the Beginning is near
the writing of Robert Burke Richardson
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Matriarch -- 3 pages
Thursday, June 22, 2006
the critic that hits you where you live
Warren Ellis sez:
It’s the blank page thing. Aaron Sorkin talked about it a bit, at the top of one of the WEST WING scriptbooks. The blank page is the only critic that can hit you where you live. In one of the episodes, in fact, a journalist asks Sam why writing a major speech is hard, and Sam says, because it’s a blank piece of paper. It knows all your secrets. In Sorkin’s words, it sits there and hisses, “I know how you’ve been scamming all those people all these years, GIFTLESS, you wanna dance with me?”
And we really don’t. We stare into space for hours, running themes and structures and settings through our heads.
Comforting to hear that this kind of thing happens even to someone as prolific and accomplished as Warren. I didn't write a single usable word yesterday; I did some planning for an essay on Wonder Woman I'm writing for BenBella Books, and wrestled with a concept for an 8-issue horror/drama comic series I'd like to do. Seems like it takes about four hours thinking/dreaming for every hour of actual, useful work.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Speaking of the French, here's a new review of Flashing Swords #6 featuring my story, "The Dead God's Punishment":
On commence tout de suite avec le 6 éme opus de Flashing Sword, webzine consacré à la sword and sorcery. Et non la sword and sorcery ce n'est pas que des barbares bétassoux et body buildés qui cognent des monstres pour sauver de charmantes demoiselles. Ou plutôt ce n'est pas que ça. La preuve, James Enge nous offre avec "covenant with death" un texte de sword and sorcery écologique avec son héros Morlock the maker. On retrouve aussi deux auteurs habitués de la revue. Steve Gobble qui met en scène son héros Calthus, un paladin revenu à la vie après être mort plus de 700 ans auparavant. L'auteur met l'accent sur le déphasage du personnage avec son monde. SC Bryce lui, nous offre une nouvelle aventure de Dermanassian, dernier survivant de son peuple et jouet des dieux et des démons. Ce personnage se sert aussi bien de magie que de la ruse mais garde la force seulement en dernier recours. Le deux nouveaux venus s'en sortent avec les honneurs : Trey Causey avec une aventure très classique et Paul Jessup avec un récit où pointe une légére critique de la religion. On retrouve aussi une réédition d'un texte d'Harold Lamb auteur des pulps. Mais le meilleur texte est celui de Robert Burke Richardson qui clot en beauté la trilogie commencés dans les numéros précédents de Jack Nimple le voleur et de son ami Philipé l'assassin au masque d'ornithorinque dans un monde secondaire ressemblant aux Caraïbes de l'époque des pirates. Bref un texte décalé et très littéraire. Flashing Swords montre sans concession la diversité d'un genre et évitant les récits caricaturaux auquel il est bien souvent restreint. Et oui la sword and sorcery peut - être un sous genre de la fantasy aussi noble que les autres.
Monday, June 19, 2006
(Note: this adventure takes place during Season 1)
Desperate to ingratiate yourself to Jack, and thereby win a coveted slot in the island's in-crowd, you remain constantly on the periphery of his domain near the caves and fresh water supply.
You breathe the sweet, tropical air, massage the toe you sprained when the plane crashed, and bide your time.
"Hey you," Jack says, rubbing a hand over his stubble, and fixing you with his stare. "Go get me a coconut."
Yes! Here's your chance! Jack probably needs the coconut for a medical procedure... or maybe to create a bowling alley.
Whatever. You promise yourself that you will get that coconut.
Hoping to scout out some coconuts, you climb to the summit of a nearby hill. You see Sawyer outside his tent by the beach. And beside him... a pile of coconuts!
A path leads in the other direction, and you see Mr. Locke walking down it.
Do you take the path past Locke? Or do you trade with Sawyer for his coconuts?
LOST: CYOA 2 (Sawyer)
"Well howdy," Sawyer says as you approach, jumping to his feet and smiling. "Always nice to see one of the little people."
