Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Excerpt: Kill the Giant

Now Playing: Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori - Guardians Lost (Destiny OST)

Before anything: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! :D When I started this Monday challenge, I completely forgot my mom's birthday would land on a Monday. It's good, then, that I'm featuring from a book we both love (and an author we both despise).


Yeah, I wasn't going to escape Orson Scott Card for too long.

It's so weird to know how influential Ender's Game is, to the world and to me, and to know the kind of person Card is. It's a testament of so many things: how much a book and its creator can differ, the complexities of individuals (and writers), how you can love a story and still hate a homophobic jerkface with all your heart.

There's a lot in Ender's Game that I really adore, and I think this passage is great for many reasons--one in particular I can't exactly discuss because I refuse to give away the end of the book. (If you've read it--or even seen the movie--you'll know exactly what I mean).

I don't usually give context for these things (since that's not what matters for this weekly showcase), but fyi, he's playing a video game here. In case you were confused as to why a military sci-fi book suddenly had giants, talking bats, and Fairyland.

If you're a writer, pay attention to the use of repetition. Most of us (I really won't exclude myself) would be clawing and fighting for ways out of repeating "Giant" so much, but he fully embraces it, and it still flows perfectly. It also works because of Ender's age--using repetition when writing from the POV of children helps capture their voice a little better.

He stared at the two liquids. The one foaming, the other with waves in it like the sea. He tried to guess what kind of death each one held. Probably a fish will come out of the ocean one and eat me. The foamy one will probably asphyxiate me. I hate this game. It isn't fair. It's stupid. It's rotten. 
And instead of pushing his face into one of the liquids, he kicked one over, then the other, and dodged the Giant's huge hands as the Giant shouted, "Cheater, cheater!" He jumped at the Giant's face, clambered up his lip and nose, and began to dig in the Giant's eye. The stuff came away like cottage cheese, and as the Giant screamed, Ender's figure burrowed into the eye, climbed right in, burrowed in and in. 
The Giant fell over backward. The view shifted as he fell, and when the Giant came to rest on the ground, there were intricate, lacy trees all around. A bat flew up and landed on the dead Giant's nose. Ender brought his figure up out of the Giant's eye. 
"How did you get here?" the bat asked. "Nobody ever comes here." 
Ender could not answer, of course. So he reached down, took a handful of the Giant's eyestuff, and offered it to the bat. 
The bat took it and flew off, shouting as it went, "Welcome to Fairyland." 
He had made it. He ought to explore. He ought to climb down from the Giant's face and see what he had finally achieved. 
Instead he signed off, put his desk in his locker, stripped off his clothes and pulled his blanket over him. He hadn't meant to kill the Giant. This was supposed to be a game. Not a choice between his own grisly death and an even worse murder. I'm a murderer, even when I play. Peter would be proud of me.
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Blog Challenge: Someone Outside This Country

Week 6: Someone Who Does Not Live In Your Country

Well that's a broad prompt. Especially since I don't know what it's asking exactly? Someone I know personally? Someone I know of? Just...some...random person outside my country?

Y'know, I'll just talk about JK Rowling since her birthday's in a month and since I didn't talk about her last blog challenge. (Plus, today is the anniversary for the publication of Philosopher's Stone.)

I watched this interview a couple of week ago and I remembered just how cool she is:

I've always looked up to her since I was six or so. She was the reason I wanted to be a writer for ages, but it's weird to say that and admit I haven't read any of her adult books nor do I want her to write more Harry Potter books.

The thing is, her adult fiction is in topics I don't have a great deal of interest. She's already said she'll probably never write fantasy again, and that makes me kind of sad since I love her imagination and worldbuilding, even if I do love her characters more. But I'm also not one of those people that keeps holding onto hope that she'll write for Harry Potter again. In fact, I'm incredibly happy that she forced herself to finish it and move on. Sure, she wrote the companion books and there's going to be another movie in the universe, but she's been pretty set on not writing an eighth Harry Potter book, and I admire that as much as I admire the fact that she started and wrote and finished the novel when things were really difficult in her life. (Plus, seven years of planning, ten years of writing? Ho-ly sheeeeet. I can barely stand my characters after a year of talking to them).

I can't claim to be in a situation anywhere close to where she was when finishing up Harry Potter. But I can say that since my life is at a state of unknown and "where do I go now", etc, it makes writing difficult. It makes me question why I'm doing it and if it'll ever get anywhere.

It's not easy to shake off that doubt. I haven't managed to do it yet. But I keep writing for some reason, even if it is really difficult and time-consuming. I guess because a part of me admires that kind of perseverance, and there's no greater example of it than with Rowling.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Excerpt: How I Survive It

Now Playing: James Newton Howard - Katniss is Chosen (Catching Fire OST)


Unpopular opinion time: if you know me or if you've glanced at my Goodreads page, you might know I don't think much of The Hunger Games series. I don't find it as feminist as people claim it to be and I don't always like the plot structure or treatment of certain characters/ideas. I don't think it does enough with the social commentary and I think it has, at best, a mediocre understanding of what starvation does to people and the general effects of extreme poverty.

I  think the movies do a somewhat better job at restructuring certain scenes and moments, and Katniss is a much better character as played by Jennifer Lawrence than what we get in the actual text of the books. (Though I'm not a big fan of the general casting decision for different reasons).

That said, I've never had a problem understanding why the series achieved such a level of success. Suzanne Collins is a great writer, and while I don't enjoy the entire series, I do like a lot of its moments.

I didn't have to think too hard about my favorite. It's right at the very end, the closing paragraphs, and while I'm usually not a fan of epilogues, I think this is the best writing in the entire series.

Spoilers for the finale, of course.

My children, who don't know they play on a graveyard. 
Peeta says it will be okay. We have each other. And the book. We can make them understand in a way that will make them braver. But one day I'll have to explain about my nightmares. Why they came. Why they won't ever really go away. 
I'll tell them how I survive it. I'll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I'm afraid it could be taken away. That's when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've seen someone do. It's like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. 
But there are worse games to play.
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Saturday, June 20, 2015


While I reread Wintergirls last week, I realized something--I'm much more sympathetic toward the main character now that I'm older. While I loved the book the first time I read it, Lia really infuriated and annoyed me. She sounded like such a brat. I just could not, for the life of me, understand why she was so aggressive toward her parents and so ignorant about her own problems and flaws. I still liked the book, but I was as angry at Lia as her parents were, which I think is the reason I didn't cry at all the first time I read the novel, even if it did pull at my heartstrings (and stomach >_>).

