Bookmarks for 2012-10-31

November 1st, 2012 | brainjuice

ARIADNE AND THE SCIENCE: 3/5 – by Molly Crabapple & Warren Ellis

October 31st, 2012 | ariadne and the science

Very soon, the solar system was a mass of warm and grassy island computers.  But Ariadne was far from finished.  The best machines ever should be able to answer all the questions, and she knew there was more to see.  And so there were soon trees that stood so high and strange that their silver tops crested up into the universe next door.  Ariadne grew bridges across the multiverse, the set of all possible universes, just to see what she could see, which is of course the best reason of all.  And, on the foot of every bridge she crossed, she gave Meadow to every Earth she found.  As did Meadow itself, when it explored on its own, as it was a friendly kind of Damned Stuff, and also because weeds get bloody everywhere.

Words by Warren Ellis, pictures by Molly Crabapple.

ARIADNE 3/5 is available as a limited-edition print.

© Warren Ellis & Molly Crabapple 2012

12 – 3 –4 -5

DEEP MAP PILOTS: Extended Flight Log by Eliza Gauger

October 31st, 2012 | deep map pilots

This is Warren.  Eliza Gauger and I had been vaguely kicking around the notion of adding to our five-piece DEEP MAP PILOTS series, under the subtitle XFL – eXtended Flight Log.  And then Eliza wrote and drew what follows, yesterday, just for the hell of it.  So here it is.  You can find Eliza at tumblr and @3liza.

You can also buy the DEEP MAP PILOTS pieces as posters or postcards.  And now, Eliza:





Kuiper homesteading program, 2176 AD: start life anew in the off-off world colonies. Smiling posters, Leyendeckeresque, urge the new generation of hopeless intelligentsia to never go home again; There Are No Jobs, anyway, so bootstraps yourself right out of Sol and claim your slice of the diamond studded garter of our mother system. Join the space cowboys, rolling in the deep.  Billions of ice and mineral bodies are loitering unclaimed in the deep system!  The United States Federal Homesteading Office is prepared to award low-interest loans to every hopeful who has the cojones to shuttle hop to Styx Station 14 and hire a charon to buzz them into the denser regions of the Disk–maybe the site of a recent collision’s debris field, or the rumored location of a really big body, maybe a comet or a big iceball–the kinds of tips you pick up in mining canteens a little farther in, from men too old or too smart to go after it themselves. It’s the closest you get to a sure thing, and its better than trying to claw a smaller, surer claim away from someone who got there first, in one of the already-plumbed regions. You’re sick of neighbors. So you cram into the tug with the stinking pilot who doesn’t bother learning your name (he learned his lesson about that early on), clutching your Homesteading Kit™ in your lap and your scanner on top of that, and he flies you out in the direction of your choosing until you tell him to stop, and lets you out.

The kit’s autodrills will bite into almost anything, kicking up little jets of dust or vapor. You pick something mostly spherical, a few meters across, an object the scanner tells you is made of something that won’t shatter if you hollow it out, and when the drills are done they ping your HUD and you squeeze yourself, in your long-haul sumo suit, into the tunnel they dug for you. The homesteading kit’s cabin bladder is rubbery and flexible, some kind of self-repairing plastic, about as thick as a gym mat. It unflops fatly into your rock’s empty belly, and when you find the airlock attachment you stuff it through best you can into the hole, pull the long neck (like a balloon) back out into space, and then turn around and climb inside, pushing your canisters and flashlight ahead of you.  You’ve heard this is when most of the freakouts happen, the rubber cabin bladder and the sumo suit and the vast, vast emptiness all pushing in on you at once–people can’t handle it; tear their suits off, scream into long range channels, kick off from their rocks and throw their kit components away from them, one at a time, just to get some extra velocity in the direction of "home".  They never make it, of course.

The atmo canisters strain at their leashes, gouting oxygen and your other favorite gasses, and gradually inflate the bladder from a body bag into something like a "room", but you wait many minutes after your HUD gives you the go-ahead before you dare to take off your helmet. Your ears pop painfully, your sinuses empty, the smell of new plastic is almost overwhelming, but you’re breathing.  Exhausted, you decide to rest before you set up your rocket crawlers and dashboard.  The silence is deafening, but it means you aren’t hearing leaks, and the wet throb of your heart in your ears keeps you awake for a long, long time.

