Saturday, September 23, 2017
Photographers have moral rights, unless they waive them. They also have copyright, unless they assign it. Do right by everyone, and above all, protect yourself.
There are two photographs of yours truly that are beyond my control on the internet. One is of "Rowena Beaumont Cherry" and was taken by Alex Law, an excellent Canadian photo-journalist. The other is of "Rowena Cherry" and was taken at a Pebble Beach concours d'elegance by the amazingly talented Robert Puffer. In both cases, the photographers granted me eternal, unlimited, irrevocable written permission to use, publish and distribute the photographs of myself without attribution, and without payment.
I had good legal advice, and the privilege of being acquainted with true gentlemen. When Alex Law and Robert Puffer took their photographs of me, I was unknown and newly under contract to be published, and social media did not exist. Nor did copyright infringing pirate sites that scrape copyrighted photographs and use them to suggest that the author in question endorses their illegal activities.
For readers, this is not necessarily the case. If you desperately want a particular ebook, you would do well to acquire it from a reputable site such as Apple, Kobo, Amazon, Powells, Barnes and Noble, Chapters-Indigo etc or from your local public library. Or from the authors' own websites, or the authors' publishers' websites.
For authors, even if the best photographer in your world is your boyfriend, or husband, or girlfriend, or sister... get the rights in writing, and make sure your rights are perpetual and unlimited. You cannot foresee what will happen to your relationships with your friends and family, and you cannot foresee who will use that photograph of yourself with or without attribution and whatever watermarks you might have tried to put on that photo.
Gigi Hadid, and also one of the Kardashians are an object lesson in what can go wrong if someone posts a photograph of herself --that was taken by someone else-- on a social media site such as Instagram or Pinterest.
Legal bloggers Njeri Chasseau and Jason Gordon for Reed Smith LLP analyse Khloe Kardashian vs Xposure Photos Ltd.
And... legal bloggers Howard Ricklow, Helen Ingram and Chandni Ranfior for Collyer Bristow LLP discuss Gigi Hadid and her use of a photograph taken by someone else, without giving attribution to the photographer.
As with the copyright case involving the monkey selfie, the person who takes the photo is the copyright owner, not the being who is the subject of the photo.
All the best,
Thursday, September 21, 2017
I watched the theatrical movie of Stephen King's IT this week (more precisely, "IT: Chapter One"). To me, whether a film adapted from a book is "good" or not depends a lot on its fidelity to the source. In preparation for seeing this movie, not long ago I re-watched the TV miniseries and reread parts of the novel. So what did I like about the new movie? And which makes the better adaptation, the movie or the miniseries?
Good points of the film: The bonds among the seven kids in the "Losers' Club." The miniseries did this aspect well, too, IMO. The lovely scenery and contrastingly horrific special effects. The Gothic environment of the decaying, cobweb-infested Well House and the labyrinthine tunnels below, culminating in the lair of It (the only place we get a glimpse of the true extent of Its otherworldly power, as illustrated by the eerie image of the floating children). The chilling moments when adults witness attacks on the children, by either mundane bullies or supernatural forces, and react with blank gazes, then deliberately turn away.
What the miniseries did better: Having more time to work with, it developed all seven of the child characters more thoroughly. The climax showed It in Its spider form, which the movie doesn't, although the TV episode rendered that scene so inadequately that many viewers dismissed the creature as disappointingly "oh, just a giant spider." (The other-dimensional essence of which the spider is only a projection was completely omitted.) The series wove together the past and present, as in the book, so we see the children's experiences as the gradually re-awakened memories of their adult selves. Granted, if the movie had been structured that way, viewers might have found it confusing, especially since "Chapter Two," the adults' return to Derry, is apparently not going to appear until 2019!
Drawbacks of the new film: Again, the cosmic dimension is totally absent. We don't see the vision that reveals Its other-dimensional origin, when it came not "from space" but "through space" in the prehistoric past (a clear homage to Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space"). I've read a hint that this scene may appear in the second movie. I hope so, because without it so much of the story is missing. We do see one glimpse of the "deadlights," but viewers who haven't read the book won't get the allusion. In general, the Derry backstory that gives the novel such depth is covered too briefly in the film for my taste.
