Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lightning News Flashes: Sci fi, Fantasy & Racism; World-building ‘The Circle’

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get together a bigger story for this week’s post like I had hoped. So here are some more lightning news flashes, or lightning flash non-fiction, with links to the full stories. These stories cover race issues in sci fi and fantasy pop culture, and the world-building behind The Circle. Then comes news of the blogger’s current projects.

Star Trek Licence Plate Removed Due to Racist Connotation 

During the week, a man in Canada was forced by policy to turn in his Star Trek- themed license plate due to “politically incorrect” language. The message on the licence plate unintentionally conveyed reference to a racist method of assimilating the indigenous population of Canada to white culture. However, it was actually referring to Star Trek (post-original series) episodes involving the alien and villainous Borgs’ attempts to assimilate other races.

ReplacingLovecraft’s Image in the World Fantasy Award 

The World Fantasy Award committee introduced a new trophy that replaces the traditional one that had bore H.P. Lovecraft’s image. The new award depicts a gnarled tree overlapping a full moon. The old award became objectionable due to Lovecraft’s racist beliefs conveyed in many of his writings. While Lovecraft wrote some of the greatest horror and sci fi stories of the 20th century, his outspoken racism gave him a bad image to many minorities of colour and people of Semitic background.

World-building for The Circle 

On this weekend of its release, talks about how The Circle’s director dealt with the challenges of world-building for the movie, that world being a near future Earth dominated by an internet empire that basically plays Big Brother. It’s not quite Google but it’s definitely a response to Google’s dominance in the internet industry.

“Circa Sixty Years Dead” Update

I just figured out how I’m going to insert the images of ads into the manuscript template so I can meet Amazon’s 24-page minimum for the print edition of “Circa Sixty YearsDead”. Instead of using rich text format, I’ll use HTML format. HTML is a language typically used for making web pages and because of that it can convey images unlike most document file formats. Therefore it is more easily convertible to self-publishing platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

So what do you think is the line between sci fi/fantasy fandom and racism? When it comes to those genius speculative lit authors who are also bigots, can we separate the author from their creation in order to admire their work, or is admiring the one admiring the other? Feel free to leave your comments in the box below. And no, these questions do not exempt anybody from the blog’s anti-discrimination/anti-racist policy; anybody leaving racist or other discriminatory remarks will be blocked.

See you next time.

A stairway leading to a door in a dark, cloudy sky.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lightning Flash Non-Fiction: Writing; Dr. Who & March for Science; American Gods; YouTube Find

A lightning flash.

I was desperately and futilely looking for a topic for this evening’s post but couldn’t think of anything. So I decided to go with news bits or, what I like to call, lightning flash non-fiction (or even Lightning News Flashes). I call them that because they are very brief news flashes. Although I don’t believe in depending on a brief news story over full coverage of an event, both myself and you readers out there are short on time and I’m not a full-time news journalist. So I don’t rob you of the full story like too many so-called news outlets do just to attract an audience to make profit, I put the link to the full, or at least fuller, story in each flash. Just click on the link and you are there in a, uh, flash (provided you don’t have a slow internet connection). And so here they are:

Writing Project Updates: I finally finished copying and pasting the text from my manuscript of “Circa Sixty Years Dead” to the template for the print edition.  However, in order to meet Amazon’s 24-page minimum, I now need to insert some ads of my past work. Also, last night, I reached just over 29,000 words of a 30,000-word goal writing my first novella! That is, my first that I haven’t abandoned.

Doctor Who Joins theMarch for Science: Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi, who currently plays the series’ title character, participated in this weekend’s March for Science, according to The March is a global movement against the Trump administration’s denial of climate change.

American GodsTV Premiere and Comic Release: This TV series based on Neil Gaiman’s best-selling book starts April 30th! Sadly, yours truly’s cable doesn’t get Starz, the network that will be airing the series. He’ll have to wait until some generous patron donates a copy of the series to his local library. Or, if it’s really as good as they anticipate, just buy it on DVD. Also, an American Gods comic book is already out.

YouTube Sci Fi-nd: Yours truly was searching YouTube for a vintage Saturday Morning show to watch this morning (because he hates the majority of today’s kids programming since it seems to not really be for kids). And in his cyber video quest he found Big Foot and Wild Boy. This half-hour sci fi series was part of the Krofft Supershow of the ‘70s when glitter rock (a.k.a. glam rock), disco and Bigfoot were at their most high. Yes, it’s corny, but a good B-rated kind of corny.  

Part One of a Two Part Debut episode of  the 1970s' Bigfoot and Wild Boy

And so there’s your pop culture news in lightning flashes. Tune in next week for, hopefully, a bigger story of what’s going on in the writing world of sci fi and fantasy.

Until then . . .  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Tedious Job of Copying and Pasting to a Manuscript Template

Pasting my draft of “Circa Sixty Years Dead” to the manuscript template for the print edition is taking a little longer than I thought it would. I didn’t realise how tedious it would be to cut and paste from my manuscript to the template. I have to do it paragraph by paragraph rather than in larger sections. When I did it the latter way with The Fool’sIllusion  it screwed up the entire format and so I had to keep readjusting the settings which doing so delayed the book’s release. I think the template is formatted based on paragraph breaks more than on larger units of text.

Cutting and pasting my manuscript one paragraph at a time was so redundantly frustrating that I had to stop after about an hour and get out of the house for a while. So I hopped into my Chevy Malibu (a.k.a. a “Classic”) and drove down to one of the nearby fast food joints for a diet cola and to work in some revisions of the short story I’m currently working on. I had to get away from the redundancy of working on a single project in one location. Speaking about that, author Allan Krummenacker has a post up at his blog about working on several stories simultaneously. It’s really interesting, especially when he talks about how he trained his mind to work on several projects at the same time.

I’m going to try to work a little more on the formatting for the print version of “Circa” this evening. Tune in both here and at my Facebook page for its progress and to be the first to know of its release! Also, if any of you have had experience with Word manuscript templates and know of an easier and more efficient way of cutting and pasting a story into the template then let me know. I would greatly appreciate it!

Until next time . . .  

Rows of identical cartoon rabbits.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

How To Rid a Book Template of Chapters; No-Fool’in Book Giveaway

I wish this were only an April Fool’s joke: the print edition of “Circa Sixty Years Dead” is not ready. Earlier in the week I started transferring the story to the manuscript template but then found out that there were some technical problems. The template was made for a book divided into chapters. I don’t use chapters in “Circa” since it’s a short work. But problems like these can easily be fixed. I simply placed the cursor of my mouse on the first tab of a chapter’s opening page. Then I back-spaced until I got rid of the chapter heading as well as the page break. The page breaks are often used so the next chapter won’t begin on the same page as the end of the previous one. I did this for the first page of each chapter.

Now I have to see if there are any other technical challenges in the template but I won’t be able to tell until I start pasting my story’s text to the template. Unless you’re an expert at book design, which I’m not, formatting your own book is really all about trial and error among other tasks in self-publishing.

Since I work with Libre Writer for typing my manuscript does this mean the above method only works for that? Actually, it will especially work for Microsoft Word. Word’s help website is where I learned how to do it. I had tried Libre’s online help centre but when I did a search for how to delete pages only results for deleting other things came up. It shows you how compatible Writer is with Word but how bad Libre’s help site is. But I can’t complain too much since Libre offers its software for free. The method for deleting pages may differ slightly with other word processing software.

I’m going to work on the print edition of “Circa” throughout the week. And since I may not be doing a post next weekend because one of my in-laws is tying the knot, I’ll let you know on my Facebook page when the print edition is out. Or maybe even when it’s not out. So visit my FB page throughout the week for updates on that as well as for other neat stuff.

Jester holding a scepter topped with a skull wearing a jester cap.

Since the print version of “Circa” has seemed like nothing but a joke ever since I said several months back, around Christmas, that it would be comingsooner than expected, I’ll make up for it with a no-fool’in April Fool’s offer. From midnight tonight through tomorrow, Pacific standard time, you can get a free e-copy of my short fiction collection, The Fool’sIllusion

Have you tried using Word templates to format your book? What has been your experience with them?

Until next time . . .