Not so marvelous Marseillaise

Just in case you’re tempted to break out in rousing defiance by singing the Marseillaise on your street corner, best recall what you’re belting out ever so robustly:

Do you hear, in the countryside
The roar of those ferocious soldiers?
They’re coming right into your arms
To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

France’s national anthem will be sung by English as well as French fans at Wembley. What’s the story behind the song?
bbc.com
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“Infantilize”, “infantilized” and “infantilizing” are words, apparently

How do I know that? From the National Post, Canada’s argument against freedom of the press. See, to put its title succintly: “Infantilized” nature of genre fiction

I looked up “infantilize” on the Free Dictionary and got this:

in·fan·til·ize

(ĭn′fən-tl-īz′, ĭn-făn′-)

tr.v. in·fan·til·ized, in·fan·til·iz·ing, in·fan·til·iz·es

1. To treat or condescend to as if still a young child: The Victorian physician infantilized his patient” (Judith Moore).
2. To reduce to an infantile state or condition: “It creates a crisis that infantilizes them—causes grown men to squabble like kids about trivial things” (New Yorker).

in·fan′til·i·za′tion (-ĭ-zā′shən) n.
Logo reads Phantacea Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated

Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated – Phantacea logo

The article that inspired such simply scintillating research is actually, if awkwardly, entitled:

Simon Pegg is right, geeky genre fiction usually IS childish, even when it’s also something more

While I’ll admit to having heard his name before, I’d have to resort to Google to find out what movies Pegg’s appeared in. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of the article’s author, Daniel Kaszor, though.

However, a couple of his lines struck me as apropos considering some past pHantaBlog posts, notably here, here and here.

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of "Cataclysm Catalyst", the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of “Cataclysm Catalyst”, the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

One that stuck out, since it seems to apply directly to the National Post’s living saint, the Tar Party’s Chief Blue Nasty, is as follows:

“… in the superhero genre … characters are very explicitly given almost god-like powers. It’s a very simple fantasy to want to just be able to punch the world better.”
Which isn’t to say the article’s about Canada’s current and, sadly, stunningly long-serving Prime Minister. It’s (nominally) about the fantasy genre, if not explicitly the grimdark aspect of it.
covers for Damnation Brigade graphic novel

Front and back covers for the upcoming Damnation Brigade graphic novel; artwork by Ian Bateson, 2012; touch-up by Chris Chuckry, 2012; prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

And that derives almost entirely from the celebrity celery pandered to by today’s mainstream media, genre television, video games and society’s seemingly resultant need for instant gratification to go along with a severely reduced attention span.

Here’s the Pegg quote that tops the article:
“I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and thinks we’ve been infantilized by our own taste.” — Simon Pegg
And here’s the writer’s gravy atop the article’s meat and potatoes:

“… more modern fans of genre fiction want to read … “realistic” heroes through a childish mindset.

“And that’s part of what Simon Pegg was griping about — even when presented in an adult manner, genre has a way of being pre-chewed and regurgitated back in such a way that renders much of the nuance moot — signifiers such as brutal violence and grey morals reinterpreted as being cool instead of troubling — making the end product even more childish than the sanitized basic version.”

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle

Which echoes Point #4 in the pre-Mithramas Mistletoe Miscellanea posting, the reference being to two of the Gun Porn TV shows made in Vancouver that have since been renewed:

“As to using arrows as implements of torture, using arrows for anything except killing and target practise, there are such things as arteries. Pierce a Captain Boomerang where Arrow hit him, evidently just because he deserved it, and, sorry Flash, it’s not a joking matter.”

So, go to any of the lynx highlighted in blue above and spend some quiet, unhurried, but satisfying time having a read or re-read.

Ian Bateson's full colour, wraparound cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, 2009

Ian Bateson’s full colour, wraparound cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, 2009

Just don’t doubt for a minute that Jim McPherson is above infantilizing his characters, if hopefully not his readers:

In the midst of the mad, the dead, and the dying squatted Mars Bellona. His mentality reduced to that of a low-grade simpleton, the presumption of immortality manifestly did not preclude the onset of insanity. The once tremendously powerful Apocalyptic was playing toy samurai with an even more demented Lord Tornado.
“So sorry, Bellona‑sama. I killed your man first.”
“Seppuku-fie yourself, Tornado-san. I killed you before you killed me.”

… from “The War of the Apocalyptics“, 2009

Welcoming portal for pH-Webworld as of Spring 2015

Entry port for pH-Webworld, first appeared in the 2015 Spring update

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PVR Perversions — Grimdark Supercreeps

pHantaBlog NOTE: Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, doesn’t do confessionals. He does McPhersonals. Sometimes they’re rants. Fortunately those are few and far between. That said, here’s another one.

