Electron Dance
25Jan/13Off

Pause: January Ramblings

Change in the Air

So a few changes to the site this year.

  • Link Drag. The plan was to share a little of the traffic love that the internet had granted me. I tried hard to produce a nice summary and a catchy extract for each chosen link, something to encourage readers to click onwards. This took almost as much time as a proper Tuesday post. Still, the stats do not lie. They tell me that Link Drag has never been that popular and the numbers clicking through to elsewhere were even smaller. Like video work, I don't think this is worth the time I've been devoting to it so, for now, I'm suspending Link Drag.
  • Dialogue Tree. Eric's interviews have been moved to Thursday to put some more space between the interview and the Tuesday post. It also gives me a little more time to get them ready for posting.
  • Counterweight. Eric and I are trying out a new podcast format and we're not sure how well it is all going to work. This will normally fill the Tuesday slot. We hope to do one a month, but no promises. It would also be good if we could argue more, with a sprinkling of violence.
  • I rearranged all the links in the sidebar recently - now you'll find a small section for developers. Quality is better than quantity so I'm fairly aggressive in scrubbing out links that have stopped posting regularly. Mind you, sidebar links are more symbolic than consequential. Really, who clicks through a blogroll section these days? Remember, the stats do not lie. I know the truth! You can't handle the truth!
  • Eric Brasure has not been elevated to "co-editor" or "backup writer" or anything. His status is still slave.

There are also a handful of readers (less than ten) signed up to e-mail alerts. Is this because no one wants an e-mail subscription or is it because no one knows e-mail subscription exists? Just wondering.

IndieCade East

I've talked about this briefly on Twitter but just to let y'all know, I am heading to IndieCade East next month.

I'll be travelling out to NY on Thursday Feb 14 and will be in town until the following Monday afternoon. I will be staying with Eric Brasure who has generously offered accommodation.

I hope you appreciate the weighty ramifications here. It means I will be missing Valentine's Day with Mrs. HM.

I'm principally going to IndieCade for a celebratory high-five with Richard Hofmeier after the IGF nominations, but I will probably try to shake an article out of this somehow.

Too Late

I can't remember when I wrote the short story Harbinger. Early 90s I think, maybe earlier.

In this story, our protagonist awakes in the dark. And he's drowning in water. Fortunately he escapes and we figure out he's on one of the moons of Mars. He's been sent by the company who discovered teleportation, a secret they kept to themselves. As a result, they have a veritable monopoly on doing stuff in outer space.

Anyway, they made a Martian space station for rich tourists and their own scientists and engineers. But there's been no contact for a week and transport to the station isn't working. They send the protagonist to an emergency backdoor transport on Deimos. It was secretly built to handle just this kind of scenario.

Our little secret agent uses a shuttle to get to the space station and finds it deserted and somewhat looted. The people? Aside from a couple of corpses... everyone is missing. There's only one place all of the people could have gone. The Harbinger.

The company's teleportation technology only works on people so the company uses a massive freighter, called Harbinger, to shuttle physical materials back and forth between Earth and Mars. Now, the freighter left Mars on schedule, after contact with the space station went dead. Our agent jumps on his shuttle and catches up with the Harbinger before it gets too far away.

And there, indeed, he discovers all of the missing people, alive. At first, they beat the crap out of him and then they tell him the truth. They explain why they've chosen to stowaway on Harbinger. And the awful truth, the goddamned awful truth...

...and last week I watched Moon starring Sam Rockwell. Bollocks. THERE GOES THAT EXCITING LAST PAGE TWIST.

The moral of the story is to publish your fiction today not twenty years later.

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Comments (20) Trackbacks (0)
  1. RIP Link Drag. I found some cool stuff via those, and we still occasionally get clickthroughs via them. But I suppose I can just subscribe to more sites myself. ;)

    Huzzah for more podcasts. Are you looking at getting an iTunes feed for that? I know I sound like a broken record on that point but I’ve got a backlog of feedless casts from ED and CD that I’ve not yet listened to, because I keep forgetting to manually add them to iTunes and my iPod. Am sure I’m not the only one who cherishes convenience with this format.

