Saturday, October 31, 2009

Something old, something new, a "borrowed" plot, and a TARDIS? Sarah Jane...

So I just watched the Sarah Jane Adventures, ep 3.5-6 ("The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith"). The first part was pretty good (almost as good as the previous story, "The Mad Woman in the Attic"), until the Doctor made his irritating dramatic entrance. It was actually funny (whereas the Judoon ep wasn't, except for the bit with the Judoon in the police car.) The second part...ha. Can we steal any more from Sapphire and Steel, Assignment 6? That shot with the church floating in the void, with our heroes looking out, being trapped in a time looped environment (luckily they aren't looped, too), "higher powers" setting a trap, etc. Oh yes, and also the plot from "Father's Day" AND "The Temptation of SJS". Stealing it once is fine, but twice is pushing it!

David Tennant Doctor being more hyperactively annoying than ever with the "Look! I'm the Doctor! I'm so zany! I'm on a kids' show! HI KIDS! I'm amazing!" (It's enough to make me nostalgic for Colin Baker. What an underappreciated Doctor.) Whatever else one can complain about with Liz Sladen's acting ("possessed Sarah", argh! ARGH! She did it more convincingly in "The Hand of Fear"), at least she manages to be a bit calmer than Tennant. The episode works on the strength of her performance.

Just stop it already with the "Legendary Doctor" BS, ok? Please? At least we didn't have to sit through another round of on-screen applause/cheering for him. Oh yeah, and this is the 10th Doctor's last season. Yes, I think you said something about that already. Quit with the spooooky foreshadowings. He's gonna die. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm really, really sorry.

(Ok, nothing to do with anything. That's me watching TV instead of writing or thinking about my NaNo novel. I hope I never let my characters buy into their own hype, that's all. And now back to our regularly scheduled Halloween glow stick madness!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

A name, a name, my kingdom for a name...

Aha! It came to me as I was driving home today. His name is Hummel 1417 hi'Tákashe ("Tákash"), and I am told his language sounds like vegetables frying. The thing to remember is that the "T" is strongly aspirated. Probably. I know we hate apostrophes in names. "Hi'" is short for "hight" in this case. "Hummel" is a tag applied by his family/line. He is legally a slave under Earthlaw, unless he sues for recognition as a bastard. He's probably a genetically purged clone of a successful member of the line, with implanted memories and morality.

Her name is Adurven, Traveler on the Bone Road and an acolyte of the Ossuary of the 49th Stone (in the Empire of Sky and Stone). That's what she always says, anyway. People mostly call her "Addy", or "Hey, you! Lab girl!", or "Clumsy undead wretch!" or "Useless numb-fingered oaf of a lab assistant!" when she drops a test tube.

And her master is, of course, the infamous Wensel, "that shtupid shtinking rat of an alchemist". If you can't hire a hunchback, you can BE a hunchback! *mutter mutter* Wensel of...of...some city, wasn't it? I'll say it was "Wensel of Fraiborg". Of course, by the time the story starts, anyone who's ever heard of Fraiborg is dead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hey, character, tell me your bloody name already!

It's, what, Oct 29? Three more days till NaNo starts. And I still don't have a name for the Boy Colonist in the necromancer's story. I don't know his Power-Armor-Suit/Spaceship/AI's name, either. Traditionally, that should be some cute acronym, but I don't feel up to devising any cute acronyms right now. Maybe they're from the "Mool's world" universe and the AI is an Intuition Machine. That society is paranoid and technologically advanced enough to devise a colonization program like this. This would be a post-War MW society. If from there, the Boy and his AI are both probably Bastards. But that'd be common in their family. (And he's NOT from the Interworlds Agency.) They'd have some kind of naming convention set up. Dunno what it is, though.

Argh.

Name.

Name name name name name...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

These Big Finish Cybermen stories are so depressing

Or at least the more memorable ones seem to have that tragic edge. I've just been listening to "The Reaping" (with the 6th Doctor) and "The Gathering" (with the 5th), but it's true of "Spare Parts" (the Genesis of the Cybermen with the 5th Doc) and even "The Girl Who Never Was". What is it about Cybermen? Daleks are easy to hate, being creatures of hatred themselves, simple-minded exterminators of everything "inferior". Cybermen are something else. It's not just the mere fact of turning people into cyborgs that's the problem. What's wrong with people getting artificial limbs, say, or an artificial heart? Most people, unless they completely reject technology, would have no objections to saving or enhancing lives with it. Even completely artificial lifeforms (robots and AIs and so forth) can be perfectly humane, even in the Doctor Who universe. But somewhere along the way, the Cybermen lose their "souls". I think it's the urge to "perfection" that kills them. They think they're perfect, they're immortal, and that they can make the universe perfect. They're people, ordinary people, good people, who have suffered so much pain that they want to get rid of pain forever. They've been crushed by the unfairness of life.

This makes "Spare Parts" difficult for me to listen to. I mean, I watch Doctor Who to escape from our depressing reality, but the Doctor can't save Mondas. In the end, he can't do anything at all for the people there. They're doomed. It's not fair, but they're doomed. All he can do is watch.

The new TV series is missing something in their alt-Cybermen stories. They're more like humanoid Dalek knock-offs. "Delete!" indeed. Pfeh.

But it's something to think about when creating your monsters. Doctor Who sometimes really nails it. (Let's not dwell on their failures.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Red Fox Child is doomed

There? See her? A frail shape chained to the iron book by her own shadow. She's lost her right hand, but the Librarian has given her a new one. It's a demonic graft. She wishes she could reject it, but her name is cut open, wreathed around the cold harsh lines of infernal bones. She sits at the desk and she writes. The words are weapons. They are fed by her signature. She can feel her name withering as each sheet flies loose, carried by the wind that blows between the worlds. Not far.

