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Coyotes of a Conundrum - Anheroic Fantasy Headgames 2
© copyright 2004 Jim McPherson
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|Spring Bonus: Background Information to "The War of the Apocalyptics" + its first 3 Chapters|
Greetings. Welcome, or welcome back.
Whether you are a first time visitor to PHANTACEA on the Web, or someone who bookmarks 'pHpubs' such that you can come back here whenever you want (in my humble) entertaining online reading or viewing, you might be curious as to why I call the adjacent column Hestia Housekeeping. Although I provided a full explanation of that a few seasons ago, here it is again, complete with some additional images, ==>.
On this webpage, there are any number of day-glow lynx that will take you all over PHANTACEA on the Web. As with most any website, however, there's a chance you'll quickly get lost and forget where you were.
Because of that, my best advice is to read this season's pHpubs: Web-Publisher's Commentary down to the bottom then hit the Top of Page text link, come back up and start clicking away to your heart's content.
Want to buy into the PHANTACEA Mythos? Go straight to the downloadable order form and do just that.Want to browse? Best places to start are:
Start rant. Here's what has to be said, proclaimed, ranted, right from the top. The PHANTACEA Mythos is not, does not constitute, and never will present itself as an alternative history. It does not take place in an alternate universe. It takes place in the here and then of 1938, 1955, 1960 and, so far, 1980/81 or 5980/81 Year of the Dome.
It's akin to a sideshow, if you will; an Auxilliary History, if you must. Which is part of the reason one of its major recurring characters is sometimes referred to as His-Story. End rant.
Should non-rant mention, almost from the the top, that I decided to start a new ongoing, photo-laden Web Feature this time up. It's entitled 'Travels in my Pants'. So what's new about that, you might ask. I've been doing travelogues almost from the day I started PHANTACEA on the Web, haven't I?
True enough. Except I usually try to tie them in with what I've come to call the PHANTACEA Mythos. Not so this page. I intend to use it only when I have shorter pieces, ones without a unifying theme, that don't fit in anywhere else in my minuscule portion of Cyberia. Have a gander. Unless you'd prefer to have a goose.
Last time up, in the Autumn 2003 edition of 'pHpubs', the caption at the topmost row of its masthead read exactly as this one does: "Coyotes of a Conundrum - Anheroic Fantasy Headgames". (Actually, that isn't quite right. This one reads 'Headgames 2'.)
Here's yet another coyote of a conundrum. When is it kosher to change the rules of the game? Answer is: Right now, in the Winter 2003/2004 installment of PHANTACEA on the Web.
Oh, I'm not changing them much. There will still be new Web Wheaties installments of the various cereals I've already begun, the occasional synoptic update as well. These will continue until there aren't any more of them to run, -- and, at the current rate of pH-Webworld web-publications, that could take a number of years.
I'm not going to sell any more disks containing newer versions of them, however. From now on, besides copies of "Forever & 40 Days - The Genesis of PHANTACEA", which already exists in unchangeable print format, all I'm going to sell are disks containing the unedited original versions of the novels mentioned on my '25 Years After' webpage. And, word of warning, those disks will not contain anywhere near the final versions of said-above-them.
Reason for that is it's approaching time I attempt to self-publish some of my weekend writings, as actual novels instead of merely momentary musings. Hope is, of course, to make some real money. And, once they get into hard-copy, that'll become the irreversible version of them.
Case in point being 'The Weirdness of Cabalarkon' and 'Psychodrama'. They've already changed a number of times since I began featuring them on pH-Webworld. No doubt they will continue to change as I bring them closer to publication.
Another case in point is 'Coueranna's Curse', which debuts this time up. Structurally speaking it's similar to 'Helioddity' in that it consists of interlinked short stories. Only problem is I've interlinked Kore's stories in 'Curse' with quotes from 'The Moloch Manoeuvres', which I dramatically enlarged upon in the Spring of 2002.
