There are ways to tell stories. Words. Images. And now Giant VR virtual environments. I’m working with to produce MASSIVE, a huge online universe that anyone can build in.

I want to lay out the plot of a novel in Virtual Reality, take the avatar through key points, let them examine the evidence from all angles. I think it will be an interesting journey…

Try MASSIVE here

C’eci ne’st pas une Pipe

Is what a writer writes really real?

I have written words, can you hit someone over the head with them? Certainly not! Words are entertainment. They may talk about important or trivial issues, but words themselves are not harmful.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. That is my choice.

There is an argument that “a word can harm me” but this is not true. This is manipulative. To be harmed by physical violence is sometimes unavoidable and tragic. But to be harmed by words is a choice. I choose how to receive words, by understanding where they come from and what they are saying without mapping my own aggression on them.

Is the word gun a harmful word? Should it be banned? What about the word pipe. Pipe has many meanings. A pipe can be used to beat someone over the head, and to some this makes the word pipe dangerous. A pipe can take delicious orange juice from a factory and put it into a bottle, and some say this is delectable. It’s the same word.

We must never let people burn books (or the modern equivalent of silencing words) just because we map our own anger onto them.

The most dangerous words are the truth, and these are always the first words to be silenced.

The Useful Idiots

These days we hear a lot about Socialism, how free healthcare should be implemented for all. It’s a good idea, who doesn’t want the security of state-run healthcare? All it takes is 30% more tax, and there is enough for everyone.

It’s not as simple (Canada, France, etc have implemented tax-funded Healthcare though they are not socialist countries.)

In the case of America, health-care is used as socialism fuel, and socialism makes people uncomfortable given the history of the United States and its uneasy relationship with Russia, especially during the Cold War. During the Cold Ware Russia sent many agents to America to infiltrate every possible influential position – media, schools, universities, and succeeded on numerous occasions to inject false documents (the Fake News of the day) into the political system. For example, claiming that the president endorsed a Socialist country’s actions, or claiming that a country was allied with America’s enemies. Along with state-run facilities come a few other problems, and this is where the resistance to The Resistance comes from.

When socialist systems are implemented they must, by definition, remove all opposition to Socialism. A socialist system cannot survive any type of intellectualism, individualism, or freedom of speech, because individual rights are not socialist. Socialist is groupthink, enforced by the military. Individualism causes people to ask questions. Questions about why everyone is working their whole lives and the government lives in luxury. Questions about why there is only one political party, one news outlet, and so on. A competitive news media gives, to some degree, the sense that there is freedom.

When Socialism is to be implemented in a country the upper-middle class intellectuals, scholars, and journalists (collectively termed Useful Idiots), are used to prop up the virtues of Socialism. Some are direct agents, and some go along and are easily influenced by these agents. In some cases they cause riots, sew distrust among their own people, even create false flag attacks (such as the fake US Attack on Mecca). This is called Active Measures, the ideology of creating instability so that the Socialist system seems the most stable solution by comparison, and any other type of ism, such as capitalism, seems frail and fraught with turbulence, on the verge of collapse.

Once the Socialist demoralization takes place, it is time to assassinate the Useful Idiots. In the lightest terms it results in Character Assassination, the removal of someone from power by some legal action. Once the ball of Socialism is rolling, the impatient dictators in waiting resort to more permanent measures, such as the assassination vans of the Lenin era who simply collected intellectuals, executed them on the side of the road, and left their bodies for the working-class to deal with. The same thing happened in the mass killings in Cambodia under Pol Pot (they wear the same red uniform), China, Yugoslavia, Mongolia, and of course the mass killings in Nazi Germany, and countless other places where the Great Purge is implemented to remove all dissenting voices. The Socialist movement is currently underway in South Africa (the opposition wear the same red uniform and call for the death of intellectuals, and to seize the means of production).

After Socialism is in place, and the Useful Idiots are buried, there exists a nation of obedient workers, a strong military, and a super-rich dictatorship thoroughly insulated from the working class, and it can often take the combined efforts of many countries to free the people from this oppressive regime.

How The Poetic Edda is the earliest example of BlockChain

Ancient Poetry, at least poetry as originally designed by intelligent poets and not the modern “every sentence is a poem because I added line-breaks” type of self-proclaimed poetry, has a marvelous built-in checksum – the rythmic rhyming word.

Add in multiple singers or chanters – sea shanty gives us the word chant – and you have a self correcting form of historical record. It would be almost impossible to make a change to a poem without first convincing all the sailors on a ship to change their song.

Rhyming Poetry once had a purpose that was not only rhythmic – it conserved the sanctity of the sentences it constrained.

