Wild Cards Hulu

by wjw on November 14, 2018

91VHIo+xXxLVariety has reported that two new original Hulu series will be based on the George RR Martin shared-world series Wild Cards.

Hulu is developing multiple shows based on the “Wild Cards” book series, which is edited by “Game of Thrones” scribe George R.R. Martin.

Variety has learned from sources that the streamer is set to open a writers room for two shows set in the “Wild Cards” universe. Universal Cable Productions will produce along with Hulu, with Andrew Miller set to write and executive produce both projects. Miller, who is currently under an overall deal at UCP, recently helmed the “Tremors” pilot at Syfy that saw the return of the original film’s star Kevin Bacon.

This has been in the works for a long damn time, three or four years.  I have not been privy to all the back-and-forth, but there’s been a lot of it.

So.  Stand by.  Much excitement to come.

 

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A Century Ago

by wjw on November 11, 2018

armitice

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Matters Economic

by wjw on November 9, 2018

I haven’t been posting here because I’ve been traveling, and either I was very busy or there wasn’t sufficient internet access, or there was no place to put my laptop so I could write on it.  (Amazing how many bedrooms have no chairs in them.  Or tables.  Or tables that aren’t completely filled with delicate bric-a-brac.)

Eventually I came down with stomach flu, sufficiently awful so that I actually had double vision; so I’ve been recovering from all that, and today’s the first day I’ve felt halfway human, but only halfway.

I came home to my copy of Locus magazine with Russell Letson’s complimentary review of The Accidental War, which I read after the double vision finally went away.   (Your takeaway: “I would not object to Williams following the model of Patrick O’Brian’s twenty-volume Aubrey-Maturin saga or CJ Cherry’s Foreigner series.  This world is capacious enough and its people complex enough to carry on indefinitely.”

Which is not quite true, but still very nice to read.

Letson (and most other reviewers) have noted the resemblance with 2008 of the financial collapse that kicks off the Accidental War in The Accidental War.

When writing TAW I didn’t actually spend a lot of time looking at the 2008 crisis, because I’d already planned my crisis well ahead of time.  Remember that I wrote that first series around the turn of the century, and I’d planned 9-12 volumes in total, and that I had a good idea what was going to happen in each one.  The second series was particularly well developed, because I’d intended sell it next.

So I didn’t have to look at the 2008 collapse, all I had to do was write what was in my original outline.  And remember that I described an economic crisis in The Rift, and had all that in mind, too.

Call me prescient if you like, but the fact is that one economic crisis is much like another,  Prior to the Second World War, they all pretty much ran like this:

1.  Financial skullduggery or irrational optimism produces a bubble or bubbles, which burst.

2.  Investors, motivated by FIG (Fear, Ignorance, and Greed), stampede to pull their money out of the economy, as well as out of their banks, causing widespread economic collapse, or at least distress.

3.  The government, fearing inflation, restricts the money supply, causing a cascade of business and banking failures.

4.  Widows and orphans are thrown in large numbers onto ice floes to starve to death.

5.  After a decade or two of desolation and misery, things sort themselves out.

After 1945, the scenario ran as follows:

1.  Bubbles burst.

2.  Investors panic.

3.  The government hurls fistfuls of money at the problem, which eventually sorts itself out after a few years.

4. Fewer widows and orphans starve on ice floes.

5. The government writes off most of the money it gave to large institutions, and largely ignores its own increasing deficit.

The Shaa conquerors never having heard of John Maynard Keynes, the crisis in The Accidental War is the first type, not the second.  The main damage isn’t caused by the bursting of the bubble, which is just a correction, but by the government deciding to restrict currency flows, which results in some businesses being unable to get the money necessary to continue in operation, and that wave of collapse triggers more currency restrictions, and so on.

It’s amazing to think about it, but this was the standard reaction for financial calamity for hundreds of years.  (Even Tulip Mania, back in the 1630s, was apparently triggered by a change in the government’s regulation of futures contracts, leading to the bubble that, well, did bad things.)

