Swiss Cheese and Bug Theory

Prizm Brane Gride2

This is a total niche nerd post. I’m putting up Prizm maps. These are wormhole maps.  In the book its not called Wormhole but Swiss Cheese and a Bug Theory.

So we start with some terminology. A brane is a physics term to mean an object that can have multi-dimensional space. It’s short for membrane. One theory is that our universe is a 3 dimensional brane that we are stuck to preventing us from perceiving other dimensions.

Since a wormhole goes through space it’s 4 dimensional so in order to talk about it linearly or 2 dimensionally I made up little grid sections which I am calling branes. Its just a way to break down parts of a multiverse onto a map or grid. Imagine this chart extending out and then wrapping in a sphere and then expanding as big as the universe.

In this first grid you have branes broken down by letter and the names of port towns or places written in there. Some port names are the names of the planets and others are not. It just depends on the port.

This was my grid for tracking characters in the Prizm. I got lost when I wrote the book so had to come up with a map. The Prizm is a series of interconnected spacetime routes. The hub of the multiverse is a confederation known as New Sulan. That’s where discovery of the Prizm was made and from where the original Trade Routes began. So, since this a transparency, the next thing we do is add in the Trade Routes of New Sulan.

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So, the routes only go one way signified by the direction of the arrows drawn on the lines. You can only go between connecting ports in one direction, so you will have to go around the universe with a few short cuts in the middle. New Sulan is in Brane C with a sub hub of the confederacy in Brane J.

Earth, our Earth, is not directly on these trade routes. Once the  Trade Routes were established most money minded traders were not too interested in expanding them, mainly because finding new wormholes or portals often leads to death. So, these routes became the main trade byways of the Prizm with a strange and multiworldly culture growing up at the various ports.

PrizmEarthRoutes

So, these are the Earth Routes, the wormholes that tie into the New Sulan Trade Routes. Earth’s Prizm coordinates are AA0-1203.

Prizm Routes Bea and Jen

These are the routes that main characters Bea, Jen, Ella and Sissy take during the story.

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And here we have everything overlaid so you can see it all. Gets messy at this point, but you can see the main characters utilizing a combination of Trade Routes and secret routes to maneuver around the Prizm. That’s the main purpose of these maps anyway. In the novel this becomes important because Bea (Beasil) tries to steer clear of the Trade Routes being that they are taxed and policed and he is, of course, a spy.

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Here it is again. I don’t know if it’s more simplified, but clearer. Of course you need a Legend to read it.

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Anyway, this is the Prizm Map system. Maybe cool for Prizm aficionados. I had to make them because like I said, I just got lost.

When Idea’s Dry Up

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Does anyone ever get writer’s block? 

I used to say no to that question, because I never thought I did. I would boast proudly when friends would ask and act as though such notions did not apply to me. Well, I have come to learn what is meant by this funny little expression: Writer’s Block. 

We all know the stereotypical version where the writer just slumps in abject apathy and stares at the page. That’s a fairly serious kind I think.

But I believe there are many versions of this mental affliction. I think it is wrongly named also. Doesn’t really specify. I think we’d do better if we called it Writer’s Dry Up or Writer’s Engine Cool Down or Running Out of Writer’s Fuel. Because I think what happens is that we simply run out of research material.

Aside from simply slumping at the key board, you can also go on writing well after the point it got boring. A sort of hectic puppeteer way of writing where you just bang out words that don’t resonate anymore. A sort of pound the pavement method of novel writing. I believe this is writing despite Writer’s Block. 

Notice I don’t say you have to be inspired to write, at least not beyond the initial inspiration to want to write at all. But if you get that feeling like it’s “dry” or it’s “just hitting a quota” or “I ran out of ideas” I suggest a couple home remedies that seem to work for me every time. 

A) Read. Books recharge your artist’s acumen. I think you should read and write at a ratio of 50/50. Don’t write month after month and neglect reading and vise-versa. Reading makes you a better writer just like writing makes you a better writer. Simple. 

B) Research. Study something. Go interview a cop or a doctor. Go get a part time job as a logger. I don’t know, whatever you’re writing about. If it’s straight sf/f and you can’t go to another planet, I suggest researching other planets in general. Vampire, research blood and how much blood a person could stand giving up or something like, or maybe you research the original myths and legends. Anyway you get the idea. It’s nothing for me to write surveillance scenes because I’ve personally logged hundreds of hours. So, I know how you feel, the boredom, the excitement, the nerves. And what’s more, how to follow someone in a car and not get burned, and I can tell you this, the movies get it wrong every time!