Add a coherent story to the poem and you create an almost inviolate, immutable testimony of events. It is more difficult to alter a poem when it rhymes. Think of altering a poem like hacking a bank. Not impossible, but it takes people with education to do it. (By today’s standards fairly easy, but by ancient standards poetic skill was akin to having a PhD)

The Poetic Edda speaks largely about the movement of the planets, the Moon, and The Sun. Modern astronomers are able to rewind time in simulations to any point in history, with a fair degree of accuracy, and when they take the events described in the Poetic Edda (the passage of the Norse Gods / The Planets), which predate all other accounts of the planets, we find correlations and corroborations with other texts about history, for example those in ancient China, India, and Africa.

BlockChain works by having a public ledger of accounts distributed among multiple machines, and arriving at a coded conclusion about a transaction through public vote, rather than contacting a centralized authority as Credit Cards do. Spoof the Credit Card machine and you get free stuff. Not so easy with BlockChain because the pieces of the key required to unlock the transaction are located all around the world.

For the old Icelandic Norse and ancient proto-Norse sailors, poetry was a way of memorizing complex navigational instructions. Poetry exists among Asian and Northern sailors, with a fair amount of overlap, probably due to the limited amount of ports along the coastline to share songs. Some shanties in the Poetic Edda describe events over 3000 years ago!

One famous celestial story by Grimner, tells how Loki – Mercury (the Norse God of Fire / Lucifer / The Messenger), stole fire from Thiassi – The Sun (Zeus/ Deus/ / God/Odin) after which Thiassi’s daughter Skadi appears (Skadi=Shadow/Eclipse). So the account is of an eclipse occurring after Mercury traveled from the Sun to the moon – An exciting event in ancient times, and also modern times!

In fact, a markedly similar event happened in 2008 when Venus and Jupiter traveled from an apparent position near the sun and arrived near the cusp of an Eclipsed moon. Phenomenon like that are quite rare, and so by rewinding the Poetic Edda’s account we can pinpoint the date of the original story to corroborate the poem with other ancient history and astronomical observations.

But what if oral historians forgot? Well, they used BlockChain, or distributed poetry, as mnemonics to help them remember. Once you have a keyword your mind quickly remembers. That’s why you can remember the lyrics to hundreds of songs but can’t remember where you left your car keys.

The purpose of many poems, sea shanties / chants, was navigation, and teaching a ship of rough-hewn sailors is not always an easy task, but songs are something fun to do to pass the monotony of rowing and sailing. By learning the block-chain poetry, sailors could pass on their knowledge with relative ease, perhaps adding a new verse to inform future sailors about a rock outcrop or a celestial event to look out for, such as the passage of Venus through the Southern Cross which signaled traveling sailors (traveling sailsmen?) to come home.

Ancient Poetry in the Edda is remarkable, the core poem survives eons virtually unchanged, only extended by new knowledge. Coincidentally one of the SOLID principles of computer programming – extend existing structures, don’t alter them


Hljóðs bið eg allar
helgar kindir,
meiri og minni
mögu Heimdallar.
Viltu að eg, Valföður,
vel fyr telja
forn spjöll fira,
þau er fremst um man.

If writers were required to have perfect moral standards our libraries would be empty.

Picture the scene : Everything a writer says and does is recorded by a huge machine. At age 15, a writer says something that may be construed as hurtful under different circumstances thirty years later. The writer is also cheating on her husband, so the moral police swoop in and burn all her books throughout the land. They repeat this process for every author who at any point in their life said or did anything that contradicts the governing moral authority. No one investigates the investigators, because that is immoral, according to the investigators. See where this is going?

The Perception of Time

Any discussion of Time tends to veer off into the metaphysical, but let’s try and keep it logical, for now.

We exist in an eternal now. I am writing this now, you are reading this now. I can’t write this tomorrow, and you can’t read this yesterday. I’m also editing this sentence now… and just added this bit.

Is Time a substance, one that can be traveled and navigated by some advanced civilization? Or is Time something we made up to measure rotation…

So rooted is our belief in the existence of the mythological Time that when atomic clocks were sent hurtling into space and came back down showing the wrong time people fervently believed that time itself had altered.

You see, scientists don’t define time in the same way us mere mortals do.

Satellites need to be adjusted to account for time dilation…. or is it just the changing effect of gravity? A clock is not time, any more than a ruler coming back from space slightly warped, does not mean that space itself had warped, merely that the ruler had escaped enough of Earth’s pull to have its atoms jiggled. Anyway, if space warped around you you wouldn’t know it, because you are not in space, you are space, you’d warp with it. If Time exists and it warped, you wouldn’t know it.

