I have no idea why I'm tired. I mean, I went to bed late, and woke up early, but, wait, yeah, that'll be it.
Out today, the penultimate episode of the first arc. This is perhaps me at my most heart on sleeve of it (I suspect that some of you will recognise echos of thoughts I've expressed here) but I'm mostly happy with the Han stuff.
In shops! Preview here! Hope you like it! Exclamation marks!
Ludocrats is a collaboration between David Lafuente, Jim Rossignol and myself. We announced it a few years ago, and (er) stuff happened which meant it didn't happen. It's not exciting stuff. It's boring stuff. This is ironic, because it's a book about the war against boredom. That we were delayed by the grey quicksand of bureaucracy is a bit like that bit in Brazil with De Niro.
Anyway! That stuff has been sorted out, and David's at work now. We'll be having a formal re-announcement at some point, because we want to be pretty certain of when it's dropping before we get people excited again, but until here's some panels of inks for your delectation.
Baron Otto Von Subertan is the larger one. Professor Hades Zero-K is the smaller one. They are Ludocrats and they're here to save us from tedium.
It is not about Ludo.
I popped onto Oz Mills‘ RPG stream for a few weeks last year, as I wanted to try the whole streaming RPG thing. I was invited back, and said yes, because it was delightful PLUS he’s running a game with a bunch of my friends, none of whom I’ve played with before. And – relevant link – theyre all comic creators. The game is Tales From The Loop – basically think “Stranger Things the RPG.”
I’m playing Dot, rebellious daughter of money. I describe as looking like a younger Jane Wiedlin As Joan Of Arc in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but cosplaying as Ian Curtis. I will inevitably be the team drama irritant, as god knows, I always am. Here’s her character sheet....
Yes, I’ve already spilled wine on it and my handwriting is amazing.
I may get around to writing up brief thoughts on all the RPGs I played last year. It was sort of a reading list of the modern form, and I suspect may be interesting even to people who don’t care about all things polyhedral.
I will inevitably make jokes too.
The Best Time I Pretended I Hadn’t Heard of Slavoj Žižek. An old article, but brought to my attention yesterday by delightful music critic Claire Biddles. It is a joy, and absolutely the sort of thing Silent Girl would do in Phonogram.
I asked for prompts on books to write about from my reading list from a couple of week’s back. I answer! There was also another couple on twitter, but (er) I forgot. I think one may have been Deep Work, so I’m sorted there anyway.
Q: What’s your hot take on Orlando? I read it about a year ago, thought it was a lot of very beautiful prose and an interesting premise, but I think the moment that made me LOVE it was when I’d finished reading it and then a friend told me Virginia Woolfe had written it as a kind of very long love letter to, or about, Vita Sacksville-West.
You capture a lot of its appeal - it’s a giggle.
I knew the background to the book before reading it, but had little idea of the specific tone and approach, but it’s so there. The Baron Munchausen-nesque of it.
This is the thing about classics with a reputation is that the reputation is always that barrier, especially for those of us who grew up outside that particular ivory tower. You presume it’s harder than it is. I mean, there’s modernist tactics, certainly, but Orlando is this high-kicking extravagant flirtation of a book and often desperately funny. I was reading C random bits to her as I made my way through.
“Don’t worry about the rep, just try it” is generally good advice. I mean, the first thing I took from when I finally got around to reading Dostoevsky? This is often intensely funny. No-one ever talks about that.
Q: What did you think of Cal Newport’s Deep Work? Did you implement some of its stuff? I’m also very interested in what you have to say about Ursula LeGuin’s books (the ones from your 2017 list but also in general).
A: DEEP WORK was brought to me by a peer recommending it, and I feel it’s gone around the industry.
For those unaware, it’s a work self-help which argues in that your real career (or the quality of the work you do) is actually based on the amount of Deep Work you do. This is work which requires long, extended non-distracted focus. It is also unsustainable. It argues that no more than four hours is achievable in a day, so spends its time on tactics to achieve that (or even stuff approaching that).