Any wonder I'm changing the rules of the game before the game gets much further along? Not to mind there isn't. Will still be, as always, good reading to be found throughout PHANTACEA on the Web.
Good viewing as well. Some sights of which are on display alongside the coyotes down below. More are on display in the aforementioned, newly instituted, sporatically ongoing, 'Travels in my Pants' Web Feature beginning elsewhere, this time up.
Coyote #7: What's all this then?
These would be some of this time's cliff-heads. Click on one and it'll take you to the cliff itself. Run your mouse over the cliff's photo and when a hand forms click again and you're back here at Seven Coyote. That way you'll be able to pinpoint where the head's hiding. In each panel there's also an enlargement of the cliff-head itself.
Truth told a 'Today's Topic' usually just presents itself. About the only rule is that it has something to do what I've come to call the PHANTACEA Mythos. Which, because of what I'm writing for, PHANTACEA on the Web, is how it should be.
Down near the bottom of this page there are lynx to a number of previous Web-Publisher's Commentaries. A quick survey of their topics reminds me I do fair amount of character likeness photo essays. Two of the best can be found in Summer 2002, which ended up as an installment of Serendipity, and Winter 2000/2001, which featured the first of three photo essays I based on my trip to Egypt in the Fall of 2000.
Sometimes it has to do with what's been on 'pH-Webworld' previously. An example of this can be found in the Summer 2003 topic section, of which more in the next paragraph. Another example comes from the cliff mid-panel to the left. Like so many others on this page I shot it during my return trip to Cappadocia, Turkey, in the Fall of 2003.
I call the cliff's head, an enlargement of which is in the upper righthand corner of this panel, the Man as the Moon Cliff Head. It reminds me of one of the faces I detected on the Ephesian Heads Stone. I incorporated the full Heads Stone in the self-congratulatory collage I prepared to mark the 25th Year of PHANTACEA. Click on the mirrored version of Seaweed Head, lower right, for an even larger shot of the Heads Stone.
As an aside, when I was in Turkey in 2003 I went back to Ephesus (a short bus ride away from Selchuk) in quest of the aforementioned Heads Stone. It was there in 1996, at least I thought I saw it there, in the ruins of Ephesus. Sooth said I seem to recall it being in front of the partially restored library. Guess what? The library is still partially restored but the Heads Stone was nowhere to be seen.
If anyone spots it on their travels do send me a photo of it, if you can. Otherwise, please email me as to where it can be found so I can make a note of that when I revise this page. No reward but I'll happily scan in your photo, all due credit given, and provide a link to your webpage, if you have one, on my online bibliography page. My email address is at the top and bottom of every non-story webpage. Do contact me for almost any reason. If you do use email, make sure you don't copy it to anyone else because Hotmail seems to screen out anything with multiple addresses. Thinks it's spam.
Indeed it is. Trouble is I don't get enough questions to determine what might constitute frequently asked questions. The easy way to remedy that of course is to email me some and I'll set up a FAQ page called 'Coyotes of a Conundrum'.
One question you won't have to ask is what constitutes the background image on this page or this panel. It's a distortion of the great slab of a rock to the right. It overlooks the soon to be flooded valley and town of Hasankeyf in Eastern Turkey.
I call it Tyrannosaurus Rock Rex. Mostly it's here because it just looks neat. However, It does have a snout and eyes, albeit in the side of the head rather than the front of it, so I guess that qualifies it as a cliff-head.
In terms of self-publishing, it's more a matter of how many heads are enough. No matter how good you think your book is you don't want to put your name to trash and it's unlikely you think anything you write could be trash. So you need pre-publication readers, maybe three or four them, at least a couple of whom won't charge you. Hopefully, the readers you pick are willing to do some proof-reading at the same time as they're assessing your book.
You still need a professional editor, though, and therein lies the biggest coyote of a conundrum you're likely to come across once you decide to go the self-publishing route. And, I'm reliably informed, hiring an editor is not an option. It has to be done.
