I've seen impressive advances in AI recently, and I understand it will only be a matter of time before the machines can create masterpieces of art and writing much faster than any of us can. I've been forced to reevaluate what makes art valuable.
The AI cannot generate the context that creates the art; that's a life that you must live. That part primes us to interpret art a specific way, and even to create it a certain way. That part has to be lived and can't be generated any other way.
When I wrote Arizona Kenopsia, it was in response to a historic time and place that can't be replicated. I saw Arizona with the eyes of a newly arrived stranger, and it inspired in me an alien, hostile future of science fiction as bizarre as Mars. I encountered the pandemic in this context. I saw the world shut down and busy places become ghost towns. I became chronically ill, and understood the shift in ethics and ruminations that causes.
Arizona Kenopsia, with its many distinct qualities, is anchored in a time and place real to all of us, but especially to me. Everything we took for granted was closing, shrinking, hiding away. Strip malls became barren. The media, professors, and jurors became dubious instruments of the regime. Life receded into illness. Every day we asked ourselves what in the world it was for, but doggedly persisted in the courageous and selfless act of living.
That will never lose its value.
I'll write more on what makes each thing I write valuable. The context I give the writing is just as important as the art and writing. The context is the life I lived and shared with some of you.
I would absolutely cherish any comments and reviews and ratings you could give my work. It's available for your reading pleasure here!
My sci-fi novel, Arizona Kenopsia, is in beta reading right now. That means that it's receiving comments from a very kind reader who is helping me sculpt it into the best possible shape. One day it will be published, either traditionally or not. It's packed with illustrations and the beta reading process is helping me transform it.
The Casey Byrne series of short stories is a fantasy adventure about an unlikely hero facing daunting monsters. It's about developing and maintaining character in a world gone wrong. It ends well! It will be released first here on Royal Road starting December 13th. Please support me there by posting a review of it. In the distant future, it may be self-published on Amazon so you can own a physical copy.
I have other plates spinning, but if I say too much too soon, I can mess them up. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year's Eve!
I'm looking for my place in the world of storytelling and illustration. I'm thrilled by the success of Death in the Highlands; it's now published in an anthology called The Devil Who Loves Me and available on Amazon. After tasting success, I only want more. Plenty more.
I'm considering other things I can do to share my creative work with people. The next year will be a time of experimentation. I have nearly a dozen polished short stories and about three rough novels tragically sitting on my hard drives. They're wasted there. I'll keep you posted on where they're published or accessible to the public when the time comes.
This blog should also humanize me. I am indeed a person, and hopefully not too much of a stranger. I grew up obsessing over the 16 bit world. I like to read speculative fiction books, but I especially enjoy beta-reading. I don't have cable television service and I never will. I'm fighting chronic illness that forces me to treat each day as a blessed opportunity to do the things I was meant to do. Not a single day is superfluous. Every moment matters.
With art and writing we can go somewhere else and bring knowledge and wisdom back with us when we return. Let's leave planet Earth together for a while.