Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New blog

New blog! Whoopee! :-)

First, a few words of explanation.

This is my third blog, and will probably be the most active one. As I'm mostly working on my nonfiction philosophical book The Integral Paradigm, it feels counterproductive at the moment to post anything on my second blog, called Integral Transformation. It's also hard to post much on my original blog (at Gaia com, formerly called Zaadz), mostly becxause the community I was in touch with there seems to have moved on, and I don't have the impetus to get involved in other projects and discussions there. I'd rather put the energy into the book.

At the same time, I'd like to explore creative writing ideas. This is an area I've been interested in on and off for years, but, as with my esoteric projects, no published books ever came of it. As my non-fiction book finally comes closer to completion (following many rewrites) I figured it would be good to also start thinking about fiction writing as well.

The two in a sense complement each other. In terms of archetypes, non-fiction is logos (rational and intuitive mind), and fiction mythos (imaginative or daydreaming). Both are different ways of telling a story.

Hence the title of this blog - mythoworlds. It is about worlds of the imagination, which will complement the worlds of intuition that esoteric philosophy refers to.

In this blog I'll put down various thoughts, ideas, and comments on fiction that I am reading (or have just watched on video or at the movies), as well as ideas about my own creative writing.

By way of background history and explanation, I'll explain here some of my interests in and previous attempts at writing fiction (For more, see gaia com and my Kheper website biography). To begin with, I loved reading sci fi (sorry, SF) as a kid and teenager, and made a few attempts at drawing sci fi comics (none of which were ever finished) and writing stories. In later years I tried again to write SF, especially cyberpunk (my page - wikipedia page). My Cyberpunk book Haap New Year was never finished either, so i made the first chapter into a self-contained story. At the time I was heavily into William Gibson and Irvine Welsh; the latter especially had a particularily colourful style of writing, which I incorporated. People with delicate sensitivities therefore are advised not to read!

My next big project was Orion's Arm (OA for short), a hard science collaborative worldbuilding project, which I co-founded and was involved in from 2000 until 2004; for how this happened, see my recollections at the OA zine Voices/Future Tense. There was going to be a novel, or maybe several, at one time, but I couldn't get focused enough to write them. Currently there is a compilation based on the winners of a 2008 contest of short stories/novellas set in the OAverse (the OA Universe) which will be appearing in print soon. I haven't been involved with this, but it has inspired me tpo reconsider my original idsea of an OA Space Opera story.

Since OA I haven't written any SF, and indeed since 2005 or so haven't been involved in any worldbuilding at all (except for a short spell in 2007 at the OA Metaverse project). I've been focusing instead on my non-fiction book, which has been inspired by my involvement with and contributions to the nascent Integral Movement (my page, Wikipedia page, which I co-author) in 2006 and 2007. I've said just about everything I wanted to say on that topic (see Integral Transformations blog and my essays at Integral World), except for my book, which will represent a new level of insight again.

Then, for the last few months, I've been thinking of going back to writing SF. Not necessarily the Hard Science Fiction of my OA days. While I do like good hard SF, i find it can be a bit dry and limiting; too much rationality and not enough imagination. That is why I'm now interested in a more multi-genre mythological science fiction fantasy cross-over. In a sense, this mythology hard SF cross-over theme was the basic inspiration of OA as well, but it was hard to maintain the balance, as worldbuilding and the need for scientific rigor meant there was more emphasis on the technical side of things. This was really my idea anyway, I was trying to create a counterbalance to the "bumpy-headed humanoids" of Star Trek type popular sci fi; and I think I suceeded too!

A rather more serious problem is that I couldn't really put my own esoteric ideas and insights into the setting, because I had to work with others, and whereas we all shared a love of hard SF, we didn't agree on metaphysics. So I'm looking forward now to a more eccentric and ideosyncratic approach; acknowledging the contrabutrions of hard science, but not being limited by it.

There have been several events that triggered my current interest in multi-genre science fiction.

The first was a review on the community TV station Channel 31 (Melbourne)'s computer games review program Level 3 (I notice Wikipedia is good with links like this :-) It featured a trailer of a game called Section 8. Now, I'm not very intersted in these sort of first person shooter video games (I find them really boring in fact, although i did enjoy playing the early versions of Castle Wolfenstein and Doom back in the early 1990s. But what really impressed both my friend and I when we watched it was the trailer with the voice over. it was obviously influenced by Joe Haldeman's Forever War, was very fast moving and well done. So that got me thinking about writing a hard SF first person military science fiction story. But then I realised, well, I would just be writing crap (of the sort that authors of airport novels withou actual experuience churn out), regurgitating stuff that the masters like Haldeman and Heinlein (Starship Troopers) had already done much better.

