Friday Night Fire Fight

12 09 2014

Well look at that it’s Friday. What say we just make the whole week a fiction week, yeah?

Oh and this one is kind of messy.



The whining of strained hydraulics weren’t enough to drown out the screams.

“Someone put her out already!” A man in a white coat stained with blood spatter shouted at a half dozen women around the table. Upon its surface the screeching, bloody highlight of the night’s latest casualties writhed, batting away restraints and making the administration of drugs a near impossible prospect.

“Fuck it.” Came a static encrusted voice as another man pushed his way through the women, his massively armored frame making the nurses seem like children. The man hefted a huge pistol over his head and brought it down hard into the face of the screaming patient. At once she was silenced, not having the opportunity to register her orbit shatter before losing consciousness.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” a nurse grabbed at the large man’s arm trying to usher him away. He knocked her back without difficulty, aimed the pistol and fired. A thunderous boom and blinding flash filled the room momentarily before the remaining staff was hit by fresh red mist and chunks of meat as the nurse’s head exploded like a hammered grape.

The medical staff recoiled and backed away from the giant. “Today doctor.” The armored suit spoke before returning to his place on the wall. The team resumed applying restraints and running IV’s to administer a massive cocktail of pain killers and antibiotics. No one dared a glance at their number that now lay dead on the floor.

This was best. This woman wouldn’t have lived long enough to get drugs if that monster of a man hadn’t stepped in. She was tiny, even compared to the medical staff, all normal human beings; her frame was particularly petite. Standing she was less than five feet tall, her young face was scarred with more battle field hours than should ever be visited upon a child.

“She’s set doctor.” Said a nurse.

“Okay, start popping the mods, everything below the neck and above the waist needs to come out.”

The girl’s clothing had been cut away to allow the staff unimpeded access to her most serious injuries. There was so little flesh in parts of her torso that a selection of drills, saws, and welders that wouldn’t typically see the inside of the OR had to be brought in. Only the tiny girl’s breasts and part of her midriff was still flesh, the rest having been given over to mechanical replacements; flashy ones.

“Mods are out, everything left is hardwired.”

“Shit.” The doctor started drilling into her abdomen, above the flesh of her belly, deep into the metal cavity that held her heart. He stumbled when it broke through. That was the hardest part. He removed the drill and snatched a long fiber optic cable from one of the nurses and started snaking it in, staring at a monitor suspended from the ceiling that let him see her insides.

The lights flickered. An explosion rocked the doors into the OR. The two armored behemoths standing watch near the operating table nodded to each other, unslung huge rifles from their backs and made for the door.

The doctor wiped sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve, eyes glued to the monitor as it struggled to maintain functionality. The auxiliary generators were already running, if power was interrupted that would be that.

The bloody vision of the girl’s heart loomed into view.

“Holy shit we were right, it was the heart. Quick, get the cells in there before we don’t have juice to run the little bastards anymore.”

A nurse screwed a thin vial into the end of the cable. A metallic, mercury-like liquid sloshed around inside. “Go.” She said, and the doctor plunged the contents into the cable. A moment later the camera feed registered the liquid dispersing into the cavity, coating the girl’s insides with quicksilver.

The OR shook as another explosion threw pieces of ceiling and floor tiles around the room, knocking the doctor down. Another of the nurses fell dead beside him, a disgusting amount of shrapnel lodged into her face, throat, and chest.

Gunfire pulled his attention to the OR entry doors were one of their monstrous guards was blazing away at an unseen foe beyond. The other of the pair lay motionless on the ground. One of his pauldrons had been blown away, little arcs of energy flicked between the door and his helmet visor where a long metal rod had forced it’s way through.

“Charles what do we do?” Another of the nurses screamed to him from around the other side of the table.

“What?” his attention was pulled back and forth between the door and the nurse. He didn’t know what to do; this wasn’t something he was trained for. He was scared. He was breathing far too quick to think clearly.

There was a loud gritty scream ending in a sharp gargle.

He saw the remaining guard impaled by an impossibly long sword.

The giant’s torso was separated from his legs with a single flick of the man-sized blade.

Another explosion rocked the building, the horrifying sound of twisting metal and collapsing structure screamed from the floors above them. Then there was light, hot, and bright, and a thunderous clap of another detonation.

And sleep came rushing in.



