Tuesday, November 28, 2023

A Short 2023 Update

It's been a bit hectic around here recently, so I wanted to pause a bit on what's actually been going on behind the scenes. It's time for an update on some behind the scenes stuff!

As you can see above, I was recently on the Iron Age Marketing channel on YouTube talking about recent projects. The information a bit old since I was still crowdfunding at the time, but still is quite the discussion on just about everything story-related that I can remember. I don't get the chance to talk about this stuff that much so feel free to watch the episode for yourself! Nicky was quite the courteous host.

Speaking of stories, aside from the entire Gemini Man series being released this year (which are available on sale for only one more day!), you might not know what else I've been working on. That's mostly because I haven't had the chance to share it with you. Thanks to real world business and the online world really trying to implode on itself this year, it's been quite the time just trying to produce the work I've wanted to.

Though this year I have put out four books, the most I've ever released in a year before, I've also been working on other stories in the background as always. Let me talk about a few today, because it will probably be a while before I can do so again! I prefer waiting until stories are completed to discuss them in full, so I'll just briefly touch on them as projects in the pipeline. If you know me, you know I always find a way to give readers my stories. These will release, one way or another!

One of these tales, called "Mirage Carousal" will be in Cirsova magazine next year in issue #20. This has all the hallmarks you know from my stories, but it's bit weirder than the norm and, like "City Eater" from Sidearm & Sorcery Volume Two, more modern in its setting and apocalyptic in its concerns. That said, as always, expect the action packed and the bizarre in one place!

Another project is a story I'm currently polishing up for submission to another publication. This is happening at the very moment you are reading this, assuming you're not from the future. This one continues a recent theme I've been writing about, which you will probably guess by the time the above Cirsova story releases. That said, it's becoming surprisingly long . . .

After that is a sort of novella trilogy I want to begin writing this winter that is completely unlike anything I've done before. This won't be like Y Signal and it's interstitials, which were deliberately spaced and cover a year in time, or as loosely interconnected as Someone is Aiming for You, which forms its own narrative upon completion. This story is more or less a complete three part serial that goes right from one part to the next as if it ran in Weird Tales back in the day. This one will probably take me a while, and might even have to go on the backburner for a bit, but it's a project I am very excited to dive into. Prayers that I can do so!

I'm also working on another surprise, currently in personal editing, but first I want to polish the above short story and get it finished first. This will be my next release, if all things work out. Regardless, I am still not done for the year.

For those who missed the campaign, the paperback version of the Gemini Man series will be on Amazon shortly, I am just juggling many projects at once and KDP is slow to release things. That said, I will put out a proper announcement for it next week.

Those are my writing plans for the rest of 2023. But what about next year?

The first confirmed project to mention is that I am releasing a collection with Cirsova called Star Wanderers. I do not want to go into any details before they are ready to share them, except to say that I am very proud of this one, and it's not quite what you might be expecting. It's a perfect project to crossover with Cirsova.

Now that Gemini Man is finally wrapped up, you might remember that I mentioned a new series I was working on back in 2022 that I had to put on the backburner to get this one out. I don't know if I mentioned it since, but I even finished the first book and was ready to send it to an editor before I got hit with the Gemini Man series to be put out first. Thanks to the crowdfund backers (seriously, many thanks! It could not have been done with you!) I was able to put this one together all nice and tight and get the entire series assembled in a shiny package, as well as the stretch goal novellas compiled into Book 4, which allowed me to complete it as best as I could manage to. All of that, however, allowed me time to reconsider a bit of the new series.

I can let slip a few details, the first being that it will be four books long, much like the Gemini Man series. Unlike the Gemini Man, however, this series is not going to be very standard. I have different plans with each entry that will lead up to the finale in the final book. That said, the project is still on the backburner and will come off of it when I finally finish the above 2023 projects and can give it the focus it needs. I have a lot I want to do with this one, so it's going to take a little longer to finally focus on what I want to do.

Meanwhile I have a lot of things in the pipeline beyond that, but there's no point going into those until they are much further along. Needless to say, more Galactic Enforcer and Night Rhythm stories are still on the docket and are in production, as well as others beyond that. I've even updated my Neocities page to more accurately reflect the works I've put out thus far which should maybe give you an idea of what I want to do next. I'm working to fill that out a bit more next year.

