September 14th, 2003

Dark Tower

(no subject)

Bought the recent d20 sourcebook from Hogshead covering the Mafia this week. Looks pretty interesting, especially if they fill out all the aspects of crime and crime fighting in the series. I bet they're worried about Wizards of the Coast new rules for d20, where they can pull the licence from 'inappropriate content'.

Also bought two old Eden Odyssey products from the MilSims sale. This is part of a semi-random effort to gather elements for an upcoming d20 game I'm thinking about. (Potential players don't follow link!) I think Akrasia especially has got good potential as a nonstandard threat for an 'adventuring party'.
Dark Tower

Magic Casements

We went to Magic Casements yesterday, a Spec-Fic festival organised by the NSW Writers Centre and Ted Scribner. It was great... interesting people and good panels.

We saw Caiseal Mor and Louise Katz talk about inspiration. I haven't read either of their works, but wouldn't mind tracking it down (one day...) I'm no so much into straight Celtic myth, but Caiseal did a good job showing why he's a good one to write it. The back cover of Katz' The Other Face of Janus also seemed an interesting variant on the modern fantasy splurge.

There was a big panel from Bill Congreve, James Cain, Stephanie Smith of HarperCollins, Leigh Blackmore and Cat Sparks (and chaired by Van Iken who has done great things, but I don't think I've met before). Some very busy and highly organised people there, talking about what was selling and what was being accepted. I thought Stephanie was being somewhat cagey about what HarperCollins was taking at the moment, but in a supportive way which was probably for the best. Lastly, I saw Kyla and others (Michelle Marquardt, benpeek and Deb Biancotti) talk about being 'emerging writers', which gave all sorts of interesting tips on presentation, agents, markets, manuscript assessment, beating frustration and the like. The actual audiences for all these sessions were pretty much full, and good questions were asked. There seemed to be a fair few people who don't turn up to all the SF events as well, brought in via the Writers Centre.

Also caught up (in a hanging-around-looking-stunned kind of way) with various people I don't see all that often, especially since I haven't been going to the Infinitas writing circle. Speaking of Infinitas, Bill was selling stuff and looked to be doing pretty well.

The sum total of that was a successful day, so I hope it happens again next year.
Dark Tower

Interesting Times

Here's a fascinating article from the Philadelphia Daily News, of all places (as found from Michael Moore's site, which might give you a gist of whether or not George W would be pleased):

http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/6742902.htm

Meanwhile a rather older excerpt from Translating LA by Peter Theroux (W. W. Norton, New York, 1994), a memoir and history of the city by a translator of Arabic (not to be confused with the better-known novelist Paul Theroux). The author is at his first Hollywood party:
I got talking to a Creative Affairs executive from RKO Pictures about how influential American movies were abroad, but the megasmashes tended to be trash. I was thinking of the runaway successes of the Rambo and Rocky films in places like Lebanon. Terrorists seems to thrive on Hollywood's most violent fare. It stoked both their fascination and resentment of America. He nodded.

"High concept. Teen shit--foreigners love it. The better written stuff is too hard to follow in the Third World. It's an important market, now, especially for videocassette sales. Too bad it makes them think less of us. But heck, it's their taste we're catering to."

I had not thought of it as a vicious circle, but here it was from the horse's mouth, smack in the heart of Hollywood Babylon itself. I got some food.