Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Dark Modern Fairy Tale

Now, for those that don't want the print version, the eBook version is available through Scribd, full color. 8 pgs of this unique illustrated story is free, full version $2.99.

Included after the fold, additional concept art and sketches from the contributing artists (credits on cover):

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Year Later: Retrospective. Create to Destroy.

The alchemy of the process...

About a year ago today the fundraiser for Words of Traitors kicked off. A year later, it’s been released as a book, an ebook, and some of the pieces have been featured in numerous art shows across Philadelphia. Moving on to new projects in the same general world over the next year. Many thanks to the artists that collaborated with me on this one, and of course to the contributors to the Indiegogo campaign, who helped me defray the costs of producing a project like this.

But I have a bit more to share here then just the usual back-patting and congratulations for making it past the finish line without dying or whatever. With a project like this you're really talking about 40-50 hours a week for five or six months to get it from concept to first edition. Definitely a labor of love. Why do it? I am forced to wonder what the meaning behind all of this is, when all is said and done. Beyond the narratives, beyond the art and brass tacks, what's the meaning and the message? I can't say I've found anything definitive, but I haven't found nothing, either. It isn't about me and it isn't about the characters in the stories. It's about all of you -- and the distance we create between one another in the midst of all these "communication tools" that we have at our disposal. It's a bit about signal to noise but not about marketing--
Listen up. Seriously. Maybe these videos convince you to check out the final book (or eBook, if you can't cover a full color illustrated book). It's the most meaningful way that I think I enter the world, so I hope so. But just as importantly -- maybe more importantly -- I hope it inspires you to realize that there's nothing standing between you and your own creative muse, so long as you are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to get from here to there. We don't do it to get famous, we don't do it to get rich -- those goals are perfectly delusional -- we do it because we have no other choice. But sometimes we need a little push from someone else to remind us that it's time, right now, to stop thinking about it and start doing it. 

It's not about identity branding, it's not about con-vincing anyone of anything. It's about listening to your dreams, listening to your fears, to your history, to your losses, and engaging with them. It's about finding your weak spots and splitting them wide open. It's about being crazy enough to not only do that -- but to share the results with the world. Being genuine has been something I've been willing to sacrifice anything for. I'm certainly not giving that up for the approval of strangers. And yet we make these things to be heard. We don't create them to lock them up in a box. The process transforms us, but the detritus at the end of the process is what gets transformed by the audience from lead back to gold.

Time to destroy and create. I expect to be hearing about your projects shortly, yeah?

One final thing... While running the fundraiser, I made a habit of updating everyone every few days with a video. At first it was the usual stuff, details and updates. But when you're babbling in front of a camera without a real plan, sometimes you'll find yourself saying the darndest things. In a way making these videos really helped inform me as well in terms of what the hell this thing was all about. It becomes a sort of weird feedback mechanism. Looking back, I think some of these may actually be of some use to others that are willing to slog it out against all the challenges that face "indie production," from the bare bones financial ones to the common creative ones to the physical hurdles -- you start to discover that the challenges themselves can even inform the narrative.  There's more, but I think I've typed enough words here. I hope some of these videos are useful for other artists and writers out there, as they are embarrassing as hell for me but I'm plenty willing to get past that so long as some of you are likely to get something from it:

Nothing New

In 1973 Chris Burden conceives the work Through the Night Softly, to be inserted during 10 seconds amongst the regular Tv advertisements, "4 times a week for 4 weeks".
In the original video, longer than the tv ad, he held his hands behind his back and crawled through about 50 feet of glass in Los Angeles pavement at nigh time.

We got to live during the time of corporations. We're told we should feel blessed. No other time has been like this one. Just think: a century ago, the first cars were coming off the assembly line. The planet still had the feel of an untamed frontier, at least for those lucky enough to be born rich, white, male, and willing to take on that post-Enlightenment ideal of Manifest Destiny. Just a century later, we see what the myth of privileged vantage points has delivered: a white hot moment of high petrol fuel, a moment in geological time like nothing more than a hit of crack rock. The addict knows only ash will remain, that it was their rent money- that they can't keep going like this. Yet they do, like a cockroach dragging its broken body across the floor, its abdomen an empty husk, most of its legs floundering as if in severe palsy. We all knew. So this should be neither confession nor surprise. We burned through the fuel like addicts. Like addicts, we used each day to leverage the future, and soon started hocking the future as well. Next months paycheck. Next years. Our children. Our children's children. We used one another, as we always have, like users and pushers. The analogy is so sound that it's facile. Governments wage false wars on drugs because the psychology of user and abuser is one they're familiar with. Like I said, none of this should be any surprise. And yet the shock in our voice was genuine, when all our accounts ran dry, when our friends were no longer assets we could drain. Then comes denial, bargaining. Then comes the mad power scramble. A few things are different on a global scale. But for the most part, if we want to know the future, just imagine a man dragging himself across broken glass in the brief, eternal silence between commercial breaks, and you've got a pretty good idea.

Enjoy your latte.

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Hurray For The Future – What Had Happened Was #22

GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective.

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of What Had Happened Was. This week grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs talk San Diego Comic Con and Benjamin's issues with the general lack of continuity between superhero movies, a Time Warner Cable dispute that could really help Aereo, 3D printing patents coming to a close, a federal court telling a New York Times writer to reveal his source, and an escalator war between South Dakota and Wyoming. All of this on todays episode "Hurray for the Future".

Show Notes:

  1. Aereo could win big in fee dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable
  2. How Watching 'Unbundled' ESPN and AMC Could Cost More Than Your Whole Cable Bill
  3. Get ready for the big bang as 3D printing patents expire
  4. New York Times reporter must testify against his own source in leaks investigation, court rules
  5. Take that, Wyoming: South Dakota has six sets of escalators

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fantasy Sci - Fi Creative Commons Setting

Though it is still in development, the "world setting document" for the Altaeron fantasy / sci-fi setting has been opened to the public to explore - and possibly contribute to.

Check Out The Google Document.

Astute readers may notice that all of Mythos Media's fictional work thusfar constitutes a sort of repository of ancient pre- pre- history for this genre-blending setting. 

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Moon is Our Friend - What Had Happened Was #21

GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective.

This week grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs fill your ear holes with a plethora of articles. Today they're discussing Netflix wanting to create another season of Arrested Development, a League of Extraordinary Gentleman television show, Apple found guilty of eBook price fixing, Twitter forced to hand over user data, creating a National Park on the Moon, and how the states they both have lived in are sometimes awful. All that plus more on this week's episode, The Moon is Our Friend. Show Notes:
  1. Netflix currently in negotiations for another season of Arrested Development
  2. Fan edit of Arrested Development season 4.
  3. Fox creating a put pilot of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman
  4. Apple Found Guilty of Ebook Price Fixing
  5. Twitter forced to hand over occupy wall street user data.
  6. French anti-racism groups sue Twitter for $50 million
  7. Apollo mission sites could become a lunar national park
  8. Florida bans computers and smartphones
  9. Apple sued because its devices display porn
Thanks for the funny article of the week Joshua Ellis.

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Full Moon in Aquarius: The Succession of Dreams

“Do you remember who you were before this?”

“Do I remember… what?”

“Yourself. Before becoming the entity you are now.”

“Bits and pieces. I remember a world that was ripe with war and misunderstanding. I remember a family that was my own. But, this could all be a reflection of images. Planted memory, you see?”

“Perhaps. I remember a desert at dusk, looking out unto a sky vastly superior to anything I could imagine. I remember children chasing each other around bristly bushes. One of them was stung by something, and I believe later died.  This image remains strong in me, for some reason.”

“Yes—for as much omniscience the humans attribute to us we are, at all odds, even greater a mystery to ourselves.”

The entities known as Mercury and Mars had been taking turns keeping watch in the night as their beloved slept.

“What is she preparing for?” the Warrior asked.

“You presume that I know?”

“You always know.”

The Messenger smirked. Flattery will subject even the sharpest mind to infringement. His was no different.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Power of "As If"

When you were a child, you most likely learned a game that will serve you the rest of  your life -- even if you become unaware of it. This 'game' is "as if" -- when you play cops and robbers, you are playing as if you are these things.
As you get older, some people like to pretend they outgrow such things. (I play roleplaying games, so I know better.) However, if you practice chi gung, you are visualizing and practicing "as if" there are lines of energy running up and down your body, or a ball of energy expanding and contracting between your hands and arms. No measuring device has ever successfully detected "chi," unless if you think of Kirlian photography as "scientific proof." At the same time, of course, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, and most importantly, as I'm getting at -- it doesn't actually matter if there is "really" chi. Let's go on...
When you pay someone $5 for a latte, you act as if that paper represents the value that we agree upon. Any close evaluation of value-as-commodity or the value backing of money will demonstrate that the currency fundamentally represents an agreement at this level. (We're not going to get into macro-economics, where everything gets whacky.) This too is an "as if" agreement.

