Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Blade for Monsters Part 4

Voidguards are all the same.
Kentaris stepped back, snapping her knife up. “What do you mean, exactly?”
The Voidguard’s face was a solemn mask. “By the Covenant of the Church of Creation, within the Holy City of Amarantopolis I cannot permit a witch to live.” He pressed his lips together. “Leave now, and I shall pursue this no further.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” she said.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Blade for Monsters Part 3

Beringer blinked. The demon zipped to the next target and fired a black spike, smashing clean through her chest. The spike retracted just as fast, creating a vortex of soul energy that disappeared into the Void.
The third witch spun around, popping off rounds at it. The demon laughed, appeared next to him and spiked his face. The witch’s head vanished in a pyrotechnic cloud.
Beringer swore, sent forth a trickling of his soul into the Void and stopped the clock.
“O-ho! You have some tricks, mortal man!”
The Greater Demon sauntered from behind a gravestone, walking nonchalantly towards Beringer. This close, he could finally make out its form. It had taken on the shape of a mortal man, wearing a black button-up jacket and matching pants, with black gloves and knee-length boots. He was...the boy he had seen earlier.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Blade for Monsters Part 2

Modern technology was a wonderful thing. During the daylight hours Beringer planted tiny glasses around the necropolis, rigging them to alert him when they spotted motion. As the necropolis closed, he hid himself away inside an unused mausoleum and waited for nightfall.
The taint of the Void was upon this place. Flowers lay scattered on the flow, shriveled and brown. The hexagram on the wall was scratched and faded. The tombs were empty; scuff marks around them revealed that they had been opened recently. He scattered a generous handful of powdered aetherium on the floor and the sign, and retraced the hexagram with his finger. Light poured forth from the symbol, clearing away the corruption in the room.
He found a comfortable spot, set his telecrystal on the floor, and waited.

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Blade for Monsters Part 1

Alan Beringer had learned the hard way never to assume he had seen everything. It was perhaps the only reason he managed to hang on to his breakfast.
The bodies, or what was left of them, were scattered across the hall. In the middle of the aisle was a heavily-gnawed arm, the flesh only mostly stripped. Too many legs and too few torsos piled up in a corner. Unidentifiable gibs hung from the chandelier, dripping putrefied slime. Lying on the steps of the sanctuary, the remains of an old man awaited, arms and legs spread wide apart, his soft tissue chewed off. On the pulpit was his head, or what was left of it.
“Demons,” Beringer said. “Most definitely demons.”

Friday, June 15, 2018

Pulp Doesn't Revive Itself: Support The Culture You Want To See

We've got to create the culture that we want to enjoy, and that means backing those willing to put themselves out there. While that does mean spreading the word, ultimately it comes down to putting either your money or your skin where your mouth is. I understand if you're having to pinch your pennies, but if you can't put your money down then you can find a way to contribute otherwise; I can write, so I'm putting skin down instead and throwing my hat into the ring. Below is an excerpt of what I put out on my writing blog last Friday.

I'm taking a big step today. Today I launch my first crowd-funding campaign for my debut novel.

Head on over to my Freestartr page today, where you will find the campaign page live and awaiting your pledge of support. I don't have much to offer in terms of backer awards, as one would expect of someone starting out; I can't become someone that can do that sort of thing down the road if you don't trust me to deliver on my modest offerings now.

So what do I offer you?

If you haven't been keeping up, this is my #StarWarsNotStarWars AND my #AGundamForUs contributions, something I'm writing with as much inspiration from the East and the West, from the Pulps as from Medieval and Ancient epics, and played straight and sincere. If you want a hero that John Carter would be proud of, come put your money down for my space knight-errant and his adventures in a galaxy full of wonder and peril. No ponderous, plodding, bloated door-stoppers here: just slim, lithe page-turners like E.E. Smith and Robert E. Howard used to write.

I promise you Action! Romance! Giant Robot Combat! Space battleships pounding each other in engagements full of passion and valor, villains whose evil will make you love to hate them, and a heroine who is every bit the Deja Thoris to my John Carter, my Clarissa MacDougal to my Kimbal Kinneson. Some may not make it to the end, but nihilism and despair have no place in Galactic Christendom, so you'll find no such rob-the-reader endings here.

We've got a good core of solid folks now willing and able to produce the stuff we want to see; just look at the Contributors. We've also got Autarch Entertainment and The RPG Pundit making new non-pozzed gaming stuff for the tabletop RPG world, taking the same "Regress Harder!" ethic to tabletop gaming (where the same problem goes on there).

We're making more of our own outlets, starting with the magazines and podcasts (as those are easiest to do with a small team), but if we're going to succeed then we need to learn how to work better together as well as to bring some more players on to the team (as it were) to properly force-multiply our efforts. Remember that the strategy is "Fork and Replace", and the latter part in particular means working to build up clean institutions to be ready with the diseased ones collapse. That won't happen if you don't back those putting skin in the game now.

If you want the culture of hope, courage, and tenacity--especially under severe adversity--to revive and thrive tomorrow, then you need to water the seeds being sown and cultivated today. There's no other way to see it happen. Passivity is not an option.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Between Pulp Wonders and Light Novel Trash

In his last podcast, JimFear138 sat down with Rawle Nyanzi to discuss the concept of genres in a freewheeling discussion that spanned, among other things, My Hero Academia, the blurry line between science fiction and fantasy, and, at the 40:15 mark, Japanese light novels.
Rawle didn't have a high opinion of most light novels. I share the same sentiment. Yet light novels are the modern-day inheritors of the pulp tradition.
Within literati circles, it's fashionable to deride classic pulp fiction from the early 20th century as cheap, lurid and ultimately disposable fiction. Social Justice Warriors further insist that such stories are racist, sexist and all kinds of -ist and -phobic. Yet this seems to be a Western phenomenon: in Japan, light novels proudly continue the tradition of cheap, exciting entertainment, and far from being derided, are an integral and celebrated cornerstone of Japanese culture.
Light novels are short, inexpensive books on fast release schedules. Running to about 50,000 characters, they are small and lightweight, able to be carried about and read anywhere. This mirrors the pulp practice of publishing compact, fast-paced stories on equally compressed schedules. Well-loved in Japan and around the world, many LNs have been translated and exported across the world. But how do modern LNs compare to the pulps?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Series Review: Writing Violence by Marc MacYoung

Marc 'Animal' MacYoung watches rom-coms because Hollywood gets action scenes wrong. Having worked as a court-recognized expert witness, correctional institute director, bodyguard, bouncer, cooler and event security, he has decades of first-hand experience with violence and criminals. His street name came from a high-risk lifestyle filled with life-or-death encounters on the mean streets of Los Angeles, and his vicious approach to streetfighting. With his Writing Violence series, MacYoung offers his expertise to writers seeking to create authentic action scenes.