Tag Archives: sci-fi

Lack of sleep will boldy take you…where no one has gone before! /SWISH/

Sleep deprivation.

It has a way of running you off track.

Making you grumpy.

Impairing your ability to drive.

Most people would say this is a bad thing.

Heck, even I, when my kid screams at 3am like the boogie man is at the foot of his bed and insists he cannot return to sleep unless I sit by his side for the next hour, have been known to utter under my breath, “This is a bad thing.”

But that’s just the sleep deprivation talking.

And why else would we have airbags except for sleep-deprived drivers?

Where was I? Oh yes, Ayn Rand.

I have it on good authority that Ayn Rand was most enamored of the work she wrote while sleep deprived.

Based on what I’ve sampled, I can only surmise she wrote everything while sleep deprived.

And now the more conservative readers of this blog are about to object.

Shut up, conservative readers. I’m about to sing the praises of sleep deprivation writing.

I used to have dreams of being a serious writer.

A literary novelist.

A man of letters.

And numbers (preferably prefaced with a ‘$’).

Alas, it was not meant to be.

The closest I came was to being a man of numbers with a ‘¢‘ at the end of them.

And if you’re familiar with the terms of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, a ‘¢‘ at the end of your numbers means you aren’t getting a royalty check.

Instead, I decided to write an absurdist noir sci-fi thriller.

It’s hard to write an absurdist noir sci-fi thriller when you’re well rested.

It’s hard to write one when you’re tired.

Or drunk (keep missing the keys).

Or bent (don’t SCUBA dive with a computer unless you know in advance it’s water proof).

It is easy, however, to write one while sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation allows you to make intuitive leaps while circumventing that pesky reason thing. This is important, if not downright critical, for any absurdist elements you are trying to incorporate into your plot.

But I would argue that sleep deprivation helps for less lofty works of literature than absurdist noir sci-fi thrillers.

Sleep deprivation will unburden you from the tyranny of logic, from the insidious restrictions of continuity. It enables the sort of ‘outside the box’ thinking that is so popular in the business world, such as at companies like Wang Laboratories, Pets.Com, and AOL-TimeWarner.

Now I’m not saying that you can stay up for eight days in a row and crank out a masterpiece like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

You can crank out the first draft of the Wheel of Time series in that time.

You then need to rest up, get lots of sleep, and edit that first draft.

This, you will be surprised to learn, is the real reason why it has taken so long for all of the books in the Wheel of Time series to come out. Jordan, and his successor, needed to do a lot of sleeping in-between books.

Writing and editing are two distinct phases in the writing process, and it’s best if they don’t mix. They’re like the Jets and the Sharks – when they run into each other, violence and catchy tunes tend to erupt.

I'm not evil, just a stickler for grammar and logic

The odds of this making sense while the reader is sober are currently at 0.0043%.

Sleep deprivation turns off what I call the “douchey Vulcan killjoy gatekeeper of awesome ideas,” or what NaNoWriMo calls the “inner editor.”

(Sadly, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaisons aren’t allowed to use the word “douchey” in their regional emails, so the management suggested “inner editor” as an acceptable substitute. This completely waters down the magnitude of evil conveyed, accurately, by the phrase “douchey Vulcan killjoy gatekeeper of awesome ideas,” and I for one refuse to pull my punches.)

Sleep deprivation gets that Vulcan drunk off his (or her) ass, allowing flawed concepts and failed logic to slip by unnoticed, or at least with no more than a reproaching arch of the eyebrow, and onto the page.

How do you think the concept of imaginary numbers came about? I’ll tell you this: it did not involve a well-rested mathematician or a sober Vulcan. Square root of -1 my ass!

So you stay awake far too long, pound out a first draft unencumbered by sanity, and then, and only then, you sleep.

Sleep allows the Vulcan, or for the more timid among you, the inner editor, to sober up.

This is important. Do not skip this step if you’re a writer!

In the editing stage, you need that pointy-eared, green-blooded fiend refreshed and alert. He’ll make himself comfortable on your shoulder and the two of you will read that first draft.

You’ll fight and struggle to understand the intent.

You’ll moan and shake your head in wonderment and horror.

You’ll strive and strain to fit the imaginative, innovative workings on the page into a context that makes sense.

