PACK IT IN
That's a grab from my working document of THE ORGANISED WRITER. I've finished the rough draft, and now I'm into revisions and polish. The book is mostly about getting organised and being productive in work, of course, but I couldn't write something like this and not spend a few words on packing lists... 😅
(The soft-serif-on-vellum setup is how all my drafts look in Scrivener. I find it really easy on the eyes.)
ASK THREE WRITERS
And you'll get four different answers, goes the joke. This came up again in a particular context at Newcastle Noir, when fellow panelist Christopher Brookmyre described his latest novel PLACES IN THE DARKNESS as a "murder mystery set on a space station"… a reductive description that could also be used to describe THE FUSE, of course. And not just that — in fact, when I began writing THE FUSE, I casually mentioned it to a friend as a "sci-fi crime" story, at which point they said their next book was sci-fi crime, too. Shortly after, I asked another friend what they were working on, and he said, "Oh, a sci-fi murder mystery"... and to make matters worse, all three of these books were planned for launch around the same time.
Cue a bit of frantic emailing and #1-script-reading, before relief set in as I realised that despite their shared broad premise, all three books were completely different in tone, plot, character, setting, dialogue, just about everything. It demonstrated better than anything I'd seen before why you really shouldn't worry about someone else writing a story with a similar 'short pitch' — because what makes a book unique is the voice and sensibilities of its creator/s, be that a single author, writer/artist team, or writer's room, which pretty much guarantee that you could give the same concept to ten different creators and get a dozen entirely different results.
(Of course, there's no hypocrite like a writer, so this didn't stop me downing tools on my "murder mystery on a generation ship" idea when Mur Lafferty published SIX WAKES. Ah, well.)
Oh, and the comics in question? THE FUSE, Gillen/Francia's MERCURY HEAT, and Faerber/Godlewski's COPPERHEAD. Told you they couldn't have been more different.
GO-BOTS IN DISGUISE
Now this is some serious dedication. Japanese firm Brave Robotics has constructed an actual, working transforming robot that shifts between humanoid and car, with people inside the cockpit (!!!) Sure, it looks like it's held together with string and gaffer tape, can barely walk, and takes a minute to transform. But remember, Boston Dynamics' first "Big Dog" prototypes were the size of a golf kart and just as slow. Now it's the size of, well, a dog — and in their latest video, can auto-navigate at speed. The robots are coming.
BD's Spotmini: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve9kWX_KXus
No, not that kind. Austin Wintory, composer of excellent videogame soundtracks such as JOURNEY, BANNER SAGA, and ASSASIN'S CREED SYNDICATE, wrote about his efforts to get the theme music gig for STAR TREK DISCOVERY during the show's development. It's a fascinating peek behind the scenes of a world most of us see and hear very little about, and even features clips of his "tryout" themes — which are pretty great, but that's no surprise.
A SMALLER, LESS TASTY PRECURSOR: