Saturday, December 31, 2011

Current Projects

I got like five e-mails asking about what exactly it is I'm doing right now that's mentally hurtful. Here we go!

Folk Devil (Ten-Ghost part 2)
Lucy Alraune Greeble, Ten-Ghost Who Finished the Test Satisfactorily and Defies by Obeying has not only inherited a ridiculously long name, but also garnered a bit of a reputation for her ability to work quickly and cheaply. As a mandrake root taking on a mockery of human life, she can also survive situations that might kill real human beings. She wanders the roads, suffering the presence of her adopted son, until she gets a letter involving a contagion infecting the town of Hawiya. Upon arrival, she must pinpoint the source of the infection while dealing with three vicious cults that have sprung up: one worships a woman who claims to be able to heal with nothing but her touch, an impossibility, another group is devoted to a man who makes snake oil from tap water, and the children in town are wrapping themselves in cloaks and animal masks, painting their devotion to a mysterious woman in pink on the walls with the blood of those who stay out too late. Ten-Ghost herself is blamed for the inability of the established system to cure those who are infected, and if she remains in town to long, her own stolen life energy will cause more harm than good. She's on a time limit to find and remove the source of the illness.

This project is psychologically difficult, most notably because a vast majority of the Ten-Ghost books happen to be symbology for the psychological problems I face. Working on them is literally facing my own perceived inadequacies, fears, wants, and personal demons. This is what takes so long. Also it's why I expect them to never sell.

Sky Crossing (The Dreaming Land book 1)
Five teenagers are drawn from their normal lives on Earth to a place that seems at first an alien landscape, but familiarity creeps in to most bizarre places. Matt is left alone in the jungle where he must learn to work the world's magic just to survive both the predations of a trickster spirit and the tasks of an old storyteller who takes him on a journey across the countryside in a rusted-out shell of a car. Erika and Brad must learn to work together despite their differences in ideology, especially since Erika appears to have turned into some sort of ancestor spirit. Frank must come to terms with the fact that he now appears to be a local woman, and Hannah must learn that her place in the events that are about to unfold probably isn't the place she originally wanted. Through all this, the five must eventually face a black magician who wants to use their presence to destroy everything he feels is unfair with the world. Their journey will take the five of them across jungles, through post-apocalyptic googie wastelands, dinosaur-speckled fields, moderne subdivisions promising everything but delivering little, art deco cities swarming with airships, and perhaps even to Death's country itself.

I plan to do 3-5 of these. It's basically an American version of the old "kids go to and save a wacky fantasy world" tripe. And yes, I meant "tripe" not "trope." It's actually fun to write and I get to have atomic roboshaman3000 say cool things.

This Patchwork Everywhen
A collection of myths and short stories that I will probably never finish but am moving forward on, anyway.

Ow My Sanity
Doing layouts and the worst sketches in the world. Right now it is on low burner because I am trying to get the above projects done, since they are potentially paying. If someone like Toren Atkinson tells me to get off my ass about it, I'll drop one or more of the above projects and get back to serious on it work immediately.

Ow My Sanity Part the 2
The erstwhile narrator joins Delta Green and helps deal with (spoiler removed). Doing abstract scripts.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

State of the Everything

I have two novels in the works. One is psychologically harmful to work on, but will help me in the long run. It will never sell. The other is tripe, fun to work on, and not very good at all. I think it has a great opportunity to sell.

I am still doing plotting, scripting, and layouts for OMS. I just don't have the time to actually try to draw them, which I am shitty at, anyway.

I've gone back to therapy in order to work out the issues I'm having with life in general, and am on sleep aids now. A lot of this has to do with finally confronting a wide variety of problems I've had re growing up, going outside, and so on.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Perhaps no type of food is loved more than the sandwich. Often overshadowed by its siblings “soup” (its big brother) and “salad” (its little sister, and which is one of my more favorites dishes, but I won't get into that here, but it goes to show you how much personal taste goes into something like this) the sandwich was still one of the favorites of many people, most of whom nervously agreed that it was an excellent all-around kind of food. Sandwiches, as you most likely know, are made from pressing foodstuffs between two pieces of “bread,” which is counter-intuitive to the way most non-sandwich food items are created (such as just throwing everything into a bowl without regard for its nutritional value or taste). However, I will endeavor to review the aspects of the sandwich as best as possible.