    I don’t think any of my short stories have been good enough to accidentally anticipate anything else. Bummer, though. I hope your protagonist was eerily similar in appearance and mannerisms to Sam Rockwell. In for a penny…

  2. @Shaun

    I’ve still got a pile of unused links I was preparing to post (including Jonathan McCalmont’s wonderful “XCOM is not a boss fight” piece on Arcadian Rhythms) but I spent hours on what is, ostensibly, just a few links. It just got a bit stupid. If I was sending fifty clicks to a site, then I’d carry on. Link Drag might return once Electron Dance triples its traffic. I’m not being funny; the traffic rises all the time.

    Eric is sorting out a Counterweight iTunes feed and that will be added to the posts once it is up and running.

    You don’t know the half of it. One of my half-fleshed out novels – which is available online – bears some resemblance to Channel 4’s Utopia. The stories are different but there’s of fusion of elements that makes me feel uncomfortable: dysfunctional group on the run, a pair of killers giving chase, a saviour who seems just as bad as the bad guys. If I had time, I would go back and finish one of these many novels. (I’m uncomfortable pointing you to the unfinished online version because I am a different writer now and would change so much. But hey, consider it my Writing Made Me story.)

  3. You deserve the rising traffic. I’m continually impressed that a (mostly) one-man site produces content of the quality and quantity I see on ED. Basically, I hate you.

    Wonderful news about the feed.

    I forgot that your old writing blog is still online. I shall have a read sometime. I feel that I should extend the same slightly-uncomfortable offer as I’m in the process of publishing my fairly naff old stories on http://www.nostalgiaforinfinity.com. I’m not sure if I’ll get back into writing fiction any time soon, but it’s been an eye-opening experience re-reading these and recognising how much I’ve improved as a writer.

  4. Hah, I’d still like to read Harbinger. I still remember spending weeks of workdays trawling through Hammerport to catch up on everything there, I love your sci-fi writing.

  5. @Shaun

    Really, don’t push yourself to read it. I finally took Hammerport off the About/Who Writes Electron Dance page just this week. If I do get some more fiction out there, you’ll be sure I’ll be shouting about it! For me, it’s interesting to see the first Alpha and Omega story, Truth Is Ghost, look so flawed with heaps of omniscient voice mixed up with over-wrought metaphors. That starts to improve substantially in the continuing instalments, The Crane and In the Hands of Others. And I’d still redo all that stuff. If this warning still doesn’t make you flinch, here’s another one: none of the long-term stories on Hammerport (Paragon, Mission, Game, Equation, Alpha and Omega) have a conclusion because I called time on the site before the 20 years required to finish all of the stories.

    Don’t worry Shaun, I still check in on NfI every now and then =) Thanks for the hate.

    @Switchbreak

    I knew you’d read a bit but I had no idea you read so much. I’m sorry you didn’t get to hear how any of the stories were meant to end! Harbinger, in contrast, is pretty old. It only exists on paper and, if I could find it, I doubt it is great read. A fine mystery possibly, but not a great read =)

  6. @ShaunCG Just to add a little more information about the iTunes feed for Counterweight: I submitted it on Tuesday, but Apple is being extra-slow about approving podcasts apparently. When it is approved I will post the link here, and I’m sure Joel will edit the episode post.

  7. I hope I can meet with you at Indiecade! We are driving in for just one day (Saturday) because I’m bringing along my husband.

  8. “Is this because no one wants an e-mail subscription or is it because no one knows e-mail subscription exists?”

    No one wants an e-mail subscription. Takes the sport out of it. As does your regular publishing schedule — how am I going to goof off by surfing by three times a day to see what you’ve published if you just publish on the same day every week?

    I too will miss Link Drag but stats, like hips, don’t lie. Unless you want them to.

  9. Amanda, I’m trying not to read that sentence as “dragging along my husband” because it seems to demand it. I’m not sure what to do for communication when I get to NY. Any suggestions? Can I pick up a temporary mobile when I get to the US?

