Meet George

George is my new pet project ably assisted by GIMP. The story is still in-edit, but feel free to check it out here and comment if you want to.


George was created for a new writing project. I thought that it was time to create a truly alien character.

 It may not look like it, but George was created from a photograph of a foxglove. The texture and coloursamples-1.jpgation was created using the odd paintshop-pro effect and a damn good thumping in GIMP. Then it was back to Paintshop for a touch of infra-red and a last polish in GIMP with a little script-fu.

 The most difficult part was the crown. The original was more pointed and bifurcated. Although it was actually more plausible story-wise, it looked pretty naff so I clone-brushed some detail from elsewhere before the final reflection.

I love the look of IR photographs and I thought that it suited the character. The glow also covers up some of grain of the image, which seemed a little too much.

For anyone who is scepticsamples-2.jpgal about the foxglove story, here is the original. The lobes are unopened foxglove flowers, the face is created by mirroring the image down the centre.  Obviously, this version has been played around with before it even got here. Its amazing what you can find in a simple picture.  Below  right you can see the image before  reflection, see the  lower right hand part of the nose with an eye above it.samples-3.jpg

As you can see from the picture, George is somewhat two-faced. In the same way that creatures on Earth derived an advantage from mutations which duplicated useful organs - eyes, ears, limbs, fingers - evolution on Georges homeworld took early advantage of the duplication of the entire organism in-embryo. Duplicating the entire animal in a single unit eventually led to specialisation of the two almost-separate entities. In the case of George's race - the Bixenes - the result was an organism which could delegate its higher functions to one entity and its fight for survival to the other, creating an enigmatic race with a nod to Jekyll & Hyde.  

 As usual, George was originally conceived to be funny, but didn't end up that way at all. I give up, I really do. I wanted George to be terribly sophisticated, with a scandalous alter-ego. Instead, I got two alter-egos, one magnificently dark. I've retained the other for comic relief.




I decided to write a slipstream story, using the original ideas published by Bruce Sterling here. Just like Dogme eh.

 Of course I'm not going to provide a link to it, or put my name on it. In fact I'm going to put a longhand - the only - copy of it in my desk drawer. Good luck getting to it. How's that for leaking out of the frame.




Stanislaw Lem, 1921-2006

The death of Stanislaw Lem was announced today. 










I was watching Serenity, belief nicely suspended, when without warning Kaylee (Jewel Staite) dropped such an utter clunker of a line that she seemed to cringe, reminding me of the moment in Dune when someone (Stilgar I think) proclaims 'he has summoned a big one'. This strikes me as a kind of 'jumping the shark' moment for movies. I don't think this is a problem with the dialogue or even the acting. Delivering those portentous lines requires fine judgement and when they don't work, the director should toss them out with due prejudice. Try reciting the famous quote from Blade Runner 'I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate...' See how clunky it sounds? It takes genius to speak a line like that, and being a genius doesn't guarantee that it works out. Hauer delivered the goods for Blade Runner. Not that Kaylee's line was portentous. Actually, it was about a dildo and for the record, I think Staite is superb. Fortunately, Serenity recovered and turned out to be pretty good. My only complaint was that - dildo line excepted - it lacked the earthy grit of Firefly, which is odd and a shame.



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