In my bid to get Answer published and thus earn big sacks of money and cool-person points, I’m currently in the process of writing a synopsis. The synopsis is important, as it’s likely the only thing a prospective agent or publisher will read before deciding whether or not to assign your manuscript to the recycling bin, and this pressure makes synopsis-writing even more painful than it would otherwise be.
Synopsising one’s own work is never easy or enjoyable. For one, the longer I spend working on one huge ambitious idea, the harder it become for me to succinctly describe it in one elegant ~400 word package. Picking which bits are important enough to include becomes so much harder, because to me, all the bits are important.
There’s also a kind of egotism involved that sets my teeth on edge. Writing a synopsis is much more like a marketing exercise than it is a work of creative writing; in fact it’s entirely like a marketing exercise, as this is the one piece of work that will hopefully persuade someone in charge of money that this big ol’ pile of words I’ve written is a marketable product. (more…)
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
If you’re at all familiar with videogame history, then there are many references in Ernest Cline’s Ready Play One that will raise a smile. If you grew up as part of the gaming scene in the 80s, then this book is both for and about you.
A love letter to the formative years of videogames, Ready Player One plays reverent homage to the arcade cabinet, the D&D module, and all the movies, music and culture that orbited the scene.
Despite the near-constant referencing of 80s geek trivia, Ready Player One doesn’t allow its heritage to obscure its narrative, and doesn’t alienate those not familiar with its decade of choice. For those unfamiliar with or uninterested in gaming of any sort this might be a harder sell, but Cline’s slick and pacy science fiction is absorbing even for those unfamiliar with the mechanics of Joust or Pac-Man. (more…)
A science-fiction novel by Tom Battey.
Available for Kindle, £2.00.
In a utopian future powered by free energy, disillusioned researcher Ethan Ryan searches for the hidden truth about the Nanetic Network, the technology which holds the world together.
When he uncovers information that the all-powerful KineSys Corporation would rather keep buried, Ethan is thrown into the dark underbelly of society, where he must face the consequences of his perfect civilisation.
Amongst the nation’s lost souls, he finds the answer he’s been looking for; a secret that could undermine the KineSys Corporation and shatter their fragile utopia.
After what feels like an age of editing, Answer, is now available on the Amazon Kindle Store for the bargainous price of GBP2.00 (that’s two english pounds). Get it here!
A short story by Tom Battey.
As I sail the sea of dreams, my mind wanders, as it is wont to do at times like this. At these times it’s almost as if I can remember something from before, almost as if I remember the days when I, too, could dream. Then that faint tremor of a lost past fades into the thick fog of my mind, and I am left alone, with my boat, my staff and my vessel, drifting through the silent sea.
I use the staff as both rudder and oar, careful not to let it slip from my fingers into the black depths. I do not know the consequences of losing the staff to the sea but a fuzzy sort of terror leaves me with no inclination to find out, and keeps my grip tight around the carved wood. I watch the dark water, down where the dreams swim, silvery slivers that slip beneath me as if alive.
If one of them catches my highly-trained eye, then I must use the staff for its true purpose. Driving it down beneath the surface, I spear the desired dream. Sometimes they dart away before I can capture it, and a few are so strong that they break away from my staff before I can pull them in, but usually I snare them cleanly and drag them aboard. I am good at this; I have had a lot of practice.
Piracy is a hot topic at the moment, with the Stop Online Piracy Act looming over American Congress and threatening to fundamentally alter the way we use the internet. If you don’t know about SOPA or PIPA, it’s worth taking a few minutes to watch this. For something more games-related, and for an idea of what the outcome of the bill could be, then I recommend watching this followed by this.
I don’t intend to weigh in on the SOPA issue as such, other than to say that it’s a morally reprehensible bill that could prove dangerous to free speech. Instead, I’d like to comment on the issue of piracy itself, and look at why the companies that support the bill feel that such extreme measures are called for.
There’s no debating the moral issue of piracy – whatever the form, taking someone else’s work for free is wrong. The entertainment industries’ attempts to equate it to theft, however, ring hollow. By now everyone must be familiar with the lamentable You Wouldn’t Steal A Car ads that frontend most every DVD in existence. What this clips fail to make clear is the real distinction between theft and piracy; the transference of property. If I stole someone’s car, then they wouldn’t be able to drive to work the next day. If I download a copy of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the only transference that occurs is a few hundred megabytes of data copied from one server to another. No one actually loses anything (although in this particular case it could be argued that I stand to lose 90 minutes of my life and a good deal of sanity.)