I've always had an inclination to write older characters and to try and see people as objectively as possible. I could never write a self-insert farmer-turned-hero-via-prophesy (cough) because I never saw someone my age (and background) as being capable of great things. It's why, at thirteen, when I started Redemption, I decided to age up Hitomi on the realization that "war was no time for a kid." In the original planning I did with Yaziris, my characters were a lot younger. Hitomi, Marcus, and Erick were all the same age--around eighteen--and her father, Akira, was in his 40s. When  I altered it so Hitomi and Marcus were in their 20s (an age that now seems too young), Akira in his late 50s/early 60s, Bellatrix and Erick became "the children", despite being 15 and 17 respectively, comparatively older than their creator/writer.

I guess I was never one of those teenagers that saw themselves as being wholly mature and adult-like, even if I was, at any point, dealing with things in my life that would be considered mature and adult-like. If anything, those situations made me want to proclaim, but I'm still a kid! I still do that now.

I'm remembering this because of something my fiction workshop professor said once. We read a short story--can't remember the name right now--where a young woman calls her father to tell her some news. She's pregnant, she's getting married, and her lover in question is her much, much older professor (older than her own father by like a decade or something). The story takes place entirely through a phone call, and it's from the perspective of the father, who implies he's having problems at home with his wife and who is, rightfully, flipping shit at the news.

At class discussion, my professor asked us who we sympathize with more--the father or the daughter. I wanted to say the father, because to me, the daughter was acting like a complete fucking idiot and would regret every choice she'd made. If I could, I would have reached through the pages and tried to slap some sense into her. (Yeah, yeah, violence is never the answer).

The thing is, I understand relationships with people of authority are generally not to be blamed on the younger person because the predator usually grooms them and should know better. In this scenario, I should be sympathetic to the young woman because she's technically a victim. But an irrational part of my brain is angry at her, in the same way an irrational part of my brain was angry at Lia the first time I read Wintergirls. I guess because that same irrational part of my brain wants to say, you are in university. You should know better.

Most of the class said they mostly just felt bad for both the daughter and the father, and my professor said our perspectives would change the older we grow. She said the first time she read that story, she was angry at the father for being so judgmental, that he should leave his daughter alone, that she knew better and could handle her own life, etc. But now that she was older, she told us she sympathizes more with the father. She said that when we are older we should reread the story again and see how our perspectives change.

And I think my professor got it backwards. At least, I don't know if that's a universal reaction toward the story. Or maybe it's just me. Either way, I sympathized more with the father than I did with the college-age girl.

It seems it's always that way. The older I grow, the more sympathetic I am toward very small children, and I want to protect them from other people and their stupid comments about how children are all evil, spoiled, disgusting, noisy, etc. I can't stand that kind of talk and it causes actual anger out of me.

As a teenager, I think I hated most other teenagers. (Which probably influenced the way I interacted with YA fiction, tbh). I hated our problems and the ugly ways in which we treated each other. When I read a post by John Green were he said he didn't give a shit about adults because he found adult problems inherently boring and that's why he didn't write about them and blah blah blah, I rolled my eyes. I kind of wanted to tell him--and to a shameful extent, still stand by this opinion--that teenagers are also inherently boring and stupid so that assessment makes no sense.

I think because I'm still in that doorway between adolescence and adulthood, I'm not yet entirely sympathetic toward people my age or a few years younger. I won't be writing any YA stories any time soon. But it's kind of nice to be aware of this shift in perspective. I'm not even sure how that awareness might change (or accelerate?) things.

P.S: Should I start a "rambling" tag?

IDK, I blog more when I'm writing more, for some reason. Avoidance, probably.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Blog Challenge: 3 Things

I said on Wednesday I didn't know if I'd give an update on Vanguard's Exodus or not andddd-

No, no updates. I still don't want to jinx it. If all goes according to plan, I should be able to talk about it...soon, let's say.

On that note, I did suddenly remember that many, many months ago, in this post, I said,
"I got such a good response for the Isadora/Dr. Monroe piece, that I am legitimately sure my next NaNo project could be my best written novel to date. Uh. If I finish it. And get the science right. And the characters--minor and secondary. And write a good ending. And generally don't let the plot slip through my fingers like what happened with Millennium Girl..."
And I just...





Sigh. More on this later. Today, we've got the weekly challenge.

Week 5: Three Things You Like About Your Personality

Uhhh. I made a list once about all the things I dislike about myself. Why? Because I'm a weirdo, that's why. And I was really angry at something I'd done and feeling terrible for myself. I finished said list at like midnight and decided I'd write the second one--the one where I write what's good about myself--the next day.

And then I never got around to it.

So I guess this challenge question is technically my retribution? I guess I do need this kind of thing right now.

I'm not very good at analyzing the good in me. I think most people would be pretty piss poor at that task since we can't ever see ourselves objectively. But I'll give it a go.