The sandwich as a food item appears to be much cleaner than most other varieties thereof on this Earth. I believe this is because it is counter-intuitive in its nature. The “bread” shell, which can be made of flat pieces of bread, flimsy pieces of bread curled up, or long pieces of bread with a hole cut down the middle, soaks up a majority of the more liquid bits of internal consistency common to the sandwich. It is my belief that primitive humans on this Earth, bereft of food which came to them and squealed happily as it was being devoured, or of fruit trees that literally threw their edibility at them, required a method to construct a food item that contained all their daily nutritional values in one place. I can't vouch for the reasoning behind setting meat on fire and calling that “food,” but I've been told since that meat is not necessary for a good sandwich (I beg to differ, but I also don't believe it should be set on fire to have a place in our food).

Sushi, our friend from the Orient, is practically a sandwich in its own right; wrapped in nori, a friendly and well-mannered algae common in the Pacific Ocean, rather than bread, it might be scarcely possible to call it a sandwich, but it is as clean and contains as much nutritional power as any sandwich, and is an excellent example of why burning meat to simply add it to a sandwich is not necessary.

Returning to the cleanliness issue, sandwiches are also handy when you don't wish to be forced to use both hands to eat. One can, for example, write an article though hunt-and-pecking while greedily stuffing your face with the latest creation of Jim at the City of Gyros without getting liquid on your keyboard (which I'm told is bad). They also appear to be designed with some nod towards flavor and succulence, with a high degree of texture and taste mixtures that work well together. Even so, not all components prefer to remain trapped. The bread, for example, separates easily into smaller, more difficult to handle granules that only tease at their flavor, and not all liquid or semi-liquid components are content to rest within the cage they have been given, and have a tendency to be unkind to one's clothing. All in all, while there are still some obvious bugs to work out with the sandwich, I prefer it to most varieties of other foods, and eagerly await sandwich 2.0! Get to work, engineers!

Cleanliness: 43/50
Breadiness: 50/50
Setting Meat on Fire: -10/50
Tastiness: Varies
Note: Makes your throat dry if you don't have water nearby.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Bugs - I'm Not Dead

There used to be a man who could fly up at the abbey. That was Wilkins Abbey, an old church built back in the 19th century or something that sat up on the river like an obsidian edifice through which the light shone, the hill taking on the gape and shoulders of a grinning giant whenever the sun would set behind it. We'd always look up at it and watch him come and go, his big wings unfolding like a forgotten statue, and he'd take to the air.

He always seemed so happy, even though he was crying when he would fly by all of us, he would always wave and laugh. Sometimes he would ask if we wanted to join him in the air, but we always said that no, we couldn't fly because we didn't have wings. He would tell us that having wings is great, and we should try it sometime, even though it would make him sad to realize we didn't have them.

Sometimes we would see lights coming from inside, and the flying man would tell us that they were people made of blue light or fog or something, that there were men and women who would come and give him food or change the channels on his television or leave plates of sandwiches out where he could get them. They would leave toys or books for him every once in a while, and he would come give them to us because a flying man has no use for peripheral things, he said.

We saw a blue woman at the market one day, and she was like he said, made of blue light or hard fog and only her robe was real. Her eyes were just limpid pools made of shining crystal that slowly rotated underneath her eyelids, and to leave she just faded away before her robe caught on the wind. She looked at us sternly when she saw us using the toys the flying man had given us.

The flying man had to go through the sewers to get home, though. There were bugs in the sewers, and he would give them his tears and let them run all over him and he sang openly to them. We would hear piping and deep thrumming coming from beneath the town at night when we were trying to sleep and we knew he was singing to the cockroaches and the worms.

