My name is Charlie, but if your looking for my work, I go by C. E. Dorsett. I write scifi, fantasy, and a touch of horror. I like to play with gothic, steampunk, decopunk, epic fantasy, and wuxia. I love to tell stories and talk about books, movies, series, and music.
Entering the Gates
I have not been blown away by a pilot this much since Eastwick premiered. I didn't blog about it the way I wanted to, and it went the way of the dinosaur. I really don't want that to happen with The Gates.
The early press for the show left me bored and uninterested in the series, so I am going to ignore it and present my own.
What is The Gates?
The Gates is about a Gated community filed with vampires, werewolves, and witches set up to provide a place were they will be safe from hunters and their own kind. The show, unlike most of the shows in this genre, takes these creatures seriously, building a consistent world for them to live in.
When I first heard there were werewolves at the high school, I had bad images of Teen Wolf flash through my head, thankfully that was not the case. The school actually reminded me of Tesla High School from Eureka with a rage prone, football playing werewolf trying to control his transformations as he struggles with his jealousy.
Rhona Mitra (Sonja from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Commander Kiva from Stargate Universe) is a nature and empathetic choice for the vampire, Claire Radcliff. Luke Mably plays her creepy vampire husband, Dylan Radcliff, who is a CEO of a Biotech Firm. The main story in the first episode revolves around Claire's murder of a contractor. Their cover up of the murder is the first mystery Nick Monohan has to deal with.
The most interesting aspect of their story is that these vampires are raising a human girl. How did she come into their care? I cannot wait to find out.
I am not sure if this is really a new genre or not, but this is the first show I have ever seen that I would call Suburban Gothic. The aging castle is replaced with the mansion, and the pale monsters with the lush and beautiful characters that populate The Gates.
If you haven't seen the episode yet, WATCH IT!
Since True Blood has chosen to punish decabled folk like me, I am glad to have The Gate to watch in the mean time. This might just be my new favorite supernatural thriller. Fun, campy, and full of eye candy and intrigue. Who could ask for more?
If I Close My Eyes Forever
It's funny how music can touch you in such a deep way. I was sitting at my desk listening to music, and "If I close my eyes forever" by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne came on. I know what the song is really about, but it resonated in me intensifying my feelings of confusion, and focusing me on the future.
Is it love that's on my mind or is it fantasy?
Baby, I get so scared inside and I don't really understand Is it love that's on my mind or is it fantasy? Heaven, is in the palm of my hand and it's waiting here for you What am I supposed to do with a childhood tragedy?
The future is the topic de jour at the HQ lately. We have a lot of plans, hopes and dreams, and we are trying to find ways to make them a reality.
I have written stories since I was in the second grade. In fact, when I was in the third grade, I wrote the third and fourth grade plays. I even wrote the commencement for my fifth grade graduation. In sixth grade, I started my first novel. I wrote my second and third in high school, and my fourth after graduation. Liquid Sky was my sixth.
I know what I want to do with my life. I always have. I know a lot of you feel the same way. We talk in email about your dreams and ambitions, and how to achieve them. That is the real problem.
Heaven, is in the palm of my hand
That line is literally true for me. Writing is my heaven! I fall into my stories. I feel the characters highs and lows. It might be impossible for me to call myself a great writer, but the letters I get about my books show me that they do the most important thing: They connect with readers.
Isn't that what we are all wanting?
- To connect with others.
- To feel like we are alive.
We need to find ways to help each others dreams come true. To keep our dreams alive!
Sometimes, its hard to hold on
Sometimes, its hard to hold on, so hard to hold on to my dreams It isn't always what it seems when you're face to face with me Like a dagger you stick me in the heart and taste the blood from my blade And when we sleep would you shelter me in your warm and darkened grave?
It isn't always easy to hold on to our dreams. The reality of what it takes to achieve our goals can be daunting.
If I had known when I started writing I would be plunged into convention politics and foisted into a position of leadership in a GLBT fan group, I probably would have stopped. Honestly, sometimes, the thought still overwhelms me.
I have to remember: this is about more than just me. The group needs an advocate, and if it is not me, then who will it be?
Realizing our dreams/following our bliss is a full-time job. Most of us already have one of those, and it is not easy to add on a second. We have to remind ourselves that we are worth it.
Taste the blood from my blade
The harder it is to live our passions, the more important it is to do!