C) Run. Or take a walk. If we say run, than we can say The Three R’s which is cute. Regardless, I can’t tell you how many times after I get up from my computer and go walk around or take a shower even, that the idea comes together and I find the path again. Space seems to assist the flow of ideas. It gets you out of your head. And sometimes that’s all you need. 

And one other thing that seems miraculous if you just can’t seem to get into the spirit of things when it comes to carrying on. Edit the last thing you wrote. This pulls me down into the story every time and once I’m in the groove, I roll.

Well, those are my home remedies and as you can see they are all homeopathic.

 

 

 

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Prepare the World Engine! and other cheesy lines…

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Well, it finally arrived. We–me–had been waiting month after agonizing month for the release of this epic event.

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I had gotten my hopes pretty far up there anticipating a dark and gritty story of the original god super hero. Those grainy images of Henry Cavill making his way along the Alaskan coastline working on rickety old crab boats in the vein of Deadliest Catch caught my attention. Then came the real good stuff. Superman’s deification cycle. 

Oh, I was there. Ready and waiting to absorb the tale of Superman’s humble sepia-toned beginnings on the farm straight to godhood. After all didn’t the previews promise it?

Well…I googled my “go to” site for all movies I’m about to see or thinking about seeing: Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, Superman: Man of Steel got a big green splat. This didn’t really surprise me. R.T. has been off before, in my opinion. And I was “all in” anyway for this particular superman so there was just no way I wasn’t going to go. 

I went to the 3D viewing in La Crescenta California where the seats recline in big Lazy Boy fashion, got my milk duds and, in true Clark Kent style, put on those annoying glasses. 

My review: eek. 

Eek because there was a lot there. And eek because it came so close and yet, as the saying goes, so far away. All the trappings of an epic episode that fell flat for lack of heart. Or as my old grade school teachers liked to say, “If only he had applied himself.” 

Now, people clapped at the end, but then again they also clapped when Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader got his mechanical cyborg helmet in the new Star Wars franchise and we all know how that series ended up. Anyway, people loved this film. And in some ways so did I, but it did not scratch the itch for me. 

By the way, all the technology was really cool. Krypton’s super computerized organics still left much to the imagination of how this strange world had come to be. The world engine and terraform technology, excellent.    

Story wise…you’ve got a long and somewhat complex series of events with a shit ton of computer graphics that were over done and in many instances hard to follow. Too many punching through building scenes when they fight and like that. Lot’s of cool fx too. Just too much of a good thing. 

I felt all those flash back scenes were really well done–I mean really good–but then they were just flash back scenes. I would have rather watched his coming of age linearly. You had an all star cast with old pros like Kevin Costner as Superman’s earthly father…but he just seemed so lifeless and cliche, like he hadn’t suspended his own disbelief. 

That’s kind of how everyone seemed to act with two exceptions: Michael Shannon as Zod. Whoa, what a performance. He really brought the goods. And I do have to hand it to Russel Crowe as Jor-el. I found myself really enjoying his part and character before and after death.

And I’ll give a nod to Amy Adams as the tough Lois Lane, female reporter in a male dominated world. She’s fierce and sexy and that’s kind of what you’d expect. 

 

As for the big star, Superman himself. I don’t think he believed it. He sure was handsome in his disbelief, but God as a character is kinda boring. God can do anything so we always know who will win. But I found Cavill’s performance lackluster. And his lines didn’t help. So cheesy half the time like, after Superman just destroys a satellite–millions of U.S. Defense Department dollars–used to conduct surveillance on him, he says, “General, I know you want to find out where I hang my cape. Well, not gonna happen.” 

His whole rationale is how much he loves humans. I couldn’t really figure out why since every time he helps them they just get mad or jealous. Yet, he loves humans so dearly that even one death makes him howl in rage. 

Yeah…no. 

They also kept calling him by his nickname, Kal from Kal-El of course, which is just my little pet peeve and really doesn’t have anything to do with much. 

And there were a couple of nice touches like a chapel scene where the stained glass image of Christ praying just happens to be directly behind Superman so you see Christ and Superman together in one long shot. Or how about this one? How old is Superman once he puts on the suit? 33 years. The age that Christ started his ministry. Clever.

