The Death and Rebirth of The Points Between

Submitted by C B Wright on

Once upon a time I was happily writing a serial called The Points Between. It was a story I was incredibly passionate about telling -- a story that was viscerally important to me, even though it was way out of my comfort zone and far, far above my level of expertise -- and I'd actually finished an entire arc, and had started on the second arc, when a bunch of inconvenient things happened. The result of these inconvenient things was that the story has remained dormant for years: not dead, because it's never a story I've given up on, but dormant. I needed to make some decisions, and I didn't know what decisions I wanted to make.

I've made those decisions, and am in the process of moving forward. This is the story of that interminable process, and what came out of it.

The Points Between is, in my head, a story with three arcs. The first arc, where Matthew discovered he was a magician, was finished. The second arc, where he had to discover what that meant, was getting started. The third arc, where he had to choose how to use what he knew, was being set up. I was generally pleased with most of what I'd written, but there were a few things I'd done that had bothered me:

Patent # Give-Me-A-Freaking-Break

Submitted by C B Wright on

From Nukees, by Darren Bleuel

It used to be simple: you'd sit down in front of your computer/typewriter/pad of paper/stone tablet and chisel/whatever you use to write with, and you'd write. And when you were finished, assuming that you hadn't copied important portions of someone else's book word for word, it was your story: it didn't matter if it was Yet Another Fantasy About Slaying a Dragon, or Yet Another Space Opera About Overthrowing the Evil Galactic Overlord, it was still legitimately your story.

Heck, some fantasy authors have made their livings -- respectable livings -- by retelling the Lord of the Rings over and over again. And have copped to it.

Double heck, some of Shakespeare's most famous plays were based on histories written by Raphael Hollinshed.

That era, it seems, may be something that has passed on; if it has, we can thank the US patent system for it. Just when you think the Patent Office couldn't get any more incompetent, someone goes and patents a storyline.

Seriously. Patents a storyline.

A Little Story Of Things Gone Horribly Wrong

Submitted by C B Wright on

El Goonish Shive, by Dan Shive.

I currently have two computers. Alex, my Windows XP machine, is used for games, file backups, and studio recording. (Mostly games and file backups these days, because my home studio is in disarray, but it's slowly getting sorted out.) Mark, my Linux laptop, currently runs Xandros Linux and is what I use for writing, web design, and my work on Help Desk and Kernel Panic. Of the two, Mark is currently FAR more important to me.

Which is, I believe, why it winds up breaking all the time.


Submitted by C B Wright on

General Protection Fault, by Jeff Darlington.

The thing I like most about the World Wide Web is that because entry into the medium is relatively cheap (relatively when compared to other publishing mediums, not when compared to, say, the price of milk) it's possible to just try something and see how it all shakes out. The penalty involved with "failure" on the web is usually that nobody shows up. That's pretty low-risk compared to the penalty for publishing failures in the real world, which generally involves suffering considerable financial loss.

One of the best examples of the Let's See How This Shakes Out school of publishing is National Novel Writing Month, or "NaNoWriMo" for those of us who can't be bothered to spell that out every time we refer to it.

A Brief Note To All My Friends In The Spam Industry

Submitted by C B Wright on

From College Roomies From Hell!!!, by Maritza Campos.

This message is for all my friends in the email spam community -- you know who you are -- and I hope that you'll read what I have to say very closely.

Guys, I know my spam. I've seen a lot of your work over the years. I've seen it grow from simple, direct advertisements for various products (mostly porn) to more complicated forms that attempt to masquerade as personal messages from people who really want you to know about various "cool sites" (containing mostly porn) to the strange and cryptic emails that are nothing but randomly generated words, to the current crowning achievement of your craft, the Nigerian Money Laundering Scam.

A little bit of research -- just a little -- should back up my credibility here. A simple search through your databases should find at least one of my email addresses on every single mailing list you have. I'm saying this because I want you guys to know that I'm very familiar with your work, so I have the background to back up what I'm about to tell you.

You guys are getting sloppy. It's embarrassing.

Reinventing The Square Wheel

Submitted by C B Wright on

From Lost and Found, by Matt Milligan. Nevermind what it is... look at the shiny.

You can almost set your watch to it: every year some president or spokesman from a company that isn't Microsoft makes the grandiose pronouncement that Personal Computers are dead, and that the successor to the PC just happens to be, by nothing more than fortuitous coincidence, something they happen to be selling at the time.

This time around it's Johnathan Schwartz, president of Sun Microsystems. Sun actually has a grand tradition of heralding the end of Personal Computers -- Sun has used the phrase "The Network Is the Computer" for years, trying to shift the focus of computer use to the internet, to programs that run over networks instead of on your hard drive... but I suspect they'd be happy with anything that would rip users away from Microsoft's lock on desktop computers and get them to focus on other ways to "do stuff with those computer things."

Of course, all these companies who talk about how the PC is going to be replaced by other things -- usually the internet or a business network -- try very hard to convince us that, from our perspective, nothing will actually "change." Our end-user experience will be exactly the same, they claim. We won't realize that when we boot up our machines we'll be reaching across the internet to retrieve all our data, access all our programs, and do all the things we've been doing with our computers. Write a note to a friend, write the great American novel, balance your checkbook, do your taxes... even, God forbid, publish a web comic, all of these things can be done with programs on the internet, through your web browser, via java applets or Microsoft .NET, or something else they haven't bothered to fill us in on, and -- here's the important part -- we'll never know the difference.

After carefully considering this Prophetic Vision of Silicon Developments Yet To Come, I have composed a response that I feel accurately sums up my opinion: