Fire and Sleep

Or sleep and fire. I’m not getting much of the former, so I’m watching some YouTube while I contemplate trying to get a bit more sleep. (Actually, I think it might be any sleep tonight. It’s been a bad one.)

Anyway, I’ve been watching the various news broadcasts about the fires in the US. I swear I watch more news from over the Pond than from here. I have no idea where most of you live, but hopefully it’s not too close to any of the bad areas. Practically, if you do, it’s likely you won’t read this until after it’s all over.

Whatever your situation, stay safe.

Too Hot!

Just imagine there’s a picture here of an Englishman melting into a puddle. I am not running any renders today!

I’ve even seen reports of this turning up on late night shows in the US, so I think most are aware that it’s HOT in Europe. Worse, it’s HOT in Manchester! That’s like saying the Antarctic ice cap just melted. We don’t do hot in Manchester. We do damp and overcast with potential for torrential rain.

The temperature on my garden thermometer seems to have peaked at 37.5 C. That’s 99.5 F for those who refuse to use SI units. I’ve been hotter. I went out at two pm. in summer in Scottsdale, AZ. I regretted it, but I could go back to an air conditioned hotel room (and wonder whether the people sunbathing beside the pool could actually be heard sizzling). We do not do air con in the UK. My office is at thirty degrees. I give up.

I’m having a little problem with writer’s block at the moment, and progress is slow. I’ve started at least four books and stopped again with problems about knowing where to go with them. I started another yesterday which I’m hopeful about, but today, I can’t think! I’ve written a sentence. I’ve also drawn a map because drawing pretty pictures doesn’t take as much brainpower. I may try taking my laptop down and working in the kitchen, because it’s cooler, but it’s also possible that I just give up until tomorrow.

We need to fix climate change, like yesterday.

On a side note. Well, sort of a side note. In the Fox books, most of southern Europe has been evacuated because they don’t have water to keep the population going and it’s too hot for humans to function properly. I thought I was being a bit pessimistic, to be honest. Watching the coverage of the weather and wild fires in France and Spain, I feel like one of my dire predictions is more likely than I thought. I hate it when I’m right.

AR vs VR, LifeWeb vs Metaverse

When I was writing the third Fox book, DeathWeb, (and also before that) I needed a social media system to be the basis for the story. So, I invented LifeWeb, the overarching social media platform of the future. It embodied a number of the negative aspects of social media of various types I see today.

Obviously, I was basically renaming and expanding Facebook. The rationale given in the books for LifeWeb displacing ‘other companies’ was the integration of a voting application into LifeWeb which let ordinary people vote without having to use the government’s overcomplicated and opaque application. That’s why Facebook isn’t around and LifeWeb is, not to avoid trademark infringement. Honest.

And then, along came Meta and the Metaverse. Suddenly, there’s another reason LifeWeb won. (I’m ignoring the whole emphasis on NFTs thing here, but that’s another factor.) The thing is that LifeWeb focuses around AR (augmented reality) while the Metaverse is a VR (virtual reality) experience. LifeWeb adds to your experience of the real world while Metaverse is intended to replace it. VR is an aspect of Fox’s (and Tatsu’s) world, but most of your experience there comes in the form of the virtual world appearing within the real world. It’s a different strategy for implementing the next generation of internet interfaces, and there’s a lot of discussion about these days over which will become the standard. I think AR will be more common than VR. I did when I wrote the first Fox book, and I still think so. I guess we’ll see whether I’m right.

As a sort of aside, if you wan to see what I think is one of the best visualisations of the kind of world Fox and Tatsu live in, I recommend Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 on Netflix. You don’t have to watch all of it, just the first episode. (I actually quite like the series, even if the ending is a bit confusing, but I may be the only one who does. It rates a 6.59 out of 10 on MyAnimeList.) You have meetings taking place in VR, and you have the rush of AR adverts Togusa brushes aside when we first meet him. More than any other visual media I’ve seen, this is the kind of thing I think of when I’m writing for Fox or Tatsu.

And now, back to reality. Which sucks. Bring on full-sensory VR!

Goddess (the Musical)

I don’t normally recommend music. I’m not recommending music now. However, I discovered Mysara’s (from Fallen) theme tune recently and I wanted to share. Uh, the lyrics are not suitable for work, much like the lady herself.

Goddess by Jaira Burns. You can find it various places on YouTube.

I recommend the lyric video so you can see just how those lyrics really fit Mysara.

They also kind of fit Nava. And maybe a few other characters.

Loyalty Art Dump

Click above to go to ArtStation and see the collected pics for Loyalty. Not a huge number this time because I have images to work from for most of the major characters. Half the time, I’m just doing renders for fun.


Brought to you by insomnia, the sixth Death’s Handmaiden book, Loyalty. Seriously, I was up at 6:30 a.m. doing the final edits on this thing. Some people view Sunday as the first day of the week, so it’s next week, sort of.

Anyway, Amazon are being a bit speedy today, so I already have the ASIN!

Loyalty, coming soon

The sixth Death’s Handmaiden book, Loyalty, will be out next week. Not exactly sure when; the limiting factor is likely to be the cover since I’ve only just come up with an idea for it, and it’s a bit complicated.