You might not agree with this list, but hey, I never claimed it wasn't biased >.>
  • I'm imaginative: 
    • The bad way of saying this is "easily distracted". I think I've spaced out a number of times in important conversations and awkwardly spent ten minutes afterwards trying to figure out what I missed. But because I'm a writer and because I have about a dozen people--at any given time--living in my head, I'm always thinking about them and their stories. I go over scenes a bunch of times, and while a few of them sometimes don't get worked into the narratives I'm writing, most do make it to a book or a short story. Being imaginative means I'm very rarely bored. I just need a pen or pencil and something to write, and if not, I can do with just staring into space while I listen to music, and I'll be content with whatever's playing in my head. Even though I'm not yet a master of language exactly (grrr, dead prose is dead), I think I do have enough imagination to keep me going for the next fifty years of writing. I doubt I'll ever run out of ideas
  • I'm a good listener
    • Ghaaa--I almost didn't want to put this one because every person in the goddamn universe thinks of themselves as Good Listeners and that just makes me wonder if we all think we're perfect angels of compassion. But when I do think about it, I'm certain I've often been able to lend a friendly ear to people and hopefully be able to talk through their problems. I may not always be good at it and I can have my moments of selfishness where I force people to listen to my problems (though I imagine having this blog and a million leather journals have helped tone that down a teensy bit), but I do try. And I don't think it's some kind of burden nor do I find it taxing on me. It does make me worry that sometimes I'm not saying the right thing, and if I have no idea what to say or do, I feel even worse. But I'mma attribute that to the fact that I haven't lived a full life yet . There's only so much wisdom I can have >.>
  • I can be humble
    • Uhm. In some things. I get weird, self-centered moments where my self-esteem shoots wayyy too high about some skill or trait of mine, and I'm not above sometimes comparing myself to other people. But I think this kind of serves to balance out moments of crippling self-doubt and self-hatred. So while there are spikes every now and then, most days of the week, those things collide a little bit and help me stay humble without being completely self-deprecating. It's mostly taught me to take compliments rather than blindly try to deny them--even if the need still exists. If someone compliments my writing, I won't say, "it's nothing special," or if someone compliments my appearance, I won't say, "oh, I'm really not [pretty/dressed well/whathaveyou.]" I just say thank you, and I believe it without really letting it get to my head....
      • Okay, that's a lie. I believe it, don't let it get to my head, then three hours later I'm lying on the floor of my room going SOMEONE LIKED MY STORY. (But that's the delirious Boost in Self-Esteem phase. I swear it only lasts like an hour).
I'm gonna regret this list tomorrow, aren't I?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Faith and Autonomy

Now Playing: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) - Brothers in Arms (Mad Max: Fury Road OST)

Quick, random, rambling post. I was going to start the next weekly challenge with it, but it got a tad longer than I had originally planned. Which is an apt way to describe most of my projects, tbh.

(On Friday there might be some updates on Vanguard's Exodus. IDK yet. A part of me doesn't want to give any updates on VE because I don't want to jinx it. So if I can't say anything then, I'll just say now: so far so good.)

Today's a weird day, yo. Exactly a year ago I finished the first draft of Millennium Girl, and though there was some initial editing and rereading over the following months, I've largely left that manuscript alone as I try and complete another book. But even while drafting I can't help but think of the ways I'll be revising.

So in between trying to finish one book, thinking about another one, attempting to learn to drive, and job applications--E3 has been pretty distracting. I find myself more and more invested in the upcoming games and after a few days of fangirling, I've started thinking about video game writing a lot...

As much as I love video games, I don't have a first clue as to how one manages to become a creator rather than just a consumer, and I don't think I'd be able to properly divide my efforts into both the publishing and video game industries. So I'll stick to novels, as they've been my love for a while longer than gaming has.

But I'm still very much invested in the behind the scenes stuff, and there's something that I never realized. Despite how much I love the Tomb Raider reboot, I never knew it was written by a woman, Rhianna Pratchett. I also never knew that she wrote the first Mirror's Edge game as well as Heavenly Sword, both of which have writing I don't particularly hold in high regard. (But A for effort!)

In fact, with the announcement of Mirror's Edge Catalyst, I realized how little I'd been keeping up with news about that franchise. I found out recently the majority of gamers and critics agreed that it wasn't so great with the writing--story's kind of bland, and Faith, as a person, is even blander. (Not many people liked the comic book cutscenes either...and neither did I, which is why I haven't replayed the game).

Rhianna Pratchett wasn't asked back to write Catalyst, and she admitted on Twitter it was probably because the story in the first Mirror's Edge wasn't well received. I find it kind of sad because I loved Tomb Raider--it's not like Pratchett isn't talented--yet I also have to agree with the majority of critics.

The weird thing is, I think Faith would be considered an incredible character in any other medium. A woman (who's not white!) who leads her own story, makes decisions, pushes on from point A to B, has complex, close relationships with other women, has her own arc and backstory, and is always making choices. But in the video game industry, Faith is better as a concept. For one thing, she's not a middle-aged white guy with stubble. And two, as a woman, she's not oversexualized.

But video game characters are almost always the master's of their own destiny. They have to move and they have to do things because that's just how the medium maps out. It's not like in films or books where sometimes stuff just happens to characters rather than because of them. (And that's never well-received. At least, in my opinion. Passive characters suck).

So if video game heroes are inherently active protagonists, they have to do even more to be interesting.

The reason why I'm bringing this up is because I've seen so many writers (of books) be proud of the fact that stuff is "always happening" in their novels or that their characters are always making choices. And it's not unwarranted per-say, because there are a lot of terrible books where characters do nothing and want nothing and don't develop into anything...

But you know...that's kind of like bragging that you know how to use apostrophes. It should be the default, not the accomplishment.

It's making me reconsider slightly the way I should approach developing my own characters, and how I should define them.

P.S: Btw, speaking of E3, I need to get this off my chest:

I am finding it impossible to watch a Phantom Pain trailer without raging out. Every time I catch half a second footage of Quiet I want to start screaming: YOU ARE ON THE DESERT, WOMAN. IN A COMBAT ZONE. PUT SOME PANTS ON. AND A SHIRT. AND SOME ACTUAL KEVLAR. HELL, YOU CALL THAT COMBAT-READY UNDERWEAR?

Fucking piece of shit goddamn industry *Grumble grumble*.

Honestly, she's kind of a reminder why I'll end up pre-ordering Mirror's Edge Catalyst even if turns out the writing turned even more to shit. Properly dressed female characters are infinitely more interesting to me than a HALF-NAKED SNIPER ON A BIKINI TOP, THONG, AND RIPPED TIGHTS. In fact...that bikini top doesn't even look properly fitted. If she remotely runs five feet, that shit's gonna come undone. Which is fine in a porno, NOT IN A MILITARY OPERATION.


Yeah, I don't care that Kojima swears up and down that it's justified. So annoyed >:(

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Excerpt: Danced with Witches and Kissed Monsters

Now Playing: Nine Inch Nails - Beside You In Time


This book is really important to me. Maria Gabriela gave it to me for my fifteenth birthday because it was by the same author of Speak, and she'd given me that book a birthday before. I didn't know anything about Wintergirls, and Maria didn't either, she just knew I'd really liked Anderson's writing.

