March 4th, 2012



*cheers*  *fanfare*  *confetti*

Plunge  magazine is fully funded!  The Kickstarter campaign is currently at $2000 raised of $2000 goal, with 55 hours left.  JOB CREATOR!  If you have not yet contributed but wish to do so, you still can; the fundraising page describes how any extra funds will be allocated, starting with issues 3-4.

Thank you all so much for your support and enthusiasm.  I am thrilled to see crowdfunding in action as a way to produce material that otherwise would not exist, or would be scattered afar instead of gathered into a convenient package.  Material that conventional markets often won't buy, or explicitly censor and refuse.  So what do we get?

Here's a summary from the home page, describing what readers will get in Plunge:

This ezine is being created by Ailelie. This ezine is being created for anyone else who is tired of not being able to find good genre short stories, poems, and articles about queer women.  Every issue of Plunge will feature queer women in a variety of genres and situations. Each issue will have its own theme (fairy tales, space colonies, thieves, pirate ships, under the sea, saloons, mannerpunk, mad scientists, etc) through which it will focus on queer women.  Issue one will launch in February 2013 on a not-yet-created official website. Issue two will come in the following August. Starting in 2014, the ezine will publish quarterly in February, May, August, and November.

Writers get that as a new paying market.  Submissions will open in July 2012.

What I'll get is ... a job!  *GLEE*  Ailelie wants me as the line editor, contingent on the funding that just reached its goal.  So this will be a regular, paying editorial gig.  While not full-time employment, it will be regular  income, which means it can be earmarked toward covering known expenses.  This is a huge help in a household budget.

I'll keep you posted as this project progresses.

Analyzing Presidential Candidates

SelectSmart offers a quiz that will compare your personal stance on important issues to the platform of presidential candidates.  You can then click through to get more information about any of them.

I am intrigued to see that Barack Obama actually makes a closer match than the Green Party candidate.  Wow.

1. Ideal Theoretical Candidate(100%) 
2. Barack Obama*(86%) 
3. Kent Mesplay*(77%) 
4. Joseph Biden(77%) 
5. Jill Stein*(72%) 
6. Stewart Alexander*(70%) 
7. Rocky Anderson*(44%) 
8. Ron Paul*(35%) 
9. Michael Bloomberg(33%) 
10. Gary Johnson*(30%) 
11. Buddy Roemer*(29%) 
12. Robby Wells*(26%) 
13. Jon Huntsman(25%) 
14. Newt Gingrich*(23%) 
15. Mitt Romney*(23%) 
16. Rick Santorum*(19%) 
17. Donald Trump(14%) 
18. Tim Pawlenty(13%) 
19. Rick Perry(11%) 
20. Herman Cain (11%) 
21. Michele Bachmann(5%) 

Design Fiction and Telling Worlds

This article presents the idea of design fiction.  It is described as "telling worlds, not stories."  It does not do that.  It tells products, not worlds.  This is also useful, but not at all the same thing. 

I would, however, be interested in exploring how the evolution of cyberspace as a transmission medium is changing the art of telling worlds -- the art of worldbuilding. 

For instance, my Poetry Fishbowl allows my audience to help me with worldbuilding.  Sometimes prompts come with specific worldbuilding points, or even links to articles.  In a bonus fishbowl, we concentrate on a single setting all day (or try to) and that gives the audience a lot of concentrated influence on development, especially if it happens toward the beginning of a series (as with Path of the Paladins and The Steamsmith).  I've started offering bonus material occasionally, such as character cast lists, for the popular series.  We'll see what people like.

Over on kajones_writing, I help the author with worldbuilding.  Mostly it's just prompts ... but her awesome credit system lets me create characters, create buildings, etc.  I also have a habit of looking at stories and extrapolating, "Okay, if this happens, then it implies the existence of either X or Y, because..."  I can also trade credits for bonus material that contains information on how a given world actually works. 

Then there's Torn World.  As a shared world, it pulls in contributors with many different talents; we have writers, artists, editors, crafters, etc.  We post not just fiction, poetry, and art but also articles about the world itself and how it works.  Supporters and contributors get to see some stuff that isn't available to the general public.  I believe that cyberspace is the natural environment of the shared world, what all previous versions were reaching toward.  It makes sharing the background material so much easier.  This is where "telling worlds" really takes off. 

All of these options have high appeal for people who love milieu fiction in which the setting acts as a main character.  You can see some of the different things that can be done with worldbuilding.  This stuff used to live in writers' desks and artists' studios, most of it never seeing the light of day.  Once in a while someone like Tolkien would come along, awesome enough that people would open up the archives after the author's death.  (Yes, mine are that elaborate too.)  But now it's feasible for creative folks to get online and share ... whatever it is that the audience likes enough to request or fund.  That can go anywhere you want it to.

Separation of Church and State

This article makes good points about the damage of religious doctrine.  However, I'm displeased that it responds to the problem of school violence with oppressive measures such as metal detectors and gun control.  All that does is disarm the victims and announce that the situation is wildly out of hand and unsafe.  If you want to stop school violence, you have to teach people to be rational and compassionate, and provide them with nonviolent means of solving their problems.  Anti-bullying programs, tolerance programs -- those make a big difference.  But few authorities approve because those same skills make people harder to deceive and dominate.  That's against the wishes of oppressors.  Sometimes, all sides of an issue act stupid.

Read "The Mind Palace Minotaur" by Moonvoice

I have known [personal profile] moonvoice as a brilliant artist for some time.  It turns out that she is also a brilliant writer ...

"The Mind Palace Minotaur" is a piece of Sherlock  fanfiction in progress.  The basic premise is that Sherlock Holmes experiences post-traumatic problems after the incident at the pool, but being Sherlock, they manifest in some unique ways. Some chapters are written from Sherlock's viewpoint, others from John's viewpoint, as they struggle to deal with these challenges and the impact on their everyday lives.

What makes this story breathtaking in its brilliance is the way that it conveys, in concrete and accessible terms, the subjective experience of living in a superbly intelligent mind ... and then suddenly having that mind betray you by tearing itself apart.  It is a horror story, more than a mystery or anything else: it belongs to the genre defined not by content but by mood.  For anyone who stakes their identity upon any aspect of mental prowess, such a precise and ruthless deconstruction is bound to be disturbing.  One can set aside the idea of being targeted by an arch-enemy, because it's unlikely for most folks; but there are so many quite ordinary ways of finding one's mind coming apart due to injury, age, illness, etc.  The more plausible a threat, the more frightening it can be.  And it takes a truly masterful writer to entice readers into such a horrific place, and keep them there, willingly, as the story plays out.

Go on.  Blow out the candle.  Step into the abyss.  

How Society Makes People Sick

This article is about defiance as a mental disorder.  Underneath, however, it's about how modern society makes people sick and then punishes them for being displeasing.  No safety or security are guaranteed: you only get food, shelter, clothing,  health care, and other survival needs if you can pay for them.  You are not guaranteed a job, or even the right to apply for a job; yet society demands that you have one and punishes you if you don't.  Lack of security makes people anxious and depressed.  People are then criticized and punished for that too.  They are criticized and punished for objecting to how things are or suggesting that things should be different.  And if they want to leave?  Leaving the country is ever more difficult, and requires the permission of another receiving country.  Suicide is illegal.

I am frequently reminded of how an abusive spouse smacks the victim around, claims to be in love, and insists that leaving is impossible.