Tag Archives: sci-fi

Episode 2 – last day

The 5 day free period for Episode 2 ends on November 25, 2016 in the US so Southern hemisphere type people still have a few hours to grab a free copy. And I would be so very happy if you entered the competition as well. There is no obligation whatsoever and you will have a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift voucher.

Anyway, here is the relevant info. again:

The answer to the multiple choice question can now be found in the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature below:

You will have to click the back button on your browser to exit the ‘Look Inside’.

To enter the competition, please read the first few pages [2? 3?] of the ‘Look Inside’ for Episode 2 [above] and answer the multiple choice question below:

Miira’s little black cat is called:

  1. Rosie?
  2. Golli?
  3. Timmy?

When you know the answer, please type the name [or the corresponding number] in comments HERE: http://wp.me/p25AFu-2tM

[I’ve turned comments off on this reminder so I don’t accidentally forget to count someone’s entry!]

On the other hand, if you simply want to download the free copy of Episode 2, you can find the link here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1H5S1E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479624105&sr=8-3&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

And that’s it. In my next post I’ll be announcing the winner for Episode 2. đŸ˜€

cheers

Meeks


#Innerscape part 10 – the thriller I had no intention of writing

I’m in way over my head! I write sci-fi, not thrillers or mysteries…so how did I get to a point where I’m having to work out time differentials for the plot?

Before I try to explain what’s been driving me crazy, I need to say that all of my favourite sci-fi books weave together a mix of history, culture, psychology, politics, technology, conflict and an element of mystery. Think Dune, and working out the relationship of the great worms to the planet’s ecology. All of that is normal because good sci-fi creates worlds, and worlds are full of people, and people do ‘stuff’.

I understand all that, especially the bit about people doing ‘stuff’. My problem is that I never expected the characters in Innerscape to finish up doing mystery thriller type stuff.

I’ve read mystery thriller type books by the boat load, but there is a world of difference between reading in a genre and trying to write in that genre. I feel as if I’m groping for the ‘rules’ on the fly, and it’s hard. Integrating the requirements of mystery/thrillers into a sci-fi environment is even harder, and at the moment I’m stuck on ‘time’.

To make the plot work, various people have to do various things, together and in sequence, so I have to know when things happen, right down to the last minute. But…in order to make the Residents of Innerscape feel as if they are living for longer, time in Innerscape runs faster than time on the outside. About twenty minutes faster.

As an aspect of science fiction, this time differential between Innerscape and the outside world is not a big deal. I do some hand waving and a bit of arithmetic and the time flows make sense. Easy peasey…until I introduce the twin elements of mystery and thriller to the mix. Suddenly the difference between Innerscape time and real world time matters, a lot. So does how I present this conflict between internal and external time.

Right from the beginning of Innerscape, I’ve worked hard to make the reader feel as if time really is passing, hopefully without hitting them over the head with dates and durations and elapsed blah blah. Now, though, I’ve reached a point where I really am going to have to elevate time to the position of Very Important Plot Element, and I’m struggling.

The pic below is a screenshot of the StoryBox navigation pane for Part 10. It’s one of the reasons I love StoryBox as it allows me to outline, more or less on the fly:

innerscape navigation time

 

As an outline, the pic only makes sense to me [just as well or I’d have to post a Spoiler Alert!]. But it does show how I’m trying to work out what happens when.

Sadly, the reason I’m writing this post is that I’m sort of stumped…and procrastinating. Once I finish the post, I’m going to have to resort to pen and paper to storyboard the exact sequence of events because at the moment, I feel horribly muddled. -sigh-

If there are any thriller/mystery writers out there with tips, I’d love to hear them.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


#Music to write by and give away?

This is what I’m writing to at the moment:

Evolicity comes from an album called ‘XII’ by Roger Subirana, a brilliant, self-taught Spanish composer.

I stumbled onto Subirana’s music via Jo Blankenburg via Thomas Bergersen [from Two Steps From Hell] via Soundcloud.

Just as an aside, I’ve discovered more music via Soundcloud in the last few months than I did in all the time I used to spend on Youtube. That said, I still go to Youtube to find most of the trailers and video clips I post here. -shrug-

Getting back to composers, Subirana is the latest in a growing line of composers who have played a vital part in the making of Innerscape. I know I’ve been writing about Miira for a very long time, but still, look at the list of composers I’ve listened to since November, 2012:

  • Jo Blankenburg [4 albums and some unpublished songs]
  • Thomas Bergersen [1 album, Two Steps From Hell]
  • Danail Getz [1 album, Audiomachine]
  • Roger Subirana [1 album]

Seven albums plus, and all by composers who are relatively unknown to the general public. I don’t know if all of those composers are Indies, or started out as Indies, but I suspect that many did, and that got me thinking about the type of marketing open to Indies in general and me in particular. Should I pay some huge corporation more money than I can afford, for advertising that probably won’t do much for the visibility of Innerscape anyway? Or could I do something a little different and use Innerscape to promote the music I love?

Honestly, that decision was a no-brainer. When Innerscape is ready to go, I will be giving away some of the music that gives the story soul. How I do that, however, still has me scratching my head as I want it to be fun as well as effective.

If you like any of the writing music I’ve posted on this blog, would you:

  1. like to receive it as part of some kind of promotion?
  2. would you prefer a promotion that used a random names-in-hat type approach?
  3. or would you prefer some kind of competition with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize giveaways?
  4. assuming you ‘won’, would you be happy with me selecting the music on the basis of its relevance to Innerscape? That is, more of Jo Blankenburg and less of everyone else?
  5. Or would you prefer to be given a choice as to which composer/music you receive?
  6. As I would have to gift you the music via email, would you mind having your email address added to my [non-existent] newsletter?

