A few thoughts on IT

-aside from Pennywise himself and the weird scene at the end, i knew next to nothing about the plot of the book. the movie trailers explained a bit more, but not much more than “clown lives a long time”. i honestly thought it was some sort of John Wayne Gacy serial killer monster clown. What I got was both weirder and scarier than my initial impressions.
 
-speaking of that weird scene at the end, i get why it’s there, it’s not written in a gross or skeevy way, and it makes sense. still a strange thing to read
 
-the gut churning cruelty that the book runs on made it a tough read at some points, but i liked its overall message and themes. surprisingly hopeful, for all of its darkness and violence.
 
-the difficulty of adapting such gruesome and graphic material definitely caused some strain in the television adaptation. in order to tell the whole story, IT would have had to be at least twice as long.
 
-all of this does leave me wondering what will make it into the movie. the inciting incident that leads to their reunion was not something i had expected to read, and me being who i am, turned my stomach in the worst way. king’s sensitivity on this and mike’s character makes it clear where he comes down on it, but still, IT was not an easy read.

A Forgotten Death

Captain Crash was tied to a chair in a what looked like a featureless concrete room. He opened his eyes, but his left was swollen shut. His mouth was filled with blood, and when he spit, he could see that at least two teeth flew out in it.
Above him was a single hanging lamp, casting a pale greyish green light over him. It made the blood turn almost black. He could smell an awful mix of sulfur and blood in the air, mixed with cigarettes and perfume. Oranges and vanilla. That meant one thing.
The Secretary had found him.
He tried to break free from his bonds, but they were heavy steel bolted to the chair and to the ground. He could move his hands and feet, but nothing else. His eye wandered the room, trying to take in any extra detail, something that could tell him where he was—if he could figure that out, maybe he could get out of here alive. His chest was compressed. He could barely breathe. That meant no screams.
The chair rose from the ground, and spun 180 degrees. There was a door, a heavy steel thing with no knob.
And there were no windows he could break. This would be a tough job, even for a seasoned hero like Crash.
“Did you think it would be that easy, Captain Anders?” A voice asked from the corner. “You’d just report to the facility and think I wouldn’t notice?”
She was standing over a table, resting her hands in a bucket. The jacket of her impeccably tailored powder blue pantsuit was resting on a chair. Her sleeves were rolled up, and she was wearing a pair of wooden vambraces, covered in intricately carved inlays, filled with rubies and gold. She was holding her hands in a bucket of ice. It sloshed around as she flexed her fingers. “I’m nowhere near as strong as I used to be, I gotta tell ya. This happens more and more now.”
“Madam Secretary, I’m an officer in the United States Military, and an official Post-Human Operator,” he said through broken teeth and swollen lips. “You’re not gonna get away with this.”
She lifted her hands from the bucket, and toweled them off. Moving with an inhuman quickness, she was on him, and her fist met his jaw. Everything went white for a moment, and then he returned to the world. Her fists and the vambraces were glowing in eerie red and gold hues.
“Captain, you’re the first person to leave the facility that the Vice President was able to read.” In the corner he stood, stock still and towering, eyes glowing purple. “He got something from you. Nothing definite—impressions, really.”
“But we got something from you. Oh boy, we got something from you.” The VP’s eyes glowed brighter and Crash could feel him digging into his head.
“Well, Mr. Vice President, let’s see them!”
Crash felt his world convulse. A sound like sheet metal wobbling filled his head, and then the cell around him faded into blackness. A new world began to snap into place. The images were blurry and ragged, drained of nearly all their color. “We think they might have tried to wipe your memories when you left, but your abilities necessitate a stronger bone structure and a muscle mass than can withstand your own power, so whatever they did, it didn’t take—not all the way. You’ve got a thick skull and a fatter brain. Makes it tough to really get in there.”
It was a large containment unit. The General was standing next to him, and on Crash’s other side, a 8 foot tall beast that walked like a man. He wore a uniform that suggested elite military, but in his heart, he knew this was a real life alien.It was filled with a luminescent green fluid. Wires ran through it, connecting to a body, completely still in the fluid. “Entros,” one of them said. “—of some kind. We’re still—fig—ossibly mean.”
“Yes. —In gods. ——Must be close—“
And behind them was a door.
The memory ended, and Crash was back in the real world.
The Secretary bent over to look Crash in the eye. “They’re hiding something, and you lived to tell about it. I couldn’t let that slide.”
The VP nodded. “This is a good start to an investigation, son. You’ve tipped us off to something big.”
“Unfortunately, we can’t let you live. We have to deal with these issues discreetly, and a Post-Human is far too great a liability to keep around.”
“Why?”
“It’s been twenty years, son. The United States has struggled for two decades to restore truly powerful superheroes to its ranks. You know better than most. You fought the top when after everyone died. Even today, we live in the shadow of Fort Conger. Starfall destroyed everything, and we’re picking up the pieces. We wanted new heroes. A way to truly push us forward, and you know.” Another jaw blow. “Or know enough. We’ll get what we need and stop,”
Visions again. They were so intangible. They resisted any kind of touch. The buildings were made of wisps of silk, then the world disappears into a silk, as far as the eye could see. Crash could see the office, its fabric form billowing away in the unusually strong winds today.
“Give me a second longer.” The VP thought, and then nodded.
Nodding to the VP, his eyes glowed more intensely once again, and Crash’s restraints were removed. “It may not be the greatest way to go, but a decorated soldier such as yourself deserves to die on your feet.”
Making the most of it, Crash let out the loudest scream he possibly could. The VP fell to the ground, unconscious, while the Secretary kept her footing, even with the concrete cracking and breaking around her.
She delivered a flurry of punches to his face, and he did his best to block them, but she was too fast. His defenses were breaking and she was getting through, battering his cheeks and jaw. A final punch landed square in his nose, reducing it to a red ruin, and body blow seemed to collapse his stomach.
He fell to his knees, unable to breathe. The scream subsided. He couldn’t see anything. His arms felt limp and cold. The only feeling was the presence of the Secretary, looming over him.
“That was a fine showing, Captain, but I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve dealt with sonic abilities.” She put her hand on his forehead, and he could feel her hand beginning to close.
He attempted to speak, but nothing came out but blood and wheezing. He noticed he was beginning to cry.
“I’m sorry soldier, but your service to this country is at an end.” She closed her fist and Captain Crash’s skull cracked and splintered, stabbing fragments into his brain. It was at that point he lost consciousness and ceased to be.
Grey matter curled around her fingers, and she opened her head, letting the ruined corpse slump to the ground. “Fucking shame to lose him. You awake, Aaron?”
The VP rolled over, rubbing his head. He got to his hands and knees and vomited. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Good, ‘cause we have some work to do.”