Art and text © Eliza Gauger 2012


October 30th, 2012 | Work

I am causing a book trailer for GUN MACHINE to be created.  On the left, we have my old friend Ben Templesmith (I have no explanation for the hat), and on the right you see new friend, director Jim Batt.

Book trailers are often fairly shabby things.  We’re trying something else.  There is a third element to this trailer, which we haven’t announced yet.  If you’re on my newsletter you’ll learn it first.

All of these photos were kindly provided by Ben and Jim.  Work should be done by the end of November, I believe.

These are just the parts.  It will be something other than the sum of its parts.

FAQ 29oct12

October 29th, 2012 | mobilesignals

FAQ category.

ponyenglish asked: Would you ever want to write an episode for Doctor Who? I often think about it what it might be like.

I get asked this a surprising amount.  Here’s why I don’t think about what it might be like.  One writes for DOCTOR WHO by invitation.  To be invited, one must either be an extremely well-regarded, trained and qualified television writer known to the showrunner, or Neil Gaiman, who is a previous television writer and also Neil Gaiman.  This is because it is an very important and intensive show that doesn’t have time or money for on-the-job training or second-division writers.  So it doesn’t matter if I would ever want to write an episode of DOCTOR WHO, because I never will. 

urlnamegoeshere asked: Firstly, Transmetropolitan is my favorite book/narrative/comic by a long margin, so thanks very much to you and Mr Robertson. My question regards writing style- when I write I seem to unconsciously pattern myself on writers I like. Content and plots and ideas are all easy enough to hammer out, but finding my own voice (as inherently wanky as that sounds) is very much a struggle. How did you in about finding yours? My back-up question is what is your favorite kind of delicious baked good?

I try to avoid delicious baked goods, because I already weigh eight hundred pounds and have to wedge a unicycle under my gut just so I can move around like a normal person.

Stephen King has this adage about voice, which goes something like: “open milk always takes on the flavour of whatever else is in the fridge.”  I’m mangling that, but it gets the sense across.  His example was that if he reads too much Harlan Ellison, he starts writing like Harlan Ellison, not least because Ellison is a strong flavour.

The trick, perhaps, is to work out what it is that you like so much about your favourite writers — pick apart their work, find out how they achieve their effects — and take the things that feel most comfortable to you, and the things that you think will help you say what you want to say.  Because “voice” starts with deciding what you want to say in your fiction.  The things you really want to talk about.  What makes you angry?  What things do you want to explain your love for?  How do you see relationships working?  How should the world be?  Answer these questions for yourself — or write fiction in which you can discover these answers for yourself — using the tools that look useful from your favourite writers — and you should be on your way to finding your own voice.

Also? An imperfect trick, but one perhaps worth trying: read your own work aloud.  Does it sound like you talking, or you doing an impression of someone else?  If the latter, bring it back to the sound of you talking.


differentdoorknobs asked: I was wondering if you had any advice regarding making ideas more important. I have pages of different events + characters that I can only develop so far because, after a time, all I can add to them are "WHO CARES?" and "WHY DOES THIS MATTER?" (I’m talking about events characters will go through. "Statues come to life all around Greece" is immediately followed by "WHO GIVES A FUCK?") Does this ever happen to you? Thank you very much for your time, and sorry if you’ve answered a similar question!

Ungh.  This is a really tough one.  There are two ways, maybe, to attack this.

1) One way of doing it, and this works okay for standard dramatic storytelling, is this: what do your characters WANT?  The secondary questions are, what stops them from getting what they want, and how far are they prepared to go to get what they want?  But start with the simple first question.  What your character wants defines how we perceive and feel about them in the story.  Find one thing they want, and see how that feels to you.

2) From a certain view, stories are two things.  There’s what the story’s about, and what the story’s REALLY about.  Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS is about a Martian invasion of Earth.  But it’s REALLY about something else entirely.  There’s a subtext: there’s the thing Wells wrote the story toactually talk about.  What you may be encountering is having a story that’s all surface, or a story with a subtext that isn’t working out for you.  Find out what you really want to say with your fiction.  If it matters to YOU, it’ll matter to other people.

This is all a bit clumsy and off the cuff, but maybe something in there will give you something to think about.  I hope so.