Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The charity to which all profits will be donated is Animal Aid. If the ebook makes more than £100 for them, there will be other spoof ebook collections to follow in other genres. One will be a collection of bad 'Romance' stories by Victoria Plum, or as she became known after her marriage to Dominic Job -- Victoria Plumjob.
While talking about 'lampoons' in a tone of reverence recently, I was overheard by the artist Chris Harrendence, who rejoined that a lampoon wasn't what most people thought it was, but a weapon used to hunt light-fittings. A blink of an eye later he produced this illustration to add force to his argument. And the fact that it's a lampoon of the actual concept 'lampoon' makes it even more convincing.
Publishers! Yes, you out there! Why not consider giving this fellow some paid work if you need a cover artist or interior illustrator? I have publishers all over the place, not only in Britain and the United States but in France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal... Surely someone needs an artist? Harrendence's best work seems to combine the visionary irony of Edward Gorey, Gary Larson and Jože Tisnikar; and that can't be bad. And it isn't. In fact it's downright brilliant...
Friday, May 25, 2012
Lamblake and Metamaturity
Gonzalo Canedo. Publishers take note! I believe that Gonzalo has a bright future ahead of him as a book cover artist. So why not get in contact with him and offer him some paid work? Just a suggestion...
Talking about immaturity reminds me: why do we always assume there are only two states of emotional development, namely (a) immature and (b) mature? Why can’t there be a third stage beyond maturity? Let’s call this hypothetical emotional state ‘metamaturity’. Couldn’t it be the case that the traits of a metamature person might sometimes resemble those of an immature person and yet not be the same?
But the important question remains. Is it immature to blow up a classroom?
Not necessarily. It might be metamature.
At worst, it's adultish.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Lamblake Heinz Revealed!
Please visit, if you wish, Lamblake’s blog, where you will find the title story of his forthcoming collection for free, but only for a limited time! There is also a Facebook group dedicated to this legendary author.
As I predicted in my last post, there have been grumblings about this project. One fellow claimed that it was ‘self-important’ of me to poke fun at horror; he wondered how I would like to be lampooned myself? My answer is that I constantly lampoon myself and it feels fine so far. I’m a compulsive self-parodist. But if anyone out there would like to attempt a genuine lampoon of my work, by all means do so and email it to me; and if it has been done in good faith (by making fun of my many real faults) then I’ll include it in the collection. My email address for submissions is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indeed, feel free to send me any deliberately bad horror stories you might have written and maybe they’ll end up as sample products of Mr Heinz’s long career…
There should be a book cover soon. A reliable and talented artist has agreed to produce one. It is certain to be scary! And talking about scary… here’s an article I wrote recently on ‘What Scares Me’. So now my weak spots are no longer a secret!
More news (and any further grumblings) will be reported here in due course. Before I forget, allow me to state that ALL profits from sales of The Grin of the Doll Who Ate His Mother’s Face in the Dark will be going to charity. Not sure which charity yet, but I’ll decide very soon!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
By the Ironic Light of a Full Lampoon
I generally work on too many projects at the same time. I can't help it. A few days ago, against my better judgement, I started another new project, a spoof collection of horror stories by a fictional author named Lamblake Heinz. I plan to release an ebook in the near future featuring a selection of the 'best' of his work from the past fifty years. The title of this volume will be The Grin of the Doll Who Ate His Mother's Face in the Dark and Other Dreadful Tales. I don't plan to write all these fake stories myself because that would take too long, but I certainly intend to write some of them. Other writers have been invited to contribute and quite a few have responded enthusiastically to my request.
Francisco de Quevedo (pictured) who mercilessly mocked the pretensions and behavioural quirks of his rivals and competitors. And why not? There is enough cosy symbiosis in the writing world already: the rapier of satire and cutlass of japery are sorely needed to puncture and slash our smugness, to keep us alert and truly alive, and, I would argue, free.
I expect grumbles and complaints about my project, of course. That's only natural. Already I have been warned that a certain demigod in the horror world doesn't 'really have a sense of humour about his own work'. But that's the entire point of my spoof -- it's a last ditch attempt to give that demigod one (a sense of humour, I mean!) and although I am bound to fail, I have no intention of reversing my intentions in this regard. Satire is my master; I work for it. I guess I can say that it's my calling. If anything, it could be argued that another spoof of horror isn't really needed, that Garth Marenghi and others have already said everything that needs to said on this score. Yes, I accept the validity of that objection; and yet I feel that I still need to get out of my own system a fundamental logical objection to the horror genre that runs as follows -- either (a) horror works and is morally wrong (because it horrifies people); or (b) it doesn't work and is thus aesthetically wrong (because it fails to achieve its stated aims).
What I don't accept and will never accept is that the art of the lampoon is invalid. On the contrary, it's a critically important artform, a high-level cultural endeavour; and paradoxically it can even precede the object or quality it spoofs (more on this paradox in a later blog post!)
Friday, May 11, 2012
But I always remembered Neutron and 34 years after reading about it in that magazine I decided to make my own board and play it for the first time last night. It's an extremely simple design. It is played on a 5x5 board with two players; and each player has five pieces. At the centre of the board is positioned the neutron, which is a neutral piece. The first photo shows the initial set-up.
The goal is to get the neutron onto your home rank (the first rank of your side) either by moving it there yourself or by forcing the other player to move it there for you. Another way of winning is by stalemating the other player so that he/she can't move the neutron (by boxing it in with pieces) on their turn.
The neutron must always be moved first. The only exception to this rule is the very first move, in which only a piece is moved. If I have done a bad job of explaining these rules, then you can find them written with perhaps more clarity on the Wikipedia page devoted to the game.
When I played my first game of Neutron, I forgot that pieces could move diagonally as well as orthogonally and the game ended up getting stuck in a loop. Anyway, it's an amusing game and quite different to almost any other abstract strategy game I have yet encountered and it's very easy to make, so I recommend it for those quiet evenings when there's nothing on TV.
For a long time I have been thinking about inventing my own abstract strategy games. I might get round to doing that this year. If so, I'll be sure to post details here on my blog.
Friday, May 04, 2012
So far I have completed four chapters of The Young Dictator ('Jenny Khan', 'Genghis Kan't', 'Caterpillar the Hun' and 'Owl Scared of the Dark') and I have two more left to write ('The Cat that Chilled the Scene' and 'Moonmoths, Umbrellas and Oranges'). I am finding it fun but difficult to write, partly because I have set myself the task of using much more straightforward and simple language than is my normal inclination.
As far as I'm aware, the only official way to get hold of the BFS Journal is to join the British Fantasy Society. Personally I'm not the joining type, but if you are a writer or just a fan of fantasy and related genres you may find that the benefits of membership make the fee worthwhile.
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