Here's a crux of a coyote BLOCKQUOTE for you. It's taken from "How to Self-Publish and Make Money" by Crook & Wise, © 1997 (Distributed by Sandhill Book Marketing Ltd. in Kelowna British Columbia):
That's the trick, isn't it? Not getting upset by criticism. Call it a pet peeve, but just where do editors get off telling you this, that or the other thing isn't good enough when you're the one paying them? Who do they think they are anyhow, -- the writer? (Don't they just wish!) Then there's the money they want to charge you. A minimum of $30.00 an hour is hardly chump-change, not when you, as a self-publisher, are hiring them to edit a massive, potential 2-book opus like 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'.
Ask me, given such an assignment, what a proper editor should ensure above and beyond all else is consistency. Someone who has swimmer's muscles in one chapter should not have those of a body-builder in another chapter. Someone whose hair or breasts are described one way once should not be described another way later on.
Here's where I'm at with respect to handling this particular coyote of a conundrum. I'm avoiding it altogether. What I've done instead is pick a single publisher, one who handles material like mine and will actually consider something on spec. Most publishers claim they'll only look at material submitted by a literary agent so there aren't too many of them. However, they do exist.
I then took two stand-alone novels, 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' and 'The War of the Apocalyptics', revised them to my satisfaction, such that they do indeed stand alone, and sent them off a few months apart. Sometime in the Spring I'll send off another one.
I am of course trusting the publisher to either make me an offer for the PHANTACEA Mythos or at least hire an editor they regularly use in order to assess the novels properly. Picked-publisher doesn't do either, or rejects the whole Mythos, I'll pick another publisher and repeat the process. That fails, then and only then will I rethink my options and reconsider self-publishing.
One thing I will promise you: I do decide to go that route, I'm not going to be someone who does so without an outside editor. It simply wouldn't be right for anyone taking a chance on an otherwise unknown writer and ending up buying a piece of gobbledegook crap as a reward. What I'll do is look for the best editor I can afford and get on with it.
As for the Cliff Heads, there are two of them. The big one is wearing a winged helmet, has a block jaw and an open mouth. What he has instead of a nose and eye is another head, one with a nose, eye, mouth and double chin. I isolated then rotated the forehead fellow in order to make him stand-out from Wing Head. Along with the Cliff Head in Three Coyote, Forehead Head is so unmistakeable I wonder if he's been chiselled out of the cliff-side like the Incas reputedly used to do in Peru.
Answer is it depends on who you are. Me, I tend to confine my first person voice to right here, my flagship page, 'pHpubs', and the occasional 'Travels in my Pants' photo essay. So, how would I classify this coyote? As about as personal as I'll ever get, if you have to know.
I’ve been going to a hideaway on Storm Bay, about an hour away by boat from the town of Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, since the early Seventies. Usually I went with a friend of mine, a lawyer I'd known since high school. Which, obviously, was long before he became a lawyer. He’d preceded me this time, late summer 2002. Rather, his ashes had.
Some months earlier, at the age of 49, he passed away of a ‘swollen heart’, a condition caused by late onset diabetes. As we were pulling into the bay it wasn’t my heart that was swollen, though. It was more like my face. At least the boat’s spray gave me an excuse to pretend it was seawater soaking me.
Gazing up at the tree-covered cliffs and slopes overlooking the bay I had what I took to be a momentary hallucination. It seemed to me my dead friend was staring down at us from a cliff’s face. I did the mandatory two or three double-takes and it was still there. Had two eyes, a nose and chin. In other words, except for the fact the hair looked more like a helmet, it was just what you’d expect in a face.
Once we docked I pointed it out to boat’s skipper. “Oh, that,” he told me. “It’s always been there. It’s Storm Bay’s sentinel.”
Good, I thought. Would have been too spooky if it were otherwise.
I was going to bring up the dangers of fay-saying and the concomittant risk of overwriting but I'll save it for another 'pHpubs' topic-time. (Title pretty much fay-says it all, howsoever riskily.)
