Category Archives: nano 2012 excerpts

Watch a real exoskeleton at work!

Sci-fi movie buffs will be familiar with this scene from the movie Aliens 2 where the heroine [yes, a woman] uses an exoskeleton to try to save a child from the baddie.

And if aliens are not your cup of tea, how about Iron Man from the Avengers movies? That pretty red suit he wears is not just a fashion statement, or yummy body armour, it’s actually an exoskeleton as well.

But now, for the first time, real exoskeletons are making an appearance in the hospitals of Japan. Designed to aid both patients and carers, this amazing, robotic invention is set to become commonplace in the real world.

And that, my friends, means that at least one, small part of my Innerscape story is no longer sci-fi! If you’re curious, my protagonist, Miira, wears an exoskeleton in the very first scene to give her a degree of mobility and independence. [You can read the most recent version on Wattpad here]

Ironically, I snuck the concept of an exoskeleton into the beginning of the story to provide a subtle clue that Innerscape was, in fact, a science fiction story. Now I’ve been foiled by the rate of technological advancement. It makes me wonder what else will be out of date by the end of the year, let alone the end of the century.

I’m not complaining, but this incredible technological advance does highlight one of the major drawbacks of writing in the ‘near future’ – no one can accurately forecast what that future will look like. Still, it’s fun to try. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


‘Real’ Virtual Reality one step closer

As the pace of writing Innerscape accelerates, I’m finding echoes all over the place, and today was no exception. I found the following excerpt in a Venturebeat article – one of my favourite tech news sources :

“The VR experience is set in the Lord of the Rings universe, with viewers taking on the role of a hobbit thief. It began in a massive treasure chamber, one so large that I had to crane my neck fully to see it all. Dimly lit piles of coins shimmered under my feet. I could see even dimmer caves in the distance, set off by massive statues on either side. I had to physically turn around to take it all in.

Some of the coin piles began to move, with gold sliding down toward my virtual feet. Smaug, an enormous dragon, pushed his face out of a large pile and began to swim around the coins, Scrooge McDuck style. He began to speak in a thunderous voice, claiming that he could smell a thief among his treasures. Smaug circled me, forcing me to turn around in circles to keep track of his motion. His movements and voice became increasingly aggressive — so much so that I caught myself stepping back as he moved nearby….”

You can find the complete article at the following link, including a great photo of Smaug :

http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/04/weta-digital-partners-with-oculus-rift-and-epic-games-for-a-new-vr-experience/

[Translator’s note : Nvidia make graphic chips, Weta created Gollum et al., for the Lord of the Rings, and I assume Oculus created the VR device used in the virtual reality experience.]

I’m definitely not the first to imagine a virtual reality world, but at this rate I may become the first writer to publish a VR story just as virtual reality morphs from science fiction wish list to real reality.

Ouch. I think I twisted my brain with that last sentence. Anyway, enjoy the article while I get back to Miira and co. 🙂

Meeks


Virtual gaming worlds of the future

FFXIV emotes - Meeka is shockedI just went back to Final Fantasy XIV, A Realm Reborn, so it’s not surprising that I dreamt about gaming last night. However what did surprise me was the logic of the dream. I leapt out of bed and immediately wrote it all down, before even putting the kettle on. If you know me you know I can NOT survive without my caffeine hit.

Anyway, before I tell you what my dream was about, let me give you some background on MMOGs of the present. MMOGs – Massively Multiplayer Online Games – come in all shapes and sizes but they all have two things in common:

– the worlds are persistent, – i.e. they continue to exist even if you, the player, are not there to see it, and

– thousands of real people play in them.

These two elements give MMOG worlds a semblance of reality that is very addictive. Unfortunately, the semblance is paper thin. In the real world we have to do things to survive. In the current gaming worlds, survival is a given, and the purpose of ‘doing things’ is to either :

– gain levels

– or gain better gear

Once gamers have achieved the maximum levels and gear the game will allow, they struggle to find exciting things to do.

As someone who loves crafting, I have an added layer of purpose in FFXIV because of the player housing. Crafting things for our group house, and making it look warm and welcoming give me something to do most days. Unfortunately, most of the other endgame activities bore me to tears. Eventually I, and other players like me always leave to find a new gaming world to discover.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Just as we find a purpose for ourselves in the real world, we could also create a purpose for ourselves in the gaming world …if we were the ones in control instead of the devs [developers].

