December 29th, 2006

spies mfu goodliest outside napoleon

Ms. Bear, your telephone needs sanitizing.

One of the the interesting things about delving into the cultural detritus of a given era (say, Renaissance English drama or 1960's spy shows) is how obvious the patterns of obsession of a given age are when viewed from a distance. Your Elizabethan mind was concerned so heavily with family resposibility, filial duty, King's duty to subject and subject's to King, inheritance, lawsuits, adultery, and the destructive qualities of obsession--whether with greed or lust or vengeance or power--that there's only a little room around the edges for other things to slip in. Whereas, you sit down and watch enough episodes of The Avengers and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and I Spy and Mission: Impossible, and the same kinds of patterns emerge. We reveal ourselves, culturally, though our art... but it's easier to see from a distance.

Here is what '60's spy shows reveal about the zeitgeist:

We were worried about mind control and Nazis and Latin American dictatorships and Communism and women with minds of their own. (There are, interestingly, quite heroic female characters in the first seasons of both Mission: Impossible and MfU. Cinnamon, once upon a time, was a girl who would walk up to a man holding a gun on her in total brazen confidence. She wasn't a physical ass-kicker like Emma Peel or a gun-slinging mama like Cathy Gale, but she kind of rocked. There's an ugly caricature of femininity that creeps in a bit later, though.) We were pretending that there was no race problem as hard as we could pretend.

*g* It's kind of fun, though, to be able to look at the patterns and go, "Oh, the obligatory Argentinian Nazi episode," or "the obligatory mind control episode."

Also, something with ghosts or psychics or vampire bats was nice, if you could get it.

Possibly, all three.

All of this pretty much boils down to why it's impossible to analyze a literary movement from the inside.

(Also, there were only twenty actors in the 1960s. So you can kind of have fun with that, as well. I almost think that there ought to be a '60's TV George Takei drinking game. (Drink once if you spot George Takei. Drink three times if he's playing somebody with a Chinese name.))

writing gorey earbrass conscious but ver

post-novel ennui

I'm an odd one, in that my post-novel exhaustion takes a little while--a couple of days--to hit. But man, is it hitting now. I have a headache and I slept right through my alarm this morning, and all I want to do is sit here, surf the internets, and drink Upton's lemon berry tisane.

If you haven't written a book, or if you're one of the lucky writers who doesn't suffer the dread scourge of post-novel ennui (I understand there are a few), it's the state immortalized by Mr. Gorey in the immortal phrase quoted in this icon. (And if you are or want to be a writer, or you live with one, may I recommend Gorey's The Unstrung Harp as the ultimate guide to the care and feeding of same?) A state, more or less, of semi-complete mental and emotional exhaustion brought on by the rather profound cerebral exertion of finishing a book. (Which is not an easy thing to do. If you've ever had the experience of Finals Week, or writing a dissertation, finishing a novel is about the same thing. You wind up wandering around for about a week afterwards forgetting what you were saying in the middle of the sentence, sleeping too much, and putting the crackers away in the freezer.)

I am there now. It's a state comprised of a combination of restlessness, distractibility, and lethargy. And it can be shaken off or postponed, but the debt has to be paid. (Actually, I'm considering taking a crack at some more of that Dust proposal, because I know a bunch of it currently and if I get it done, that means I get to have an actual long-term collapse the sooner, rather than the measly week I have alloted myself now.


After that, my next deadline is April 1, a short novella for an SFBC anthology of space opera edited by Gardner Dozois, and then I have All the Windwracked Stars and Ink & Pen due in early November. I'm guessing the Dust deadline will be earlier than that--assuming Spectra buys it--because Undertow comes out in August and they seem to like to have the next book in hand when the previous one ships.


So, my tentative 2007 schedule, not counting short fiction publications:

Jan 15 - Deliver Dust proposal
April 1 - Deliver "Periastron."
May - New Amsterdam publication (I'm sure there will be galleys and things between now and then, of course)
July - Whiskey & Water publication
August - Undertow publication, deliver Dust
September - A Companion to Wolves publication
November 1 - Deliver Ink & Pen and All the Windwracked Stars
December 31 - I'd like to have "Bone & Jewel Creatures" done by then. 


  • Current Mood
    recumbent headachy
bear by san

Preliminary thoughts on Dust.

I probably will need an icon for this book, but so far nothing suggests itself. In any case, I'm thinking about the second scene, because I know what the second scene is, except I have a problem.

The problem is, I have two POVs it could be in, Rien or Percival. And both of them have things to recommend them. And so I am torn. On the horns of a dilemma, even. (Which is better than being on the horns of an analemma, let me tell you, but I digress.)

Please explain to me that I do not need to write another book in omniscient, even if it would be thematically useful?

I like these characters. I like them a lot. I think I like them better than I have liked any characters in a good long time.

Also, I'm really starting to repeat myself on this whole angel riff. What a weird thing for a non-Christian to get all hung up on.

Right. I guess I'll put it in Percival's POV, and see what I get.

writing literature vonnegut asshole

there's a dead girl's body by the railroad track, waiting for a train.

I am a very happy bear. I have a book to work on that's fun, for the first time in I dunno how long. It's like, fun! I open it up and type and words and story happen! And it's fun! And it gets all Gothic and worldbuildy and weird and there are words and I kind of like writing them!

It's freaking weird, I tell you.

I haven't had this much fun writing something since... oh, the first half of The Stratford Man.

Also, it keeps suggesting alternate titles for itself. Engine and Rule was one. Shipwreck Star was the other, which has this great classic 1960's Sargasso of Space/Cities in Flight kind of ring to it, I think, and may just wind up being the real title, after all. Except it sounds so much like a James Blish book I actually had to go check and make sure it wasn't one already.

Maybe I can use that as a chapter title, since it seems to want chapter titles.

Anyway. Man. I am so happy with this book. (Never fear. In a hundred pages or so I'm sure it will be sitting around the house in its undershorts scratching its groin under the beergut and I'll be shrieking at it to wipe the mustard out of its three-day beard and get a job, but for now, it's the sexiest book alive.)

Collapse )

Gothic. Yes.

I am pleased to note that apparently I can learn, as I am now working on chapter two and the old lessons of the tensioning expert--ESCALATE! ESCALATE! ESCALATE!--are ringing in my ears.

Man, I hope this stays fun for a while.