Worldbuilding v2

This past weekend I gave my worldbuilding lecture at the Western Reserve Writer’s Conference.  Most of what I covered is in the essay I have posted here. But I have updated it for the 21st Century (I removed the reference to pagers) and I added some additional introductory material. I thought I’d repost the new material here:

The term “world-building” is thrown about quite often, most often in regards to SF or Fantasy. Less often is it mentioned what is actually meant by the term. After all, all fiction takes place in some sort of world constructed by the author. Even in fictions that take place in the real world as the author happens to know it. A literary novel about a English professor has a “world” constructed only by placing words on the page. That “world” bears no more essential connection to reality than a alternate history where the zombie apocalypse happens during the Battle of Hastings.

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Various and sundry

Prophets has been reviewed in SF Signal, and well I can’t complain about that 🙂

Also, another blogger has decided to have a contest with my book as a prize.  Cool.

Also, I’ve put up a home here for Wolfbreed, although that book is probably also going to get its own web presence. (it’s just special that way)   You’ll see the new cover down in my neato-keen navigation panel to the lower left.  I might note that this is the only book on the site where I’ve based the descriptive text on the actual blurb on the back of the book.  (Actually the longer version from when it was slated to be hardcover.)

Breaking News: Congress is full of criminal asshats


This is not a post about politics, per se. This is about criminal malfeasance, the sucking undertow of corruption in Washington D.C. that is shortly to drag the country down with it.  If you’re wondering where the respect for the Constitution and the rule of law went, well our congress hasn’t had it for a long long time. We have created a self-entitled, self-important, self-aggrandizing political class that swear allegiance to nothing but their own position of power. They are a true ruling class, one to whom the rules of the common people do not apply. Perhaps you suffer from scandal fatigue, but think about this:

There are 435 seats in the House, 100 in the Senate. That is 635 people. Now take any random workplace in the country (assuming it’s a legal enterprise paying everyone above the table) having the same number of workers. How many of those people do you think engage in, say, real estate fraud? One? Two?

Ok, in the Congress we have Reps Pete Stark (D, CA) and Eliot Engel (D, NY) who both tried to skirt tax law by claiming their million-dollar Maryland residences as their permanent address. Then you have Charles Rangel’s laundry list of issues around real-estate, including forgetting to report 75K of rental income over a period of three years.  Then we have Chris Dodd who has been desperately trying to blame the administration for language he put into the stimulus bill that seemed tailored explicitly to allow the AIG bonuses everyone’s in an uproar about, making almost everyone forget those wonderfully choice Countrywide perks he got back when there was no real-estate bubble.  (Funny thing, AIG donated over a quarter million to Dodd’s campaign fund, but that’s probably just a coincidence.) And just to throw some republicans in the mix, we have California Rep. Gary Miller who’s being investigated by the FBI for trying to avoid a 31% tax on $10 million dollars worth of real estate transactions. We also have Arizona Republican Rick Renzi who has graduated from investigation to indictment last year, on 35 counts connected to land deals.

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I don’t comment on reviews, but. . .

I just wanted to give you two uncredited quotations from folks talking about Prophets:

Quote one:

Swann is a libertarian and makes that abundantly clear in his work: Organized religion and authoritarian statists? – really bad; hegemonizing collective consciousnesses with godlike powers?-probably even worse.

Quote two:

The author seems to have mastered writing in Orwell’s Newspeak. The chruch is good, government is good, nanotech is bad, AI’s are bad, genetic modification is bad.

Just saying there seems to be an infinite number of ways one can interpret a given text 🙂

A couple of updates

Following up on last week’s Jon Stewart vs. CNBC, it reached its apotheosis after my last blog post:

And apparently, according to the AP, (and Burgermeister Meisterburger) old books are still going to murder your children:

Sheketoff said she heard of just two libraries that started to restrict access to children’s books last month. One roped off the children’s section; the other covered children’s books with a tarp. Both libraries, which she declined to identify, stopped after being contacted by the association, she said.

That was just cool

palimpsestThis past Monday I went down to Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights (my local book store of old) to see expat Hamster Cat Valente do a reading/concert/art auction.  It’s as cool as it sounds, and if you’re lucky enough to have her doing her Palimpsest rounds somewhere near you, I’d recommend it.  Not only is her prose well suited to readings (The excerpts she’s chosen stand on their own artistically.  And they were read out of sequence to form their own mini-narrative arc, which was an impressive achievement in and of itself, not many novels you could do that with.) but she’s teamed up with a singer, S.J.Tucker, who has a kick-ass voice and a style that seems to perfectly complement Cat’s fiction.  (I’m ripping one of her CDs to my iPod as I write this.)

I also got to be a good samaritan.  When Cat lost track of her reading copy, I lent her my freshly puchased copy of  Palimpsest.  All and all, a great time was had by all, and I managed to get out of Cleveland Heights without a parking citation.