========

Grimdark – NRA-approved Fantasy Genre

Some months ago (November 2014), I prepared a piece for pHantaBlog entitled “All-American Gun Porn – Shot in Vancouver”. (Revisited late last December in Mistletoe Miscellanea.)

In the original I mostly raged on about three ‘superhero’ or ‘fantastical’, albeit not particularly fantastic, TV shows filmed in Vancouver: “Arrow”, “The Flash” and “The 100”.

I’m only moderately surprised to note they’ve been renewed for another season. (Have to say that, given the grimdark death toll in the last specious specimen in particular, it might have to be renamed “The 20”.)

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

Also renewed, according to the Web, are two others I mentioned in the same essay: “Gotham” and “Grimm”. They’re gun porn, too. Except their ‘heroes’ are, for the most part, policemen.

The police, in Canada and the USA anyhow, are allowed to carry guns as well as use them; television-typically with deadly force. Unless of course the recipient of said riveting attention might be needed for subsequent episodes.

Or, in the TV-titular case of both Arrow and Flash, who seem to get shot or otherwise incapacitated a lot, albeit without much in the way of repercussions, they’re either immune to lead poisoning or supranormally gifted with a Wolverine-like knack for extremely quick recoveries.

In that regard, without recourse to the Resurrection Pit Arrow even survived Ra’s al Ghul driving a sword though his chest, and out the other side, missing both heart and spine, since the last time I wrote about the show. The explanation, besides ratings, seems to have something to do with cold air and frozen ground.

Good thing al Ghul had the common courtesy to pull out the sword before dropping him onto a cliff’s edge only a few dozen feet down from where he ‘killed’ him. (Dropped him undamaged any more than he already was, I should add. No cracking bones or snapping neck for our hero; not even a mild concussion.)

Whereupon Ra’s left him exposed to kindly elements and Himalayan vultures; ones that turned out to be human good Samaritans who just happened to be in the vicinity. (One of whom had also been thousands of miles away in Vancouver, er Starling City, in the previous scene.)

Be that as it may, back to Grimm and Gotham. According to the lazy logic of television fantasies, cops not only can get away with killing, the shows are set up such that their be-badged protagonists can do just that, get away with what amounts to murder in sensible conversations.

Killing is part of their job description, don’t you know. And, as mentioned in the previous article(s), super — not to mention invariably supercilious — villains in television are best dealt with both deservedly and biblically. (With the same proviso re subsequent episodes.)

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle

I was prepared to let “Gotham” escape the dreaded (or not), NRA-approved, gun-porn denigration if only because I reckoned there was a lot of Chester Gould’s quirky “Dick Tracy” about it. After all, Tracy got shot a lot too, albeit usually in the left shoulder.

(As recorded in a Wikipedia article, Mad Magazine once counted up 47 times that Gould’s Dick Tracy had been shot in that very same, supposedly non-lethal place.

(In a similar vein, ha, ha, Al Capp famously ventilated Fearless Fosdick, his parody of Tracy in the Li’l Abner strip, much more, um, holistically – as in holey – on a regular basis.)

Rather, Gotham started out that way. Nowadays it seems more about lesser, as in secondary, characters and a few others invented solely for the series (as opposed to those taken from the comics).

Which is understandable given the likes of Jim Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Harvey thus-far-only-One-Face Dent, Detective also-Harvey Bullock, Selena Kyle, Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy, et al, have to live long enough to meet Batman once he gets all brave and bold big enough to don the cape and cowl.

Still, they’re a dull lot. Wouldn’t have made the DC Universe in the first place. Or wouldn’t have lasted long if they had.

BTW, Bruce Wayne appears to be 12 or 13 whereas Selena, the future Catwoman, and Ivy look to be in their slightly later teens, albeit no more than 14 or 15. The expectations, therefore, are obviously for a long series.

Good luck with that. Unless its producers, show-runners and, especially, its writers come up with some much better, as in far more original and intriguingly villainous, cannon fodder, it’ll be gone by Christmas.

The colour side of a postcard Jim McPherson prepared in 2012 as a handout; artwork taken from cover of "Goddess Gambit"; artwork by Verne Andru

The colour side of a postcard Jim McPherson prepared in 2012 as a handout; artwork taken from cover of “Goddess Gambit”; artwork by Verne Andru

(That they made 14 or 15-year old Selena a wanton killer in a recent episode should mean its renewal is cancelled with immediate effect. Should also mean, as a consequence, that its producers are put in jail for deliberate child abuse via role model perversion.

