Why You Don’t Like Rebel Moon

Dan Brown published his The Da Vinci Code in 2003. Many people found it a thrilling page-turner. Fast-paced plot? Yep. Code-breaking puzzles? You bet. Art, religion, and conspiracy? In there too. It became a best-seller, spawning a Hollywood adaptation starring Tom Hanks. In 1965, Frank Herbert published Dune. It was arguably both groundbreaking and intricate, with McMassive world-building, political intrigue, and (well before we woke up to the need) eco-warrior themes. It’s regarded as a classic, also cranking out a (fucken superb) Hollywood adaptation (in three parts, two of which we’re still waiting for, Denis!). Blade Runner, one of my all-time favourite cyberpunk movies, and arguably what started me on the path to write Chromed: Upgrade, hit the streets in 1982. It’s a Ridley Scott masterpiece, with deeply thought-provoking and often disturbing themes, dystopian atmosphere, and (lest we forget) Harrison Read More …

It’s Time to Talk About that Pile of Shame

Without wanting to be a Debbie Downer on your recent-and-hopefully-delightful vacation, many of you are facing a cost of living crisis. I had a reader email me and say (I paraphrase), “I’m not going to start reading your Tyche series because it’s just so many books and I can’t afford that.” Ignoring the inherent logical pitfall here (where, if you’re going to pay for something, there’s no pro or con to standalone vs. series – i.e., the price is the same for either a) a trilogy or b) three standalones), it does shine a light on where people are at emotionally. People are feeling fairly fucked by the economy. There may be a way to survive 2024 with more of your dollars intact, though. Ownership can create an emotional attachment and increase the perceived value of something (the endowment effect). Read More …

ProWritingAid: Much Awesome

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned how much I dig ProWritingAid. It’s a service like Grammarly, but has the opportunity to get it as a subscription or perpetual license (and we know my love for perpetual licensing). Mary let me know they’ve upgraded the perpetual license to include AI critiques, so I ran it over a chunk of The Copper Bard. What’s kind of useful about these tools is the “I don’t care about your ego” style of response. The machine on the other side of the analysis isn’t concerned with how I feel; it just helps make the story to be better. Points 1 & 3 of Potential Improvements components are addressed elsewhere in the book. Point 2 is difficult in the selected chapter because Tarragon is alone, in an underground dungeon, and all the people she might have dialogue Read More …

Agency and The Creator’s Better AI Vision

A friend of mine said, “Richard, tech companies just want to be a low-level tax on humanity.” Let’s hold that in mind. We watched The Creator recently. This is Gareth Edwards’ latest sci-fi megahit, where our hero Joshua (in a stand-out performance by John David Washington) shepherds little girl Alphie on a quest to save the world. What’s important is that Joshua is on the side of the good guys, fighting against AI, and Alphie is a Simulant, an AI chassis with the face of a human girl, and on the side of the bad guys. In Edwards’ near-future world, AI are the villains that nuked Los Angeles, and all right-minded people should be upset about them. AI aren’t people, they’re just programming, and we should bury the machines. Except. The Creator does some spectacular things with storytelling, and Edwards Read More …

Ochre vs Gold

The Splintered Land stories started with Geneve’s quest to save the world, which (spoilers!) she managed with great success! There was a cost, which sucked, but we’re now re-visiting the same world sixteen years later to see whether it was worth it. The bedrock of the Splintered Land are its people. We met four main races in the original trilogy. Part of my exploration with the story is persecution and xenophobia. The long-lived People, for example, are better at just about everything, which put them on the firing line from, well, just about everyone. You’d think a species on the sharp end of discrimination would understand it well enough to not practice that bullshit, but no. I explore some of this in the upcoming trilogy (starting with The Copper Bard). A returning character from The Splintered Land is Sight of Read More …

Things we’ll laugh about in five years

Our cat Harry went missing. It’s fine, he’s back now, but it’s the how that really shows how awesome people are. Harry is adventurous … to a fault. He’s a black tom, entirely too sure of himself, and doesn’t understand the difference between mine and also mine (formerly: yours). Because the cat loves sleeping on his head and eating, in that order, without more than a three-hour break between each cycle, when he was gone for a day and a night we knew something was up. I printed out around 200 flyers and dropped them to all our neighbours. I encouraged neighbours to look in their sheds, garages, and under house areas, because we’d had hellacious wind and a curious cat could easily have wandered somewhere to get accidentally shut in. This was the right thing to do. Within a Read More …

The Triumph of Uniqueness

Geneve’s original trilogy (starting with Blade of Glass) was built on the idea that we are better when we work together. I’d penned the series when I noticed the dark trend of social and regular media megacorps juicing us together just to get the clicks. Her story was set in a world much like ours, and not too far in the future. We couldn’t stop hating each other, and so everyone died. Why she and her fellow Tresward Knights survived was because they are absolute badasses. The whole trilogy is a collection of badassery, where people can summon the power of the gods through perfect sword strikes, or a broken-down illusionist can change reality if he’s willing to put it all on the line (yes, Meriwether, I’m looking at you). My upcoming trilogy (starting with The Copper Bard) is still Read More …

The Things Editing Teaches You, version 274

I’ve got a new trilogy coming out soon*, which means I’ve been in the editing house of horror. My friend Cassie and I used to have divergent views on editing, where her position was, “Editing makes the book better!” and my position was, “I’d rather sand my hands than edit.” She is, as it happens, correct 🤣 My normal editing process involves a read-through, then a read-aloud. I’m looking to extend the read-aloud into the audiobook edition of the book, but the base minimum is to get the machine to read the manuscript for me. After this it gets farmed out to beta readers, then the editor. Here’s what I’ve learned this time: If this post amused you, consider hopping on my mailing list, where you’ll no doubt here hear more about my failings as a writer in the weeks Read More …

Early morning cats

Sometimes the insomnia isn’t all bad. I get to catch up on cat time and Spider-Man 2. Obviously, no one wants me to get up for breakfast just yet.