Archive for April, 2013

Lynn’s Book Blog Reviews ‘The Emoticon Generation’

April 17, 2013

The blog tour continues! Lynn’s Book Blog reviewed The Emoticon Generation, giving us another positive review! Here’s a little taste:

 I don’t tend to read a lot of short stories because I feel disconnected to the characters.  I usually feel that I don’t spend enough time with them to get comfy.  However that isn’t the case here – the author has a way of writing that you can’t help connecting.

Read the entire review here.

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Creamy Sands

April 16, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:

 

The Creamy Sands

(Containing the disrespectful tale of a disrespectful entrance into the Land of No Respect.)

 

After a long search, Benjamin Miller continued to tell his tale, the three of us, Sylvia, Ochi and myself, found the Land of No Respect. We were allowed in, since the three of us farted often.

Our ship landed on a strange and creamy-white shore.

“After you,” I told Ochi.

Ochi thanked me, and stepped upon the shore. And just as you did, my king, he took one step, slipped, flipped in the air, and fell on his elbow, breaking his arm.

“Ochi!” I yelled and was about to leap at him.

“Don’t!” Ochi stopped me with a gesture. “The ground is strangely slippery. You will fall!” Ochi felt the ground, and saw that its creamy whiteness stuck to his finger. “This isn’t sand,” he said.

Then, with the creamy sand seeming strangely familiar, he tasted it. “Oh,” he said. “It’s whipped cream!”

“What?” Sylvia was surprised. “Who puts whipped cream on sand?”

“It would make sense,” Ochi said, “that the color we saw when we approached means that the entire island is covered knee-dip with whipped cream. This is a strange and outlandish place.”

“I do not like it,” I said.

“Oh, phooey,” said Sylvia. ‘Oh, phooey,’ was something she said often. “I think it’s a good sign. We came searching for a strange place with strange legends, and we discovered a very strange place. I say we explore the land.”

“I say we find a doctor,” said Ochi. “I am in great pain.”

“I say we do both,” I said. “Let’s begin with exploring the town. Surely, they have doctors.”

And so we headed into town, where three doctors awaited us.

This has been the story of how we did not learn our lesson when stepping onto the sands of the Land of No Respect. In town, things became worse.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

Like this book? Try ‘The Emoticon Generation’

An Interview with Newton, My Personal AI

April 14, 2013

The Emoticon Generation blog tour continues! This time, with an interview by My Bookish Ways. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at home during the interview, and so my personal AI (artificial intelligence problem) answered the questions for me. The AI’s name is Newton, and he doesn’t like me very much. Here’s a little taste:

Guy, will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’m sorry, Guy isn’t here right now. My name is Newton. I am the AI Guy created in order to help him deal with anything that might come up while he’s away. I answer his phone when he’s in the bathroom, I do interviews when he’s not home, and I drive while he texts.

Read the entire interview with Newton here.

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Three Outsiders

April 14, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle

 

The Three Outsiders

(Containing the unknown tale of three unknown people from an unknown world.)

 

A caring wolf mother found me, continued Benjamin Miller, and raised me with her wolf cubs. I grew up quickly, and left my new wolf family, thankful, appreciative, and loving. And yet, all through my childhood, I longed to return to my human family and to the world I had come from.

I decided to travel the Land of All Legends back and forth, crissing and crossing, zigging and zagging, until I found something that would help me return to the land of my birth and to my parents.

For thirty years I traveled the land. And at the end of thirty years, I found nothing, absolutely no clue as to how this place could exist, how I could have arrived from another place, and how I could possibly return.

Then, when I was full of despair and self pity, I lay down on the street and waited for Death. A woman found me. She was older than me, and took care of me, and we spoke. She learned my story, and then she told me hers.

She had also come from that other place, from the world where I had been born, that world with the tall buildings and lights on the ceilings of every room. She had come here when she was twelve. One moment she was at school, the next she had been transported to this place, to a place filled with real people and creatures that she had only read about.

She had never found out how she arrived at this place, just as I never did. But it was not at night, and it was not during a dream. It was in the middle of the day, when she was surrounded by her friends. 

Her name was Sylvia Fo, and she had come from a land called Milano. She had come here at the age of twelve, and so she knew more of the world she could not return to. She knew more and remembered more and missed more and needed it more. And she has searched for a way home for more years than I have been in the land.

We decided to continue searching for a way out and for more people like us, people lost to their original world.

