Monday, June 27, 2011

And because I absolutely cannot resist something shiny and have the bank statements to prove it...

0/15 books

Let the end of the world commence, with as many bangs and whimpers as we damned well please. Direct link here.

EDIT: Oh, and a quick note on the tag. I'm a wiseass, can't really help it. It's not a commentary on any book, movie, or television show reviewed here.

Oh, July.

I have a couple of other blog posts sitting around in rough draft that I really ought to cleaning up (about deep thoughts, too, like e-piracy, internet pretend feminism, and an ode to UST containing all of the climax jokes that good taste would allow and then a few more besides), and I was bending myself to that task with my customary work ethic and good cheer when a slow and Poe-like sense of dread overcame me. I looked at the calendar on my computer. Have I really been so busy that I didn't notice, didn’t prepare…?

Yes. The worst was true.

Y'all, it's nearly July.

The beginning of July signals that the world is half-over, of course, and you guys might think that I'm flailing because I'm behind schedule. Quite the contrary. I've completed nearly four first drafts, two outlines, and a last spit polish on the first book that I'm going to self-publish. There was the one episode where I sat down in my living room floor and started laughing hysterically after the cover model who told me that she was only six weeks pregnant and would be fine if I shot her quickly went into labor and delivered a six-pound boy (WHY WOULD YOU LIE ABOUT SOMETHING WITH THAT KIND OF EXPIRATION DATE?!), but on the whole things have been sailing pretty smoothly on the big-girl writing front.

No, my dread is much more primal, my reasoning absolutely irrefutable. You see, July is the devil.

For the past five years of my life, if something bad is going to happen to me, it's going to happen in July. There have been car wrecks (multiple car wrecks), deaths (multiple deaths), and a mental breakdown (just the one so far, but if anyone reading this is interested in graduate school, I can tell you my story sot that you can then do the exact opposite). July is a sneaky bitch. She hides around corners and waits for you. Last year, the only thing that happened over the first three weeks or so was that someone smashed the bumper of my car and drove away, which is a pretty light sentence as far as July is concerned. I mean, I also had to ride on a plane that month. Over the oil spill. I am not the girl that dolphins or volley balls befriend, and if I ever fall through a hole in the space-time continuum it's going to be straight into the waiting jaws of the smoke monster. I didn't relax until the plane was within ten minutes of home. Then an elderly woman two rows ahead of me went into respiratory distress. (She didn't die, this is not that sad a story.) Coincidence? No. July took a swing at me and missed.

You might not want to stand too close to me for the next thirty days or so.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Marches On

I have to buy a new television.

This is not a tragedy. It's an imperfect world, televisions break all of the time. I'm even lucky enough that I have the spare cash lying around with which to purchase said idiot box. I'm annoyed, however, because I shouldn't need a new television. My problem isn't with the television itself, it's with my VCR/DVD player. (Yes, one of those ancient dinosaurs still exists. Whippersnappers, I still remember what it was like when you had to set your VCR in order to tape shows.) The machine broke about a year or so again and, lazy miss that I am, I've just been watching DVDs on my laptop since then. That situation has been partly rectified with the addition of a Blu-Ray player, with just one tiny problem: my television is over ten years old and belonged to at least two other people before me. It has no idea what a Blu-Ray player is. It only knew what a DVD player was because the VCR half was willing to hold its hand, stroke its hair, and speak softly to it until the trembling stopped. But the television worked. In fact, the television still works, and I have to replace it because it's not compatible with newer technologies that will themselves become obsolete and have to be replaced with even newer toys to translate media. I'm very ambivalent about this, on multiple levels. On the one hand, inexpensive technology makes it much easier to get art and information across a wider expanse of people. On the other hand, we all know that you don't trust Skynet.

There, you know that I was going to get to a point eventually. I have other people who listen to my purely personal kvetchings, and I pay them in margaritas.

If there is one thing that still niggles at me when it comes to the e-book revolution, it's the impermanency. Viruses hit with much greater frequency than fires and floods, after all. One good catastrophe of even personal scope, and it's all gone. This is not necessarily a downside from a business standpoint: just make the books cheap enough so that the possibility of losing them isn’t such a stumbling block to purchase. I can't tell you the number of things I've impulse-bought at work because, what the hell, I can spend three bucks on soda a day when I'm really revving.

But on a larger scale than your friend's toddler pouring grapefruit juice down your tower? (Most likely because their parent thought that grapefruit juice was in any way going to agree with a three year-old's palate.) I write dark fiction because there is a part of me that cannot stop believing that humanity is going to pull some kind of zombpocalyse-level stunt at some point or another. As a group, we are probably the dumbest smart people the universe has ever seen. That's the part of me that runs in flailing circles at the idea of having the majority of any cultural knowledge, not just books, stored into a wholly digital format. Admit it, if you look at a CD, unless you're already familiar, you're not going to have any idea what the hell is on there or what you're supposed to do with it. E-readers are a little easier to figure out if you're flailing through the dark, as they generally have keyboards*, but I still worry sometimes about how fast our stores of knowledge are shifting into forms dependent upon civilization to translate them. There's a reason that we know nothing about Greek music.

Or maybe I'm just really annoyed about my television.

*Unless you have an iPhone or iPad, in which case you are absolutely, undeniably bringing about the eventual apocalypse. Sorry.

Okay, I'm posting this, anyway, because it makes me laugh just that hard, but two days after I wrote it, my car was hammered by hail. So maybe it's going to be a weather-related End Times rather than fast zombies with bifurcated jaws.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This is not a content post.

Nor does it contain the droids you are looking for.

JA Konrath and Barry Eisler recently finished up the last part of their sprawling conversation on self-publishing.

This a good post, and you should read it. My only sticking point is in the adultery/book commerce metaphor, as following it to its logical conclusion either makes adultery an amoral act (nope) or book-buying habits moral ones (yikes). Just snip that out of the way as comparing apples and schnauzers, the rest of their points stand.