And I'm super thankful she decided to do that because this book's almost quietly become a favorite of mine.

I didn't know it instantly. I only came to realize it because I kept returning to it. I'd grab it from my bookshelf at random and read a couple of pages for no reason other than wanting to revisit it.

It was a bit difficult to pick a section that I liked the most. There's a lot of really beautiful sentences throughout the story, but this passage seems to have the most of them together.

Also...confession time--I am a bit squeamish when it comes to things related to eating disorders. I made the mistake of reading this book while I was already nauseous because of something else. (In the middle of my 10th grade English class at that).

When I got to this section, I think it pushed me over the edge because I had to ask my teacher to give me permission to go to the bathroom and throw up.

If that's not a sign of good writing, I don't know what is. (TW for eating disorders, btw, anorexia and bulimia).

It also does a title drop--I adore it.

She almost went to a doctor two years ago. The stuffing/puking/stuffing/puking/stuffing/puking didn't make her skinny, it made her cry. Her coach bumped her down to the JV soccer squad because she couldn't run fast enough. The drama teacher told her that she wasn't "shinning" bright enough so she didn't get the lead in the play. 
"I can't stop, but I can't keep going," she told me. "Nothing works." 
I totally supported her. I looked up the names of docs and clinics. I e-mailed her recovery Web sites. 
And I sabotaged every step. 
I told her how strong she was and how healthy she was going to be and how proud I was of her and I dropped in how many calories I ate that day, the magic number on the scale, the number of inches around my thighs. We went to the mall and I made sure we used the same dressing room so she could see my skeleton shine in the fluorescent blue light. We went to the food court and she ordered cheese fries, chicken nuggets, and a salad. I drank black coffee and licked artificial sweetener from the palm of my hand. She asked me to guard the door while she puked lunch into the dirty mall toilet. 
We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned us into wintergirls, and when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.
- Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Blog Challenge: 25 Things

Now Playing: Ramin Djawadi - The Pointy End (Game of Thrones OST)

Two quick things.

One, I went to Giselle's house on Wednesday so we could play Life is Strange together and complain about the upcoming Batman v Superman film. (We were also going to keep watching Sense8, but gaming took up most of our time). In between trying to get her laptop to work and get the screens to link up properly and stuff, (big flat screen tv and tiny laptop screen) we had an hour and a half of set-up while talking about anything--Age of Ultron, The Fault in Our Stars, Game of Thrones, K-dramas, how Giselle knows spoilers for every known story even if she hasn't really experienced said story somehow.

Actually, we spent a lot of time being critical of a lot of stuff. (Except when we ended up talking about The Last of Us and hopeful sequels. Because you can't judge perfection.) We do it to bond. Since, you know...
I may not watch the show anymore, but these recaps are always gold
It was pretty fun. And Life is Strange turned out interesting. It had a ton of pop-culture references which we found amusing. I know things like that instantly date a story, but I kind of didn't mind this time. It was easier to get into the mundane aspects of the world. I think I'm going to buy it too.

Two, when I went to K-mart last Saturday (or whatever day it was), I realized that coffee mugs are the best. I kind of wish I could buy all the ones I saw.

Also, I'm really jealous of the young girls of today for one silly reason--they have awesome toy selections.

It's no secret I think very little of the Divergent series in general and I think even less of Shailene Woodley (I love that my film history professor referred to her as The Girl That Doesn't Know What Feminism Is), but this was the kind of Barbie doll I wanted when I was little. Doll selections like this,

and general toy selections like this:

Well, that and these cute Lalaloopsy dolls I keep finding everywhere.
(Forgot to take a picture in the store...)

Those are my pointless thoughts of the day--on to the challenge.

Week 4: 25 Things To Do Before Your Next Birthday.

Oh my god--25 things...? That might be a lil too much, you know. I've only got a few months left

I'm just going to ramble.
  1. Revise and polish up Millennium Girl
  2. Query literary agents 
  3. Finish first draft of Vanguard's Exodus
  4. Get my licence
  5. Learn to drive properly 
    • (no panicking and freaking out. No car accidents either >.>)
  6. Get a good job.
    • We'll see how flexible my definition of "good" becomes in the coming days
  7. Catch up on my reading challenge
  8. Visit Ren while she's away at her internship
  9. Send my brother a care package.
  10. Regularly start going to the library again
    • (This is a huge motivator for getting my licence)
  11. Start saving up money (if job)
  12. Start paying back loans (if job)
  13. Keep updating the Monday Excerpt challenge without missing a week
  14. Read Marissa Meyer's Winter when it comes out.
  15. Buy a cute coffee mug.
  16. Finish up the journals and notebooks I still have here.
  17. Reread the Halo books I have here. 
    • I don't remember a single thing about most of them. So...I'll count them toward the challenge. 
  18. Try NaNoWriMo again, and not get mad if I don't win this time.
  19. Review every book I read from here on till December.
    • (Hopefully I'll continue to do so even afterwards, but let's see if I can keep it up)
  20. Eat a bit better
  21. Start waking up at 5:40 am again.
  22. On that note, establish a good, permanent sleeping schedule.
  23. Read at least 70% of the books already in the house.
  24. Write or edit at least 10,000 words a week.
  25. Add more sticky notes on the walls.
This is hopefully all feasible.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

In Which Becca Documents Bad Updates of Whatever

I think I call myself "Becca" when I'm mad at myself. Rebeca is too long, Becky's too sweet, and Beck makes me sound like a successful alternative rock musician with a really depressing signature song.

