August 14th, 2008

chi 5

"If we fall and break..."

I'm going to try to make this a short entry, because I woke late (inexplicably, as I actually got to bed at a decent hour last night), and the day has sort of gone off the rails.

A good writing day yesterday. 1,171 words on Chapter Four of The Red Tree. The Shirley Jackson helped, after all. And my thanks to wolven for making me realize I need to read Borges' "The Garden of Forking Paths" again.

Also, yesterday there was more talk with my editor at Penguin about the book's flap copy, and I got my first look at some of the possible cover layouts for A is for Alien, featuring gorgeous artwork by Jacek Yerka. Spooky spent part of the day considering potential artists to be interviewed by Geoffrey Goodwin (readingthedark) for the next few issues of Sirenia Digest. All the good stuff seems to be coming out of Russia and Japan these days. Oh, and there was also a conversation with Anne (my editor at Penguin) regarding the cover art for The Red Tree.

I know I have a goodly number of German readers, so here's the link to the page for the forthcoming German-language edition of Threshold, entitled Fossil. I am really quite fond of that cover.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are so able and inclined. Thank you. Also, don't forget to pre-order the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds.

Last night, Chinese takaway for dinner (beef fried rice, steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup), and then we watched Jet Li and Jason Statham in Philip G. Atwell's War (2007). It struck me as a nod to old school Hong Kong action films, right down to the absurdly over-the-top twist ending, and I found it thoroughly entertaining.

This morning, we placed the order for the Howards End sim with Linden Labs. It may be delivered as soon as this afternoon or tonight, though it will be quite some time yet before we open the sim. First, the designated terraformer on our build team (we now have, I think, four builders, not counting me and Spooky) will get to work on the topography and warrens, the train tunnel and sea cliffs. All that has to be done before the landscaping and construction of the city itself begins.

There is something I wanted to mention regarding the sim, that I probably should have mentioned earlier. You might call this "Yes, you do have to read." Way back last November, just after the Dune: Apocalypse sim opened, I attended a meeting led by one of the sim administrators, and he actually stated that it was not important that potential players read Herbert's books (or even those written by Herbert's son and Kevin J. Anderson). Indeed, it was stated that the sim owners did not want to "scare people off" by expecting them to know the books. I found this position unthinkably wrongheaded (and said so), and I suspected then, that early on, that the sim was in trouble. Of course, it died a messy death in February, brought about largely by the ignorance on the part that same administrator of the universe in which the sim was set. Though he had been appointed "Canon Keeper," he, inexplicably, seemed to know very little about Dune. Anyway, I am getting to the point. Simply, I do expect the "players" to have a reasonable familiarity with the source material, which would be, primarily, Low Red Moon, Daughter of Hounds, the works of Lovecraft, and a number of short stories ("So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," "Night Games in the Crimson Court," "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," and all the stories collected in Alabaster). The short stories I will likely put on note cards that will be free to players, and all the Lovecraft can be found free online. Frankly, we want literate "players," and if you cannot be bothered to read the stories that have shaped the rp, you aren't right for this. And, fair warning, faking it will be hard. It is not my desire to drive anyone who might be interested away, but the thought that someone would want to be part of the rp, but has no desire to read my work upon which it is based, is insulting, and letting such people in would only gum up the works. Plus, since the sim likely won't open until late October or early November, there's lots of time to play catchup. As we are not looking at this sim as a for-profit venture, it really has only two reasons for being: first, as something for my readers to enjoy, and, secondly, as something for me to enjoy. That's not possible if we end up with members unfamiliar with the books and stories in question. As of last night, we had about half the 25-30 members I'm looking for, which puts us far ahead of where I expected to be at this point.

Time to make the doughnuts....