Fovea &c.

I’m collaborating with a classmate from Clarion West (shall I out you, sir?). The working title, which my collaboratron said was a placeholder but I rather like, is “Fovea.”

Yeah, I had to look it up, too.

It is what looks to be my first story involving, you know, space suits, landing on a seemingly deserted planetoid, dangerous hunters in pursuit… sorta space-adventurey, really, though with all kinds of other themes and stuff bubbling beneath the surface, and I’m feeling like I ought to check out some older, spacey SF, since I read and write so little of that stuff. That, and some more Iain M. Banks, whom I’ve read more of, and enjoyed a lot.

Instead, I’m reading Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime edited by a bunch of people listed on this page. In fact, the book is making its impact, especially since I’ve been thinking about the treatment of machines and bodies as discussed in Miri Nakamura’s “Horror and Machines in Prewar Japan: The Mechanical Uncanny in Yumeno Kyûsaku’s Dogura magura.” This is something that interests me a lot since, in many ways, thinking of bodies in a mechanical, robotic sense is quite natural to me, and in fact seems like the most natural and normal metaphorical approach to describing not just bodies but minds and any systems at all… at least, to me.

There’s a very clear level on which the story so far — in the stage of drafting it’s at at this very moment, in my collaboratron’s inbox — exploits a kind of unease in the erasure or blurring of the line between body and machine. However, I think there may be roots of something to turn that on its head — roots suggested in the original content drafted by my collaborator, and which I’ve expanded on — in which, rather than man fusing with machine, machine fuses with nature… joyfully, exuberantly… and downright ass-kickingly. I’m not sure we’ll go there — collaboration is something you can’t plan, really — but it seems to be seeded into the stuff even as far back as the first hunk of content he emailed me.

We’ll see. Collaboration can be an odd process, but this one is going fairly smoothly, even given the level of experimentality we’re working with, which is, we’ve decided, a fair bit. In the meantime, I have textbook work to do for Monday, I should be getting something from another collaborator, and a ghostly story I’m writing alone is finally gelling in my head and needs to get cranked out for a fast-approaching deadline, and I’ve got an article to draft and polish soon (hopefully I’ll get a nice big chunk of that done on the plane to Hong Kong this Tuesday, and the rest done and some polishing worked in on the way back on Friday).

Which reminds me, if you haven’t sponsored me but want to, it’s never, ever too late. Till it’s too late, that is. Do it now! You know you want to.

Alright, with that, I’m off to visit Gwanghwamun and see what insanity they’re up to down there.I have a feeling this will be my last time seeing the protests, since I’ll be out of town next week,busy with writing and work the following week, and at PiFan all of the week after that. You never know, though, the protests could continue for another month. But I imagine people must be kind of getting sick of it, disillusioned, worn out, and ready to pack it in for now.

(And it might not be a bad idea, if they’re hoping to have anyone willing to turn out for the later protests that will need to be mounted against coming idiocies like water privatization, the Grand Canal, and privatization of health insurance here, plus whatever gets thought up for next year stage in the Whizbang Economic Mire-acle Cripple-The-Country Five Year Shut Up and Trust Us Plan.)

2 thoughts on “Fovea &c.

  1. Oo! Thanks for mentioning Robot Ghosts! I’ve been having similar thoughts myself, as I’ve been consuming a lot of .jp stuff lately where cyborg becomes a vehicle and personification of a kind of transcendence. I know this is old news for the manga/anime scene, but it’s still fascinating to me. Turns out my library has a copy of Robot Ghosts, so I’ll be checking that out pretty soon now. ^_^

  2. Cool, I’m glad to be of service!

    (By the way, what I talked about is the earlier half of the book, but there are also essays on manga in the second half.)

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