As we get older our perception of time changes. Our internal film camera starts taking images at a slower rate, resulting in us feeling like events are speeding up. Nothing is as slow to a child as waiting in a queue, it seems to last an age, largely because there are so many frames per second whizzing past a child’s fresh mind that even things adults find pleasing, like a walk in the garden, can seem drawn out and tedious to a sprucely mind. To an old person the days seem to whiz by. People actually do things merely ‘to pass the time’, a practice I find thoroughly wasteful.

Time is our most precious substance. Yet we can never buy time, we can only give it to other people, so to speak. Being time-efficient means we can do a lot more with our time. Time is a constant, as constant as the Earth rotating the Sun.

Time appears to speed up as we get older. Once the machinery of the brain’s film camera wears out it loses accuracy, the old gears start slipping, the light fades a little, and images take longer to form coherently. Images, experiences, are processed at a slower rate, which makes time appear to speed up.

If time travel exists where are all the time travelers?

Let’s say, for arguments sake, that time travel is actually possible and that at some point in the future some clever-clogs will invent it. This does not mean that our time has advanced enough now for time travel to be invented yet. The invention of time travel hasn’t happened yet, so we won’t see time travelers, but they might see us. It all gets quite confusing. As the old adage goes, you can never go back.

It is likely that time travel is not possible, but never say never.


The Graceful Swan

The graceful swan so poised and true,
makes ballerinas cry and swoon;
a jumbo jet within the air,
with null resistant derriere.
But when dear cygnus comes to roost,
both feet and wings are Pas de deux,
while shrilling, honking, blowing flames,
a right old cockup on the Thames.

Fictional Police Make a Fictitious Arrest

In GTA5 A fictional criminal is questioned by a fictional police officer in a fictional city, and gets real world backlash.

There are people, believe it or not, who believe that fictional characters and events need to be brought to justice in the real world. How I wish this was a straw man argument (we’ll get to Oz later). They want to bring authors like Agatha Christie to trial because these terrible (some would say terribly talented) authors dare write about murder, politics, or assault in its many forms. (Despite Mz Christie dying in 1976 – this somehow does not register).

The premise of bringing fictional characters to trial sounds like something from a dystopian horror novel, but it is indeed a real, though luckily rare, phenomenon, at least in so-called civilized places.

You’ve probably heard about those crazies who stalk actors because they believe the characters they portray are real, or spew hate speech because they believe the actors endorse the actions they portray in movies. Or that all successful people in the world are part of a singular conspiracy that is a sign of impending doom for planet earth.

They want nothing less than to end fiction.

I wonder how the end of fiction would play out? A squad of fictional detectives trouncing around imaginary landscapes to arrest fictional characters. “Take that King downtown, officer, for he doth murdered his brother.” …and off to Verona… “Verily I’m placing you under arrest, Lord Romeo, for the indecent assault of a minor”… then a quick spin in Dexter or Hannibal – “Will you look at all these bodies, chief, what sick mind would…?” and Oz, “Come with me, you wicked witch, because your author is under arrest for allowing a young girl to travel unaccompanied with strangers and you are witness in the trial.” I wonder what crimes all the characters in Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would be accused of.

Well, if certain activists get their way, authors may be brought to trial for fictional crimes in the near future. If that happens we’ll be in a bad place indeed. Bat-crazy country. It will make government censorship look like a French farce.

As authors we sometimes think we are immune to psychopathic absurdity because we are by our very act of writing able to separate reality and fiction into two neat heaps.

The idea of the Thought Police is nothing knew — we know it from George Orwell’s iconic 1984, where people are required to not only behave according to the authority’s ever-changing whims, but think the correct thoughts too. Correct according to those in power, of course, as coincidence would always have it. Cults use this to indoctrinate their victims, though no person who was ever successfully indoctrinated knew that they were.
And that’s the crux. Controlling the thoughts of another is a desperate attempt at grabbing power over them.

As a writer I am sensitive to the events in my novels, some are dark and some are funny, but I can separate the fiction from reality. I hope never to Write What People Want, but to write fiction that asks questions. Fiction is an opinion. Opinions change, grow, and sometimes they pass through strange places before arriving home.