As reviewers have noted, the movie doesn't have time to develop all seven of the children as fully as desirable. In particular, I was disappointed that their individual methods of fighting It are almost completely neglected. What happened to Eddie's asthma inhaler shooting "acid," Stan's invocation of the bird names from his birdwatching guide, or Bill's preternaturally fast rides on his bike, Silver? (The miniseries included some of that.) Particularly, the character of Stan as the obdurate rationalist, who regards the supernatural as an unbearable "offense," needs better development. In the film version, he simply keeps repeating, "This isn't real." I was also sorry not to see Beverly's slingshot with the homemade silver bullets.
Beverly is a bit too old. In the book, she's on the verge of puberty, not yet there. One of the novel's major themes is belief. Children are especially vulnerable to It because they're still young enough to believe in the supernatural and suffer the simple, primal fears It feeds upon. That same capacity for belief, however, gives them the ability to destroy It, while adults wouldn't be able to. Therefore, it's important that Beverly remain on the "child" side of the line along with the boys. The central problem of the present-day story is whether they can resurrect not only the bonds that united them in childhood but also the power of belief that they've lost with maturity.
On the whole, I was pleased enough with the movie to plan to buy the DVD when it becomes available and look forward to the second half. But having to wait two years? Really?! Aren't the producers concerned that the prospective audience, at least the majority that aren't hardcore King fans, will lose interest by then? Or at least forget the details of the first half?
In case you'd like to read my essay in STRANGE HORIZONS on Lovecraftian motifs in IT, here it is:The Turtle Can't Help Us
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Star Trek: Discovery
Lazy Writer Syndrome
Science Fiction fans are focused on STAR TREK: DISCOVERY these days.
Before the debut, a lot of publicity was released, some of it misleading by accident and maybe some by design.
I have not seen any of the trailers or episodes yet -- I will, no doubt, devour them with special attention.
Alien Romance readers should think long and hard about how it came about that Star Trek (a much scorned and sneered at TV Series) became Iconic.
We discussed Icons and how to create them:
If you want to create an Iconic Science Fiction Romance that becomes a Classic, think long and hard about this discussion thread that emerged on Facebook in June, 2017.
A comment dropped on that post drew my attention because it mentioned Kraith (my Star Trek fan fiction series)
Maurice Kessler · Friends with Michael Okuda
DS9 fulfilled the promise of lead Trek characters at odds with each other in interesting ways, IMO. Perhaps this show will emulate that level of work; we're only now seeing marketing-filtered descriptions of how this show will be written. I'll wait until seeing the pilot to assess.
One thing I don't need to assess: How much I miss your Kraith storyline, and how sad I am that it was never finished. The best non-aired Trek, ever.
To which I responded:
Jacqueline Lichtenberg Maurice Kessler Thank you for the nod to Kraith -- keep in mind that there were 50 creative contributors to Kraith. I built the universe and set a main story-line, then invited everyone to play in my sandbox. I was honored by eye-witness reports of worn, well read copies of Kraith Collected sprinkled around Gene Roddenberry's office waiting room. You may find that the Sime~Sime – Gen Universe video game under contract to Loreful via Aharon Cagle will meet your "best ever" criterion as we are inviting and luring many writers into the Sime~Gen Universe on the pattern of Kraith. Loreful has licensed 150 years of the Sime~Gen Chronological timeline and has the target of telling the story of the gigantic SPACE WAR that lies ahead of the Sime~Gen Civilization. The idea is that HUMANITY has actually changed - that the average human has more inherent compassion than the average Ancient (us). We are collecting current science articles on the SIMEGEN GROUP to depict the "current" state of the world when the mutation takes down our civilization.
As I was reading the other comments, more comments kept appearing. So I reread the comment I had put at the top of the link to the article about Star Trek: Discovery
On the original re-posting I wrote:
--------quote by JL------------
Lazy writers can't write interpersonal conflict without showing one of the characters in a negative light. Two perfectly righteously people (human or not) can be at odds, and generate amazing stories without either one being "in the wrong" or operating from a baser motive. Lazy writers don't bother to plumb the depths of the Characters or the Issues. So this show written by lazy writers might not be "my" Star Trek.
And under that a link to this item:
Star Trek: Discovery to ditch a long frustrating Trek rule
------end quote of JL-------
The article on ew.com says:
As part of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s utopian vision of the future (and one that Trek franchise executive producer Rick Berman carried on after Roddenberry’s death in 1991), writers on Trek shows were urged to avoid having Starfleet crew members in significant conflict with one another (unless a crew member is, say, possessed by an alien force), or from being shown in any seriously negative way.
