Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Go bashing

There's a hilarious thread on Absolute Write about the age-old problem with discerning between literary fiction and genre fiction. You have the usual verbal bashing where presumptuous and trash define the radicals of both camps, and of course there are the usual attempts to verbalise definitions.

Why not simply accept that literary fiction is a language-centric fiction genre, where the words are more important than the story? At least if you browse the shelves -- when story becomes as important as words then the books tend to get slotted in among general fiction anyway.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In print

It took a while, but now it's available for download. What is? Well, the non-fic project that ate so much time earlier this winter. In Swedish, but for those who want to give that language a try feel free to read a handbook in how to run a gaming championship in Sweden.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PC or not PC

I read an interesting article in Aftonbladet about political correctness in children's literature. As usual my source is in Swedish, so a minor explanation may be in order. Basically the article concerns older works, and how time has made them politically incorrect seen from a Swedish point of view. Mostly it is the ethnocentric angle that is touched upon, be they ethnic minorities in Sweden or simply people from anywhere else.

The author points out that the world will hardly go up in flames merely because your children read a story older than a few decades including terminology and views reflecting the time when it was written, but she also advices parents to use those very books to base a conversation about uncomfortable topics around.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Today I am ashamed of being Swedish

One of our commercial TV-channels has sold out to censorship for money. An article in DN tells the sorry story of how TV4 chose to accept delays in the broadcasting of the Nobel prize ceremony in order to enable censorship. The linked article is in English and lacks some of the content of the Swedish original.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Live well

Nothing about writing here, but a fun reunion we had. You're never too old unless you feel too old. So, courtesy of someone borrowing my camera for a short while, I raise one for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another giant passes away

Arthur C Clarke has died at age 90. See New York Times for a longer article.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A matter of direction

I have finally started placing characters on paper. Well, on hard drive anyway. That a matter of direction should take me a year to find out is disturbing, but maybe those changes are the ones most difficult to see in advance.

Four years ago I started out writing the story of a visitor to fantasy land. Makes sense? You've read them. One or more persons from our world end up in magic place where adventures occur. Mixed in with adventures you, the reader, get to know this magic place through the eyes of your peers. So, I twisted the idea a bit, but basically it is what I wrote.

Looking in. In order to ensure familiarity you place a character the reader can easily identify with in a strange environment. Some of you have probably even been given the advice to do this. My problem was that it simply didn't work out very well.

Now I'm rewriting that story, but this time is is about people living in fantasy land being visited by strangers from the outside. Mixed in with adventures you, the reader, get to know how strange some things we take for granted can be for someone who belongs to a different culture.

Looking out. In order to focus on the strange you highlight the normal as abnormal and gloss over the fantastic. I believe this will work a lot better for me. To begin with I have a much easier time creating a fantasy feeling rather than a science fiction one.

It will be an interesting year to come, one where I will look out from the world I have created.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Death of a legend

Below copied from the USENET News group I frequent as part of my gaming interest. The importance of the role playing games cannot be overestimated for the fantasy literary genre.

Ernest Gary Gygax ( July 27, 1938 - March 4, 2008)
is best known as the author of the well known fantasy role-playing
game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), co-created with Dave Arneson and co-
published with Don Kaye in 1974 under the company Tactical Studies
Rules. Gygax is generally acknowledged as the father of the role-
playing game

He was diagnosed with an inoperable abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Gygax died on March 4th, 2008.

He passed away at 1am in his bed.


While not technically about V:TES, the world of gaming and game
conventions owe a tremendous amount to him. I've had a ton of fun and
made a lot of friends playing D&D, and by extension all of the other
games I've played and the other people I've met as a result. Many,
many thanks, Mr. Gygax.

- Ben Peal

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New battery

Now, what kind of a title is that?

It is the kind that makes me a happy writer. Refusing to turn my home into an office I write in pubs, cafes and other waterholes. Now, plugging in my laptop is more difficult than what I had expected, and with only the one battery the computer came with I was down to just over two hours' worth of work. That, to put it mildly, limited my workload in the negative sense of the word.
However, a couple of days ago the spare battery I ordered arrived, something which ought to at least double the time available for writing.

Now, writing output, at least for me, is not a linear function of time. Four hours are easily worth three times as much as two, for the simple reason that each writing session involves a rather convoluted set-up. I guess it is a mental deficiency of mine, or maybe it is something rather normal.

No matter what -- new battery!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Language and style

I recently read an article about the Swedish. By Swedish I refer to the unique attributes of Sweden.

Among comments I saw one about the Swedish silence, and this should be read in a social context. Another concerned our language and its ability to give colour to our surrounding nature.

The reason I bring this up is a number of conversations I've participated in, digital as well as over a beer on a pub. People from here, here being Sweden, find it hard to accept that there should exist unique aspects of our language, ad that it therefore lends itself better or worse to certain types of expressions.

Now, with the supreme arrogance only the ignorant can afford, Swedish people feel secure in their absolute knowledge that only they are able to find, and refute, nuances in a language they've grown up with since birth. A foreigner noticing the stark contrast to another reality taken for granted is either blind, deaf or otherwise linguistically deficient. Or, maybe, we just happen to be blind ourselves.

So I once again state my opinion that different languages work best with different styles of stories, and every story has a style, and every translation is, for that reason, either a transformation into an environment where that style is lost or misunderstood, or an interpretation where the translation is no longer entirely linguistically true to the original.

When you can, read in the original language, because language has style. Whether you like that style or not is, of course, entirely a matter of your own personal taste.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So I am back to rewriting.

Having stated earlier that I prefer plot over character, if I have to choose at all, I will remake the novel to reflect this better. Rather than being the story of a person I will write a story of events, ie plot.

Needless to say the working title needs to be changed as well. Instead of being about Arthur it will concern itself with what happens around him, and in his wake. Should paradoxically enough give me more time to flesh out a few other characters.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New workspace

Or rather a renewed one. I've spent the last day migrating my laptop from Win XP to Kubuntu Linux. There were a few mishaps, mostly a result of my not having touched a Unix system these last two years, and one major one resulting from brain dead information.

After spending a couple of hours clicking right and left, watching in fascination how everything went up like a breeze with little or no problems, I was left with convincing my laptop to communicate with our networked printer. That might seem like a minor issue, but I write for pleasure, my dream of authorship and mandatory assignments alike. Being unable to convert digital data to paper is therefore a rather major dilemma.

Enter brain dead. After scouring the web for information and installing all kinds of defunct software as well as redundant, but perfectly working, ones I ended up with the knowledge that I was supposed to point my web browser to my own laptop in order to get to an installation interface. Now, the interface was by no means difficult to use -- if you knew beforehand what you were supposed to do. This was later proven by the five minutes I needed to add printing capacity to another laptop. Of course it helped that I am more than a little bit familiar with computer networks and therefore no stranger to force the necessary information out of a router, after which identifying the printer server became a lot easier. Static IP on said server and I knew I would not have to hunt the printer down like an elusive prey every time the DHCP server decided to assign a new address to it. Opening a socket to a remote unit is also something I have done quite a few times, which ended up, implicitly giving me the correct protocol, and I was set to go.

Now, what in all bleeding hells would have been so difficult about making a small setup software that scanned the local network for potential networked printers? After all, all other magic with the installation, some of which I had never expected to see working, worked like a dream.

Brain dead!

End rant.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Second draft subbed

It took a while longer than expected, but finally the second draft of our little non-fic project has been submitted. Now we have to wait for customer feedback and make changes accordingly.