Xbox: Stand Alone Complex

laughing man

So everybody and their grandma is talking about the “Xbox 180”: Microsoft’s complete about-face and their decision to take back everything they said about the Xbox One’s online policies, intrusive DRM, mandatory daily account verification, the elimination of used games and game-sharing, etc etc.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff being written about that, especially as regards the victory of consumers over short-term corporate greed and professional PR message-massaging.

I don’t really have anything to add to that stuff, and frankly, a lot of it was already said a year or two ago, when Bank of America tried to add fees to checking accounts or whatever, and then backpedaled after massive consumer backlash.  The internet has arrived, the consumer is king, and the basic paradigm of market capitalism is undergoing strange and unprecedented changes.  Huzzah!

But here’s an interesting thing I do want to discuss: the curious and exciting event that emerged via Twitter right after the announcement. Continue reading


Building a Better Batman

Author Hugh Howey has an interesting approach to fan-fiction: he encourages it.  For those who don’t know, Howey is the author of “Wool”, a self-published sci-fi series turned breakout mega-hit, the buzz around which is changing a lot of minds about self-publishing.  His book and his success were what inspired me to try self-publishing “Deep Sounding”, and I’ve been stalking him ever since.

But to the subject at-hand: Howey encourages fan-fiction.  Even more radically, he encourages authors to PUBLISH these works, for money, and he doesn’t ask a cut.  He considers it free publicity, and he’s rightfully jazzed at the idea of fellow artists who love his sandbox enough to come play in it.  It’s a notion so common-sense that of course no one has ever tried it before, and it’s got me thinking about communal storytelling.

Continue reading

Conan the Theologian

Excellent post over on Read, Seen, Heard. Makes me want to go pick up some Conan.

Read, Seen, Heard

It is not often in the Conan stories of Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) that we find the noted barbarian in a philosophical frame of mind, but in “Queen of the Black Coast” (1934) he has this conversation with Bêlit, the pirate queen:

“Conan, do you fear the gods?”

“I would not tread on their shadow… Some gods are strong to harm, others, to aid; at least so say their priests. Mitra of the Hyborians must be a strong god… But even the Hyborians fear Set. And Bel, god of thieves, is a good god. When I was a thief in Zamora I learned of him.”

“What of your own gods? I have never heard you call on them.”

“Their chief is Crom. He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his…

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You might have noticed a new wordcount bar has been added on the left, and is rapidly filling.  There’s something very addictive and gratifying about publicly updating that count as the writing progresses.  Nearing one-third completion now.  Engine’s humming up to speed.  Characters are defined, plots and sub-plots are in place, and my subconscious is already nagging me to update the outline to revise seat-of-the-pants story changes or risk way overshooting the wordcount.

Happy work!

In retrospect, announcing the tentative release date (May 1st) of a novel which isn’t complete is not the brightest idea.  But screw retrospect.  A deadline’s the best muse there is.

Deep Sounding Volume 2 drops soon!