Posted by That Other Mike on 01/10/2008
OK, I know this is total schlock, but I kind of enjoyed it…
The dropship booms into the sand of the planet, shaking everyone of us from toe to tailbone, up our spines and through our skulls.
A moment of whiteness. We compensate. Civilians wouldn’t cope, their brains would spray from their ears, but we’re not civilians. We were changed into soldiers.
Doors open. Dropships resemble housebricks, with doors on all sides. You can exit from any side. Our mothership waits for us in orbit.
No injuries, no casualties, and the platoon leaves the ship.
We’re dealing with an infestation. Xenomorphs. That’s aliens to you. They’ve been munching colonists, so they called us in. This is the time that Ripley or someone starts with prophecies of doom. Whatever. No civilians on this mission. They can’t take the landings.
We exit. The implants kick in, scrolling information on atmospheric conditions. Target software sleeps in the corner of my vision, waiting to wake up and kick ass.
Light shines off the brick behind us. Nothing like Aliens here, it’s day, we’re not flexing muscles or bonding with gay jokes. We’re soldiers, not actors.
We head towards the colony through sand that shifts underfoot. Nobody shouts or hails us, there’s no gunfire or explosions. We hear nothing.
And then they rise. My target program kicks in with a grin, and I find myself shooting at xeno after xeno. We enter the colony building and swarms appear. We retreat to a corridor and regroup.
I give orders through the implant network, and we take the fight to them again. My implant keys up music inside my skull. I Walk The Line. Chicka-chicka-chicka, railway lines, blending with the sound of guns.
And then it ends. I see the dead on all sides, and the music changes to a dirge. I unclip my radio and signal the Sulaco.
Posted in Idiosyncratica | Tagged: challenge, experimental fiction, fiction, Idiosyncratica, october, story | 2 Comments »
Posted by That Other Mike on 20/09/2008
An Answerphone Message from The Meek
“Um… Yeah. Hi. Uh, this is the meek. Just wanted to, you know, give you a call. Cause of that thing. You know. Yeah. Anyway. The thing. Look, it’s not that we’re not, you know, grateful, but– Would you quit? Quit it. Guys. I’m trying to do this… Anyway, yeah. The thing. We’re, like, totally grateful and everything. But. The thing is, we don’t know what to do with it. I mean, like I said, we’re all so totally grateful for the opportunity. It’s a wonderful gift, in some ways, don’t get us wrong, it really is, but, uh… We’re not sure we’d know what to do with it. And there are probably more deserving people out there. Hundreds of them, right? I mean, we’re meek, right? Just not very assertive, is what it is, I guess I’m saying. Anyway, just wanted to let you know what we were thinking. I guess we thought maybe someone else would be better than us at, you know, doing something with it. Or something. I don’t know. Can you call us back? I don’t want to be pushy or anything about it, but I think maybe we should talk if you can spare the time. Or want to. Just to talk over this whole inheriting the Earth stuff. Maybe get some coffee with us or something? Anyway, you can reach us at–”
Posted in Politics | Tagged: bible, fiction, funny, humor, humour, short story, the meek shall inherit the earth | 6 Comments »
Posted by That Other Mike on 28/08/2008
Just to fill some space, more than anything.
I want to ride my bicycle
I bike to work. It’s two miles on lonely back roads. I started for fitness and continued for fun. There’s not much better than freewheeling alone down glossy blacktop, nobody in front or behind for miles.
It’s all uphill except the end; the only thing better than smooth roads is going downhill so fast that it frightens you.
There’s an intersection at the bottom of the hill which I speed towards, not knowing if cars are coming from either direction, or if I can stop in time, and I really don’t care – I just want to go downhill forever.
The Condensed Bible
The Old Testament: Some naked chick eats an apple on the suggestion of a talking snake. Ruination ensues. Many books of Hebrews follow. Lots of begetting, some angels, pregnant women dashed against rocks. Some weird shit about polycotton blends and shellfish, and what you shouldn’t do at the weekends. No buttsex at all, not even if you both want it really bad.