Of all the questions, I found #6 to be the most vexatious. At a rational level, I understand the value of having a ‘captive audience’ of subscribers to send advertising material to, but at a gut level I also know that newsletters often induce anger rather than interest. And I really, really don’t want to do that to anyone who reads my stories. đŸ˜¦

One alternative that does tempt me is to ask people to ‘Follow’ me on Amazon instead of signing up for a newsletter. The ‘Follow’ feature is something I use myself, and so far at least, I haven’t found it to be intrusive or annoying. Plus another benefit of using Amazon instead of a newsletter is that I wouldn’t have to worry about what to write in a newsletter – all the interesting stuff in my life already ends up on my blog.

So what do you think? Am I on the right track or way off base? Given how little real experience I have of marketing, any thoughts really would be appreciated.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


Sci-fi now with Holo Lens and Actiongram

In a previous post I talked about holograms as a thing of the near future. I was wrong, they’re here now. Watch the video below to see how Microsoft’s Holo Lens is being teamed with Actiongram to create sci-fi right now:

If that video clip is anything to go by, the interface is still in its infancy, but given the speed with which things like 3D printers have become mainstream, I expect real life holograms to become an everyday reality within five years…and that may be a conservative estimate.

One thing I am sure of is that hologram technology will change how we work, rest and play. I wonder how much money I have in my piggy bank….

Meeks

 


A very clever sci-fi short film

J.T.Carlton is a multi-talented singer, composer and writer who produced the music and sound for this short film. It’s scary and very clever.

Enjoy đŸ™‚

Meeks


Halfskin – a review

Science fiction is supposed to be about pushing the boundaries, and coming up with new concepts, but much of the time it simply regurgitates old ideas. And we’re happy with that because those ideas are familiar and comfortable, like a well-worn pair of slippers. We don’t have to think about them, we can just enjoy the entertainment on offer.

And then there are the stories that challenge us too much. Here I’m thinking of China Mieville’s Embassy Town. I enjoyed it, sort of, but I certainly did not understand it, and that left me feeling inadequate.

Halfskin, however, is that happy medium all writers aspire to – a bright, shiny new idea wrapped in the comfort of characters we can relate to, characters who do not so much challenge as persuade. They are not Other, they are like us, and so we can understand their motivation. In fact, most of us would probably agree with their motivation. I know I do.

The story begins with a familiar enough scene – a bunch of young kids getting up to mischief and egging each other on. One of them, Nix, gets cut, and we realise that Nix isn’t bleeding blood, he’s bleeding biomites.

Biomites are the result of bionanotechnology, and act like stem cells, becoming whatever the body needs to function properly. In reality, however, biomites are microscopic computers, and they are all linked wirelessly to a massive computer system dubbed MOther. But MOther, standing for Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record, does more than just receive data, it has the ability to monitor the level of biomites present in each and every human body. And when one of those bodies becomes a halfskin – i.e. half flesh, half biomite – MOther has the ability to switch the biomites off.

But if 50% of the functioning of a body is handled by biomites, and they’re suddenly switched off, what happens to the other 50%, the flesh percent?

It dies, that’s what. Enter the villain of the piece, Marcus Anderson.

Marcus Anderson, Chief of the Biomite Oversight Committee, and a ‘pure’ who has no biomites in his body, believes that Halfskins are not human any more. Furthermore, he believes that if biomites are allowed to proliferate unchecked, homo sapiens are doomed. Something will survive the biomite invasion, but it won’t be human any more.

And this is where the persuasion comes in. Because we know that biomites saved the life of young Nix, and make ordinary people ‘better’ than they would be naturally, it’s very easy to empathize with Cali, Nix’s sister as she moves heaven and earth to keep her baby brother from being switched off as a Halfskin. We see being switched off as cruel, and unnecessary. We want Cali and Nix to survive because they are the human face of Halfskins, and they’re still nice people, right?

The delicious thing about Halfskin is that with just a little change of perception, the story could easily become as scary as the old Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Imagine if the biomites were tech gone wrong. Imagine if they took over those they infected …and turned them into zombies!

No matter how much I may dislike Marcus Anderson as a character and a person, I can see the fear that motivates him. Self righteous he may be, but maybe, just maybe he has cause.

Halfskin is just the start of the story, and I for one am very, very curious to see where the author, Tony Bertauski, takes it next. Will he give us his answer? Or will he continue to gently push us to find our own?

Without a doubt, Halfskin is one of the best science fiction stories I’ve read this year, and I’ve read a lot. The writing is smooth and assured, with no awkward sentences or embarrassing typos. The characters too are perfect. As a mother myself, I have no trouble understanding Cali’s fierce protectiveness. Faced with the same circumstances, I know I’d do exactly the same. And even Marcus the Villain isn’t completely two dimensional. Nonetheless, for me, it’s the underlying ethical questions that truly make this story stand apart.

Halfskin – 5/5 and very highly recommended.

Meeks

p.s. You can buy Halfskin from Amazon as a stand alone book for $3.50 or you can buy is as part of the eleven book Taste of Tomorrow bundle [for 99c].

Standalone:

http://www.amazon.com/Halfskin-Tony-Bertauski-ebook/dp/B00AG6NF8C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415570111&sr=1-1&keywords=halfskin

Bundle

http://www.amazon.com/Taste-Tomorrow-Dystopian-Boxed-Collection-ebook/dp/B00HPM3PDA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415571362&sr=1-1&keywords=A+taste+of+tomorrow


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