More Buck Rogers

Based on my site traffic this week, you peeps don’t much care for the politics.  Well, the election is over, and we got that out of our system, so let’s get back to the good stuff, shall we?

Last week I discussed the hare-brained idea of making a gender-flipped Buck Rogers TV show.  Buck Rogers is a near contemporary of John Carter, and John Carter is in the public domain.  So I checked to see what the status of the Buck Rogers IP was, and it turns out the answer is…murky. 

To start with, the book that started the whole thing, Armageddon 2419 A.D., was released in August 1928.  (In Amazing Stories magazine.)  But most of the IP that makes Buck Rogers what he is, including the name “Buck” itself, was introduced in later Sunday morning comic strip form.  So you could argue that the whole shooting match enters the public domain once the clock hits zero as measured from that original 1928 publishing date. 

Even ignoring that issue, it gets better for lawyers and worse for  the rest of us non-lizard people.
 

Don Murphy is a Hollywood hotshot partially responsible for the train wrecks Natural Born Killers, Transformers, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  He wants to make a Buck Rogers, but doesn’t want to pay royalties to the IP holder because he claims it entered the public domain in 1950 or 2010, depending on how you read the statutes.  Long story short: The courts have decided that you can’t sort the legal status of the IP until after the potentially copyright infringing work has been made. 
The good news here is that this keeps Murphy’s filthy hands off of Buck Rogers for a few more years.  There’s no way a studio is going to risk $100 million on a property with such vague copyright status.
The bad news here is that this keeps pretty much everybody’s hands off of Buck Rogers for a few more years. 
The other good news is that this also gives me another chance to post pictures of Erin Gray.  This time with a ray gun.

Worth being frozen in time for 400 years for.

As to the structure of Buck Rogers, it really is the perfect set-up for a story.  You’ve got the man-out-of-time thing going on, so the protagonist is learning about the world of 2419 B.C. right along with the viewer.  It’s far enough in the future that you can posit any sort of  new tech or transh-uman dystopia or alien incursion into the solar system that you want. 

You’ve got a whole universe to explore, so you can use Buck as a framing device in much the same way that Lost and Doctor Who or even Quantum Leap used the premise as an excuse to throw the protagonist into any sort of story you want.  You can have Buck stranded on a desert island one week, fighting gangsters in a mega-city the next week, and exploring strange planets at the end of worm holes the next.  You can make his base a sci-fi Casablanca and throw countless alien spies and space princesses at him.  It’s open ended and flexible in a way that few shows are these days.

Princess Ardala, dressed conservatively.


Even better, Buck Rogers is part of the zeitgeist as the most famous pulp space-rocket and ray-gun property.  The average person doesn’t know about the American orgs fighting back against the ruling Red Mongols who conquered America.  You could use the Tiger Men of Mars, the Asterites, or the Mekkanos, or not, as you saw fit.  You pretty much have carte blanche to write your own 25th Century, once more giving producers the option to use an  established IP that is the same, but different.

It’s obvious why producers should be salivating over the prospects of reviving Buck Rogers once it hits the public domain.  Last time I said that the legal trouble saves us the pain of watching a bad Buck Rogers movie crash at the box office, but if the IP is in the public domain, there’s at least a chance that multiple versions of Buck hit the media, and for the most appealing one to stick around for a good long while.

One can hope.

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Deep Breath Before the Plunge

Tomorrow is day zero.  The fork in the road.  The tipping point.  The euphemism of your choice.

In times such as we face, we do well to heed the advice of our forebears.  J.R.R. Tolkien was not just some writer, he was a man who well understood the need for hope.  With apologies to the master:

You may not want to be in a battle and find waiting on the edge of one that can’t be escaped even worse.  As with Frodo and Sam, America doesn’t have much hope.  Just a fool’s hope.  Her enemies are ready.  His full strength gathered.  Not only feminists but ensqualmated men as well.  Legions of non-citizens from the south, mercenaries from the cities.  All will answer Mordor on the Potomac’s call.
 
 
Whatever the results of tomorrow, it won’t end this way.  The journey doesn’t end here.  This is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of these dark times roll back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.  White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
 
Laugh or cry, tomorrow’s decision represents one victory or loss in the greater fight for civilization against the rampaging horde of orcs.  That far green country under a swift sunrise may be one step closer tomorrow.  It may be pushed back another generation or two, but it’s there. 
 