2024 will also be the 10th year anniversary of Wasteland & Sky! I have to admit, I didn't think it would last as long as it has back when I started, but it's been quite a ride. Hard to believe its been so long since I decided on a whim to make this place, but we're still here! I'm not really certain what I can do as a celebration, but I'll see if I can think of something fun. If you have any suggestions of what you'd like to see, let me know.

That's about all I have to say for today. I wanted to thank you for all the support you've given me and I hope to continue writing as best as I can for as long as I can. I truly couldn't have done any of this without the readers. As a consequence you also deserve the best stories I can conjure up, and I plan to keep taking it to the next level with every project.

2023 isn't over yet though, so keep out for a few more surprises before the calendar changes over. We're not quite done, and we've got much more to see!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Too Many Books, So Little Time!

I recently mentioned the Based Book Sale going on, and how there are so many books in it. The total is easily over 200, which is quite crazy to think about. What I haven't mentioned is just how do you sift through so many books for something to read without scanning the entire list multiple times? After all, that is a lot of books! More than anyone could possibly decide between before the sale ends, especially when you have other things to do.

Well, author TJ Marquis has done exactly that. In the above video, he goes through the over 200(!) books on sale chooses some of his highlights. Glance through it yourself and see what you can spot. Mr. Marquis has great taste, and I'm not just saying that because he recommends my work. He has a keen eye for out there and exciting stories.

It is at this point I should give the reminder that all four Gemini Man books are on sale, as well. Book 1 and Book 4 are each a buck, on top of it! Book 4 will keep its lower price up until the end of the year, so you better jump on that one, because it ain't going this low again!

But enough about me. I'm going to highlight a five projects in the sale for the first time that you might have missed! Here are some interesting projects in the sale, not in any particular order:

Book of Seasons & Feasts
Find it Here!

"The Book of Feasts & Seasons is a beautifully mind-bending stroll with a grandmaster of science fiction through the annual Catholic calendar. Over the course of the year, from January to December, the author takes his inspiration from 10 different holidays and explores their meanings in a series of stories of marvelous imagination. The book begins with New Year's Day and "The Meaning of Life as Told Me by an Inebriated Science Fiction Writer in New Jersey".

"The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin is represented by "A Random World of Delta Capricorni Aa, Called Scheddi", while "The Parliament of Beasts and Birds" is the story for the Feast of Pentecost. The calendar and the anthology culminate on Christmas Eve with "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus".

"John C. Wright is not only a deeply religious man, he is also a devout Catholic philosopher who regards reason as an intrinsic aspect of his faith. The Book of Feasts & Seasons is an imaginative embodiment of that faith, taking many different shapes and forms throughout the vast expanse of God's creation."

Wild Souls: A Werewolf Collection
Find it Here!

"Julie Frost is best known for her Pack Dynamics series. However, in this collection, she explores other aspects of lycanthropy, with stories running a gamut of timelines from the ancient Celts to American weird west to modern day—and even into the outer reaches of space. Ranging between humor and horror, with a cast of characters varying from witches to hunters to soldiers to angels and demons, there's something here for everyone. Stories of families lost and found, new packs and old, love and loathing and loneliness...

"And, above all, what makes us human, and who the real monsters are."

The Mighty Sons of Hercules: Volume 1
Find it Here!

"Long ago, in ages past...

"There were men who travelled the world, seeking adventure, fighting injustice, defending the weak and the helpless, looking to right wrongs wherever they are found:

"These were the Mighty Sons of Hercules!

"Cirsova Publishing invites you to join eight of the Mighty Sons of Hercules on their daring adventures!

"You’ll be amazed by their impressive feats of superhuman strength. You’ll be dazzled by the exotic and dangerous beauties who would seek their downfall. You’ll cheer as they save the innocent from peril and mete out justice to dastardly villains.

"Wherever righteousness must have a champion, there you will find the Mighty Sons of Hercules! Whenever there is need and no mortal man can suffice, a Mighty Son of Hercules shall appear!"

Gods in Darkness
Find it Here!