Here are the updates:
  • My friend Maria Gabriela texted me yesterday at 4 am to convince me to watch this show called Sense8 because it's awesome. This is the first time she's ever given me a recommendation and I'd briefly heard about it from David Gaider's tweets, so I started watching it. And it was awesome. But every two minutes or so this stupid voice in my head goes-
    • "You're still unemployed, you know."
    • "You still don't have the permit."
    • "Or know how to drive."
    • "How long are you going to keep being unpleasant to the only people supporting you?"
    • "Seriously, go study for the permit test at least you have more time now."
    • "Mannn, braces are going to look so dumb on you. Hundreds of dollars for a purely cosmetic alteration that'll make you look like a twelve year old until your 20s."
    • "You haven't finished writing VE."
    • "You know what? Don't bother, the science just went off the rails and you were just pulling random km distances and years straight out of nowhere."
    • "I'd say work on MG, but that's not going anywhere."
    • "Right?"
    • "Hey, don't you have books to review?"
    • "You fell behind on your reading challenge. Again."
    • "You know, the Wachowskis really are better when they don't have the time constrains of a movie."
    • "Hang on, you're still unemployed, did I remind you of that already?"
    • "And without your degree. FSU sure does love to take their time..."
    • "Rewind ten minutes, bro, you haven't been paying attention to anything that's happening."
    • "How the shit do I get reference letters for the Kudzu when everyone--editors and head adviser--left both the magazine and the school at the same time you did?"
    • "Okay, this series is really good."
    • "But only one more episode."
    • "I need to study. Or clean. Or write."
  • Last few days, I've watched like five Ellen Page movies and listened to the Beyond Two Souls soundtrack.
    • What does this mean? 
    • I know what it means
    • I miss Lilith. I really, really miss Lilith. She doesn't look like Ellen Page, but a white 5'1 LGBT girl with brown hair and wide brown eyes who looks younger than she is and often plays people with has powers--yeah, she reminds me of Lilith. And seeing her makes me think I should get back to Lilith soon.
    • But I can't. Because I refuse to let VE go unfinished. Not that I know why I'm even trying anymore.
  • I'm slowly planning the perfect overdose via vitamin D gummies. It seems like the most deliciously pathetic/pathetically delicious way to go.
    • I'm just kidding on the overdose--please, no one call an ambulance on me or something.
    • Also I don't even think that's possible 
    • I'd probably just get a massive stomach ache.
    • Don't need to test out that theory, though.
  • I'm trying to write. VE sucks.
  • I'm trying to plan. MG is going to suck for a while.
  • I'm constantly worried about the publishing industry
    • Do people outside of aspiring authors/regular authors read anymore?
    • Are they enough?
  • I'm reading this book called Hounded, from The Iron Druid Chronicles, and I'm really annoyed at the protagonist because he's soooo cool and witty and he comes up with the best retorts ever and he's so funny and charming and never loses his cool.
    • I hope a witch slaps him properly.
  • I can't watch certain movies, hear speeches given to college graduates, or even read author bios off Amazon because it's just a constant reminder of how I'm following this weird scripted set of events where life after college sucks and then you kind of find some happiness after you hit 30 or so.
    • Or that's when you get your midlife crises.
    • Or just...don't find happiness at all.
  • Do you know I haven't hit rock-bottom yet?
    • I haven't. 
    • I'm actually doing pretty well, all things considered
    • ...and yet I'm acting like this--neurotic, anxious, lost, joking about ODing on vitamins.
      • What the hell am I going to do when the worst of all failures inevitably comes?
  • I keep reminiscing about things I've said and done in the past--all the way from a month ago to, like, ten years ago. And it always ends with me burying my face in my hands and trying to find the nearest clean, not-pointy surface to smack my forehead into it.
  • I'm avoiding typing the next thing
  • Why am I avoiding typing the next thing?
  • Shame, probably.
  • I don't even care that I'm totally abusing the use of these bullet points.
  • I got this book mailed to me from a self-published writer I follow on YouTube, and I already know my review of it is going to be pretty harsh because the writing is just not so stellar.
    • Which hurts to think about because she said she was really happy I won the giveaway since I'm always commenting on her videos
    • I could lie.
    • I'm not going to lie.
    • It would be nicer to lie
    • Or just give it a star rating and two lines of, "pretty good, could improve, go ahead and buy it."
    • That's not a lie right?
  • That's not what I'm avoiding.
  • I'm using that to keep avoiding this next thing.
  • Have I mentioned meltdowns? I have them. Too much it seems. 
  • Over the weekend I kind of had a weird episode where I got really angry at something my parents requested me to do. It was bad planning on my part, miscommunication on theirs, plus the anxieties of the fact that this is a thing that I've been postponing for ages now and I didn't want to alter it.
    • It's so dumb I don't want to give details, but basically: I'm a really anxious person. If something goes wrong and I need to fix it, but can't immediately, I start having these weird moments of crippling panic where all I can do is lie down and stare at the ceiling and think over and over again about how and when I'm going to fix it.
    • And then I just run through all the worst-case-scenarios imaginable.
    • Anyways. Basically, I planned to do a thing and I was proud of myself for it. I prepared for it and everything. Then turns out I scheduled it on a day that's not as available as previously thought. Got asked to change it, started preemptively freaking out because I didn't know how difficult that was going to be-
    • But mostly, I was just angry that I tried to be Responsible Adult Who Plans and Executes Things and then just kind of realized I fucked up. Again. Mild fuck-up, but fuck-up nonetheless.
    • Somewhere in Meltdown #3213 my dad said I was acting like a child. 
      • And that...hurt...more than it should have.
      • Cuz I am. I totally am. Acting like a child. Being a child. 
      • Except I'm not a child. 
      • But I sure do seem content with blaming my behavior and circumstances on things that are Not Me. 
    • In the aftermath of that angry blip of yelling and ugly crying, I subsequently discovered just how easy it is to ruin both my parents' Sunday by trying to be as far removed as possible, talking really little and blowing up my eardrums with my music/audiobooks to ignore everything and float through Walmart. 
      • The whole time I kept having this argument in my head that went something like:
        • "What are you doing?"
        • "What we always do. I'm ignoring the problem."
      • And then I realized...that's...still blaming someone else to an extent. Like, "oh not my fault I'm acting childish, you taught me to be that way."
      • No. No, they didn't. You're acting childish because you are childish.
    • All this self-reflecting and realization (plus the lack of sleep) and am I going to apologize? Alter my behavior? 

I don't think I'm there yet. Or know how. Or whatever.

And okay.

There's another reason I keep rewatching Ellen Page movies.

She also has a ponytail during that entire last movie. 

It reminds me even more of Lilith. Anytime after the age of 20, she always uses high ponytails.