(Too bad neither is very likely to happen. Where’s the Comic Code guy – Fredric Wertham – when we need him?)

In addition to gun porn, these series sadly share what strikes me as a distinct lack of inspired storytelling. When bullets solve everything, that’s to be expected.

Cops are as craven as they are corrupt. (In both Arrow and Gotham lunatic jerks swagger imperiously into cop-shops, pull out their penile pistols, shoot the place up and simply walk away unscathed.) Except when they’re tenacious, that is.

The same batch of boys in blue who cower underneath tables when the really bad guys are popping off, bullets-wise, suddenly gain cojones in Arrow once the overarching plot demands they go after our grimdark hero for being an, um, lawless vigilante. This for the second time in the series.

(And, talk about unimaginative, in a recent Flash chest-zapping CPR is applied not once but twice in the same 40-odd minute episode. Same producer, same stories, I guess. Not hiring creative talent does save on the overhead.)

Overarching plot is Grimm’s saving grace; that, plus some genuinely interesting characters, ones who don’t just use their guns to kill monsters, though they do that too, once in a while. Grimm also has some decent makeup, this despite not much in the way of a special effects budget. Which, in its own way, is a saving grace.

Launch 1980 promo for "Helios on the Moon", artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Promo using the cover for the print version of “Helios on the Moon” as digitally tweaked by Jim McPherson, 2014; artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014; based on front cover for pH-3; that’s All of Incain (Ginny the Gynosphinx) beside Helios and Lord Order sneaking up on him from behind;

Contrast that with another superhero-type series I PVR: “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”. It does have a decent budget, apparently, and it’s Marvel-inspired, not DC, which should make for more imaginative fare.

And for the most part it does. Plus, Joss Whedon, the guy behind Buffy, is behind SHIELD as well as the related Avengers’ movies. Yet it hasn’t been renewed for some reason.

Not enough guns and guts (spilled) perhaps? Or maybe it hasn’t got the NRA’s stamp (or stomp) of approval.

Shall have more to say re the relatively recently proclaimed Grimdark Fantasy genre in a future instalment of pHantaBlog.

In the meantime, in terms of my very own Phantacea Mythos anyhow, it doesn’t get much grimmer and darker than “Goddess Gambit”, where it could be (and has been, albeit not by me) argued that the impression’s left no one survives. (Until “Helios on the Moon“, that is.).

Doubt it’d get a stomp of approval, let alone a 21-gun salute. from gun owners, though. That’s due to the pHanta-pHact they’re given the treatment they deserve.

Which is mostly mockery.

8 collages against the back drop of the Louvre's Dual Entities

The Dual Entities are two thousand years old. The ‘Launch 1980’ collages were prepared in 2014.

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Not an autobot — honestly

This came in from a contributor to the BCFSA newsgroup on Yahoo recently (2015-01-29).

[NOTE: names deleted to protect the insensitive; Comments appreciated at bottom of page]

> This is the BCSFA group, not the stupid sluts ass. Banned.

Thank you. On a similar note, what about self-published-book spammers?

To which Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, felt obliged to respond:

Self-published books are about the only way to get something that might not be agent-driven, hence far too often, dried out, regurgitated smuck from “established” publishers too cowed to put out anything actually,  or at least comparatively, new..

Think I’ll post re “Nuclear Dragons” and “Helios on the Moon” shortly.

Jim McPherson
Phantacea Publications

Artwork from front cover of "Helios on the Moon" by Ricardo Sandoval; promo prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Helios, with his ‘holocaster’, and the She-Sphinx (All of Incain) , with Thunder and Lightning Lord Yajur (Lord Order) sneaking up on them; artwork by Ricardo Sandoval taken from front cover of print version of Helios on the Moon

 

Which he did. (No word yet if’s been accepted for dissemination, though)

Greetings anew

After debating whether to release “Nuclear Dragons” on Kindle or wait until I can combine it with its companion, “Helios on the Moon“, I decided to release it solo. I may still (re)combine them at some point in the future. I may also reunite the three mini-novels that make up “The 1000 Days of Disbelief” as an e-book and (mildly) interactive PDF, but that’ll have to wait, too.

The easiest way to get a quick read overview of all the Phantacea Mythos publications, with lynx to their various webpages, starts here: http://www.phantacea.com/#DotComPubs.

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle

Some of the walk-in bookstores in Vancouver area where you can peruse and, yes, even buy Phantacea Publications are listed here: http://phantacea.com/orderViaCards.htm#walkins. Of course any bookstore anywhere in the world can order them through Ingram Book Distribution.

BTW, the print publication of “Helios on the Moon” officially came out on Sunday 30 November 2014, precisely 34 years after the launching of the Cosmic Express. And that November the 30th was also a Sunday. How’s that for serendipity.