The article also notes what I've been hobby-horsing on in these blog posts -- Conflict Is The Essence Of Story. I didn't make that up, you know -- I was taught it, then discovered how it had been used consistently down the ages by the best story-tellers. Drama is conflict.
For writers on Trek shows, the restriction has been a point of behind-the-scenes contention (one TNG and Voyager writer, Michael Piller, famously dubbed it “Roddenberry’s Box”). Drama is conflict, after all, and if all the conflict stems from non-Starfleet members on a show whose regular cast consists almost entirely of Starfleet officers, it hugely limits the types of stories that can be told.
A bit below that is the quote that defines LAZY WRITER SYNDROME:
“We’re trying to do stories that are complicated, with characters with strong points of view and strong passions,” Harberts said. “People have to make mistakes — mistakes are still going to be made in the future. We’re still going to argue in the future.”
“The rules of Starfleet remain the same,” Berg added. “But while we’re human or alien in various ways, none of us are perfect.”
"...none of us are perfect." There it is folks, the source of the reason Romance Genre is not as respected as it should be, and the reason for the popularity of the scorn heaped upon the Happily Ever After ending.
This may also be the philosophy that has eroded the Family Structure of society as a whole.
"Family" is composed of relatives -- and it is true that humans generally just do not get along with all their blood-relatives. In fact, the most acrimonious and life-long-grudge-holding conflicts naturally occur between blood relatives.
In-laws is yet another problem - the people you love probably fall in love with people you hate at first sight.
The Philosophical idea that is actually untrue, and thus prevents people from achieving a "Happily Ever After" life (or if they do achieve it, they do not recognize that they have, indeed, achieved happiness) is that PERFECT PEOPLE DO NOT CONFLICT.
But the most perfect, or perfected, people do conflict with each other, often adamantly, vociferously, publicly, and emphatically.
Humans are a mixed bag -- very complex -- very complicated.
It is possible for one component of a given individual to be PERFECTED while other components are sadly screwed up.
Some of us have achieved maybe 90 or even 99 percent perfect -- and such people become Historic Figures (such as Moses, Miriam, Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, Joseph, and a few other Biblical Figures. Every culture has these Iconic Historic Figures held up to children to emulate - Buddha, etc.
We all have our Ideals, and one or two examples to emulate.
And we have living examples in every generation of people who have perfected one or two aspects of human nature. We discussed a biography of one such individual of the 1900's known as The Rebbe. Different people who knew him personally saw different aspects of human nature that he had perfected. This biography we discussed (and there are a lot of biographies!) pinpointed some of his most famous disagreements with others of similar stature (not fame, stature).
And previously mentioned here:
Such people who have finally "got it" very often come into conflict with others who have likewise perfect that certain aspect of their Nature.
But they don't lock horns as ENEMIES -- they don't go to war with each other, or deride or denigrate each other. They may not wholly respect each other or each others' opinions on certain specific matters, but they do argue (a lot).
Sometimes, they even change their positions as a result of arguing.
That, more than any other evidence, indicates the individual has perfected some aspect of their Nature -- the ability to persuade another to change a position on an issue without gloating or counting coups (without WINNING, thus rendering the one who changed their mind a LOSER).
And likewise, the ability - willingness, even eagerness - to change your position on a matter because of the influence of another person's views.
Such change is not just change to accept new information as fact. It is more akin to Spiritual Enlightenment than to scientific proof.
If you need a real world example of how such people, who have perfected some aspect of human nature, interact and argue, read The Talmud which is a series of excerpts delineating the disagreements among great Rabbinic Scholars of various epochs. Comparing the opinions of different generations across hundreds of years with more contemporary commentary, lets you watch how such people drill down to expunge every last tiny contradiction from a view on a given topic. There is a podcast of the Orthodox Union's Daf Yomi that is very revealing on this subject.
You can find similar examples in every known civilization.
So, humanity has produced a few notable examples of perfected humans.
The statement "nobody's perfect" is untrue.
A Lazy Writer would never notice that commonly held untruth. A Lazy Writer does not do the homework necessary to discovery examples that contradict commonly held beliefs.
A Lazy Writer is only interested in affirming or confirming the Lazy Reader's ideas of how the world is.
Science Fiction is the Literature of Ideas (by some definitions), and like all Literature exists for the purpose of challenging any or even every idea the reader/viewer has.
"What if ...?" everything you think you know is actually wrong?
What is "the real world" really? What is reality? And who cares? Why does it matter if you're wrong?
So Einstein theorized that it is not possible to "go" faster than light. Therefore, science fiction writes about galactic civilizations using FTL transports like The Enterprise to explore.
The scientific community universally accepts a theory because the proofs look solid and they seem to work when applied experimentally. Science Fiction takes that theory and builds a world where that theory has been proven wrong.
That is how you write science fiction. You read (and comprehend) science articles, research papers, speculation by theoretical mathematicians, etc., and the more reliable the thesis, the more widely accepted that thesis, the better it is for a building block of a "different" universe.
Biology studied life on Earth, and from decade to decade, revised the opinion on whether the can or can not be life on "other planets" (especially extra cold ones, ones without water, etc.)
When the majority is certain there can not be any "life as we know it" on other planets, science fiction writers tell stories about Aliens.
When the majority is convinced there must be life everywhere, science fiction will be telling stories about Humans Alone In The Galaxy.
The same technique applies to human nature. When all your readers are convinced "nobody's perfect" -- write stories about a few perfect people.
The problem the writers of Star Trek Discovery are having is a lack of imagination. Gene Roddenberry could imagine -- and he imagined "the impossible" which is what made Star Trek both Iconic and Classic.
He imagined that HUMAN NATURE HAD CHANGED -- and the reasons implied in his world building were A) the Genetics War of the 1990's and B) the impact of technology on the economy.
Most human misbehavior is rooted in the economy -- "Gold or Money Is The Root Of All Evil."
OK, so "What if ...?" nobody uses money any more? What if everyone can have any "thing" (material objects, food, clothing, shelter, education,) they want in abundance. What would "people" do? So Roddenberry showed us people who worked (and took risks) voluntarily. They didn't join Star Fleet because they needed the work. They were there because they wanted to go beyond the horizon.
Roddenberry's postulate, often repeated in the speeches he gave, was that "When We Are Wise..." we will do, work, see, learn, and be very different. We will have plenty of conflicts, but we won't have an inner need to conquer and control.
He showed sports with score keeping, but no shame in losing.
We are now very close to the kind of technological "singularity" which could releave all humans of the necessity to work for a living. Artificial Intelligence may reproduce itself, run the factories and farm the land, and bring everything you ask for to your door.
Then what will you do? Die of boredom?
Stephen Hawking says we must explore the stars now, settle other planets.
From that article - down the page --
More From BGR
NASA just found 10 new Earth-like planets
Elon Musk is planning a city on Mars, and here's why
NASA wants to probe Uranus in search of gas
"The human race has existed as a separate species for about 2 million years," Hawking said. "Civilization began about 10,000 years ago, and the rate of development has been steadily increasing. If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before."
And it also says Hawking knows it is currently impossible to colonize the stars - we don't have the technology, know-how, political will, whatever it takes, we do not have it now.
Look back at history and pre-history, and you can detect very little (if any) change in human nature. Culture and technology, values, religion, varieties of government come and go, but humans still produce geniuses and the learning disabled, with a majority in between.
We all, each and every one, belong to some 1% demographic, and to varying degrees to all the other 1%'s -- we are each unique, yet all the same.
And the distribution doesn't change much over millennia.
Lazy writers don't study all that history, pre-history, archaeology, anthropology, biology of animals, plants, life in boiling water at volcanic vents under water, or preserved in permafrost. Lazy writers can't write science fiction because they don't study enough science -- or for that matter, often they don't study enough fiction.
Yes, Lazy Writers don't read widely and deeply enough in fields other than their specialty.
If you are going to write the Literature of Ideas, you have to know Literature and you have to know the history and present state of Ideas. I often use the word, Philosophy, to indicate Ideas of all sorts. In truth, that word represents the Ideas of just one Ancient Greek. The actual word might be epistemology.
Hard Working Writers learn a lot of extant epistemologies, invent and create a raft of original epistemologies, and spend most of their time studying what might be termed, Comparative Epistemology 101 for non-majors.
This is hard, time consuming, tedious, even on occasion boring.
