Monday, February 25, 2008

Removed.

Removed.

19 comments:

eponymous said...

Wow. Bright, shiny start and downright creepy finish... Reminds me of some drinks I've met... I like it. Thanks Dan!

SF said...

"Longer than human." Shiver.

awbryan said...

That's perfectly creepy... without overdoing it. It's what I should get from a _Twilight Zone_ episode, but never do. Thanks!

Sean Fagan said...

ugh

I had to read that several times, but... ugh. shudder. And other reactions.

eKaser said...

Nice little piece, Dan! I agree with awbryan, felt like one of the better (old, Rod Serling, 1960s) Twilight Zone episodes. :-)

The only thing I stumbled over was:

"...surprised at how happy at the thought of his return made them."

The second 'at' shouldn't be there, I suspect.

Everett Kaser

Steve Perry said...

Good stuff, indeed, Dan'l.

You might ought to consider doing this professionally.
Never know but that you might fool some editor into thinking you know what you are doing ...

I've always found this kind of piece fascinating. I've done several over the years. Probably my favorite is "A Few Minutes in the Bruce Lee Ward of the Big Memorial Hospital," that plays with a similar trope.

Maureen said...

Eek!

So... what are the chances that somebody tries to figure out the coding? AIs running around? Some kind of weird machine telepath?

Shawn said...

Beautiful play on the whole quantum entanglement concept. Is this freshly written, or an old fragment from years ago?

Oddly, that made me picture the characters in a old book/movie - say, Emerald Eyes - being similarly trapped in the pages and resentfully forced to relive the scripted actions whenever they're read again.

Yehuda said...

Thanks muchly. Oooh and even people with the Gift get the right vibe!
Very nice and creepy.

It just now occurs to me that this is an interesting thing to read before bed.

Dan Moran said...

Shawn, it's a fairly old idea, one of a couple dozen sitting in my story file, but I actually wrote it in one sitting last night. After re-reading Gray Maelstrom I had an urge to try writing something similar, something I could finish in a single pass -- went looking through my stories file and came across this.

Steve, as to fooling an editor, it could happen, but the financial rewards aren't worth it for something this length. The time it would take to print this, get it into the mail, and keep it in the mail until it sold -- not meaning to sound self-involved, but I genuinely have better things to do with my time.

I haven't sent a story out since "Old Man" -- which didn't sell. The fiction editors at Playboy and Esquire wrote glowing rejection letters that said it was too long for them -- so I sent it to Asimov's, which publishes work at that length -- they rejected it without comment.

I've stopped reading SF, mostly, and with some reason. The subject matter doesn't interest me the way it used to, and at a purely persona level I don't feel like I fit in the field -- never really felt like I fit in it. I don't know how you can be a professional SF writer when the choice between "go to a convention" and "play basketball" isn't remotely a contest.

Steve Perry said...

I know several SF & F writers who seldom, if ever go to conventions.(I don't remember if anybody ever saw Jack Vance do a con -- I never did. Ursula makes one every three or four years.)

I manage to hit the local one every year, and now again, one at which I'm the TM or GoH, for which expenses are paid, room, board, transportation. Other than that, I don't do the circuit.

It it got old, sure enough. I remember having a conversation with Bill Gibson twenty-five years ago during which he swigged his beer and said, "Yeah, we'll be doing these things in two or three decades, couple old farts, remembering the good old days."

Don't see Bill at many cons these days, either.

There's always room for an oddball in the lit. And few of us ever fit in -- I have a pile of this-falls-between-two-stools rejections myself ...

Dan Moran said...

Well, I admit, there's something a little odd about not fitting in with science fiction fans -- possibly it means I'm normal. "I never met a soul in this world as normal as me," to quote Augustus McCrae. Or to quote my friend Karl quoting Hitler -- "I didn't leave the Communist Party; the Communist Party left me."

It's not the rejection per se -- I was rejected over 200 times before I sold my first story. (At a writing class back 20 years ago I had a guy about the age I am now bitterly complain about my good luck in getting published at such an early age. He'd written a novel that hadn't sold -- had sent it to two agents and four or five publishers. He'd never tried to sell one of his short pieces. I told him that age had nothing to do with it -- I'd been rejected 200 times before my first story was sold, and sold not my first novel, but my fourth. It didn't make him noticeably less bitter.)

Being rejected, even with a "this doesn't work for us," has happened to me enough that I won't take it personally. Thing is, I'm not sure Sheila Williams was wrong to reject it. I read Esquire every month, Atlantic Monthly occasionally, the New Yorker occasionally, Asimov's occasionally, Analog and F&SF even more occasionally. And pretty consistently, I think the material published in the non-SF pubs is superior to the material published in the SF pubs. I don't mean at the level of "it's not SF" -- SF is what it is. But the work in the mainstream pubs is more wrenching, more raw, better -- much more often than not, even correcting for the fact that SF and fantasy are both harder to write.

I suspect I'm in the wrong field, commercial and publication issues aside....

I've promised people whose opinions I value that I'll finish Trent's story, and I will. I'll publish Lord November because no one has a hold on it and if I clean it up and give it away, no harm and no real cost to me at this point. I'll write the Ola Blue and Camber Tremodian novels, in some fashion, because I really want to ...

But beyond that, if I abruptly had no financial worries, I wouldn't write SF. Or at least not just SF, and once I got through the Camber Tremodian material, I'm not sure I'd ever write SF again. Pretty sure I could walk away and not look back.

Shawn said...

Dan - sounds like you've got your head in the right place, honestly.

I've enjoyed all of your work so far because of the writing style, character-building skill, and yes, because they were sci-fi. I don't know if I would have picked them up if they weren't. I read westerns and spy novels and other things before I started on sci-fi at age 14; I don't really read anything else these days with very rare exceptions. But that's where I like to spend my reading time. Spend your writing time where you like, or not at all.

That said, if you're not going to "really" publish something again I'm going to remind you about putting up a donate button - or e-mail me the address to send the check to.

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, but you are good at it, and you have to remember Spider Man's dictum: With great power comes great responsibility ...

Maureen said...

Jack Vance came to Marcon a couple years back. He was exceedingly gracious and sharp, but I think a lot of us were really sad that a man who wrote so visually was almost blind. He also said he played old-time jazz (like from the twenties) on the banjo, but hadn't done it for a while.

We Ohio fans were only allowed to get five books signed at a time, but all of us had huge bags full of paperbacks (and hardbacks, and....) So people were allowed to get their books signed and go around and get back in line, with the understanding that the line stopped if Mr. Vance got too tired.

I'm glad I got to meet him. I only was able to get into his style after I turned twenty-five, oddly enough, and now he's left us.

Dan -- if you don't feel like writing sf, don't write it. But if you don't feel like going to cons anymore, you can always be an sf writer who just doesn't attend conventions -- or a writer who sometimes writes sf, and maybe even sells it to mainstream fiction places. It's not normal in your part of the country, maybe, but there are plenty of writers who seldom go anywhere.

There's not much fiction of any genre that appeals to me nowadays; but I really liked that story, even though I'm usually pretty allergic to horror and sad endings. Have as many strings to your bow as you like -- it's no fun doing otherwise -- but don't abandon your writing altogether, okay?

Dan Moran said...

Jack Vance is one of my favorite writers. "Cities in the Darkness" is dedicated to him. Mohammed Vance is named after him -- I wanted a name for Vance that would resonate with SF readers, suggesting eloquence, thoughtfulness, sophistication -- there was no name better than "Vance" for that purpose, for that audience.

I'm not going to stop writing, but I am going to finish "Hotel California" after "Crystal Wind," and before embarking on any other SF.

J.D. Ray said...

I look forward to seeing Trent's story finished, just for the closure it will bring. But I'm really looking forward to Lord November. I've wanted to read this story since the first few pages of Emerald Eyes all those years ago. I'm also looking forward to hearing more about Ola Blue. She fascinated me in LeftBehind.

You've said before that you were tired of writing about supermen, those who were so powerful that they could do virtually anything they wanted. Oddly, I think there's a distinct void in the SF space that needs to be filled with such beings. It takes a careful hand to write about people who can cross time at will, who have to slow themselves down to interact with the physical world in any meaningful way, and have those people have problems to deal with. I don't think most writers are up to that sort of task.

BTW, I was in Powell's yesterday and spotted a tattered copy of Emerald Eyes. It's in readable condition, but just barely. It has school library stamps all over it, and is probably a refugee from a shelf culling. Fifteen bucks, not autographed. There's demand for your work, something you seem often surprised at. Hopefully you feel a little responsibility to your fans. Hopefully...

Dan Moran said...

JD, I do feel a responsibility to my readers. If everyone had forgotten this work, this would all be very easy, and I'd be on to something else at this point in my life.

Dave Huss said...

What to say.......
Well, I read your piece here and it caught my eye. Caught your blog from Perry. So I say to myself, Self-Let's look around and see what else Mr. Moran has been up to......
Well, It's 12:41 A.M. and My freaking eyeballs are falling out of my goddamn head and I just burned through "Armagedon Blues" in one four hour sitting. You fucking ambushed me.
Here's the thing. I have at last count somthing like thirteen thousand(and counting) books in this house and I read everything. I like Perry's stuff cause its easy on the eye and his style lets the mind relax. It's a good read. So's L'Amour and Foster and C.S. Forrester and a shit load of others. Your stuff you got to work at some. It's not for the lazy.
Fuck what Playboy and Harpers and all of those other assholes say, most of those shitheads don't READ your submissions, they glance at it and if it confuses their little pea brains, they blow it off.
You got the Juice, Pal, don't let anyone bullshit you. I had a long , weird conversation with Harlan Ellison many years back and he said that he writes because it's a curse, and he can't NOT write. What you got to say is worth the time to read, so burn it down and don't sweat it so much.
Dave