Thursday, January 16, 2020

Update and Some Weird Story Ideas

I finished three stories this week.  On Monday I finished my A Wardrobe Too Far story that I started last week.  I retitled it Abyssus Abyssum Invocat, which is a Latin phrase that literally means abyss calls to abyss, but in more general terms it means one false step leads to the next.  Since it's a story about an illusion-creating villain, this title seemed to work.  And there's an abyss in the story.  ^_^

On Wednesday I finished Ahmguh, a story I retitled Die Eir Von Satan, meaning the eggs (or balls) of Satan, which is the title of a song by Tool and is a silly reference to deviled eggs.  This was part of a trilogy of stories involving the sidekick OMG Girl -- Abyssus Abyssum Invocat was the first, Gotta Punch 'Em All was the second, and this was the third.  I'm glad to finish these two stories, that was my goal since at least last Thursday.

Immediately after I finished the above story, I also finished a very old story idea, Arachnope, which has possibly been around as long as 2013/2014.  I've worked on it off and on for the last year or two; finally it is a completed story, for better or worse.  The villain is a one-joke villain, but for some reason I have the titles of more stories involving him in my head, even though I'm unlikely to ever write them.  Kill It With Fire would make a good title, for example.

Although my goal is to finish stories and reduce the number of unfinished stories in my files, I wound up creating two new story ideas yesterday.

The Android Head of Philip K Dick

In 2005 The University of Memphis constructed the world's first conversational android – an intelligent humanoid robot, of a sort.  Then, while flying the robot for a demonstration, the head was lost.

The part that amuses me the most is that the head was lost twice.  On a flight from Dallas to San Francisco it disappeared.  After several frantic calls it was located in Los Angeles and put on a flight to San Francisco -- and it disappeared again, this time for good.

There are several other amusing bits to this story.  Dick wrote so much about when is a human no longer a human, or when is an android or robot real enough to be considered human, and even wrote about famous people from history being recreated as robots, and he himself became the first such robot.

Also of note, all of this data on Philip K. Dick is stored on computers in Memphis.  In his novel Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, the main character Jason Taverner apparently has all his personal data stored at a computer facility in Memphis.  So there's that.  ^_^

But I just really liked the idea that the android head of Philip K. Dick is out there somewhere.  That sounded like the start of a story, and while I'm unlikely to write the definitive sci fi story based on that jumping-off point, I did think I could make a bizarre and funny Grandpa Anarchy story out of it.  Because of course Grandpa Anarchy has the android head of Philip K. Dick in his vast anarchy cave.

The Earth Is On Fire

I had a vision yesterday morning when I woke up.  It involved Grandpa Anarchy and Geothermal Jenny confronting Baron Climate Change again.  One of my earliest stories is about these three in a confrontation, and Geothermal Jenny is kind of the ecological hero of my universe, and is now a member of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice, the hero group that Grandpa Anarchy is in, so I'm not sure why I haven't written a second encounter like this before.

My vision was just as I was waking up and included some good dialog that I had already forgotten by the time I was fully awake and getting ready for work, but the kernel of the idea was still there.  I decided that maybe I should set the story in Australia, and write something involving all of the fires happening there.  Baron Climate Change is not the source of the fires but would try to take credit and would also maybe do something to make them worse, and I have some Australian heroes I came up with that I haven't made use of yet, so all of that seems to add up.  I'm just not certain exactly how the story will go just yet.

The title comes from a song by Yacht, and seems quite appropriate.


This one is not a new story file, but an old one that I worked on again this morning.  What I have is ideas rather than plot.  My file contains the poem Invictus by Willaim Ernest Henley, most famous for the last two lines, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.  The entire poem is about triumphing over adversity, and the name Invictus in particular spoke to me as a great title for a Grandpa Anarchy story.

The second thing in this file is a section of a speech by Theodore Roosevelt titled Citizenship in a Republic.  There is a famous section referred to as  The Man in the Arena which carries a similar theme of fighting against adversity:

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst,
if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Striving is everything, and the only thing.  The fight is what is most noble.  I can definitely craft a hero story around those themes.

The third thing in this file is the lyrics to Eminem's song Lose Yourself.  When I was thinking about the themes of the above two works, the words to this song came to mind, because it's on a similar theme -- striving to get things right, to get better, to succeed. 

You better lose yourself in the music
The moment, you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo

I don't have a plot for this "story file", but I have a theme.  I also might have a good hero name.  Invictus, or Sol Invictus, or Something Invictus.  I guess this story might involve a new hero that I haven't written before.

Sol Invictus means the unconquerable or undefeated sun.  This was the main god of choice in the Roman empire in the late period just before Christianity took over -- although other gods had used Invictus as an epitaph as well, such as Apollo Invictus, Mars Invictus, Jupiter Invictus.  I mean if you're a god calling yourself undefeated and unconquerable is not a bad choice.  ^_^  But I'm surprised that I haven't seen Invictus or Sol Invictus used as the name for a Marvel/DC hero before (to my knowledge).  My search turned up a game I think called Invictus Heroes, but that's not quite the same thing.

On a side note, while researching this poem more I learned that the author of the poem (who wrote it after having his leg amputated) was the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.  William Ernest Henley was a friend of Robert Louis Stevenson.  Somehow, that seems like a cool anecdote to add to a story, if I ever manage to turn all of this into a story.

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