Saturday, July 2, 2011

On Writing - Or My Lack of It

I am reformatting Gardener Summer for paper release. I am going to add "The Lion," a short story I wrote a while back to it.

AA V will be the final AA book in the series. I am thinking of writing spin offs from that.

I am also thinking of writing the story of Gardeners grandson. That will be set 60 years or so further in the future.

The Chosen II needs to be written. Chosen: Part One will be coming out in a month or two in paper and ebook.

I read all my reviews and I understand the dislike of Freya and the Norse thing. Well, I'm sorry it wasn't to everyone's liking but that is the way the story came to me.

I will probably write about Gardeners grandson next. I like that for some reason. Probably because it will be another world. I am also drawn to the western gunslinger myth and world.


  1. Don't change a thing, drive on. Some folks could win the lottery then bitch about the taxes.

    Jim in MO.

  2. i like Freya. there is lots of potential in the freya/gardner dynamic. in a world where life is short and miserable, magic and heroes are important.

    Dies the Fire by SM Stirling is fun read. A sort of juvenile luddite fantasy about the aftermath of the day everything stops working. no magical diversions like Ariel, just people being horrible (and not so horrible) to each other. i think it it part of a series, multigenerational and all that.

    cant wait to meet gardners grandkid. will he pals with Max's spawn or mortal enemies?


  3. I just finished volume 1 of American Apocalypse and can't find volume 2 anywhere (other than Amazon for $63!). Does anyone know where I can find a new or good condition used copy? Thanks,

  4. Ed,

    I pulled it as Ulysses Press owns it and is rereleasing it as American Apocalypse: Wastelands.


    What a great idea

  5. Jim,

    Ain't nothing. Drive on.


  6. Nova's grandson. That's appealing. Yeah - Do it! I hope there still is some semblance of order in the world. The books with The Knowledege will still be around - and some of the children will have been taught and they will have taught the grandkids. By then, maybe things will start to come back together? Or will we go through another 500 year period of dark ages? My hope is books will save us from that fate. We did not have them in the 1100's.

  7. Forrest, I agree, but one thing to take into consideration is how much of an emphasis that subsequent generations in the world of AA will put on "education".

    It was not until I read the post-apocalyptic novel, Earth Abides, that I began to understand just how seemingly unimportant the 3 R's are to the young that come of age in such rough times.

    Consider how only recently in modern history have our masses in Western Europe (and America) been able to read and write. Those things we emphasize today in our culture may not be a given in a world three generations from now.

    Even Gardner's interest in reading Calculated Risk falls off, yet his dedication to "cleaning weapons" (as Max gets everybody into the habit of doing) grows.

    After the collapse, it seems as if everybody focuses on the practical skills that get them through that day, whereas the disciplines of contemplation and experimentation are mere afterthoughts.

    If we are to see an educated group of people three generations down the road (in the AA world), it is likely that they come from a society where there is a merchant class.

    Education (and the practical application of its benefits) tend to come about when there is "down time". And sustained "down time" is likely to be a privilege that very few (i.e. - a merchant class) will be able to enjoy.

  8. BTW - Nova, I want to quickly comment on the criticism you have received about Freya and the whole Norse thing.

    I have to admit that I was in that "critical" camp, but I've recently had a change of heart. The reason I *was* in that camp was because the "magic" took me out of the gritty realism that was AA. That pissed me off. It was as if the spell was broken. The party was over. AA had "jumped the shark" with Freya.

    But the more that I have thought about it, the more I have to come to think about three specific things that have me coming to appreciate what you did by writing in Freya and the Norse thing:

    1. Human culture, until only recently, has always had tales of magic. I do not believe in god, miracles, or magic - but I cant say with certainty that those things never existed (or that they're not doing a helluva' job of hiding themselves right now). To that end, when we strip away all the mass communication and media that exists today...maybe magic and gods will come back.

    2. I dont want you to take insult with this, but I consider you a "pulp" writer. Just like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and many other heavyweight champs of pulp literature - there is an element of "magic" in the genre that comes out. I had forgotten that, and now I feel embarrassed. I was reading your books like they were spy novels or stupid legal thrillers, and so now I read them with an eye more towards the "Fantastic".

    3. I love the Weird West pulp genre (Joe Landis novels, Jonah Hex, etc), Cormac McCarthy, and zombie stories. There is no reason in the world I should not like Freya and the Norse mythology in AA. The challenge to the reader (me) is that Freya and the reality of AA stand in such stark contrast to one another. Get over it, reader!

    Finally, I'm glad you wrote how it came to you. You cant please everybody with everything. I'm sure you have a few folks that come to you complaining about how your "tactical" explanations of weaponry or combat situations are unrealistic. *rolls eyes*. Who cares?

    Keep on keepin' on.

  9. Thanks Rottenclam,

    Yeah, there is that. I like the idea of being a pulp writer. That's exactly what I consider myself. A descendant of dime novels about the Wild West.

