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2012: Is it the End of the World?

"Castle Romeo" atmospheric nuclear test - March 1954

Ah, hysteria. Omnipresent in any age. Doubly so in ours. Think of it: a couple of millennia ago, hysteria had to plod along from mouth to mouth. A traveling merchant, say, would have a conversation with a shepherd about trouble brewing in Rome. The shepherd, after thinking on the problem for a few days, mentioned it to his wife. She mulled it over for a few days, then mentioned it to another wife at the village marketplace. Someone overheard it at the market… and so on.

Now, hysteria reaches us over morning coffee.

But you and I are thoughtful people, so rather than just giving in blindly to hysteria let’s stop and think about things, shall we? After all, as we well know, December 21st, 2012 is not the first time the world has “ended”…

Continue reading 2012: Is it the End of the World?

Why Elections Don’t Make a Difference (and What Does)

TOBY: I think anything tactical makes us look bad.
SAM: Well, we should get used to it. We go on TV, we do a better job at selling it then the other guy. And we win the bigger argument… I also think it’s the right thing to do.

                                        –The West Wing, Season 3, Ep. 64: “We Killed Yamamoto”

This article asked: How can any American not care?

Well, I’ll tell you. Do you know why people (even intelligent, thinking people) show apathy toward politics and elections?

Because the thinking mind shrinks from absurdity. Continue reading Why Elections Don’t Make a Difference (and What Does)

Why World-Building Sucks

It’s all Tolkien’s fault, of course. He created races, maps, languages, poems, art… and then decided he better whip up a little story around them.

And everybody’s been trying to do the same since.

It almost seems like new fantasy writers think they have to build a giant background history and world for their characters to walk through like little figurines. How else are you gonna punch your weight in the big leagues of fantasy/sci-fi, right? Gotta outdo the old professor himself.

Continue reading Why World-Building Sucks

Welcome To The Free Thinking Life.com!

This is a continuation of my older site www.richard-weir.com, but oriented towards more theoretical, critical and ranty posts.

The other site will function as a professional “author platform” with links to the novel, published short stories as well as articles about the writing process and getting oneself published. It should be of interest to readers of fantastic tales, to up-and-coming writers, and to literary agents looking for a new, weird, splendid speculative fiction author to represent. (Subtlety is an art.)

In or out?
In or out?

But the ol’ bean bucket (a.k.a. the brain) needs a place to let the deeper thoughts go roaming and to question humanity’s fondness for utter BS. That’s here.

You’ve been warned, ok?

If you’re looking for light and fluffy diversions, well, the interweb has plenty of that. The exit is right over here by your back button. I’ll get your coat. Might we suggest something more along the lines of perezhilton.com or anything with the words “beiber” or “kanye” or “miley”?

Continue reading Welcome To The Free Thinking Life.com!

Say Goodbye to Your Straightjac-… erm, Genre

One of my all time musical heroes is Mike Patton. I’ll never forget an interview of his where the interviewer (either genuinely confused about his subject, or willfully dismissive of the fact that he had one of the most eclectic performers in rock history sitting in front of him) asked Mike to specify his genre.

Mike looked at the interviewer with utter contempt, and responded: “That’s your job.”

Amen, brother Mike.

Artists (good ones, anyway) do not consciously seek to fall into a classification. They simply create. They leave others to the job of classifying things.

Asking artists to classify themselves is ludicrous. It’s asking an artist to be a librarian. Continue reading Say Goodbye to Your Straightjac-… erm, Genre