Hard Working Writers study the phenomenon of boredom very closely -- because it is a good idea to avoid boring your readers. If you just throw in a sex scene every time the action drags, the sex scenes will become boring.
Writing is hard work, but most of that work is done long before, "I've got an idea for a story!" The hard working writer spends little time writing and lots of time learning, dreaming, and thinking.
The hardest part of a writer's job is cultivating the habit of "thinking outside the box." Or maybe the hardest part of that process is finding the box.
You are inside a box, a group-think, a consensus reality, and you don't even know it exists, nevermind how to get outside it.
You see news articles indicating climate change will destroy human civilization as we know it, and you think, "Oh, the A.I.'s will be thrilled to have the place to themselves."
"What if God ordained that human souls must shift from anthropoid bodies to Artificial Intelligence Hosts? Robots?"
What if humanity decided to shift ourselves into Robot bodies against the Will of God? What would happen then? What if we could prove that God does not exist?
Being a Science Fiction Romance writer, perhaps you would think, "How could Love conquer that All?" What would an HEA ending for an A.I./Human Romance look like?
"What if ..." What if human nature changed? What if some aspect of human nature became "perfect" for everyone? How would that change the forms of government possible, the laws, the kinds of work, talents, skills most valued?
Gene Roddenberry postulated that human nature would change in the area of Wisdom -- we would all be wiser.
STAR TREK: Discovery is worth giving a chance. Roddenberry was locked into the economic model of old Broadcast TV which made enough money only on Anthology format shows (where each show in a series was a stand-alone, so you could view in any order).
Babylon 5 broke that business model, following up on the Prime Time Soap "Dallas." Actually, Dallas is getting a remake! No new ideas under this sun.
So now we have many TV Series, especially in the Streaming Originals, that use the series format of Soap Opera -- where to get the real meaning of the Characters' lives, you must view the shows in the original order.
Thus STAR TREK: Discovery breaks out of the anthology format into the story-arc format where the episodes build on one another. To make that work best, they want to start with flawed Characters in conflict, and resolve the conflicts.
The handling of these inner-Starfleet conflicts will still draw inspiration from Roddenberry’s ideals, however. “The thing we’re taking from Roddenberry is how we solve those conflicts,” Harberts said. “So we do have our characters in conflict, we do have them struggling with each other, but it’s about how they find a solution and work through their problems.”
Working Writers should read and ponder this illuminating article on ew.com.
Now imagine what story possibilities might emerge with the next fiction purveying business model.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Maybe you could. (Put the emphasis wherever you please, if reading aloud.) Perhaps today's consumer of advertisements is less critical and more credulous.
GEICO spoofs medical advertising rather well... maybe too well. I had to look up "gassy girl" to remind myself what is really being advertised. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1rZAFluGZI
Can one believe the bottom line? Or is it an example of misdirection? That is, "Look how tricky those medical advertisements and claims are. We're telling you that they are bad, so we must be accurate in our own claims..."
(This, by the way, passes for a review or commentary on advertisements IMHO.)
While searching for my all-time favorite advertisement (featuring a hunk on a bicycle), I came across this about lies advertisements tell you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A74bJS-orlo
Apparently, calling bad breath "halitosis" makes it sound more serious.
Perhaps acronyms have the same effect. A lot of marketing companies, very seriously, tell you the initials of your complaint. Like "body odor" becomes a far more urgent problem if you learn that it is also called "B.O."
A new wrinkle in the law is that Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) lawsuits may now be aimed at the advertising agencies that create deceptive advertisements, where those adverts are not (not) based on claims made to them for their use by the product manufacturer.
Legal blogger John C Greiner for Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP writes about an extended format for an advertisement that--I infer-- was not recognizable as an infomercial, and in which a medical doctor is alleged to have used his status as a medical doctor to recommend a product that he allegedly never studied (or never studied more critically than the alleged script that he was allegedly paid to repeat.)
Read more at:
Don't be thrown by "Pepe The Frog". The advertising article is there.
There is also commentary at
https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=f8881083-8199-4805-97da-d8a2526d8b1das analysed by David O. Klein of Klein Moynihan Turco LLP
Authors are their own "product manufacturers" and their own "marketers". Usually. Some have a publicist.