Attached are some nice big shots from the graphics table of that selfsame webpage. Reckon they might tempt you to pay a visit to the Phantacea Publications website. Not surprisingly, since Phantacea started off a series of comic books in the late Seventies, it’s very visual.

Front cover for Nuclear Dragons, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013; banner at top added by Jim McPherson, 2014, for digital versions of the novel

Crystallion leads Hell’s Horsemen against Centauri Island

 

Comments are both welcomed and encouraged on pHantaBlog (www.phantacea.com/blog).

And I can assure you this is a very much non-robotic contribution to BCFSA.

Jim McPherson
Phantacea Publications

www.phantacea.com
www.phantacea.info
www.phantacea.com/blog

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

.

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Mistletoe Miscellanea

  1. Further to the recent McPhersonal rant re Gun Porn, here’s a link to a startling website on Facebook. Apparently it’s quite controversial and might not stay up for long. Evidently the same folks are working on an actual Gun Violence Archive website. It’s here.
  2. Re Arrow, also in the Gun Porn rant, it seems the titular character acquired a knack for torture in his past. One wonders if the disreputable fellow quoted here acts as an adviser for the TV show.
  3. Further to Arrow no longer killing (with arrows), the mid-season finale seems to be hinting the titular character will be reborn in the New Year, presumably bathed clean of his sins.
  4. As to using arrows as implements of torture, using arrows for anything except killing and target practise, there are such things as arteries. Pierce a Captain Boomerang where Arrow hit him, evidently just because he deserved it, and, sorry Flash, it’s not a joking matter.
  5. Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, notes that in 1962 Columbia Records released an album entitled “The Boys Won’t Leave the Girls Alone”. It’s by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and contains a song called “McPherson’s Lament”.
    Decades later (2010), Ray Cooper, formerly of Oysterband, released a CD entitled “Tales of Love, War, and Death by Hanging”. It contains a song called “McPherson’s Rant”. They’re essentially the same song and, yes, the McPherson nominally singing it does meet the stipulated fate, although not until he finishes the song. Otherwise it might have been called “McPherson Goes Gack!”
    Shades of Jordan “The Legendarian” Tethys from, most recently, “Helios on the Moon“. Except Jordy can’t sing worth a darn — with or without using arrows as darning needles.

    Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

    Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

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All-American Gun Porn – Shot in Vancouver

pHantaBlog NOTE: Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, doesn’t do confessionals. He does McPhersonals. Sometimes they’re rants. Fortunately those are few and far between.
That said, here’s another:

 

 Screen Psychos Purportedly of the Superhero Persuasion

Have to admit that, with the exception of a few Green Lantern collections, it’s going on a quarter century since I last bought a superhero comic book. Sooth additionally said, though I’ve produced a couple of my own latterly, albeit of the anheroic variety and not always supranormally populated, I’ve purchased only a couple of dozen, if that, graphic novels in that time and them mostly to give away as presents.

I still love the comic book medium, do most of my shows at comicons, and spend most of my fiction-reading time immersed in the fantasy genre. However, like most folks, I get the majority of my superhero fix watching television. And most of that is on what we in Canada know as the CW network, a couple of which also show up on MuchMusic, SPACE and Showcase.

CW combines the first letters of CBS and Warner in its logo; they’re the network’s corporate backers. I gather it targets a mostly male audience, though its predecessors, WB and UPN, did manage to produce Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: Voyager, which weren’t just for nerdy men IMHO.

I first came across CW because it showed Smallville and Supernatural. Since both series were made in and around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, I got an extra visceral kick out of identifying the locales of various scenes. I gave up on Supernatural once it got religion a number of years ago, but have often started watching a series just because it shot locally.

Some didn’t last, mostly because they weren’t very good. (No names please, we’re Canadian.) Then again some did last despite the fact they weren’t very good. (Ditto.) To my mind a few successes or semi-successes that came and went include the aforementioned Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Sanctuary, Continuum and the various Stargate incarnations.

Three that are with us today are Arrow, The Flash and The 100. Ask me, each and every one of these last are gun porn.

So the Arrow has turned over a new leaf. He’s not going to kill anymore. Rather, he’s not going to kill anyone anymore with arrows. Send him to some Caribbean hot spot — more opportunities for even more skin — and he’ll happily kill with a gun, though, and by the dozen.

He jokes(?) about it: “I never said I couldn’t use guns, just that I didn’t.” Then, since today’s heroes have to be NRA-approved killers at heart, there are flashback sequences wherein he’s some sort of assassin working for the Suicide Squad’s head honcho, unless it’s honchess.

Over in The Flash, Weather Wizard and Multiple Man get shot dead, both casualties of lazy writing. How else can you end a TV show featuring superheroes except biblically? Can’t put them in jail on account of they’re so awfully powerful they’ll just escape and that would never do.

And I do mean awfully, as in awful. Captain Cold is a heartless, mass murderous, career criminal. He seemingly uses regular guns, as well as a gadget gun, for no other reason that super-villains in the USA have to be, you know, irredeemably evil in order to qualify for our hero’s invariably reluctant attention.

Heat-Wave, or whatever his name is going to be, is no doubt on the way. Maybe he won’t use a gun but, boy, I bet you can CGI some truly gruesome burns these days. My only hope is he melts bullets so the producers will have to come up with a better way to dispose of him.

A flash flood, perhaps, ha-ha. Make that a tsunami. Should provide a super-spectacular, season (if maybe not series) ending finale. Look out, Downtown Vancouver. You may have survived the end of Arrow’s first season – or was that Chinatown? – but The Flash promises to fix you up good and proper this time.

Hopefully it’ll cost him a couple of his (not so) terrific team members. But, hey, that’s what’s bound to happen to loyal, howsoever good-looking, not to mention goody-two-shoes, cannon fodder. There’s always more where they came from; ones cut from the same mould, too, from the looks of them.

Got to find work for a few visible minorities in this enlightened day and age don’t you know.

Speaking of a second Great Flood, how about The 100? True, its ending was nuclear, not watery; rather, its beginning was nuclear. But its setting is post Apocalypse. So is that of Falling Skies, which is also shot in Vancouver: post-apocalyptic, though its end-beginning is/was alien invasion.

Their characters – if that isn’t a misnomer – aren’t superheroes per se, at least not yet, but their antics are definitely intended to be super-heroic. Plus, there’s a superfluity of gun porn common to both … and gratuitous torture … and untrustworthy adults, baby baby-boomers for the most part … and beautifully buff, young people who wear tatters very stylishly.

Over-wear tatters, put better, since their underwear always appears very well, um, maintained; not to mention uplifting, designed to flatter. Very impressive in the mud and blood, tats and persistent scarring departments, too. Quality makeup, if nothing else.

Which is also what they are character-wise — nothing else, least of all interesting. Or, to be less dismissive, how about wooden, humourless, and oh, ever so sincere. Which means they hug a lot, either before of after they go on a killing spree, fancy weaponry blazing loud and rapidly.

Good thing there’s no more shortage of ammunition in post-apocalyptic times than there is of supportive smalls, to use a strange George RR Martin word I’d never come across before Game of Thrones. Must make the NRA as happy as End-of-Days Evangelicals.

No time to get going on Hellraiser or Dominion or Gotham or Grimm, though the latter two are still on my PVR list. They’re not shot in Vancouver but that won’t stop me from rave, rage, ranting about them at some other time should the urge hit.

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Summer 2014 update of pH-Webworld now online

Promo prepared for upcoming release of Helios on the Moon by Jim McPherson, 2014

Double-click to enlarge; the better to read if you do. Artwork is from the two Phantacea Revisited graphic novels.

Did you note the html-coded headline? Somewhat surprised that it worked but just responded to some pHanta-spam that probably should have deleted and felt the need to try it out up top instead of just in blog-body.

That done … onwards.

No, this not another McPhersonal Rant (though one on that topic is here). It’s an announcement; that and a link to the pH-Webworld Welcoming Page. Quite pleased with the colour scheme. Webmeister Oz should be, too. And he is, I can assure you.

That’s not the real announcement, however. That is that Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, has finally completed his noodling on Helmoon (see cover mockups here). He now hopes to get down to a final edit of the last entry in the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle any day now.

Or once it starts raining again. Which he further hopes won’t happen until September.

What do you think about the promo at top of page?

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McPherson on Vancaf 14

Monday, 26 May 2014

Vancaf Report 2014

Greetings

Sooth said, as one might expect, it was more about comics than books. Ironically, while I sold copies of pHants two, three and four, (no #1s, unlike SF APE), the big seller was 4-ever & 40 — Noah as Japanese, combined with new Noah movie with Harry Potter girl in it, all growed up, may have hit chords.

Full wraparound cover for pH-40, artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

Full wraparound cover for pH-40, artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

I did manage to sell copies of Feel Theo (title) and Gambit (which I always recommend when asked for favourite). Pocketed roughly …. Big Whoop! Maybe sheer amount of pHantaProduct overwhelming to walkers-by.

Not Van Expo bucks but then again table not so much either. Wall space as per usual did better that centre aisles.

Judging from the amount of copies I saw folks carrying around, the USNA guys scored scads more shekels-wise. The Nelvana crew next to them (see below) also did well with their books, hard cover and soft. They went for about $20 a pop so folks were spending.

Front and back cover mockups for "Helios on the Moon", prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

Mockup sent to potential cover illustrators for “Helios on the Moon”, the next scheduled Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel

Ricardo Sandoval came by table a couple of times. He’s trying to flog his own comic book / graphic novel so told him about Comixology, Diamond, Ingram etc.

(Comixology, btw, apparently went from association with Apple to being bought by Amazon. Haven’t managed to get either Phantacea Revisited graphic novels on it as yet. Maybe try again upon return.)

Saturday was much better for me personally, think I only sold a couple of 4-evers on Sunday. Rain didn’t keep folks away, though numbers down on non-sun day due to falling skies outside.

Overall, have to say decent attendance both days. Free admission certainly a factor in that. More cons need free entry, especially to dealers’ rooms. Might do it again despite comparatively low yield. Got to get application in by December.

Helios on the Moon - comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Helios on the Moon – comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Array of talent was breathtaking, as was sheer amount of product. Indy comics rule. It’s almost enough to warm the old cockles. Not enough to make me start looking around for an artist or artists to finish the “Helios on the Moon” storyline that was meant for Phantacea Seven, though. (Before the artist hired for it went over to Marvel. And some real money.)

Nevertheless a version of the script’s still in archives. Plus the novelization will come out in late July, early August. So, well … maybe someday.

Surprise, for me, hit was big book collection of Nelvana of the Northern Lights. Evidently she’s one of the world’s first female super heroes, costumed heroes at any rate, predating Wonder Woman. Had a cape, wore a mini-skirt over tights, and a Canadian to boot. Which I gather she does a lot.

Book came together thanks to a Kickstarter campaign I’m told. Wikipedia article is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelvana_of_the_Northern_Lights. I almost bought book myself; early 40s, good era-looking artwork. Its website contains her first adventure. It’s here: http://nelvanacomics.com/galleries-2/issue1/.

The Vancouver Comic Show is on Sunday 17 Aug on Commercial Drive – www.canadiancomics.net; 1-855-881-9991. Sounds like a white box con so will probably pass. VPL’s Word on the Street (http://www.thewordonthestreet.ca/wots/vancouver/about) is near end of September but didn’t do very well year I did it.

Vcon is a few weeks later but it’s in Surrey. (Should call it S-con but fans might mistake it for a convention about edible food and pass.)  I inquired about doing a Saturday in its Dealers’ Room but never heard back. They want an ad, though, so might try to trade one for access to a table if amenable. (Its website is here: http://www.vcon.ca/.)

The Rose Con in Portland is also in Sept. Heard good things about it at Vancaf, as I did Emerald Con in Seattle but that’s next March. All comics oriented, though. Am considering going to Northwestern con next April, for books, writers, and a table.

End report.

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Baroque Convolutions


With a dashing of syntactical twists and turns

  1. Top of Page
  2. Setting the Scene for the Skreigh
  3. Begin Rant
  4. Seed those Dumps
  5. Memo to Self
  6. Syntactical Turns
  7. Twists to Thievery
  8. Unfashionable Omniscience
  9. Writers don’t just play God in their own Books
  10. Capital Crimes
  11. Non-Issues
  12. Never Done in North American English
  13. Never say ‘Never’ in any English
  14. Well, that clears that up then
  15. According to one person anyhow
  16. Speaking Personally
  17. Speaking Thirdly
  18. Anheroic Mosaic Shared
  19. Conclusive Coherence
  20. Quotation re Multiple Viewpoints in a Novel
  21. Quotation(s) re Perspective Breaks
  22. Bottom of page comments

 

Helios on the Moon - comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Helios on the Moon – comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

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So, Jim McPherson came back from a 6-week working break in warmer, sunnier climes reckoning Helios on the Moon was ready for a quick edit by a professional prior to a Spring publication.

Reckon anew, mate.

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This came back from a 10-year pro in the field, albeit not specifically in the field of editing full-length fantasy novels:

Here are a few more questions and thoughts:
And here are Jim McPherson’s responses.

1) There is a seriously large amount of initial information. Is it my understanding that readers will be aware of much of the background and back story? Is this an alternative history? I’m just trying to get my bearings, as ordinarily I’d suggest a writer drop that back story in over a long period, “seeding” it more organically rather than employing the huge info-dump you do here.