"I would like -- "
"Like to trade, yeah," Sawyer says. "And you can have whatever you like." He puts his arm around your shoulders as if you and he are old friends. "As soon as you kill this orangutan that's been giving me trouble."
"What?" you say. "I'm not going to -- "
"And," Sawyer says, sitting again and adjusting his makeshift glasses, "I'll even throw in some deoderant. For free."
He gives you directions to the orangutan's lair. Do you follow his directions, or try to track the orangutan yourself?"
LOST: CYOA 3 (Locke)
"Hello," Locke says as you approach. He pats the pockets of his boar-hunting outfit, then thrusts out a hand, which you shake.
"This island isn't such a bad place," he says in his amiable way. "Sure you've lost a few things," -- he looks pointedly at your absent pants -- "but what you really want?" He looks up and smiles, and you look up to, and there you see the doll you had with you on the plane... the one you bought especially for your neice.
"What you really want," Locke says, "the island gives back." He turns and walks off, whistling.
Do you climb up to get the doll? Or do you continue on your quest to find a coconut?
LOST: CYOA 4 (Rousseau)
You continue on your way, seeing lots of coconuts in the trees (if only you could reach them!). And you see a doll, too -- oh, it's a little dirty and worn -- but you don't have to climb to get it. It's right there on the ground, just waiting to be picked up.
You grab the doll --
-- and get caught up in a net. You hang there for several hours until a deranged looking French woman emerges from the jungle and begins poking you with a stick.
Looks like this is...
To be continued...
(Check back soon!)
LOST: CYOA 5 (doll)
You climb up to get the doll. It's really high up, and you take a break to catch your breath. The view is spectacular... and is that a symbol marked in the ground with red sand? There, just beyond the plane in the tree?
Forget the doll -- you'll get it later. Do you head for the strange symbol? Or do you forget the doll and the symbol and continue searching for a coconut?
LOST: CYOA 6 (?)
As you approach the symbol, you see a man in a yellow radiation suit. He gestures for you to follow, and leads you to a metal doorway built into the ground. He opens the door and the two of you desend into some sort of underground bunker.
There are television screens everywhere, a closed-circuit surveilance system. There are people on some of the screens, including a man with shoulder-length hair who you think kind of looks like a Desmond.
The man in the radiation suit removes his hat, revealing curly blonde hair and a blonde beard.
"Who are you then?" you ask.
"Melvin," he says, picking up a pen.
"What's that all about?" you ask.
"Oh, just saving the word," he says, holding up a notebook with an I-Ching looking symbol on the cover. "Saving it by writing it down in this notebook," he clarifies.
He moves a four-fingered glove from the table and says, "Would you like some food?"
Do you stay for a bite, or continue on your quest for a coconut?
LOST: CYOA 7 (Food)
Melvin walks you over to another area of the bunker -- a pantry! When you go back and tell everyone about this -- cookies! crackers! cereal! -- you'll be invited to join the A-List for sure!
Melvin pulls a lid off a jar and tosses you a funny looking mushroom. He eats one himself. "Hmm," he says. "This texture is... interesting."
Before biting into your own mushroom, you glance at the label on the jar. It says "Peanut Butter."
"Uh, Melvin?" you say as he eats another mushroom. "Don't eat that, man. It's not mushrooms -- it's just really, really, really old peanut butter."
Melvin turns white, then green.
"This has happened before," he gasps. "Last week I found a bucket of what I thought was apple-juice, but..."
He slumps hard against the wall. "Only one thing can save me! I need the sweat of a tree-frog!"
Do you go out and look for a tree-frog? Leave Melvin for dead and continue looking for a coconut? Find Sawyer and trade him for a tree-frog?
LOST: CYOA 8 (Hurley)
You leave the weird bunker and see... a coconut!!
But it's high up in a tree.
Leaves rustle. You tense, expecting a monster, but it's just Hurley.
"Dude," he says. "Need some help getting that coconut?"
Standing first on Hurley's knee, and then on his shoulders, you reach the coconut, and toss it down to him. You grasp the tree, shimmy down, and...
...Hurley has eaten the coconut.
"Dude," he says between burps. "Thanks for the coconut."
Looks like this is The End... for now!
