Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Future Narratives. Guest post by Ausar English

I recently returned to New York City and met up with a friend in a cafe on the penumbra of Union Square. It was after New Years, and the air felt brittle and tired. The friend, Ausar, joined me to discuss our fiction works in progress and the conversation moved to the current state of the narrative. It seems something of a cliche to think that the state of the prose is under attack, or that it is (will?) undergoing some great changes due to technology (people still read, it's what they're reading that's changing). Nevertheless we discussed this, discussed the myriad of ways that technology today would take narratives as we know them and turn them into something else, something that perhaps hasn't even been done yet.

Now, when it came to this subject, I sensed that Ausar had a little more insight into the matter given his ability to partake in multiple storytelling forms (whereas I merely focus on one). So I asked if he would be able to write something up for my blog. Luckily, he did. So without any more delays, I present his thoughts below. Enjoy:

Friday, February 13, 2015

On the existence of ghosts

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Once upon a time I stopped smiling, dear readers. A time when my innocence was robbed. Let me tell you what happened. It’s a horrible thing when a human loses his/her previous underpinnings for their belief-system. Me? I never believed in ghosts before. Sure, I heard the stories, but I didn’t trust what others said about what they saw. I placed them in the same category as those who were abducted by UFOs, or those who believe in conspiracy theories of the kind that had no evidence and had assumed some rich cabal was behind every act of violence in the world. Whenever I’d meet such people they seemed to have the same stupefied look in their eyes. So you can only imagine my surprise when I found out that there were in fact ghosts in the world. I was 33 when this revelation happened, and I hated myself for finding them—but it’s also hard to truly come to terms with the life lived blind.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Adding Context to Debate (revisited)

I was wrong once, and now I try to never repeat that mistake. All the buzz in the news about ISIS and how vile they are, have had me entangled in a few debates. Usually, since I’m not pro-government propaganda, I’m accused of being on ISIS’ side and of changing the subject. That brings me to the topic of wanting to, or needing to, adding context to vs obfuscating a debate. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why I write. The Struggle knows not the logic of morals.

As I sit here and listen to rain scratching my window, out here in the North West of our country, I find myself thinking on Iraq. A funny thing, the mind, how it works, for this region of the country, geographically speaking, and certainly weather-wise, is about as far from Iraq as can be. Must be that the news, with all its talk of Islamic extremists is again filtering through my mind no matter what happens. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On Debates and Context (updated)

The most recent news on ISIS and their barbaric ways (apparently some odd effort to mimic aspects of bombing itself?), seems to have everyone in a fury. What to make of this group and what seems to be their nihilistic ways, or perhaps their self-defeating ways? Are they truly that despicable? Is it merely a role of propaganda to make them seem this bad? George Packer over at the New Yorker seems to have one take: that it is a death cult bent on some sort of purification. In other words, a rabid dog that needs to be put down.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Science and Art

A few years ago I thought of something about randomizing certain parts of art and seeing if something beautiful could come up. In other words, one could randomize (with a die or, a smarter way would be with a algorithm) aspects of a painting. A simple one would start at a point and go in 8 directions from a point (using the center of a circle and assigning numbers to each direction and off you go!—you can see it clearly here except that this isn't random but pi being mapped out). One could also randomize the colors or, even, the length or the width of the line (in the previous link, it's easy to see why it's preferable to see a specific color for a specific direction. For pi, it allows us to look for a pattern a little more easily—and see there is none). Thus allowing one to create a great amount of art. At random, of course.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Amazing Video Game

I’ll be the first to admit that my video gaming skills are far below the average (as it were, it would seem that I should be one of those who would watch rather than play the damn sport/job) with my hand-eye coordination and speed below most people twice my age. Perhaps I need to stick to downing some vitamin B tablets, or perhaps I should stick to board games such as go and shogi. But I have a knack for running away from where most evidence points.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why I write part x

