Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tom Bensley; The Time I was Haunted by the Internet

The Time I Was Haunted by the Internet

Browsing the message boards on has been a longstanding addiction of mine. The people who post there are mostly a bunch of wannabe critics denouncing popular movies and trying to start a bit of online fisticuffs, but occasionally a topic will inspire people to tell stories. Posters write searing, honest accounts of childhood abuse or open up about their experiences in failed relationships. When I was haunted by the internet, it was 2007 and I was reading through a particular topic on the board for Paranormal Activity.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Artifical Intelligence as Foreign Policy

As all my readers know by now, my latest book—still in the stages of being chipped at, edited, if you will—deals with several aspects of rebellion, with its latter stages dealing with advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Now, unlike some other books, I don't deal with AI that's self aware or have consciousness, as this is too hard to define for humans, to say nothing of machines. Instead, I try to think of a slow creep of AI, automated, into the decision making arenas of the world, and from there the AI simply manipulates the material world in a malevolent way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Art as Life

Ah, spring in the NW, where the sunsets emit a warmth and subtly that hints at the better weather to come. As I stare at the sepia-toned dusk, rain falling instead of crystals, I think on an event that happened a long time ago, in the brittle air of winter. It was an odd event, and one I would rather forget, but light has a way of evoking certain moods, doesn't it?

Monday, March 16, 2015

MFA programs. And what they create. (non-fiction)

So the internet is abuzz with the latest literary controversy. As per the controversy, the people attacking it are hardly adding to the debate. Rather it's about personal screes (and oh aren't those addicting?) and people staking their tribal flags. What I've mainly seen—besides the reactions from those directly affected—are people who think it horrendous that he's teaching his MFA students in such a crass manner, and people who think that he's spot on. These views either hold contempt for those who take the MFA route or reject most of the doubt thrown at the students taking the MFA route.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

(non-fiction) Internet Narratives (part 3); 3 ways to limit Comment decay

Not really part 3 but rather part four or five or more. I have a guest post by English and more versions of what is possible, to include a video game, the creation of fractal never-ending stories (check out my own ongoing project to create something infinite) and the possible death of life for writers like myself: the creation of programs that will write more (quality and quantity-wise) than us.

I've talked about the nature of narratives today in a reply to what Franzen was saying about the paucity of potential in the internet. Indeed, for anyone with a grain of imagination, there is much hope in what one can achieve with the internet (or the possibility of the connections within the internet's structures, after all). I will say that given what I've seen, there is very little good coming out of the narratives (contrary to what I said before... and again, from what I've seen). This is not to say that the potential isn't there, simply that it hasn't been realized yet. Also, the internet certainly provides much in terms of valuable information (though much of it, like scientific papers, is behind paywalls), but I'll focus on narratives (in this case comments).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Familial Madness 2

And now we see the end or perhaps the beginning of the end that we never saw before. 

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Familial Madness

I'm sorry to have to do this, but with the creation of a fractal story of my own, with Familial madness now destined to be a never ending story, I will have to create story after story that will be able to encompass this entire world. What else does one do then? Well, I need these posts about me to one day become part of that story. You will be seeing more of these.

To all my readers: I am still editing with and dealing with the latest novel. I will be working on When Gods Fail IV to that end and will hopefully wrap up that series as soon as I can. All the best. 

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

(non-fiction) Barbaric vs civilized

All record of civilization is also a  record of barbarianism.

In the horizon of a dusty land there is a new barbarian appearing. And people are scared. The cruelty of ISIS has been revealed to the world and the human beings of civilized nations need to come forth or else be crushed underfoot. The use of the word barbaric recently seems to have gotten out of hand. So I'm tackling this so called confrontation with one of my own. I find the everyday definitions to be too self-serving. Let's see what google has to say about it:

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

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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.