Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How did he?

Cartoons have an equivalent to cyberspace known as hammerspace. It is the place where cartoon characters store and retrieve that stuff (often a hammer or other blunt instrument) they use to comic effect.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sick puppy

A frankly bizarre tale about how unrealistic expectations heaped upon Japan's youth is causing an outbreak of mental illness. My sympathy is with the sufferers but there was also part of me that wondered how that could be used in a story. I've been kicking around an idea for a cruel story that uses (in the right sense of that word) sufferers of OCD as cleaners. Could the folks who obsessively stay in their rooms be used for anything?

The view from the west

The Californian Ideology is the name of a paper about the philosophy (neo-liberalism) that powered the dotcom boom. I'm slightly ashamed to say that I had never heard of it before now but recognise the traits it describes very well. Technology will save us all. Then again...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Aye, eye

A curious post on Ptak about the eyes of John Dee - probably the most famous English magus who was court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I and zealous proponent of mathematics. The article looks at copies of copies of a painting and how that affected one of the details in the image. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pow! Right in the kisser

Again a good series of thoughts about how to depict fights - this time of the hand-to-hand variety not ship-to-ship. I can think of only a handful of authors that do this well. John Sandford is about the best I've read and his trick is to join everything with "and". It gives it a real sense of pace and I've copied it shamelessly. His other virtue is that he has the knack of keeping the details of who is doing what clear. In books that do a bad job of portraying violence I've had to go back and read who did what to whom just to be sure who came out on top.

There's a good point too about how visceral and physical combat is. I have precious little experience of that but often combat as depicted on the page seems more about thoughts and minds that it does a fists and bruises.

Pew pew lasers

More for reference than anything else but this is a great consideration of the problems of space warfare. It's useful as it strives to be realistic and consider techs, particularly for engines, that are plausible rather than fantastical.