    Matt, thanks for clearing that up. The question was prompted as I noticed someone had searched for the word “register” recently.

    Again, Link Drag is merely suspended; once I feel I have a MAGICK POWER to send traffic to other sites, I’ll probably start it up again. The site readership is virtually always upward and growth is virtually always slow. I was expecting a more exponential growth curve – more readers, means more word-of-mouth – but we’re still stuck in part of the curve which seems pretty linear to me.

  10. Well, that’s just me. Don’t take me as typical, I don’t know that most people like to treat reading blogs as a magic procrastinatory game of chance.

    I did forget to mention the “I already get enough e-mails” factor, which I was reminded of when I forgot to unclick the “send me an e-mail when someone posts a new comment” feature on this. (I know, if I click “Manage” it will let me stop that. But that’s cheating!)

  11. “subscriptions

    To manage your subscriptions, please enter your email address here below. We will send you a message containing the link to access your personal management page.”

    WUT

  12. @HM
    LOL. Yeah, it’s kind of a role reversal thing. “okay honey we can do one day at your game thing” :)

    If you don’t have a cell that will work, they do have pre-paid ‘disposable’ mobiles but I’m not entirely sure how that works (like if you have to walk into a Walmart to get them or something, which will be hard in the middle of NYC). The internet has some info: http://www.pingo.com/blog/index.php/buy-temporary-disposable-cell-phones-to-make-international-calls-while-traveling-abroad/

  13. @HM
    I think it didn’t like my last comment because I posted a link, but try searching “disposable cell phones” – there should be a buyer’s guide.

    As for “dragging along my husband”, yep, kind of :) It’s a role reversal situation in a way.

  14. @Eric: hey, that’s great! Yeah, they were slow for us at first too. They take a while to approve you, then a while to publish your first ‘casts, but once you’ve done a few they seem to process much faster. Mind you, you probably know that already from Dialogue Tree. :)

    @HM: I just realised I insensibly neglected to comment on your trip to NY for IndieCade. Kind of an inverse Cat’s Away, huh? I hope Mrs HM is onboard with everything.

    Re. Hammerport, I won’t pretend I plan to read anything soon, but I’ve bookmarked the A&O category and will dip in every now and then. Thanks to modern technology I can do so on my phone these days. (What an old man I feel, astounded and blinking at now-commonplace tech, wondering how I ever got away with writing SF.)

  15. @Shaun

    Re: Cat’s Away. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing video because this trip to IndieCade East is likely to be a pretty rare experience… but my heart just isn’t in it. It’ll complicate the trip and then chow down on my free time post-event trying to edit two hours of video into five minutes for 15 views. I will probably take my voice recorder, though.

    I’m determined to expand Alpha and Omega into the full blown novel it was supposed to be. You know, when I get time. I know everything that is supposed to happen in that story, start to finish.

    @Amanda

    Thanks! I’ll sort something out. I’ll have to try to shake people down for their contact numbers before I leave.

    @Matt

    I’ve done some site cleanup recently but one of those things that keeps me up at night is whether I should find a new comment subscription system. *sigh*

  16. Oh, it’s nothing — I just thought it ironic that I was idly wondering whether I should try to unsubscribe to cut down on my e-mails, and the first thing I saw was…. This seems like the sort of thing about a site that I, for one, would just take out of the box and not put any more effort into. (Well, I also don’t put any effort into writing posts.)

  17. HM, what is that picture of at the bottom?

    Great to hear you finally watched Moon, it’s easily one of my favourite science fiction films. And sorry to hear about Duncan Jones stealing your ending, the bastard. Hey, it was a terrific ending though so well done!

    I stumbled across this recently which I thought was pretty cool: http://blog.manmademovies.co.uk/tag/scumm/

  18. I see ‘catsaway1’ 2, 3, etc. ‘at a distance’, ‘jumpman’, ‘Mother’, ‘fotonica’ — videos and sounds and obviously a graphic. It’s editing software of some sort and ‘WIP’? Hmm…

  19. That SCUMM link is awesome – but would you actually play it?

    I cannot comment on the picture at this time. Not even in the alt text.


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