It can be done because different types of MMOGs are already doing elements of what’s needed. Unfortunately none of them are putting it all together into one coherent whole. In my dream, however, I did.

Part of the plot of Innerscape [the human-centric sci-fi novel I’m working on] takes place in a gaming world of the future. That world will behave something like this :

Meeka’s dream gaming world

The gaming worlds of Innerscape won’t charge a subscription fee. They won’t even charge to download the gaming software [or whatever performs that function by 2100]. But they will charge for in-game necessities such as housing.

Essentially, everyone will pay ‘rent’, and the rent will be on a sliding scale from a few credits a month to hundreds, perhaps even thousands.

Rental of two credits a month will pay for bed and breakfast at a common Inn, or whatever the cheapest form of accommodation is in that world.

For that basic rental, the player will get enough ‘sleep’ and ‘food’ to get them through one gaming day. In fighting worlds, this will mean that players will have a 50/50 chance of winning against non-player foes at their level. Now a 50/50 chance of winning is no better than random chance, so the aim for most players will be to increase that chance of winning as quickly as possible.

How a player increases his or her chances of winning depends on the type of game they are playing, but generally, the process will mimic real life in that there will be two major streams to follow – the hero stream or the villain stream. Or something in between.

Heroes are good guys who earn the respect of the non-player characters [npc] in every city, town and village. This respect translates into increased strength, endurance, agility etc when the hero is fighting a villain in the city, town or village. Not surprisingly, the opposite happens with villains. They lose the respect of the npcs in the city, town or village, which in turn, weakens them in all the important attributes.

As an example, let’s use some numbers to explain the effect of respect. A hero player may have combined attributes worth 100 points. However when this hero enters a city, town or village, the respect factor boosts their combined attributes by a maximum of 50% – e.g. the hero’s attributes go from 100 to 150.

Now lets look at what happens to a villain when he/she enters a town. Out in the wildlands, the villain’s attributes are worth 100. Inside the city, town or village, however, their attributes plummet by 50%, i.e. they drop to 50.

A hero with attributes of 150 can easily beat a villain with attributes of 50, so it makes sense for heroes to gain respect, and for villains to stay away from areas where they are weakened.

Of course gaming is never that straight forward. If a very powerful villain [say one with attributes worth 400], enters a town, his/her attributes will only drop to 200 – i.e. 50% of 400 = 200. 400 – 200 = 200. 200 will beat the local hero who is only at 150.

But what if there are two local heroes in the town when the villain attacks, and they both fight back. The chances are their combined stats will be more than high enough to beat off even a very powerful villain.

Clearly then, towns favour heroes. But what if a group of villains attack? Again, the result will depend on numbers; 3 villains at 50 would have the same ‘power’ as one hero at 150. However if you add one more villain, the balance suddenly changes in their favour – i.e. 4 x 50 = 200 vs the 150 of the hero.

As with all things mathematical, two heroes would again easily beat four villains [of the same level] so the balance of power is constantly in flux and makes for interesting, player initiated events.

One such event will be the capture of a city, town or village. If a large enough group of villains capture a stronghold, and can hold it against the heroes for one week, the npcs in that stronghold will turn neutral. If the villains make an effort not to antagonize the npcs, their ability to hold on to their captured territory becomes easier. If they are ‘cruel’ to the captured npcs, they risk turning the npcs towards the heroes again. And that could lead to the loss of the stronghold when the heroes launch a counter offensive.

But why would the heroes do that? Because their homes and businesses are in the captured stronghold, and while the villains are in control, the heroes can’t access any of their gear. They will literally have nothing but what they stand up in, and carry in their personal inventory. Thus the motivation to recapture a stronghold will be core to the game.

To recapture a stronghold, the heroes will have to begin by winning over the npcs on the outer perimeter of the stronghold. This is effectively like being Robin Hood.

Once enough npcs have been won over, the dispossessed heroes have to form an alliance and then, when their combined respect is high enough, they must launch an attack against the villains holding the stronghold.

Given the tendency of npcs to side with heroes not villains, villains have to expend a lot of energy to take a stronghold, and even more to hold it. This gives the advantage to the heroes, but only in the places where some form of order reigns. Out in the wild lands, both villains and heroes are dependent on their own prowess. Or on their ability to create and hold groups.

