Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel Podcast and Woman of Steel Fundraiser

Today's offering is a twofer of links:

Firstly, the first-ever one-man Consumed Podcast. Because Nat is on set and Max is in California, I ventured alone to Man of Steel. It's a shorter episode than usual, where I have to go give it up for Snyder and Cavill outperforming my expectations. There's also a short Spoiled segment at the end, arguing against the film's one major misstep. I can't spoil what that is, though, unless you listen.

This episode is dedicated to Vira Gunn, our second link. Vira is a wonderful young woman who I've had the privilege of knowing since I was in high school. She has struggled with serious health problems for much of her life and fought through every one of them. But recently her neurological disorder mounted and she suffered a catastrophic shunt failure, requiring three surgeries in three weeks. It's wiped out her savings, her family can't afford to visit her, and she is in far too much pain to deal with this.
Because I've known her for over a decade, I can vouch that this cause is very real. You should not have to stay up worrying about money when the nurses are demanding you sleep post-op. I have been stranded without financial help post-op and it bankrupted me. She does not deserve this. We can help her.

So if you can donate anything, it's welcome. She has a PayPal account set up right on her Tumblr. If you can't afford anything right now, you can tweet this, share this on Facebook or Google+ or Reddit or wherever the internet is found.

Thank you for reading, and listening. I hope you enjoy the podcast.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: No More Starlight

She can't paint. She can't imagine what she'd paint. She can't imagine which side to start from, what stroke or shade to apply, or what to feel. All that's making her heart rattle is other people's feelings, hypothetical reactions to creations she's too afraid to try. The world is prying the roof off her house and reaching in to strangle her imagination.

There is only one thing to do on foggy nights like this.

She visits the door of her one-room apartment. It is closed. She opens it as deliberately as you can open a door. She closes it as deliberately as –
-          not as deliberately as you could,
-          not as deliberately as Pierre-August Renoir could,
-          not as deliberately as Corinne Vionnet could,
-          not as deliberately as the unmatchable and far too young Amy Shackleton could,
– her Freshman art teacher could, but explicitly and precisely as deliberately as she could. This makes the world go away so quickly that she leaves the drapes open.

Leaves losing shades into a singular dark green, and then to utter silhouette. They waver against the overcast sky, some clouds thickening, grey on grey violence hiding where the moon might be rising. No starlight to bother her, and soon no grey-on-grey, only a thing that feels black. Her windowpanes become plastic white outlines on a ceaseless void.

There is no lamplight. There is no starlight. No cars backfire, no distant bridges cajole, and there are no stars in the sky because they are all too far away to reach her. To reach here. The world goes away. Her apartment doesn't rest on it; she lives on her own asteroid hurtling through a private bit of space. Would Renoir have liked The Next Generation?

Space abides no sound. It abides no neighbors, no debtors, no family angry at her for things she never wanted or intended to do with her adulthood. Her little apartment and perfect studio is so far away from any celestial body that gravity has to give up, and with it, the weight of all things social drifts and evaporates. A physiological metaphor plays across her shoulders and she feels that lift that's supposed to be cliché and that is actually so welcome it stirs tears. She dabs at them with a paintbrush, because then –
-          then she can stalk up to the canvas and look it in the eyes she's yet to birth.
-          then she can work without thinking of the verb.
-          then she can sleep the way the verb out to work.
– then she can open the door and face the world. She paints the knob first. It'll be avocado green.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Superman has no weaknesses except…

…red suns, and apparently any freaking red lamp put together by a two-bit prodigy.
…the umpteen other Last Kryptonians Alive.
…the hundreds of other characters, non-Kryptonian and still depicted as equal or greater in strength.
…mind control.
…nanobots and other pesky SciFi infections.
…declining ad rates. He is a newsman, after all.
…really, really sharp things, of which the DC Universe has a questionable abundance.
…the villain-of-the-week who beats him up to seem formidable when facing other heroes.
…constantly being outsmarted despite spending all his time thinking about crisis management.
…bad writing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Wolfman Op-Ed

To any well-meaning bodies at NASA,

Ever since humanity grew tired of hunting down werewolves for sport and pretended to give us human rights, it's been suggested that we ought to play our role. To do our part. To contribute to man's world. The most recent evidence of this thinking is a suggestion at the TED Talks that we go into space where more mortal man has difficulty. This is a plainly racist presumption.