The New Testament: Some hippy walks around annoying people and being a smartass. Said hippy gets nailed to a tree or something and deserves it. “Jesus loves you. Here’s some fish.” Still no buttsex, and probably no lesbians.
Posted in art, Odds and Sods, writing | Tagged: adam and eve, apocalypse, bible, bicycles, christianity, drabbles, fiction, fish, God, gomorrha, hebrews, homosexuality, jesus, new testament, old testament, sodom, Work, writing | 3 Comments »
Posted by That Other Mike on 12/08/2008
… except that I am working still on my story. It’s a new genre for me – a Western. Yeah, a Western. I’ve wanted to do something in that vein for a long time, and now I can.
And in other news, one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time:
Posted in Odds and Sods, Work | Tagged: fiction, maternity leave, the two ronnies, western, Work | Leave a Comment »
Posted by That Other Mike on 05/07/2008
It’s always nice when people do what I say… A less megalomanical way of saying that might be that it’s always nice when people take my advice, which is clearer but has an unfortunate rhyme.
It is flattering when people take my advice, particularly on things which aren’t necessarily a matter of good sense or judgement, like books or films. While I’m prone to throwing out reviews of various things I’ve seen and heard, I don’t automatically assume that people will take it seriously.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Politics | Tagged: abingdon, alfred bester, best books, bicycle, blogging, blogging without obligation, books, bwo, crime, doctor who, fiction, I am legend, list, Moon Palace, office move, oxfordshire, Patricia Highsmith, Paul Auster, recommendation, review, richard matheson, roads, science fiction, speculation fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness, the stars my destination, The Talented Mr Ripley, Ursula K. Le Guin | 3 Comments »
Posted by That Other Mike on 01/07/2008
Before I get into my shtick about fiction, I’d just like to thank everyone who has decided to take part in our readers’ and writers’ group by joining Idiosyncratica. I’m sure we’ll all find it enjoyable and useful.
The topic we chose was “My fiction and me”, which I think is a nice and gentle opener. It may get more complex later on as we get into the swing of things and grow more confident as a group; then again, it might become easier for us to handle. We’ll see, anyway.
I’d like to start by talking about what I read. Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been an avid reader. Mainly, I think, because I am by nature quite shy; I have learned to overcome it and be more outgoing, but it is an act of will rather than nature.
My reading runs a wide range, although I am very much a fan of the 20th century in terms of what I read, probably because the 20th was the first century in which reading was not a pursuit only of the wealthy who had leisure time: it saw a huge variety of different genres explode onto the scene in a very short time, from the hardboiled noir of Chandler to the elegant visionary themes of Alfred Bester to the psychological mastery of Patricia Highsmith. The sheer volume of different books about different themes and by such different people are enough to make the 20th century my favourite.
On my bookshelf, Vernon God Little sits next to The Left Hand of Darkness and The Wasp Factory:I will read almost any genre, although I do have my limits and my favourites. I am always drawn to science fiction, perhaps because it so often offers a vision of better future, and to horror and the supernatural, my affection for which I’m almost scared to analyse! I tend to stay away from romance fiction and I often find myself turned off by modern literary fiction, which too often takes pretence and obfuscation and confuses them with profundity.
I also adore certain writers beyond all measure and will remain for ever loyal to them: Margaret Atwood, Patricia Highsmith, Ursula K. Le Guin, Iain Banks (M. or not!), for example. They have created utterly believable characters in backwoods America, apocalyptic futures or utopian worlds of wonder; they tell incredibly human stories set among grand vistas in space or among the claustrophobic nightmare of the 1950s small town.
That’s who I like to read. My writing is a different story. I write with hesitation and I really dislike the actual process of writing. It doesn’t come easily to me, and I’m never sure if anything I do is actually worth reading.
It’s not that I have trouble with story or plot – they arrive whole into my brain, with beginnings and endings and every event, all sketched in faint lines. What I have to do is fill in the colour and block out the shapes, which is what I find difficult.