The Balance of Wonder and Terror 
"Learn the truth of the secret war in space with both the Soviets and dark technomancers bent on world domination in Gods in Darkness. Thrill to incredible truths buried in the sands of ages or in our own Area 51 in The Dig. Ride along with some crazed truckers dealing with Lovecraftian horrors in At the Highways of Madness. Know the stark terror of reading a forbidden book of the damned when the stars are not right. Love knows no bounds through time and space--especially for one of Lovecraft's Elder Things in The Queen in Shadow. And finally, go beyond the past and future in The Sleepers of Tartarus. All these and more lurk at the edge of reason waiting to pounce."

Jiao Tu’s Endeavour
Find it Here!

"Jiao Tu has been hired to rescue a young kidnapped mousling. A tip leads him to the Below, home to the engines that keep the world in motion. His mission has hardly begun when an encounter with a monstrous being plunges him into the midst of a struggle not only for control of the Below but for the world itself.

"Teamed with an untested ratling warrior and the ratling leader of a gang of thugs, Jiao Tu must stop the monster and save the mousling—and the world—before it is too late.

"Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Leigh Brackett’s planetary romances, Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Long Sun, Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane stories, Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, and the wuxia tradition starting with Water Margins and Journey to the West, Uitvlugt has created a world all his own that promises a far-future adventure unlike any other.

"This volume contains the complete first story arc compiled from the web serial Jiao Tu’s Endeavour, as well as the bonus stories “The Festival of Sweets” and “The Last Oracle.”"

On top of this, there are a few books in the fan favorite section you might have missed. Cirsova's edition of three Julian Hawthorne books are on sale. That includes Sara Was Judith, Doris Dances & Fires Rekindled, and Absolute Evil and A Goth from Boston! Jacob Calta also has the first volume of his massive 365 Infantry project in the sale, as well. Lastly, all three of Alexander Hellene's Swordbringer books are a buck. Those are just some of what is available in the Fan Favorite section, there is plenty others I have missed.

There are even more books to browse through beyond these, but I thought I would give a bit of a boost to projects that might get lost in the flood otherwise. After all, as I said, it is over 200 books. Chances are you are going to miss some.

There's a lot of great stories out there, so it's always nice to be able to highlight them every now and then. NewPub has more than enough good stuff worth sharing. You can't built a tower without a foundation, after all. We're going to be building this puppy high into the clouds. Every now and then we just have to point out just how valuable the bricks themselves are.

That's all for this time! Have a great weekend and I will see you soon enough!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Holiday Book Sale!

The Gemini Man Series is on sale!

Welcome it the holiday season! I hope you like cheap books, because there are a lot of them starting this week!

This year you can get the first book in the Gemini Man series, Gemini Warrior, for a buck, as well as the last (and just-released!) book Gemini Destroyer, on top of it! That's not all, because Gemini Drifter and Gemini Outsider are also on a bit of a discount, too, so you can grab the whole series today in quite the bargain! That's less than a trip to McDonalds!

The entire series is on sale right here on amazon, and you need to jump on it before it's too late. Starting in 2024, the price on Book 4 will go up to match the other entries in the series. So this is a limited time offer! Grab all four books of planet hopping adventure, cross country mayhem, and small town destruction, for cheaper than it takes to buy a combo at McDonalds!

"Set in the world of Heroes Unleashed, and as relayed by Thomas Plutarch, this is the story of the Gemini Man! Join Matthew White and Jason Vermilion as they are given ancient artifacts that thrust them into the world of heroes. Now they must traverse unfamiliar worlds, fight uncompromising villains, and face magic of the like no one has yet seen before. This is the story of Castor and Pollux, the two warriors who would become the Gemini Man!"

This series has been a long time in the making, and the biggest adventure I've put out yet, so enjoy! You definitely won't read anything else like it. In case you are curious, you can read some great reviews by Ben Espen of Book 1 and Book 2 on his site. I recommend reading his blog just generally, he always has interesting things to say. You can find it here.

However, this isn't just about me. Dozens of other authors have also put their books on sale for the holiday season. It's that time of year again!

That's right, it's time for the Black Friday Based Book Sale!

In case you are new or unaware of how the event works, in this sale dozens of authors combine their efforts to give you, the reader, the best sale possible going into the holiday season. Over a hundred books can be got for a buck or free and stay that way for a week, giving you plenty of time to sift through them all. So you better jump on!

Here is the description of the new entries for this year's sale:

"These are some of the titles new to the Based Book Sale or that haven’t appeared in recent sales. Authors include science fiction grandmasters, established mainstream authors and emerging indie talent.