This hurts, all the more so since I’m super-conscious of the issue already. Yet I heard the same criticisms re “Nuclear Dragons”. They came despite my efforts to set up background and back story details in such a way that they could be skipped readily.
I even went so far as to write a preamble (reprinted here and here) in which I advised (highlighted here) readers to bypass material in parentheses if they find it too distracting or time-consuming.
Guess I’m supposed to accept the supposedly
‘prevailing wisdom’ that the days of leisurely, information-laden immersion in someone else’s imagination is non-Helios history. A sad situation to be sure.

That said, I’m hearing it so often I’m going to step back and reconsider the whole way I’m handling this issue. Might I need to revert to Character Companions like I did for 1000-Daze? Or add a glossary? Maybe it just needs more seeding, less dumping. Comments appreciated.
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2) Your style is quite convoluted, and even baroque in its syntactical twists and turns. That is definitely not a criticism … your readers’ expectations might be quite sophisticated and therefore it’s not a concern. The current trend is to write more simply.

Definitely sounds like a criticism to me. And if it isn’t a concern why mention it? As for writing simply, what does that mean? I’ve read efforts by folks I reckoned very good writers to produce material for Young Adults. The results sometimes seem so simplified that if I didn’t know better I’d assume they were written by simpletons for simpletons.
Still, I quite like
‘convoluted and baroque in its syntactical twists and turns’. Think I’ll steal it.

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3) Whose voice is narrating this? Is it a third-person omniscient perspective? If so, that’s fine (although again, not currently fashionable), but the sudden injections of colloquialisms such as “um” and “sure as shit” might need to be dialed back a little. They are jarring from a “god” type perspective.

What you’re dealing with, in me, is a chatty, conversational writer trying to be both friendly, as in non-threatening, and entertaining.
As for having a narrator with ‘a third-person omniscient perspective’ not being fashionable, that’s nonsense. Then again, if it isn’t, is that what you have to learn to write in this day and age of low-sales and writers increasingly having to turn to the DIY ‘Indy Market’ to stand any chance of seeing their writing in print?
In which case, call me determinedly unfashionable as I hate being nonsensical, at least in the sense of writing rubbish. 
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4) Gypsium? Is this an invented element or mineral? A play on gypsum? I couldn’t find it anywhere online or in my dictionaries. Either way, I don’t think it ought to be capitalized. We don’t capitalize granite or limestone, etc.

Hel-Moon is the sixth full-length Phantacea Mythos to be published by Phantacea Publications. The imprint would not exist were it not for the Phantacea Mythos.
Gypsium etc, like Deva (as in Master Deva), has been capitalized in every one of the books, in the comics before them and in the many web-serials betwixt and between.
Gypsium etc are made up words, I treat them like proper nouns and will continue to do so. Similarly, when I use the term Shining Ones (which is what the word ‘deva’ literally means) I capitalize it.
Capitalization makes a word stand out, gives it a kind of heightened status. It adds emphasis without the use of either italics or single quotes.
And if we do go ahead, don’t bother changing all the en-dashes to em-dashes. That’s not how I use them so I’d just have to change them all back.
Em-dashes, especially in mid-sentence, are unsightly.
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5) Re the use of single quotes: It’s just never done in North American English… except when it’s a quote within a quote, or is within a newspaper headline.

I would dearly love to eliminate single quotes, especially where I’ve had to add emphasis in form of italics. They’re a pain to have to reformat when it comes time to move over to In Design in order to prepare a PDF for the POD-printer.
They are, however, extensively used in fantasy novels, some of which I perhaps oddly believe use North American English. Steven Erikson’s Malazan books for example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malazan_Book_of_the_Fallen) and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which are probably the two series I most admire in the field, use them a lot. Erikson is Canadian and Martin is American.
Single quotes are often used for dialogue in flashback sequences and very commonly to indicate conversations conducted in telepathy. Devas often communicate via telepathy.
BTW, in a previous section, I used single quotes and emphasis as follows: “the word ‘deva’ literally means”. Is that wrong too?

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Front and back cover mockups for "Helios on the Moon", prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

Mockup sent to potential cover illustrators for “Helios on the Moon”, the next scheduled Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel


When asked for clarification on an earlier point (#3), the editor came back: “… today readers are not as primed for it [someone writing from a third person viewpoint often using … godlike omniscient perspective]. They find it odd or jarring or even boring …”

To which I replied: Huh and double huh!?! Sez you, I say.

Personally I won’t buy anything written in first person. I mean, what’s the point? Especially in terms of action-oriented books wouldn’t this be a typical sentence: “I whirled, kicked him in the knackers but he managed to shoot me anyhow, so now I’m a zombie. Have to be, right — otherwise how could I be writing this?”
Talk about boring, an action hero writing his own book. Certainly eliminates the stress of worrying if hero live or dies.