As far as what I write goes, it mirrors my reading habits – I feel drawn to the supernatural and technologically magical, as well as the darker side of human habits and personalities. This makes me a little wary of showing stuff to people sometimes, and also a little disturbed about it: if I can come up with the most horrific things to happen to my characters, what does that say about me as an individual? I sometimes need to be reassured that it isn’t the mark of a psychopath to write psychopaths, but Lottie and Gary both assure me that isn’t the case. I am thus reassured 😀
Anyway, those are my reading and writing habits: my fiction and me.
Posted in Politics | Tagged: alfred bester, books, characters, feminist writing, fiction, gary murning, harry harrison, iain banks, Idiosyncratica, lottie rambleson, margaret atwood, my fiction and me, Patricia Highsmith, plot, reading, science fiction, stories, story, the culture, the stars my destination, ursula k. leguin, writing | 4 Comments »
Posted by That Other Mike on 07/06/2008
Thor is angry because I failed to do a round up in his honour on Thor’s-Day last. Ordinarily, I would’ve posted a late one on Friday, but I was busy putting out the fires caused by Thor throwing lightning bolts at my house.
First on the weekly round up is Part 3 of Lottie’s Getting to Know You series, in which she talks about a couple of things about long distance relationships which might sound funny or superficial in isolation but which are nonetheless legitimate concerns: What if the other person has personal hygiene problems, or you’re not sexually compatible?
Idiosyncratica, the readers’ and writers’ blog ring which Gary came up with, and of which I am now a member, is still high on the agenda. We’re still developing it, but we hope that aspiring writers of fiction will drop by and get involved; there’s hopefully going to be a certain amount of material for dedicated readers in search of new and interesting fiction.
Anxious Mofo has come up with a rather genius idea, which he has modestly entitled the Anxious Mofo Index. I think it’s probably going to come in handy; someone needs to invent some kind of algorithm or measurement for it (along the lines of the Hovind Scale).
Jill at Feministe details how reading fundie pro-life blogs rots your brain. I don’t pretend to be entirely comfortable with abortion, and I would, on an expanded definition which I get to define, call myself “pro-life” in one sense, but I’m also not so hide-bound as to think my uncomfortable feelings should constitute law.
Over at EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse reviews Dawkins’s latest book, which goes by the name of The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, an edited anthology of science essays by professional scientists. I stress the “professional scientists” part, because that is what makes it interesting; too many times in recent years, the Anxious Mofo Index in science has dipped towards 0, often as the result of ignorant journalists.
The Filthiest Show in Town, by My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
Ten Summoner’s Tales, by Sting.
Coming soon – a new meme, zombie flicks and some other stuff.
Posted in Atheism, books, Odds and Sods, science | Tagged: abortion, anxious mofo, dating, dawkins, evolution, fiction, gary murning, getting to know you, hovind scale, Idiosyncratica, index, jason rosenhouse, lightning, lottie rambleson, my life with the thrill kill kult, online relationships, oxford book of modern science writing, personal hygiene, pro-life, reading, sexual compatibility, sting, ten summoner's tales, the filthiest show in town, thor, writing | 3 Comments »
Posted by That Other Mike on 03/06/2008
OK, while I’m getting mad levels of hits (thanks for the HT, Jill), I thought I might as well use the opportunity to promote the new project that Gary is starting. It’s going to be a fiction-based webring, aimed at bringing largely unseen writers and talent to an audience wanting new and interesting fiction.
The ring, which is still somewhat in the planning stages, will be aimed at promoting the work of new and emerging writers to the legion of readers out there who want quality fiction. The idea is to build an online community wherein the writers can gain a receptive audience, promote themselves and get informed criticism and help in becoming better at their craft. Hopefully, it will also provide a spur for those interested in writing who have never taken the plunge, or those, like myself, who do it far too infrequently and with too little motivation. There is also, as Gary says, the very useful goal of having some fun with like-minded people.
The ring will hopefully end up large and successful, but to do that, we need interested people to join. If you’d like to take part, please go and post a comment on the relevant thread at his blog.
Posted in Odds and Sods | Tagged: community, criticism, feministe, fiction, gary murning, online fiction, quality, reader, readership, reading, ring, web ring, writing | 15 Comments »