The first half of the book is the science and life studies of it, the second half the guidelines. By the time I’d hit the second half, I was pretty sure it would just be TURN OFF THE FUCKING INTERNET repeated until he hit the word count.
Frankly, a lot of it is. But that’s okay, as I suspect that’s actually a good idea.
That said, I have brought a bunch of things over. It’s a book I feel is actually primarily aimed at coders, so you have to translate to what is useful for what I do, but it’s been interesting. I’ve been timetabling days on a day-to-day basis. I’ve been trying to use less ambient internet stuff. I’m considering massively downgrading my Internet presence - maybe going broadcast only on twitter.
I think the main thing is forcing myself to being more aware of my choices. Like, exactly how does my procrastination work, and how it hurts my work? The analysis of procrastination as a brain short-circuit when something is actually hard. You hit a problem, and my brain looks for something less hard. Like, say, making a shitty pun on the Internet.
I actually already did a bunch - my days are relatively structured - but I’ve expressly tried to reclaim my evenings. I even did the KIERON GILLEN BOT TURNING OFF routine.
(I probably need to have another look at how it suggests turning brain off. I have a tendency to wake up at 5am and lie there for an hour trying to solve narrative problems.)
There’s some things I’d take issue with - there’s some tactics I simply can’t imagine doing (”Just not responding to an e-mail if there is no negative consequence to it”. Every British part of body screams against it.) but mixed in that is actual useful stuff (An analysis of my tendency to answer e-mails, but doing them quickly (so to get them out my inbox) rather than well (so they don’t immediately lead to an e-mail that re-fills my inbox) has impacted me.)
The “Don’t respond” says a lot about the book. There is a lot of implicit privilege going on it. There’s fields of work it will offer nothing to… which is a whole other issue.
I also found myself reading it in one sitting with no distractions, solely as a fuck you to the book. I can totally concentrate! I really can.
LeGuin? It’s an odd one. As a fantasy writer, she’s one of those early, founding influences. I think if you remove THE TOMBS OF ATUAN from my pre-teen years, you end up with a significantly different Kieron Gillen. But I’d never actually hit up her Science Fiction, which is bizarre, and prompted me hitting up two of those classics nearly back to back when I was on a beach. LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is one of those progressive sci-fi novels who progress has left slightly dated in places, but if you accept its limitations and blinkers, there’s some absolutely wonderful stuff in there. LATHE OF HEAVEN is both petrifying and beautiful.
And on a shallow level, fuck me, LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and LATHE OF HEAVEN are wonderful titles.
I waited for over a year for the Internet to make this Gif. It did not. So I did it.
I have many skills.
With the monolith of The Wicked + the Divine 1923 actually done, this week has mostly been like flying. A weight is gone and I no longer am in a mild panic. I have deadlines as always, but this is now absolutely something I can manage. Hell, I even managed to find time to start actually tidying the office. This is a process of removing piles of books and working out places to hide unpainted miniatures from the line-of-sight of any visiting grown-ups.
I handed issue 3 of Spangly New Thing to the artist, on the same day they had finished issue 2’s pencils. As such, I’ll probably have to get the next issue done early in February. This is… do-able. Issue 3 is one of the harder ones, and demanded a lot of reading. This one just needs a book and a half to play with. I crammed in a Modded and a strip for a charity anthology. Next is Star Wars 47 and… maybe WicDiv 35? Uber 15? Oh, I have options. I also have to do a pitch by Friday for a Thing (someone managed to find a WFH project I couldn’t say no to. No, it’s nothing you would ever guess. It’s not something you would ever connect to being a comic) as well as the outline for my third Star Wars arc for the following Friday. But this is better than I’ve been for a month.
Er… now, reading that all back I’m worried again. Thanks. I missed you, seething worry gnawing in my gut.