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Commencing countdown, engines on.

I'm sitting here, trying to wake up, and David Bowie's singing "Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do," and that sent me straight back to the continental-drift dream (see yesterday's entry), and somehow that got me thinking about James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis (and really, hypothesis here should appear with quotation marks), and that led to thoughts of Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, who was hypothesizing along these same lines long before Lovelock, and thinking about Vernadsky led to thinking about a song on the new Decemberists CD, "When the War Came," which inevitably led to thoughts of Vavilov (Nikolai Ivanovich), and then that reminded me of Vavilov Crater in the Hertzsprung Basin on Mars, which led me right back around to thoughts of the continental-drift dream. All in about five minutes, which is a fair look at how my brains rolls round and round before the coffee comes to rein it in.

By now, though, I've moved along to the Smashing Pumpkins:

Time is never time at all.
You can never, ever leave without leaving a piece of youth.
And our lives are forever changed,
We will never be the same.
The more you change, the less you feel.


Anyway...

Yesterday isn't a blur. It's a smudge. There are hardly any bits worth saving, much less mentioning here. I never did say anything about coming upon Eryut Village in Final Fantasy XII, did I? That was Saturday night...or Sunday morning. Oh, and thank you, Leh'agvoi, for all the drad new Fran icons. But I was saying, Eryut in the Golmore Jungle. Think Lothlórien relocated in the Amazonian canopy, if the Amazon were on some other planet where everything wants to kill you, and if the elves were digitigrade and had long rabbit-like ears. The place from which Fran came. A whole frelling forest full of Viera. If I am entirely mistaken about the mortality of mind and some conscious portion of ourselves remains after death, I should very much like it if Eryut were my Heaven. Gorgeous. The trees dripped with their haughtiness. I never wanted to leave. But leave I did, last night, to journey on through Golmore, fight a dragon thingy that looked like a moldy, moss-covered ankylosaur, and wind my way through the high, snowy wastes of the Paramina Rift to Mt. Bur-Omisace. By then it was two a.m., bedtime for nixars. That was the only bit of yesterday worth not forgetting.

There was a bit of talk here recently about how I'm not keeping this blog to pass on Sage Advice from the trenches regarding How To Become A Published Writer. However, I think I will now break with my own tradition and offer one unsightly dollop of advice. When you begin to sell stories and maybe even novels, you will be asked to write biographies of yourself. No, it's true. Generally, writers write their own little bio blurbs, the ones that you see on the dust jackets and so forth. It's sad, but true. But that's not the point. They point is that when — or, rather, if — you find yourself writing such a fifty -word encapsulation of your Life Until Now, take care. Think before you commit those thoughts to publication. Choose your words carefully. In parsing the fiction that is your personal history, consider how This May Look a few years further down the road. For groan you will, kupo, if you stumble into this all willy-nilly and topsy-turvy (as did I). For example, if you've worked as a hooker and intend to include that information, say that you were a hooker, not a "sex industry worker." If you were a stripper, do not say you were an "exotic dancer." And if you were a drag queen, do not say that you were, instead, a "female illusionist." Likewise, if you were a garbage man, do not say you were an "urban sanitation technician." If you were a drug dealer, resist the urge to say you were a "freelance recreational pharmaceutical consultant." Do not try to pretty up the past with double-speak. Just open your mouth and spit out the dirty truth. In the long run, you'll be glad you did. Better yet, just leave all this silly dren out and stick to the pertinent facts. Well, the "facts." No one wants to read the Truth, but neither do they want to read wordy attempts to dodge the truth. Avoid that which is irrelevant.

(Reading this back to Spooky, she just asked, "Now from whence to did that come?" to which I replied, "Shut up, you'll see in a moment.")

Do not include the name of your pet hamster, unless you want a terrifying phone call from Harlan Ellison.

Avoid politics.

And pause to consider, when making soaring declarations and proclamations of personal belief that will be printed in these bios, that fifteen or twenty or fifty years from now, someone may read said bio, and even though you are no longer head-over-hills in love with, oh, say Discordianism or the South Beach Diet, that's still what it will say, if that's what you wrote. And most readers perceive an author's bio, regardless of the year it was written, as The Present. Case in point, in the biography for To Charles Fort, With Love, I say that I am a transhumanist. I put it down for the benefit of all posterity (if any). And yet, having now read much more widely from transhumanist literature I discover that I am not a transhumanist after all. Indeed, I discover that, ultimately, I find transhumanism such a generally loathsome, damn near idiotic -ism, almost completely at odds with my deepest beliefs, that I feel I owe the whole world an apology for ever have included myself among them. I may have meant parahumanism (we'll see), but really, what I may have meant is neither here nor there, because it says "transhumanist" and it always will. It's in print, at least until the big space rock vaporizes all examples of The Written Word and I am at last freed from my unfortunate association with that spot of anthropocentric Apollonian nonsense. Stop and think. Blogs may be deleted or revised*. Printed author's bios are forever (or at least until the coming of said space rock).