"The contributors include Tony Andarian, J.M. Anjewierden, D.S. Blake, Graham Bradley, Henry Brown, R.J. Burle, C.J. Carella, J.D. Cowan, C.M. Craig, Richard Davis, Mel Dunay, Jeff Duntenmann, Declan Finn, Milo James Fowler, Julie Frost, Karl K. Gallagher, Mark Goldblatt, Josh Griffing, M. Anthony Harris, Rob Howell, Michael F. Kane, Joseph Kellogg, Chris Kennedy, L.S. King, Robert Kroese, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Frank B. Luke, TJ Marquis, Russell May, Christopher Menkhaus, Diana Murray, Ron Nielsen, M.A. Nilles, Melanie Nilles, John M. Olsen, Chance Paladin, S.Kirk Pierzchala, George Phillies, Thomas Plutarch, Francis Porretto, James Pyles, David Rowlett, Denton Salle, Steve Stark, K Steele, Kevin Steverson, James R. Strickland, Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, Allison Wade, Matt Waterhouse, David J. West, Ryan Williamson, Marisa Wolf, John C. Wright, and Page Zaplendam.
"And every title is either free or $0.99! Note: prices are set by the authors, so please confirm before you buy. And some of the offerings are short stories or novellas instead of full-length novels. A few titles won’t be on sale until Thursday November 23. With 75 titles from 55 authors, there’s sure to be something for every based reader."

So be sure to check it out here! There is much more than just me, but dozens of authors from all over the place. You can also find returning books to the sale here!

That's all for this time!

Have a good holiday and I will see you again soon enough.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Video Revolution!

For those old enough, you might have remembered what was called the Video Revolution back in the early 1990s. This was the period where technology was making so many leaps and bounds that no one could quite keep up with everything going on. It mostly peaked by the time of Windows '95 and affordable internet for the masses, but for awhile it seemed as if the sky was the limit. By the end of the decade, technology would rule everything and the planned analog future would be a thing of the past.

One such example of this wave was the burgeoning Nickelodeon television network. Their game show series, Nick Arcade, combined the exploding video game hobby (yes, it was always popular, folks) as well as the arcade scene, with their wildly popular game format made popular by Double Dare and Guts, in order to form this unique creation.

You can see the entire history and what tech it took to get this crazy idea running in the above video. Not only can you see the style and attitude that made the early 90s so very distinct from the back half, but you can also see just how different video games were back then before the AAA monstrosity warped them into bad D-tier movies. It's truly a time capsule of a different era slowly being forgotten.

At the same time, watching an episode is strange because it's very clear something like this couldn't be made now. It is because "Game Shows" and "Video Games" both equated to the same thing: surmounting challenges and getting high scores to beat your friend on the couch or standing beside you in the local arcade. The latter no longer does this, long since stripped from its routes. As a result, I have no idea how younger generations would take this series.

The industry has simply shifted too much. Then again, supposedly the industry is having the same issue as comics did before it imploded: unable to try to connect with younger generations and catering to a dwindling demographic who do not enjoy the changes fostered on their hobby. We are far from the Golden Age of video games that existed with Nick Arcade was around. And we are even further from the time the network itself was relevant which ran out with the 1990s itself.

That said, this creation is a fascinating time capsule from before Nickelodeon bought their shares to separate from MTV before then being scooped up by Viacom and having their originality gutted to become . . . basically what it is to this day. Here you can see two early '90s juggernauts, Nickelodeon and video games, at their peak from a much better time. It looks like an entirely different universe today, doesn't it?

Here is an episode of Nick Arcade you can watch today since, like most of their live action material, it will never have a physical release:

A weird aside. I have watched a few of these old episodes recently, and some of the questions really show you how different it was, and what basic pop culture knowledge once contained. One of the strangest is that so many kids seemed to know about Tarzan in the 1990s. Not only that, they knew a lot of things made in the early part of the 20th century. We're talking from before any of them were even born. Strange, isn't it?

This was before the "kids don't watch old things" propaganda was set down. I know because I was there. They didn't need to put out the lie that old things were bad to sell new things yet. That would come in a few years after this. Everyone cared more about something being good first.

Again, it was a different era. One we can probably still learn plenty from. Which is why '90s nostalgia has stuck around so long. There is still much we haven't quite learned from it yet.

