imagination

The Big Friendly Giant and Seed of Creativity

Steven Spielberg is making a movie of The Big Friendly Giant. (squee)

The BFG was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.  It is hard to explain how much this book means to me. 

I grew fast.  I was almost always the tallest kid in my class.  When I read this book for the first time, I found two characters I could identify with, but so much more than that, I found a world that I wanted to spend more time in.  I pretended I was the giant, and acted out not only scenes from the book, but I invented new ones.

When I was in the third grade, I volunteered to write our class play, and of course, I based it on The BFG.  It was the first thing I ever wrote.  I even starred as the BFG, and I directed the play.  I even set up a foley artist (though I didn't know that word at the time) to do sound effects off stage.

This is one of those books that had such an effect on my life that I can say I would be who I am or doing what I do without it.

Igniting your child's imagination

Books like this one have a special power over our imaginations.  They are important for children, but in many ways, they are even more important for adults.

Somewhere along the way, many of us are taught to stop playing, stop using our imagination.  We are all lessened by this.  Imagination and play are tools to not only help us relax, but also to grapple with abstract concepts and work over problems in different ways.  Play is important.

I plan to see The BFG when it comes out, and I hope it awakens parts of me that went dormant long ago.  What reawakens your sense of childlike wonder and play?  If you can't think of something, what are you going to do to try to bring it back?

The really real reason why science fiction is dying

Speed Reading Class
Image by iBjorn via Flickr

Paul Jessup thinks he knows why Science Fiction is dying:

Heinlien. Asimov.  At the latest, Orson Scott Card (but mostly just for Ender’s Game). I don’t see anyone ever looking for something new...

This is why SF is spiraling downward in sales. It’s fans just aren’t buying it anymore. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, etc. so I don’t mind that it’s popular and selling. But some part of me wonders- is SF meant to be kept in the past? Is that why Steampunk is so popular right now, because it’s an emulation of the past? I’m not sure. But this is a problem (Paul Jessup).

Is classicism the problem?  Well, it is part of it, but it is only one of many.

Lessons Lost

The biggest problem SF has is that the industry didn't learn from the New Wave SF of the 60's and 70's.  These authors, most notably Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, didn't allow themselves to be constrained by the limits of industry enforced genre.  There stories were a little bit science, a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror.  The incorporated whatever they thought they needed into their stories to make them good.

Genre has become increasingly rigid.  Publishers forgot that Speculative Fiction is the literature of the imagination.  It once explored the question, "What if" without any limits save those of the author's imagination.  As the genres stiffened, sales have continued to go down.

Lack of Imagination

This genre lock is not the only problem facing SF.  Have you seen any of the marketing for new fiction?  No?  You are not alone.

If a new classic is published and no one knows about it, will it make any sales?  Yes, among the author's friends and family.  That is about it.

Publishers and authors need to find new ways to generate excitement about new titles, but that is not enough.  Fans need to find better venues to share and spread the word about their favorite new books.

Bless me, for I have sinned

I have to admit that I really haven't read any new books in a long time.  With the exception of Night's Knights, Brave Men Run, and Burning Skies.  These don't count because I read them after meeting the authors.  I also don't count the Harry Potter books or franchise fiction.  Personally, I find it too hard to find new books to read.

As a writer, I feel like I am confessing a mortal sin.  I want to read more, but I am not sure where to find new books.

I've thought about reviewing books myself, but I don't feel like I have the time to wade through the weeds to find the books.

So, I ask you.  Where do you find out about new books?  How can we promote SF books better?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The really real reason why science fiction is dying

Speed Reading Class
Image by iBjorn via Flickr

Paul Jessup thinks he knows why Science Fiction is dying:

Heinlien. Asimov.  At the latest, Orson Scott Card (but mostly just for Ender’s Game). I don’t see anyone ever looking for something new...

This is why SF is spiraling downward in sales. It’s fans just aren’t buying it anymore. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, etc. so I don’t mind that it’s popular and selling. But some part of me wonders- is SF meant to be kept in the past? Is that why Steampunk is so popular right now, because it’s an emulation of the past? I’m not sure. But this is a problem (Paul Jessup).

