False Depth in Storytelling

False Depth in Storytelling

One thing I often get - most recently regarding the show "Succession" and mostly from people who don't know me that well in my circle of acquaintances - is shock that I don't like [Stephen King | Game of Thrones | Whatever piece of dross that's popular today that involves horrible people being horrible to each other ] "But you should try it out instead of dismissing it right away / after a few minutes" The answer I give echoes Alexandru Constantin's - I don't like it, why should I continue to waste time on that? "But you could…

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On Higher Powers

On Higher Powers

I keep tabs on Bruce Charleton's blog, and so the recent post on Phil K Dick caught my eye. In the past couple of months I have read/ listened-to a dozen Philip K Dick novels, and most of the Exegesis - his philosophical and spiritual journal written during his last eight years. I haven't enjoyed a fiction writer so much, in such quantity, for several years. Certainly, I appreciate his work more fully this time round than when I read a batch of his novels more than thirty-five years ago (triggered by watching Blade Runner - one of the half-dozen…

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A Few Good Books

A Few Good Books

John C Wright recently reviewed The Hidden Truth by Hans Schantz, describing it as "part alternate history, part coming-of-age story, and part techno-thriller, peppered with wry observations about the nature of people, politics and power as seen through the eyes of a youth learning a hard lesson about the evils men hide." He is entirely correct. I found the first book engaging enough to go ahead and buy the second and third while I was on what, at the time, started as a vacation of sorts, and ended with a very difficult time in my life almost precisely one year…

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More Miscellany from the Internet

More Miscellany from the Internet

First, Brian Neimeier discusses that "works of art last" - the second half of an old saying many of us, including me until recently, only knew as "life is short." The equivalent Greek word is techne. That's a big clue that everybody before the Modern era would have put Michelangelo and Steve Jobs in the same general category. Both made stuff according to a standard. That's really what writing is. A carpenter makes a birdhouse by putting wood, nails, and glue together in the right configuration. An author makes a book by doing the same thing…

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i-Devices and Arkhaven Audio

i-Devices and Arkhaven Audio

For maximum compatibility, the audio files downloaded from Arkaven come as mp4 "video" files because while they are technically m4b files, many applications (like WinAmp) won't recognize them or play them well, and calling them mp4 results in a "least wrong" default that will still play the audio. In either case, since these are your files that you download - and back up if you're smart - you can't just spin up an "audible" app to download and listen to them in one easy place. The good news is that Arkhaven has an excellent guide to get you started. Nevertheless,…

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Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends

First, as Cataline notes, we have a sequel to the excellent Soda Pop Soldier. You may recall I very much liked the first one, and am also looking forward to whatever is next in his Wyrd series. Brian Niemeier is promoting what sounds like a really cool series. Downside is that it’s on indiegogo - upside is that it’s promoting a cool sounding project. The title poem for Nightmare at Noon is well worth the time.…

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Nor Ogre Tears

I've got a soft spot in my heart for Alan Dean Foster. I don't think anyone would accuse the man of being a great writer, but he was certainly a consistent workman and craftsman who could tell a decent tale. He could take a movie script and turn it into an engaging read, but was also a prolific writer with several series of books of his own, as well as one-offs and short stories. His "Why Johnny Can't Drive" was one of the listed inspirations for Steve Jackson Games Car Wars. Most of the other short stories collected…

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Skin in the Game

Skin in the Game

I’ve started on “Skin in the Game” by NN Taleb, the third book in his Incerto series, which included his book on Black Swans, and Antifragility. No, I haven’t finished it yet, so this isn’t a review, but an observation only one chapter in that this book, like Antifragile, will certainly give me a lot to think about. Even in the opening of the book, he ties together the Golden rule, the “silver rule”, reciprocity, game theory, and of course “skin in the game” – and how the lack of it leads to poor judgment, even tyranny. “Skin…

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