P.S: That first movie just reminds me of Lilith because of scenes like this
(It's so adorable and awesome. Adoresome.)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Excerpt: The Taste of Winterfell

Now Playing: Ramin Djawadi - Winterfell  and You'll Be Queen One Day (Game of Thrones OST)

First Monday Excerpt! Introduction, if you missed it, is here.

I decided to pick a passage I always return to, and one of the reasons I've grown to really love and admire GRRM's writing.

This is one of my favorite scenes out of all of A Song of Ice and Fire. It's weird how a series so full of violence, sex, murder, treachery, large scale political conflict, etc, could have really quite moments be just as powerful as the rest.

Here's the excerpt.

Sansa eased open the door, and made her way down the winding stair. When she opened the door to the garden, it was so lovely that she held her breath, unwilling to disturb such perfect beauty. The snow drifted down and down, all in ghostly silence, and lay thick and unbroken on the ground. All color had fled the world outside. It was a place of whites and blacks and greys. White towers and white snow and white statues, black shadows and black trees, the dark grey sky above. A pure world, Sansa thought. I do not belong here.
Yet she stepped out all the same. Her boots tore ankle deep holes into the smooth white surface of the snow, yet made no sound. Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming. Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover's kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.
 - A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Blog Challenge: Detailed Day

Now Playing: Type O Negative - September Sun

Not many updates today since this week's been kind of meh. (Got vaccinated on Wednesday. Rode the metro for the first time. Complained about the heat and boredom the rest of the week >.>)

But I did find this while googling my username: Darth Vader...kind of by orenji-no-ame. SO CUTE!

Actually, there are a lot of cute things that pop up if you google "Darth Lolita."

You know, for the Christmas Star Wars premiere, I should see if I can figure out how to dress like a true Darth Lolita. Adorableee.

Aside from that, I guess I made a Pinterest for that...not-project of mine.

But it's still not a project. This pinterest means nothing. It's not a project even if I somehow found an empty composition notebook and started writing on it and even gave it a working title. Nope. Not a project. I've already got other projects going on. Pshhh.

Week 3: Your day in detail.

Seeing as this is going up at 6 am Friday, this is obviously for Thursday :P

Quick confession: I don't...have exciting days. In fact, Wednesday was probably more exciting since I actually went out of the house to do stuff. Sorry. Boring person here.

But this is what happened today:
  • Woke up, spent like twenty minutes lying in bed and texting people.
  • Went to make coffee and set the AC to a colder setting
  • Read a bit of Essence and made some notes for my review.
  • Realized I had to do laundry so got up to start that.
  • Chugged coffee and ate waffles. 
    • Fed lil brother some waffles as well.
  • Read Stormdancer and started fangirling at the writing.
  • Opened the VE word document.
  • Got distracted and read some more from the books
  • Awesome song kicked in so I reread a fight scene from VE and edited. 
    • Laughed at some angry comment I made to myself about a month ago.
  • Then went back to reading books
  • Folded laundry while listening to the Cress audiobook.
  • Got dragged to Pollo Tropical because my brother and I were too lazy to prepare lunch.
    • Promptly regretted this decision because it's so hotttt and humid out and the place is like a fifteen minute walk through mean intersections without crosswalks.
    • We saw like three cop cars on the way and briefly wondered if we'd get yelled at for jaywalking despite having no other choice.
  • Got back, lied on the couch and put the audiobook on the bluetooth speaker thingy so I could just laze around and cool down a bit.
  • Swept and mopped floor.
  • Vacuumed carpet in my bedroom.
  • Finally put audiobook on pause.
    • Was sad at a death that happened ;-;
  • Cleaned bathroom a bit.
  • Blissful shower.
  • Brownie break!
  • Briefly glanced at beta reading stuff some guy from reddit sent me. 
    • I should get on that soon >.>
  • Did more reading. 
    • Stormdancer made me laugh. Yukiko's an adorable badass.
  • Studied for the permit test.
    • (The Florida Driver's Handbook is on Goodreads, and I'm tempted to list it cuz I've already fallen behind on my challenge. The only thing preventing me is...I don't want to be the only person to give it a rating or whatever >.>)
  • Wrote a few more lines in VE, pausing to read, text people, and then read some more.
  • Tossed out one of my brother's bed sheets because it's scary-old and a weird color and torn. Gave him clean, new ones and made his bed with 'em. Realized it'll be the last time that bed'll look nice and unwrinkled and neat and stuff for the next two seasons <_ li="">
  • Watched new episode of Carmilla.
    • I keep briefly considering watching Gilmore Girls, but only because I realized recently that one of the characters, Rory, is a bookworm, and that sounds cute. Maybe after I take the permit test... I don't need more distractions.
  • Washed dishes.
  • Scribbled a few lines in the Not-Project non-existent composition notebook.
  • Said hi to my parents as they came in. Talked with my mom a bit.
  • Wrote some more for VE.
    • I really shouldn't try to guess and eyeball the possible wordcount completion (because I'm never correct with it) but I'm starting to worry it's going to take another 50k words to finish.
      • Maybe. We'll see Dx Hopefully way less than that...
      • Although I don't want to rush it either.
  • Studied some more.
  • Wrote and read some more.
  • Realized I forgot my phone in the living room (charging) and went to get it. My dad was watching some super depressing TED talk and I was curious yet confused.
  • Started to get ready for bed.
  • Wrote this post.
  • Suddenly remembered I didn't eat dinner. Whoops. Too late now, I value a steady sleeping schedule over food.

Huh. I didn't play any video games today.

How weird.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Now Playing: SOLES - Love Will Have Its Sacrifices (Carmilla soundtrack)

This has nothing to do with anything and I don't know why I'm writing it now (because Lindsay Ellis just took out a video on it, quit trying to be mysterious, bro) but-

Since sometime last fall, I kept thinking about the danse macabre and general personification of death.

Back then, it was still a few months away from NaNoWriMo, so I was toying around with different ideas of what I was going to write. I needed to settle on something quickly because I figured I'd want about a month or so of prep before jumping into the writing marathon days, but I didn't want to pick yet another story that I'd grow disinterested in within two pages. And in contrast to previous years--I had no ideas. Not one!

