Thursday, April 14, 2016

Once More, I Must Adapt

Bless their hearts, my daughter and son-in-law care deeply about us. And they want so much for us to enjoy the benefits of modern technology that they are always eager to share the newest advances. As an example, my dear son-in-law sent a gift. Yesterday I received a copy of MS-Windows 10. A second hand laptop, one which will be a massive improvement over the one I am using now, is also on its way complete with a hard drive ready for the new operating system to be installed.

*sigh*

It came on a USB stick. One of the dinky, skinny ones. about a third the size of the plastic packages that lead for a mechanical pencil is sold in. The specs say that Win 10 requires a 1 ghz processor, 20 gb of drive space, and 2 gb of RAM in order to work. Internet access may be required, depending on what I want to include in the installation.

This is not exactly comparable to the 5.25 inch floppies, which actually flopped when you waved them, that MS-DOS came on. As I recall, DOS required 512 kilobytes of RAM, a 4.77 mhz processor, and no hard drive was necessary if you were willing to boot from the floppies themselves. Now MS-Windows come with something called Cortana. I think that's what it is called. It's a built in AI intended to make life easier for us poor foolish mortals who haven't got sense enough to be trusted with direct control of our hardware. Forget zombies. Skynet is practically here.

But you have to stay current. Like it or not. My head hurts. Is it possible for a brain to develop arthritis? Once more, into the breach. Or the BSOD, as the case may be.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

How Am I Supposed To React?

Yesterday will go down in the family archives as The Great Shirtsleeve Debacle of 2016, the iron pipe notwithstanding. How, oh how can I aspire to achieve truly unique and creative stories when real life continues to throw such improbabilities at me? There is no possible way that any writer could have come up such a situation. Even if they did, no one would dare put it in a book. The utter implausibility of it would shatter immersion like a sledgehammer. Oh, well. Back to the keyboard.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Content Editing Is Essentially Complete

Barring a few minor tweaks. I may or may not go back and insert a couple of flourishes, but the book is basically written. The line editing is proceding at a reasonable pace, conidering that I am trying to trick myself into spotting errors that got past my blind spot the first time (otherwise I would not have made them). But so far they are all minor. Only a professional proofreader would have spotted most of them.

Once my line editing is done, it goes to my main beta editor/QC reader for second level review. Then it hits the virtual presses. There may yet be hope.

I suppose averaging about one book a year isn't really shameful. Not burning up the road, for sure. But not actually embarassing for a worn out old fossil. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Snippet

[Redacted]

Recompense is approaching publication, and all preview excerpts on this blog have been deleted. However, any confirmed reader who leaves a review for either Athame or Wrath is entitled to a free preview of Part One of Recompense. Just leave a review and send me an email to morganalreth (at) gmail (dot) com with the link, or if you already have reviewed, just end the link. I will return a preview file in either PDF or Kindle format, as preferred.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Yes. I Am Alive.

Yes, work on the book continues. I have been slowed by recent issues with family illnesses (my elderly mother), personal health problems, and laptop computer problems (keyboard + carbonated beverage = AAAGGGHHH!).

However, things are progressing thanks to help from my saintly spouse and dutiful offspring, all of whom took pity on me. Actually, they got tired of my whining, but it works out the same anyway.

Sometimes I feel like I am imitating that logic problem where you travel half the distance. Then half the distance again. Then half the distance again. But never quite make it all the way.

However, completion is at hand. Unless this new (old backup) laptop bites it also. Fingers crossed.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Brief Snippet

To prove that I, and Recompense, are still alive:

[Redacted]

Recompense is approaching publication, and all preview excerpts on this blog have been deleted. However, any confirmed reader who leaves a review for either Athame or Wrath is entitled to a free preview of Part One of Recompense. Just leave a review and send me an email to morganalreth (at) gmail (dot) com with the link, or if you already have reviewed, just end the link. I will return a preview file in either PDF or Kindle format, as preferred.

]

Monday, January 18, 2016

Writing A Character From A Different Culture

It's a challenge that I have always struggled with. A recent example of this situation caught my eye yesterday.

I used to write fanfiction, that's how I got started. I still read the stuff. I was reading a story set in the universe of a a sci-fi series with multiple non-human races. Doesn't matter which one. The point is that tv programs produced in the US are written by Americans. No matter what kind of makeup or costume they wrap the actors in, the 'aliens' on shows like that almost always think and act like modern Americans. However, this story was different.

This particular fanfic includes an alien character that was forced to make a difficult decision. She married a human, and used genetic engineering to artificially craft a child with him. Her government vehemently disapproved. Her government ordered her to abandon her husband and her baby, and return home to resume service to her people. She obediently left her child behind to be raised by the father, and never looked back. It broke her heart. But she did it because her ethical system considered obedience to authority, and the needs of her people at large, as being greater than anything else.

There are human cultures, or that have been, that might have reacted in similar ways. It's just that most Americans bristle by reflex at the concept of that type of submission to authority. This is not the kind of thing that most Americans would do, of either gender. The average American, if faced with that kind of ultimatum, would react in a way somewhere between telling their C.O. to kiss off, or perhaps make a run for it, or even possible murder. Most of us would not consider abandoning our family because the state demanded it. But that does not make it an invalid choice. She had reasons for her decision.

It is unusual in the extreme to find a story, or a show, where the aliens actually act un-American, much less alien. Not that this particular situation was really that weird. But it did veer away from the usual fare. Which is one of the main functions of sci-fi. To make the reader stretch their imagination and consider what-if.

My fiction has non-human races in it. I haven't dug too deeply into their mental or emotional makeup, because I am uncertain about how to present it. But speculative fiction is even more effective at provoking authors into considering what-ifs.