Introducing Terminaburg

If you enjoy what you read, why not buy me a coffee? Every little bit helps.

So you’ve probably noticed a few fiction snippet going up this month. That is part of my little publishing experiment this month, but there’s a little bit more to it than that.

Tl;dr

I’m going to be creating a massive shared universe blending elements of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, space opera, crime, slice of life, romance, and superhero together through my writing

It will be long, and there will be daily updates.

There will be a Patreon in the future, and there will be books sold with new stories.

I will be open to feedback, and I’ll do my best to reply and be available to you.

The Longer, More Personal Version

This bit was going to be at the end, but I decided against that. I’ll be as honest and direct as I can: Writing is work, and working on something like this will require financial support. There will be story compilations (with new stories and other goodies), and I will also work on launching a Patreon so you can help support me. Everything you see on this blog will be free to view. My tumblr will also be updating daily with special content, also free. If you really enjoy what you’re reading and you want to help, tell your friends, recommend it to them, and maybe kick a few bucks my way if you can.

Over the years, as I’ve tried out several different ways of creating, I’ve been keeping a lot of notes about superheroes I’d created in the past, all the way back to high school. I never really tossed anything out, and what I did was still locked away in my head.
When I decided to get serious about writing in mid-2016, I hit on using some of the superheroes I’d created over the last decade or so—some were from failed projects that never got off the ground, others were from old pitches that I never got around to editing or refining, and some were just little word sketches in scattered notebooks. I picked a few heroes, fleshed out their personalities a little bit, made them teenagers, and because I’m a Jack Kirby fan, added a little cosmic spice to a tiny Texas town.

