20 – Jeremy Hicks and Begone Xenomorons

I met Jeremy when we were both panelists at a science fiction conference. I believe it might have been JordanCon. We ended up being buddies.

Jeremy recently had the honor of being the Artist Guest at HallowCon, which was also attended by past podcast guest Bobby Nash. Jeremy is the author of the Cycle of Ages saga as well as screenplays, poems, all manner of whatnot. Thrilled to have him as a guest.

Find him on his website here: https://jjeremyhicks.com/
On Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/JeremyHicksAuthor/

Thanks for listening!

19 – Spoiler Alert – Ready Player One

This is a new style of The Outliners I’m calling Spoiler Alert. There are spoilers in it. Watch out.

I thought it might be helpful to take some popular works and break them down into their composite parts. We spend a lot of time going the other direction with our authors, making them come up with an outline. I wanted to try going the other way.

The only thing is, this requires us to talk about the entire story. If you don’t want the plot of Ready Player One to be spoiled for you, don’t listen.

Let me know what you think about this, and check out my new book, Santa Suits, now up for pre-order.

18 – Aaron Cross and Feed the Meter

I was introduced to Aaron Cross by our mutual friend Jonathan French. After taking one look at the titles of his books I knew he’d be a great podcast guest.

I’m talking about titles like “Robocopter Ski Patrol” and “Ruben’s Cube Alaska: Bullet Point 2: Judgment Day: This Time It’s Real.” Quality work there, folks, I think you’ll agree.

Aaron and I get into the thick of it with a prompt that turns oddly supernatural.

Aaron’s site: http://Aaronccross.com
Or find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobocopterSkiPatrol/

Thanks for listening!

Ten Thousand Gods Promo Screwup: I Blew It Dot Com (But I Make Amends)

I sent an email to my mailing list last night announcing that Ten Thousand Gods was free on Kindle this week when it was actually just 99 cents. Well, shit.

I got a flurry of emails over the next few hours from people pointing out my mistake. Thanks for catching that, folks.

I am a one-man operation here so when the ball gets dropped it stays dropped.

That said, for the next week Ten Thousand Gods will indeed be 100% free. You can find it at this link on Instafreebie. Use the password “OOPSIBLEWIT” (no quotes).

Rick, Morty, Sauce, Fandom, and Fear of a Millenial Planet

Rick and Morty is an animated science fiction show on Adult Swim. It has a lot of craft to it, and enjoys a rabid fanbase as a result. It doesn’t grab me the way it seems to grab so many people, but as a writer, I want to acknowledge up front that the show has a lot of funny stuff in it.

Because it’s so popular, I have watched every episode. Even if I don’t dig it, it’s making a lot of people who like science fiction laugh. As a humorous SciFi/Fantasy author, I should try to understand why it works.

My opinion is that the show works for its audience because it takes place in a fantasy world where smart is the most important thing you can be. I can see why that would land with kids, especially college kids. They’re probably the smartest people in our culture. But “smart” is not “wise.”

I am so smart! S M R T!

Being smart feels great, especially when you’re right. But as we get older, it starts to become apparent to us that sometimes you can be smart and right and still an asshole. That’s wisdom. It sucks. But then again, here’s some more wisdom: A tv show is not required to have, or be, a moral compass. All it has to do is be interesting.

In real life Rick and Morty culture, though, being the smartest is being the best. In this article, the author condemns Rick and Morty fans for thinking they’re so smart, but also congratulates himself for really, truly understanding the show.

And if they understood the point of the show so far — that living only for yourself is destructive and selfish no matter how smart you are — they would be ashamed at how they’re acting.

Uh, point proven, I guess?

The Sauce

In the show, the main character goes on a rant about some discontinued Mulan-themed McDonald’s sauce that he likes. The show’s fanbase seized on this moment and began clamoring for McDonald’s to make the sauce. McDonald’s, sensing a marketing opportunity, announced that they would indeed make the sauce. They sent a couple of packets to select locations.

Next thing you know, hundreds of Rick and Morty fans are lined up at their local McDonald’s, screaming and abusing the employees because they didn’t get their sauce. In LA, the cops had to disperse the crowds.

Some locations saw crowds of fans scream-chanting at employees.

That’s the sort of fun time it’s only possible to have if you do not stop even for a microsecond to consider the feelings of the fellow humans dealing with your actions.

The real victim here: poor, sad, megarich megacorp McDonald’s

The main thread of the news reports of the situation appears to be that McDonald’s botched a golden marketing opportunity by not knowing the size of the Rick & Morty fanbase. The Washington Post even chose to fault McDonald’s.

Guys, I just want to remind you of a couple of things. First of all, McDonald’s is not your friend. They’re not a cool uncle who has the keys to the popsicles. They’re a megacorp whose job is to make money. If they seemed like they were fans of the thing you’re a fan of, it was for money.

It doesn’t seem to be bothering Rick and Morty fans that regardless of how much sauce is or isn’t handed out, McDonald’s is going to win here.

Being smart is not the most important thing in the world. Being caring is. Smart is recognizing your wants and needs and figuring out how to meet them. Caring is recognizing other people’s wants and needs. If smart you doesn’t get a dipping sauce it is looking for, caring you should stop smart you from screaming at someone about it.

I Owe Miley Cyrus an Apology

A video made the rounds last week of Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon, dressed as Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, singing “Islands in the Stream.” It’s two people going to great costuming- and set-design lengths to have some silly fun, which is what TV should be, really.

In the process of having that fun, though, they inadvertently showed us how skilled a singer Miley is, as well as the difference between a professional singer (Cyrus) and a talented amateur (Fallon). I’m not taking anything away from Jimmy, I’m just saying you can really hear how good Miley is next to him.

I owe her an apology. I thought she was all post-production. Obviously, that is not the case. Miley is, to quote the song, the “real thing.” Watch this.

When you listen to Fallon sing the intro, I think you’ll agree he does a respectable job. He’s not too pitchy, he looks relaxed, we’re all having fun. Then Miley starts singing and all of a sudden we get a look at what a pro can do with a voice.

For me, the difference is in her ability to jump from interval to interval. Whereas Fallon needs a few microseconds to jump from note to note, Miley’s notes are sharp as stair steps. Granted, Fallon is also putting on a scratchy Rogers impersonation, which only makes his job harder, but still.

When Miley leans back and gets into her full voice it’s pretty amazing.

Miley, I hereby publicly apologize for not giving you the full credit you and your skill deserve. Well done you.