There's charcoal people in town. They'd fight us over the books and toys and their fingers were always scratchy and rough. They have red pupils and their whites are cracked and easy to see in dim evenings. Thick coats and hats made of the same dust drape over them, and at night they used to look at the abbey and hold their hats in their hands in awe. They asked us if we wanted wings, too, and when we told them that the man who had them kept telling us to grow some of our own, the charcoal men would shake their heads and cluck and tell us that people couldn't do that by themselves.

They kept trying to get into the abbey, but they couldn't get near the blue people, who would come and go randomly, but always seemed to know when a charcoal man was coming. You had to be able to fly to get to the parts of the abbey the winged man lived in, but the charcoal men could break apart into dust and just blow there if they had to. They kept coming and going at his house, leaving behind their smears and trying to talk to the flying man outside of the abbey, but he wouldn't talk to them for very long. They kept telling him he was selfish for not giving his wings to anyone else, and he'd tell them he was just waiting for other people to grow their own, thinking that if enough people watched him fly, they would want to fly, too.

But really only it was the bugs who cared about him; the blue people, he said, only kept the charcoal men away. The things they left were incidental, or something like that. One day, though, we found the winged man not flying, but standing in the woods next to the culvert where he could get into the rivers under the hill that he could follow into the abbey holding a steel mask surrounded by triangles like a sun mask or something.

He said the bugs had found it, and they gave it to him. After that, he'd carried it everywhere, strapped to his back between his wings. Our storyteller said that there used to be a metal man with roots like muscles under the metal in his body who lived up at the abbey before the man with wings, and the blue people would come and give him things. He would keep his toys and give the food to the villagers, and the charcoal men came after him, too. She said that he was also tired and lonely, but kept telling everyone about how wonderful trees were, and they should grow some around here.

There's a forest west of town, covered in bugs and creeper vines. We went out there with the flying man and found pieces of metal all over the place and put together an armor-man from them and the steel mask over the course of several weeks. The man with wings spent days and days sitting on a log looking at it and frowning.

We saw him at the bar the next day, he was reading a storybook from the library about how the man made of metal had seeds inside his body, and told the bugs to take them all and run out into the empty field and grow a forest for everyone. He was crying that day, but he wasn't happy like he used to be. He left to go into the sewers that night and we never saw him again. The charcoal men came down the next morning and said the abbey was empty now.

Everyone's back hurt a lot, and the charcoal men came and took down the library to make mining tools to carve up the inside of the mountain. They said they were going to fix the abbey so the blue people never come back and no other strange men, like men whose heads are made of light or men who have stars in their hair, ever come by the abbey again to show off how much more amazing they are than anyone else.

They came instead and brought people to pretend to be men and women with stars in their hair and have coats made of the winter because that was better for all of us. They said they didn't know what happened to the man with wings, but they were glad he was gone, because he was making everyone want things that they couldn't have on their own.

We knew what happened, though. We heard it in the sewers. He went down and sang to the bugs, to the cockroach kings and the lady worms. He told them that because they were the only ones who cared, they could all have a little piece of him, like the metal man ho made the promise to throw his seeds to the west of town to grow a forest, to give everyone in town a feather. He let them flow into him, to hide inside him, he let their caring joy and love consume him, and the next morning everyone woke up with a feather on their backs.

Now everyone in town has little wings, about as long as our arms, and the charcoal men live in the abbey. We haven't seen a blue person in years. None of us can fly though, but we all try. We all come outside and look at the abbey and flap our little wings and sing, we smell the sweet summer air, and nothing happens, then we all go back inside and talk like we really did go flying.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More Drafts! Chapter 4.

“Oh, you'll like this,” Loses said, dragging in a box with the Office of Disease Management symbol on it, a coiling snake with feathery wings and broad antlers. “You remember the stuff that came out two years ago, the mana ping gizmo that they were using to track people trapped in earthquakes and damaged buildings, right?”