Authors advertise. They can buy "keywords" such as the names of more famous authors, to suggest that their books might appeal to fans of the more famous authors. If I wanted to do so, I could add "labels" to this passage of prose such as "bad breath", "flatulence", "body odor", "irritable bowels", "aliens"... ( I am not doing so, but in the interests of science, if you were lured here by the appearance of those free "key" words, please leave a polite comment about how and why you were misdirected here).
I'm not sure that the FTC is at all likely to take an interest in literature, or in the honest marketing of it. However, if you will pardon the pun, it's always good to know which way the wind blows.
On that happy note....
All the best,
All the best,
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Many characters in fantasy and science fiction possess psychic superpowers. They can read thoughts, view events at a distance or (maybe by touching an object) in the past, or see the spirits of the dead. In a sense, we don't have to fantasize about having such abilities, because we already do, sort of. Through writing, we can transmit our thoughts directly into the minds of other people we'll never meet face-to-face. While reading, we receive the thoughts of the writers, even if they died centuries ago. Film allows us to travel in time, in that it shows us scenes from the past. We can even see dead people in the prime of life. Through recording technology, we hear their voices.
Psychologist Steven Pinker, in "The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" (a chapter in his book THE STUFF OF THOUGHT), speculates on why taboo words—profanity and obscenity—have been forbidden or restricted in most human cultures. Often against our will, "dirty" words force images into our minds that we may not want to entertain. Unlike eyes, ears don't have "earlids" to shut out objectionable sounds spoken by other people. Also, as he points out, "understanding the meaning of a word is automatic"; "once a word is seen or heard we are incapable of treating it as a squiggle or noise but reflexively look it up in memory and respond to its meaning." Language equals thought control. The official Newspeak dialect in Orwell's 1984 strives to make heretical thoughts literally "unthinkable"—at least as far as "thought is dependent on language."
Many fantasy novels postulate that magic depends on a special, often secret language. In one of my favorite series, Diane Duane's Young Wizards stories, learning wizardry consists mainly of mastering the Speech, the universal language of reality understood by all creatures, including those we ordinarily think of as inanimate. A wizard affects the world by using the Speech to persuade an object, creature, or system to change. However, some speech acts in the mundane world also alter reality. Enactive speech not only describes an event but makes it happen, e.g. taking an oath of office or uttering the words, "I now pronounce you husband and wife."
A prayer in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer titled "For Those Who Influence Public Opinion" makes this petition: "Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read, that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous." A heavy responsibility for authors, especially in this divisive, volatile era!
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Reviews 33 - Sime~Gen Seen From OutsideI found this review of the first book in the Clear Springs Trilogy by Mary Lou Mendum -- a Sime~Gen Series trilogy - on Facebook and Amazon on June 29, 2017.
The second in the trilogy will likely be available soon, so I thought this review from the outside -- by someone who has not been writing Sime~Gen fanfic -- could be useful context for writers who have been following my commentary on what goes on inside a writer's mind.
We have explored how to take a news item, mull it over, turn it into questions, look at it from outside the framework of your own culture -- maybe from all human cultures -- and cast the resulting idea into a Theme you can use to build the World for an Alien Romance.
This thinking process is common to science fiction, and turns up in all the genres. But it does not always produce something that resonates with a readership. When you do hit a readership, sometimes you don't know it for decades to come.
We have also discussed how you know if you're writing a "classic"
When a work stands the test of time, it can become a Classic. If you want to write a Classic, you need to study Classics, but also the writers and their processes that produced that "Idea." You can't use another writer's process, but you can use your understanding of their process to invent a process of your own -- and test it in the marketplace of Ideas.
Here is a view of the end result of the Sime~Gen Process by someone who was not involved in it.
He has given permission to post this review here.
-----------Review By Joseph Baneth Allen----------
Just finished reading "A Change of Tactics: A Sime~Gen Novel -Clear Spring Chronicles #1" by Mary Lou Mendum, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and Jean Lorrah released by Wildside Press.
Mary Lou Mendum first began writing her Clear Springs Chronicles, which highlight the adventures of Tecton Donor Den Milnan and his cousin First Level Channel Rital Madz, in the Sime-Gen Fanzine AMBROV ZEOR back in 1990.
So when Wildeside Press wanted a new Sime-Gen Novel, Jacqueline asked Mary Lou if she wanted to expand her first two stories about how Den and Rital arrived in Clear Spring to expedite/herald a technology exchange of Selyn Batteries.