If you’ve slept enough, you will succeed.

If you haven’t, I recommend sleeping on it.

Turns out, the sleep deprived writing is the easy part. It’s the editing, the putting the puzzle together into a clear picture, that’s hard.

She didn't shave her pits, either.

Is this John Galt?

Really hard.

And it is this stage, the sleeping and sobering up and thinking about what you wrote and how to shape the raw material so it makes sense, where, I believe, Ayn Rand dropped the ball.

But that could be the sleep deprivation talking.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
My books are available!

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Posted by on 22 August 2012 in Noir, Writing


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A spoiler-free review of Prometheus

I don’t know about you, but I hate being exposed to spoilers for movies and television programs I haven’t seen yet.

It’s the primary reason I avoid Tumblr.

But it occurs to me that maybe spoilers are hard to avoid, that I should walk a mile (or a kilometer, for you metricphiles out there) in a spoiler’s shoes before complaining about what inconsiderate asses they are.

Don't look up it's nose - it'll hypnotise you!

A promotional poster for Prometheus. Or is it??

So I’ve decided to write a movie review. About Prometheus. Which I just saw a couple of days ago.

A lot of people are talking about it, and I figure if I use that as a tag, I’ll get more blog traffic.


Prometheus centers around the character(s) of Evil Kenevil and Rupert Murdoch-wannabe Lance Armstrong. It offers the viewer a compelling conflict between Faberge egg connoisseurs and Jello-brand gelatin, who are searching for answers to where one can find the finest gourmet cheese whizzes.

The movie opens with a powerful scene of a Jersey Shore cast member dancing the lambada just before jumping into Niagra Falls and having a complete and total meltdown. It gets very messy from there, involving new and disgusting ways for a nation’s economic sovereignty to be violated. I was impressed.

Fast forward to the next season, and we’re in space. The Situation is playing with matches while his (or maybe her?) comrades are sleeping off the end all, be all of hangovers. They arrive at the Alien Experience ride at Universal Studios only discover some horrible accident has wiped out the attendants at the space gas station and they’re seriously screwed. Because they weren’t allowed to bring any gasoline with them.

Searching the facility, the crew finds an extraterrestrial version of the Cartoon Network and a room filled with sealed kegs of Captain Morgan rum that has gone seriously past its expiration date and a giant big toe sculpture. Extra spoiler – it has a humdinger of a hangnail. Truly this is a horror movie.

Naturally, this leads inevitably to some shoplifting and uncovering Tony Soprano’s head in a bowling ball bag. And what does one do when one finds Tony Soprano’s head in a bowling ball bag? Why, you do what the Situation would do, and juice it, of course. This leads to a messy, gooey tirade of profanity from Tony Soprano’s head that put me off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of my life.

The movie has a lot of references to things that might be related to stuff in the Alien movie. But I can’t be sure, because the Alien movie happens after this movie, so I could be wrong.

As you’ve no doubt heard, there are a lot of ambitious questions asked by Prometheus. Where are my glasses? Did you take my peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of the cafeteria refrigerator, even though my name was clearly printed on the bag? Should I have worn a condom when I slept with you last night? What is this burning sensation in my uterus?

The movie had a lot of plot holes, with some of those holes requiring more effort and imagination than others to fill, but I still found that I was able to overlook the inexplicable out-of-character behavior of some characters, which I’m sure can be explained by wild leaps of the imagination thrown in with insane assumptions and a fanatical suppression of logic. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I liked this movie.

Even after the big reveal at the end, where the character we all thought was a beautiful woman turned out to be a man, baby! But that’s hardly a spoiler – I totally saw that coming after seeing the trailer.

And that’s what drives me crazy the most: when the worst spoilers are in the damned movie trailer. I haven’t seen crucial plot points like that one revealed in a trailer since My Dinner With Andre (yes, he had the special! Thanks for ruining the whole movie, Louis Malle, you poor excuse for a festering gob of gangrenous pus!)

Sometimes life just isn’t fair. But the pricks on Tumblr, as I have just demonstrated with the ease of my non-spoilering, totally deserve my hatred.

As for Prometheus, I give the movie four and a half face huggers out of five. Or maybe just one really big face hugger.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
My books are now available!
Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)


Posted by on 15 June 2012 in Other Blogs


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