Not really. I think I had that in mind when I conceived the episode, but when it came time to do the recording, we were far more even-handed. Kevin Smith has moved beyond his View Askew films from the 90’s, and although he’s done other things the universal critical consensus is that he’s never really grown as a filmmaker. So our conversation gets into the Why of that. We have some pretty interesting conclusions.
I’m adding a bunch of links this time, from a variety of our distribution channels. First Spotify:
We have a series of agreements about film adaptations of Arthurian Legend, beginning with The Green Knight and ending with John Boorman's Excalibur, which is objectively the best King Arthur movie. You can disagree, but you're wrong.
Also there’s Podchaser. Regardless of what channel you prefer, make sure you Like and Subscribe. That’s the kind of data that creators need, not only because it gives us an idea of what content is really connecting with our audience, but because a little positive affirmation goes a long way in keeping us going. With that in mind, have you considered dropping a few coin on Unnamed Journal? We’re available on Gumroad, Amazon, and you get access to all content if you subscribe to our Patreon!
Every now and again, because I do not learn, I google the phrase “winds of winter”, the title for the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (remember Game of Thrones?). I do this because, nine years ago, I did this for “A Dance With Dragons” and happened to catch a blurblet that Martin’s publisher was expecting the book in a short time, or that it was mostly finished, or that it had indeed been turned in, or something like that.
Click on it, to bring yourself to a vision of the nadir of journalism.
George RR Martin’s latest blog update arrived this week headed by an image saying “Winter Is Coming”. It’s not clear if this is the 72-year-old’s way of teasing that he’s approaching the finishing line, but the rest of his post may provide some clues nonetheless.
UK Daily Express, “Winds of Winter Progress”
Every journalist who uses the word “may” should be beaten with a tire iron and left in the desert. Spoilers: this article provides no clues, nor does the blog post it’s using as a source. That’s right, a newspaper that’s been around since 1900, is now farming clickbait out of George RR Martin’s pseudo-livejournal. It’s over, guys. The Matrix won.
But don’t take my word for it, I’m just a regular blogger and writer. I haven’t made millions shoving Robert Howard tropes into high fantasy and then left my fans twisting in the wind. Look at it yourself: Not-a-Blogging
Way back when on LiveJournal, when I started this column or journal or whatever it is, I called it my “Not A Blog,” because I could see that regular blogging was a lot of work, and I didn’t think I had the time to devote to it. I was late on a book even then, though I do not recall which one. I figured I would just make posts from time to time, when I had an important announcement, when the mood struck me, whatever.
People this is news to: 0
Number of words: 85
I might be starting to understand the problem.
I am hugely behind right now, and the prospect of trying to catch up is feeling increasingly oppressive.
After nine years of waiting for you not to complete, but just to organize the third act of this series, following a year the entire world spent inside, this is not what anyone wants to hear. Yeah, it must be tyranny itself to have to find ways to balance time writing against time spent on that day job you don’t have or taking care of kids you don’t have. Maybe an hour less swimming in your pile of money like Scrooge McDuck? I don’t wanna mess with your flow or nuthin’.
My life has become one of extremes these past few months. Some days I do not know whether to laugh or cry, to shoot off fireworks and dance in the streets or crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. The good stuff that has been happening to me has been very very very good, the kind of thing that will make a year, or a career. But the bad stuff that is happening has been very very very bad, and it is hard to cherish the good and feel the joy when the shadows are all around.
Gotcha, good is good, bad is bad.
Tell me more about how Tolkein’s universe is morally simplistic.
If any of you read the stories about me on the internet, you will know my good news. I have a new five-year deal with HBO, to create new GOT successor shows (and some non-related series, like ROADMARKS) for both HBO and HBO Max. It’s an incredible deal, an amazing deal, very exciting, and I want to tell you all about it… although it seems the press has already done it. There are stories in all the trades. You can read about it there. (These days I almost never get to break any news about myself, the Hollywood press is always ahead of me. Some of their stories are even accurate). I will blog about it, I expect, but not today.
Good for you on your continuing exploitation of a series that a) is still unfinished, b) led to a show whose ending retroactively tainted the entire enterprise. I can’t tell you how excited I am to discover that there will be GoT prequels for nerds to get even madder about. Zippity. Do. Dah.
Also, why not blog about it? The hell else are you doing?
On the other side of the coin… well, I am now fully vaccinated, hurrah hurray, that’s good. However, I have now lost six friends since November. (Only a couple to Covid. Alas, I am old, and so are many of my friends. Valar morghulis, I guess). And a seventh friend, a very old and dear friend who has been a huge part of my life for a long time, is in the hospital, very sick, recovering from surgery… at least we hope he is recovering.
Sorry for your loss.
That’s all. I’m not a ghoul.
Honestly, it is hard to dance in the streets even for the deal of a lifetime when another loved one dies every two/ three weeks, and that has been going on for me since November, when my longtime editor Kay McCauley passed away.
If only there were some large project you could channels your energies into.
There’s lots more going on as well. Meow Wolf stuff. Railroad stuff. Beastly Books has reopened, but the JCC is still shuttered. The Jets traded Sam Darnold away. I am going to be leaving my cabin in a couple of months. I am close to delivering PAIRING UP, a brand new Wild Cards book.
I don’t know what Meow Wolf is. It sounds like a joke I don’t want to get.
I don’t know what Beastly Books is. I’m guessing it’s a store. I live on the other side of the country from you, so I don’t care.
I don’t know what the JCC is.