At the end of the day.  At the end of the fight.  It’s there.
 
And we will get there one day.
 
Even if we have to suffer a few more sling and arrows along the way.
 
So go out, do your part to push back the darkness tomorrow, and take heart.
 
At the end of the fight, there’s a far green country waiting for you.
 
And that isn’t so bad.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Meme Magic is Real: Why Podesta’s Taste In Art Matters

Incredibly, this is not a photoshop.

This weekend the waters of political discussion have been roiled by charges that John Podesta engages in activities that look a lot like ceremonies by which he shows his devotion to demonic powers.  His defenders, and they are legion excuse his behavior as a perfectly innocuous  taste performance art.  Which narrative is the true story of what lurks in John Podesta’s heart is as unknowable as it is irrelevant.  Either one should damn him and his entire circle of friends in the court of public opinion.

To understand why Podesta’s taste in art carries such weight, we need to understand who he is and what his behavior tells us about the man, his friends, and his aims for America.

John Podesta is not a bit player in the great game played in Rome on the Potomac.  As a key member of the Clinton inner circle he served as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff and is currently serving as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.  Despite being a prominent member of Team Clinton, and despite the public face of conflict between that camp and Team Obama, he managed to secure a position as a counselor to Obama and even co-chaired the Obama-Biden Transition Team.  Clearly this is a man with clout in the hallowed halls of Washington.  As such, it’s important that we understand why the bizarre tastes of this powerful man bode poorly for America and her people.

The dank corners of the internet have embraced Zig Zigler’s concept that, “Repetition is the mother of learning.”  Of course, as the modern, irreverent that they are, they re-phrase it, “Meme magic is real.”  They understand the suggestive power of persistent and consistent messaging.  The more you repeat a message, the more likely even those who disagree with that message will be to internalize it, and once infected by the idea they will be even more likely to implement that message.  You can see this at work in every advertisement and every club slogan and every chanting crowd.

The club slogan and chanting crowds are an interesting aspect of the power of suggestive repetition that often gets short shrift.  The constant refrain of a war cry or tenet of belief also serves as a signal to the rest of your community that you belong.  They are a way to separate those who believe from the unbelievers.  You wouldn’t expect Trump supporters to feel comfortable in a crowd chanting, “Black Lives Matter,” any more than you would expect Hillary supporters to be comfortable in a crowd chanting, “Build That Wall!”  When used in this manner, memes can be as much a badge of membership as a means of persuasion. 

This obscure joke is a photoshop done
for illustrative purposes.

When you combine those two factors, memes as persuasion and as identifiers, you begin to understand how alien John Podesta really is – and by extension how alien the rest of his inner circle are.  Of course, this isn’t to say that they are from Rigel 4 or that they believe Mars needs women, just that their way of viewing the world is utterly alien to that of the rest of the nation.

Consider the man’s fascination with the consumption of human flesh (and by extension that of his entire circle, which it’s worth remembering includes Obama and Clinton.)  Contrast that with most the revulsion most Americans experience when exposed to the very notion of cannibalism.  This is both a reminder for Podesta that people are fit for consumption and a signal to his circle that they are members of a select group.  Podesta’s defenders reinforce that very notion when they point out that anyone who feels the natural disgust as the practice of cannibalism is just different.

Well, yes.  They are different.  Very different.  They aren’t like Americans.  As such, they have no business claiming to speak for Americans, let alone claiming authority to lead the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

These people are bizzare.  They are alien.  And they need to take their culture back into the shadows where they are most comfortable.

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It’s Like There’s A Checkbox or Something

More, please!

Late the other night, I got sucked into a click-bait listicle about sci-fi shows that need a reboot.  Never a good idea.  You just know going in that it’ll be the same list you’ve seen a dozen times – Blake’s 7, Space:1999, Lost in Space – fine shows all, but this is the sort of empty word dump that generates what used to be called ‘column inches’.  It’s cheap fare with less real thought and content in the entire article than you’ll get out of a single paragraph of Nathan Housely or Rawle Nyanzi.

Even that’s forgivable.  I read it in an idle late night moment when I should have been sleeping and had no spare synapses for anything smarter than a simple, “Hey, remember that show?  That was great,” kind of article.  It was brain candy meant to fill up a few spare moments, and it was fine…until the checkboxes.