Groups of Heroes can tame sections of the wildlands, but here they will suffer the same difficulties as villains do in cities – the terrain is against them, and they must fight twice as hard to achieve anything at all.

Once a slice of the wildlands is captured and held for one week, however, crafter and builder classes can move in to consolidate the taming of the wild. Players can come in and create farms, and lay the foundations for a new village. These players contribute to the well-being of the battling classes that protect them, making them more effective. Sound familiar?

Once the heroes have carved out a certain level of ‘safety’ for the village, npcs will migrate to the village and help make it stronger still. If the heroes can keep the village going for one month, they will gain the respect of their npcs and after that, fighting off the villains will become much easier.

The internal structure of these gaming worlds will go much deeper than simple wars to gain territory. When heroes are not out fighting off villains and imposing order on the wildlands, they can go in search of treasure. Often the treasure will be nothing more than money, [after all, even heroes have to eat]. However, sometimes the heroes will find recipes that crafters can learn.

As everything in the gaming worlds has to be created by the players, such recipes are worth more than gold as they allow new techniques and new gear to enter the economy. This gives heroes an advantage over villains who generally do not craft, and must enter strongholds to buy the gear they need. Or steal it if they believe they are strong enough.

These recipes also give crafters a degree of power and influence they would not otherwise have, making it more logical for heroes of all stripes to work together so everyone can prosper. Those heroes who prove to be overly greedy will slowly lose their respect levels and that will make them more vulnerable when the next villain attack occurs.

Basically, then, the gaming worlds will have in-built structures to act as checks and balances, but how the worlds actually develop will depend largely on the players themselves. They will be the ones who create the society in which they live.

Of course in any world, there has to be some wiggle room for those players who hate to conform in any manner, shape or form. So each world will have the potential for players who fit the nomad category. These players will pay no ‘rent’ and will function as hunter gatherers. They will live  rough, eating only what they can capture/harvest in their weakened state.

Progress for these nomads will depend on how effective they are at surviving in a hostile environment. If they can find enough to eat they can build a humpy [a small shelter made of branches and leaves]. In time they can trade furs or other natural ‘ingredients’ they have gathered to the villagers for money.

That money can then be used to buy a tent and perhaps some cooking implements. In time, such successful nomads might join together to form tribes of hunter gatherers. Of course, whilst living in a tribe would have distinct survival benefits, it would also create its own unique problems, and players would have to create rules that balanced co-operation with freedom.

If you’re still reading this long brain fart, you will have noticed that in my ideal gaming world, every action has consequences. You may also have noticed that the world combines virtually every type of MMOG currently in existence – PVP, PVE, strategy, conquest, social reality, you name it, it’s there because that’s exactly what we have in the real world.

I can’t see such an all encompassing world arriving any time soon, but as a writer I can make the future into anything I want, and this is what I would like to see in the MMOGs I play. If you’d like to see something different, don’t be afraid to say so in comments. I only bite trolls. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


Nanomini in June

Here in Australia, the end of June marks the end of the financial year, and the beginning of two weeks of school holidays.

A year ago I would not have cared, except perhaps to comment on how nice it was not to fight the traffic during school drop off and pickup times. This year, however, I decided to use the school holidays to stage my own mini Nanowrimo, [National Novel Writing Month].

Before I go on, I should explain that I now work as a trainer in the adult education sector. All the companies I work for are Community Centres that also happen to be RTOs [Registered Training Organizations]. The significance of this is that Community Centres are closed during the school holidays. Thus I have to take the same [unpaid] holidays as well. 

As teaching can be quite draining, even when you enjoy it, I was more than ready for these holidays. Nonetheless, after a day or two, I knew I couldn’t just veg out for the whole two weeks. Protestant/Catholic/Atheist work ethic?

Anyway, I was thinking about what a shame it was that I wouldn’t be able to do Nano this year when it suddenly hit me that I could do a Nano any damn time I wanted! From that stroke of genius it was a short step to realising I could hold a mini Nano every single school holiday. 

Wow!” I thought. “I might even be able to finish the Innerscape WIP!

As things turned out, I spent the first week of the holidays forcing myself back into the story, and it was not until the second week that I truly began to do some good work. One of the things I’m most happy about is that I solved the thorny plot tangle right in the middle of the story. I still have a lot of writing to do, just to finish the first draft, but at least I know where I’m headed now.