And why was there a financial crisis in the book in the first place?  Well, desperate people do desperate things, some of them violent.  In a crisis they also go looking for scapegoats, and the people actually responsible are going to divert attention from themselves as much as possible.

So, the usual: stupid people do stupid things until the stupidity catches up with them, and the only thing they can think of doing is to kill a whole lot of people.

And thus does history echo down the millennia.

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A Scandal of Somm Sort

by wjw on October 27, 2018

As those of us who’ve seen the movie Somm or the TV series Uncorked will attest, there is an organization called the Court of Master Sommeliers which offers restaurant wine stewards a number of ranks leading up to Master Sommelier, a rank which will guarantee the winners a well-paid job at a posh restaurant.

The only hurdle is a fiendishly difficult exam which only 249 people have passed in the entire history of the organization, which was founded in the UK in 1977.  There’s an oral test on “wine theory,” whatever that is, a test on service skills, and a blind taste test, in which candidates are given 25 minutes to identify six wines, three white and three red.  And by “identify” they mean type, age, country of origin, region, and “the level of the winery,” whatever that means.

This year a record 24 people passed the test and were given the title of Master.  But— Holy Bottle Shock, Batman!— 23 certificates were revoked as it was revealed that one of the exam’s proctors had leaked information about some of the wines in the blind taste.

The resulting appeals, complaints, and threats of lawsuit have cast a light on the Court’s opaque practices— you never get a score, so you never find out where you went wrong or how badly— and at the very least the scandal has raised a colossal amount of bad feeling in and about the Court and its aspirants.

I love a good free-for-all, particularly if it involves pretentious people and arcane knowledge in a field that I don’t actually care about.  So as I stand clear of the fallout, I’ll cheer as I raise a glass of jug wine poured in a 10-oz. tumbler.

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Invasion of the Grillidae!

by wjw on October 27, 2018

IMG_5088So has anyone seen anything like this?

It may be a little hard to view, but what you’re seeing is a swarm of crickets climbing the west wall of our house.  By nightfall they were all clumped in a black mass beneath the eaves.  Now, a couple days later, they’re mostly still there.

Since it had rained all the previous day, I thought maybe they were trying to climb above the flood waters, but the flood waters were no longer there.

I kept yelling at them, “Hey!  Halloween is next week!”  But they didn’t listen.

Maybe some of you more cognizant of the wonders of nature know what’s going on.

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Born Under the Sign of Godzilla

October 24, 2018

NASA— or maybe just a coupla scientists staying up late drinking— have looked at a new map of gamma-ray sources discovered by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope and begun plotting new constellations based on popular culture.  The list includes the Hulk and Godzilla, as well as Einstein and the Eiffel Tower. This is particularly appropriate for the […]

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Recap

October 24, 2018

 I’ve begun work on Volume VII of the Praxis series, which so far does not have a title, and I’ve ran smack into the problem of information control. Information control, as I tell the participants at Taos Toolbox, is crucial for the writer.  Too little information and the reader is bewildered.  Too much and the […]

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Lifestyles of the Rich and Stupid

October 22, 2018

One of the joys of reading contemporary literary fiction is enjoying the wealth of close observation that literary fiction demands.  Close observation, done right, is delightful, but you have to hope that whatever is being observed is worth the effort, and so often it isn’t, as (for example) when the subject is adultery among the […]

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One-Act Play

October 18, 2018

SCENE:  I (hereafter ME) am driving down the freeway in my car.  The phone rings. ME: Hello? RUSSIAN ACCENT: Hello.  Where are you right now? ME: I’m in my car, driving. RUSSIAN ACCENT:  Can you pull over?  This is an important message. ME: No, I can’t pull over. RUSSIAN ACCENT: Are you sure?  This is […]

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Sunshine Superhouse

October 17, 2018

Last autumn we decided to install solar panels on our home.  We got bids from three solar companies, but SolarCity’s bid was so much lower than the others that I never even went back to the others to see if they could put in a competing bid. Installation was delayed because we needed to replace […]

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