That manuscript got written, but I decided to put it away—it didn’t really work for me. I needed to get better as a writer if I wanted to tell the story it deserved, and I moved on to other projects. There were fantasy stories, a lot of open ended free writing, pens being drained of almost all of their ink, and more than a few down days where I thought I was too depressed to write, but still wrote.

The process of tearing apart and rebuilding my first novel from scratch had begun by May. I had taken several new notes, and reworked the story completely to fit my new vision, but life intervened and didn’t allow me to get the necessary work done. I shelved it to move on to something else.

In July of this year, I was working on a non-fiction project that I hope to revise and publish in the future. I started and finished drafting it after hitting a rut in a fantasy novel. After wrapping up the first non-fiction draft, I looked over my fantasy novel. I knew I could solve it, but again, I didn’t have the skills to do it justice and get it up to snuff personally. Expending effort on something that I wouldn’t meet my (admittedly low) standards seemed to be a losing battle, one that would end in depression and discouragement.

So I set it aside, and went back to the beginning, farther back than the fantasy novel, farther back than my second attempt at a first novel, farther back than all of the writing I’d done in the last year, past even my decision to become a writer. I went back to my old notes, the old characters, the failed projects that I didn’t finish. I started putting it all together, and came to an ambitious conclusion: what if I just tried to create this universe from scratch? What if I just made it all through my own stories, and published them for as long as I could?

The big idea came from a city that I made up, called Terminaburg. I decided to be as ambitious as possible, and after a couple of weeks of planning, outlining, and a little bit of writing, I’m ready to get started.

Here’s the deal: right now I’m running a daily piece of fiction on my blog. Those will go dark after August, and I’ll be running once a week longer stories for a couple of months. After that whole thing is wrapped up, I’m going to tentatively plan for a flash fiction piece most days, with longer stories published on Wednesdays, if one gets written. The daily fiction will shine a light on the city of Terminaburg, its denizens, its geography, and its secrets; eventually, the stories will start to move outward, showing off the world that has been in my head for the better part of a decade.

The narrative plans after that particular phase are hazy at the moment, but rest assured there is more to Terminaburg than just a magical city on an island that appeared out of nowhere. I plan to show off every part of not only this Earth, but things beyond it. It will be a journey, spanning from the smallest personal story to the fates of gods themselves. In the far future, I plan on writing at least one novel about a major event, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

The other part of this is putting together support. I need you, the reader. Tell me what you like and don’t, give me feedback. I genuinely want to hear from you. This project won’t be the best it can be if I do all this in a vacuum. Email me! Tweet at me! Send me private messages on facebook! I’ll definitely do my best to reply to you and I promise to take your feedback seriously.

(The part about the Patreon and other sources of funding was going to go here, but I decided to put it at the top, because I want to be up front with my audience about financial support.)

Summing up, this is a project that has existed in some form or another for the last decade of my life, and I’m ready to start tackling the enormous task of actually getting it out there. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy it.

Jeff’s Personal Reading List

I absolutely adored Night Watch, and I want everyone to read it. It’s a bit difficult to understand without proper context, so I’ve put together a somewhat short reading list to get you up to speed before you dive into it.

Here’s my Discworld Reading List So You Can Read Night Watch As Soon As Possible:

1. Mort
2. Pyramids
3. Small Gods
4. Guards! Guards!
5. Men At Arms
6. Feet Of Clay
7. The Fifth Elephant
8. Thief Of Time
9. Night Watch

That will basically take you from the beginning of Discworld to about the early 00’s. Mort, Pyramids, and Small Gods get you glimpses of other parts of the Discworld, and are very quality examples to ease you into his writing style. You can read these three in any order, but I’d recommend starting with Mort. Stuff that comes after will make more sense that way.

Guards! Guards! begins the City Watch/Sam Vimes cycle of Discworld novels, and then it takes a slight detour with Thief of Time, which isn’t directly related to anything else on the list, but connects to Night Watch. It’s also a thrill on its own.
There you have it. That’s my own personal reading list, and it worked out well for me. There are other books I want to try, but I’d recommend these if you’re curious.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!