One kind is what I call regular, or normal, horror. It’s the kind of horror that we frequently see on TV or in the movies with the deranged psychopaths who like their shiny metal tools and trap unsuspecting – but beautiful – young adults and torture them for hours. It’s the kind of thing we read about in our newspapers, where people kill (or attempt to kill) others just so they can steal their babies. Or the stories we hear about that could easily be the realizations of our own worst fears. These are the everyday horrors that we hope never come to visit us.
But then there is the kind of horror that can only, and will only, ever take place in our imaginations, the horrors that happen in the future or that have some element of fantasy, magic, or the supernatural. These are the kinds of horrors that frighten us, disturb us, creep us out, but the ones that we ultimately know will _never_ come to visit because they simply cannot happen. These are the _”safe”_ horrors, what I call speculative horror.
I heard it said recently that regular horror is far better because it is far creepier. I have to both agree and disagree with that notion. I think that it _can_ be far creepier and horrific because we know that these sorts of things _could_ happen to us or to someone we love. We recognize that fact, and it unsettles us deeply. On the other hand, though, speculative horror can be easily translated into things that _could_ happen. Our minds modify them and make them real, especially if we find ourselves feeling empathy for character undergoing the horror. Our imaginations take flight, and suddenly those things that go bump in the night might not be just bumps anymore. So I do think that speculative horror can be every bit as frightening as regular horror if the writer crafts the story properly.
Oh. Oh, my. “Bungie”:http://www.bungie.net has just “announced”:http://www.bungie.net/News/TopStory.aspx?link=bungieatx06 two more reasons why I need an Xbox 360. First, is the announcement of “Halo Wars”:http://www.halowars.com, which is a Halo RTS(Real-time strategy) game that takes place before the events of Halo: CE. The “trailer”:http://halowars.com/trailer.html for the game looks absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to see how the storyline for this one unfolds.
The second is an as-yet un-named and still-secret project. Bungie has teamed up with film-maker and director Peter Jackson of the Lord of the Rings fame. In addition to working on the upcoming Halo film, Jackson has teamed up with Fran Walsh to create Wingnut Interactive, a new video game studio.
Wingnut Interactive will be working closely with us to create “another chapter in the Halo universe,” which is a phrase you’ll be hearing a lot and of course, we’re sworn to secrecy.
This raises as many questions as it answers — will it be a sequel? A prequel? A side-story? We won’t squeal, but we can tell you it will be a blend of gameplay and storytelling quite unlike anything the games industry has ever seen before. And Wingnut Interactive isn’t stopping at Halo — the newly formed gaming behemoth will also be working closely with Microsoft to introduce a brand-new gaming IP created by Wingnut themselves. (Source: “Bungie”:http://www.bungie.net/News/TopStory.aspx?link=bungieatx06)
I’m super-excited about these announcements and positively drooling over the prospect of seeing the Halo universe expanded like this. Now, I just need to figure out how to afford the pricetag for an Xbox 360.
Ok, this is just a bit gratuitous. Jennifer Fallon “cites a webpage”:http://www.jenniferfallon.com.au/blog/index.cfm/2006/9/27/The-51-subgenres-of-Speculative-Fiction-Seriously for an online bookstore that asks readers to select their favorite sub-genre of speculative fiction. The only problem I see with this list is how unbelievably large it is – they give 51 sub-genres, several of which are enough to warrant at least a raised eyebrow. I would suggest that, rather than being classified as sub-genres of SF(speculative fiction), these might be better classified as aspects of the genre as a whole, since many of them you will find together in the very same story or novel. And a couple of them just make you have to shake your head in disbelief that anyone would ever possibly consider _that_ one a sub-genre of SF(speculative fiction).
