Monthly Archives: January 2015

Iron Elephants and Electric Bicycles

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ElecBikeSmMy Early Dreamers reading is getting past the easy stuff. In the category of Invasion Literature, I am not only getting out of English language works or translations to English, I’m getting down to the nasty stuff: racism and genocide. What else can you call it when Jack London heroically describes the annihilation by bio-warfare of the entire Chinese race, and the hunting down of the few survivors?

Elsewhere, we have “Capt. Danrit” with his “thousands of white pages soiled day after day by a national hero of France” (he was killed early in WW1, 21 February 1916), who cranked out more patriotic victory before the war than anyone else from 1888 to his death in battle. His novels are just huge, and he dumped them out like some Franco-military Barbara Cartland. Read the rest of this entry

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Dragonflies and Bumblebees

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31DecDragonflyThis flight of fancy, with its vibrating set of wings for propulsion, reminds me of the Japanese “bumblebee” fliers in H. G. Wells’ 1908 The War in the Air (tons of invention, badly written, with a lead character less of a protagonist and more an accidental point of view). Of course, the bumblebees were mounted and ridden like a flying motorcycle, where this is bigger and more conventional. “Flying mounts” rather than “flying carriages” have long appealed to us, as something closer to being winged ourselves, or at least riding Pegasus: they appear in 1827 in The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century by Jane Loudon. However, this one appeared in the December 1931 issue of Popular Science Monthly, p.63. Mad science had not deserted aeronautics after all!

Japanese Time

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OldJpnsTime

On some levels, I love history for the same reason I love speculative fiction: those wonderful moments that make the brain go “tilt.”

Working on the new Names book, I was going through Koop and Inada, or Japanese names and how to read them: a manual for art-collectors and students, being a concise and comprehensive guide to the reading and interpretation of Japanese proper names both geographical and personal as well as of dates and other formal expressions (1922) Now, when you think about it, this ought to be obvious, but who ever stops to think that the Japanese had their own means of telling time, and it wasn’t a 12/24 hour thing.

So for those of you writing in Old Japan, here’s the reference you desperately needed, whether you knew it or not. And just so it’s all in one place, here’s the page on measures used, too.

OldJpnsMeasure

Time to Prioritize

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On my common topic of writing revision, consider this …

Is it time you revised your writing game plan?

Thanks to an overactive imagination and too little time, I have way too many “projects” on hold, from individual short stories to series of novels.

Sure, they get shopped around, but if you hadn’t noticed, most publishers have slush piles that feed into wormholes. You send them the properly formatted manuscript with return postcard for arrival notification, as well as the return envelope with all that postage on it, and you never hear a thing again.

This especially applies when you send a proper synopsis and three opening chapters, and have them contact you, asking to see the entire manuscript which has really interested them. Wahoo, right? Right into the wormhole, to emerge as a stream of sub-atomic particles on the other side of the universe. So I wait a year, send ticklers, and get ignored.

But the point is, NaNoWriMo is over, and it’s time to think about one more novel in the stack.
Read the rest of this entry