She nodded. He flipped the switches on the box, unlocking it and revealing foam padding holding a set of dark green goggles. There were lenses folder over each other, and her first instinct was to think the device was set up to attach to a helmet. Someone had added a strap to the back.

“They fixed that technology,” he said. “Someone thought to put a string on it and combine it with the features of the Wilson tent. It's got to seal over your eyes, and you shouldn't wear it more than a few hours at most. But it's long enough for surgery, a short operation, or what you need to do. Say hello. Range is terrible. ”

He handed them over; they must have weighed three pounds.

“Hello,” she said, and they warmed in her hands.

She put them to her eyes and pulled the strap over her ears. Feeling Loses tighten it and then flick the switch, she hissed when her eyes screamed in hot pain from the spray of incense.

“It uses these cartridges,” he said, even as the world gone black erupted into a cacophony of hues. She could see him, a swirl of mana in him and his clothes, strong in his fingers where he performed his work, the press of his feet on the floor, and a small battery-shaped cylinder in his fingers that hummed the deep violet color of algonkin incense. The room was a faded grainy circle; her vision felt restricted. She looked at her hands, seeing the dark veins of stolen mana nestled in the earth that made up her fingers and palms, the tiny bits she siphoned off people nearby, and the stains of darkness, like spatters of blood, where she had walked into the room.

“You're seeing the world like an elemental magus. There's even articles in Science and Physics Monthly about the company plans for adding reactive crystal to earmuffs so you can hear like a magus, too.”

She swiveled her head around.

“It seems restricted. I've got no peripheral vision, and I can't see more than maybe twenty feet down the hall. It all turns black,” she said. “Even so. I like it.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Aesca, Mana, and Self-Mutilation

I had someone ask me a question in regards to self-mutilation as it pertains to shamanic practices in Aesca, at least in regards to Ten-Ghost. The question was, if I recall it correctly, “How come Ten-Ghost can sew a finger back on, but my character can't make a prosthetic eye for a shaman I know?” The first part of the answer could be summed up as “Your character isn't one of kudjoojoo bird's children,” but there's more to it than that.

Mana is inherent spiritual potential, something like a cross between potential energy, devotion, and honor, memetically speaking. Mana is generated in several ways. One such method is the natural way that it flows from mana realms into three-dimensional space, where it is translated into actions, energy, and objects. Deliberate manipulation of those actions can cause changes in the amount of mana and manifestation of it in the world. One of the ways to dramatically increase one's own mana and the power inherent in it is through acknowledgment of your own suffering by spirits (there are other ways, but most of these are highly ritualized). There are several ways to do this, and one of the fastest and easiest is chopping off parts of yourself or cutting yourself; the more it hurts, the more mana is behind your action or favor (there are even drugs to help enhance the pain and practiced torturers that spellcasters can hire, if they so choose). Normally, when someone cuts off parts of themselves, these things don't grow back, and prosthetic technology is hard to come by (though it is possible). Even so, cutting off a part and replacing it is only liable to get you the mana from just cutting it off, which is less than cutting it off and leaving it that way, causing some spirits to retroactively remove mana, getting you sick, undoing what you had done, or causing some other curse or terrible misfortune to befall the practitioner.

In the case of Ten-Ghost, she doesn't even feel pain the same way as a human does, instead feeling it as a cold pinch. It's mental suffering, in a way, and she performs rather dramatic acts to a human (chopping off a finger for a human would help pour mana into an object or item, or even start a rainstorm or cause a small earthquake, but for Lucy, all it does, with ritual songs and bribes to back it up, is help one person pass on peacefully). The mana she creates in this case isn't a lot from the pain it causes, but a good chunk from the suffering she goes through in putting up a front of socially acceptable action and behavior.

I think that covers the answer.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets have a new video for their song Twenty Minutes of Oxygen. It's great that the budget to do these sorts of things exists now.

Love the frog stamps on the astronaut's shoulder.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Folk Devil Prologue Draft

He was digging where he buried the body.