3 03 2013

They generate revenue for authors, film makers, athletes, and countless other professions. They generate power if they’re large enough to harness major winds along coastlines and plains. Or if they’re small enough they can harness the wind in your living room to keep you cool.

Either way.

I’ve been thinking about fans in the ‘supporting creative endevours’ role lately. What’s impressive to me is that by harnessing the power of people’s free time artists and the like are able to make a living. You could do anything with a large enough fan base.

They are the ones who buy what you produce. They are the greatest source of marketing provided at no cost to you. Word of mouth is a powerful thing especially when its more than one mouth. Fifty mouths. Or we can even go ‘uncomfortable Japanese animation’ style and say a thousand mouths!

More mouths = greater exposure + increase in fan base which in turn = a living. And an increasingly greater ability to produce more. Be it sculpture, books, instructional DVD’s you make in your back yard on the proper techniques of Russian combat shovel forms. Whatever.

Fans are great.

But I have a question.

What happens when the fans start giving back?

Allow me to elaborate.

Every once in a while I stumble upon blogs or other sorts of sites that are dedicated to ‘Fan Fiction’. The loving creations of people who so adore the cinematic or literary accomplishments of others that they strive to keep their beloved stories growing by their own hand.

Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. Aliens. Fifty Shades of Grey. And of course the list goes on.

Being purely driven by the imaginations of fans these works of fiction are created without the skills and creative energies of the contents original creator. That is to say J.K. Rowling does not write or probably discuss the finer points of the wizarding world with your average Harry Potter fanfic writer.

So how does this impact the original work? Does it make any difference at all? Do you see it as a complimentary tribute to a writer in that their fans refuse to let the work die? Or is it something else entirely?

I’m Firing My Canon!

24 02 2013

That’s canon. With one ‘n’. As in, the story building sort. You can stuff it full of lead balls all you want but unless you’re writing a book about pirates and the like it might look a tad out of place.

I’m talking world building people, not grape-shot.

Canon, as it applies to storytelling, can be loosely defined as:

Established story arcs from previous works. Once it is written it becomes part of that world’s history.



Breaking it Down

Let’s take an example from a wildly popular bit of fantasy writing. In The Hobbit by Tolkien, Bilbo Baggins comes into possession of the one ring. At the time it just seems like a nifty little doo dad that lets you turn invisible to those around you. Nifty!

But you know what happened as a direct result of Bilbo coming into possession of that thing? We ended up with three more books!

So when we are looking at Fellowship of the Ring we can look back at the events of The Hobbit and say yeah, Bilbo found that in this earlier book, that’s canon. It is part of the established history of our storytelling world. Well, Tolkien’s world I should say.

How does this apply to me? Well, let me tell you about what’s been eating some of my free time lately.

I enjoy a dip into video gaming. The newest release that has my attention is Aliens: Colonial Marines. I love it. I love those dirty xenomorphs and all of their associated films. It’s a fantastic franchise. Which has what to do with all that Lord of the Rings business a few sentences back?


The Point!


Now browsing through different websites offering reviews of the game, one thing is clear. This game irked a whole mess of fans. As an official property, the story is accepted into the Aliens universe as canon. It has become historical fact in reference to the entire story that has preceded it.

But there’s a problem.

I’ll try to sum it up without using too many specifics for those of you who might not (for whatever odd reason) know anything about the franchise.

The game resurrects a character that was killed off screen at the beginning of the third film and uses him to drive the plot of the game. Uh Oh! Oh and by the way, the nuclear explosion that wiped the colony of Hadley’s Hope from existence at the end of the second movie? Yeah remember that?

somehow that bastard was nuclear bomb proof and survived with maybe just some scratched paint despite the fact that 60 warheads worth of nuke exploded right on top of it.


This leads to all kinds of trouble with subsequent events. The third movie for instances sees a small army of alien crazed scientist show up to try and forcibly take the only living alien left in existence from Ripley who is trying her damndest not to be eaten by it. Which no longer makes sense given that there seems to be a whole planet full of the things.

In the fourth movie we find MORE crazed scientist cloning Ripley in order to get the alien egg out of her chest that she took to her grave in the third movie. Again… why? There’s a whole damn planet full of them? Seems you can’t nuke them. They’re like cockroaches.

And that’s the issue. This game screws with the canon hardcore, and a lot of people don’t like that.

But does it really matter?

The folks who own the rights to the franchise don’t seem to think so given they put their stamp of approval on it. And honestly, the game was fun. It was neat running around familiar locations hunting bugs just like the marines of Aliens. But now things have been permanently changed.

