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Walter1
1. I began yesterday's entry with the following line: It's a dream-kill-dream world in here..., which I attributed to David Bowie. Then someone asked which song, in particular, I was quoting, that they'd googled the quote and come up with nothing. I had it in my head the line was from "Get Real," which was originally meant to be part of Outside (1995), but didn't make the cut. Turns out, I was wrong. Indeed, I cannot presently trace the quote to anything Bowie has written— or anything anyone else has written, for that matter —and it's all gotten alarmingly odd. It's used as an epigraph in my chapbook B is for Beginnings (2009), where I thought I'd attributed the quote to Bowie. Only, I didn't. I did not attribute it to anyone. So, now I have no idea where it might have originated. Did I write it? Did I find it online somewhere, on a page that has since vanished? At this point, I can't say. But if anyone should happen to solve this mystery, I would be grateful.

2. Yesterday, I began a new vignette, presently called "Untitled 35." I wrote only 624 words, for a number of reasons. Mostly, I got started very late in the day, around 3 p.m. (CaST). However, another problem goes back to what I have often said about science fiction (yes, "Untitled 35" is sf), the problem of linguistic evolution. Very few authors have ever managed to deal with this convincingly when writing about future societies. In my eyes, even Anthony Burgess' excellent A Clockwork Orange (1962) falls short in this regard, and Burgess was a trained linguist. Anyway, point being, in this new piece, a first-person narration, I am struggling to create a somewhat plausible "future language" for a late 21st Century Boston.

Of course, it needs to remain comprehensible to readers in 2010, which hobbles me considerably. But I am always galled by futuristic sf (even the stuff I like) that doesn't at least make some effort to deal with linguistic drift and evolution. Stories set two or three hundred years in the future, in which everyone speaks perfectly understandable English, and so forth; I consider this a far worse offense than "getting the science wrong" (though, technically, this is a matter of anthropology). Ideally, films and stories set that far ahead would need subtitles and glossaries. Think of it this way: Imagine you're living in 1820, in England, and somehow happen across a copy of William Gibson's Burning Chrome. Just how much sense would it make to you?

3. The final cover design for The Ammonite Violin & Others is now up at Subterranean Press, though I've neglected to post it here. Another great piece by Richard Kirk:



4. And now, another day begins. I apparently have no say in this, which seems odd.

Comments

( 22 comments — Have your say! )
coppervale
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
Digging that cover, and the title.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)

Thank you!
readingthedark
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
"Hard to be a dreamer / in a dream killing town" popped up on Google, but it's by a singer so wretched that I can't possibly believe that that's where it originally stems. (Johnny Cougar)
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)

but it's by a singer so wretched that I can't possibly believe that that's where it originally stems. (Johnny Cougar)

Yeah..intriguing...but I don't think that's the root of this.
birgitriddle
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
How language changes and how words can change are fascinating. Just last night I read about how terms for men who had sex with other men evolved over the last century. It was interesting, especially how some of the changes started to redefine the culture and who was who.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)

How language changes and how words can change are fascinating. Just last night I read about how terms for men who had sex with other men evolved over the last century. It was interesting, especially how some of the changes started to redefine the culture and who was who.

As it happens, part of my yesterday was spent sorting through anachronistic slang for gay men...
sovay
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
where I thought I'd attributed the quote to Bowie. Only, I didn't. I did not attribute it to anyone.

Maybe it's a song he hasn't written yet.

(YouTube tells me there's a song called "Dream Kill Dream" by Kalevra, but they're not very good.)

In my eyes, even Anthony Burgess' excellent A Clockwork Orange (1962) falls short in this regard, and Burgess was a trained linguist.

Because it's not estranged enough? Or because it's not a plausible evolution?

(I have always liked that he also tried the reverse with Nothing Like the Sun (1964), which is not pure Elizabethan pastiche, but is certainly not written as though Shakespeare spoke in the mid-twentieth century.)

Anyway, point being, in this new piece, a first-person narration, I am struggling to create a somewhat plausible "future language" for a late 21st Century Boston.

And then there are regional variations . . .

The final cover design for The Ammonite Violin & Others is now up at Subterranean Press

That is lovely.

Have some ruins.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)

Maybe it's a song he hasn't written yet.

Isn't that a comforting thought?

Because it's not estranged enough? Or because it's not a plausible evolution?

