Monthly Archives: May 2017

Your Super Restaurant (Hugh Howey Must D’yer Maker)

Something impossibly magical has happened to you; a situation you could have never imagined, even when you were young and full of dreams. Something like this: a blip in the universal scheme of things allows you the opportunity to create and sell food of any type, nationality or substance! From salt-packed anchovies to grass-fed beef to organic hand made zuchini tofu; anything you want to cook with appears; you just have to think about it.

Spices, harvested at the peak of perfection. Flours prepared by artisans. Spring water and wild honey from pristine mountains, sacred rice, fresh fish and weird stuff usually found in insanely hot bbq sauce. You can make food ”just like mom’s”. You can provide sustenance for refugees or intergalactic warriors. Baby food. Comfort food from the Song Dynasty, the candle lit dinners that Napoleon shared with Josephine, feasts unknown to Anthony Bourdain: anything.

You take a deep breath, think for a minute, and, voila! A Whopper. Not a Big Mac, a Whopper. People praise your Whopper. You sell lots and lots of Whoppers. Your Whopper wins prizes and goes global. Your Whopper stars in a movie.

And so it goes.

The title of the post references both a song by Led Zeppelin and Hugh Howie Must Die, a book written in 30 hours for NaNoWriMo by Michael Bunker.

HUGH HOWIE MUST DIE by Michael Bunker 

THE WOOL TRILOGY by Hugh Howey 

hugh-howie-must-die-book-coverled-zeppelin-dyer-maker-big

When I read the letters you wrote, it made me mad mad mad

When I read the words that it told me, it made me sad sad sad

D'YER MAKER by Led Zeppelin mp3 download on Amazon 

Hopefully  the dream described above will not be mistaken as anything more than that. I salute all my brothers and sisters who, to paraphrase Nabakov, are also addicted to the Drug called Ink. And, being the son of a book salesman, I have a special and sincere respect for those whose books are sold.

I discovered Hugh Howey because of his inspiring support for self-publishers and his collaboration with Data Guy on the reverse engineering of Amazon's book sales reports. Michael Bunker, the father of Amish Sci-fi, surprised me with the title of Hugh Howie Must Die. His work, as exemplified by Brother Frank, is usually provocative and dystopian, adventure-filed and entertaining.

As an independent writer,  I must listen to all of the leaders of the self-publishing industry, another being Joe Konrath who, a while back,  defended us against big publishing and people like Stephen Colbert.

But the biggest mistake you made, Mr. Colbert, was a doozy

You pissed me off.

You obviously have no idea how big and important my blog is. How I am the go-to source for all things publishing-related. How this blog can create bestsellers, or destroy careers.

You are now on my shit list, Stephen Colbert. And now I shall use everything within my power to destroy your book sales and ruin your life. Just as you are tying to destroy the book sales and lives of tens of thousands of authors Amazon has helped

Mr. Konrath's  renowned blog is recommended: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

I am truly, truly thankful to be able to self-publish my books, though they may be an acquired taste. The ability to create for consumers is  a gift.

..........30............

Self-Publishing: An Insult To The Written Word (my comments in red)

JB art colony 2020

I have been based in Singapore since 2002 and am in the midst of an extended stay in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. During this time I am collecting experiences and research for a book. My time here has clearly shown that

The well known reasons for this are:

1. Increasing/planned integration with Singapore: trains (local and high speed), bridges,increasing numbers of Johoreans in Singapore, increasing numbers of Singaporeans in JB.

2. Lower rental fees than Singapore.

3. Lower cost of living than Singapore.

4. Developed by Chinese investors, the Forest City megaproject is expected to eventually have 700,000 residents who will live on four artificial islands.That is the same population of Geneva.

5. Iskandar Malaysia, the Malaysian government’s project to upgrade the entire region,demonstrates that Johor Bahru can re-invent itself.

Having experienced the “reality on the ground”, the possibilities of JB become even more obvious. Outlying or unused industrial areas encourage innovation of all kinds, despite their challenges. In Singapore: The Artists Village. In Beijing:798 Art Zone. In New York City; Soho, The East Village and Brooklyn. IT people, food visionaries, unconventional international citizens and entrepreneurs of all kinds will all soon to discover the possibilities of the new JB. Imagineering is here!

Hello Starbucks and Dior.

the sculpture in the image above is Coccoon, by Alvin Tan on display at Puteri Harbour

Bubi and Conquest (part 3 of 3)

part one is here

A cat zipped from under one table to another. It had been outside.

”It isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty in a downpour.”

In the back of the prata place, on something like an altar, is an aquarium. A teaspoon of red tetras circle in the corner, and a bland piranha paces back and forth. The altar is covered with artificial grass. Pink cloth flowers are tied to the tree branches that are stacked around the aquarium. Like everything else here, everything’s big except a little naked doll standing in a circle of plastic roses.

“Bubi! How are you?”

I take two steps towards the aquarium and sit back down with the doll.

“Bubi, this is Mysteriouswomanpool. Mysteriouswomanpool, this is Bubi.”

She is obviously happy to see the doll and relieved that no one is watching. I lean Bubi against the clear plastic bag of buns that have black lips.

“I met Bubi years ago, when I lived in Minnesota. She used to go out with a classmate of mine, a Norwegian hockey player named Bjorn Free Vikingstad. In the summers we often enjoyed banana and ham pancakes.”

She laughs a big laugh and I laugh a bigger laugh. Together we laugh very very bigly.