You are the only man on earth who cares about the Jets.
I wish I had a cabin. You know what I would do there? WRITE BOOKS.
And he has to close with the one bit of news guaranteed to Red-Wedding the hopes of anyone mildly intrigued by the direwolf sigil that appears on top of the post (which The Daily Express found so interesting). Every time George R.R. Martin blogs about Wild Cards, a Stark child dies at the hands of his enemies. So good to know that in between mourning his friends and signing his checks, Martin finds the time to edit the latest entry in a series 0.00000000000000011% of his audience cares about. I’ll bet if I had those kind of customer appreciation strategies, I’d be a bestselling author, too.
I will tell you about some of this, I guess. But not today.
What a Cliffhanger, you guys! I’ll just have to subscribe to your notablog so I can get the hot insights about the next derivative HBO series I won’t watch or dithering analysis of the Jets lineup or what glorified Funko-Pops based on GoT characters are now available. It’s a good thing the only reason I ever read this meandering tripe isn’t because I’m waiting for you to announce that you’ve finally finished the book you’ve been working on since my tween daughter was a zygote. I might be mad.
Some of you might be thinking, you know, I think he actually is mad. You know what, you’re right. I’m mad that this guy can’t ever scribble on his blog without reminding us that he doesn’t want to have a blog and then demonstrate why he shouldn’t. I’m mad that this guy vomits this non-tent and the media acts like a new layer of the Rosetta Stone just got unearthed.
Basically, I’m mad ’cause I’m jealous. Which is a low, unworthy emotion, speaking more about me than anyone else, that I will forthwith remove from my soul.
We’ve got Swords, Sorcery, and Pirates in The Skeleton King, codes of cat combat in Catakure, A morning of yogurt and pan-dimensional alien invasions in Ale-Man Blues, and Ghost Raid, a mystical take on a Western standard.
This is an experimental issue of sorts. Skeleton King is a Tygg and Drea story, but I tried some other moves with it, kept the action pretty streamlined. Catakure: Combat is also the return of a series. But with Ale-Man Blues I definitely played around with meta-structure. A bit brain-twisty, according to our art director. Ghost Raid injects fantasy elements into the Western genre, but keeps it pretty grounded by putting the natives at the center. It’s a good start to our new volume.
What you’re looking at here is the standalone stories from Volumes 2, 3, and 4 of Unnamed Journal. These include some very weird tales and some hilarious pieces as well. We’ve got Kaiser Wilhelm yelling at his generals in “How I’m Pretty Sure World War I Started”. We’ve got a strange love affair with a scarecrow in “Lost in the Cold, Strange Pleasure of the Night”. And perhaps my favorite piece, a primordial bureaucracy harnessing the typing power of simians to create the boundaries of reality in “Infinite Monkey Union.”
It’s on the Shallow & Pedantic Patreon, available to all Patrons, for the next 10 days. If you’ve ever thought about subscribing, now’s the time. Subscriptions are $1/month at the basic level, $2/month for upper-tier (which gives you early access to podcasts and other things).
We’re also going to make it available for direct-sale on our Gumroad for $5 even, starting next week. Now might be a good time to pick up our most recent issue. Use the discount code “uj23” to get $1 off.
This went up on the Patreon last week for subscribers, and went up on iTunes and Spotify not long after. It a podcast in theme of earlier episodes: exploring the gulf between a novel and its film adapation (in this case, The Shining) and what it is that Horror does. There’s some loud mike action in the early part of the episode: we were recording through masks and Mike brought his a little too close. But that evens out after the first stinger.
Now would be a good time to repost that Patreon link. There’s a new issue of Unnamed Journal out this month, and the way to get it is to be a subscriber ($1 a month) or buy it direct from our Gumroad. More on this in the coming days.
Currently, I’m trying to launch a brand. I dislike that phrase but there it is. I’ve set up the following things:
A YouTube Channel
A Gumroad (soon)
Additionally, I’m producing content for the next issue of UJ (out next month), and I’m trying to grease the creative wheels on a novel I’ve started. This is a lot for one man to do, when he has a household to manage.
On top of this, I’m doing it with minimal support. We have our fans, and even Patrons, but we don’t have a publishing house or an agency or even a website. We are a fart in a hurricane attempting, at this point, to be a louder fart.
This cannot but cause frustration. That feeling of shouting into a void. So the other thing I must manage is the black dog, which comes sniffing around the barn at odd hours and making a pest of himself. The struggle to be heard in the internet age is a real struggle.
There’s a book I’m reading related to this, called Deep Work, which I’ve started but put down so I could finish The Shining (more on that in another blog). It’s only tangentially about the internet and more about the way one needs to manage one’s time and inputs in order to do truly ground-breaking work. It has given me insight. While I’ve enjoyed reading the stuff that’s been created for the UJ Singles Collection (coming soon!), I can’t help but feel the wish to get to the next level. As my post about critics argued, art must come from artists, so the art can only reflect the artist. If the artist is distracted, what happens?
I’ve talked about this before, but it’s becoming official.
The last free issue of Unnamed Journal has gone live. It’s available on Joomag. We’ve had great fun building and growing the magazine, and now it’s time for the next phase.
Our Patreon is going to go live next. The plan is to have Subscribers have access to new issues, plus early access to our other content and other type things. I’ll be detailing this in a later post, with links.
Additionally, for people who prefer to buy direct, we’ll be setting up an account on Gumroad to sell
other books and stories
That’s going to be in a few months, when the next issue goes live there. In the meantime, let’s get this party started.