The Library is under siege. The Empress of Bells sings the song that cracks stone. Resonance employed as a battering ram. Paper flutters in startled clumps, a disruption in the air to confuse and muffle the deadly sounds of the enemy. Bones march against blood. The walking skeletons are as much chorus as army, hollow pipes and clashing swords. Blood seeps into bone, blood clots, blood mutes. The air is heavy with the stench of dying demons.

The Red Fox Child doesn't care about all that. She buries her own message in each spell. Help. Help me. I am here.

(They'll have to break the siege, won't they?)

But help will come too late. There's not enough left of her. Only enough to call the wind one last time and send her friends home.

There. Isn't that better than being turned into a library card? Oh, but we can still do that. A blurred signature and a sketch on a paper rectangle...something for Frog to burn once they stand on living earth again.

And none of that is any help at all in deciding on a name for the Colonist in my other story. Is it? Eh? Eh? I just wanted to write this bit down before I forgot what happened to Fox. And trying to see what the siege looks like, with so much magic being thrown around by both sides. What happened to the ghoul army? I think they were an early casualty. Remember? Each one trapped in a bell, but also neutralizing the bell. A loss for the Empress.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I hate prologues

So obviously, that's why I have one stuck in my head for NaNo2009/The Necromancer Diaries. I suppose the prologue is more for my benefit than any hypothetical reader.

It goes something like this.

What has gone before:

"We are agreed?" prodded Laylara. Her eyes held his, forcing an answer from him.

"Yes, yes," muttered Wensel. He slid his hand over his eyes wearily, unable to meet her gaze. "Yes, we're agreed. Gods forgive us."

"Gods? Come now, Wensel, we will BE gods. After this."

Wensel laughed without much amusement. "Power, yes, but it's relative. The sky you see isn't the whole sky. Don't tempt fate."

"Why not? I've tempted everything else. And rather successfully, wouldn't you say?"

Wensel coughed uneasily. "That's as may be. Just be careful, that's all I'm saying."

"Cheer up, Wensel. Remember that we're doing them a favor. How many times have they come to us, begging us to lift the Curse? Well, now we are."

"Yes," sighed Wensel. He opened his eyes a slit, peered through his fingers at the other. "Everything is set. Tonight. Three hours after midnight."

"Three hours after midnight."

***

To be continued...
(Time to get the kids to school)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another idea falls on my head...

...this isn't helping me narrow down what I'm going to write in November, is it? Grumble, grumble, mutter, mutter. Ok, I admit it, it came to me in a dream, which I was enjoying, thank you very much, when it was time to haul myself out of bed. I held onto it all the way through breakfast and then while I was taking a shower, the idea hooked itself into the series of stories I've been writing all year, the "Salt Gang Chronicles". Somewhere between story 4 (the last one I wrote) and story 5, I split up the characters to have their own separate adventures. This is Fish's story (except I think she's lost her name again, not that it was anything to brag about in the first place), with a return appearance from the human woman from story 3. What does my dream have to do with it? Not very much. Actually, in the cold light of day (but getting warmer slowly) it's just another boring dream (even with the crocodiles living in the rivers of lava...no, "gavials" or "gharials", my subconscious was very insistent on that...must have seen them at the zoo once), but the process of trying to remember/figure out a plot for it started me off on these story ideas.

So...yeah...if I tell the separate bits of each of the four "Salt Gang" characters, that might end up in the neighborhood of 50000 words. (Each of the previous stories was in the 10-20K range). It's still pretty much a muddle in my head, though. We'll see. Two more weeks before I have to start writing.

Maybe I can just take a long nap and the ideas for the rest of the novel(s) will come to me in dreams. HA HA HA HA HA!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's October. NaNo fever strikes again...

Agh! Two story ideas are fighting for dominance in my head. Ow ow ow ow ow. My brain is bleeding!

Idea 1: Sequel to previous NaNos. Working title: "Nik goes kabloiee!" In which our cliched elven prophet accidentally turns into a god, and sends his partner, the cliched vampire-prophet-with-a-cheesy-name, back in time to try to repair things without causing a paradox (a paradox being just as bad as a rogue god in this case. Bad for the people who live on that world, that is.) Throw in some psionic "Oh noes! I'm losing my memories!" angst and "Beware the Technopax Virus!" and "Don't disturb the Great Old Ones!" and "colonists vs indigenes" I'm sure I have a story in there somewhere.

Idea 2: A reworking of one of my plot ideas from last year now cast as a middle-grades (probably) story. Working title: "The Necromancer Diaries". Journeyman necromancer Adurven is Cinderella. Which is to say, everyone good is dead, and she's forced to clean up the mad alchemist's lab and keep half a dozen heads-in-jars in working undead condition while the evil stepmother (the Queen!) parties and does disgusting stuff with minor deities. Like, ewwww. Cinderella tries to summon an agent of the Lychmuttra to help her out, but the summoning goes wrong and she gets a useless escapee from some science fiction cliche in a power-armor-suit-spaceship. Or something. Wacky antics ensue.

Common element between idea 1 and idea 2: Lychmuttra is the patron goddess of both the vampire prophet and the necromancer. They're originally from the same world. Why? Because...because...because...er...I'm fond of that world and I use it whenever I can. Just remember that this Adurven is not the same Adurven as last year. Nor are the heads-in-jars quite the same either.