In hindsight, I think there is a very good reason why the original Nanowrimo lasts for a whole month – you really need that time to get into the story, build momentum, and slap it all down in pixels. So although my Nanomini didn’t achieve everything I had hoped, I’m going to do the same thing during the September holidays,  and of course over the summer break in January. With luck, and a lot of hard work, I may have another story ready to go by this time next year. 

In a curious twist of fate, I was deep into the Innerscape WIP when I got the idea for another book. Its working title is ‘Carry-over Food [or how to eat well on $xx.xx per day]. At this point I’m still just recording what I spend on food, and what I cook with it to see what the figures show. If the numbers show that the idea has legs, this may become my first non-fiction title. If not, I’ll just chalk it up as an interesting experiment.

Oh, and another benefit of my Nanomini is that the teaching side of my brain was thoroughly refreshed. Just in time too because I now have two more paying jobs. Both are with a tutoring agency that specializes in coaching secondary school students.

This new work is both exciting, and a little scary as I haven’t taught at secondary level in a long time. Luckily the boys of my touch typing class made me remember that a little humour can go a long way towards establishing rapport with students of any age.

And this brings me to my apology; I can’t promise to post as regularly as I once did, but I will continue posting articles when I have the time and energy. I will also visit your blogs as much as I can because good friends are too precious to waste. 🙂

-hugs-

Meeks

 

 


Who is Alex Tang?

At the risk of boring you all silly, I thought I’d post one more, very short post about my mystery character, Alex Tang. It leaves a lot to the imagination, but I’m rather proud of how much I’ve managed to convey with these 400 something words. I hope this answers most of your questions. The video clip below is what I was listening to while I wrote. The track is called ‘Knights of Palmyra’, from Jo Blankenburg’s album Vendetta.

***

“No.”

The holos of the two government representatives glanced at each other before turning back to the slim, Asian man who sat perfectly still on the sofa opposite.

It was the older official who finally spoke.

“We do understand how bitter you must feel about your husband, James. But we’re pretty sure the people who set fire to the safe house were hired by Beaumont-…”

“If you refuse to testify they’ll get away with everything!” the younger official said.

Alex Tang’s face remained inscrutable as he said, “Your people should have thought of that before they left my husband to burn.”

“We’ve apologized for that a hundred times!” the younger official began.

“Steven!”

The older official cast a withering glance at his companion before continuing.

“Our people died in that blaze too, James. Jenny Martin was one of our best operatives, and she left behind a three year old daughter.”

The mention of Jenny Martin made Alex wince. He had liked Jenny. She had been a friend. And when the wall had imploded, shooting that ball of flame towards him, she had shielded him with her own body. Her sacrifice had saved his life…

“With two of his team down, and your husband…trapped under that wall, Phil Denning did the only thing he could…”

Yeah, he ignored Pete, and saved your precious witness

Pete, Alex’s husband of less than a year, had been furthest from the inferno. Trapped, but also protected by the heavy cupboard that had been blown on top of him by the explosion, he should have been the one to survive. Instead, he had died a slow, agonizing death.

Despite being blinded, and burned to a crisp wherever Jenny’s body had not protected his, Alex had remained conscious the entire time… listening to Pete scream.

“Won’t you at least talk to Phil? Hear his side of the story?”

Talk to Phil Denning? The man who had let Pete die?

A mirthless chuckle escaped Alex’s lips as he turned bitter eyes on the two holograms cluttering up his living room.

“I don’t think so.”

“But-…”

“We’ll let you think things over,” the older official said. “If you change your mind, you know how to reach us.”

when hell freezes over

Alex remained seated as the older official winked out.

“You know they’ll have to pull the plug? If you don’t co-operate,” the young official said. When Alex did not answer, he too winked out.

Alone again, Alex Tang turned his head towards the window. The glass was pristine once more, allowing him to see the Forbidden City in all its glory.

When he had first woken up inside Innerscape, he had smashed the window and thrown himself off the ledge. He had woken back in his bed. Unscathed.

But there was always more than one way of skinning a cat.


Introducing Alex Tang, a new character from Innerscape

I’ve had a great weekend writing, so I thought I’d introduce you to a new character.:)

Tragic house fire kills three

In local news, the bodies of two men, and a woman were recovered from the burnt out shell of a house on the outskirts of Stradwick.

Located in the once green hills of Macedon, Stradwick is a small, domed enclave that was rebuilt after the devastating fires of 2072 razed the original township to the ground.