The next big inspiration came with a dvd anime called Vampire Hunter D (written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri). This was a sort of post-apocalyptic vampire horror sci fi western cross over; It was absolutely brilliant. (If Wikipedia is any guide, it seems that the character development in the anime is much better than in the original novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi). The way it packed in so many different genres, in a way that seamilessly integrated them, was awesome. It inspired me with the idea of post-apocalyptic cross-over novel with all the genre cliches (why not?), and more besides. I actually started on the story, and got a few pages down. I experimented with both first person and third person narrative of the same stiory scene, which was a useful exercise. But I felt unsatisfied with the main character; he wasn't strong enough to hold the power of the setting. There was also the problem of the plot; there wasn't any (plots have always been a weak point with me). So after a while I put this one aside too. It was more promising than the military SF, but still didn't feel complete. So I returned to my non-fiction project.

A third big inspiration came through reading a book by comic and science fiction writer Dan Abnett, called Eisenhorn, set in the Warhammer 40,000 gothic science fiction horror fantasy universe. The story is a first person narrative of an Inquisitor in this unhappy future universe. I only bought the book by chance because I happened to be at Northland Shopping Centre on Monday and I wandered into a Games Workshop store because I noticed the Warhammer miniatures and table-top settings. Along with a whole lot of these very cool wargaming miniatures and various games, they sold a few books. I picked up a fat volume at random, perhaps attracted by the very evocative cover art, and started reading, and I was hooked. Although I find the setting much too bleak for my liking, the book is very well written and fast-moving and grabbed me from the first page; later I would find bits that were very unrealistic (i.e. more Indiana Jones derring-do then the actions of an Imperial Inquisitor), but even so it helped me form the idea of a strong first person character; someone who comes across as a good person but has to enforce an oppressive regime. The book consists of three novels in one, so i need to finish all of it before I can give my complete assesment. But really just the first few chapters sets the pace and character very well (the rest is just drawn out space opera so far, but it may change). Although the way the alien geometry is described as unsettling is well done; I am sure Abnett must have read Lovecraft. And some of the horror and supernatural elements are very well written.

Mythos - Logos. Totally different style; totally different ambience.

So what I am interested in writing is an epic, cross-genre story, perhaps something of the scope of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings (although no-one could match Tolkein for worldbuiilding, but in the sense of an adventure type story), incorporating esoteric and mythological themes, a vast setting, lots of monsters and action and adventure, but without the stupid Indiana Jones type swashbuckling crap which is so unrealistic.

At the moment I'm considering three stories; one a magical-esoteric-science fiction-fantasy post apocalyptic type story, perhaps told in first person, the other a parallel universe type story with gnostic elements, the third a far future spaceships and AI type space opera story, with a cast of characters (maybe space pirates or some such useful cliche as a frame of easy reference) and maybe set in the OA universe, maybe not; it depends how the writing unfolds. Each would need to have an epic, tolkeinesque plot structure; that's the hardest thing to work out (I find writing characters, narrative, dialog, and action quite easy)

So this is where I am now, regarding my creative writing inspiration. I'll have more to say in later posts; including further reviews; indeed I could've gone on and on, but I thought it better to leave it here.

If anyone reads this and shares interest in the same style of epic writing, please feel free to contact me, or post a comment here; I'd love to hear form you :-)


  1. Thanks for this very useful referential post and the profound insight on SF development.
    Considering the process of alternating futures in current SF medias, it does seem that LOTR were profoundly different in its treatment of, not a mythological past (as an understanding of the present), but leveraged a kind of map-key towards an understanding of a mythological development of a "future" reference point (i.e. integral spiritual acheivement by destruction of the ring of power i.e. "nothing"). I wanted to write it for a while also in connection with how movies play an integrated part in mapping a mythological subconscious, virtual reality to create ochestrated mass resonance on a global scale. In that way we could say we have already programmed Earth for an apocaplytic event, though of course if you take the other side-of-the-coin view, through the "mystical" lens, in fact its all just resonance, each level resonating the larger.

    God speed

  2. MAK, it isn't Tolkein its Tolkien, OK?