How YA Fiction is Supposed to Work

Stumbled across this amazing thread about YA publishing on Twitter and wanted to share. I have an intersectional interest because Mesh is YA, but what really matters in terms of the YA fiction audience? Emily Lloyd-Jones breaks it down in the tweet below. Click the link to read the entire thread – it’s worth it.

Mesh: Can This Really Work?

Mesh: Can This Really Work?

When writing a sci-fi book, one of the first questions you may be asked is ‘how real is your book?’ I’m happy to say that not only are the technologies I talk about in Mesh completely plausible, they’re completely real!

Don’t believe me, believe this write-up on the Mesh network of Havana, Cuba. According to Gizmodo, their mesh has been growing and changing since 2001: “Beginning in 2001, a small community of tech-savvy Cubans have been building a sprawling mesh network that stretches across Havana. This crowdsourced connectivity takes advantage of hidden Wi-Fi antennas and broadband cables stretched across rooftops to network over 9,000 com

puters across different neighborhoods in Cuba’s capital. The resultant Snet, or streetnet, enables people to exchange news updates, share files, and even play online games like World of Warcraft.”

Mesh networks make sense in places where Internet use is prohibited, or prohibitive. The technical details of Havana’s mesh are almost adorable, as this article entitled “If it Rains, Ask Grandma to Disconnect the Nano” goes on to prove.

Click Here to Learn More About Mesh Networking
Bottom line is, the Mesh is totally real and ready for you to discover. I hope you enjoy learning and discovering more about this geeky topic.
Click Here to Learn More About Mesh

SCP and the Scary World of Global Scifi

SCP and the Scary World of Global Scifi #StandWithSCPRU

Well that’s awful. SCP, the collaborative-fiction project that’s been running for eleven years now, is under attack by a patent troll somewhere in Russia. I don’t have all the details, but you can read more about it on the following Reddit thread. I only have an academic interest in SCP (not into horror scifi) but their fight strikes home, since it deals with the scary world of global scifi.

Fun fact: If you’re an an author, you don’t just need to know writing. You also need to be an expert in publishing, accounting, design, negotiation, marketing and yes, even intellectual property. According to Wikipedia, the main purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage the creation of a wide variety of intellectual goods. The downside is that intellectual property laws vary from country to country, and gray areas leave room for bad actors.

The reason why the SCP story is so compelling is because the community attempted from the beginning to avoid any such bad action. As a collaborative-fiction project, SCP made use of the free-culture movement to create a compelling story that anyone could read, and anyone could write. Monetization seemed to be the last thing on anyone’s list and to their credit, they’ve been doing this for eleven years with a decent amount of success.

So here comes Andrey Duksin, ‘a Russian man who has illegally registered an illegitimate trademark for SCP within the Eurasian Customs Union. He has used said trademark to threaten and extort legitimate sellers of SCP merchandise, and in addition is guilty of copyright infringement, as his own merchandise completely violates the SCP content license: Creative Commons Share-alike 3.0.’ His actions strike at the heart of what free-culture, collaborative fiction, and Creative Commons are meant to support.

Naturally, this should scare everyone in the SCP community and it does. What’s the point of contributing if it means some dork in another part of the world can waltz in and use IP laws to steal what you tried to give away for free? What recourse do we have when one person, anywhere in the world, can end your life’s work with the touch of a button?

I’m going out on a limb right now and calling Andrey Duksin a toxic fan. He didn’t invent SCP, but he’s using global intellectual property laws to steal it, and that is #5 on the list of questions you can ask yourself (“Do you take more than you give to scifi?”). What he’s doing isn’t right, but let’s face it: It was going to happen sooner or later in this weird, copyright-trolling universe we inhabit.

Even at my modest level, I’m cautious about the microfiction I’ve published. I’ve already had one person ask permission to translate it and share it, but I said “no.” Maybe they have good intentions, but I can’t guarantee that they won’t show up later going ‘this is mine now, sucker.’ That is why I prefer to err on the side of caution. There’s no such thing as a risk-free enterprise, but I want to be as smart as I can while being as open as I can.

So for now, the main thing is to stomp the bad acting wherever we can. While this this unhappy episode with SCP illustrates the challenges that small-time, grass-root organizations face when interacting with a global community, the good news is that there’s more with us than there are with them.

The only way patent trolls will be stopped is when understand that not only is a patent troll a waste of time, it’s going to hurt to even try. We aren’t there yet, but my hope is that we will be, soon. You might consider kicking in a few bucks to their legal fund and hashtagging the #StandWithSCPRU.

New Microfiction – Bright Sparks

What would it be like to see WWIII start from space? That’s the premise behind this writing prompt: “You are a crew member on the ISS in Low-Earth Orbit, you just lost contact with Houston. As you look out of your observation window you see Nuclear Explosions on the East Coast of the USA, the Third World War has begun.” My response became this piece of microfiction I’m calling ‘Bright Sparks.’ Here’s the opening:

Light. Beautiful, terrible light.