In other news, I bought myself a present. It’s a 32″ UHD (4K) monitor for my graphics/gaming PC. It’s awesome. I should’ve done this years ago.

In other other news, I just got a marketing email from my ISP which says I’m in the top 20% of data users in the Wigan area. That sounds pretty major, but it’s Wigan…

Massive Eurovision Upset!

This made it onto Saturday Night Live last night, so it has to be international news, right?

Ah, the Eurovision Song Contest, that takes me back. When I was a kid, Eurovision used to be a must-watch for the entire family. Of course, when I was a kid, when Eurovision was on, nothing else was. We only had two channels worth watching, and Eurovision totally consumed the BBC. However, back then there was a degree of enthusiasm for watching it. How bad would the UK’s song be? How much of a horrendous dirge would the French give us this year? Are we about to see another ABBA? (Yes, for those unaware, ABBA got their start on Eurovision. For those who don’t know who ABBA is: bugger off you Millennial bastards, I feel old enough as it is!)

Then it got silly. See, it’s the Eurovision song contest, not the European song contest. Eurovision is a commercial entity supplying broadcasts to 56 countries across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. So, countries started turning up which were not European, and that was weird. Also, the UK gave up bothering. We used to try. Cliff Richard was the UK entry twice! Then we gave up. Would we win became ‘Maybe we won’t get zero points this year.’ It did not help at all when it became possible to add a public vote to the tally (it all used to be voting panels, and it used to be hilarious watching the presenters worry over whether they could get to all the people they needed to by telephone). The UK hasn’t won Eurovision is 25 years (and often with good reason).

So, what was the massive upset last night? The UK came second! Ukraine won because Putin, but the UK got second! It’s the best result we’ve had in 20 years and, let’s face facts, we would’ve won if not for the war. That’s not sour grapes from a Brit (because I didn’t even know the thing was on until I saw the news video on YouTube), the UK was in first place and Ukraine was in fifth, and then they tallied the public vote to add to the judged one. Basically, Putin put Ukraine in first place. I listened to the two entries just now and they’re both about as good as each other. The Ukrainian one is a bit more my thing, to be honest. Not enough of my thing for me to want to listen to it twice, but a bit more than the UK one.

Next year, the show is supposed to come from Ukraine. The winner hosts next year. It’s an expensive proposition (like hosting the Olympics or the World Cup). Ireland won three times in a row long ago and it almost bankrupted the Irish public TV company. Somehow, I think they may have to switch venues even if the war’s over by then. Wherever it is, I can almost guarantee that the UK’s song will place a lot lower than second. And it’s also pretty likely I won’t know it’s happening until the day after.

This post was brought to you by ‘random thoughts over lunch break.’

Okay, I’m Going to Do This…

I recently finished the first draft of the next Death’s Handmaiden novel (Loyalty, I think). On Wednesday, actually. I’ve ben working on plotting out that succubus thing I mentioned since then, but I decided to read through Loyalty as it stands to see whether there are any major problems or bits I should add. There are some scheduling issues that will mean the book won’t be out before June anyway…

Upshot of this is that I’m putting a hold on the succubus thing because I just haven’t enough story to make it viable, and I’m going to delay Loyalty a bit further because, well, I want to write more Nava & Co. So, you’ll probably looking at late July for the next book, but it’ll be a bit longer when it appears. Maybe a lot longer and a dollar or so more expensive, but I’m going to see how long the added story actually works out before deciding on that.

To hold you over, a couple of graphics you won’t have seen. (The second is NSFW.)

Nava in Super-Spy Mode
Amara, the succubus

Awesome Anime Idea!

The exclamation mark is ironic.

Okay, so, I was watching one of Mother’s Basements’ old ‘worst anime of…’ episodes and this genius idea for an isekai came to me. See what you think.

Protag-kun is eaten by an alligator while of holiday in Australia (because truck-kun is so last year) and wakes up in another world where your status is defined by your psychic power. Amazingly, our hero is not the most powerful psychic in the world, but has somehow got himself a place at the prestigious Awesome Psychics Academy because reasons. There, he learns that your power is decided in psychic duels, which are basically staring contests were two minds battle for supremacy. Obviously, he wants to avoid these and he manages to for almost an entire episode until the biggest bully in the school calls him out. Here, our boy’s true power becomes apparent: due to him being the protagonist of an isekai anime, he has no discernible personality. So, when the battle starts, the bully finds himself lost in a featureless void, falls into a coma, and remains that way for at least an episode, thus handing the duel to the hero. Being a mind-numbingly boring otaku with no life is a superpower!

Obviously, all the girls want to bang our hero like a Salvation Army drum owing to his superlative power. Oh, he falls over and ends up grabbing at least one boob at least once per episode. Maybe he can psychically fall over and grab psychic boob to spice things up.

What do you think?

Male protagonist, so you know I won’t be writing it. But if there’s an anime producer out there looking for the worst anime of 2023, I’m willing to talk terms.

This has been a Boring Sunday Blog Post, courtesy of YouTube.