So, do I recommend it? You kinda have to see this one, so yeah. But don’t expect the deeply moving philosophy promised in the previews. And don’t expect Kevin Costner to say anything too profound. 

 

The Death of Modern Spiritualism? Nah.

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You have to appreciate that the beginning of Modern Spiritualism is credited to three young ladies from New York. Actually two really young girls and one older sister. I stumbled across this story the other day, but here’s the tale in 500 words or less. Hopefully. 

Maggie and Katie fox began pretending ghosts in the house at ages 7 and 9 by dropping apples on the floor of their attic bedroom. They learned to hoist these apples on strings connected to their toes while laying in bed pretending to sleep. The apples would bob and thump in the night for a dramatic and ghastly effect.

Their mother, much to their impish delight, began reporting in tones of mild hysteria of the strange goings on.

Time passed and Maggie and her little sister Katie found a new trick. At their young ages the joints in their bodies were not so set as adults and they found with a little practice that they could manipulate the joints in their toes, thereby making little audible thumps. They needed not move any other part of their bodies to effect the trick. So, by touching the sides of their toes to, say, a table leg–any good sound conducter, like wood–they could send a series of little whaps that could be felt as well as heard.

This caused quite a stir and didn’t take long before Mother Fox invited the neighbors over. And from there it spread to the whole of New York and then the world. You see, because Maggie and Katie had a sister, 23 years older, who saw one thing in all of this: money. 

Leah Fox did not for one second believe this nonsense about spirits communicating with thumps, twice for “yes,” once for “no” and the like. She took those two little girls and began taking apart their clothes saying, “How do you do it? Show me just exactly how you do it!”

And on the road they went. 

Well, the story can only end one way, of course. Maggie and Katie took to the drink at a young and tender age because defrauding millions played havoc on their conscience and it was Maggie who finally announced she and her two sisters were frauds, explaining every detail of how they did it. 

One might imagine that the whole of Spiritualism might fold up when the icon announces it all a con job.

No way.

Folks wrote in by the mail bag trying to ascertain if the newspaper announcement had indeed come from Maggie herself. Many felt betrayed and still others felt relief that finally their suspicions and fears could be laid to rest along with the memory of their loved one. You see it wasn’t just talking to “random dead” that these Fox girls pretended, it was deceased husbands, wives and children. The kind of thing you wouldn’t want to get someone’s “hopes up” about. 

But the whole of Spiritualism, mediums and the like denied any such notion that the cracking of a toe joint could create such a spectacle and went on about their business. 

The eldest, Leah, never did admit to it, Instead she wrote a book expounding on her life with spirits.

Sadly, the three died alone and bereft and broke. Yet, their memory lives on and we admire the courage of Maggie coming forward and saying how it was. And we can appreciate this too: despite the world’s foremost spiritualist declaiming it all a fraud, the subject lives on. It would seem Man has no notion, any time soon, of doing away with his belief in life after death.    

 

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Andrew Michael Schwarz is a speculative fiction writer working in the genres of fantasy and horror. He describes his work as Narnia for Grown Ups and uses themes of horror and fantasy to examine deeper philosophical underpinnings about the nature of the universe and the human experience. 

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As Above So Below

As above, so below. As within so without…

I’v been completely immersed in research for my next book. Studying the philosophy of this guy: Image

You guessed it, Hermmes Trismegistus.

These ancient dudes developed a whole system of magic called Hermitc Magick. It’s incredible the amount of information that is available about this. These guys really went for it and I don’t know that they were just “making it all up.” Here’s a nutshell version of this whole Hermetic Magick deal: 

Basically King Solomon (named as the wisest man in all the world in the bible) was quite adept in the handling and taming of demons. Whole books of have been written–contemporary with the bible–about King Solomon’s “keys” of control. 

Back story: in the days of Noah, a group of angels that were supposed to be watching over mankind decided it would be better if they got involved sexually with mankind’s women. So they had at it. They mixed with biblical humans and gave them all kinds of data about technology and how the celestial bodies work and, anyway, they told them “too much.” They also knocked up the women. The offspring of this strange union were amazing superhero types. Giants and “men of renown.” The Nephilim were great warriors. Goliath as in David and Goliath was one such Nephilim. Anyway, this did not please God so he sent the Great Flood to wipe them out. 

