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New Painting: “The Riviera”

I finished a new painting today, “The Riviera.” I was going for a kind of French Impressionist look with this one, thinking of a garden party. Another inspiration was that I’d recently seen the Mel Brooks theater production of Young Frankenstein. But I went for a robot or mechanical man rather than a Frankenstein’s monster. I like how he’s glowing from the inside. In a way, this painting is an image of my wife Sylvia and me, on a car-trip we took to the Riviera with her brother Henry, in 1966, the year before Sylvia and I were married.



The Riviera, 40” by 30”, August, 2010. Oil on canvas. Click here to see larger image.

As usual, you can get prints or originals of my paintings at my paintings site, also this page has a link to my Lulu art book of paintings, Better Worlds.

I’m still fooling around with my new Alan Turing story, it’s always fun to be writing. I like the craft of the process, the kneading, the interactions with the muse.

I’ve been twittering a certain amount of late, too, and some of the tweets have to do with ramifications of my Turing research. If you want to see my tweets, click the button below.

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Brendan Byrne, a young writer who edits an off-kilter webzine called “The Orphan,” sent me a link to a stirring blog post by SF titan Norman Spinrad. As sometimes happens to aging writers, Norman is having trouble getting his books published these days. Norman analyzes this in terms of a “death spiral”.

Norman is about five years older than me, he was kind to me when I was new at writing. When I was coming up, his Bug Jack Barron came as a revelation. You can put curse words in a science fiction book!

Reading his blog-post complaint, I too worry about remaining publishable. More and more often I think of the folk-tale that, among the Inuit, when a member of the tribe becomes too old and decrepit to care for, they’re put on an ice-floe with a hunk of blubber to chew as they drift northward towards the unwinking sun.

You can substitute “e-books” for “hunk of blubber,” I guess…

5 Responses to “New Painting: “The Riviera””

  1. failrate Says:

    I’m reminded of the most recent This American Life where a farmer in Georgia had a portion of his property purchased via eminent domain and converted into an artificial lake by the Army Corp of Engineers. By government mandate, no development was allowed for a few hundred feet from the shore, so basically, it was an incredibly beautiful area.
    Additionally, his land above the water level became very valuable to housing developers. When asked, he said the land was worthless because it could no longer be farmed, and he was only a farmer. When asked why he didn’t just sell the land for an enormous profit and buy a new farmstead with a fraction of the profit, he said that since it was his family’s land, he couldn’t bear to part with it.
    While I think there’s a stoic beauty to his refusal, I figure he has no justification to be bitter. The world changed around him, and he refused to change his strategy. He lost his way of life; that was inevitable. He couldn’t bring himself to forge a new way of life.
    The fact that Norman Spinrad even has a blog means that the whole authorial ecosystem has changed. While print on demand services are not a drop-in replacement for a publisher, the barriers to entry and the cost of remaining in the writing game are much lower now than ever before. Plus, there are many more formats like e-books and audiobooks that are supplanting the traditional printed book. You never have to pulp an unsold e-book. That’s a dang fine thing for the whole industry.

  2. Brendan Says:

    Ack, it ain’t about being old, Rudy. It’s about not being easy to monetize. But good (?) news! Barnes and Noble just went up for sale. What happens now? Expect a lot of complaining, but not from me. Things are just about to get interesting…

  3. failrate Says:

    Addendum: I thought about it, and I’ve decided the Georgia farmer parable applies both to authors and publishers/distributors 🙂

  4. Heather Says:

    I just discovered you via E-book, so please be encouraged that there is life on the floe!
    I think the parable of the farmer applies more to the booksellers, think of yourself as the Army Corps of Engineers in the story, building something beautiful other that people want.

  5. Enon Says:

    The link to Norman Spinrad’s “Death Spiral” essay is broken. the correct link is here. The beginning of part three: “The Death Spiral of the Publishing Death Spiral” is quite interesting, looking into the future of publishing and ebooks. He proposes that while authors still need advances, editors, gatekeepers of quality and reviews, they don’t need publishers anymore. Banding together to finance what they need, they could do a lot better.


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