Miami's Homegrown Mythology

The Miami NewTimes published a fascinating article about a mythology that has sprung up among homeless children in Miami, in which the problems of the malnourished and often abused children has been transformed into a cosmic battle between good and evil. The children describe "Bloody Mary", a demonic woman who cries blood; if you see her, you are sure to die soon. She is fought by an angelic woman called the Blue Lady, who watches out for children and tries to protect them.

The article was published 16 years ago, and a follow up on the NewTimes explores how a link on Reddit turned the article into a phenomenon long after its publish date. Before the Internet, interesting articles came and went all the time, disappearing into landfills to be forgotten. The Internet, however, shows that any bit of text can live forever.

Even when the SF Ghetto tries to get it right, it totally gets it wrong

So there's a new old thing going on in the SF Ghetto now. And this time it's stumbled into mainstream public discourse via the usual organs of the incoherent left, primarily the previously linked Guardian, and then this story from the equally histrionic Nation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the trope, every time this particular conversation comes up it goes something like this:

1. Some Idiot who cares about the SF Ghetto notices that a subculture largely created by and maintained by socially inept straight white men seems to overly cater to the fantasies and wishes of socially inept straight white men.

2. Said Idiot sets out to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and stages some sort of event or crisis or program designed to probe the question of why an insular group of people with low levels of empathy and a general lack of ability to self reflect seem to primarily create and read stories about characters that look and act a lot like they do.

3. Other Idiots, looking at what said Idiot is doing, and being members of an insular group that's generally pretty poor at self-reflection, rush to jump on board with said Idiot's program because hey, this is NEW, nobody has EVER pointed this out before.

4. Genre critics who are invested in the academic language of identity politics then flock to the program and there is a great deal of sturm und drang, inevitably Tor gets involved and the whole thing is a huge deal.

5. Everybody forgets about it and goes back to talking about how the Lord of the Rings was the "BEST THING EVAR! w000t!" because they don't really give a shit about any of this stuff, they just go through the motions because they know they're supposed to.

6. Wash, rinse, repeat.

"Judges' Cave" is coming

My story "Judges' Cave" will be published in Lakeside Circus.

Updates

So you've probably noticed that posting here as been rather infrequent. Most of my writing-time these days is devoted to fiction which is finally beginning to get published. JF Quackenbush seems to be busy with his new career in professional sophistry.

However, I've decided to take some of the smaller things I've been dropping into my Tumblr and LiveJournal and put them here instead, hopefully at a rate of at least one a week. The HelloRun post from earlier is an example of this style. Will there ever be long form articles again here? Sure. But when, I can't say. Stay tuned and keep your feed readers peeled.

Also, I've replaced the long broken search box with a Google custom search, so you can actually search the site again. Hurrah!

HelloRun

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There's a great game called HelloRun that you can go play right now. It's entirely in HTML5, which is impressive enough, meaning your web browser is all that's running the game's code, with no 3rd-party plug-ins like Flash to help it along. Considering that web browsers were originally invented to display text, links and maybe some images, that's kind of amazing. But I'm also interested in how it's able to evoke a mood, a tone, a feeling, in absence of any plot at all, with nothing more than some nice graphics and a song. Okay, there's a little nominal plot; a desire (keep moving without crashing into walls) and obstacles (walls). But that's pretty negligible considering how easily the game grips you and compels you forward. And there's no characters to speak of, unless you count yourself.

Of course, graphics and music are exactly the things prose fiction doesn't have at its disposal. But it's interesting to think about how things like style, tone and description can evoke emotion and be compelling all on their own.

Much like this wonderful little game.

Unpublished
n/a

"The Spine of Worlds" is Coming

My story, "The Spine of Worlds" will appear in Kaleidotrope in 2015.

RIP Iain M. Banks

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The BBC is reporting that Iain Banks has died from cancer at the age of 59. The world has lost one of its greatest writers.

Three Reasons Jenny Agutter Should Be The Next Dr. Who

I'll make no bones about it, I didn't care for Matt Smith and once Karen Gillan was no longer around upping the pretty factor, the last season of Dr. Who got old fast. I was already getting tired of River Song by the end of the fifth season and the decision to focus so heavily on her in the sixth and seventh seasons bored me to tears. The fact of the matter is that the Doctor has historically been largely asexual. While the chemistry between David Tennant and Billie Piper was undeniable and made for an interesting change as The Doctor and Rose played through their love story, in the course of Doctor Who Mythology it only really works as an aberration rather than the new normal. Frankly I would like to see a return to a Doctor who remembers that he is an alien and is as emotionally detached as a 900 year old time traveling super genius who is a misfit in his own society should be. Something modeled more on Tom Baker on Jon Pertwee's doctors than the soap opera leading men we've been getting instead.

To that end I think it's high time for a shake up in the casting. The next doctor needs to be older, less lonely, less angsty, more patrician, more eccentric, scarier, and female. In short I think the actor to take on the role next is Jenny Agutter.

Barcelona is a Fantasy City

I feel like cities like New York and Tokyo are science fictional cities while cities like London and Barcelona are fantasy cities. Barcelona in particular with its Gaudi architecture that looks straight out of some gnomish kingdom, its crumbling Roman walls as the legacy of a long fallen empire many have tried to recreate, its once exiled king who reclaimed his throne from a real-life dark lord of unspeakable evil and ushered in an era of peace, with its ancient tongue understood by none outside the immediate region, is a fantasy world. It is, however, one almost intolerably thronged with Dorothys, Alices, Harry Potters and other explorers, to the point where, as if in some post-modern satire, it seems there are more adventurers in the fantasy kingdom than native denizens, constantly stumbling over each other and comparing notes in English.