Archive for Clarkesworld

The Benign Invasion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by theclockworm


Some of you may have noticed that I removed my earlier post about Gnosticism. This comes after a long week of some fairly unpleasant realizations and conversations. I’d like to be able to talk about some of my ideas, but I’m not sure what the proper forum for that is; I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.

That said, I think I’ve figured some things out in the past week. I started out feeling like no one had ideas even similar to mine; After some serendipitous stumbling around the internet, I discovered some evidence to the contrary over here.  I have yet to make my way through the entirety of Mr. Stratford’s online writing, but suffice it to say, on the major (non-theological) interpretations, a lot of his ideas are similar to mine. There’s a lot less of the religious focus, a lot more openness to the full variety of philosophical implications, and a lot less ass-holery in general than some other places I’ve been. But there’s still a big gap; there’s more than a fair share of the religious language that I’m not so thrilled about, and, indeed, a bit too much of  “gentle” focus on application (in a way that tends to lose the thread of the ideas).

Then today on Totaldickhead, I noticed the word “Techgnostic” used to describe someone (the person in question happened to be Erik Davis, who coined the term as far as I can tell). I hurriedly hunted down some information on this word. Now, obviously I don’t know what Mr. Davis’ book says just yet, nor do I know much about the popular use or understanding of the word. But, judging from this, I might have found something that, in certain iterations at least, begins to approximate my ideas: an evolving philosophy based on a fully non-religious, non-theistic interpretation of certain aspects of Gnostic cosmology.

In short, it’s a form of Panentheism, but without the theism. This post has a handy chart; just substitute “Total reality” for “God” and “Our Reality” for “Universe,” and you have the simplest possible outline of what I’m inclined to think. It’s not a dualistic rejection of the physical, but an emphasis on role, function, and literal interactive potential as the primary characteristic of an object. It is an ontology based on possible action, a cosmology based on access to information.

It’s neat that a scroll through that scholarly piece and the front page of Mr. Stratford’s blog will show mention of PKD. He is just everywhere (ubiquitous, if you will).

So, I’m going to set out to explore and articulate some of my ideas and understandings – just as soon as I figure out a venue and method that seem to fit.

On the one hand, the temptation to compare the representation of these super-celestial realms with the complexity of cyberspace is intellectually suspect because rational mathematics, network architectures and programming codes are so technically distinct from the mystical mathematics, celestial architectures and demonic codes of angel magic. But perhaps, from a qualitative perspective, complexity space is complexity space–any information system, when dense and rigorous enough, takes on a kind of self-organizational coherence which resonates with other systems of complexity.



In other news, I submitted my first story to Clarkesworld – and got my first rejection notice. I’m not too bummed though; I didn’t expect to get published on my first attempt. I turned around and sent it right back out to another market; I’m readying my second (perhaps more publishable) story for submission in the coming days, though a big move and lots of other crap may force me to hold off for a few more days.

The important thing is, I’ve begun the process. The wheels are turning now – I’m writing, editing, submitting, re-submitting. If I can use the momentum the process generates to keep myself going, well, then I’d be a perpetual motion man. Luckily for me, since no such thing exists,  life  provides some fuel as well.


Virgin Submission (Not as Sexy as it Sounds!)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by theclockworm

In less esoteric news, remember that story I told you I was submitting a week ago? Well, I did it last night. I was waiting for a final read-through from someone whose opinion I trust, but she’s simply too swamped at the moment, and the pressure was irking both of us. So I checked it for spelling, made sure my formatting was solid, slapped a cover letter on it, and sent it off through the ether. I should know within the next day or so. If it isn’t accepted, hopefully I’ll at least get some constructive criticism.

I think,  regardless of the response, it’ll be easier for me to keep going now that I’ve broken the ice.

Cross your fingers for me.


Time-Slips and Tesla Coils and Opal, oh my!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2011 by theclockworm

After doing a little research on opal (prompted by that last little single-cell), I came across something interesting:

The Halley’s Comet Opal is “an example of a nobby, which is a natural lump-shaped opal found only at Lightning Ridge [Australia].”

If you’ll recall, the Martians in Martian Time-Slip worship a rock formation called “Dirty Knobby.” The parallels between the Bleekmen and the Australian Aborigines have never been hard to see, but this seems to be a potential bit of insight into Dick’s research. Mars in MTS could very well serve as a representation of Australia in many ways, with the working poor taking the place of the “criminals” who populated Australia in the early days of colonization. More likely, Dick simply saw the colonization of Australia as one example of a much larger trend in human history, one he assumed would likely follow us to other worlds.