The former. I think determining plausibility is pretty much impossible...an untestable hypothesis, essentially.

And then there are regional variations . . .

Yep. I waffled on whether or not the retain "wicked," and decided I would.

Have some ruins.

Thank you.
bleedingtom
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
linquistics boot camp
I would think a cheatingly easy way to deal with the english in the future way, would be to write a past scenario in which English is a dead language. Only spoken by scholars, or some mystery laden organization. Like the Church of England surviving some apocalypse and training priests in english while the rest of the world speaks mandarian or some version of russian. How's that for a hook for the linguistically minded people?

How did Anthony Burgess fail? I have heard he wrote the book compelety under the bottle (gin was his intoxicant) because the topics hurt him so badly.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: linquistics boot camp

I would think a cheatingly easy way to deal with the english in the future way, would be to write a past scenario in which English is a dead language. Only spoken by scholars, or some mystery laden organization. Like the Church of England surviving some apocalypse and training priests in english while the rest of the world speaks mandarian or some version of russian. How's that for a hook for the linguistically minded people?

Well..then you need a reasonable scenario accounting for how and why English becomes a dead language. More importantly, you're begging the question, as whichever language you chose to use instead— say Spanish —would need to be reworked to account for drift.

How did Anthony Burgess fail?

See my above response to Sonya.
jenjen4280
Feb. 8th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
While it suffers from being a future story that uses 20th century language, I thought it was an interesting idea in Joss Whedon's Firefly that China had become the next superpower, and that bits of Mandarin are encorporated into the language the characters speak.

As globalization increases, perhaps English will become more pidgen, peppered with bastardized words and phrases in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, etc.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)

While it suffers from being a future story that uses 20th century language, I thought it was an interesting idea in Joss Whedon's Firefly that China had become the next superpower, and that bits of Mandarin are incorporated into the language the characters speak.

Agreed, though, of course, Whedon has merely nodded to the problem at hand, rather than actually addressing it. This does not, however, keep Firefly from being quite a lot of fun.

As globalization increases, perhaps English will become more pidgen, peppered with bastardized words and phrases in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, etc.

Very likely, yes.
ardiril
Feb. 8th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I see story potential in your Bowie incident. I hope you don't mind if I steal it, although I doubt little if any similarity would result if you also wrote a story from that root.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
I see story potential in your Bowie incident. I hope you don't mind if I steal it, although I doubt little if any similarity would result if you also wrote a story from that root.

Fine by me, so long as you refrain from using the mysterious line in question.

Edited at 2010-02-08 07:30 pm (UTC)
ardiril
Feb. 8th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't think of it. I'm thinking more along the lines of "what if David Lynch had created Iggy Pop".
greygirlbeast
Feb. 8th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)

"what if David Lynch had created Iggy Pop".

Nice.
catvalente
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, I immediately wrote down the dream-kill-dream phrase as a possible novel title. ;)
dreamcoil
Feb. 9th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
The cover is gorgeous.
musey_q
Feb. 9th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
a clue to the mystery:

http://greygirlbeast.dreamwidth.org/tag/bowie

<<
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a clue to the mystery:

http://greygirlbeast.dreamwidth.org/tag/bowie

<<<It's a dream-kill-dream world in here...
Jan. 7th, 2008 12:57 pm
My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest for the marvelous subject line.>>>
jacobluest
Feb. 9th, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
As Musey Q said--and I'm not trying to sound full of shit--but it's from here where I left a comment to you about getting killed by a bullet made of programmable matter. I guess something must have lodged. That's what I get for committing a dream to text...I said I wouldn't be their vector for infection, but they've got me between a rock and a hard place. I'm sure you know how that goes.

Of course, it's statistically improbable that I'm the progenitor of that phrase. Just probably the perpetrator. My apologies to Monsieur Bowie!

~Jacob
ardiril
Feb. 9th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
More grist brought to the metaphor. (Sorry, Mr. Orwell.)
alumiere
Feb. 10th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
That is a beautiful cover. I can't wait for the book to be delivered so I can (I hope) devour it.

I'm finding short stories and novellas easier than novels right now, so this is extra impatient me right now.

Although I also want M. Straub's book in my hands already (I've skipped your review details so I can read it fresh, but he's been one of my favorite authors since "Shadowland" when I was in sixth grade).
( 22 comments — Have your say! )