Remove Blockage Here

I’m doing some random posting today, so if you don’t want to read a very meandering post, kindly step away from the computer. It’ll be for the best.

I’m stuck. I’m really effing stuck. Not a writer’s block, no. It’s more of a “this character did this and now she’s got me stuck” kind of thing. It’s a horrible, horrible thing to behold: a writer, in his prime, being struck across the head by a (admittedly cool) character of his creating, forced to try to rationalize her actions.

So, in order to break through this slough, I’m writing a meandering post that’ll cover Iain M. Banks, PRISM, my birthday (which was yesterday) and my thoughts on my latest endeavor, Unholy Vengeance.

First off, I’ll tell you right now that I’ve only read one Iain Banks’ novel (The Player of Games), but I do know the profound effect he had upon many fellow writers. I was saddened to hear that he died this morning after a short bout with cancer. He’s considered one of the new grandmasters of science fiction and was a writer whose life was just too short. Some people say that 59 is a decent enough age, but in our industry, 59 is very young. Most of us authors don’t really get started until we’re in our late 30’s to early 40’s, so 59 is almost like a teenager in that comparison (that… was the best analogy I could think of. Sorry).

Iain will be missed by many. I wish I could have met him, especially after I read The Player of Games.

— — —

My email inbox was absolutely flooded on Friday when it came out that the US had something in the works called PRISM. I couldn’t help but think “You weren’t aware of this possibility?” I mean, really?

People, ever since the Patriot Act was passed (and then repeatedly extended) we have seen our privacy go the way of the dodo. We have social media now, that we freely join and plaster all our information on, which sells our personal information to advertisers, and you’re going to complain that the government wants to get in on the act? Seriously? That… takes a special kind of ignorance.

All kidding aside, this is dangerous. The people should not be afraid of their government, but their government should be afraid of the people. Yet day after day we see more and more government, and nobody says a thing. It boils down to what I’ve said before: the government can do what they like without pissing of the citizens of the US — until they try to take away the free porn.

Think I’m kidding? Look at the Boston shooting. They cheered the government enforcing a city-wide curfew, warrantless house-to-house searches and general revocation of the Bill of Rights until they caught their man. And they cheered.

They freaking cheered. What. The. Hell.

Remember when SOPA tried to pass? Oh how the people bitched and moaned about their loss of civil liberties. Congress tried to take away their free porn, they’re all up in arms about it. Take away their Bill of Rights? Meh.

*sigh* People…. just… I don’t know. Really? I mean, really?

— — —

I turned 35 yesterday. I guess that makes me officially middle-aged. Yay?

I don’t feel that old. I still feel like I’m in my 20’s (I sure don’t act 35) and I still look like I’m in my 20’s (albeit late 20’s). I’m in better shape than I was then, and I’m far healthier than ever. Maybe I have one of the reverse aging things (he says as he pops his shoulder and groans in pain)? Or perhaps I just got lucky, since I rarely drink, never smoked, never did any drugs, and cut out a lot of fast food four years ago.

I also think I have outlived my brother Shawn (who died in 2001). I think he was 34 when he committed suicide. I don’t know for certain. He might have been 36. I’ll have to ask and see if my dad remembers. My dad, by the way, turned 76 two days ago. He’s still going strong, although some memory issues are there (quit calling me Josh, damn it! He’s 5 years younger and a lot shorter than I am) and he’s not nearly as mobile as he was when I was a kid. But then, he’s raised 8 boys. I’ll cut him some slack.

It’s weird, getting older and not feeling it. They say that age is just a number; I tend to agree with that sentiment, though I didn’t 10 years ago. Then, 35 was freaking ancient, man. Now? 76 is freaking ancient.

— — —

I’m writing a Tobias Fox trilogy right now, and the first novel is Unholy Vengeance. Tobias Fox, for those of you who don’t know, is the main character of two short stories I have coming out this year and next. Those stories, Nightwalker and The Tree of Death and Life are stories I’ve talked about in the past (much to my chagrin, because who wants to read about stories that people can buy yet? That’s… that’s just mean.) and am really excited about them. However, after talking with my editor about the next 6 Tobias Fox stories I’m planning on writing, I suggested (half-jokingly) that I should write a Fox novel (Fox stories, by the way, are set in a setting called “the weird west”. More details can be found at the always honest *coughcough* Wikipedia). So I decided to give it a try. I mean, how did a long-lost Akkadian/Babylonian god of Pestilence and Plague end up in a doctor during the American Civil War?

This book hasn’t been giving me problems, oh no. Quite the contrary. It’s the stupid Failsafe story that I wanted to write beforehand that is giving me problems. Captain Annie and her ragtag outfit of castoffs, mercenaries, pirates and psychics are not letting go of my muse. Holding the elephant boy hostage until I write your tale is not a good way to make friends, Annie. Just a friendly reminder, I do know how to use “Delete File”.

Wait… an automaton treasure ship and a pirate raid gone wrong? Argh, you harridan!

That is totally not fair.


One thought on “Remove Blockage Here

  1. Jason, what matters in life is what you do with it, not how long you get. But I agree that 59 really seems young nowadays . . . still, Mr. Banks got time to write a number of highly celebrated novels and left them behind for posterity, which is more than at least two other (male) writers I can list from my own personal experience — only one of which I can do anything about (my late husband’s work will stay alive if I have anything to say about it at all).

    As for characters doing something inexplicable, I have something like that happening in “An Elfy Abroad.” One of my characters has refused to tell me _why_ she’s doing what she is, which has caused a long delay in the action as my backbrain scrambles to figure it out. I can write other things from time to time, and of course am working on several other projects, writing and editing-wise. But man, is it frustrating not to know why this one character did this because it makes no sense, it doesn’t follow from anything else she’s done before, and Mad Mike’s suggestion of “just kill the character off” (or Loren Jones’ probably closely allied suggestion, where he writes the problem character’s death in a number of twisty ways until the character more or less gives up and lets Loren do whatever he wanted in the first place) doesn’t work for me for whatever reason. (Wish it did, because it would be *so* much simpler.)

    Happy belated birthday, from one younger-appearing person to another. (God/dess help us, every one.) 🙂

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