Anyway, that's it! That's all for today. As an update: The Gemini Man campaign is now wrapping up (answer your surveys, please!) and the kindle versions will complete release next week in time for the holidays. If you haven't backed the campaign then keep an eye out! You have quite a lot of books to look forward to. I will hopefully have news for a mass market physical version by then too. It's been quite a busy 2023 getting this series finished up, so it is nice to finally see the end of the road up ahead.

I know it's been a rough year for a lot of people, but the holidays are close and we are very near the end. Just a bit further to go! So sit back and relax, and enjoy your weekend. You have earned it.

Until next time, have a good one!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Old Coke

For those older than they would like to admit, I'm sure you remember the fracas called New Coke. If you weren't there for it (after all, the change barely lasted at all), then you might not even know what it was all about.

In the mid-80s, Coca Cola was slowly losing ground to its competitors thanks to successful ad campaigns like the Pepsi Generation and hip stars like Michael Jackson and Madonna. In other words, Coke was becoming known as old stogy and Pepsi was quickly becoming the choice for the young and cool. Suffice to say, Coca Cola needed an edge to regain the ground it had lost. What better way to do that then to launch a new formula?

At this point, you might know the broad strokes of it. Coke changed its formula, it was a disaster, and they reversed course and brought back the "Classic" formula (under the banner Coca Cola Classic) and everyone lived happily ever after, dumping on a bad mistake that never should have happened in the first place.

However, there is one bit of this story no one ever mentions. The end of that story, isn't quite what actually happened. Here's the thing: Old Coke never actually came back.

Many people have theorized the New Coke stunt wasn't actually to revive a slowly dying brand, but to make it cheaper to produce by removing the last extracts of the cocoa plant and replacing it with the ever-harmful and well-hated High Fructose Corn Syrup. That isn't so much a theory since that's exactly what happened. Coca Cola Classic that existed before New Coke never actually came back on the market. The True New Coke is the one you currently by at the supermarket to this day. The bait and switch worked, and they got us all good.

You can see the whole story of New Coke above, and it is quite interesting. But do not think the consumer actually won at the end of the day. We never actually got Coca Cola Classic back, despite what we were told. Old Coke is still dead, and it's still not coming back.

Just goes to show you that the truth isn't always what it's sold as. Sometimes there's a hidden reality waiting between the cracks.

Have yourself a good weekend, and a great Veteran's Day!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

End of the Publishing Age

Times have changed, and they just keep changing. Though it's not always as obvious as we'd prefer it to be. As I wrap up shipping on my first ever crowdfund (if you have yet to fill out your survey, please do so! It's the only way to get your book), I've spent some time looking back on the way things are compared to the way they used to be.

Years ago in the wilderness of publishing, emerged these brand new inventions called eBooks. They soon began popping up in then-burgeoning online stores. This was a gamechanger in the world of writing that you might not appreciate if you're young enough to have grown up when they were always around. Overnight, anyone could publish their own works on an even playing field with the wider industry and get their books out for anyone to read. This changed everything. A new wild west had been born.

As a consequence, the gatekeepers of the old publishing industry (OldPub) could not keep up with this new ecosystem, and fought to destroy it from every angle they could. They attempted to deliberately sabotage this new landscape by putting their own eBooks at absurd prices in order to prop up their stranglehold on the paper industry, but it did not work out for them. Eventually it succeeded in pushing readers away from them into these new spaces where many readers tried out these new, far cheaper books, and realized how much they had been missing out on sticking with OldPub. The revolution had begun and could not be quelled halfheartedly.

Many other events happened over the years to help alter the way things were, including the ever-present Coronavirus which put a heavy squeeze on OldPub which quite possible wiping out the adjacent audiobook industry (since no one was driving to work--the main audience for such products). Said event also killed off even more of the old chain bookstores that stocked these corporations' works. In essence, what has happened is that the old industry is on the way out and they have gnashed their teeth over it while flailing the whole way down.

Now, if you meet anyone who reads at all, they either only indulge in old works and classics or have chosen to dive into obscure and strange NewPub (the new publishing landscape) material. Go to a chain bookstore today and it will be slathered in manga with a spattering of knickknacks and some tables for classics with terrible modern covers. Their pet projects and newer agents contracted to write for them are buried even as they trumpet them as the obvious future. But there is nothing there underneath the bluster. They have no mainstream penetration, and no desire to have any--they only want control over their own cliques. The OldPub industry only now exists to prop up its failing lumber business and writing seminars for those who will bend over backwards to join the rapidly shrinking club. It is an unbridled disaster and only getting worse.

