The Sunday Index - 4.21.19
Transform, rather than destroy.
An update on the amount of bags I own. I'm in the middle of moving apartments. Naturally this means plenty of extraneous objects showed up, either because they were tucked neatly into some dusty corner and out of mind, or because yeah, do I really need 14 fucking bags?!
No. I do not. So I gave away five and kept six. Seven if you count the one I carry currently, which I do not because that seems unfair to me.
(plus I'm not counting the book totes I adore and still own)
I've flirted on and off with learning to code. I've had apps - Grasshopper being the best - and I've had books, specifically Python For Kids. In the realm of help I wasn't expecting, the games Human Resource Machine and 7 Billion Humans by Tomorrow Corporation are starting to tilt my thinking in the direction I think will help.
I grabbed Sourdough by Robin Sloan, one that'd been on my radar at least, while not actually on my Wishlist or TBR (To Be Read) pile, if only because I read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and thought it was good, but not incredibly memorable. I mention Sourdough in the same line of thinking as coding because it concerns tech and coding, although so far, not as much as I'd imagined. I'm not halfway through it yet though, so perhaps that will change. It is good, and blasts along at a similar pace to Penumbra.
Started playing Katana Zero and Cuphead as mentioned last week. The former is stylish and fast paced--well shit, they both are. More story to be found in Katana Zero, but so far the gameplay hasn't made a big impression on me. I do like it quite a bit though, kind of at this point just because the music, the retro-graphics and menus, etc. etc. - it is Designed, and aimed expertly at people who enjoyed Hotline Miami and are kind of all into the 80s’ shit.
Cuphead. Yeah. I played once and stopped after it ate my fuckin' lunch. It’s a beautiful and amazing achievement all around, it seems.
Speaking of games, this story from Motherboard really stuck with me. Since coming across it I've tried to find a game I would not be able to let go of, so much so that I'd help build a private server, I'd devote hours and hours to developing new content for a game I didn't create, all for free, and then hide these things from the game's old fanbase because...I mean, in this case it's probably largely because they'd get the shit sued out of them, or at the very least issued a Cease and Desist, rendering that hidden server as dead as the game they're playing on it.
Here is the thing I can't get out of mind though: so what? That applies to every single layer of this story.
Massive behemoth Megacorp issues C&D for your hidden server: So what? Build another, even more hidden, better server.
Your favorite game gets shut down due to legal slap fights: So what? Keep playing it, just without the expansive online community...
So what? Keep playing it with your own online community, made possible by the secret server you and your friends build.
Or so what? Play another game.
There's a shit load of fun angles to this, not to mention the weird high school drama of a subreddit where social politics/emotions come into play. Going to be thinking about this one for a bit.
Related, but un-read links:
A game about Taiwan, and human history.
Let’s have more games showcasing professions and/or lives to help us accurately chart human experience!
Ian McEwan breathed out an opinion about sci-fi, scattering the cobwebs and dust from his aged and distinguished maw.
Here’s a stupid fucking quote from Old Man McEwan:
There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future, not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas of being close up to something that you know to be artificial but which thinks like you. If a machine seems like a human or you can’t tell the difference, then you’d jolly well better start thinking about whether it has responsibilities and rights and all the rest.” -
As if the entirety of contemporary - or fuck, of all science-fiction, always, since its creation as a genre - hasn't been dissecting those very subjects. McEwan seems to think he's the first fucking genius to have the robot walking around in a version of the PRESENT, *gasp*, and the first writer to ever approach what true intelligence within an "artificial" being would mean.
I assume he hasn't read Asimov because yuck, am I right? Science-fiction? No thank you. That stuff is popular. Better stick to "literary fiction" there Ian. Don't want the wrong people reading your work, huh.
I've been exploring ways of writing in quick bursts, much more so than I ever have. I heard John Lanchester on the NYT Book Review podcast talk about how he sets himself a goal of 500 words each time he sits down to write fiction, and Warren Ellis has said something similar in his recent blogs and emails.
More and more I've noticed I'm not the kind of writer who can sit at the desk for 8 hours. If I do, I usually cross a line where I produce a lot of words that aren’t worth saving. Three hours is typically my window of maximum usefulness, after that I’m susceptible to looping back on my freshly written words with a mind toward destroying them. If I hit that three hours and wait until later to edit, then I can show up to the desk to transform, rather than destroy.
It's an important distinction.
See ya' in a week.