Category: Essay

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Life on Thin Ice: Updating my Progress on The Witness Trilogy

Commenting on a work-in-progress is always risky. Whatever the author says is going to run headlong into fan expectation like a ’65 Delmont 88 slamming into a wall. The car’s enough of a tank to go through that wall, but there will be a dent or two, and when the dust finally clears, there might…
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Chaos in the Writing Room! The Ongoing Clusterfuck that is Star Trek: Discovery

[NB: This critique was written prior to Episode Six, Season Two.  That particular episode has done nothing to change my mind.] Did I really use that word in my title?  I searched high and low for an alternative, something, anything to describe what has been done to my beloved Star Trek.  But nothing else quite…
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Screw Your Hero, What Does The Sidekick Think?

POV Part Two (read Part One here) Just a few words to clarify the notion of psychic distance in fiction.  It’s been noted by readers of this essay’s first part that psychic distance can come into play when fashioning the relationship between characters, as it relates to selecting a POV.  Anomander Rake was elevated by…
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Anomander Rake and Point of View

My very first draft of Gardens of the Moon stalled after about three pages.  I spent ten minutes re-reading what I’d written to that point, and then I hit the delete button.  Not a typical start for me.  By this point I’d done an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing at the University of Victoria and…
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Ancient Astronaut Theorists Say Yes (an indirect primer to Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart)

  Imagine a First Contact without contact, and an arrival of aliens where no aliens show up. Imagine the sudden appearance of Exclusion Zones all over the planet, into which no humans are allowed. Imagine an end to all violence, from the abusive husband down the street to nations at war.  Imagine an end to borders,…
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Needle and thread

Characterization: Part One

My academic friends often decry the general trend away from the teaching of literature in colleges and universities (well, all the humanities, in fact) as our world rushes into a new value system that surrenders nuance to polarization, veracity to opinion, and discourse to the reactionary. One of the things I see a lot of,…
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On Authorial Intent

Years ago, when I first began my study of writing, I was both fortunate and cursed to land, right off the bat, a spectacularly good workshop teacher for fiction. My initiation into the craft of writing was through a teacher and mentor who knew precisely what he was doing, and by that I mean, he…
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The Problem of Karsa Orlong

To say that, among all the characters portrayed in The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Karsa Orlong has proved the most divisive among readers of the series is probably beyond refute. Discussions arise regarding this character again and again, and as the debate returns in this TOR re-read, the question of my purpose in creating…
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The World of the Malazan Empire and Role-Playing Games

Through the years, at signings, book tours and in interviews, I am often asked about the RPG origins to the novels set in the Malazan world. Depending on the time and energy I’m prepared to commit to my answers, I have been both vague and specific; but generally such venues are not the place for…
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Commentary — Endgame Vol. 1 and 2 by Derrick Jensen

The ramble below initially began as a personal letter to the author of Endgame by Derrick Jensen, published in 2006 by Seven Stories Press,a multi-volume treatise on civilization and its non-sustaining nature.  It was basically written in two parts, the first being an ongoing commentary written while reading the books; and the second part a…
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