I quit while I'm ahead. “Bubi must go back to Minnesota now. We can call her later, though.” I push my empty glass to the edge of the table, she does the same. Now, the place is empty. I count coins and put them on the table.”

“Three eighty boss.” He slides the coins onto his palm.

We walk out into the heavy rain, down the slope of Jalan Pahang. Our inkblot shadows float on a river of silver fingerprints. Despite our hopes, we’ll be back here in a few hours, when the sky will be blue and rich with the smell of freshly baked banana bread. The laundry shops will be busy, the tailors will be arriving and the trendy two story cafes will still be closed. The cracks and potholes will be dry. The people who work here will again wonder what is wrong with us; same clothes, same three plastic bags. Now, though, we cling together against the cold ocean of night, plodding through glistening nets full of streetlights, neon and stars. Flowing, flowing, everything’s flowing toward the Great Attractor.

She taps my elbow and I pull her closer. “Can we call Minnesota?” she says.

Bubi and Conquest (part 2 of 3)

Part 1 is here.“It’s for kids? Adults?”

“Both. It’ll be a novel, but some parts are like movies. Horror movies! Fairytales. Some areas will be for newlyweds. You can ride with God in an elevator. I plant the stories and then they rewrite themselves based on interactions with people and the environment.“

“OK... The characters will get old?"

“Some.”

“How do you come up with ideas for all of this?”

“In my workspace I have little pictures of James Joyce, J.K. Rowlings, Robin Williams and Tarantino. I imagined them making a game together. Didn’t work. Now, I think of them as a band. Williams on vocals, Tarantino on guitar, Joyce on drums and Rowlings on bass. What would their music be like?”

“And that makes you creative?”

“Not really...”

Without warning, the South China Sea falls upon the tin roof.

“You have to think of music. First person shooters are guitar solos. A character’s stories and skills are important, of course, but it’s all about harmony. And improvisation. MPGs are symphonies. With Spring Valley I want to make a game that gives the players power. Like, instead of being chased so that you fall into a pit filled with spears, what if you fall into something soft that recharged you? What if other players gave you healing powers instead of bullet holes?

Musicians give each other energy. The audience absorbs their interplay and sings along or cries or something, right? Harmonized decision making in microseconds. Play music. Play. So important."

....................30............ The conclusion .

Bubi and Conquest (1 of 3)

I am currently in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where I am working on a book. The following is a work in progress.

“There’s this Great Attractor thing, and no one knows what it is. Maybe a monster sphere made of gravity waves or something. Maybe a magnetic hole in the universe big enough for all the galaxies. Our sun and the other planets are flowing towards it, right? Flowing at millions of miles an hour. And then there’s the surface of the Earth…”

“...which is spinning.”

“Correct. Spinning and traveling ‘round the sun. Superfast. So, this ramshackle little prata place we’re in is actually moving at a zillion miles an hour. At least.”

Three something in the morning; we’re exhausted. Waiting. One minute feels like a long week. The policeman near the door flicks his lighter and the friction of its little rough metal circle is heard everywhere. Outside, in the canyon of night, a big motorcycle rides past, its roaring engine like a huge threat.Overhead, eight fluorescent lights: six are working. It will rain soon.

Sleeplessness stretches and magnifies perceptions-- very big bunches of bananas are upon the very big tables in this very big mamak stall. Big buns in clear plastic bags are are also on the tables. They hover like clouds. My kopi and her teh halia o kosong are the size of glass oil barrels. Half-formed dreams float into logical thoughts, then disappear. There are three huge customers. “Hotel California” blares, a reggae version.

The guy who took our order is probably a Bangladeshi. I catch his eye, point at the speaker and move my little hand down. “Great cover, but we can’t talk.”

“No problem, boss.”

“ Bob Marley?”

“Could be, boss. I’ll check.”

I look at my glass like I’m seeing coffee for the first time. Maybe her head is moving slightly back and forth to the rhythm. Relax said the white man, we are programmed to deceive. “It’s reggae and Mexican music together. I saw The Eagles once. I like it when musicians mix styles. Hybrids. Like Ziggy Stardust was rock and chanson.”

“Who? Ziggy Sparkle?”

“Bowie. David Bowie...Ziggy Stardust?”

“Sorry.”

“Boss, that’s the Moonshiners.” He’s carrying a huge cone of tissue prata on a silver plate.

“Thanks.”

The tops of the floating buns have burn marks that look like big black lips.

“You only listen to classical, right?”

“Not really. All kinds.”

“Like what? What was the last thing you downloaded?"

“A Chinese dance song. "My Little Apple"...”

“That seems about right. You remind me of a lawyer. But you’re not in thousand dollars an hour mode now, right? Maybe I’m wrong, wrong to say that. Hard to think straight right now...”

She rotates her glass mug. It’s half full. Looks around, looks at me. “So, is this speeding intergalactic prata place in your game?”

“Maybe. It’s interesting because it’s not interesting. Boring comes first. Then, back end stuff like static variables and resolution issues. I do what I can to keep the frame rate high. Make everybody happy without them knowing it. You make the little dull things exciting, the big things go boom. Megaboom! When a player actually enjoys an office level-- that’s gold. It’s about death and self-portraiture. Like all great art.“

“Great art...” She stops herself, rubs her finger on her glass of tea. ”And the Chinese asked you to make a game for Spring Valley?”

“Yep, biggest site-specific AR game ever. There’s a stadium. Four artificial islands with everything, like a city. There’s gonna be four, five hundred thousand residents. A million times better than Pokemon.”

.......................30................................ the next section is here.