New Year Linkdump

I was out all day today, at the traditional new year’s day meet-up with some friends of my parents in Teufelsmoor (devil’s moor) north of Bremen. I spent a lot of time in Teufelsmoor as a kid and so I need to limit my exposure, plus I’d already been to Teufelsmoor and seen the friends of the family two weeks ago at a golden wedding anniversary. But I’m very fond of the Greek restaurant where we were having lunch, so I went anyway. I’m not the biggest fan of Greek cuisine as practiced in Germany, too meat heavy for my tastes. But the restaurant where we had lunch today is really great, probably my favourite Greek restaurant in the Bremen area. I had baked feta cheese with vegetables as a starter and a grilled trout with tomato rice and vegetables as a main course.

In other news, I’m still busy with that big translation job. What is more, the anaesthetic gel I’m using against a painful inflammation inside my mouth (I have those inflammations quite often – this one is particularly nasty, because it is difficult to access), has the side-effect of making me ever so slightly high. So here’s a couple of links in lieu of a proper post behind the cut:

Paul di Filippo declares punk-suffix SF dead and proposes something called Chillwave or Glo-Fi as an alternative (Found via Charles Tan).

I don’t know about Chillwave or Glo-Fi (though the sample music clips provided by di Filippo aren’t bad) or how that would translate to speculative fiction (retro 1980s SF?), but I do like the proliferation of punk suffix mini-genres. In fact, I collect punk-suffix mini-movements and subgenres and have a five page list with origins, explanations and examples. I’m not quite sure what to do with them, though I suspect they’ll make a neat paper someday. And I think everybody is aware by now that the punk-suffix thing has become a joke by now – about half of the entires in my punk-suffix masterlist are jokes of some kind (which doesn’t mean that you cannot find texts to fit them). But then a good joke never gets old.

Sherwood Smith offers up her personal ten rules for writing at the Book View Café.

Also at the Book View Café, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff has a good post on characters falling in love or refusing to do so, using the original Star Wars trilogy as an example.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out some day that George Lucas had initially intended to bring Luke and Leia together and the characters simply had other ideas. At any rate, it’s pretty obvious that the unscheduled appearance of Han Solo upset whatever plans Yoda and Obi Wan had for the Skywalker twins.

And yes, characters do tend to have ideas of their own about their romantic future. I have a still unfinished story called Prisoners of War, which is basically an SF take on the typical Vietnam war POW action flick (the Missing in Action trilogy is the perfect example). The protagonists are three young soldiers, two men and a woman, in a futuristic war, who get captured by the enemy, tortured and escape in the end. I had intended to create a love triangle of sorts between the three soldiers with the young woman falling initially for the dashing and heroic leader of the group, but eventually decided that the dashing and heroic leader is too much drama in day to day life and ending up with his slightly less dashing but also heroic second-in-command. So far, so good, except that the characters had other ideas. For it turned out that while there was a love triangle in the story, the vertex is not the young woman at all but the dashing and heroic leader. Which actually makes the story much more interesting.

I really ought to get back to Prisoners of War some time. I put the story aside, because it was harrowing to write and would likely be very difficult to market because of the violence (the torture scenes are genuinely nasty) and some other factors. But I still think I came up with some very good worldbuilding for that particular future and I still like the characters.

Locus has a roundtable on truth, beauty, SF and aesthetics.

At the SFWA site, John Brown offers two more posts on reader suspense. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

Juliette Wade has a helpful post about how to make the popular “Interview your characters” technique more effective.

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