But eventually, for whatever reason, I was starting to get weirdly invested in the image of this girl carving her eye out and using it in some kind of spell--to see the future or something. She looked...I don't know, there was something off about her, about the way she carried herself. She'd wrap her arms around herself, curl into a ball, rock back and forth. She slouched constantly and she swayed in place a lot. Her eye usually looked half-open, like she could barely stay awake, and if not, it'd be wide open and darting, searching, like the adrenaline was just pumping through her body and flowing out her eye socket. There was no in-between with her. She looked constantly fidgety, even when her expression made her appear on the brink of collapsing.

And she kept seeing this black cat with a red stripe across its back, over the head, down to the tail, like an outline of its spine. Then an owl with a red stripe, over the head, down the back. Then a wolf, a horse, a spider, a raven, a butterfly--I think it almost turned into a dragon. It was briefly a young girl too. And she...also didn't behave exactly right. Even now, every time I see her, she's leaning forward, knees bent, hands near the ground, and she's laughing or giggling but nothing funny's happening. (And her black hair has that red stripe down the back).

So what does this have to do with anything?

I kept seeing little moments like that which made me think--is this story about death? Is that a big part of it? Because the only reason I even came up with it is because I was thinking about the dance of death and massive epidemics like the black plague. The thing is--neither of those girls was Death itself. I wasn't remotely considering it as a possibility. By the time I got around to trying to discover more about them, I was coming up with things that said yes, they were human. Humans with powers, maybe, but human. I never came up with names for them, so for a bit of a while they were just The Witch with the Sight and The Shapeshifter. And I had to ask, "okay, they're here. But what's their story? And what does the dance of death have to do with it?"

I never came up with an answer. Mostly because idea number #2 was floating around. Then I listened to Covenant Dance from the Halo soundtrack and thought, "hey wouldn't it be cool if all my A.I's were in one story and if that story had the two twin planets and Dr. Monroe was in it-"

And by then Vanguard's Exodus just completely slapped the shit out of the other idea and yanked me in the other direction and didn't let me go until...well it still hasn't let me go. And actually it's acting very selfish and refuses to come to an end even though I have a second writing project I need to attend to.

Anyways--I don't really know why, but even after I decided I didn't know nor see enough of that story to want to write it, the atmosphere of it still clung to me. There was something weird about it. Morbid, maybe, odd, dark, whatever. I can't be specific in how, it just felt weird. (That carving of the eye might have had something to do with it).

I thought again about it today. Not about the story, or the witch and shapeshifter, but about that strange feeling that rose every time I thought about those two. It's uneasy.

The personification of death is kind of a known device, explored in a million ways and one. Aside from the skeleton in the black cloak thing, I think Death and Satan usually get around the same kind of physical manifestation--some old white guy with a really cool and deep voice. At least that's how I usually remember it. But the approach to who or what he is, his personality, whatever, varies. Sometimes Death isn't even a "he."

People write about tricking Death and then accepting Death or running from Death or if he/she/they/it is inherently evil or inherently a pretty nice guy/gal/abstract entity.

Sometimes death and/or the reaping of souls is treated with humor, other times it really embraces the despair or hopelessness or whatever negative emotion you can come up with.

That's the thing--it's always a reflection of how the author/creator sees the concept of death. Are they afraid of it? Are they trying to understand it and therefore come to accept it? Does the concept of death make them appreciate life more? Or does it bring further emphasis to the futility of life? Does it test, weaken, or strengthen their faith?

So here I am, thinking about writing about death, wanting to write about death, and realizing--I have no idea what I'd write. Never mind plot, I don't know what tone I'd pick, I don't know what Death would look like, I don't know how they'd behave, I don't know what abilities they would have, I don't know what type of person they'd be-

And that's...just...cuz...I have no idea what my feelings are toward death.

I mean...I accept that it is a thing that happens and sometimes it sucks and sometimes it's okay because you might have already lived a long life and most people would totally fail at immortality. I don't really believe in an afterlife or a higher power and I'm not scared about that. I don't despair at that idea. I have no faith to test or weaken or strengthen. I don't even care what'd happen to my rotting corpse after the fact because it's not like I'd have a functioning brain to be offended or appalled or happy or whatever. (So, like, bury me under an acorn tree so I can provide nutrients to the earth or whatever, or cremate me, or kick me down a gutter and hope I decompose properly. I won't care. I'll be dead).

But do I really not care?

Because the weird thing is...I kept returning to those two weirdos with the sight and the shifting because they were unsettling. But fascinating. They looked kind of sweet at times, and then they kind of looked really fucked up. I'm as indecisive about them as I am about death. Overall? It's just weird, man.

Clearly, if I'm going to write about death, it's because I have something to say about it, right? About accepting it or laughing about it or about defying it as long as possible--I don't know something. Anything. My version of Death can't be so damn lost and confused, right?

Usually, people write because they have something to say--to themselves or the universe. If it's not a message, it's just a story that's begging to get out, a cute moment, a funny scene, a tearful event, etc.

But maybe not knowing what my thoughts are on death is a good enough reason to explore it? I've never tried anything like it, but it could be...interesting.

This is dangerous territory. I have a book to finish. I have another to edit. I already have characters for a third. I should probably rewrite this other one. Not to mention actually published and awesome books that demand my attention. Besides, writing something Just for Myself is a sure way of writing something That Will Never Ever Go Anywhere.

Now that I'm considering it, though, I kind of want to try. And this song isn't helping. (Love will have its sacrifices? Why the fuck...? Who the fuck...? Who does Love think it is...? Wait, what).

If it's in a notebook, it isn't official. I'm not officially writing it if I'm not typing it. The Word documents of VE, MG, Ataraxia, etc, make them my official projects. Even the side short stories that feature characters of larger narratives are more official than what's in my physical journals.

I don't know if I'll even get a sentence in or if this whole affair is (ugh) dead on arrival, but even if I can't get anything down, I do have to wonder-

Am I ever going to form a concrete opinion about death? Or is that just...a thing I'm going to be confused about right up until the point it claims me?


P.S: My Death probably looks like Gaiman's Death. Pretty girl drinking coffee., I need to read Sandman. It has a character called Dream. ('s practically calling out to me).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Excerpt (introduction)

Now Playing: Hiroyuki Sawano - Rittai Kidou DOA (remix)

Happy June everyone! Summer months are finally here. I hope I don't melt under the Miami heat.

