I don’t have HBO, but I’m reading all the reviews about Westworld and they prove an important point. Sci-fi has a love/hate relationship with story tropes. You know what they are, even if you don’t know the word:
Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom… you know it when you see it. Tropes are not inherently disruptive to a story; however, when the trope itself becomes intrusive, distracting the viewer rather than serving as shorthand, it has become a cliché.
The mechanics of storytelling require, nay demand, that we use tropes in sci-fi … if for nothing else, it gives our readers a mental baseline for the universe that we’re building. Good storytellers know how to play with tropes in a way that won’t distract the reader (i.e. “The Princess Bride,” or any Pixar film). Bad storytellers leave us angry enough to steal hubcaps. Continue reading
I’m digging through thousands of public-domain NASA photos for material to put together a book cover for ‘Search and Rescue’ if I end up self-publishing it. I like pictures like this, but would have to do a lot of Photoshop work to get it into the kind of shape I want. Thoughts?
Okay, I don’t want to gush but I do love Stranger Things. There, I said it.
At first, I didn’t want to talk about the show. I felt it would push me into the ‘buying instead of being’ aspect of geek that I want to avoid with Geekquinox. That said, I saw Gaten Matarazzo talk about living with cleidocranial dysplasia and I had to speak up. Gaten’s revelation and the show itself revealed a core aspect of science fiction to me. Here it is:
In science fiction, there are no weaknesses … there are only strengths you haven’t discovered.
Pleased to say that I finished the short story I was talking about earlier this week. ‘Body Issues’ explores life for girls in a world where genetic engineering and consumer bioengineering have gone mainstream. It’s out for comments with my writing group and I’ll submit it after Body Issues is greenlit.
I’m scared to talk about this. But I need to talk about this. Here goes.
One of the things I want to do with my science fiction is avoid doing what everyone else is doing. That makes sense, right? I can’t call myself creative unless I’m pushing into new territory. The question is, what territory? Where does creativity stop and thoughtfulness begin? These are all the questions I’m thinking about as I work on a new short story.
‘Body Issues’ is a short about a teenage girl and the new social issues coming our way. I don’t want to give away the plot, but the main character is a girl and she’ll be non-white, too. For those of you saying, “So what?” let me say this: Thank you. I think this should be a no-brainer, myself. Given the current landscape of humanity, I’m afraid of negative repercussions. I don’t think it’s right to let that stop me.
Can’t believe how fast the week has flown by. I’ve been banging away at a few things and I can’t wait to share them with you. On a personal note, I’m working through some stuff. Not fun, but that’s life. I don’t want to focus on my mess. I’d rather tell you about the State of the Art. Here’s what happened on InkICan this week:
Introduced you to Geekuinox – a new category of blog posts
This comes from Youtube – one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager was Information Society. They introduced me to cyberpunk and modern rock long before anyone else. The band was rather innovative – they had a track at the end of one album which, when played, gave you a little ASCII story that would appear on your modem screen. Back in the 90s, I loved how music embraced technology and it’s always occupied a warm spot in my heart.
I’m friends with Tim on Facebook. You might know him but you know his work (Firefly, Buffy … X-Files). He’s a supremely cool cat – Sent him a meme based on one of his pictures from the Emmys and he re-posted it. That happened on Monday and it made my week.
Sharing it because awesome stuff can happen to anybody – need to celebrate it if you want more awesome in your life. It’s only a meme, but it’s a start.
You might have read the earlier post and asked yourself – “What’s ‘geekquinox,’ anyway?” Good question. Long and short of it is that I’m trying to put all of the blog posts I plan to do in neat and tidy boxes. I want to tell stories and talk about other relevant topics. Sometimes I have announcements, or maybe I’ll have thoughts about writing. Other times I’ll talk about geeky topics from my perspective. InkICan isn’t going to become ‘the place to discover all things geek.’ After all …
I don’t want to talk about geek from that perspective. I’d rather talk about the Way of Geek, the Principle of Geek. Geek as a manner of being, not as a manner of buying. I thought about all that and then I thought about what to call these posts. I found a word on Urban Dictionary that helped define what I wanted to accomplish:
when a geek does something great, and they pass into the realm of coolness
I saw that and thought ‘bingo.’ So the times I post about geeky topics, that’s the perspective I’m coming from. Yes, there are other ‘geekquinoxes’ out there and I celebrate them all. If the name of this category becomes too much of a distraction, we’ll find a better name to use.
We lost two of our own in the past seven days. I was saddened to hear of the loss of two of our elder geeks. You won’t see trending #RIP hashtags on Twitter for them. They won’t make the Oscar’s ‘In Memoriam’ reel either. Yet, their contribution to science fiction is both significant and enduring. These two geeks’ names are unknown except to a precious few, but their achievement is immortal. Like Steve Jobs said, they put a dent in the universe.
To me, it’s infuriating that two celebrities and their personal lives dominate the public consciousness. It shouldn’t be that way. Perhaps things can change. Let’s bypass that debate. Instead, let’s simply remember our friends for the amazing people they were. C. Martin Croker and David Kyle changed the way you see science fiction. Let’s take a moment to examine why that is:
C. Martin Croker
You didn’t know him but you loved him. Clay Martin Croker was both an animator and a voice actor. You enjoyed his work on the seminal Space Ghost show … he was the voice of Zorak and Moltar. It didn’t stop there: Croker was also an animator for the show. That made him a bit of a unicorn: animators rarely do voice work. Continue reading
My name is Jackson. I am a private person who lives, eats, and breathes sci-fi. When I'm not talking about my writing projects, I talk about stuff related to the science fiction genre and community.