I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

More Dead Ends

This was actually the start of a 45k word novella that I've never shown anyone:

Story one:

Chase was so far from normal values now that the first thought that sprang into his mind when his old friend Jazz at last showed up in his darkened bedroom was “He doesn’t know I could kill him.” And Chase could have killed him. Not that he wanted to kill Jazz. He actually felt a great deal of affection toward this former friend. But, as a matter of fact, as a simple reality as basic as “the sun rises in the east” or “two plus two equals four,” Chase could have killed Jazz before Jazz had even opened his mouth.
1. A bullet. Chase had a small pistol tucked into his waist band. Jazz was six feet away, across the bed. He couldn’t possibly miss.
2. A garrote. An obvious choice, given that he did have neighbors and some things, such as killing an old friend who has come to beg your help because you are the last person in the world he can turn to, should be kept quiet.
3. Defenistration. Just stun Jazz with a judo chop then toss him out the window. They were ten floors up.
4. Knife.
5. Pin him to the floor. Prop open his mouth. Pour in lye.
6. Hit him, and keep hitting him, and keep hitting him until his internal organs were mush.

I don't know what I was thinking. Chase is some kind of top secret CIA killing machine, Jazz is a cyberterrorist. It was just stupid.

Story two:

God created us all, with memories and everything, ten minutes ago.

This is a line all by itself in a file. I was reflecting on the arguments that some creation scientists use to explain away the apparent age of the Earth and the Universe, an argument that boils down to, basicly, God created them to look old and fool us. So I had an idea for a story where God had thrown a tantrum, destroyed the universe, then rebuilt it "in progress" ten minutes ago. And . . . that's all I ever had. No plot, no characters, nothing but the premise. Occasionally, I'll write a sentence like this and it's sort of an act of faith, that once you get to the end of the sentence, another sentence will come, then another, and another, and before you know it, you have a story. My story "Empire of Dreams and Miracles" essentially happened this way. Alas, sometimes you are just left with the one sentence.

Story three:

Zach, the vegan hillbilly hairdresser died first, during a space walk. Lance, the gay, decorated marine Captain of the expedition, had argued that the space walk served no purpose, that it added nothing to the mission.
"We had a twenty percent drop in audience last week," Betty, the producer, had explained. "You guys can't simply sit in the tin can all the way to the moon. The audience needs some action."
The footage from the space walk looked like Dullsville for the first ten minutes. Then the meteor--some theorized it was a 40 year old bolt from MIR--had caught Zach square in the middle his thigh, coming out the other side, puncturing his suit. He screamed for seven minutes while they reeled him in. Sashay, the mixed race transgendered strip artist with the forked tongue had joked that Zach would be fine, anyone who could scream like that had plenty of air.
Zach went silent as they were pressurizing the airlock. Lance was at his side in the lock, along with Tommi, the born-again blonde surfer from the American Heartland. When the pressure normalized and they pulled off Zach's helmet, there was no pulse. Tommi started CPR while Lance cut away Zach's suit. The bolt had severed an artery. Cutting the suit away proved slippery work. The camera caught the beads of sweat dripping from Lance's face. In the end, it was all for nothing. Zach had simply lost too much blood.
Tommi leaned back against the airlock door, wiped her face with a bloody hand, and cried.
Lance recited as much of the Lord's prayer as he could remember as he closed Zach's eyes.
Then he sagged against the wall, staring at the camera for a moment, before popping open a can of Real Cola and taking a deep swig.
Ratings gold.
Real Moon pulled in a 57% share that week.

I stole this idea from my friend Mr. Cavin, who envisioned a reality TV show about a journey to mars. I made the idea a little closer to home, something that could plausibly be launched in the next year or two. Seven strangers on the moon. Real World meets Lost in Space. Oh, and the whole thing is sponsored by a product known as Real Cola. Before I started typing this story, I was certain I had a golden idea, a sure-fire sell. Alas, two pages in I was bored with the characters. My plot involved them getting to the moon and being so imcompetent at food production that they eventually turn to canibalism. I might salvage the plot as a running joke in an upcoming novel--this is one of the characters favorite shows or something. But for now, it's a dead story.

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