What I'll do instead is insert a pretty picture with a couple of Peculiar Perspective observations then call it a day. (There's already a belated Table of Coyote Contents upstairs anyhow.)
What we have here in terms of a pretty picture is a shot of, you guessed it, a waterfall. It was taken during a trip I took through Eastern Turkey in September 2003. From a peculiar perspective point of view there's a Rolling Stones style tongue beneath the cascading water and some sort of animal head just to its right.
Might it be a coyote? Myself I'm thinking bovine, a cow perhaps. Whatever it is, it looks like it has some sort of ugly head in its jaws. Unless it's someone wearing a de-skulled animal head as a headdress like Blind Sundown does a de-skulled buffalo head, with its horns pointed upwards, towards the end of 'The War of the Apocalyptics'. (In PHANTACEA, by the way, Sundown's headdress is called an 'issiwan'', though I can't remember where I discovered the name. Maybe I just made it up.)
A note on the page background is here. There is plenty of information on the Cliff Heads pictured on this page in their respective panels. There isn't anything on the two collages in the above rollover and reproduced hereafter. The reason for that is they're still what you might call works in progress.
As I did with the three potential covers for 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' that used to grace the PHANTACEA on the Web opening or 'index' page, I'm attempting to provide a prospective publisher, even if it is me, with a suggestion as what I think the front and back cover artwork for 'The War of the Apocalyptics' might want to look like.
Both of these collages contain images from the PHANTACEA comic book series, six issues of which I published from 1977 to 1980. The image of Raven's Head on the D-Brig collage is from a graphic novel I published in 1990 entitled 'Forever & 40 Days - The Genesis of PHANTACEA'.
Among other places, out here in''pH-Webworld', information on the comic books and the graphic novel can be found on the PHANTACEA: Twenty-Five Years Onward webpage. Plenty of lynx to take you elsewhere from there. (You might want to use the framed version of the main menu page to ensure you don't get lost traversing them.)
Although I scanned in a few of their constituents from graphics I found either on the Internet or in my personal library, including my collection of postcards, most of other images I incorporated in the two collages are taken from my own photographs.
A number of them have appeared out here in my minuscule portion of Cyberia. I've also been storing up a lot of character likenesses, one of which is to the left of this paragraph. It features a scuba diver's head with a Medusa head superimposed overtop of it. It's suggestive of Yehudi Cohen, the Untouchable Diver, a member of the Damnation Brigade. (The Diver does wear Gorgon Goggles in addition to a sleeveless wet suit after all.)
I snapped most of the character likenesses in storage during various travels in my pants so maybe in a near-future installment of 'pHpubs' I'll do another character likeness photo essay. For now, though, there's a point-and-click image map of a slightly different D-Brig collage on the Damnation Brigade Synopses Page. Although as yet It only goes to the names of the characters, it's a start.
Until the next time, good reading!
Character likenesses can be found throughout PHANTACEA on the Web. Good places to ogle artwork from the comic books and graphic novel are One to Six, 'Twenty-Five Years Plus' and 'The Genesis of PHANTACEA' webpage. Most of the other graphics are scans I did of my own photographs or material I put together using PHOTOSHOP. All the essays are loaded with images. Try out the framed version of the Main Menu and start hitting those sparkling blue day-glow lynxes in the left-side window. You won't go anywhere else but, then again, you won't get lost either.
| Autumn 2003 | Summer 2003 | Autumn 2002 | Summer 2002 | Autumn 2001 | Spring-Summer 2001 | Winter 2000/2001 | Samplings from other Not So Recent Commentaries | June-March '97 | February '97-July '96 |
|NOTE ON PAGE BACKGROUND: A cliff head spotted in Eastern Turkey in 2003, shot and image manipulation by Jim McPherson. There are plenty more cliff heads here and here. The background image in the Sites with Loads of Graphics cell is of the pyramids and even more famous He-Sphinx (called Andy the Androsphinx, as opposed to Ginny the Gynosphinx, in
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