When you take a medication, fall in love, walk up the stairs, or do any number of other activities, you are practicing this "as if" game on some level, as, quoth Sorkin, the amount that you don't know could stun a team of oxen in its tracks. We practice it because more often than not, the benefit of playing along is higher than the cost of uncertainty. 

However, many of us forget that we're playing this game at all. We start to believe in what we're playing at, that it is certain, fixed, concrete. This is where all kinds of troubles come in, from the extreme dangers of fundamentalism to mildly embarrassment of believing in something that isn't literally true. 

This gets at an idea that we've repeated time and again in the posts on this site and the books that have come out of it: dream is not less real than waking (they are both states of consciousness), a metaphor is not less real than a fact (they are different claims entirely), electromagnetism is not less real than matter (they seem to exist on the same spectrum, though conversion from one state to the other requires far more than belief), ... and so on.  

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Pieces of a Narrative

Check this video out:

Not at all what it looks like. 

Isn't it interesting how little action is required on the part of the dolls (i.e. none), for your mind to start sort of editing it in, when we're provided with a narrative? Really makes you wonder about just how little can be necessary to tell a good story, and yet on the flip side, just how much the format effects what kind of stories you can tell, and how our brain is going to make (or re-make it) it in our heads as we take it in.

This has all been bouncing around in my head as I'm working on a narrative that has 2 stand alone pieces: a video game (so an interactive medium) and a graphic novel. So I've been thinking a lot about how the audience is likely to engage with these things, and it might be slowing down the mental part of the writing process, but I hope it's worth it. 

Similarly, as I have been building the loose outline of a 10,000 year history on an alien and yet strangely familiar world, I wonder how many different ways there might be to tell stories in that setting? How many lives existed against the backdrop of World War 2? One could just easily create a narrative within the context of a fantasy event of similar scale the doesn't deal with it headlong. 

This is the approach I've taken so far with myth-building, it's anyone's guess whether it's carried through on the other end that there is often far more outside the frame of a shot than there is within it. I believe we can feel the weight of the invisible actors inside the myth that frames the narrative. Time will tell. 

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The One Without a Theme - What Had Happened Was #20

GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
Hello Everyone, and welcome to the 20th episode of What Had Happened Was. On today's episode grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs talk about the U.S. Postal service tracking the mail, Visa and Mastercard blocking anonymous VPN's, Google paying AdBlock Plus to allow their ads, Train windows vibrating with high tech ads, a Tone Deaf DRM for eBooks, and Snowden Watch 2013. Thanks for listening to today's episode, The One Without a Theme.

Show Notes:

  1. U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement
  2. Mastercard and Visa Start Banning VPN Providers?
  3. AdBlock Plus lets some advertisers pay to play
  4. Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus - Agreements
  5. Vibrating train window to play ads through the skulls of tired commuters
  6. New ebook DRM isn't just easy to break, it makes no legal sense
  7. Snowden suspicions cause chaotic rerouting of Bolivian president's plane

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Summer Reading Offer

Wanted to read Fallen Nation, but never got around to it? Now's your chance. Here's some of what's been said about it (user reviews):
"Wow is my one word for this stunning novel." -Carrie Clevenger
"Fast-paced, well-written, with characters and imagery that grabbed me from the start." -Elizabeth Craig 
"The tagline says it best, "SEX. DRUGS. REVOLUTION. CROSSBOWS.", all things I'd've done well to have kept in mind throughout." -Xjane 
"An anthem for the mutant fringe, and a hell of a wild ride. The characters are instantly memorable, and the events inside are a projection of what could be all too real in the near future." -Tony Cancer

Order either an eBook ($2.99) or paperback ($15) copy of Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End anytime this summer, contact me with subject line "summer reading", and I will send an eBook of the companion piece the 404 Documents

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]


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