I have also wondered if perhaps Dirty Knobby is related in some way to Knob Hill, where Tesla did some of his major experiments and had some of his more out-there ideas about the earth as a resonant body and FTL travel. I could see Manfred Steiner as the brilliant but much-abused Tesla, a man “not of his time,” Arnie Kott as the government that used him, ruined him and left him penniless, and Dirty Knobby as the source of the strange earth-borne power that, when harnessed, can be quite powerful, but is seldom believed to be real. Not that I’m siding with the free-energy theorists on this whole thing; I don’t know enough to make a statement, and I am fairly skeptical to say the least.

I must say, I’m getting a little weirded out by all the Australia references that seem to keep popping up lately. I’ve been re-reading Sam Kieth’s wonderful series The Maxx , and it is still just as wonderful as it used to be. After following The Maxx and Julie through their literalized subconscious plain, “the Outback,” I am starting to wonder if Valis is trying to tell me something…

In other news, I didn’t end up making it to the Sci-Fi Saturday event I mentioned last week. Alas, I missed all the fun. Again. But I want to take a moment again to recognize the people who made it happen. Real community is hard to come by these days.

Tomorrow I send off my first story for consideration at Clarkesworld. Wish me luck.

Lastly, I just thought you might want to know that this exists.

*Update:  So I wondered if anyone else had made the Tesla connection. It turns out someone has, though I’m not sure what it says about me that I share ideas with this guy. I’m not even really sure what this page is all about (the internet is so diffused in purpose and affiliation these days – something I plan to talk about sometime), but close to the bottom is a comment by “DracOverLordHaton” that demands…well, I don’t know what. But I’m fairly certain it’s demanding something.

What I really like about it is how, after stating the connection between Knob Hill and Dirty Knobby as fact, with no further information,  it immediately transforms into a tirade about how the Total Recall movie doesn’t credit the other PKD works it takes ideas from (he’s right, by the way, especially about Dr. Bloodmoney), but he never mentions Dick by name. Not even those ubiquitous initials.

Also, apparently Oliver Sacks has theorized that Tesla had Asperger’s Syndrome. For what it’s worth.

A Hundred Ways In

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2011 by theclockworm

There’s a pretty neat writing contest going on in association with Paul Malmont’s new book, “The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown.” I haven’t read any of Malmont’s work, but I’m throwing my tags down for just about anything right now, so guess what? I entered. I wrote a story and submitted it. You can read it and vote for it here.

It looks like my spacing didn’t get preserved; these online entry forms are kind of wonky sometimes.

It’s not the most amazing story, but what the hell – I’d rather save that for situations that don’t involve perpetual rights/no-royalty situations.

In other news, I finished two other stories this past week, and am readying my “manuscripts” for submission at a few venerable publications. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the SFWA website, which has some good resources for manuscript form and related stuff. It’s not always the most navigable site, but if you dig, there’s good material to be found.

Over the past few months, I’ve become quite familiar with the guidelines, styles, and response times of a number of SF publications. Now that I have actual stories to submit, I’m trying to piece together a plan for submissions. It’s a balance of various factors: How much I want to be in the particular publication, how quick their response times are, how much they pay, and what I think my chances are of getting accepted. For instance, Tor pays 25 cents per word – unheard of in SF short-format publishing – but they have a six-to-eight month response time.

My top choice right now, strange as it may sound, is Clarkesworld. I love their whole thing. The website is the primary format, with “chapbooks” published in smaller numbers for each edition. The cover art is generally above and beyond most others. They do audio recordings of most stories, which is great, though they seem to have one person read them all, which is a little disappointing.*  And they have around a two day response time, which means I’d be able to turn around rejected material quickly.

If anyone has any experience in this area, or knows any inside info about any of the major SF short-story markets, I’d love to hear it. Personal research only goes so far.

The York Emporium, hands down my favorite bookstore – hell, my favorite business – on earth, is holding their annual “Sci-Fi Saturday” event this weekend. I plan to attend, carrying my little folder full of tales like the hardworking hustler that I am [Note: the website doesn’t appear to have any info on the event;I know some details are available on their FB page]. Jim Lewin, the owner, is notable for (among other things) working on the restoration of some of Heinlein’s complete works in association with the Virginia Project. I expect that the inestimable Chuck Miller will be in attendance; Chuck is not only an absolutely wonderful guy, he also used to be one-half of the small publishing venture known as Underwood Miller. Chuck put out “In Pursuit of Valis,” the complete PKD short story collection, works by Harlan Ellison, and a lot more. If he is there, I may try to convince him to do an interview, which I would then publish here.

It’s a pretty awesome time to be writing SF.

*[One of the things I really want to do is produce my own audio versions of stories, complete with my own original soundtrack work. A barrier-breaking pipe-dream of mine is to publish some “major work” with the audio format being the primary version.]