Man versus Man: Four Forms

Man versus ManA lot of people, myself included, grew up on heroes and villains, good guys and bad guys. There’s a certain clarity of worldview that comes with a hero going up against a nemesis, whether it’s for the greater good, retribution, or as likely as not, both. Of the major types of narrative conflict (Man versus Nature, Man versus Self, Man versus Society, and Man versus Man), I think that Man versus Man is the one that most proliferates, and on the surface is the most obvious, though if I’ve picked anything up from writing about narrative conflict, it’s how often the lines blurs, depending on how complex the story is. read more…

Top Ten #8

Top TenWhat could be spookier than Monday the 13th? I heard somewhere (maybe in a dream) that this year, Halloween was going to fall on a Friday the 13th, and I think that in some corner of my mind, I believed it for the last week or so. Do you ever get that? Where you believe something that makes no sense, but it lingers there, at the edges of your conscious mind until something forces you to examine it? I wonder how many things we ten-percent believe, that instead of getting examined, sink down into the general miasma, and end up internalized as true. Humans. Amazing we’ve made it this far. At any rate, here’s the biweekly top ten, with extra ghost peeps.

read more…

Science Fiction Isn’t Predictive, and Never Has Been

predictivePredicting the future (or trying to) is something that human beings love to do. It’s the realm of fortune tellers (i.e. con artists), futurists, and some would say science fiction writers. Whether it’s Jules Verne predicting men on the moon, or Mark Twain (or Douglas Adams, or Arthur C. Clarke) regaling us with stories about a not-yet-created internet, there are multiple cases of science fiction writers seeming to predict the future – or at least a small set of examples, referred to again and again in an attempt to keep the idea alive. Saying that science fiction is predictive isn’t just untrue, it diminishes the genre it’s trying to elevate. read more…

Top Ten #7

Top TenThis weekend I went to the City Museum in St. Louis (sorry, no link, my weird compulsion to not include any links except the top ten links continues), and if you haven’t been there, I’d strongly recommend it. There’s a spiral slide that goes from the roof to the basement, and a series of caves, and lots of climbing for both adults and kids. St. Louis is wonderful, anyway, just for the gooey butter cake. Bring knee pads. At any rate, today’s top ten is a bit image and video heavy, as are they all. Sometimes I feel a little melancholy that so little of what I like the best online involves writing. Other than short articles (and top ten lists, of course), the internet just isn’t the best place to read material much longer than around 1,000 words. That’s what books are for.

read more…