Hello, good morning, and welcome to another blog post! It’s the second Thursday of December, and the year 2018 is now perilously close to its end.
As you can probably tell, I’m not doing an episode of “My heroes have always been villains,” today. I don’t seem to get much response to such posts, which is rather heartbreaking, since I love them and the concept. I guess I’ll just keep them to myself for now. Maybe someday I’ll make a book of the ones I have, adding any others that I may write in the future. There are so many interesting villains to discuss, if I can only find people who want to discuss them.
Those of you who’ve been paying attention will have noted that I published Solitaire for Kindle, as I threatened to do. I posted about it here in my blog, yesterday, and I also added it to the “My books” page, so you can link to the story on Amazon from either source, or by clicking on the title anywhere it appears in this post. All roads lead to Solitaire! Okay, well, not all roads. But there are many paths to that destination, nevertheless.
I’ll repeat, for what should be the last time, my “trigger warning” about Solitaire. It’s not a happy story, and those who suffer from depression—or at least who are in the throes of an episode or who have experiences of trauma related to depression—may not want to read it. I have no clinical data (obviously) on what its effects might be, but as someone who has struggled with depression for most of my life, I recognize that the story could, if I were in a vulnerable state, make me feel worse. Perhaps I’m being overly cautious, but I wouldn’t want to make anyone feel even more depressed than they already do, and goodness knows that, when one is depressed, it’s all too easy to find data and experiences that seem to reinforce it.
That being said, I really like the story, as do those who have read it for me—though they too admit that it is, in its way, rather fucked up. And, lamentably, it is not an unrealistic tale.
We can represent many occurrences in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror that may not be possible in the real world, but I suspect that every state of mind expressed in nearly every kind of fiction, if done well, is something that someone, somewhere, at some time, has experienced. In fact, one of the many enjoyable things about fantastic literature is that we can put people in situations that could never really happen and see how they might react, finding almost always that—in fiction at least—they react in recognizably and understandably human ways.
I’m still editing Penal Colony, and it’s going well. It will certainly take longer than did the editing for Solitaire, partly because it’s longer, and partly because Solitaire has been percolating in my head for many years; I was ready, quickly and eagerly, to make the few tweaks that I thought it required. Penal Colony is much more lighthearted than Solitaire, but it’s still one of my stories, so it’s not entirely light. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to write in the genres dominated by such luminaries as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Alas! I do enjoy making people laugh, but my natural tendency, in writing at least, is instead to make people feel…well, perhaps a tad disturbed and insecure. That’s not such a bad thing. After all, most people who go to a carnival, or to one of the modern equivalents, aren’t as interested in watching the antics of clowns as they are in exploring the funhouse or, better yet, riding a roller-coaster.
I know those are the things I like to do.
And finally, I am steadily approaching the end of Unanimity. I don’t think it will be done before the new year arrives, but if I’ve not completed the first draft by the time January has come and gone, I’ll be very surprised…and more than likely will have been the victim of some accident or illness, because honestly, there’s no way it should take that long. I know, I know, I’ve been wrong before, but as the end approaches, the absolute margin of error shrinks, even if the relative error remains the same. Once I’ve reached the book’s conclusion, as I’m sure I’ve said before, I’m going to follow Stephen King’s advice and let the manuscript lie for a month or so before beginning the editing process. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty to occupy me. I’ve got another short story to write even if I’ve finished and published Penal Colony by then, and another novel to start right after that. There shall be no rest for the wicked, on either end of the keyboard.