A few days ago, I decided a Friday challenge wasn't enough. I want a second set of weekly posts running~

Over the years, I've noticed a bit of a trend with new authors that really bothers me--and it bothers me even more now because of two reasons 1) I'm incredibly guilty of it and 2) it was brought to the center stage of annoyance during college.

I didn't used to know why, but whenever I converse with other writers--or just read one of their blog posts or something--they always seem to mention finding inspiration from things that aren't written stories. Movies, tv shows, video games, etc, appear to be the primary reason for why people want to write books. I'm not outside of that. I've done it too--the only reason I ever wrote a science fiction novel at thirteen was because I saw the right TV show and played the right game.

This isn't technically a bad thing. People can be inspired by all kinds of things, and the fact that we can be influenced from one medium to another is a great thing. It means all art is connected.

But it bothers me because I've noticed this kind of thing comes with another sentiment. It often feels like people look down on the written medium. A good chunk of amateur writers--some who haven't even finished their first books--are sometimes a bit obsessive about imagining the day they'll get a movie adaptation, as if that's their story's Final Form.

I love films. I love tv shows and animes and cartoons. And I love video games.

But while there are things visual mediums benefit from, there's also a lot that they can't work with and can't really delve into. They're all paced differently too, and the development of characters and the way plot points and arcs are carried out all vary widely.

I've sometimes worried that people pick writing to tell their stories because "it's easier." Most people have a working knowledge of their native tongue and general spelling and grammar. It must be easy to assume access to writing material is all you need to create masterpieces.

And yeah, that's a big step. Access to a pen and paper is really all most writers can ask for, and plenty polish their prose through the simplest of tools. But that's the key point. Polishing it. Like all things, it takes practice, and writing isn't just about you putting down words on the page. Studying other writers is vital.

I think people underestimate the beauty of language, and how difficult it is to get just the right words in the right order. This became the most apparent to me in college, specifically when I took my last required classes: Film History and my last Fiction Workshop.

In the latter, we had to read a how-to book about fiction writing, and one of the first things the author mentioned was how many people try to avoid reading whilst writing their own stories. This is because they're afraid they'll end up being influenced by someone else's style or technique. I've seen this sentiment in other places--mostly in reddit's writing community--and I've had the same reaction every time: why wouldn't you want to be influenced? Isn't that how you get better?

The required reading for class backed me up on this, and I remember telling my professor how much I agreed with the sentiment.

It was a group discussion, and after a few people spoke, one of my classmates said something that I wasn't expecting to hear in an upper level workshop: she thought it odd that the author of the how-to book was putting so much emphasis on reading. After all, my classmate was a writer and she didn't read. She'd never felt her lack of reading affected the quality of her writing.

The thing to remember is that the girl who made this claim had plenty of imagination. But once we got her story for workshop, it was pretty bad in very specific ways.

I'm not saying that to be mean. No one in the class was perfect--we were all there to learn and we all sucked at writing in our own spectacular and individual ways.

But you can always, always, tell which writers read and which don't, because their prose is awkward in really particular ways. They just don't know how to utilize language properly--they've never learned how because they don't read, and they struggle to improve because of that same reason.

In film class, it was a bit different. After we saw Rashomon, my professor read from a review of the film, and in there, the critic complimented the movie before saying it was more than just a film--it was a poem. There was one guy in the class who often spoke up and just generally sounded really passionate and knowledgeable about film. I remember at that comment, he snorted and called it pretentious; he said Rashomon isn't a poem, it's a movie, so praise it all you want just don't call it a poem.

It may seem like something random to get annoyed at, but I remembered it because that's the exact same reaction I have when someone calls a book "cinematic", or says that they "could picture everything like it was a movie." When I've gotten comments like that about my writing, I do feel flattered to an extent--I understand that it's a compliment and a very sweet one at that--but I also find it odd. Because it's not a movie. Being "like a movie" is not the highest level of quality a book can achieve.

I don't want to work in the visual medium and I'm never going to. It's not much of an accomplishment to have my work feel like something it can't be and doesn't need to be.

So because of all that, I'm going to start a weekly feature where I showcase some of the best writing I've come across throughout the years. It'll be either from books I'm reading at the moment or stuff I've read in the past--and of course, I'll probably show off some of my favorite novels

Some things to point out:
  • This isn't like a quotes collection or anything, since I generally find out of context "meaningful" and "deep" quotes to be a bit silly. No lessons here. They'll just be passages that I think do what writing is supposed to do.
  • They're all going to vary in length.
  • They will be from different genres/categories
  • I'll pick the excerpts from wherever in the book--the beginning, middle, or end.
    • If it's toward the middle or end, or if it reveals something important, I'll make sure to put a spoiler alert at the top.
  • Some of them might be pretty (in)famous, some of them might not be. 
  • While there'll be a lot from my favorites, I might also quote from books I don't particularly like.
    • This is because I can admire the writing or I can feel emotion or attachment to a fragment of something without loving all of it.
  • I'm generally not going to provide context for the quotes since it's not exactly the focus of this.
    • Admittedly, a lot of these scenes are powerful because we know the characters and we know their situations, but I'll be picking them because the writing shines on its own.
  • I'm transcribing most of these quotes from the physical books I have here, so there might be typos if I read/typed too fast and didn't catch errors while rereading. 
    • I'll do my best to keep them free of mistakes!

Basically, I don't want to limit where I take the excerpts from. They all just have one criteria to meet: the prose is on point--they use the written language at its fullest to connect us to the character, situation, or idea.

I might miss a week or so if I can't find anything, but hopefully I'll keep it as consistent as possible. I might also do a silly thing where I match the Now Playing song to the mood of the excerpt (because I'm cheesy like that). 10/11/17 EDIT: Originally I added here that I'd search up illustrations from the internet and match them up with the corresponding synopsis, while linking back and giving credit to the artists. I've decided since I never asked for permission to do so, I better go ahead and remove them all. I'll continue to go through my old blog posts and remove art I didn't ask to repost. 

I'll start next week with one of my favorite little passages from the ASOIAF series :D

Don't know how long I'll keep this going. Hopefully for quite a while.
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.