Now I may be wrong in this, but I do believe that it was Jacqueline Lichtenberg who first broke ground in the publishing industry by not only allowing fan fiction of her universe to thrive - but also allowing another writer, Jean Lorrah to co-write joint and solo novels in the Sime-Gen series. There is a strong argument to be made that shared-world novels and anthologies flourished because of her willingness to take a step, at that time, I don't recall any other author and/or publisher doing. Without Jacqueline Lichtenberg paving the way, I strongly suspect that the co-written novels of Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and other science fiction writers would have gotten off the drawing board. Success does tend to encourage more success.
"A Change of Tactics" examines who to adapt to the dual new situations of outright hatred and violence, and the willingness to chuck established procedure out the window when it doesn't work. It also challenges Den's and Rital's long traditional beliefs about how to reach out to people who have to worry about offending their neighbors. It also looks unflinching at religious prejudice and how to effectively combat it - something the Jacksonville Community Alliance could definitely benefit from.
How Den confronts and fights against the religious prejudice of Reverend Sinth and his followers is something rarely portrayed in science fiction - thought more in fantasy novels.
I am eagerly looking forward to the next Clear Spring Chronicle.
And don't forget, Book 13 in this Series is an anthology of stories by various writers, including Mary Lou Mendum.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
This week, one hundred and forty three million Americans learned that a site that collects private information without consent had been hacked. A few days before the announcement was released, the same company (to the best of my belief) started television advertising of its own proprietary service to protect its paying subscribers from identity theft.
Following the announced breach, potential users of the site are also being encouraged to register with the site in order to discover whether or not their own information was part of the leak.
If you set up an account with that service, you explicitly agree that you will not take part in a class action lawsuit against that site.
How's that? (!!!)
Talking of fine print, The Manward Press (and this does look like an advertisement) suggests that every cellphone user should read the fine print. There's more. And more.
Here's a site with a short cut to the fine print you may never have noticed.
And finally, alien romance publishers (in fact, almost all book publishers) make use of fine print, too, and most book "users" never notice it. It's called the front matter, and it is on the first or second or third page, and it informs readers who owns the copyright of the work, and it forbids copying, publishing, distributing the work without written permission from the copyright owner.
All the best,
Thursday, September 07, 2017
Occasionally I read a humorous manga series called MISS KOBAYASHI'S DRAGON MAID. The heroine saves the life of a dragon who, in gratitude, decides to take human form and become the heroine's personal maid. In a recent issue, another dragon who happens to be visiting remarks that dragons have a "surplus of time" because of their long lives. Therefore, to him, consorting with humans and exploring their culture is merely a "whim."
Paranormal romance often includes friendships and romantic attachments between human characters and long-lived or immortal ones. Often one side effect of the extreme disparity of the characters' lifespans is skimmed over or left unmentioned: Can somebody such as a vampire, a "Highlander" immortal, a pagan deity, or a very long-lived extraterrestrial truly "love" a human partner in the sense ordinary mortals understand that emotion? The immortal or long-lived person may look upon the human lover as more like a pet, particularly since the immortal has lived through a vast realm of experience unknown to the short-lived partner.
With proper care, a domestic rabbit may live eight to twelve years, a ferret five to nine. Some large dogs typically don't live longer than nine or ten years. Of course, human pet owners love their dogs, rabbits, or ferrets, but can one have the same relationship with a creature whose lifespan is about a tenth or less of one's own as with a human partner? Likewise, an immortal may cherish his or her human lover yet realize in the back or his or her mind that the relationship will last a small fraction of the immortal's lifetime. After the human "pet's" death, the love relationship and the sadness at its loss will eventually fade to a wistful memory.
I've encountered quite a few books and movies that highlight the problem of a human lover's growing old while the nonhuman partner remains eternally youthful. Fewer works seem to tackle the more basic issue of the emotional effect widely different lifespans would have on such a relationship. The commitment required of the human partner must inevitably be deeper than that offered by the nonhuman character. Once in a while I have come across a vampire romance in which the human character doesn't want to be transformed, and the vampire's attitude is something like, "I can spare a mere sixty or seventy years to make you happy." How would a human lover feel about being viewed in those terms?
Of course, in a story that tackles this issue, the long-lived hero or heroine would have to be the exception, a character who somehow comes to value his or her human partner as more than a pet. What elements in a cross-species relationship could draw this character outside the normal comfort zone of his or her kind?
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt