Monday, 27 May 2013
So.... the Kickstarter launched Saturday. (I kind of want to apologize for the fact that I'm going to be saying "Kickstarter" a lot for the next 30 days... I'm going to try to not do it more than once every day or two, and, hopefully, will not devolve into "Hey, look at this cute cat! He's saying "Pledge to Lizard's Kickstarter!") It's doing pretty well starting out, at ~378 out of the 750 minimum, so, just past 50%, which is great for the first two days... I think... I hear all sort of things like "You get 50% of your money in the first 10% of the time, unless you get 25% of the money in the first 78% of the time, then you'll get 33 1/3% of the money in 45% of the time, unless line B2 is greater than B4 minus A1, in which case turn to Schedule E and divide by how many cats you own.", and so forth. Frankly, I'm very happy to have come this far. One reason I put off starting it for a year is that a Kickstarter is, to me, nearly as personal as an online dating profile. You are putting yourself out there for very public approval or disapproval.
But, basically, in the great sea of Kickstarters out there, you need to stand out. We live in an age where, no matter how narrow your tastes in entertainment ("I only read Harry Potter/My Little Pony/Downton Abbey crossover fanfic!"), there's more of it being produced than you could ever consume or be aware of. So, while I am of course hoping to get the attention of some of my FB friends who missed my prior posts, I'm also posting to those who have seen them and have pledged -- I am going to need your help in telling others. If you pledged, I have to presume it's because you want to see this book happen, and for it to happen, I need support.
And, of course, the link to the KS is at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/830842814/rogue-planet-adventures-on-the-star-prison
Saturday, 18 May 2013
Well, after more anger, frustration, and pain than should remotely be required to do something this trivial, I've (mostly) completed my Kickstarter setup. I am waiting for Amazon and KS to finish verifying my tax information, address, bank account, Kenyan birth certificate, genetic code, and favorite videos at Pornhub. In the meanwhile, here's the CORRECT preview link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/830842814/538743086?token=f9174777
I am unable to figure out how to enter stretch goals, however -- is this something that can be done only after the project goes live?
Thursday, 09 May 2013
Gods, sometimes, the stupidity -- or, rather, active and malicious deception -- from politicians is almost physically painful.
Let's look here. Let's pretend I'm a mentally ill terrorist spouse abuser, and I want a gun. I have $8,000.00. Do I:
a)Spend it on a 3D printer to produce a very dubious, unreliable, weapon, or,
b)Spend, oh, a few hundred on a decent handgun from a gazillion grey-market sources (or just steal one, since we've established I'm interested only in using a gun for criminal porpoises, so it's not like I'm going to balk at theft if I'm planning murder)?
Let's say... b.
You pretty much can't ban the data file, or files, needed to produce this gun, or any future gun. In five years, ten years, maybe, the technology will advance to the point where such a weapon might be more likely to kill the target than to make it easier for the shooter to engage in Jamie Lannister cosplay. If/when that happens, it will still be impossible to stop the manufacture and distribution of the *plans*, any more than you can stop people from producing instructions for explosives (Dear Sen. Feinsteinn: You cannot outlaw chemistry, as much as you'd like to. Please stop trying.). So, fine, if it makes you feel all big and tough and manly, ban possession of 3D printed guns. But, again -- the only people who will resort to this, who also have the money to BUY a 3D printer in the first place, are those who probably not overly aw abiding in the first place. You have a Catch-22: Those who would just like to print one for the "nifty" factor of "Hey, I made a gun!", will probably obey the law... but this stops no crimes, as such people would not be using the gun criminally. Those who want a 3D printed gun because they plan crimes they cannot commit without one, and somehow can't acquire one of the roughly 270 million extant guns in the United States, are not going to be dissuaded by a law against the gun. (A law against distributing the files would be effectively unenforceable; it would be used mostly to tack on some extra charges in another case, or serve to justify a search warrant if the files were detected via a prior warrant and... wait, I forgot. We don't need no steenkin' warrants because of the established legal principle of "Wharrgarbl 9-11 terrorism dead babies peas and carrots peas and carrots peas and carrots".
Some might argue that stopping the distribution of kiddie porn is fairly effective, so, why not the distribution of gun blueprints? First, kiddie porn is outside the First Amendment, so it's much, much, easier to arrest and try people for it. Raw factual information -- how to make a gun, a bomb, or a virus (digital or otherwise) is not. USING that information may be criminal, but mere possession of it with no proof of intent to use? Legal under most circumstances. Second, just about everyone on the planet is rightfully repulsed by kiddie porn, and those who would produce it or traffic in it, and will tend to cooperate fully with law enforcement in pursuing it, even if they otherwise despise the cops/feds/whoever. There are some things which are sufficiently wrong and evil that you can get widespread cooperation and buy-in from otherwise highly disparate groups and ideologies. Blueprints for a gun? That doesn't rise to the barest hint of a fraction of a percentage of the outrage factor. Sure, there's probably some people out there who are more outraged by printed guns than by child abuse, but they're known, generally, as "morons". The vast majority of people, even those strongly opposed to firearm ownership, would still be more comfortable with a neighbor hiding a 3D printer than a child porn collection. This is why, of all the things it is technically illegal to distribute on the internet, the only one even remotely effectively controlled is child porn.
So, we have a politician using people's innate fear and ignorance over technology to generate a lot of media attention about extremely unlikely and implausible scenarios, in order to promote a certainly ineffective and probably unconstitutional law. (Unconstitutional on 1A grounds for the plans; the state of 2A jurisprudence in America is so random and contradictory I wouldn't guess at how banning the guns themselves would play out in the SC.) Or, as we like to call it in America, "a day ending in y".
Thursday, 04 April 2013
I filled out a little online writer's thing about "How Do You Create Your Characters?". Here's what I posted:
For the most part, my characters just crawl out of some part of my brain and insert themselves into my stories. Even when I start with a goal in mind, the characters quickly write themselves, and often act in ways I did not anticipate or expect. For me, writing a story is very much a process of watching the story unfold in my head and simply transcribing what I see.
I often get an image in my head of a character, and then start asking, "Who is this person? What do they want? What's that cool sword they're carrying?" The answers just come to me. I start writing and see where it goes.
Obviously, all these people living in my head come from somewhere. They're a mix of different aspects of my personality, bits of other people I know, iconic characters from other fiction or from history. My subconscious takes all these fragments and assembles them into someone. When I try to force a character, to create someone explicitly to fit some role or need in a story, or to serve as a specific foil or plot device, it's a difficult and painful process. It's much easier to relax, lose myself in the imagined world, and see who walks "on stage" to take up the part they need to play. The process of editing, correcting, adjusting, and so on, is, for me, something akin to checking my sources and verifying my facts -- I realize I'd gotten someone's family history wrong, or misquoted them in some dialog. I'm not changing the characters, I'm correcting the mistakes I made when I first wrote down the story they told me. When I look back on my writing, I can always tell where I was working too hard to impose my idea of what the story *should* be; those are the parts which are forced, awkward, and unnatural. The best parts are where I was simply smashing keys as fast as I could, copying down what was happening in my head in real time.
If your characters aren't alive in your mind, they'll never be alive on the page.
Friday, 22 February 2013
Not much to add to this, really. Of course, I suspect that if he had signed it as ordered, they would have seized his boat on the grounds he committed fraud. So long as Americans continue to roll over whenever someone chants the magic words "terrorists" or "children" (even better, "terrorists want to kill your children!"), these kinds of abuses will continue, and 99.99% of the victims do not have the kind of media platform it takes to get them noticed.