For thirty years we combed the land, swept it, raked it, and scrutinized it. And yet, we found nothing. During our searches, we were both cursed by an evil witch, so that we could never die of old age. We could die of other things, but not of old age. We would simply get older and older and older. And therefore you see before you a seven-hundred-year-old man.

In any case, we found nothing but a curse, and once more the two of us fell into despair. We were two people without a story, surrounded by people and animals and creatures each of which had many stories told about them.

Upon our despair, we met a man, a hero, just returned from a quest. His name was Otto the Outstanding, and he had been on a quest to discover a creature called the Original Monster.

(King John the Cute’s ears perked up even more, remembering his own incident with Magno the Magnificent, who, six hundred years after Otto the Outstanding, was also on a quest to find the Original Monster. King John the Cute remembered that Magno the Magnificent had claimed that no one had ever found the Original monster.)

Otto the Outstanding, continued Benjamin Miller, claimed that he had found the Original Monster. But then, for a reason he would not explain, he had let the monster go. However, Otto the Outstanding told us, before he was freed, the Original Monster spoke of another world, a world of tall buildings and a light on the ceiling of every room. The Original Monster had traveled to that world and back many many times.

This is what Otto the Outstanding had told us before he had disappeared. Now our quest was changed. We decided to find the Original Monster. Otto the Outstanding believed the monster should live freely, but nonetheless told us where he had last been seen. We went in that direction, and I had never seen Otto the Outstanding since.

And so we spent the next forty years chasing rumor after rumor, desperately seeking the Original Monster. I do not believe we were ever even close. And yet it had given us hope that it was possible to return home. Still, more than a hundred years have passed since I had arrived at the Land of All Legends, and my parents surely were no longer alive. My world, you see, has no witches and no curses. People do not live to be seven hundred years old there.

Then, after a forty-year search, we were once more filled with despair. Once more, we lay down, crying, holding each other for comfort. And then another man found us. His name was Ochi Moeketsi.

We told him how we do not have a story, that we do not come from here. And then he told us, that he, also, had arrived from another land, a land called Johannesburg. He told us his story about his story-less life. He had been eighteen when he was snatched. He had been lying on the ground outside his house, staring at the clouds in the sky, losing himself in thought, when he had suddenly found himself staring at a very different sky in a very different land, filled with the stories his parents had told him throughout his childhood. Ever since that time, he had searched for an explanation, and a way back to his world.

In those first hundred years, King John the Cute, I have found two people who have been transported from my world. Something was happening, but not often. It was a mystery, but I had never solved it.

In any case, Ochi Moeketsi felt just the way we did: that he did not belong in a land of fairy tales and legends. He had searched for a way back for forty years, and only recently had found a clue. There was an island, he had heard, in the middle of Slapstick Ocean. It was an island filled with stories that did not belong in the Land of No Respect. It was an island filled with people and creatures who were vastly different from all other creatures who lived in the Land of All Legends. It was an island filled with creatures and people and animals who were, like us, different, and did not belong.

That, Ochi Moeketsi said, was where he was heading next.

Together, the three of us began a quest to reach the Land of No Respect, to discover its creatures that did not belong, and to perhaps find another clue that will tell us how to return home.

And that has been the long and harrowing story of how a group of three outsiders came to search for an island of outsiders.

“Hmmm,” King John the Cute said. He had been lost in the story, and felt that something important was being told to him. “Please continue.  I must hear the rest.”

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

Like this book? Try ‘The Emoticon Generation’.

Postcards from La La Land Reviews ‘The Emoticon Generation’

April 11, 2013

The blog tour continues! The YA review blog Postcards from La-La Land reviewed The Emoticon Generation.

Here’s a little taste:

The Emoticon Generation is part satirical, part speculative, sometimes humorous, and often spooky.  It’s not a cookie-cutter lament against technology, or a cry for the return of life before the Internet – it’s just a look at what might happen if we push curiosity too far in certain directions.

Read the entire review here.

The Indestructibles Film Journal #9: Murphy’s Law

April 11, 2013

Murphy’s Law: This Time It’s Personal

The weekend in which we were to shoot seven of the film’s eight scenes was upon us. And then Murphy’s Law struck once, twice, three times, and kept on bombarding us.