LOST: CYOA 9 (Frog)
You rush out of the strange bunker on a quest for the sweat of a tree-frog. You see dolls... you see coconuts... but nothing distracts you.
You find a frog on the side of a tree -- ooh, it's sooo cute! Not knowing how to extract the sweat, you decide to head back to the bunker, but you're not entirely sure of the way.
There are two paths: down one of them, you see Walt... reading a copy of The Polar Bear Express. Down the other, you see Sawyer, reading a manuscript.
Do you go down the path with Walt, or Sawyer?
LOST: CYOA 10 (Sawyer)
"Well hey there, No-name," Sawyer says as you approach, the tiny frog hidden away in the palm of your hand, "what's a non-speakin' role like yourself doin' all the way out here?"
You open your mouth to answer, but the frog lets out a soft ribbit. Sawyer looks confused for a moment, perhaps thinking that you made the sound, but soon his eyes glaze over with hatred.
Quicker than your eyes can follow, Sawyer grabs your arm, twists your wrist, and holds the frog aloft, examining it in the clear afternoon light.
"I hate tree-frogs," he says, and crushes it to death.
He tosses the broken carcass at your pantsless leg, where it slides slowly down. At least for now, it looks like this is...
A pitch for a series I've been developing with French artist Chris Malgrain is almost complete. Venturesome Motes is an old-school adventure story, and we're even telling it in an old-school kind of way, with me writing dialogue only after the art is already finished.
Writers sometimes talk about the terrors of facing the blank page, but I've discovered that the blank page is easy. A page covered with action-packed images or people in a room talking and you have no idea what they might be saying? That's hard.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Getting a little slow with the updates these days. Been busy preparing one of my comics projects for Arcana Studio, and finishing up a couple of non-fiction assignments for BenBella Books.
My most recent non-fiction work, Getting Lost, is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com, Chapters.ca, and Amazon.ca.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
LOST goes horribly wrong -- Guest-Starring Tempest Bledsoe!
From the secret files of the Happy Harbor Comic Jams:
Monday, June 05, 2006
Here are the stats for this blog for the week of Monday, May 29th to Monday, June 5th. Nice number of hits and unique visitors, but very few comments. If you feel like saying hello, feel free to introduce yourself in the comments section below, and include a link back to your own blog or website if you like.
'Dead God's Punishment' Reviewed
Tangent's Michael Fay reviews Flashing Swords #6. Excerpted below are the parts about me which are, naturally, the most interesting bits.- ;)
The final story is “The Dead God’s Punishment” by Robert Burke Richardson. This is the third of a series of connected tales that started with issue 4 of Flashing Swords (Fall 2005). Melinda, the woman Phillipe is in love with, has been kidnapped, leaving Phillipe, Jack Nimble, and Jack’s protege/lover Avasa to rescue her. In doing so, they face a mob of crazed religious fanatics and the wrath of a strange being claiming to be the Dead God returned.
“The Dead God’s Punishment” is the fastest paced of the three. This comes at the price of having less of the biting wit the previous two had. Not to say that there is no wit, but it plays less of a role. Action is the name of the game in this story, and there is plenty of it. Still, the ending will leave you with a smile, and it certainly lays the foundation for more Jack Nimble hijinks to come. If Richardson can maintain the quality of his stories, Jack Nimble and the Platypus will certainly rival any pair in sword and sorcery fantasy for entertainment value.
Related posts: 'Dead God's Puppet-Show' Reviewed, Dead God's Prologue, Elves & Dead Gods
Sunday, June 04, 2006
LOST: Dave = monster
In their post-finale podcast, Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse suggest that we have seen the smoke monster recently... but just didn't know it.
I nominate Hurley's imaginary friend Dave as the most likely suspect (and, by extension, Jack's father, Locke's mother, and maybe even Kate's horse). The smoke monster is obviously able to "read" people's pasts (as it does during its encounter with Eko), and I think it's conceivable it could take on other forms which are either visible to only one character (like Dave) or to one or more (like Kate's horse).
Mind you -- they could just be blowing smoke up our collective you know what.