You don't have to thank me. At least not all of you at once.

Yes, it's going to be an absinthe day...

*Unless they are illegally archived somewhere you cannot access. Ahem.

Comments

( 14 comments — Have your say! )
jlundberg
Dec. 4th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
Hear hear. For the bio that appeared at the end of one of my stories, I think it was for Lone Star Stories, I included the throwaway line, "His favorite color is blue, and no, he's not Jewish, but thanks for asking." The first part seems very adolescent to me now, and the second part was too much of an inside joke. With a last name like Lundberg, which is Swedish, I got asked many times when I was younger if I was Jewish, or people just assumed I was and then got upset when I didn't match up to their expectations. In one case, believe it or not, this led to the end of a friendship.

But then when that story above with the bio was published, a few of my Jewish friends emailed and said it read as slightly anti-Semitic, and they were offended by it, which was not my intent at all. When I want to offend people, I do it on purpose. :) So I don't include that line anymore in my bio.
jlundberg
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, and if you're interested in plate tectonics and so forth right now, I'd suggest Clare Dudman's remarkable novel One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead, which is a fictional account of the life of German scientist Alfred Wegener, who developed the theory of continental drift.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
Speaking of which, have you seen this?

I had not. Thank you.

Still, it means humanity might be wiped out by a big space rock containing organic material that has existed since before humanity, before life on Earth, and before fusion ignited in the sun.

And that would just be so damn cool.
sovay
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
ultimately, I find transhumanism such a generally loathsome, damn near idiotic -ism, almost completely at odds with my deepest beliefs, that I feel I owe the whole world an apology for ever have included myself among them.

What has transhumanism come to connote?

My soundtrack of Bowie at the moment appears to be "Life on Mars?" so with that in mind:

And then the clouds gathered, blotting out the vision of the sky, the thunder and lightning wove a garment round the world; all over the earth was such a downpour of rain as men had never before seen, and where the volcanoes flared red against the cloud canopy there descended torrents of mud. Everywhere the waters were pouring off the land, leaving mud-silted ruins, and the earth littered like a storm-worn beach with all that had floated, and the dead bodies of the men and brutes, its children. For days the water streamed off the land, sweeping away soil and trees and houses in the way, and piling huge dykes and scooping out Titanic gullies over the country side. Those were the days of darkness that followed the star and the heat. All through them, and for many weeks and months, the earthquakes continued.

But the star had passed, and men, hunger-driven and gathering courage only slowly, might creep back to their ruined cities, buried granaries, and sodden fields. Such few ships as had escaped the storms of that time came stunned and shattered and sounding their way cautiously through the new marks and shoals of once familiar ports. And as the storms subsided men perceived that everywhere the days were hotter than of yore, and the sun larger, and the moon, shrunk to a third of its former size, took now fourscore days between its new and new.

But of the new brotherhood that grew presently among men, of the saving of laws and books and machines, of the strange change that had come over Iceland and Greenland and the shores of Baffin's Bay, so that the sailors coming there presently found them green and gracious, and could scarce believe their eyes, this story does not tell. Nor of the movement of mankind now that the earth was hotter, northward and southward towards the poles of the earth. It concerns itself only with the coming and the passing of the Star.

The Martian astronomers—for there are astronomers on Mars, although they are very different beings from men—were naturally profoundly interested by these things. They saw them from their own standpoint of course. "Considering the mass and temperature of the missile that was flung through our solar system into the sun," one wrote, "it is astonishing what a little damage the earth, which it missed so narrowly, has sustained. All the familiar continental markings and the masses of the seas remain intact, and indeed the only difference seems to be a shrinkage of the white discoloration (supposed to be frozen water) round either pole." Which only shows how small the vastest of human catastrophes may seem, at a distance of a few million miles.


—H.G. Wells, "The Star" (1897)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
What has transhumanism come to connote?

The Wikipedia article is a halfway decent summation (and saves me the time of doing it myself, and also getting angry about transhumanism all over again when I need to be writing). So, transhumanism.

Thanks for the Wells quote.
sovay
Dec. 4th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the Wells quote.

You're welcome. I was in a coffee shop yesterday that had a rack of take-one-leave-one used books, most of which looked terrible, but slipped in between a murder mystery and a romance novel was a Dover Thrift Edition of H.G. Wells' short science fiction: "The Country of the Blind," "The Star," "The New Accelerator," "The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes," "Under the Knife," and "The Queer Story of Brownlow's Newspaper." I had only read the first of these before; they are wonderful.

As I receded faster and faster from the strange white sun in the black heavens, and from the broad and shining earth upon which my being had begun, I seemed to grow, in some incredible manner, vast: vast as regards this world I had left, vast as regards the moments and periods of a human life. Very soon I saw the full circle of the earth, slightly gibbous, like the moon when she nears her full, but very large; and the silvery shape of America was now in the noonday blaze wherein (as it seemed) little England had been basking but a few minutes ago. At first the earth was large and shone in the heavens, filling a great part of them; but every moment she grew smaller and more distant. As she shrank, the broad moon in its third quarter crept into view over the rim of her disc. I looked for the constellations. Only that part of Aries directly behind the sun, and the Lion, which the earth covered, were hidden. I recognised the tortuous, tattered band of the Milky Way, with Vega very bright between sun and earth; and Sirius and Orion shone splendid against the unfathomable blackness in the opposite quarter of the heavens. The Pole Star was overhead, and the Great Bear hung over the circle of the earth. And away beneath and beyond the shining corona of the sun were strange groupings of stars I had never seen in my life—notably a dagger-shaped group that I knew for the Southern Cross. All these were no larger than when they had shone on earth, but the little stars that one scarce sees shone now against the setting of black vacancy as brightly as the first-magnitudes had done, while the larger worlds were points of indescribable glory and colour. Aldebaran was a spot of blood-red fire, and Sirius condensed to one point the light of innumerable sapphires. And they shone steadily: they did not scintillate, they were calmly glorious. My impressions had an adamantine hardness and brightness: there was no blurring softness, no atmosphere, nothing but infinite darkness set with the myriads of these acute and brilliant points and specks of light. Presently, when I looked again, the little earth seemed no bigger than the sun, and it dwindled and turned as I looked, until in a second's space (as it seemed to me), it was halved; and so it went on swiftly dwindling. Far away in the opposite direction, a little pinkish pin's head of light, shining steadily, was the planet Mars. I swam motionless in vacancy, and, without a trace of terror or astonishment, watched the speck of cosmic dust we call the world fall away from me.

—H.G. Wells, "Under the Knife" (1896)
tagplazen
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
I used to think that 'the rapture for nerds' was the most annoying thing around, then I discovered that all the aging boomers on the island have their own version of the rapture, peak oil. Same declerations, just replace 'and then I'll upload my conciousness' with 'and then my bio diesel will still be running'. I kid you not, there's one guy that walks around going, "When peak oil hits, you'll be thanking me that I had the foresight to raise turkeys, I can feed the entire island."

Someone hasn't heard of kyaks. The sound isn't that big.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
I used to think that 'the rapture for nerds'

Oh, how I wish I'd thought of that phrase myself! The parallel is quite apt.



Someone hasn't heard of kyaks. The sound isn't that big.


*snork*
docbrite
Dec. 4th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
If you were a stripper, do not say you were an "exotic dancer."

Actually, don't say either, because twenty years on, when you are old, saggy, and crippled, it will still be the only detail of your biography that anyone ever wants to hear about. Trust me on this.
abbadie
Dec. 4th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
"Do not include the name of your pet hamster, unless you want a terrifying phone call from Harlan Ellison."

Now you've gone and done it. Hundreds of geeks are going to get hamsters, baptize them, mail their names to all their acquaintances and then sit for weeks by their phone!

Years ago, I made a humorous self-description for a mag, where I said something alñong the lines of "He lives feeling trapped in a world plagued by soccer, manga, barney the dinosaur..." and a long list of stuff I hated. But somehow I didn't word it right, and everybody thought it was a list of the things I liked!
setsuled
Dec. 5th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
thinking about Vernadsky led to thinking about a song on the new Decemberists CD, "When the War Came,"

Did you see that The Decemberists have challenged Stephen Colbert to a duel? I bought a copy of their new album a couple days ago and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

Oh, and thank you, Leh'agvoi, for all the drad new Fran icons.

You're very welcome. I made a few from pictures found on this site, which seems to have a number of enormous screenshots.

consider how This May Look a few years further down the road. For groan you will, kupo, if you stumble into this all willy-nilly and topsy-turvy (as did I).

I'd take care before identifying yourself as a moogle. They used to look like this, after all. Who knows how they'll look in Final Fantasy XVIII.

*Unless they are illegally archived somewhere you cannot access. Ahem.

I guess that means you know about this, "Caitlin Keiran". I came across it a few weeks ago and wondered what the point was.
msree
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
I guess that means you know about this, "Caitlin Keiran". I came across it a few weeks ago and wondered what the point was.

That's a GreatestJournal syndication account (similar to officialgaiman except not on LJ). Presumably somebody on GJ wanted to read Caitlin's posts via his/her/its friends page.
scarletboi
Dec. 5th, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
I want to know what Uncle Harlan said!!!!
( 14 comments — Have your say! )

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