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Pre-Premeditation: The Kapu Version

Last year my story “Premeditation” appeared in Darker Companions, a book of stories collected in tribute to Ramsey Campbell. “Premeditation” is a very short horror story. You might think to look at it that it couldn’t have been much work. But it went through many versions, one of which turned into comedy. I went so very far astray, working on this one. I had no idea what was working. Eventually, I pulled back from the brink and continued to refine my original vision of the story, and it settled back into horror again.

But there was always something about the comic version that I liked, if only because it turned into its own completely different thing.

Tonight, after watching some eagle rays frolic in the bay, I remembered this version and the fact that I had always intended to put it up on the Fiction section of my blog under its original title: “Kapu.”

Talking About Writing on the Script Lock Podcast

I was invited to join Chris Gardiner of Failbetter Games (creators of Fallen London and Sunless Sea) on the Script Lock Podcast to talk about writing, mostly for games.

Chris is actively working on games right now, so I think his insights are a lot more entertaining and interesting than my warmed-over ones. Hopefully I mentioned a few things that I haven’t already said a million times in other interviews.

I bought a Blue Yeti microphone for this podcast, since the last one I recorded with my laptop mic was almost unintelligible. If nothing else, the sound is pretty good this time.

Right after doing the show, I picked up a copy of Sunless Sea for the iPad. Perhaps you too will be so moved.

 

2018 Clarion West Write-a-thon

I haven’t been posting much lately because there hasn’t been much news that is new on the writing front.

Right now I am participating in this year’s Clarion West Write-a-thon, hoping to help raise some donations for that worthy organization while keeping on a good daily writing schedule. Last year I used the event to get myself back on track finishing up my Frankenstein project. This year, since I’m working on a novel anyway, I decided to tie it into that. Please consider sponsoring me or any other writer. Clarion is a fine group.

Here is my sponsorship page where I describe my current project and provide occasional updates.

The book in progress is called Under the Oversea, and it is the first novel-length adventure of Gorlen Vizenfirthe, the bard with a gargoyle hand. I’m planning to finish a draft this summer and it’s humming along.

If you are unfamiliar with Gorlen Vizenfirthe, the previous stories are mostly (all but the last) available right here on this website in the online fiction section.

A Swim and A Crawl and A Interview

I answered a few questions about my latest short story, “A Swim and a Crawl,” over at The F&SF Blog.

“This is a story for anyone who has committed completely to something, and then changed their mind when it was too late.”

This is also possibly the first time I’ve admitted in a public forum that I’m writing a Gorlen Vizenfirthe novel, which takes place not long after the events in “Stillborne.”

A Swim and a Crawl

My short story, “A Swim and a Crawl,” appears in the March/April 2018 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which should start showing up on newsstands any day now, and is also available by subscription and via various electronic means.

I changed the title from “Longshore,” fearing readers might expect another entry in the Gorlen Vizenfirthe series, all of which have one-word titles.

It’s a short, dark tale about a man who goes for a swim in the ocean at night.

 

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters)

Get your Frankenstein Bicentennial shopping done early! Avoid the crush of shoppers lined up at Mary Shelley’s Walmart on New Year’s Day, 2018!

All you need is 99 cents and a Kindle, or some sort of Kindle reader on your phone, computer, or other device.

 

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters)!

Generations of readers have dived eagerly into Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein, only to look up after several paragraphs, complaining, “This is just a bunch of travel writing. Where are all the monsters?”

No longer!

The culmination of seven years of laborious monster-insertion, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters) absolutely guarantees that readers of this classic novel will confront monsters from the very first paragraph, and in each and every paragraph thereafter.

Not a word of that famous original Mary Shelley prose has been removed or tampered with; yet many new words, most of them referring to monsters of some sort, have been added to satisfy the horrific desires of the discerning (yet monster-craving) modern reader.

Each monster has been hand-selected by author and Frankenstein non-expert Marc Laidlaw with an eye to making the text more appealing to other Frankenstein non-experts who only want more monsters in their classic horror novels. From “Modern Prometheus” to “Monster Prometheus,” that’s probably what they will be calling Frankenstein from now on. Probably.

 

 

Offspring of Cloister the Stupid

Sometime after Half-Life was finished, but before it had shipped, which is to say in the fall and winter of 1998, I tinkered with a deathmatch map. It was simply the thing to do in those days, and there was no greater glory (as I saw it) than to have made a popular one. I’d made a few terrible maps for Quake, and experimented a lot with Half-Life’s map editor (known at that time as WorldCraft rather than Hammer), but the one I called Cloister (because it was small and cramped) was the only one I sort of finished. The reaction internally was muted. We played a few times but there were no follow-up requests for more crazy fun in the Cloister map. I put it aside and stopped updating it.

Somehow it made its way into the world, and eventually into the hands of some totally hip and with-it young mappers, but especially this fellow who goes under the name of Trashbang (aka David Will). Over the last year (or more? more!) he’s been polishing it up, giving it reasonable textures and tweaking the geometry, and now it’s out and playable if you care to go to the trouble. Please read Trashbang’s post about the map, and why he renamed it, and how casual I was about the whole thing until now, when I’ll throw in a few extra exclamation marks to demonstrate emotion: !!!!!!!!

His buddy Joe Wintergreen kindly wrote to let me know the project was complete, and added this bit of feedback: “I tweeted it the other week and about 8-10 people ended up joining in all. We played for a few hours. It was really fun! Usually we only play Crossfire because I think most of the other stock HL MP maps are bad, and this one stood up, and is better than them. So well done to you like 18 years ago and pshaw to any Valve folks who weren’t into it! Bit surreal.”

So take that, all those who doubted Cloister’s potential. And let us never speak of this map again, unless we call it Lister.

Have fun playing it!

[Note: Around the same time I was trying to learn how to make levels, I was also writing this expert-level guide to level design: This Old Level.]