So you can read my books

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Where do we go from here?

As a species? As a culture? As storytellers?

Where does the answer lie? In words. The words that drive us or haunt us or both.

I just finished watching the disturbing horror DVD, PONTYPOOL :

Shut up or die Shock jock, Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie), has been kicked-off the airwaves and now works at a small-town morning show.

Another mundane day on the job quickly turns deadly when reports pile in of people developing strange speech patterns and evoking brutal acts of violence.

Before long, Mazzy discovers that the behavior is actually a deadly virus being spread through language. Does he stay on the air in hopes of being rescued, or is he providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world?

It got me to thinking ... as all good science fiction and fantasy does.

When the last raven has taken flight from the final corpses of humanity, will the word be to blame? Short answer? Yes.

The deadly words flashing over the computer screen in dark missile silos : commence launch sequence.

The whispered words of Moslem extremists urging their volunteer warriors to expose themselves to deadly viruses and then stroll through the world's airports.

The false assurances to the United States President that the budget to scan the stars for incoming asteroids is much too high to continue.

Most likely, the words will be something entirely different ... but altogether just as lethal.

As a science fantasy writer, my view is much more provincial :

Where will my genre go next? THE PASSAGE suggests it will go in the expected direction : after the dollar.

LORD OF THE RINGS, the three that was really only one, took us back to the mythic beginnings of literature. The ghost of blind Homer probably stood at Toilken's shoulder as he wrote.

It was the time of Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft. An era of legend and dark threat from beyond the ken of Man. The wave of those tales broke upon the cold, uncompromising atomic age.

Then, with the advent of Einstein, the hard science tale took over. Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein wrote tales where the scientific idea overshadowed the narrative.

Freud, Jung, and B. F. Skinner finally had their due. And other ideas of science took prominence : psychology and sociology. Philip Jose Farmer, Clifford D. Simak, and Ray Bradbury. Mankind was no longer sure of who was heroic anymore.

The fifties brought us THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Who could we trust?

The sixties brought us Philip K. Dick who suggested we couldn't even trust ourselves or what we viewed as "reality."

Dick's famous statement overshadows that period and its darkness even reaches up through our times : "Reality is that which refuses to go away when I no longer believe in it."

And now fantasy's mist enshrouds us : TWILIGHT, HARRY POTTER, LORD OF THE RINGS, HARRY DRESDEN, ANITA BLAKE. Darkness has encircled us, murmuring it was always there in the shadows of our souls.

Which leads us back to my original question : where do we go from here?

Hollywood seems to think it is the time of the adventure story, gilded with fantastic trappings. Do we do a H.G. Wells and go to an unsure near-future as in INCEPTION?

I choose to do a synthesis, involving solid storytelling with an understanding of technology's affect upon Man with psychological probing of what it means to be human in an uncertain present.

Fantasy appears real when there are firm rules, where darkness dwells in the corner of every soul, and the heroic protagonist finds the greatest battle is within.

It is opposition which sculpts the best fiction : the heart pitted against the mind, the spirit struggling against the flesh, and fragile hope outmatched by overwhelming hate.

The best stories are the ones that are concerned least with what I've been talking about. Their main goal is to touch the heart and to haunt the soul. In essence, their authors just want to tell a good story.

What do you think fiction is heading? What do you want to do with your stories? And for whom do you write? All of us reading these words would like to know.

Words. Careful. They worm their way into your consciousness like an antibody ... or a virus.
Speaking of which :


  1. Perhaps the last raven will take flight unsatisfied and confused. Words will not be to blame, nor will extremists. Well, one word may stand in accusation: apathy. When mankind is able to blithely watch as children starve and families are forced to live in their cars or on the streets...when government officials give ten billion dollar tax breaks to their super rich friends while siphoning the last nickle from the average tax payer...when those in power with skewed priorities do nothing as libraries are shut down (a place where many learn not only about books, but have access to free resources) and music and art are removed from schools, and lawyers, seeking only the win, keep very real criminals on the streets, often at the cost of the next available child or passerby...when we've gotten so numb to the reality around us, we will watch, silently, as we destroy ourselves...and the ravens will fly far and wide looking for something to eat that doesn't leave a bitter taste in their mouths... (this came as I read that sentence-you did it)

  2. excellent question and post. the dollar is king, as you note, but let's continue to hope for a rebellion. i'd like to see science fiction and fantasy continue to acknowledge that something is terribly wrong with the world. everyone feels this. it's hard to put our finger on it, as the words crafter just did. the matrix did a nice job of exploiting this theme. i expect and hope to see fantasy and sci-fi continue to point readers and viewers toward the truth of our situation: something is terribly rotten in our world, and we must save this world for ourselves and for our children.
    nice to meecha:)

  3. I don't particularly care for stories written with the purpose of exposing the world for what it is or to pander to fears we all carry. Books that are a warning of what can be don't even do us any good. I can remember when the ideas behind 1984 were terrifying. Not so much. Big Brother is everywhere, and we have only ourselves to blame. We saw it coming, and did nothing. I like stories with very human characters with very real flaws who may have powers or abilities, but really aren't that good at them.

  4. I want my stories to get people to realize their true potential, while also giving them a disparate view on something. Simple as that.

  5. Loved the history lesson. :)

    I write my stories to hopefully touch the heart and soul of teenage girls. For the ones who've experienced similar things to my mc, and for the ones who haven't, and hopefully never will.

  6. I would like to write to inspire others to believe in a higher power that rises above this world and can give us the knowledge and strength to make postive changes in our lives. I refuse to give up on humanity. I believe we need to take responsibility for our actions and stop expecting the government to make things happen. Maybe if more people would turn off their TV's and start reading and thinking for themselves things would improve. I would like to write something that would give people the courage to try and believe in the good that is inside of us all.



    I NOW MUST WATCH THIS FILM. It looks so so good. I love that idea, what an original idea. And also how SCARY. I think I may watch it this week and then tell you all about my findings ;)

    I tend to write to amuse myself, but I also write in the present. I like the present, even my narration tends to be in it. I especially like showing that the world is a much darker place than we think and then also that it's brighter too. I like that :)

    I happen to love stories where the true monster is difficult to find though, because it really makes you think. Like Hannibal, I love this thought that maybe he's not the evil in the story. After all he did, you see that actually he is merely the absence of morality whereas the system seems to be chosing to deliberately be immoral. I don't know, I'm rambling now ...