Unless you’ve experienced a nuclear blast in person, you just can’t understand the brightness of the blast, the beauty of this pure spark. Film can’t catch it. Even our 8K video camera is useless. This must be what it’s like to stare directly into the sun. I’m dead, as of now. Only a few more seconds. Might as well try to enjoy them.

Continue Reading ‘Bright Sparks’

Mesh – Ready for Launch – New Portal Page

Mesh - Ready for Launch - New Portal PageToday in the ‘big happy news department,’ I’m excited to tell you that Mesh appears to be ready for launch/book agent queries! To help facilitate that process, I’ve created a new portal page for the book to tell newcomers what Mesh is about and help drive it forward to representation.

So if you’re interested in learning more about Mesh – the scifi novel I’ve been working on since 2016 – please visit the new portal page for information about the book, a quick synopsis, and how to get in touch with me. This is another step forward in the journey toward Author Success, and I hope it connects me with the tribe I am looking for.

Visit the Mesh Portal Page

Microfiction – Supervillains and Batman’s Worst Nightmare

Got some nice Mesh feedback yesterday. One of my beta readers came back with some style suggestions but says ‘otherwise, it’s ready for next steps.’ Squee, squee! I’m hanging out over on /r/writingprompts while I wait for more feedback. Here’s a Twofer Tuesday – New microfictions for you, based on the following two premises:

A prosecutor tries to use the “evidence” that Batman left behind to actually convict a criminal.

The Batman always wins, they say. Villains and bad guys beware. The Batman is coming. The Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face … trophies hoisted by the law enforcement community to show that a single detective, dedicated and autonomous, can solve more crime than the largest police force in the world.

That’s what they want you to think, anyway.

Continue Reading ‘Batman’s Worst Nightmare’

Next, You never intended to become a supervillain. You REALLY want to stop, but your superhero rival refuses to believe you.

Most people think I’m taller, I’m not sure why. For a guy who is Public Enemy Number One for the Superheroes Union, the first thing most people say is “Wow, I didn’t realize you were so short.”

They call me Mister Mephistopheles. And then they act surprised when I go off.

They don’t get it, just like the supers don’t get it. This is why I decided to talk with one of their people, their therapists. Honestly, how good can someone be if there’s an army of mental health people there to talk them off the ledge every week? I’m a strong person, I said. When I first got the call, I decided to go it alone. Why wouldn’t I be okay? I’m just a regular guy. These powers aren’t supposed to make you crazy.

Continue Reading ‘The Supervillain Summit’

 

 

Sci-Friday #40 – I Hope This is Fake

Sci-fi is at its best when it makes you go “Whoa … what if …” This video by Corridor features a company called Bosstown Dynamics (Ha-ha, because the real company is …) really blurs the line between science fiction and science fact. I came away with this going “I hope this is fake.” You probably will, too.

Enjoy Sci-Friday #40!

Great Women Stories?

I love this thread over at /r/movies about ‘Great Women Stories’ because it encapsulates a problem I’m hoping that Mesh will solve. To whit, most ‘women’ movies today are silly women-repackaged-as-men movies and they aren’t that good:

One hour ago, I just watched Ocean’s eight followed by Ghostbuster (2016). I can tell you it left me with a bad aftertaste.
Those films were so focused on replacing men that i can not fathom the point of it all.
If it was meant to empower women, well, it’s a fail.

One doesn’t empower women by forcefully adding wo- in front of any men/man in a pile of books/scripts.

This Wo-wo- syndrom needs to stop.

If we want to empower women we need to tell the tales of women, forge great stories about them. Women don’t need to be anything else than women in the movie industry to be great. They are no substitute or just a smiling sexy face representing a target market. we don’t need to replace men heroes with women to make them great.

They are amazing human being that can be heroes of their own.

This individual is right, of course. Too often, a female protagonist feels like a checked box, a ‘look at us, we’re diverse!’ move. I’m not a girl, so I can’t speak for them, but I have to imagine that this is insulting. It’s why I made a rule for myself with Mesh, that it would be a great story about young women who don’t need to be anything else other than themselves to be great. Sam and Tina, are awesome people unto themselves for a variety of reasons that you’ll come to know. They aren’t repackaged characters, they’re fully three-dimensional. They have good days and bad, senses of humor and dark sides, just like all of us.

The current market of movies like ‘Oceans 8’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ really are a poor answer to a real question – how do you tell the tale of women who are heroes of their own? Wonder Woman got it right, so what’s their excuse? Ghostbusters was such a ‘this is about gender’ movie that they should have called it ‘Ghostbusthers.’ At least that would be honest.

As I said before, I didn’t write Mesh to be some weird statement. I think Mesh and scifi in general have an opportunity to talk about a time where the future just *is*. My hope is that Mesh finds a home with people like the OP of this Reddit thread and that it fills their needs and many others. To get there, of course, we have to get there. Mesh is still waiting for feedback / acceptance. I’ll let you know more as soon as I do.