As a fan of the pulp version of Buck Rogers, it was great to see his name on the list.  The article does acknowledge the IP’s deeper roots, but it’s clear that they included Buck as a sop to younger Boomers and older Gex-X types who can’t think of Buck Rogers without thinking of Gil Gerard.  Back in the day, the plots of the 1970s version of Buck Rogers was too sophisticated for this Gen-Xer’s young palette, but the adventure, the space fights, and the sci-fi trappings, and the pew-pew-pew! sure weren’t.  To say nothing of Erin Gray.

Which is all to say that a new Buck Rogers could be great.  There’s room in the market for a throwback style sci-fi, and a return to a wide-eyed, superversive and heroic action style of science-fiction in the new pulp style would be a great ‘same but different’ hook that media executives love because they think it gives them a safe and marketable property.  The writers admit as much.  So chalk one up for the un-named author(s) and authoress(es) of the article, their heart is in the right place.

So why can’t they leave well enough alone?  They are on the right trail, they’re so close to understanding, and they just yank the wheel off into a ditch:

The ultimate fish out of water, space pilot Buck Rogers was frozen in time and woke up in the 25th century. There he fought interplanetary menaces, romanced beautiful women, and lived like disco was never going out of fashion.

The 1970s Buck Rogers was already a remake of an earlier version, but it was a remake that deserves to be remade again. A ripping adventure series, it’s the perfect vehicle for a more light-hearted sort of action and adventure than Battlestar Galactica or Space: Above and Beyond. There’s plenty of fun to be had out of the confusion created by a man centuries out of time – or maybe even a woman. After all, the 1970s show gave us the kickass Wilma Deering, who’s to say we couldn’t have a female version in a Buck Rogers remake?

 Bang!  Car, meet bridge abutment.

Did you see that?  They acknowledge that Wilma Deering kicked ass – and this was made 40 years ago – but that’s still not enough.  The main character has to be female, too!

They honestly believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the one thing that would need to be changed in a Buck Rogers remake is to gender flip the lead.  Let me tell you why that wouldn’t satisfy the very people who are most likely to demand such a pointless change.

You never forget your first crush.

If you turn Buck Rogers into Becky Rogers, then in order to keep the romantic frisson between Buck and Wilma intact, you have to turn Wilma into Wilbur.  That means flipping the roles of the two characters as well.  Now Becky is the fish out of water, lost and confused in the strange modern times of the twenty-fifth century.  That turns Wilbur into the knowledgeable guiding figure.  And that means Wilbur is either a father figure (patriarchy!) or a man leading Becky through her confusion about the wider culture (patriarchy again!). 

The only way out of that quandary is to make Doe so hyper-competent that she doesn’t need Wilbur around at all.  Which sucks all the drama out of the premise.  It completely negates the whole point of the exercise.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Buck was a hero partially because he was able to bring surprising 20th century ideas into the 25th century and show the future folk better ways of doing things.  And you know what those better ways were, don’t you?  The very 20th century middle-American cultural touchstones that the very people who would want a Becky Rogers loathe.  They can’t have that, so they’d have to present the future as a feminist dystopia where Becky teaches the horrible patriarchy a thing or two about how feminism cures everything.

So what’s the problem with that, you ask?  There’s a slew of them.

For one thing, the patriarchy is on the “wrong side of history”.  Showing the patriarchy victorious ranks as a serious no-no amongst the Not-OK crowd.  It also means that Becky Rogers would be the only female character with any real agency, what with women being condemned to the hideous fate of raising children, building a home and a future, and other nightmares such as avoiding decades of drudge work in a cubicle farm.  You can’t have a show where women are oppressed, and at the same time the female characters are all fierce and strong and independent.  Not if you want a show that makes a lick of sense, you can’t.

More to the point, the examples of what you get when you mix gender swapped IPs with feminist screeds are legion.  They’ve tried to make ripping adventures featuring light-hearted action and adventure married to political polemics about the patriarchy and girl power many times before, and every time they do that…you know what happens:

Bombs away!

Honestly, it would be a lot faster and cheaper and more entertaining to just film an actual train-wreck every week and air that instead of a gender flipped Buck Rogers.

Posted in politics, pulpy fun | 2 Comments

Coming Soon: Wyrm’s Bane

The second novella in the Five Dragon’s series should be hitting Amazon with the next few days.  This one features an unlikely dragon slayer – Corbie, a mere slip of a girl who survived a childhood on the streets of a city ruled by vicious and conniving sorcerers.  Her speed and her wits guided her through countless troubles, but they are taxed to their utmost when she is caught between the most powerful army her world has ever seen and the dragon summoned to destroy it.

Corbie sees a narrow path through the two threats that might carry her to her dream of a home far away and a family of her own, but she’ll need help from some odd quarters exact her revenge.

This 25,000 word novella is a light, fun read for less than a buck.  Give it a shot, because if you like it, there’s plenty more coming down the line before the year’s end.

Edit to add:  Kindle moved faster than expected.  This thing is available for purchase right now:

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Pulp Romance

My last post touched on the deft touch Manly Wade Wellman used when writing romance in Who Fears the Devil.  Today, I’d like to talk about it in a little more depth.

First, let’s introduce the contenders.

In the pink slime corner, the massively popular Magic Girl genre which features a bad-ass magic girl in a modern setting beset by monsters.  She doesn’t need no stinking man.  She may be conventionally or unconventionally attractive, but romance is hard for her.  She is shy or awkward or hasn’t got time for a man what with all the monster fighting she has to do.  Also, most guys just don’t understand or can’t handle a badass chick like her. 

In the blue corner, the wonderfully regressive writing of Manly Wade Wellman in which women actually look forward to finding a man to settle down with.  The would-be lovers in these tales are generally young, and generally awkward, and generally that’s because they are kind and decent people who just need a little subtle nudging from their elders to seal the deal they both want to make.

Here’s a great example of how Wellman describes a young couple in the making early in the story:

He jumped up and went out like as if he expected to see angles.  I followed him out, and I reckon it was an angel he figured he saw.

She was a slim girl, but not right small.  In her straight blue dress and canvas shoes, with her yellow curls waterfalled down her back, she was pretty to see.  In one hand she toted a two-gallon bucket.  She smiled, and that smile made Zeb’s knees buck.

Simple, home-spun, and fun.  That’s how it’s done, folks.  Here’s another great example of a feuding couple that reconciles:

Back he turned, and bent down, and she rose up on her toetips so their faces came together.

The rain stopped, the way you’d think that stopped it.  But they never seemed to know it, and I picked up my guitar and went out toward the lip of the cliff.

Tasteful.  Evocative.  Heart warming.  This is how people who aren’t broken on the inside write about love and romance.  This is how people who understand that love is a coming together and not a constant battle for the upper hand write about love and romance.  This is how people who accept the difference between men and women write about love and romance. 

We don’t get a lot of this in our sf/f literature these days, because most sf/f writers are broken people writing about broken people.  They either don’t understand love in the charitable or romantic or chivalrous sense, or they deny the very existence of those three possibilities.  And that shines through in their work – to the detriment of their stories, the genre, literature, and the world.

Let’s try to do better.  Let’s learn a lesson from writers like Manly Wade Wellman.  After all, when you’re lost or at a dead-end, you have to take a step back to where you were before you can forge a new path ahead.

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More on Manly Wade Wellman

Apparently I spoke too soon on the whole, “Who Fears the Devil” thing.  Having finished the book, it’s far more than just a string of creepy Appalachian monster tales. 

For one thing, the book builds as it rolls along.  Every few tales John Silverstrings gets a little more detail added to his description.  When he confronts later supernatural creatures, he uses knowledge learned from earlier confrontations.  John as a character gets a little deeper and a little deeper with each story.

Note the word ‘confronts’ in the previous paragraph.  This isn’t a monster hunter book.  Sometimes John fights monsters – he literally punches them in the jaw.  Sometimes he watches while the monsters deliver some much needed justice to a well deserving scoundrel.  And sometimes John even redeems the monsters.  In at least one case he fixes the monster by fixing the monster up with a wife.  You wouldn’t see that in today’s pink-slime sf/f.

I use the term ‘monsters’ loosely.  Some of these supernatural creatures are true monsters, some are lost wayfarers reminiscent of Lovecraft’s Elder Things, and some are humans corrupted by power.  The classic evil witches and sorcerers in this book are all different from each other and feature some fairly Lovecraft-esque degeneracy, but they are all monstrous in their own way.

The best part of this book, though?  It’s a very uplifting book.