As for following one character throughout, even when it’s in third person, well, that’s almost as bad. Without pulling them off the shelf – or more like pulling them out of boxes in basement – I can guarantee you Erickson and Martin don’t do that and they’ve hundreds of characters in every (really, really long) book.
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Phantacea is ‘anheroic fantasy’, as in without heroes. It’s also a Shared World novel with a lone writer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_universe). Another common term for this sort of thing is a mosaic novel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_novel); albeit, ditto, one written by one author.
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Hel-Moon progresses to its conclusion via a series of events that are experienced by a wide range of characters in a variety of disparate situations that may not cohere until its final chapter, though there could be lots of little endings along the way. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)
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That in mind …
“Multiple viewpoint novels are common in literature, so it would hardly be a risky choice if you chose to write one yourself.
“…  a Third Person Story is narrated by that invisible, godlike witness to the novel’s events (or the magic camera, if you prefer that analogy) – and it seems perfectly natural for this narrator to choose to slip inside not just one character’s skin during the telling of the story, but several.”
(http://www.novel-writing-help.com/multiple-viewpoint-novel.html)
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Which leads to this:
“But when should you switch [viewpoints]? There are a few simple rules here…It is virtually always best, if at all possible, to start a fresh chapter when you switch from one viewpoint character to another. Next best is switching viewpoints during a break within a chapter (the kind denoted by a line of white space, or by asterisks if the break occurs at the bottom of a page).”
(http://www.novel-writing-help.com/switch-viewpoints.html)
When it comes to what I call ‘perspective breaks’, as much as possible, I double-up with a eight ======== followed by a paragraph or two of italics then another =========. I also use dates to provide breaks, though that’s usually at the beginning of chapters and not so much in mid-chapter.
And that’ll do for now.
End longest rant yet.
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Serendipitous Reading — The Cross of Mithras

Collage entitled Great Gods Going Crazy, prepared by Jim McPherson, ca 2007

Collage prepared by Jim McPherson for Phantacea Publications, ca 2007; for more hit here: http://www.phantacea.com/dEvilGods.htm#MitRuptNot1

Recall this from pH-Webworld: http://www.phantacea.info/summer06.htm#CrossMith1? It came out in the Summer of 2006. Even if you don’t, have a click and a boo.

While on a working vacation, supposedly to finish revising and editing “Helios on the Moon“, Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, had a read:

‘”Tell us about Mithras, Hugh …”

‘Hugh smiled. “… He was a very powerful god in his day, the Lord of Light, worshipped by most of the soldiery of the Empire as the Soldier’s God, but he was soon absorbed completely by Christianity and disappeared. Even the Cross that Christians revere today was his — the white, four-armed cross of Mithras, and it was an ancient symbol even before Mithras. It was certainly not the Cross that Jesus died on.”‘

Collage entitled Great Gods Going Crazy, prepared by Jim McPherson, ca 2007

Collage prepared by Jim McPherson for Phantacea Publications, ca 2007; for more hit here: http://www.phantacea.com/dEvilGods.htm#MitRuptNot1

The Hugh is Hugues de Payens, the main man behind the founding of the Knights Templar. The book is “Knights of the Black and White“. It’s by Jack Whyte, who was living in Kelowna, British Columbia, when he wrote his Author’s Note in 2006.

It’s a massive tome, over 750 pages, and only the first book in the Templar Trilogy. As for why it deserves a place on pHantaBlog, it just shows that Jim McPherson isn’t the only one who not only does research but comes to similar conclusions.

In the PHANTACEA Mythos, the Cross of Mithras is one of the Thrygragos Talismans. The others were the Mask of Byron and Lazareme’s Starcape, aka his Cloak of Many Colours. Mithras himself (Thrygragos Varuna Mithras) gets hold of them early on in “Feeling Theocidal“.

Google it up. Or, for images, just click here: The Cross of Mithras . You might even see one of Phantacea’s in-house graphics. Somewhat less specifically, try here: The Templar Cross.

And, oh yeah, just by the by, Whyte might be wrong about it being a sacred symbol long before Mithras. In terms of named gods, there isn’t much before Mithras. He was in the Vedas. He was also named in the world’s first peace treaty, that of Kadeah, between the Hittites and the Egyptians.

And, in Zoroastrianism, he was the sword arm Ahura Mazda (Lord Wisdom) used again his enemy Angra Mainyu, none other than Ahriman (Aryan-man). (Here’s a near contemporaneous entry on pHant‘s VAM Entity.)

If he sounds like the Archangel Michael, guess who the Christians based St Michael on? Wouldn’t be much of a guess would it.

 

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