Is classicism the problem?  Well, it is part of it, but it is only one of many.

Lessons Lost

The biggest problem SF has is that the industry didn't learn from the New Wave SF of the 60's and 70's.  These authors, most notably Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, didn't allow themselves to be constrained by the limits of industry enforced genre.  There stories were a little bit science, a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror.  The incorporated whatever they thought they needed into their stories to make them good.

Genre has become increasingly rigid.  Publishers forgot that Speculative Fiction is the literature of the imagination.  It once explored the question, "What if" without any limits save those of the author's imagination.  As the genres stiffened, sales have continued to go down.

Lack of Imagination

This genre lock is not the only problem facing SF.  Have you seen any of the marketing for new fiction?  No?  You are not alone.

If a new classic is published and no one knows about it, will it make any sales?  Yes, among the author's friends and family.  That is about it.

Publishers and authors need to find new ways to generate excitement about new titles, but that is not enough.  Fans need to find better venues to share and spread the word about their favorite new books.

Bless me, for I have sinned

I have to admit that I really haven't read any new books in a long time.  With the exception of Night's Knights, Brave Men Run, and Burning Skies.  These don't count because I read them after meeting the authors.  I also don't count the Harry Potter books or franchise fiction.  Personally, I find it too hard to find new books to read.

As a writer, I feel like I am confessing a mortal sin.  I want to read more, but I am not sure where to find new books.

I've thought about reviewing books myself, but I don't feel like I have the time to wade through the weeds to find the books.

So, I ask you.  Where do you find out about new books?  How can we promote SF books better?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Kudos Maine Office of Tourism Featuring Cryptozoology

The Main Office of Tourism website gets a tip of the hat today for featuring the International Cryptozology Museum on their site (Maine Office of Tourism website).

icm_map_local1They did this without any approach from the museum, and we find this encouraging in terms of our efforts to elevate the public educational mission of the museum, as a gateway to adventure and scientific exploration for tourists, travelers, and Maine residents.

It’s always nice to see the main stream engage in adventures of imagination and mystery recognizing that need in all of us.

It’s important for those state and public resource site to not only feature the touristy places, theme parks, commercial centers but also the more abstract cultural spots as well.

Kudos!

(via Cryptomundo)

Myth Makers

All well written Speculative Fiction tales are a part of the fabric of the new mythology.  This is true whether the author meant it or not.  Every story we see/hear/watch is unconsciously compared to the stories we live by.  If the new story aligns with, adds to, alters, or changes that story, it has become a part of an individual's personal mythology.  Simply calling something myth or mythos does not make it so.  Only when that alchemy occurs and the story is adopted by others does the story become myth.

Pure Mythology

While that may sound pretentious or mystifying, it is, in fact, a plain statement of fact:  Pure mythology...

  • is fiction that gives the reader/viewer a true experience of being alive.
  • is drawn from the archetypal well of dream that invests meaning into the text.
  • is written in such a way that it connects with the reader to impart clues to understanding profound mysteries.

Any writer who truly engages their imagination in the creation of their work does all three of these things, often without conscious thought or action to do so.

When a writer or artist is set free of commercial and popular demands, and allowed to penetrate and explore their own creative vision, the result can be pure unencumbered art.  The more corporate the art of writing becomes, the less interesting, and true the result.

Many fans are tired of the homogenized work that is becoming more and more common in the industry.  We do not need another company driven by profit margins, or another author whose self-important propaganda obscures the art.  We need writers and artists that love what they are doing.  That is why we are here.  We are looking for something better.

Return of the Cultural Cycle

mythos Project: Shadow Manifesto As we discussed in the Project: Shadow Manifesto, In the era before copyright, "stories, heroes, melodies, and lyrics belonged to the people.  Stories were told, and retold.  Numerous visions of each story competed against each other.  The best were remembered, collected, retold, embellished, and built upon.  The rest were forgotten."

Stories used to have to fight for the attention and memory of  the populous.  Now they fight for the attention of an editor or producer who is often more interested in making a quick buck than telling a great story.  But things are changing!

The advent of the internet and the various methods of print on demand have opened up the floodgates for anyone to publish a story, movie, or song that wants too.  We are returning to the old survival of the fittest model but with one major difference.  We lack the common space for this free exchange of stories to take place.

Only a small fraction of YouTube's traffic searches for the video they watch.  Most rely on others.  And when it comes to text or audio, where do you go to find what you are looking for.  The chance of discovery has increased, but so have the odds against being able to find something new.

For the vital role of the Cultural Cycle to return, we have to discover new and better ways to enable discovery of the new stories.

Copyright, not the only problem

Each generation must retell the tales of the preceding generations in their own context to keep them relevant.  This cycle has been broken by copyright, but this is not the only problem facing us.

  • We are not teaching writers to create lasting works.
  • We have not made it easy to find these works.
  • We have not made it easy to share these works.
  • We have yet to find a way for these to writers to easily make a living from their work without repeating the problems of the past.

And there is one last problem, and its a big one:

Marketing Mythos

The word “Myth” has become a marketing term.

It has gotten so bad that people have started rebelling against the very notion of myth making, assuming it is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

We have to fight this trend and realize that myths are just the stories that give our live a sense of meaning and purpose.  Without them, life is dreary hollow place.  To quote the Manifesto again:

We need writers and artists that love what they are doing.

We need fans who are not afraid to speak their minds.

We need places in our towns/cities and online where we can meet and share the few gems that we find from the industry and from the independent artist, writers, and filmmakers who are still following their bliss rather than the dollar.

Now we need to look at what a myth really is, and how we can spread them easily.

Project:Shadow 2007 December Newsletter

Hey everyone!

Are you concerned about keeping up to date on the latest Speculative Fiction, Culture, and Tech news? Would you like to talk with other like minded fans of sci-fi fantasy and horror? Then join us at the Project Shadow HQ at  http://hq.projectshadow.com/where you can share with us your favorite finds or talk about your latest fascination. The conversation is here!

 

KILLER REVIEW  

***Eric received a great write up for his novel Legends of the Jade Moon Book One: Liquid Sky here is an excerpt for your enjoyment.

Downwarden com Review by Nick Crabowsky

...What we have here is indeed science fiction ala Dune, though less detailed but just as vividly portrayed. Dorsett deserves praise for the execution of a story less intimidating for one more inclined to read other genres which require far less brain power to understand, breaks through those barriers and develops a narrative which renders a glossary needless and pretty much explains itself as is without asserting its vast mythology in explanatory rhetoric.

I enjoyed the damn thing. I think C.E. Dorsett is one powerhouse of imagination, inspired obviously by the greats of his craft. Liquid Sky is full of mysticism and spirituality, of themes centered on the search for one’s inner self and the meaning of the universe around him, where a youthful monk with adopted parents finds himself catapulted into an interstellar journey fueled by the death of the one he called Father and driven at odds by the results of saving him, by mysterious truth-sayers who aren’t what they seem and personal intuition telling him he’s destined to amount to something greater than himself and the savior of worlds. Ianus’ adventures and intrigue are entertaining and don’t smother us in the sort of over-explanation I’d read in other novels like this one. Liquid Sky is an extremely intelligent, very readable and delightful piece of work, and I’m glad to recommend it...

 

A TEASER

***  We at Project:Shadow have been working hard on completing PROJECT X.  We hope to have an announcement later in the month with a date when project X will go live.  For now all I can advise is to check back regularly for updates.  All that I am allowed to tell you is that Project X is an entire site rework that will bring some really cool things to the community.

 

# 1

***Black Moon Rising is out and is a top seller at amazon.  We want to thank all of the members who have already got their copy of the latest installment in C. E. Dorsett's series Fates Harrow.  If you haven't already got your copy then visit www.ProjectShadow.com/shopping.  

Get your one stop holiday shopping with us at Project:Shadow.  We set up a store so that you can get your holiday shopping done in one stop, stores include Amazon, Hot Topic, and Sharper Image.  We also have cool t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise available.

 

WACHA WATCHING

***Share your favorite video clip with the group:  We now have 112 videos available to members at the ProjectShadow HQ at http://hq.projectshadow.com/.  Its a great way to share your great finds with everyone and also a great way to catch the coolest, neatest new videos that are out.