Well, this didn’t work as intended because the Nephalim spirits were still around in the earth and so on. 

Anyway, eons later, King Solomon ended up receiving a ring of power from the arch angel Micheal and this ring of power was a means by which to control this horde of these fallen angels a.k.a. demons. That’s where demons come from. So…Solomon was so good at all this that he built the first temple in Jerusalem with the help of these demon hordes. They would move heavy blocks and do things men could not. Pretty good. Then all manner of occult data became available and a system of magic to rival any fantasy novel was born. 

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 You’ve got different things there the first few are alphabets and sigils of this magic language, these last two are Solomon’s seal, I guess what he wore on his ring of power. 

In case you were wondering this is the magick of Merlin and Nostradamus. So, it’s quite famous. 

 

So, that’s the update from the Other World. There’s always a lot happening over there. This afternoon after the meet and greet bar-B-Q thing I’ve got an appointment with Enoch, the angel medium and I am told he makes a mean cup of coffee. 

 

 

The Way James Brown Sings

They just don’t make ’em like they used to. One is hard pressed to compare the old music legends with today’s studio-made superstars. The vapid and empty performances of Britney Spears leave much to be desired when you put her next to say…Michael Jackson.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. Or maybe it is. Both were/are major label music stars. And they performed together so you kind of can’t help but compare. You don’t have to be partial to any music genre to realize there’s something special about that kind of heart and soul. And of course actually singing! For the record, I actually enjoy some of Britney’s studio music. And for that matter I listen to a lot of pop.

Anyway, this talk about heart and soul seems to leap out of some nostalgic antiquity when bands actually wrote their own songs and being “hot” had NOTHING to do with it.

Freddie

Freddie

Tom Petty

Tom Petty

Way back in the mists of time it is said that the music industry was about the music.

I won’t even call all this digital pop an illusion because illusion implies magic. Mirage because a mirage leads you astray to your doom.

Well, I hope those days of music lore and legend find their way back. We felt a kind of connection to the music and it’s progenitors that we don’t find very often today.

I liken it to writing. To any art. And you could stretch it to living too. Connecting emotionally. It’s been called melodrama. It’s what makes us care about the people involved and what happens to them. It’s what connects us to the universe.

I discovered that once something becomes a chore, I lose all interest. I’m really bad at “doing chores.” I just hate that word. “Do yer chores before dessert!” and “Mamma says I cainte go no place till I do ma chores,” well that’s what I think of that word, drudgery and restriction.

It’s all about interest. If you can only find a way to put interest into things. To not “do”, but “create.” Strike “going to work” from your vocabulary. Is it “painting a wall?” Or protecting your home from the ravages of elemental decay?

Is it “taking out the garbage?” Or perhaps “conquering the discarded chaos of the material universe?” A bit cheesy, but I’d rather conquer discarded chaos than take out the garbage, any day.

If we can put purpose in place of job titles, we’ve got it made. If I sit down to “crank out a word quota,” I just bomb. Even just shooting for the next chapter is leagues better. I’m always going for getting the book done, because I use that to drive me through to the end, but if ever I get bored, I just stop and go back and find where I started writing that stupid paper for Mr. Harris in grade school. Yes, you Mr. Harris!

Anything can be made into drudgery. And any drudgery can be revived into purposeful activity again, unless it totally doesn’t need to be done and someone is just making you do busy-work, in which case you can free yourself from the yoke of slavery.

So here’s my idea. Try to live the way James Brown sings.

Necronomicon

At the end of August we make pilgrimage to a fictitious New England and pay homage to the Old Ones, to their great prophet himself and to a lot of other cool shit!

http://necronomicon-providence.com/

 

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I can’t wait actually. It’s going to be three hazy days of endless inundation. I’ll be so exhausted when I come home I will swear I’ll never do another and then after a good night’s sleep miss it like hell. 

I don’t think it get’s any geekier than a Lovecraft Con in Rhode Island. I mean…well, I take it back, Twilight in Forks. But I would only show up there if I were a real blood-drinking vampire and then only for a feast. Anyway, join us if you’re not too freaked out about cosmic horror outside the ken of man. Image

On a steal squid I ride…

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Yeah see, I’m ready…( i actually didn’t buy the hat, but still…I should have)