Articles, Blog

Fair Game for Self-Publishing

Little did I know that one business trip would change everything for this shy self-publishing author.

Frank furt Buchmess Book Fair self-publishing

“It’s huge,” my friend warned me before I left. “I’ve been there, and really, you’ll need days to see it all.”  She was, of course, talking about the…

Frankfurt Book Fair

As it turned out, needing days hadn’t been an exaggeration:

Articles, Blog

Where Has The Horror Gone?

In the age of mass media, horror enthusiasts needn’t go to a bookstore or cinema to get their fix. And for once, it’s not the Internet that is to blame.


A Dying Fire

Every day and every night, the syndicate news channels spew one horror story after another. There is enough drama to satisfy our every craving for fear and terror. And should the world fail to be on fire, the news writers add drama to whatever is happening with a few choice words: calling a collision a “car accident” doesn’t turn any heads, but “disaster” still gets a response.

It’s no secret that we are desensitising at an alarming rate. Hundreds get killed in a natural cataclysm, yet we shrug and check our Facebook status. News outlets desperately try to fan the flames of this dying fire by using ever more superlatives, but fact remains that the number of people who give f*** all about anything is dwindling faster than ever before.

You can only fan a flame so many times before it starves.

Horrific Methods

Unfortunately, the horror side of the entertainment industry feeds off that same dying fire. The audience isn’t scared – or even mildly uneasy – unless they care. Unless they empathise with at least one of the characters and their situation. The artists’ job is to make them care. Feed the fire, as it were.

But that has become an uphill battle in all media.

Articles, Blog

Comparing Virtues – Part 2: Watching TV

Last time in this modern debate of reading a book versus watching TV, we discussed some of the benefits and problems of reading books.

Now it is time to take the argument to the screen.

Photo: espensorvik via Flickr

Effortless Entertainment

More than anything, watching TV is effortless. Where computer games require interaction and movement (of your thumbs, at the very least), TV doesn’t even require you to stay awake.

You sit, you consume,

Articles, Blog

Comparing Virtues – Part 1: Reading

The moving screen is an enthralling thing. We all know the hypnotic qualities of the TV and computer, and how they capture us when really we should – or want – to be doing something else. The little angel and the little devil on our shoulders start arguing: start reading one of those unread books, or just flop down on the couch in front of the TV?

Books by Les Chatfield via Flickr

Our conscience can debate the issue forever (usually while our eyes are glued to a screen), but as in an debate, there are pros and cons to both options.

In this first post, let’s argue the case for reading.

Full Control

When you read, your brain translates the black-on-white squiggles to full-colour images. You decide what you see – and what you don’t. Your imagination is more seamless than the best CGI, the main characters can look any way you want them to, and skipping icky scenes is easier when you don’t need to peer between your fingers to see if they’re over yet.

Despite the apparent dullness of words on paper,

Articles, Blog

Humans Are Animals

humans are animals - evolution skulls
Photo: Steve Johnson @ Flickr

We humans love to beat our own drum. We just love to proclaim how smart and resourceful we are. How we’re a unique creation, made in God’s own image. According to Judaism and its derivatives, anyway. Different religions, different opinions, of course.

Philosophies are beautiful, but so are the laws of nature. And those laws state, with irrefutable consistency, that humans are animals. Of the species homo sapiens sapiens, to be precise.

Evolutionary Basics

Homo sapiens sapiens, or “the thinking man”, is the last survivor of the otherwise dead human family tree. The first members of the homo family appeared approx. 1 million years ago, but during the last Ice Age, only we and our cousins homo neanderthalensis still existed. All other humanoids had long gone extinct, and at the end of said Ice Age, so had the Neaderthals.

Compare that to sharks, which have been around in abundant varieties for 420 million years.

So not only are humans animals, from a genealogical point of view we’re not even particularly successful.