Life thrives on the survival of the fittest. When we get knocked down, we can either stay down, or bounce back fighting. Stand up, laugh at the pain, taste the blood on the blade! That is your life blood. No one can take it from you without a fight.
Be proud of your dreams! They course through your veins for a reason. Passion is life. If you feel like you have lost your passion, you are wrong. Someone took it from you. You need to take it back
Would it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever Would it all remain unchanged? If I close my eyes forever Would it all remain the same?
If you close your eyes, and leave your passions to the mercies of others, don't be surprised by the vacuum it leaves in your life.
Wake up! Find some friends who have opened their eyes too (or help them to open theirs) and start moving forward.
The one who leaves the pack is always the one the predators come for, so build yourself another pack. If your friends put you down, find new friends. Find a community where people will support you. You deserve the best life has to offer. Hunt it out!
Wipe the cobwebs from my eyes
I know I've been so hard on you I know I've told you lies If I could have just one more wish I'd wipe the cobwebs from my eyes
Standing strong, we have to move past the lies we told ourselves. It is time to walk forward. We can get where we need to go together.
With eyes wide open
- What is your heaven?
- What challenges do you face?
- How can we help?
Introducing David J. Williams
I am so fortunate to have met David through Facebook. I really wish I had more time to read, his book, The Mirrored Heavens has cast a spell over me, and I sneak a moment to read a section every free moment I can. As soon as I finish, I will post a review. Until then, meet David.
Why did you start writing?
For that I have (at least) five answers. I hate to privilege one above the other, so let's just chalk this one up as "overdetermined."
Answer #1: I was working in management consulting, I'd turned thirty, I was bored shitless with the corporate world, and I could feel time burning down on me like a #$# candle.
Answer #2: I'd done some work on the side with friends in Vancouver, BC in the video game industry, and through a strange fluke got co-writing credits for Relic Entertainment's Homeworld. But the next day I was back at the corporate world, hating it more than ever, and wondering why I was living in a universe where I had friends who drew spaceships for a living while I was stuck staring at profit-loss spreadsheets.
Answer #3: I suddenly had one of those moments like in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy realizes all the Nazis are digging in the wrong place: i.e., I got a glimpse of an area of SF that no one was tapping into (near-future space weaponization across the Earth-Moon system), and I wondered what a novel in such a setting would look like.
Answer #4: I became obsessed with the notion of what cyberpunk would be like if the state DIDN'T wither away.
Answer #5: I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Where do you get your ideas?
I read a ton of history, and that's where a lot of my ideas come from. What's happened in the past offers plenty of rich source material, especially because you can mine all sorts of obscure events and everyone thinks you're being totally original. : )
Also worth mentioning is the extent to which I study the U.S. military, and their planning for future war. The military's under no illusions that the center of gravity of warfare is shifting into space, and they've got a lot of stuff in the public domain tracing the implications. I tried to map that out a hundred years, and ask what would space war be like if it was realistic, and obeyed the laws of orbital dynamics, and didn't just feature spaceships doing physically-impossible dogfights. (don't get me wrong, I love that kind of thing, but it's not what I write.)
What was the process of writing The Mirrored Heaven like?
At first it was like running around in the woods with a flashlight. You think there's something out there, but you don't know what, and you start to think you're going crazy. Eventually I had hundreds of pages of incoherent writing, and at some point during that process I started to realize how badly and totally all of it sucked. It was four years before I managed to find the voice/style I'd been searching for, and about that long before the plot really started to come together. (having an eighty-hour-a-week dayjob from hell might have lengthened the process, but OTOH maybe it made me more focused). But in the last few years, things started to really move, and by 2006 I felt like one of those rock bands that's gotten really tight, and might just get lucky enough to land a record deal. Which I eventually did . . .but sometimes I miss those days when I circled round the far side of Mars and didn't even know what I was staring at . . .
What was the process like to find a publisher?
About as hard as people tell you it is. Agents only want to look at veteran writers, and publishers only want writers with agents. As a general rule, unless you know somebody at a publisher, you have to start with the agents, but the problem is that the query-letter process is a #$# meatgrinder—or at least, one that I never mastered. In my opinion, the key is to somehow meet the agents directly; I met mine (Jenny Rappaport) at WorldCon (LA, 2006) . . . though anyone who knows anything about this business knows that WorldCon is the LAST place to meet an agent. But sometimes not knowing the rules is a big help.
What is it like working with a publisher?
