The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Let Me Rub My Juices All Over You

A peculiar attribute of the technological zeitgeist of this decade (whatever we end up calling it in the end, which will likely be either the #MeToos or the Avocado Toasties) which sets it apart from the Nineties and Noughties is that people today are too lazy to actually surf the Internet. There’s no longer an incentive to do the gruntwork of visiting online forums or Usenet, when technology has evolved to a point where people no longer have to actually do anything to get their daily dose of memes. Now the Internet comes neatly packaged directly to the people, in the form of their Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds, to say nothing of the seemingly endless parade of smartphone notifications.

In recognition of Western civilization’s bold new devotion to intellectual sloth, I would like to remind everybody I have left behind the obligitory urine stain on both Facebook and Twitter. Not Instagram, though. Instagram is just one big digital high school. With a very impressive yearbook. Which is fine, except I graduated years ago.

As much as there is to dislike about social media as a whole, one of its useful aspects is as a supplementary energy to an organization’s already existing web presence. Like an appendage growing out of your website, reaching out to fondle people so it can coat their hair and clothing with its juices.

My twin social media appendages have indeed been doing a lot of fondling. I occasionally do this thing where I take an entire chapter from the book and post one page from that chapter a day, on one platform or the other. I don’t do it all the time, and which platform I end up posting it to depends on a complex schedule based on the time of year and the phase of the moon and the current coordinates of the magnetic north pole. But I do it occasionally, and love to drink the essence of the people’s reactions. The concept started on Twitter and gravitated towards Facebook a few months later. I have way more followers on Twitter †, so it’s a useful avenue for conducting grand sociological experiments. The Facebook page was more of an afterthought.

† I somehow gained a followership of over 1000 people on Twitter without being young, female or pretty. In this day and age, that’s an accomplishment.

 

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The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Spring Has Sprung, and So Have Two New Chapters (and a map!)

Hark! The Beast has molted again! Two brand-spankin’ new chapters have been added to the version of Silver Brown available for free from this site. Not only that, but I’ve also thrown in a fourth map of the Environment to compliment the three that are already in the book. I made the amazing discovery these last few weeks that the complete Adobe Creative Cloud suite is installed on all the Mac computers in the Fanshawe College Library, for the convenience of anyone with the know-how and a valid student ID to log in. So I cracked open Illustrator and wasted a perfectly good afternoon creating this map of a typical island located in the world of my story, showing its urban areas, road system, (nude?) beach and entry points (or seaëxits, as they are known to the Environment’s denizens)…


mare_gaudii1.4.v6


In the Environment, an island is typically known by whatever expressword has been assigned to its index seaëxit by its registered administrator. Hence, the island depicted in this map would be called ₪VONOKAEL. The number shown in the centre (293119DAC) is an address within the Environment’s grid – specifically, that number indicates that ₪VONOKAEL is Island No. 293119 in the Delta Alfa Charlie sequence. Even if the administrator decided to change the index expressword to something other than ₪VONOKAEL, the island would still be known as 293119DAC in the eyes of the Great Monopoly. Being a heartless corporate bureaucracy and all, people and things are just numbers to them.

It’s also worth mentioning that these two new chapters are the first in the book featuring a character other than Florys MacNab as the narrator. Thus, these chapters have a slightly different look and feel, for the purposes of conveying an impression to the reader that the point of view has changed.

Implementing that look and feel was a tad bit challenging on my end. When I set about republishing the e-book to include the new chapters, I would learn the hard way that certain fonts cannot be successfully embedded in an EPUB document without paying a buttload of money in licensing fees. Not specialty fonts, either – I’m talking your standard-issue dingbat fonts that come prepackaged with just about every desktop operating system. This put a slight damper on my ability to depict certain graphical elements in the manuscript as I originally envisioned them.

As an alternative to selling my spleen on the black market to appease the Lords of Redmond, I decided to improvise a workaround. An earlier draft of Chapter Eleven (which is actually the book’s twelfth chapter; the first chapter is designated Chapter Zero in keeping with the story’s overall theme of computer technology run amok) featured an ornamental section break with a “glorified book” glyph in its centre that was cobbled together from Webdings and Wingdings…

oryteropian_synod

In the current draft, this has been replaced by a new glyph – a stylized representation of the Aardvark radiating his aardvarkly aardvarkness on all the denizens of the Environment…

oryteropian_synod2

The ebook reader on my phone seems to like this new glyph better. The old glyph displayed correctly when I viewed it on my laptop, but when I transferred the ebook to my phone it displayed as ï&ð, which was not quite the effect I was going for.

As I heavily implied earlier, this new glyph (and the new chapters which feature it) are available for download now. The book cover below is the link to the download page. I reckon it’ll only be a matter of time before entire languages and writing systems become registered trademarks of some soulless multinational, so this new version of the e-book could become a collector’s item someday.


sb_cover4
 

The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

“Something just moved…”

star-wars-episode-IV-dianoga


The gargantuan literary tentacle with ten thousand eyes and ten thousand tongues protruding out of the left side my gut is about to molt again. I can feel those characteristic hormones and enzymes it emits burning the walls of my blood vessels. Like an über-hot red mustard that makes wasabi seem like mayonnaise by comparison. Only felt instead of tasted. The thing seems to time the eclosion of its instars with the phases of the earth, to drink in the energy of the sun. Or something like that.