“Comingsoon.net”:http://www.comingsoon.net has posted up “5 pictures”:http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=16645 from the upcoming fifth film in the “Harry Potter”:http://www.harrypotter.com series, due to hit theatres on “July 13, 2007″:http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=4661. I’ve been wondering how they were going to go about portraying the toad-like aspect of Dolores Umbridge. Turns out, they’re not even going to try, which is, to me, quite disappointing. It would have made her much easier to hate if they had been able to make her up to look short, squatty, and amphibian. Just one of the many departures from the book that I am sure HP fans the world over will have to deal with.
Oh, and Harry gets a haircut. It doesn’t really suit him.
It’s amazing what happens when a community pulls together. Jason “announced”:http://apexdigest.livejournal.com/5791.html last night that within the span of 7 days, not only did fans of “Apex Digest”:http://apexdigest.com manage to meet the magazine’s financial need of $2000, they exceeded it. This means that Apex will continue to thrive, with Issue 7 going to the printer today. Additionally, the pay rate for contributing authors increases, as well as the pay for artists. A lot of good stuff, and I’m excited that this one will be able to continue.
It’s a common ideal in American culture that our women must have a certain look in order to be considered attractive. They must all be slim and curvacious and positively dead-sexy. Supermodels are the ideal, the standard by which all women must measure their own beauty.
I think that Christine’s jesting anecdote shows both sides of the issue. Women feel pressure to cover up flaws with makeup, hide blemishes, disguise signs of aging and fatigue – whether or not any of those things actually exist. Mike’s response is, I believe, the embodiment of the mindset of most men – we would much rather see our women “in their natural”, sans makeup. Part of this is simply the desire to see them free of that kind of stress, free of the chains of living up to a shallow cultural ideal. And part of it is simply that we love them just as they are. There’s no need to ‘get all gussied up’ for us, no need to hide behind all that stuff. We appreciate the natural beauty of the women we love, not the kind of fake beauty that comes from a tube. That’s just the way we are.
So, ladies, the pressure you feel to make yourselves more attractive is, by and large, your own. Any man worth his mettle is never going to pressure you to dress up and will, in fact, encourage you in quite the opposite direction. Take strength from that. You may even find that your makeup collection will start to shrink.
He loves you just the way you are.
Update: I just had to do it – I decided to give “Trailfire”:http://trailfire.com a whirl and see if I could find something on other blogs to validate this. “Here’s”:http://trailfire.com/stitzelj/trails/12400 what I’ve found so far.
Update: Christine has a great “follow-up post”:http://ckhnat.blogspot.com/2006/09/why-i-wear-make-up.html on this issue. I’m really not sure I’ve ever heard it explained from this perspective before. I learned something new, and it changes the way I see things. Thanks, Christine!
The “front page”:http://open-dialogue.com of my website has been updated. The splash page I had there was simply too difficult to keep current, since it involved those roll-over graphics. And since I’ve taken some parts of the site down and added others, it was just simpler to replace the splash page with another “WordPress”:http://wordpress.org blog and use it as a content management system. That will be the place to check for all new site updates, including announcements of new stories at “Flashes of Speculation”:http://open-dialogue.com/fs, changes or upgrades (or simply _activity_) at the “forum”:http://open-dialogue.com/forum, and new articles here (but of course, you’re already subscribed here, right?).
I have a wiki on this site, as well, but I haven’t really figured out what to do with it yet. I’ve primarily been using it as a place to archive some writing that belongs to a friend of mine, but I’ve been considering working on expanding it into an archive for writing resources – links, how-tos, etc. That, however, will be a much larger project than I can ever do alone, so I won’t even bring the wiki to the surface unless there’s a certain level of interest from others in helping out with something like that. And there may not even be that much of a need.
So, just out of curiosity, anyone interested in helping build a Writer’s Resource area?
Pros and cons to busy weekends. On the plus side, two horse stalls are now ready for winter. On the down side down, I’ve gotten zero writing done, and I have quite a long list of things to be done.
Fall is definitely here. You can feel it, smell it everywhere. I’m not looking forward to the cold weather, but I have to say that I do enjoy Fall more out here in the country than I ever did in the city.