For educational reasons, I’ve been watching a lot of video music clips over the past couple of months, namely, because I’m currently involved in producing one. A lot of random and referenced YouTube clips and the weekend morning showcases. One particular program has shown a particular clip every(?) week since I was taking notice. Charge Group’s Run. It’s great, the song is some sort of progressive post grunge rock and the clip is without a doubt my favourite clip I’ve seen this year (the fact they are local and it was done on a small budget gave them no added points). There is a great article / interview on The Vine with reference to one of my favourite authors and book, something I made a connection with before reading anything about it. Although that’s not saying much because transformative / initiation stories tend to appeal to me. Unfortunately, the official YouTube version only has 6,849 views as of this writing. With the amount of exposure on (at least) Rage, this makes me feel disappointed in an entire generation.
Now for some negativity. With credit card ready, I googled the band, came across the YouTube video and article, but beyond the article I got stuck on YouTube and went through some links to their other material …it’s ffffolk rock… I have nothing against folk rock, I like it, some of my favourite artists are branded under that. Folk rock is very well represented in my music collection. But I sort Charge Group out, ready to buy their MP3s, based on a band promoting themselves through their single as progressive post grunge rock. That’s what I wanted, I wanted more Run, and I don’t mean 2 remixes of it on their 7 track ep (another track of which is also a remix), I mean more songs that would fit under the above four-word-label. By all appearances they are a folk rock band that did a progressive post grunge rock song, not a progressive post grunge rock band that have done a couple of folk rock songs. Maybe they could have got me through the folk rock stuff if that was my introduction to them, but they got me through Run and the rest inevitably has to be disappointing. I like both chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, but if I have a craving for chocolate, vanilla isn’t going to satisfy (and vice versa). So they won’t be getting my $6 (or more) for the EP nor $8 (or more) for the first album, but I’ll give them their dollar for Run. It’s unfortunate because the other stuff is probably great but I can’t get past the child in me who was looking through the freezer for chocolate ice-cream. Maybe a separate group with the same members doing the different styles, a’la Nick Cave / Grinderman, would be the way to go.
So things are slowly coming along with the Time of the Dead shared universe. It’s kind of difficult because I’m juggling it in with a few projects but it is happening.
The more I go into it the more I realise the difficulty of a shared universe both creatively and legally. The first idea I had for a shared universe was about 10 years ago but there was a big problem technologically and the way I envisioned it, a legal and creative minefield. The technology is around now but the legal aspects of are still problematic. The second idea was about five or six years ago when I was living in Japan. There was another writer, also living in Japan at the time, on board and a couple other interested parties. The tech was possible and I had devised a solution for the legalities but the creative problem remained. People are attached to the idea of owning their ideas. The girl who was onboard for the project was involved in fan fiction (as well as her original work) and yet she had problems with anyone working with her creations. It was through talking with her that I was able to figure out how to share in that particular version of a shared universe yet she was one against (to be fair, let’s use ‘strongly hesitant’) the idea of people being able to play with her creations. I figured that if I was to go ahead with it, and people who were happy to use other peoples creations in fan fiction would not be happy to share alike, it would be doomed.
So now with a third attempt to create a shared universe, I hope I have thought through all the problems. Keep it simple. The zombie genre is ideal for this as it’s practically a shared universe as it is. Have a set of rules in the public domain, which is the basis for the universe and people own their own work, stories and characters.
Going to stop there to follow a thread/rant – this is pure opinion: A common scenario for a speculative fiction writer when given an assignment – in this case the assignment is – to write a zombie story, would be to sit down and think, “how do I make this original?” And it can be fun writing a unique take on zombies, very satisfying for the writer. However, I think that from the perspective of the reader who likes zombies, they like their zombies in an apocalypse, told through the perspectives of people trying to survive, not a bizarro explanation of the weather told from the perspective of a rotting intestine. I think readers want well told stories about characters they care about no matter the genre.
I just finished Tomb Raider Underworld. Fun game, although it could possibly be over done if you’ve played any of the previous entries in the series. I haven’t for more than maybe half an hour of the first or second one many many years ago, so this was fairly fresh to me. What really got to me was the sophisticated technology in ancient civilizations, it was something I realized was not often seen outside of video games and put simply, I think it’s great because it fires my imagination. In games it seems to be everywhere and I suspect is conveniently used for puzzles and style / story substance second. The more I think about it, it is probably an almost perfect example of deus ex machina when used in video games.
But now I can’t think of anything I’ve read that really deals with this in that particular time period. Not something like Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones where they are in the modern era encountering ancient technology, but something set in the time of an ancient, fictional or real civilization. Forget the relics they are after, I would be far more interested in the stone and wood clockwork that pulls giant statues of gods with Mattel style moving parts out of the ground.
This got me wondering what it’s called and who actually writes in the genre. So looking around, this all officially falls under the steampunk label for anyone that has no interest in steampunk or genrepunk anything. Other people have commented on it but it really only comes down to labels, agreed or not. I guess the closest that any label comes to it would be clockpunk or probably closer still, mythpunk. For me, the punk suffix doesn’t really work the same way for myth as it does for cyber and steam but I guess the alternative, -tech doesn’t either. Mythtech works to a degree because it is more descriptive than any -punk suffix but I’m unsure if it works as a genre. The most common place for the usage is games, roll playing and video, but I would guess that they would mostly just fall under the Fantasy category. Something I may have to follow up…
- Christopher Lee. A Heavy Metal Christmas
- Lorax Trees
- Being Human, All of Us, Together Unhuman
- An open letter to Google
- OMG there’s something called Creative Commons…