Things I Picked Up While Writing Planet Rasputin And Things That Sublimated Into The Oort Cloud Afterwards

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Ion drives take a while to get going.

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Fusion power is 20 years away

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Learning Twi as a second language is tougher than expected. Last time I checked, there wasn’t even a google translate option for it.

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Slovene has written translation on google, but no audio.

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All characters speak native Slovene in Planet Rasputin, so to get around my own lack of Slovene ability, I resorted to repetitive usage of ne vem [I don’t know] and ja [yes], as well as the occasional Slovene myth or idiom.

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Atomic Rockets is a godsend [pantheist version] though also very dense in certain places, especially when maths + equations step in.

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There could be thousands of dwarf planets out in the Kuiper Belt, still undiscovered. Maybe some big planets too. Planet XXX is currently predicted to be somewhere beyond Pluto, but closer in than Sedna. Predicted as in it should be there, some huge force is influencing the dwarf planets in that area, but has yet to be located.

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Rasputin was too busy fucking palace staff to care about Marxist-Leninism. And was already dead by the time it really got going.

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Did he fuck the Tsarina? Not sure. Could’ve been a bridge too far, risked his position too much.

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Not a lot in the way of Anarcho-Communist sci-fi out there. The Dispossessed was written in the 70’s and was it really anarchist/communist if it was published via a major press? It’s an argument I’m still unsure about. We have to live in the system we have been raised in, survive in it, but at a certain point of wealth or influence, shouldn’t there be a little bit more? An attempt to change the way things are currently done?

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I do not dream of having a Netflix adaptation. Do you?

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Just googled other anarchist sci-fi and what I get back is all mainstream stuff. A band of utopian anarchists fighting the system/evil regime/demon deer.

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Anarchist Library doesn’t have much sci-fi.

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How would a future anarchist system work? In Planet Rasputin I had to add a huge shot of absurdism to make it believable that, in 2114, Slovenia and Ghana and a bunch of other countries could function in a semi-anarcho-communist fashion [compromised, of course]. It’s transition that’s always the problem. How do we go from this virus of a system that covers most of the planet to something else? When everyone in power is either a psychopath, a dormant psychopath, a smiling psychopath or a rag doll? When enough of the adult population sees no problem with this? Or no way out of it? Or truly thinks that they themselves are also capitalists? What does the exit ramp look like and how far off into the horizon does it stretch?

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A while back, I read the first few chapters of Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. It dealt with a linguistically-bizarre, fascist space empire, but at its core seemed empty. As fascism usually is? Maybe, but there has to be some grounding to it, some nationalism or comfort blanket for those who get sucked in otherwise you’re just writing a cartoon.

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Haven’t explored much of it so could be wrong, but the 7 modern sci-fi books I have read [or seen the synopsis of] seem to focus on defeating the regressive threat of fascism, or a robber baron parody of capitalism, not the stewed Steven Pinker shit that we’re all already floating in.

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Bok choi is a good space food. Can be grown up there. Out there.

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Speaking of absurdism [a few paragraphs ago], some new tech had to be conjured up to explain why the characters in Planet Rasputin could walk around the ship without the aid of rotating rings. Introducing the LEM Field version 12. No explanation given, far as I remember.

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Making two of the main characters trained scientists was probably a mistake.

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It’s hard to sell books independently. There are roughly three times as many writers out there since the start of COVID and they’re mobile. They don’t sleep, they don’t feel pain, and they absolutely won’t stop until you’ve reviewed their book.

How to stand out among all this?

How to let strangers know that you have a book without sounding like a twat?

Lurk on WordPress?

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I’ve seen writers on Twitter reply to random tweets half-related to their book subject matter with a link to their own titles. That can be quite clever. Not sure if it actually works, but it’s expanding their reach at least.

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Another author on WordPress, Dirty Sci-fi Buddha sometimes comes up with lunatic scenarios and then pins one of his books to it somehow. The last one I saw was about Top Gun: Maverick. Could be a good tactic.

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I am the master of self-sabotage.

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Writing a 650 page book is pure death ship for your pricing strategy. Can’t be anything lower than about $25 on Ingram Spark. Novellas are probably the way forward if you’re starting out, or generally want to get somewhere with your writing.

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Btw, Planet Rasputin is not only available as a ridiculous $30 paperback but also a free PDF. Any pirates out there…

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Just like the ion drive, it actually took me a while to come round to making all of my novels free. The concept itself wasn’t a problem. I started out doing free zines about 15 years ago, putting them around Hong Kong and mailing them off to friends in other countries, asking them to put them in info shops or decent places nearby. Then I switched to an online existence, putting lots of free stories and poems on this site, and now there’s the serials that are way too long to do anything else with, and the film dada series…

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But all through this, I stuck to the idea that novels like Planet Rasputin and Castle Damijana, that I really put my back into, should have a price. And only be in paperback.

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Then I had my short novel KRV published on Schism Neuronics, which follows the Gauss model [making the PDF version of the text free], and I thought, why not do that for everything? No one’s reading any of this shit anyway.

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Is it the best way of getting read? No idea. Was the other way doing anything? Nope. Not really.

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Hedging my bets a little, I’ve written a death loop novel that has a chance of getting published by a decent-sized sci-fi press. No real feelings about that. Just part of the surviving in the system argument, I suppose. Need to make at least some money out of this otherwise I’m doomed.

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I would post an extract of Planet Rasputin here but it wouldn’t make much sense out of context. The opening segment is around this site somewhere.

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Sci-fi is a tough write.

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Had to picture an alien space station and get my characters to walk around it with the same level of detail as if they were strolling on the street outside my house. Would aliens have military grey walls? What shape of corridor? Vending machines? Lightbulbs or luminous gas spurts?

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Void Galaxia is easier. It’s just new-old stuff, Baudrillardian ideas taken to their end, real 80’s media mixed with made-up theory and absurdism. I know all that, I’ve experienced it, endured it.

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Sci-fi is beautiful. Truly has my heart like no other. So much so that I watched a whole season of Space Precinct when I was a teen.

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Planet Rasputin is HERE

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