A cold and slushy day out there. Just had some coffee to warm me up, and now I'm looking to tackle another day full speed. The mass demonstrations in France seem to have inspired the world. The acts of violence carried out there have been horrific. More horrific, of course, is the lack of insight, or willingness to look at history for an explanation. Instead what we get is: there is no excuse (read: explanation, because apparently many are still infants unwilling to even look at explanations? Or are scared of them, or of adding context? Since when has this atomized view or perception of the world been the standard? I think I missed something, so please do add something in the comments if I am) or there is no time to think this through. This is simply wrong. That it is wrong is obvious to most. That it is a mere grain of sand on a beach of black and white sand is also the point. To not be willing to step back seems to be the what those who want a singular action want. In other words, it's an manipulation of the international psyche.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why I write: When Gods Fail

Spoiler Alert

This was going to be a post on why I write, (perhaps with an extension to why it was that anyone writes) but as I thought about what it was I write, and I thought about what it was about the reaction to what I write (negative, usually; though we have a tendency to remember the negative) and I decided that, instead of writing about the muse and the process, I should think carefully on why I wrote the specific books that I wrote and what my intentions were. For some reason when a reader calls out my intention as horrendous or as indicative of a flaw in my personality, I feel like I should respond. Not directly. But I should make a stand.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why I write: 4 Things to consider for the Ministry of Bombs

With everything I write, I write to evoke thought in the reader, to change their angle on the world, to change their accepted truths (whether I achieve this, remains to be seen). Now, I understand that most writers would frown upon this, that they would even say that fiction is not to be used as such, and when it is, it’s weaker for it. So be it. I disagree. And the fact that many who say this write the kind of fiction that does not speak to me only goes to further my beliefs. Furthermore, I’m also crossing another line I’m not supposed to: I’m reacting to reviews (on my book) that I’ve read and that seem to miss the main point of what I’ve written (I know, I know, the writing is less important than the reading, and once it's been written, it's out of the author's hands...).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On the origins of Computer Codes as Literature

It's rare in life that one admits, to the public, and even less often, to oneself, that they were wrong. And not wrong as a matter of oversight or luck, but because of ignorance. Last week I mentioned, in a review, the writings of Algo. An author who has managed to include in his writings computer-code-like writing, as well as computer codes themselves. I won’t deny that I thought these algorithms to be somewhat overdone. And I didn’t even take a moment to try them out. They were mixed, of course, and the code notes accompanying them were enough to allow even a marginal computer literary person the ability to understand them (I should go even further to point out that Algo came up with pseudo code whereby he had prose that represented something like code that ‘called’ other tidbits of ‘prose’ from a library; this is not what I’m referring to, as that was fine). But I didn’t take it a step further and carry out the code the way it was intended. In other words, I wallowed in my ignorance and didn’t think twice on it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Best books of 2014

Now, as some of you might know, last year I started my best books read in the year 2013. Now I'll try to add best books read in 2014 to start a tradition of sorts. As all people know, this doesn't mean that the book was published this year. Merely that it was something I read this year and enjoyed this year. I'm of the opinion that books—the good ones especially—more than any other story-telling form, tend to be more timeless (and can reach across epochs to speak to us). Thus my stance against the idea that books should only be considered from one year. A very odd sentiment indeed [1]. So without further ado, I present the best books I've read this year:

Monday, December 1, 2014

The best fractal story for winter

Winter is here. The leaves, having long given up their mobility, now decay in the gutter, smashed together into an ugly pulp—probably hinting at something about ourselves—those pumpkin spice lattes are tasting a little less delicious, and the cold weather is always something of a shock. The early nights, exacerbated by that horrid invention of Franklin’s, only further push the idea that an end of some kind is near. What to do then? Well, I find solace within books.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A few things as we move through to the end of the year

Hello all my readers. Again there has been silence on my part, and again I can only say that the next book is still being worked upon and will be out as soon as possible. If you are subscribed to the email, you will have received a snippet, not of the book, but of a short story that inspired it. The idea I'm wrestling with is more complicated than previous ones because it doesn't only include the worldviews of humans (previously I've written from the point of different people around the world). Sci-fi, certainly, but that I think will be very relevant, if reality doesn't take over. Rest assured, nonetheless, that a book will be out soon (and if you want something to read until then, I recommend that you sign up for the newsletter and get some more works that won't be available elsewhere).