I don’t watch movies. Unless they’re musicals. Or feature Matthew Broderick. Or both. The point is–two hours isn’t long enough to tell a really good story–three hours was barely enough to satisfy us Tolkien fans back in the Ohs. Television programs, on the other hand, if they’re not cancelled before their time (*cough, Firefly, cough*), don’t have that limitation. A good tv series is like a novel–eventually, it has to end, but going episode by episode is much more like chapter by chapter. Read: LOST.
My dearly beloved older sister Kate the Lostie gave me a beautiful shirt with Benjamin Linus’s face plastered on the front for Christmas today–a testament to just how much I love (present tense!) the show. I don’t know if he has any LOST apparel in the closet, or an awesome Dharma Kindle like mine, but author B.C. Young does confess being a part of the perfervid fandom:
I’m a huge LOST and J.J. Abrams fan. The type of storytelling from LOST and Abrams is what I am aspiring to write. These are short stories, but overall, they tell a much bigger story.
His short stories “Miscorrection: Sunrise” and “Miscorrection: Arrogation” were released in sequence in May and July 2010 (part 3 is forthcoming)–like the short story serials of the Victorian era, or better yet, like episodes in a tv series.
Each story is between 400 and 500 locations on the Kindle–which, I’d estimate, would be 40 or so pages in the physical world. In any case, it’s 45 minutes tops for each, exactly the amount of time I’d spend on Hulu catching up on Fringe. And with technological terrorists, mysterious “events,” and internal power coups, the plot’s kind of reminiscent of that Abrams show too.
B.C. Young prefaces each story with a mild-mannered caveat emptor:
I think it’s fair to let you know that I am not a writer. I have no degrees in English or real training in writing techniques. With that being said, I do have a story to tell. Over the past three to four years, I had developed a story in my mind. Finally, I decided to write it down. Fortunately, Amazon has allowed for someone like me to self publish.
Caveat unnecessary. I know English majors–and trust me, a degree doesn’t guarantee talent. The cultural snobbery toward self-published authors, in fact, is probably the work of creatively frustrated English majors themselves. We don’t need no artistic aristocracy.
The Internet’s proving to be increasingly democratic: digital self-publishing lets self-effacing (maybe too self-effacing in Young’s case) new writers to tell stories. There’s nothing like starting a new book. Except, maybe, starting a new tv series. Thanks to Internet self-publishing, we can do both at the same time. With authors like B.C. Young writing in serial, Amazon’s something like the Hulu of science fiction. If you don’t love that, get thee to an English department–and stay there.
B.C. Young may call himself an amateur, but he writes in clear, uncluttered first-person prose. In “Sunrise,” Young begins to set the stage for the unfolding story arc–slowly revealing aspects of society and its dangers on one of humanity’s six colonized planets. In “Arrogation,” the pace builds and we get inside the head and headquarters of one of the leaders of the mysterious Karhath zealots and their sinister schemes for the solar system. Now I’m just waiting for the next installment: I joined the Miscorrection fan page on Facebook for updates.
“Miscorrection: Sunrise” and “Miscorrection: Arrogation” are available for $0.99 as ebooks on Amazon. Not bad, considering I paid $1.99 an episode to watch The Walking Dead with Amazon Video on Demand this fall.
Oh, and Merry Christmas–even if the Christians did steal the pagan Winter Solstice.