Naturally, there is no future here, though it will take years, maybe decades, for those in control of these industries to realize how little influence they actually have on the wider culture. Perhaps they will never understand. It doesn't really matter because that is the way it is.

Before we know it, the industry will be nothing but a memory.

The problem going forward between readers and writers, however, is going to be a tough gap to bridge. Wild west climates do not last forever, by necessity. Eventually a landscape will coalesce and rules will form from some source adjacent to it. This is unavoidable. The question is, who will be the one to assert that authority? Because it will happen. It is just a matter of time.

The issue needing to be tackled will be the lack of unity or overall direction in the NewPub space. With so many creators going their own way in random directions, it leaves the audience confused as to what the overall goal is supposed to be. Subcultures of the 20th century understood this better before they also crumbled to dust.

At the same time, the same subcultures that once demanded standards and focus now celebrate mediocrity and human automation--checking boxes and fulfilling corporate tropes to be sold in dwindling store space. While berating AI, they clear the path for it at the same time by making writing a a soulless robot the way to get your book on their shelves. And readers know this--the ones not in the club have already moved on.

All of this contributes to turn an industry that should be built on creativity, on excitement, on new frontiers, one wedded to niche and untenable political ideology masqueraded as the opposite of what it actually is. OldPub has nothing left to offer readers that they can't get elsewhere, and they have nothing to offer writers, either.

This is the current level of the competition coming from OldPub:

Updated stats from the above: barely any better, though.

The obvious question that remains is obvious. What does one gain from climbing aboard this broken system, especially in this day and age?

You won't be selling books. You won't even be on a store shelf. From what everyone in OldPub has stated, you won't get much in the way of editing, you won't get a decent cover, and you won't get a platform to advertise your books. You will basically be getting the equivalent treatment of a vanity publisher from the 2000s: paying to put your books out in front of a miniscule audience that won't even see your book.

So what exactly do you get from engaging in OldPub? What is the advantage, especially as we know the industry prioritizes automation over creativity? What is the point of becoming a writer if all you are going to do is check boxes to be stocked on a shelf no one will ever bother looking at? Is it about prestige? If so, I think our ideas of what "prestige" actually means is going to be changing very soon, if it has yet to.

As I've said, since I started my writing journey, things have changed a lot.

For one example, back when I began OldPub would not accept manuscripts under 100K words. For an idea of what that means, the average novel is 40-60K words, the average novella is under 40K words, the average novelette is under 25K words, and the average short story is under 15K words. In other words, OldPub had no interest in publishing the majority of story types that have existed longer than the industry itself has. They only wanted one type of bloated story at the expense of all else. And if you look at what gets published, how much of it is interchangeable, you can't be left with any other impression other than stories themselves not being the point of the industry.

And don't think readers themselves haven't noticed this change. They are the ones that have moved over to NewPub, after all.

But what does a newer writer and creator do these days? Especially as the old ways have fallen away and gaining a foothold has been difficult for so long. How does one even find people to appeal to in a climate as rotten as this one?

There are a few options, so let us go into one: Neopatronage.

For an idea of what might be coming in the creative landscape, check out this conversation on Neopatronage with my co-authors of the free Generation Y: The Lost Generation, Brian Niemeier and David V. Stewart! This conversation covers just what this new system might consist of, and what newer creatives should strive for.

A lot of the current changes happening in publishing are bringing things back they were before the modern industry existed. This is why I do not call the dying system "Tradpub" as so many others do--there is nothing tradition about it--this industry was always an outlier and a mutation of the way it was once done. The Neopatronage model is actually closer to a traditional model of a successful system than what is erroneously called "Tradpub" ever was. This is because it is merely old--"OldPub" as I call it. It is not getting any younger.

Every industry is currently in a downturn and has been since the creation of streaming, throwaway social media like TikTok, and the devaluing of physical media. So the question at this point should be in just what the future is even going to hold. Because at the rate we are going, no industry built in the 20th century will be around in the next few decades.