For some, reality and fiction are intertwined in a conspiratorial mashup that feels as real to them as the screen you’re reading from now – you’ll often find that people who believe one fiction believe in all of them. UFO’s in the same world as Dragons, Illuminati and Lizard people. And when an author writes about characters that feature in conspiracies (a double whammy) they believe the events are real, even though the writer is telling a story no less fantastical than Peter Rabbit or The Wind in the Willows.
Without the ability to confront the fictitious character they often resort to confronting the writer. (As Lionel Shriver found out after being attacked by an ‘activist’ saying that she was not permitted to write about things that were not wholey about white women)

What books would be struck from the shelves because their characters broke the law? Fight Club. 1984. Every Louis L’Amour book. Every Tom Clancy or James Patterson book. The Bell Jar. The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Juno. Lolita. Romeo and Juliet, all of Shakespeare’s works, actually, Game of Thrones most certainly. Most medieval tales. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There’d be almost nothing left except for tales of mild personal corporate struggle in a corporate world of obedience. Nice, quiet books where the protagonist wants nothing more than to make his master more money, with no crimes, no extra-marital affairs, and little to jiggle the senses.

And what about writing about the crimes in other books… or writing about the writing about the…? That too would also be a crime, since withholding criminal evidence is criminal in itself. Increasingly journalists are being attacked merely for reporting the news.

It does give me an idea for a short story, one where all the characters in other books are rounded up and brought to justice. The fictional cops would have a busy time on their hands – every murder mystery, every story about abusive parents, or forbidden love in the wrong religion, all brought into the justice system for a rake over the coals of judgment. I wonder what the fictitious penalty for killing a fictional character would be, Ms Christie?

I say let the fictional victims come forward and speak.


You’ve probably heard the phrase “said is dead.” I don’t think it is dead, but you should be cautious of overusing ‘he said’ for no reason.

You should attribute who said what for only 2 reasons
1. The reader would be confused about who is talking
2. It advances our knowledge of the plot or character

If I write a regular dialogue, which I define as two people talking, it becomes pretty obvious who is talking, especially if the characters are well developed.

When there is Trialogue, which is what I call a verbal threesome, things are naturally more complicated and so reminding the reader who is talking makes perfect sense and peppering with the occasional said will clear up any confusion.

I try to separate dialogue attribution and plot or character development attribution because they can step on each others’ toes.

New writers tend to have their characters grinning at each other a lot –

“I’m going to go now,” Edgar said as he stood up and grinned at Caroline.

The attribution doesn’t advance the plot and is too simplistic, the action also doesn’t echo the dialogue. Don’t give away important details with mere dialogue attribution. I might change that to something slightly more interesting …

“I’m leaving.” Edgar’s voice echoed down the hall, but he gave Caroline a reassuring smile when he saw the look in her eyes.

Here we’ve learned something about both Caroline and Edward, Caroline has a crush on Edward (at least according to Edward), and also that Edward is sensitive to her crush. I don’t need to tell the reader that Edgar is talking because the context of the surrounding text makes it obvious.

I could add a lot more flowers, I guess, to further illustrate how Edgar’s words affected Caroline, but I think echoed is just enough. It won’t go down in history as the all-time best sentence ever, but it moves and reveals in one swoop.

Trope on a Rope

Yeah, everyone hates tropes, right? I don’t mean literary tropes like allegory and simile, but the StereoType Trope — The cool dumb guy with the Harley, the awkward girl who comes out of her shell to discover she is great at something, the fat computer nerd who always gets bullied but is able to win the pretty girl by listening to her heart… we see them in a million books and movies and yet… we still see them.

Like favourite snacks book Tropes are old favourites, an old pair of slippers that wouldn’t feel the same if they were imported from China, shrink-wrapped in the low-cal low-sodium soy diversity of zero offence.

If a character doesn’t offend anyone they are probably not worth reading about because they never defended anything important. Or is that a trope too? The edgy writer trying to be cool and do his own thing to win the minds of the public and thus make more sales… yet secretly likes kittens and gardening… or are we all tropes?

Really, how unique are we? We all wear clothes, we all listen to music even if we claim the subtleties are different, we all have access to similar information… aren’t stereotypes and tropes useful lenses to define ourselves and characters in books?

Maybe what we think is a trope is only our interpretation of the character. Maybe the dumb cool guy with a Harley also doesn’t understand why people think the world is round, maybe he doesn’t have any gay black female friends and this makes him who he chooses to be not what is expected of him. Perhaps when awkward girl hit that kid with her car it would leave a scar on her that underlines every relationship she will have. You see, tropes are a container for a more complex palette. Fat nerd is like Prussian Blue, you mix it with other tropes or colours in infinite combinations and create something that contains the original colour, but is also new and interesting. Or maybe a mess, depends on your strokes. Or maybe a mess is abstract expressionism, depends how you look at it.

I think tropes are a good place to write from because they mean you have to understand a character and find out what makes them identifiable, not only what makes them unique. A character who is truly unique can only be an outcast, an outlier, and that is also a trope.