Party is meeting tonight, off our usual schedule. Member GS has an art showing in Bellevue, and we're going to see it. Expect light blogging and little to no fiction today.

[process] In which a question is asked about the New Model Process

carnwrite asked a very good question about "The Lollygang Save the World on Accident", specifically my one day writing sprint to finish the first draft.
Sheesh! And this is the New Model process? Did you have this new story in mind already while writing 'The Baby Killers' or was it more of a follow-the-headlights sort of thing?
To which I replied:
That is an excellent question.

I've written three short stories in the last few weeks.

"Bringing the Future Home" was not the New Model Process. I wrote it the old way, quick and slick. I like it, but the story pretty much lives on its own surface. Given what it's trying to do, I think that's fine.

"The Baby Killers" was absolutely New Model Process. Very slow to come out, a lot of line work as I was writing it, a lot of redraft work to come before it can hit a market.

"The Lollygang Save the World on Accident" is in a sense a postscript to "The Baby Killers". I didn't use the same setting, or (except in the loosest sense of the term) the same tropes. But I was deep in the mindset and the voice.

I will note that "Lollygang" took about 3.5 hours to write in first draft, which amounts to a very slow writing speed for me. Albeit, still faster than "The Baby Killers". That's a post facto clue that I was following the NMP. On the other hand, the draft is quite polished (unlike "The Baby Killers" draft), which argues for slick-and-quick.

I think at that point I was following the headlights, and I'd have to chalk "Lollygang" up to a hybrid based on already having a lot of momentum in my head and on my fingertips when I set out to write it.
What does all that mean? Not much, really, except that it's a turn in the road of my experience of the New Model Process, something which hadn't even occurred to me until carnwrite asked his question.

Life is a journey, writing is a fast car on a bumpy road.