Unless we have some mass "Come to Jesus" moment (and at this rate, an actual one), it seems the pattern is obvious and the future ahead coming into view is going to be one thing in particular. We are looking at atomization on a scale that will make our current terminal case look almost quaint. And that is an eerie thought.

Remember the image below? This is not an isolated example. It really feels as if we are breaking apart as a coalesced culture.

This is an incredible turnaround from what it was like in the 20th century. We have allowed ourselves to separate entirely from each other and go off to our own corners. What exactly sort of society this is going to lead to in the future is anyone's guess.

But it will most definitely not be an improvement, socially.

That aside, it is inevitable at this point. This is the climate that such things such as Neopatronage has come into, partially because finding connections through art and entertainment is actually getting more and more difficult. This is actually one of the reasons Hollywood can only lean on tired political sloganeering or nostalgia bait to attract attention--it is because they otherwise have no other way to relate to the average person.

It is a shame we live in a time where communication appears to be failing, even as we have more ways to communicate than ever before, but perhaps this was inevitable change after we sold ourselves on automating and stripping the humanity from the art and entertainment we have produced over the years. All that is left is inhuman formula and old ideas that newer audiences have been trained not to connect to. How does one grow an industry from that point?

That is where we are, however. All we can do is start from the beginning and hope it works out better this time. There is nothing left except to begin again.

Yes, so while the old age dies, and we flail blindly towards the future, we can only hope that things will work out this time. As long as we can connect with each other, there is always a chance. We're going to have to fight for that connection in ways we never thought we had to before. Perhaps we took it all for granted, but we can't do that anymore.

I can't know what the new age will promise, but I can hope for the best. We've got a wide open road ahead of us. Let's take advantage of it this time, and really make something out of it. Not only do we deserve it, but we need it.

The future is already here.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Scrap Metal

"But it did get worse."

What if you learned an entertainment company you enjoyed fondly as a young one fell apart? Even worse than that: what if you saw the entire thing coming from a mile away, but not only could you do nothing to stop it, the people in charge thought they were succeeding instead? How exactly what something like that come about?

Well, it turns out that we have no shortage of such examples in the modern world, many I've even highlighted before on this blog. However, today I wanted to highlight one project in particular that was such a specific sort of failure that it can only have happened to one company on one project in particular. That's right, this is about RoosterTeeth and Gen:Lock.

For those who don't know what either of those are, and there are plenty these days, RoosterTeeth started out back in the 2000s as one of those user-created content mills based on the properties of others, much like Machinima was (remember them?), who started with the comedy series Red Vs. Blue. RvB was a Halo parody using in game assets to make comedy skits and observations about the video game and pop pop culture itself. It was very much a 2000s era product, as its very name shows, and could not have been made at any other time.

Red Vs. Blue did well, eventually leading RoosterTeeth into trying something more ambitious. Using their talents, they endeavored to make an original universe spearheaded by a man named Monty Oum. He worked on the last few seasons of RvB and was responsible for such viral videos as Haloid (a Metroid/Halo crossover) and Dead Fantasy, (a Dead or Alive/Final Fantasy crossover) which is a 2000s era project if there ever was one. This new project, of course, would be RWBY.

I'm not going to bother to go into RWBY, that whole thing is a story in itself, but suffice to say it was popular. It was so popular that RoosterTeeth attracted a lot of attention from outside parties, many eager to see if they could cash in on this burgeoning "new" form of entertainment. Naturally, this meant more projects would come about.

One such product is the now infamous Gen:Lock, their attempt at a "modern" mecha series. It is now more well known for its failure than anything it did while it was around. There is a lot to go over, so I recommend watching the video above to get the entire experience. Suffice to say, it was an unbridled disaster, spurring from both the worst aspects of independent creators AND the worse aspects of corporate interference. Gen:Lock runs the full gamut of mistakes, bad luck, ineptitude, and does it in such a way that is almost impressive.

As you watch it keep the events in mind for whatever it is you are passionate about, and remember them. Things can always get worse--don't choose to make them worse yourself. Remember what the purpose of art and entertainment is and try your best to not fall into this hole yourself. A lot of the problems described, especially those that happened near the end, are very much turning into common mistakes today in the here and now. This whole event is becoming far too common, and we should not fool ourselves into thinking it should be acceptable.

That's all for today! November is here, and the weather is turning chilly. Be sure to keep warm and have yourself a rest.

Have a good weekend, and I'll see you next time.