He'd been at the thick, black mud for maybe four hours now, switching from shovel to trowel, chopping away an odd root or two with his axe. He'd wondered for awhile if there had been enough time for roots to grow over it, but he wasn't sure, now. He wasn't sure of much of anything, his eyes clouded as they were by tears and rain. Every hole he dug, every time he got six feet down, every time it wasn't there, he'd panic, the trowel would go into the four inches of water and mud at the bottom, and he'd frantically push around his hands in the soil, finding nothing.

That wasn't to say he hadn't found anything at all. An old necklace, a lost ring, coins, even a maize-cutter's mouth knife. That one had worried him; he hoped that they hadn't come and found the body. He heard they eat corpses, but he'd also heard they could walk through walls and smell hatred. Even so, he'd been on the lookout for them, watching for those distinctive two and a half toed footprints or the cut marks on the trees where they'd been climbing or leaving messages to each other.

Of course, the rain had to kick up then, coming down in horrible, blinding, sideways sheets, kicking off the rainy season. That was a good thing; it meant any investigations in town would be slow, or at least they wouldn't send any teams from the government. There wouldn't be any roads for some time, and they wouldn't risk sending an airship through those winds and these kinds of storms. Even so, he cursed his current near-blindness.

His hands struck something, and he jumped, fishing through the water only to find a curved bit of stone and not the pelvis he thought he'd run across. He took in a sharp breath between his teeth, then spat as bitter water cleared its way across his tongue. Collapsing against the wall, he fished around in the mud again for his trowel and shovel, and threw them over the edge of the pit, using roots and slick handholds to pull himself back out.

He fell into leaves and sticks covered in dirt, and started to crawl halfway again, and a hand gripped his wrist, tightly enough he almost felt bruised, and pulled. Suddenly afraid, but not wanting to draw suspicion, though a man digging what looked like a grave out in the jungle certainly was, he allowed himself to be helped partially up, and he rolled to a position on all fours before looking.

She was crouched like a vulture, smiling gently like a jungle hunter, waiting like cattle on the chopping block, her face wet in the rain, and she had her hair all up in an old chongo hairstyle, with thick feathers now soggy folded down over her forehead, wide rings and necklaces of white bone and gold teeth hanging from her neck and shoulders, and a heavy corn silk cloak over her body, with a white raven sitting on her shoulder, its head and beak pressed up against her ear. He thought for a moment he could hear it yammering on, but in the rain, he couldn't tell much. Her hands couldn't be seen, and for the most part, she was just a cloak in yellow with black diamond sewed into it with a face. She looked left at his pile of findings and the three or four other holes he'd dug, and right at the six over there, and back at him, all very slowly, and the sounds of the rain and even the flashing lightning stopped entirely, as if to allow her to speak clearly.

“Find anything interesting?” she asked.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bracing for It

I've had a pretty good week, despite the fact that I've had barely any time to do anything, or any time for myself. On the plus side, I have a name for the Ten-Ghost sequel. It's Folk Devil, and I think the name sums up the content quite nicely, or at least, the self-perceived content. I've dug out my draft papers and gone over them with Opabinia, who likes it very much. I also got to meet with the cover artist today, who is agush with how awesome his work looks in print.

Anyway, this decision. It was a painful one to make, and it still is. Continuing, however, was a lot more painful. I reach a point in almost anything I write where I spend months on end antagonizing over every detail to the point where I find myself sobbing in a corner holding shredded pieces of paper. After trying several times to start this next chapter and suffering a complete mental breakdown each time, I'm taking a break. I will be back, probably after the summer, depending on how far I get with the next novel (and whether or not I actually take some art classes in the meantime), and I will still be updating this space with my mental and physical progress.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Steak Restaurant at the End of Florida

I have a friend who stops by on the weekends to hang out with myself and my roommate (also we drive across town and pretend to hate on elves or else run away from cyclopean monstrosities). He's a laser technician, which fits right in with our fantasy writer and helicopter pilot/five star chef/martial artist/son of a Hawaiian stripper ninja princess (I'm not freaking kidding; my roommate is nuts). Anyway, it so happens that said friend sometimes gets a horrible hankering for steak. I am not a steak fan. In fact, I am not a beef fan, but hey, some people like that sort of thing and more power to them. I prefer to keep my Thaxtonian colon as intact as I can in preparation for its eventual attempts to strangulate me with misshapen clumps of cancerous cells.