Your copies of the third and fourth film aren’t going to suddenly burst in to flames or anything now that their pasts have been rewritten. But those stories might make a touch less sense now that the game has made such radical changes to the canon.

And this of course isn’t an isolated incident. Fans of the lore of the Warcraft franchise can tell you that they’ve seen the universe that fuels their favorite game series change repeatedly to validate the events of new content. They keep playing so they must be okay with it on some level?

But is it really?

Should we be sad to see some of our favorite moments in story telling simply vanish in the name of building new content that wouldn’t have worked with established lore?

Would Christopher Tolkien be okay rewriting the events of Return of the King in order to make a story of his own set immediately after those events work in the overall universe? He might be okay doing that. His family owns that universe; he can write what he wants.

Would we as fans be okay with it? Would it even matter if we weren’t?

Aliens, Keira Knightley, and Ancient Weapons of War

8 09 2012

25 For 25 (eBook)

Aaaaand done.

So I finally knocked the last of the short stories in the collection off the “To Readificate” list. Now I know what you’re thinking.


Relax. It’s okay, I’m just messing around. I know I left the second “o” off of “To. I has an English degree you know.


I have to preface my little blurb here by saying this is not for everyone. Obviously. No bit of writing is gleefully consumed by every single person who reads. Genre, themes, yadda, yadda, and also yadda, appeals to differently to different people. Different tastes. Different strokes. And that just opens a whole other can of Annelids, Nematodes, and Platyhelminthes. (You just got scienced!)

This is a science-fiction collection. Or sci-fi if that’s how you want to roll with it. Hell, SyFy if you’re trendy. That fact alone cuts the prospective pool of readers likely to read it by a bit. I don’t know why you wouldn’t read science-fiction but that is a tirade for another day.

On top of that, it’s sci-fi set in a game universe. I feel like there is a bias against these sorts of stories, a strange idea that because they take place in a video game setting its automatically sub par. There is no less value there my friend. It’s just doesn’t make sense especially since you could really make a game out of anything. (I feel it worthwhile to mention that it does sport a couple of video game titles but the franchise started as and will forever be a table top wargame)

Pride and Prejudice? Okay, maybe that wouldn’t be a title that makes it to the top of every gamers list but come one. It’s possible. Actually it strikes me as a game that would prove rather challenging.

Trying to choose the right witty comebacks during all the silly sister encounters, trying to build up relationship points with Mr Darcy so that you not only beat the game by marrying him, but also gather enough extra to unlock the surprise Donald Sutherland film outtakes!

I bet there would be a lot of Keira Knightley mo-cap. 

I’m sorry, that went somewhere strange.

Right so, summing up here.

  • Sci-Fi good. Read it.
  •  Books set in game universes are frequently just as good as anything else. Give it a chance.
  • Keira Knightley mo-cap. Meh.

So what about the stories?

I liked them. I am a big fan of the game, Warhammer. I play it myself so getting to learn a little more about the exploits of the some of the more heroic individuals was fun for me from a fan perspective. In addition the dark, gritty, gothic tone of the writing is right up my alley. Every once in a while the grim, often violent tales are an appreciated distraction.

Each piece spans a healthy variety of characters from the everyday man to the conscripted soldier. From children to the super-human protectors of mankind, the Space Marines. And even chaos, the classic villain of the universe gets to weigh in from its own perspective.

One thing that stood out to me was the strength of the human spirit, of hope in the face of adversity. There were stories of survival and stories that asked, just how far would you go? When was it too much? What would you be willing to sacrifice for the greater good of not only your friends and family, but your very species?

One of my biggest draws to the universe as a whole is humanity’s view of machines which has evolved to the point of possessing religious value. Machines no longer serve simply as tools to extend the capabilities of man but provide a focus of faith and the development of some really interesting plot arcs and characters.

The Cult of the Machine God, a priestly institution based on Mars, is one of the most interesting groups to appear in the stories. They remind me of the transhumanist and of the singularity that Ray Kurzweil talks about. LOVE THIS STUFF.

The stories are short enough to read a couple in a sitting but lengthy enough to allow characters to develop to the point of holding your interest while remaining at a constant pace. And, being true to a future where man is besieged on all sides by aliens and dark gods, it’s a fast pace.

All I am saaaaayinggggg, is give Sci-Fi a chaaaaance.