Quivering Effluvium in the Closet

Sally, have you finished your chores yet?

Most of them.

Did you do the closet?

Not yet.

Why not?

I was going to, but I started feeling dizzy, so I laid down.


Yeah, near the closet. Continue reading


Story Delivery Vehicle: Dioramageddon! – “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero”

Kaijū Daisensō (1965)

What is it? – The sixth Godzilla feature finds our titular monster pitted against giant pterodactyl Rodan and the three-headed dragon King Ghidorah.  Meanwhile, humanity faces off against an alien race bent on world domination.

How do I get it into my brain? – you can watch it on Netflix (instant streaming), or buy it!  The DVD actually has the original Japanese version on it, too.

Though my original exposure to them was through the classic cheese processing facility known as Mystery Science Theater 3000, I have developed an appreciation for Japan’s particular kaiju–or “strange beast”–genre.  The first, most popular and most enduring of these is definitely Toho Studios’ Godzilla.  Originally envisioned as a metaphor for the devastation of nuclear weaponry, Godzilla (or Gojira in his native land) soon became a mascot of sorts, owing to his portrayal as a powerful yet misunderstood creature.  A 165 foot-tall nuclear Frankenstein’s Monster, a sympathetic beast that was roused to defend itself.  Longtime franchise director Ishiro Honda had said at one point, “monsters are born too tall, too strong, too heavy—that is their tragedy”.  The original Japanese Godzilla is a dark, spooky, and ominous film, but future iterations would find the monster’s menace diminished as he became more of a heroic figure in the films.  Here in the sixth feature, Godzilla is in full-on sympathetic portrayal mode, even comedic at times.

Continue reading

Armchair Linguist: The Gamble

Okay, so now that we’ve defined a few types of story information, what happens when we start putting it together and presenting it to an audience?

As somebody who does a fair bit of writing on his own, questions about structure and content are often on my mind (what? published? pfft, I’m self-published and you’re facilitating it, chumps!) Of course, there are the structural tropes. “There are only X basic plots” (where X ranges from 1 to 36 depending on who you ask), three-act structure, Freytag’s 5-part dramatic progression, etc. Showing versus telling. First-person perspective, third-person omniscience, maybe even second person? And how about an unreliable narrator? Hiding beneath them all, though is a more fundamental question: what makes an effective story? Continue reading