This particular evening, he wants steak. Not having any, we proceed to hit every steak restaurant in town. We traveled to about four, all of whom were out of steak, before I started to have a panic attack. They're also all full up on a forty minute wait at most, and I can't wait in a restaurant. I've got horrible autism issues in regards to that sort of thing (you should see what happens when I have to go to a gas station I've never been to before). He motions with his hand and says it's find, we'll go out tomorrow, but no. In my autistic brain, I promised steak, and that means a fucking steak place. I run through the roster and suddenly remember one (Do not be fooled by the photography).

I head down towards the 417 and past the junk dealer, beyond the warehouse church, and instead of diving towards Oviedo, I veer off the road to a place where street lights do not shine. In the deep shadows I cruise, my car clattering with the sound of insects off the windshield and the roar of loose dirt beneath it. Both of my passengers begin to get worried. It's been ten years, but I still remember the way. We pass by trailers and decaying orange groves, flashing through a tunnel of swirling Spanish moss so thick it resembles bleak polyps in the depths of some ancient terror's digestive tract.

I turn at the airboat ride sign and plunge into a parking lot half buried in swamp. The dim light of the restaurant cuts through the night. We get out, and there is a lake off to the side, and what surrounds us is the very depth of Florida. He's got to get out carefully, but gets pushed out by my roommate. He staggers around for a moment, almost in awe and rage.

“This is it!” he shouts, waving his arms, “This is the end!”

“The end of what?” my roommate asks.

“The end of Florida! You've taken me to the Steak Restaurant at the End of Florida,” he screams again, and motions to the lake, “that is the edge of reality, the end of civilization. Over that way, right there, on the map, they'll have written 'Here Be Dragons!'”

I turn my head around. He's pointing at the gator pen, which he can't see from where he's at.

“You're gesturing at the gator pen, you know,” I respond.

“And that's my point!” he shouts again.

I want to tell him that this isn't the Steak Restaurant at the End of Florida, since that honor belongs to the Miccosukee restaurant, but we approach the entrance anyway. There's a brief moment of fear, since the glass windows are covered in so many midges it looks like gray carpet curtains from a distance, and the porch functions like an airlock to keep them out. We get inside, sit down, and wait for twenty minutes for the server. They have no steak, either. They ran out five minutes ago, in fact.

He screams. I bought a grill on Sunday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Status

I have gotten my hands on the final copy of Ten-Ghost. It looks good, I approve, and am going to be getting thirty more copies of my own. This means that in about six weeks, it'll show up on Amazon as available. Everything is awesome, though I've been told my name is suited more for hard SF than fantasy.

I do have a few places I'm going to be sending one of the thirty copies I'm getting; otherwise, I'm not sure what to do with the rest.

Any ideas?
Sorry, some comics got transposed. Seems like what was supposed to be a few days from now just popped up a few days ago. Of course, the obtuse behavior of comicgenesis won't let me fix it.

Sorry about that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Get Fanart

So, this fella on DevArt sent me some fanarts. It's a pretty awesome shoggoth kid.

He's got some cool nature photos up there, too, and some drawings of a really neat ooze headed character.

This current chapter's been a fight. A lot of things happened in rapid sequence that prevented me from doing full work on it, and so I'm only just wrapping up the art for it now. There's only a couple weeks of comics left before I absolutely have to work every day. Which is a shame, but I'm doing about two a day right now in the hopes that I can build it back up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Final Cover is Fine, Too

So yeah. I squealed. With happiness.

