So Party at the Last Tomorrow has had its moment. I got some good feedback on it, and I’m pleased that it picked up as much interest as it did. A Kindle Countdown deal suggested to me that I’m pricing these novellas too high. I’ve already dropped the price on The Devil Left Him to $3.99, I may drop Last Tomorrow as well, and price Void accordingly when it comes out.
In other news, I’ve shuffled something of my Medium profile around, removed some publications that weren’t doing anything, and created a new one: Pop Culture is Filth, to review and discuss the various arts. The title is ironic, I think.
This is a more relevant story that it might seem at first glance: the film doesn’t just cut into the difficulties of being a missionary in a foreign land, or in the clanging misunderstandings of East and West. It cuts right into the question of how far a culture can go to defend itself. Japan in the 16th century attacked Christianity largely because it judged Christianity as too foreign to gel with its existing conception of itself. Japan would not be Japan if it was Christian, the Tokugawa shoguns determined, and those that felt otherwise were brutally suppressed. The film highlights the sufferings of poor Japanese Christians who suffered for the sake of a vision of a deity that lifted them up.
In the process, however, it rather failed to give its heroes the strength of their best possible argument, and so somewhat undercut itself.
There’s some significant changes happening to Unnamed Journal, too. More on that later.
Conan is somewhat more deep and complex than the cartoon image of a brute in a bearskin loincloth found the popular imagination, with a dancing girl clutching his brawny thigh and a devil-beast dying under his bloody ax. The theme and philosophy he represents is not the product of adolescent neurosis (as certain bitter critics would have us believe) but of somber, even cynical, reflection on the age of the world, the costs of civilization, and the frailty of man.
You really have to read the original Conan stories to understand what there was about the character and the stories he enlivened to make him still a household name, 80 years later. For my part, the more I have read them, the more I have come to appreciate the vitality of them, and the flexibility of the character:
Conan is, in Wright’s estimation, a product of Theosophy’s pagan theories of eternal recursion:
the world of successive cataclysms captures the grim mood of the Hindu mystic, where a Kali Yuga routinely wipes out all life in the universe, only to have it start again. The Ecpyrosis of the Roman Stoics was the same idea, and said the whole cosmos periodically burned to ash and was reborn. And the successive destructions whispered in Aztec legends, where different generations of man and god alike are obliterated, all these and others capture the pagan spirit and atmosphere needed for the Hyborian Age of Conan.
In this way, Conan is something like an avatar of Shiva, or at the very least of Ares, the Greek troublemaker and brawler.
I recently picked up Wright’s Count to a Trillion, the start of one of his spacefaring trilogies. I haven’t cracked it open yet, but I hope to soon.
Well written. Muse is Everyman on a subterranean journey. Clever use of language to create a world to fear and dread.
That’s a solid summation of what I was going for.
In other news, I have been trying for a week to get Last Tomorrow available on Paperback, and I’m having no luck. Every time I set it up, the thing goes into review, and then I get an email from Amazon saying I need to fix this issue before I can go live, and then the paperback goes back into draft form. The claimed issue is:
Text on the cover is outside of the live graphics area
I am completely confused as to what that means. There’s a link that goes to their help files, which are way too general to be helpful. I assumed that to mean my cover was too big, as I’m using the same cover image as for the ebook, only set on the front cover area. So I resized it. Still the same issue. I’m starting to think it’s some kind of bug. I’ve sent Amazon a help request, we’ll see what happens.
It took a lot longer than expected, but she’s up and she’s ready to meet the world. It’s very gratifying to see an idea that sat as a mere aspiration in the back of my head come to life. I’ve sweated over it, and it’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever written.
This lovely strange trip of a book is done and I’m ready to push the baby bird out the nest.
This is a story I’ve been imagining and tweaking with for some time. It’s time for it to meet the world.
Watch this space.
“I turn the wheel that spins. I delight to see the high come down and the low ascend. Mount up, if thou wilt, but only on condition that thou wilt not think it a hardship to come down when the rules of my game require it.”