Numerous passages proclaim that the night cannot stand against the day, and even though it is never quoted, the reader is frequently reminded of the passage in the Bible that the gates of hell cannot prevail.  Going into the book, I had thought John’s silver string guitar would be the magic +5 weapon that solves everything, but more often than not it was a non-entity.  Sure, the silver helps.  Sure, the songs of hope and light can drive back the darkness.  But most often, it was John’s simple goodness that guided him down the right path and allowed him to withstand the hurricanes of evil power.

During this haunting season, its nice to be reminded that the monsters have their own fears.  Even the devil himself flees before the light.  It’s great sustenance for the soul in a time when Hollywood is falling all over itself to tell the world that all is darkness and life in meaningless and sometimes monsters kill regular people for no reason and there’s nothing – nothing! – you can do but accept the cold harsh truth of existence and the futility of trying to do right by others.  It’s hard to imagine a book like this being made by the bleak people of Hollywood.  It’s just too darn hopeful.

Even in cases where Hollywood allows for some victory, it must always be transitory.  Witness the long dénouement of the current monster movie golden child – Stranger Things.  Yes, the monster is defeated, but only at great cost.  And!  It planted worm babies in Will’s stomach with it’s throat-dong, so it’s got that going for it.  Seriously, did nobody else notice that this program showed an alien raping a ten year old boy’s face and impregnating the kid in the process?  Fun for the whole family!

Getting back to Manly Wade Wellman…

And the romance!  There’s actually a lot of romance in this book.  A touch of it with John in fine episodic television style, but mainly the romance is between the people John encounters and aids.  It’s all very chaste and very suggested.  Not suggestive, just suggested.  It isn’t overtly in your face, but tasteful and pleasant and…well, romantic.  It stands in stark comparison to what passes for romance in the few Magic Girl books I’ve read.

Really, it’s hard to know where to end this post.  There’s so much right with this book that I wish I could remember who recommended it.  I’d really like to thank them for several hours of fun reading, and a bunch of supernatural tales that didn’t leave me wanting to take a shower to rid myself of the clinging stink of evil.

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The Pulp Archivist

I shouldn’t be telling you this.  It feels a bit like a magician giving away his secrets.  Most of what I write here is a response to or inspired by other bloggers.  If you start reading those bloggers, you might have less use for me.  If that’s so, so be it.  Far better for you to get the words straight from the horse’s mouth* than to get it through my own off-centered filter.

Fellow traveler and fellow contributor to the Puppy of the Month Book Club, Nathan Housley, has his own blog up and running now.  It’s called, The Pulp Archivist, and it’s well worth a follow.  I particularly appreciated his pointing to Dean Wesley Smith’s analysis of pulp writing speed

Nathan’s thoughts helped put the Lester Dent Formula into context for me:

He describes various levels, up to Pulp Speed Six, or 2,000,000 original words per year.  That’s more words in one year than G. R. R. Martin has published for the entire Song of Ice and Fire series over the course of twenty years.  Those levels of production explain the pulps’ reliance on structures and formulas, as organization assists in creation.  When you’re relying on one cent a word to pay the bills, streamlining the creative process is a must.

He also delves into the classic pulp works, both written and spoken.  If you love the pulps, and if you appreciate his detailed write-ups at the Puppy of the Month as much as I do, you should be reading his blog on the regular. 

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Who Fears the Devil

Caught up in too much work, too much writing, too much pulp revolutioning, too much wargaming, and too much fathering, what’s a man to do?

Combine them as much as possible.  I wargame with my teen son and tween daughter.  (If you stretch the definition a bit, I even wargame with my three year old.)  I read Cirsova to my four year old, and now thanks to a G+ recommendation, I read Manly Wade Wellman to my four year old, too.  It’s October, so it’s time for a little creepy story telling. Also, these tales are a part of our cultural heritage – at least while we still have our own culture, anyway – and after reading the Hobbit several times over to each of the older kids, it’s time to expand our horizons beyond the Tolkien.

Silver John is a wandering troubadour of the Appalachian country, and Manly Wade brings you the stories of his encounters with the monsters of Americana.  Most of these stories were published in the old pulp magazine Planet Stories, and so they may be available for free somewhere on the internet, but it was worth the three dollar price point to save the hassle of finding them, collecting them, and wrestling them onto my ancient cell phone.  (Late 2014 is Babylonian-style ancient in cell phone years.  I’m using a museum piece.)