To be a werewolf is to suffer the curse of immortality. I myself still attempt to take my life on an annual basis even though I can't. Do you think this makes me durable? Well immortality is not invincibility. And just as I feel the sting of the knife, so I would feel my ass freezing off in the depths of space.

Have you ever seen one of us transform? It's hard on the wardrobe. Any space suit is going to rip and then you turn us into immortal ice cubes floating around the Sea of Tranquility.

What galls me is the suggestion that we're doing this because we're forgiven. The proposal acts like we're supposed to be happy to get a supply of oxygen. Suffocating and starving still suck even if they don't kill you, and there's no guarantee all of us won't wolf out on the shuttle or on the surface. Trust me that when you arrive expecting me to have built a space station, my hairy ass will have been in no mood to greet you.

On behalf of the damned among you: we politely decline.

Jonathan Talbot

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

True Stories of John: Tree Gunner

A few weeks ago Myke Cole ran a polite little contest. In order to teach people the trigger discipline that gunners so seldom display in movies and television, he picked up an umbrella and showed it. Your finger ought to be above the guard, and if there's a stock, it should go in the crease or pit of your arm.
Myke Cole. Three tours in Iraq, one tour of the laundry room.
Cole then invited anyone who take up any object around their house and demonstrate such caution. Any object other than a gun. I enjoyed his lesson so much that I went outside to practice.

But my first choice didn't feel ambitious enough. Anyone can aim a sapling.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Werewolves on the Moon

If it is a curse from God, then it is for humanity to forgive. We can give them a better and brighter future, and they can send down a ladder so that we may climb up after them.

It's been their antagonist for millennia. Yet wolfsbane cannot grow there, and most of its surface is absent of silver deposits. Our engineers suggest there is no real moonrise in space, and so they ought not to turn, especially not in a shuttle without windows.

The bounty will arrive upon landing, for once a werewolf stands on the moon, he will not ever again see it rise or set in full. There will be no further changes or demonic impulses. They are cursed to live eternal, but they will live eternal as men and women. There is no howling on the moon itself.

If their immortality is so great that they cannot take their own lives, then can they suffocate? If not, then they can live on the surface as they erect our way stations. If they can, then we will support them, sending as much air as they will need for years.

Despite their legendary appetite, we know werewolves cannot starve themselves to death. Too many wretched souls have tried. Thus they will require no food as they become the explorers, the miners, and the maintenance crews for the stations that will erect our shuttles to Mars and beyond. They'll never have to leave the moon, and play a hand in the culture that grows there as it becomes the first stop in interplanetary travel.

One great experiment, too: to see what changes in the breast of man when he sees a full in earth his sky.

And for the dissenting opinion...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What I'm Learning from Beta Reading

If Sundays are going to become the lit corner on The Bathroom Monologues, then I might as well start with the book I've been hammering at all week. I'm fully editing Last House in the Sky, hoping to have a sparkling draft before ReaderCon in July. Four beta readers turned in fully marked up manuscripts, fewer than I was counting on, but these four did thorough and wonderful jobs.

I cheated on this novel, soliciting an alpha reader to let me know if the whole things too nuts. It's about thieves trying to steal a flying city from a cult, with a backdrop of dinosaurs and hungry robots, so there was the slim chance that it wouldn't make sense. My alpha was enthusiastic, and luckily the betas have agreed that running with my love of The Weird works. I'm considering running the very brief first chapter as a Friday Flash some time.

I'm not tired. I could write longer.

If you want it, I'll write about how the revisions process is going. It's been surprisingly fun so far, when I'm not shaking. But today I'd like to chat about what I'm learning from my betas, both about them and myself. All my old convictions remain true: a spread of specialties and interests among betas helps, you need people who will call you out, and there really is nothing as good as getting multiple betas to laugh at the same line.
Counter est. March 2, 2008