The climax was four hours before the shoot. Tamara Pearlman, one of the two leading actresses, was to wear a certain top to the shoot. We chose it months ago, one of her personal shirts, and when we did I said clearly: “From this point on you’re not wearing this shirt until the shoot. You’ll keep it stored, no one will touch it. It can’t get any stains on it, it can’t get torn. It needs to stay in the closet, safe and cozy and safe.”  She said, “Sure.”

That was months ago. Four hours before the shoot, I get a text from her: “My husband tore the shirt in two.”

And the great battle of The Indestructibles crew versus Murphy’s Law began.

Coming to a website near you

Coming to a website near you

Arming Yourself against Murphy’s Law

I’m not going to talk about the things that went through my mind. I’m not going to mention the image I had of her husband, standing in a King Kong pose atop the Empire State, holding the shirt in his two hands, then tearing it in two, screaming, “You’re not going to participate in this stupid film! Ooga ooga!” Sure, it went through my mind. But I know him, and I know that didn’t happen.

We’re not going to talk about any of the scenarios that went through my mind, imagining how a shirt could be torn in two in the morning before a shoot. And we’ll get to what really happened. But in the meantime, what you need to know is that in my few years in film and my twenty years in theater, I’ve learned that Murphy’s Law strikes, and strikes hard. I came prepared.

Before we proceed to see the vile and violent attacks by Murphy’s Law, let’s recap: The Indestructibles is an attempt to create a massive, epic science fiction story that would ordinarily cost hundreds of millions of dollars, with absolutely no budget. With today’s technology, it’s much easier to shoot film. And the need for CGI goes out the window if you tell your story well. If you tell the story right, if you direct it right, and if you use good actors, I’ll be able to give the viewers almost the same experience. That’s the goal. To read more about how I think it can be done see the first Indestructibles blog entry.

Here are a few salvos from Murphy’s Law, representing only the bigger attacks, not the smaller ones:

  • A few days before the production, I discovered the soundman I wanted had decided to go to Paris. Solution: I did the sound as well as shot the film. It was a gamble, and anyone who comes from film would tell you you should never do the sound yourself. But now that it’s over, I can say that it worked. Problem solved!
  • When I came to collect the equipment I had ordered for the shoot (lighting equipment), they couldn’t find the order. We quickly found it under another name, but during that time I was completely prepared, since the location is an abandoned parking lot, to shoot the film with my car’s headlights. I had actually planned for that eventuality the night before. The equipment was found. Problem solved!
  • I had ordered two different lights, and before I put the equipment in the car, I checked that they worked. But when I got to the location, one of the lights no longer worked. The solution: The shoot only requires one strong light. I had ordered two just in case. Problem solved!
  • Natalie Klein Selle, the other lead actress, has quite a long part in which she lies down as a vegetable and needs to breathe through her nose quietly. This breathing through your nose part of her job sounds trivial, but it became unbelievably important when she showed up with a cold and a stuffed nose. Fortunately, knowing Murphy’s Law was lurking, I had taken that eventuality into account and had bought nose spray the day before. She took it, her nose cleared, and we could shoot the film Problem solved!
  • Finally, Tamara Pearlman’s husband tore her shirt in two. It was done innocently enough. There were knocks at the door while they were sleeping, and the husband jumped out of bed, not noticing that he moved the chair the shirt was on, dropping it to the floor next to the door. Then, still dazed, he tried to open the bedroom door. It resisted (because of the shirt on the floor). So he pushed. Hard. The door opened and the shirt became two smaller shirts. Solution: On her way to the shoot, Tamara went to the store in which she had originally bought the shirt and bought another one. Theoretically, we had another solution, because we had prepared two alternatives for her to wear. So, either way, problem solved!

In Conclusion

And now we’ve shot most of the film, and the dailies look so much better than I had imagined they could look. Murphy’s Law lost this time, though it will no doubt return again, having learned the lessons of this battle, and ready to try again. My guess is I’ll need the actors to wear body armor next time. Just to make sure they don’t break anything on the way to the shoot.

Are you listening, Murphy’s Law? We’re ready for you! Do your worst! Come on! Let’s see you try!

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Mystery of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

April 11, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

And now the fairy tales begin to change:

The Mystery of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

(Containing the strange tale of a fairy tale come to life.)

 

“My name is Benjamin Miller,” began Benjamin Miller, “and I was not born in the Land of All Legends. I was born… somewhere else. I do not remember where. I was too young at the time. There were tall buildings and every room had a bright light on every ceiling and I had a Mickey Mouse pillow.”