These are some fun little stories.  The monsters of each story are not like the standard humanoid theme and variation that you see in most modern fantasy, nor are they simple European Grimm’s tales moved over to the New World.  Of course, you do see Appalachian style witches, but for the most part these are unique critters vaguely described and organically grown out of the rocky Appalachian soil.  Wellman has a gift for character descriptions that provide detailed characterizations and set the stage for the story to follow, and the downhome style of speech used by the first person narrator is note perfect for the stories he tells.

If you love short fiction, and are in the mood for some atmospheric and moody Creepshow style monster tales, this is well worth a shot.

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Chasing Rainbow Colored Unicorns

Visual representation of the perfect media
that won’t be attacked by anyone

If you write it, they will come.

 
If they weren’t so vile, you might be able to actually feel some pity for the six major media companies.  It’s easy to bang on major media production companies like Marvel, ESPN, DC, and the Big Five NY Publishing Houses.  The quality of their product has plummeted drastically over the years as their commitment to avoiding criticism has led them down one blind alley after another.  It’s fun to gloat over the falling viewership (and concomitant ad revenues) of an NFL bending their knee to movements like Black Lives Matter.  Watching the share of readership that the Big Five Publishers possess shrink year after year warms the cockles of one’s heart.  Seeing the failure of a blatant attempt to please the Right People like GhostbusTa-Tas is enough to make one cackle like Montgomery J. Burns after releasing the hounds.
 
But let’s not forget that these are all smaller members of the Big Six: Comcast, Disney, Time Warner, CBS, Viacom, and 21st Century Fox.  These little failures represent a larger trend, and have at their root the same basic cause:  Companies seeking to maximize profits by maximizing appeal, and who think that maximizing appeal means catering to the whims of a very few people sheltered deep within the confines of gated coastal communities.  Their current whim is the pursuit of perfection by including just the right mix of people that ensure that they won’t get criticized for leaving anyone out.
 
These media companies are chasing rainbows*.  Actually, its more like chasing unicorns.  Unicorns are perfect creatures that don’t exist and which can’t ever be caught.  The perfect demographic balance, and the perfect socio-political message that will keep you safe from criticism is also a mythical beast that remains forever out of reach.  Forget the fact that our society has mutated into a strange thing where taking offense is now considered a heroic act worthy of attention and financial remuneration.  Even ignoring that bizarre aspect of modern life, you simply can’t please everyone.
 
So why bother?

If you like something, if you’re passionate enough about a story or comic or video to spend the time crafting it, then somewhere out there is another soul that feels at least passionate enough about that thing you made to read or watch it.  And he has friends he’ll tell about it.  And some of them will do the same.  Keep plugging away at what you like, and the audience will follow. 

It may not be a big audience.  It won’t be an audience consisting of every man, woman, child, citizen, and illegal immigrant in the country, but it’ll be big enough to keep you motivated.  And maybe, if you’re really good at what you do, you can even make an audience for that odd little thing you created.

George Lucas did it.  Bill gates did it.  Even Gygax** did it.  You can probably do it, too.

You see, the big dogs have a lot of people to please.  They have to worry about the shareholders and the board members and the vice-presidents and the producers and the major media critics and if any of them get skittish, the whole project collapses.  The only way to please them all is to produce the sort of bland media that bores people to death.

You think the Sharknado guys worry about criticism?  Heck no – they think a tornado full of sharks is awesome, so they make a tornado full of sharks.  For years those guys labored on low-budget sci-fi trash that was most frequently rented out on accident.  But they kept on making movies that everyone likes and now the entire country knows who they are.  Sure, they may know them as ‘those Sharknado guys’, but I can think of a lot of worse things to have carved on your tombstone.

So stop worrying about the dullards and the average man, and just write what you love.  You’ll die a lot happier broke and laughing about the fun you had burying author names in your stories than will a wealthy man who wrote boring tales meant to appeal to people you despise.

Besides, once you build your audience, you can always sell out to the big boys later at a much higher price than if you sell your soul to them when you’re a complete unknown.

That’s my plan, anyway.  Sell out for big bucks then slowly produce shoddy material once I’m rolling in the big dough.  I’d name that plan after myself, but Scalzi beat me to it.

* See what I did there?

** I love that all you need to hear is his last name and you know exactly who I’m talking about almost as much as I love footnotes.
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