Thirty years on, Stradwick has become the favoured weekend retreat of wealthy CEO’s and holo stars.

Francis Naismith, one of the ten permanent residents of Stradwick, told me the gutted house was a rental property administered by Greenhills Real Estate.

A spokesperson for Greenhills refused to comment on the identities of the deceased, or even if they had, in fact, been renting the property.

 Police also refused to comment, saying the relatives of the three deceased had not yet been notified.

Neither the police nor the fire services would comment on whether arson was involved. I did, however, manage to discover that the house had a sophisticated fire protection system of its own, above and beyond the protection afforded by the dome.

Why the fire protection system did not work is just one of the many baffling questions surrounding this tragic fire.

This is Jonathon Szabo for Victoria Today, reporting from Stradwick. June 2, 2102.

***

Alex Tang sat in his luxury penthouse, bottle of cognac in hand, as he looked out across the dark water of the moat.

The Forbidden City was a beautiful sight, especially at night when everything was lit up.

Once, he had dreamt of travelling to Beijing and seeing the city of the old emperors for himself. Now he hated it.

Draining the last of the Louis XIII cognac as if it were water, Alex rose from his chair, and threw the bottle at the plate glass window that framed the view of the Forbidden City.

The bottle shattered, and the Forbidden City disappeared behind a web work of crazed glass.

“That’s better.”

They should have let him die.

Barely tipsy, despite the cognac he had drunk, Alex looked neither right nor left as he walked to the bedroom.

A towel covered the large mirror on the wall, opposite the bed, but as the lights came on, he caught a glimpse of a slim, Asian man reflected in the window.

“Curtains close!”

Pulling off his t-shirt and jeans, Alex knelt beside his bed, and clasped his hands in prayer.

“I am James Milgrove,” he whispered into his hands. “I’m 6’2”, and I have blond hair and blue eyes. I was born in Perth twenty-nine years ago. I have an older sister…”

…and I was once married…

They really should have let him die.

***

I have known about this character from the very beginning, but until this weekend he was just a hazy shadow. On Saturday the name, the location, the whole scene just… happened. These are the moments writers live for. They give us the courage to soldier on during the lean times, when every new word feels like giving birth to a 20 pound gorilla. 

Cheers

Meeks


I have an evil corporation! Maybe…

Courtesy dragoart.com

Courtesy dragoart.com

If you have been following the saga of my search for a name for my evil corporation, you will know from my last update that an internet search disqualified virtually all of the great names you guys came up with. 😦

Since then, I’ve been mulling over some of your more general suggestions – such as using numbers, or family names etc.

I thought the numbers idea might yield some results, but to be honest I thought any family name I came up with was bound to be taken.

Imagine my surprise when the name ‘Beaumont’ popped into my head just now… and wasn’t taken by any company! There are quite a few places, and people, called Beaumont, and one Beaumont Cocktails Australia Pty Ltd [I kid you not], but that’s it.

Being a belt and bracers kind of woman [smirk], I then googled ‘Beaumont Agriceuticals‘ and again came up blank! -dance-

So a million thanks to those of you who suggested names. You were right and I was wrong. And I’ve never been happier. 🙂

But wait… there’s more.

Inspired by this small, but significant success, I started thinking about the evil product again.

Earlier today I was searching online for a drug or hormone or something that would keep my staffers awake [thank you David]. In the process, I stumbled across a product called Modafinil.  Apparently this drug is an eugeroic that is marketed under a variety of brand names, including Provigil.

I ended up using the word eugeroic instead of the actual product name, but that search made me realise that most drugs have a sort of generic name, as well as a number of brand names.

Bear with me, I’m getting to the point. 🙂

So, I decided my evil product needed two names as well. For the brand name I’ve decided to go with ‘Bountiful’ coz it sounds so warm and fuzzy [thanks Marian].

For the generic product name I thought of going with :

Complete Synthetic Alimentation 12 [CSA12]

But wouldn’t you know it? It’s taken. So were a number of other variants. -bangs head on keyboard-

After much searching, and swearing, I’ve found something that will work :

human SYNTHETIC ALIMENTATION 1 [hSA1]

If you pronounce the letter ‘h’ as ‘aitch’ it doesn’t sound too bad, and the name does imply a rather chilling backstory. Synthetic Alimentation could be something that Beaumont developed for animals… and then tweaked for humans, with the 1 standing for version 1.

