my new favourite waste of time

First off, if you have any serious work to be getting on with, do not go to www.bitstrips.com. (from where this strip was taken, one of the best I've seen there - linking isn't as easy as it could be, and if it appears too small on your screen, click on it and it should open up much larger). Repeat, do not go. It's a black hole of time-consuming fun. Basically, it's a flash-driven site that allows you to assemble one to six panel newspaper-style comic strips with a ready-made catalogue of furniture, backgrounds and characters, the latter of which are heavily customisable. It took less than an hour for me to knock together two very professional-looking (I thought) comic strips. I'm not telling where mine are, because my efforts at humour are feeble enough without exposing themselves to the wider world.

Secondly, there's a very nice review of Stealing Light up at the Sci Fi London site, which is apparently closely tied to the Clarke Awards (he who has gone to the great monolith in the sky).

Progress continues on the last hard slog to the rough-as-hell-until-I-revise-it end of book two, though the other day I could hardly get any writing done; I literally stared at the screen slack-jawed, feeling burned out. But in the past couple of months I've come up with some ideas for the book that hadn't occurred to me when I started it. That's something I was pleased to find out when I started writing books; that you come up with really good ideas even when you're deep into a book, that can substantially change it in a positive and unexpected way.

I started thinking, as I often do, of books I imagine I might write at some indeterminate point in the future if I genuinely had the motivation and ability to spend a solid three months doing nothing but writing furiously 'between the books I get paid for', as it were. There's the non-genre ''40's Noir murder mystery based around the filming of a '40's noir murder mystery movie just before the US entry into World War 2' book. Then there's the definitely genre 'sort of ERB's Barsoom, but set in the near future and with weird and exotic alien tech on Mars' book (since I have a feeling intertextually self-referential, postmodern heroic pulp action may be the 'in' thing in the next couple of years). There's the 'mid-21C environmental disaster' book ... and some other stuff. Or maybe I should just get on with finishing this one ...

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