“What is a Mickey Mouse pillow?” asked John the Cute.

“I do not know, but here it is.” Benjamin Miller turned and showed a small pillow, fit for a child’s head, near the carved space where he usually sits. “This pillow had been white when I was young, but I have lived for so long, and have seen so much, that by now it is almost black. It used to have a picture on it. Of something cute with had big ears and I loved it. I love it still. But I do not know what the picture represented. I remember very little from those days, you see. But my parents were there… My mother… My father… While here, in the Land of All Legends, they do not exist.

“I was a young child, a mere baby, and my mother would come in every night and read me a story. I remember the book plainly. It had a picture of a beautiful woman with black hair and small dwarves around her. She was holding a poison apple.

“My mother read the story to me, and I remember the name of the story: It was called Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

“I know Snow White,” said King John the Cute. “She came to my coronation ceremony!”

“Stop! This is my story. You must listen carefully.”

King John the Cute nodded, and Benjamin Miller continued. “Snow White was not real. She was in a book. She was in my mother’s book. And my mother would read to me every day and tell me Snow White’s story, about the king and the stepmother and the seven dwarves.

“Then, one day, I had a dream. Do you know what a dream is? People in my world dreamed all the time, while no one here ever does.”

“I dream,” said King John the Cute.

“You do?” Benjamin Miller was highly surprised. “Were you born here, in the Land of All Legends?”

“Yes. There is no doubt.”

Benjamin Miller considered this, then shook his head. “Well, then, in the Land of All Legends, most creatures do not dream. You are certainly the first I have ever met who does. But in my world, everyone did. One day, I dreamed about Snow White. But, you see, the dream was real, and it was not a dream. Because I began this dream seven hundred years ago, and I have not woken up since. Whatever this Land of All Legends is, it is not a dream.

“I found myself that night in a forest, you see, near Snow White, and I could see, plain as day, how she took a bite out of the apple. Once I learned that it was not a dream, once I learned that everything here was real, once I learned that I could not return home, I realized that what I had seen was not possible. I was only three or four years old, but even then I knew that Snow White could not exist: she was a story. Everything around me was a story. Told by someone else, written in a book by someone else.”

King John the Cute crinkled his forehead. Benjamin Miller continued, “You, King John the Cute, are a story told by someone else, somewhere outside the Land of All Legends. Everyone you know is a story told by someone somewhere. Everyone… Except me. I never belonged. I should not be here. You should not be here. No one should be here. And yet, here I am, unable to escape, a lost boy who does not belong.

“My whole life has been a quest to return home, to my father and mother. And yet I have found myself here in this cave, struck for hundreds of years without hope. Sit back, King John the Cute, for I have only just begun my story.”

This has been Benjamin Miller’s bizarre tale of the little lost boy who came from another world.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation

 

Confessions of a Science Fiction Author

April 10, 2013

The blog tour continues!

The blog AllwaysUnmended has published a guest post by me: Confessions of a Science Fiction Author. Here’s a little taste:

I got myself in a jam.

A year ago I came across a great idea for a science fiction story. But, innocently enough, since like many of my ideas it could actually be implemented today, I thought to myself: Why should I write a science fiction story about it when I can just create a start-up and potentially earn millions?

Well, that’s what I did, and that’s how the trouble began.

Read the whole thing here.

Mind Meld: The Future of AI

April 10, 2013

SF Signal has just released its latest Mind Meld, where it asks various SF authors to discuss a different question every time. This time the question was about the future of AI and how dangerous it would be for us once AI’s achieve consciousness.

The panelists include Larry Niven, Wesley Chu, Karl Schroder, Madeline Ashby, Gregg Rosenblum, James Lovegrove, Guy Haley, Jason M. Hough, James K. Decker, Neal Asher, and myself.

There’s too much great stuff, I’m not even going to quote it. Check it out.

 

Attack of the Books Reviews ‘The Emoticon Generation’

April 9, 2013

The blog tour continues! The review website, Attack of the Books, just published a review of The Emoticon Generation The review is very positive even though some of the stories were not to his liking.

Here’s a small taste:

On the other hand, if you enjoy thought provoking short fiction, then download a copy of Guy Hasson’s The Emoticon Generation today. A collection of short stories that seem to focus on human nature when technology allows us to play with the rules of physics, each is an interesting tale with a twist.

Read the entire review here.