In summary, the evil corporation – Beaumont Agriceuticals, Inc – created a product called hSA1, which they marketed under the brand name of Bountiful.

Yes? No? Maybe?

cheers

Meeks


Innerscape gains 1,051,920 seconds per year

I’m normally pretty fluid about time. I’m aware of it passing, and I’m even capable of getting to appointments on time, but I don’t normally think too much about the concept itself. Time just is. The only exception to this is when I’m playing MMO’s [multiplayer online games in digital worlds].

As a gamer, I’ve played in worlds where a full day can pass in the space of a couple of hours. And no, I don’t mean that I become so immersed in the game that I spend a whole day playing without being aware of it!  What I’m talking about is the deliberate manipulation of in-game time so the game world goes from ‘day time’ to ‘night time’ and back again many times during the course of a real day.

Some MMO’s, [FFXI springs to mind] make the cycle very quick, and a full game day can pass in the space of two hours. Other games allow time to be more relaxed, cycling through a game day in say 6 hours instead of 2.  But whatever the game designers do, you, the gamer, are always subliminally aware of the passage of ‘real’ time because the cues are all around you – you get hungry, or thirsty, or have to go to the loo, etc.

But what if you lived in a digital world where all external cues were controlled? Would you experience time differently then? Or would a part of you always know how much real time was passing by ‘outside’?

When I started writing Innerscape, I knew I wanted time in the digital world to be faster than real time so Residents would feel as if they were living far longer than they actually were. The idea was that by being isolated from the real world, Residents would quickly become ‘brainwashed’ into believing the artificial cues given to them – i.e. the clocks, the day/night cycle, schedules, time-tables blah blah.

In theory, the idea was, and is sound. But there are problems with it. Physical people have internal body clocks, and they get sleepy and hungry according to a complicated system of biofeedback cues. For Innerscape Residents to truly believe in Innerscape time, those internal cues would have to be manipulated very carefully. You wouldn’t, for example, set the system so every Resident became sleepy at exactly 10pm. That would be a dead giveaway.

I did some pen biting until I realised that each Resident was already in their own, tailor-made chemical bubble, so a sophisticated AI should be able to monitor activity levels and tweak them in subtle ways.

In today’s terms, such sophisticated manipulation would be unthinkable, but I’m banking on the progress of technology over the next 90 years.

Unfortunately, another one of my time related problems was not so easy to solve. It involves the ‘staff’ who come to Innerscape with Miira [the main character] in order to help her settle in. These staff members are effectively living in both worlds because only their avatars exist inside Innerscape. How then would these staffers sleep, or eat, when their body clocks were still set to real world time, not Innerscape time?

And that, dear friends, is what brings me to this post, and its odd title. You see, I’ve wasted spent most of the day trying to come up with the best Innerscape to real world time ratio.

Innerscape vs Real Time

Innerscape vs Real Time

That Excel spreadsheet is my mathematically challenged attempt to work out what would happen with different time manipulations. I think I’ve worked out how much time Residents would ‘gain’ by having anything from 58 to 30 seconds in every minute. Over the course of 15 years [which is how long Innerscape has been live], Residents might gain only half a year in subjective time, or they could gain up to 7.5 years of subjective time.

Obviously, the closer Innerscape time is to real time, the less jarring it would be for outsiders. Unfortunately, it would also be rather futile for the Residents. However if Residents experienced only 30 [real] seconds in every minute, the staffers would only get to sleep once every two, Innerscape days, and they would sleep for far longer than the Residents.

I suspect I’m not seeing something obvious here so I’d appreciate some outside perspectives. Oh, and I’d be really grateful if some mathematical Whiz checked the numbers/logic.

And now, before I go for a well-earned cup of coffee, I have an announcement to make – this is my 365th post! One whole year of posts [not counting Leap Year]. It’s taken me over a year and a half to get here, but I let’s not split hairs. 😉

cheers

Meeks


If only novels could come with soundtracks!

3 4 time in musicI have forgotten most of the music theory I learned as a child, but I’ve never forgotten the meaning of 3-4 time because that is waltz time, and waltzes have made me want to dance for decades. Oddly enough, 3-4 time is also synonymous with lullabies, where the music is as soothing as a heart-beat.

But what does any of this have to do with novels and soundtracks?