You hear all these horror stories in the blogosphere, but I gotta say, working with Bantam Spectra has been great. Largely that's because of Juliet Ulman, my editor; she made the book heaps better than it was when she bought it, and taught me a great deal across the editing process. Plus I love the cover the artist (Paul Youll) did . . .eighty stories above the burning Amazonian delta city of Belem-Macapa . . .
What has the post publication experience been?
On one level, awesome. To have characters who dwelt for years within my head out in the world being experienced by readers is absolutely #$# amazing.
But on another level, it's humbling. At the risk of revisiting that rock band analogy, most bands that make a debut album never make another. It's the same with novels; this is very much an "up or out" business: you have to break through to that next level, or you won't survive. I'm fortunate in that I signed a three-book deal with Bantam Spectra, which gives me more momentum that I might have had otherwise. Above all else, the thing to remember about post publication experience is that you've got the second book to worry about, and that had better be ten times more insane than the first.
You can learn more about David at his site: Autumn Rain 2110, and don't forget to say "Hi!"in the HQ
Second Look: Space: Above and Beyond
I barely remember watching Space: Above and Beyond when it was on Fox in 1995-96. My significant memory is from the repeated marathons of the show on the Sci Fi Channel. I am surprised in many ways that the series actually got made in the first place.
The show chronicles the adventures of the 58th, "Wild Cards," a group of marines fighting to defend earth from an advancing military threat in 2063-2064. While that might sound like standard Military Sci Fi, common fodder for TV, the frank and gritty look at the consequences of war on those who must fight it is like nothing I have ever seen before. Issues ranging from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to combat duty rotation are covered in a realist and gripping way.
One of the most endearing characteristics of the show is how well it translates the Marines' care to bury their dead, leaving no one behind on the battle field.
Each member of the 58th came into the service for a different reason, adding many levels to what could have been yet another Military SF series.
The one thing that surprises me the most is that this series did not engender a Firefly-like fan base to keep the series alive, even if only through fanfiction.
Thankfully, I rediscovered the series through Netflix, and it has traveled past the veil from a renter to an owner. If no one else is writing fanfic for Space: Above and Beyond, then I might have to start. If you have never seen the series, or haven't watched it in a long time, pick it up and check it out. I am so glad I did.
Three Types of SF Fans
- Image via Wikipedia
Every since I first entered fandom in the 90's, I noticed that not all fans are the same, and, in fact, not all those who call themselves fans actually are.
A fan is a fanatic. An easy way to figure out if you are a fan is to ask yourself one question: "Is there anything that I just cannot get enough of?" If the answer is yes, then you are a true fan.
Most people actually fit in the class of Enthusiast or maybe even Buff. An Enthusiast is some one who is excited by a certain series, but can be satisfied by what they can find. A buff is someone who may know a lot about a particular subject but has no emotional attachment to the subject.
Why am I making such a big deal out of this? Because, I am tired of finding SF blogs and sites that claim to be run by fans, but are not. And even when I find one of those few golden sites that is actually run by a fan or fan community, I then discover that they are not the same type of fan as I am.
Over the years, I have sought out a good site/blog, and I have found that Fans fit nicely into three categories:
- Fans of the Spectacle: Fans who are interested in action and special effects, typically of Space Opera, Disaster/Monster/Action Movies, usually watches movies, some series, rarely reads.
- Fans of the Specifics: Fans who are interested in the nitty-gritty details and their accuracy or consistency.Typically of Hard Scifi, Military Scifi, and High Fantasy, usually reads the books, watches the series, and nit-picks the movies
- Fans of the Story: Fans who are interested in the story, the characters, and Typically Soft Scifi and Sociological Fantasy, usually reads or watches the series, and watches the movies.
We are of the third type. Honestly, I bounce around on the spectrum depending on what we are talking about, but for the majority of things that I love, I love them for the characters, the setting, or the meaning I find in the story itself.
Being a fan of story helps me set my expectations for a book, series, or film. For example, I didn't expect much more out of Transformers than a Spectacle. Giant robots blowing stuff up, and that is exactly what I got from the film. So I liked the film. I knew going into it that there wouldn't be much of a story or the specifics that I had grown to love from the Transformers.
There are very few blogs of this third type. I would love to learn about others, but I have yet to find them. I write out of a sense of what I love, rather than what I can mock for a cheap thrill. I hope you are as excited as I am about exploring this rich world of SF stories with me. I can barely wait to get started.
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