So awesome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Book Cover is Fine

So, I got a look at how the cover for Ten-Ghost is looking, and it's looking like awesome.

The point was to look like a period book as far as design scheme goes; I'm told it's also going to be aged in appearance before the final product gets done. The spine has the Opabinia logo at the top and that double bar pattern runs down the center, with a larger Opabinia on the back. It looks like something you'd see in a used bookstore in the bargain box, which, again, was the point of the thing.

As far as the content, I'm very happy with the way things turned out, except for one detail, which I fixed on the manuscript today. Otherwise, the whole thing is good to go, and I've been told that as soon as the whole cover with copy is turned in, it's going straight to print. There will be two more books after that; the second has a full outline and three chapters already, and the third has a vague outline.

...that means the sequel should be out sometime next decade.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weakness is Strength, Strength is Weakness

All too often I'll be researching or reading at leisure an article on how a mythos race thinks or a description of how its brain works, and the writer is intending for it to be creepy, mysterious, alien, and scary. Of course, it pretty much always is, usually pleasingly so, but will often come with a flaw in how the alien brain processes something we, as humans, would see as simple. We'll take Mi-go for example. The lore is that they think like computers; no human can beat a Mi-go for information processing or for task focus (or teamwork, considering how they break down tasks into constituent parts and assign them out). Once a Mi-go is set on a course of action, it's impossible to stop it or even comprehend the amount of concentration it's capable of dredging up. Humans don't do this, and realize the implications of new information rapidly (this is part of the reason humans go insane when exposed to mythos materials; they understand the true depths of it, and what reality they thought they knew is shattered before them). Imagine them as workers at a factory assembly line in which each worker assembles part of a widget; once they're locked on to the task, they don't ever look up, they don't stop, they don't question what they're doing and why. They just keep going. Until the conveyor belt stops. One Mi-go directing the task

However, this also means they can't make illogical leaps and have trouble thinking in abstract and metaphor, like a computer or an incredibly autistic kid. That is, they can't understand the implications of information or technology, and even go so far as to have assigned castes to break down specific aspects of something like this; Mi-go can't be generalists, for example. To a human, this is childish. And comedy gold. Here's a species that can't play tetris when first exposed to it and can be kept rapt by a “how to keep an idiot busy” keychain. If a Mi-go goes insane, it's probably killed or has its parts distributed among other Mi-go, just like how when you break a computer, you either change out parts entirely or get a new computer (or has a part replaced, which is more likely, given their predilection for body modification). Of course, writers and the lore started to immediately back away from this, handing out new powers, new abilities, just so that when they're caught in a situation that, by all rights, should make them break down just like a human would (even if it's a situation a human might find beneath his or her notice), they ignore it, too.

These weaknesses are terrifying in and of themselves; with the way that Mi-go brains work, it's unlikely that they will never figure out the way we tick, and indeed, will continue to specialize and focus and break down the tasks of vivisecting and analyzing humans, never becoming bored or frustrated or tired. They'll never learn to decide that doing so is useless. They'll just keep studying. Hitting walls they're unable to bypass, unable to even determine what the results of their tests mean, they won't become angry or jaded or upset at it, since they won't even be able to recognize they're not seeing the results. Forever. They might even one day forget why they're doing it, after becoming experts at the task. They will ruin your life, drive you mad, and eventually vivisect you, all for a purpose they've become so specialized at doing that it's lost all meaning.

Lovecraft even made his own creations victims of the cruelties of the world; the Elder Things in At the Mountains of Madness were even said to have gone insane and were undone when they sought out what they thought was refuge and found only death. That humanity would eventually understand and perhaps stand with or above these creatures was one of the great fears of these stories, summed up in the oft-repeated quote of the safety of a new dark age. That a human being can and should be able to puzzle out how an alien mind thinks and empathize with it, especially if that thing can't empathize back, should be the most terrifying thing of all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That Sound You Are Hearing David's Cthulhu Mythos score going up and his max sanity going down. It's like playing limbo with your brain!