Back in November of last year [2012], I wrote a post about using Jo Blankenburg’s music as the inspiration for my Nanowrimo novel writing. The story I began writing is tentatively called Innerscape, and is the closest I have ever come to writing something romantic. The climax [excuse the pun] to the early section was a scene at a ball where my two star crossed lovers-to-be are seduced by a waltz.

Now why did I pick the music of a waltz to symbolize sensuality?

It’s true that I love waltzes, but there are other sensual images/feelings I could have used – such as water. The feel of water sliding over the skin has always been a very sensual feeling for me, yet I did not use a beach scene, or a scene in a swimming pool, or a bath, or a shower. Instead my mind automatically reached for a waltz. Why?

The answer did not hit me until I went looking for my Nanowrimo writing music again last night. I started playing Jo Blankenburg’s album Elysium, and suddenly I was swaying from side to side. Not bopping up and down, or tapping my foot, or jiggling in my seat – swaying.

I was not yet into the story, so without meaning to, I allowed myself to be distracted, and began counting the beats. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three… Oh my god, it’s a waltz!

Once my conscious brain recognized that distinctive beat, I began recognizing it in song after song. And somewhere between ‘Arion’…

… and ‘Theogony’ …

… I realized the music was the reason I’d written a waltz into my story!

I swear, until that moment I had no idea the music had had such a powerful affect on me. Now though, it’s obvious, and may explain why I have to have Elysium playing [on repeat] as I start work on Innerscape again. The music is the soul of the story.

As all this stream of consciousness stuff was going through my head, I suddenly had this idea – wouldn’t it be amazing if books could have soundtracks? By that I mean, having the music as an integral part of the reading experience in the same way that music is a vital part of movies.

Just as an aside, as soon as I saw the cinematic trailer that accompanied Theogony I knew it had to be for a game, and I kind of suspected it was for Assassins Creed, but I wasn’t sure so I did some searching and yes, I was right – Assassins Creed III is the game. I’m tempted to buy it just for that promotional trailer! -cough- moving on -cough-

As an Indie I know I could never afford to pay Jo Blankenburg for his music, but if I could, and if e-readers were capable of integrating the music that inspires me, I would do it in a heartbeat!

The only thing I’m not sure of is whether readers would appreciate hearing that music as they read. Would you? Or would it be too distracting? Or would it depend on whether you liked the music or not?

I know this kind of tech may never happen, but I’d love to know what you think.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. Thanks for all your comments and extraordinary suggestions on the ‘evil corporation’ post. I’ll be writing an update shortly. 🙂


Need a name for an evil corporation!

From Wiki

From Wiki

My research for Innerscape is coming along nicely, but now I need a name for the evil multinational that developed the food which had such a terrible effect on Miira and other refugees like her.

I can’t use the name of a real company, much as I would like to, so I have to make something up.  Any thoughts?

This is a little ‘press release’ I came up with today. Not sure if I’ll use it but I like it for now :

“After twenty years of legal wrangling, the Australian Attorney-General today announced the government intended to take multinational food giant, XX, before the International Court of Justice.

The UN ruling – that multinational corporations possess legal personalities, and hence are subject to international law – has been in force since 2077, but this is only the second time a sovereign State has taken a multinational to the ICJ for a violation of human rights.

The Australian government contends that XX did not exercise due diligence in its development of low-cost nutrition, Total Care. The government further maintains that after becoming aware of the deleterious health effects of Total Care on the refugees flooding into Australia, XX pursued an active campaign of denial and coverup that lasted over thirty years, and continues to this day.

Total Care, which was distributed to all refugees coming to Australia from the Pacific Rim between 2060 and 2085, is claimed to have caused a variety of rare cancers in 85% of the first generation of refugees, and birth defects in subsequent generations. The use of Total Care was discontinued in February, 2086.’

World Holo News, May 13, 2100.

And while you’re at it, any ideas for a better name than Total Care? Every time I look at it I’m reminded of toothpaste. 😦

Just as a matter of interest, my research today revealed that multinationals are not subject to international law. I even found an article from Utrecht university saying the only way this would change is if multinationals were deemed to have personalities – i.e being an entity. The author thinks this will happen – when governments get the intestinal fortitude to push it through. I figured it would take at least 50 years!

I’m back at school all day tomorrow, so won’t be able to read your comments until the evening. Please keep them coming though!

cheers

Meeks


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