  10. Thanks for the stories nova.

  11. Now wait a woofin' moment! You left us hanging with a helicopter just landing to chat with Gardener and crew. What did they want? What happened next? Did the horde make it anywhere good? Or bad? The colonel and such folks? Woofever already? Pleaser reply asap. Iam wants to know !

  12. Iam,

    Stay tuned. All will be revealed.

  13. Well, ok. Iam glad to hear that, and will now go back to my day job herding cats.

  14. Clearly Nova has mastered the cardinal rule: Always leave them wanting more!

    Your flock awaits with eager eyes and minds, quivering with anticipation, bated breath and rubber gloves...

    For those doing just that, consider:
    If more people bought Nova's books he could get an agent, followed by a book deal, which would allow him to write FULL TIME. Just a thought...


  15. Oh gosh, continue with the Freya thing -- I sense that Gardner is not that enamored of all the changes that occurred while he was away.

    Please keep at it. Play it out. It's an interesting switch from the universal "wrath of God" (Christian) stuff so many other folks write about.

    the entire concept of "the old ones" returning during a time of destruction and stress is quite interesting.

  16. Hey Tina,

    Thanks. Yeah. I will write what works for me, you can give me feedback here, and I'll go with it. Wring isn't customer support. You're not going to please everyone.

    Curious...why do you find the return of the "Old Ones" interesting?

  17. Nova, I dont want to speak for Tina, but I absolutely agree with her in that it is interesting for "the old ones" returning during a time of great crisis.

    For me, I like this kind of stuff because it reminds me of the whole Robert E. Howard created "Conan world" and the times of the Ancient Greeks too.

    Only in those ancient times, when Man has little more than the clothes on his back (and maybe some food and weapons) can "magic" and the "gods" exist in the same realm as Man. When you have iPhones, automobiles, and bow ties - man thinks there is no longer a need for a god.

    But if you remove all of those accoutrements, all that is left is Man and his savage nature. From there, and only at that point (a clean slate, if you will), can Gods begin to walk the earth again.

  18. Rottenclam,

    Your comments are worth leaving this open for them. Why? They spark images in my head and lead to other ones. I like that. A lot.

  19. Nova, along this subject, I just watched two (very different) movies that resonate with the concept of Gods walking among men.

    The first is one of those pseudo-documentaries called "Troll Hunter". It is a Norwegian film about a few kids that are making a "documentary" about a guy that they think is a hunter of the mythical beast. It is a bit goofy, but generally a fun film. Still, I was left thinking to myself, "who knows is these kinds of creatures exist (or really existed)?"

    I'm a big fan of science, and a born skeptic, so a lot of this stuff is considered "play" for me. I still have an imagination too, though, so maybe "magic" and "Gods" are really just a state of mind.

    And that subject brings me to the next film that got me thinking about this stuff...

    "The Mindscape of Alan Moore" is a documentary of the British graphic-novel writer, Alan Moore. I dont know if you've ever read Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, or any of his comics, but his views on "magic", "Gods", and other things such as science and reason might really get you to thinking.

    In particular, Moore really starts to articulate the role of the Writer in our culture today as the modern Shaman. He explains that the gift and the power of the word is the writer's magic, and he can do very powerful things with it.

    I'm kind of over-simplifying all this stuff, but anyway, I just thought you might find these two (very different) films somewhat interesting.

  20. Rottenclam,

    Thanks. I saw the movie
    "V" but that's about it.

    I read a long time ago that artists were like canaries in the coal mine of culture. They somehow knew changes ahead of everyone else and used their medium to try and describe what they were sensing.

    In doing that they gave it form, substance, and...not shaped it as much as draped it. By making it visible the culture, or people, then could reject and eventually assimilate the future.

    I don't know if that makes sense. Perhaps artists...creative types in general see the possible threads be woven and are the ones to give them form so the people can make their choices of what future to bring into existence?

  21. I do not happen to believe in ANY "Gods" personally -- therefore, why NOT "The Old Ones", they were more "human", were not without fault, and there were dramatic plots and sub-plots, one against the other.

    Heck, if someone can believe in ONE God, why not MANY? Why not believe ALL the Gods are real?

    Perhaps different "sets" come to the fore at different times.

    I'm of the opinion that ALL Gods will eventually self-destruct, their power a result of human belief and energy. Like all other entities, they just go too far and lose followers.

    Heck, if no one believed in (for example) Christianity, would the Christian God wield any power?

    Also, if he did, and (let us say) destroyed the world -- where would he be able to manifest that power. No people, no power.

    Play it out -- drama on a grand scale in a time when the grand governments are fading. Drama beyond the warlord vs. warlord thing.

    I also think it allows for more flexibility -- followers of Freya, Thor, Wodin, etc.

    A place carved out for old "earth gods", a worship of peace, etc. Also, the very idea of a POWERFUL FEMALE God goes directly against everything taught by "the desert religions" -- maybe at a time of breakdown a powerful female, promising rebirth as well as destruction might just be what the world needs.

    (add some thoughts -- stir well -- who knows what will come out)