 

MOON SPOTTING

***Brian posted a review of the Story Black Moon Rising here is a copy of it.

Wow! This is a great story!   5 stars (must own)

The story picks up from where we left off with Adir Radd in the hospital tortured by his visions of the future. I was caught up in Adir’s haunting vision.  It is written so viscerally I could almost hear the screams and smell the stink coming off of the battle field. This heart felt tale took me through the events and choices that led Dov Lavan to become the famed villain I knew him to be from reading Liquid Sky: Legends of the Jade Moon http://astore.amazon.com/projectshadow/detail/0595369162/.  The choices and motivations of Dov were very compelling. Reading his tale turned him into a compassionate and sad character. I could empathize with his frustrations and found myself thinking that if I were caught up in the same situation I would probably make the same choices. The conclusion was extremely rewarding even though I knew how the story would end I still found myself shocked, surprised and brought to tears with a beautiful, rewarding ending. To be cliché for a minute I literally laughed, cringed and cried while reading this.

Dark Moon Rising is the second installment of C. E. Dorsett’s Fates Harrow series which covers three historical characters in the Barren’s End setting. Their tale was first told in the book Liquid Sky: Legends of the Jade Moon but from the Jade Moon’s perspective.

In this episode Dov Lavan fears loosing his friends and culture, longing to save the ones he cares about he takes on a new master who promises to help him lead his people into a safer future. Dov rises to power, forming a new group, encouraging others to join him and stand for freedom. But, his childhood friends Tien Shaa and Adir Radd are concerned with the fire in Dov’s rhetoric, so they set out to try and stop the coming war.

We Love Net Flix!  We have been a member of Netflix for more than five years now and it is great!  Before that we would spend one to three hours in the video store every Friday looking and trying to decide what video we wanted to rent (a large chunk of this time was spent trying to remember what videos were out that we wanted to see), spend all that money on the rentals, and then have to go through the hassle of trying to watch and return the video so that we would not get charged a late fee.  This terrible experience was flipped with Netflix.  Now we have a list of videos that we want to see set up.  Whenever we see a trailer for a movie or show that we want to rent we just add it to our list and when it gets released to dvd about a year latter the video just arrives!  Now every week we get excited waiting for the mail to arrive so that we can see what new videos arrive.  We watch them when we get time to watch them.  Then when we are done watching it (in some cases this can take several weeks to accomplish partially due to some hectic event that takes up all of our time and in some situations it's because we end up watching it over and over again) we just drop it in the mail.  If you don't already use Netflix then go to www.ProjectShadow.com and get your videos today!  

 

PS INFORMANT

***Listen Live, daily, to our new podcast Project:Shadow Informant:  We are doing a live podcast Monday through Friday at 1:30 est on talk shue http://rurl.org/a8j.  You can also subscribe to the podcast by going to www.ProjectShadowInformant.com.  On the Project:Shadow Informant we cover news and topics related to the speculative fiction culture.  Its great fun and a nice way to keep up as per what is going on, join us!

Help support Project:Shadow and get your holiday shopping done at the same time!  Visit our store at www.projectshadow.com/shop/.  From there you can get anything from am azon, Lucas arts, Star Trek, Sharper Image, Hot Topic, Emusic, and your very own Project Shadow Merchandise.

 

What is on YOUR mind

***Have you shared with us your latest comments?  We now have over 60 forum topics up on the HQ.  If you have a forum topic that you would love to share with the group then go to the HQ and add them!  Comments are also back up in the Project Shadow Symposium.  Members may now put comments on any blog post that we post in the symposium.  You will need to use your Project Shadow HQ log in id to have access to the comment ability.  To read the blog posts go to www.ProjectShadow.com/symposium

Thank you for your interest! Supporting Project:Shadow helps us to bring you more and better content! Your support can take a variety of forms like doing your Amazon shopping http://www.projectshadow.com/shop/index.htm through us or making a donation http://www.projectshadow.com/supportus/index.htm! Read our support us page http://www.projectshadow.com/supportus/index.htm for more information and programs.

 

Eric

Project:Shadow

http://hq.projectshadow.com/

www.ProjectShadow.com

www.BarrensEnd.com