Review: A Star Curiously Singing

A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz

A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz

I am a guy that loves background. I love culture, I love language, I love it when an author takes a background premise, and works it out completely, considering each and every variable and permutation in the culture. I love it when I am taken out of my world and thrust into a completely different environment complete with a separate mindset and way of thinking that I have to wrap my mind around.

Of course, not everyone can pull that off. There are two skills that are required to do this, having just one is rare, and having both almost never happens.

The first skill is the creation of a consistent, deep world to immerse the reader in. This requires a mind that can think about our own world from the perspective of a non-resident: someone who can actually self-examine his deepest mindsets and presuppositions, and then experiment by changing them. To create a truly immersive culture, you have to create a complete experience: you have to not only engage all the senses, but also every facet of culture itself. In religion, in philosophy, in tradition, in castes, in work, in play: every little piece that makes up a fully dimensional culture, you have to have in place.

The second skill is the actual immersion of the reader in a way that makes them not only enjoy the experience of being in the new environment, but also enjoy the transition. To be jerked out of everything you hold as solid, and inserted violently into a completely foreign environment might make a cool roller-coaster ride, but it won’t make you many friends (except among hard-core weirdos who do that for kicks, of which number I am definitely one). The skill required to carefully and softly sneak a reader into a new way of thinking, into a new environment without them noticing the transition, is something that is almost impossible to achieve.

A Star Curiously Singing comes very very close. There is a tangible culture shock (which I thoroughly enjoyed), but it wasn’t so much that would throw non-weirdos off. You are immediately engaged and tied to the main character, and the curiosity about the world itself is practically a hook in itself. The deeper you go into the book the deeper the immersion becomes: it never really stops. I love it.

Kerry Nietz weaves a masterful story about a deep character in an intricate world with a powerful plot.

And I can’t wait to get the third book in the series. :)

A Party and a Very Special Announcement!

Hey there everyone!

* Is very excited *

A year ago, on September 20th of 2009, I started a forum on a whim. I did it mainly because I was lazy and wanted one centralized location on which to discuss my stories and world with my few fantasy friends. So I guess it was sort of ego-centric too (except I wanted to hear about their stories too, but whatever).

I invented a name more or less off the top of my head, threw together a forum, grabbed a theme off the internet, cobbled together some neat sounding names, and let my friends know. There were maybe 6 or so of us, but we liked it.

More than I expected. They loved it, and started telling everyone about it. I thought that was cool, so I told more of my friends about it too, posting on the different forums I am a part of, and etcetera.

And so people started to flood in. And they all loved it!

That was a shock to me. I mean, managing forums and communities is work, and I was kind of busy (I did, after all, start it because I was lazy and trying to save time, never mind about that…). But it was also kind of cool.

I mean, really cool.

There were these brilliant people all working together and talking and making friends and posting awesome stuff and in general being a model community. Very awesome. I loved my people (I still do, too). So I started improving the forums, adding mods and hacks and bbcodes and a logo and a website and a blog and a domain name and whatnot. All the stuff a real community ought to have. It was fun. :)

Well, it has been a year, and it is well over a hundred members strong, and I have a core team of dedicated Moderators and Marcher Lords and Honor Roll Members and Editors and etceteras. I also have an inner circle of lovely people who have joined together with me to take Holy Worlds to its extreme limits for the glory of God.

We have great plans.

And so that is why we are all very excited about October 21st. Why?

Because that is a year, a month, and a day since the founding. And we are going to celebrate by having a massive party on the forums. And you are invited. :D

We want to break the record for the most number of users online at once (it is 30 right now, so this is going to be fun). We are going to invade the chat room (yep, we got one of those too in there). We are going to have contests and surprises and presents for everyone.

And…

We are going to officially open the Holy Worlds Sci-Fi Forum!

Yes, we are expanding to include a sci-fi forum just for all you space-heads out there (well, me too, ’cause I like sci-fi too).

So if you are a member of HW, make sure you come at or around noon (EST) on the 21st of this month to www.holyworlds.org. And see if you can bring a friend! We will have admins standing by to activate new accounts, so if you got a friend who loves Christian fantasy or sci-fi, tell them to come and register. We would love to have them! This is a great time to tell people about us.

See you all then!

A Call for Help: Epic Sci-Fi Musical

Many Excited Welcomings!

I am launching a new project that I would love to open up to all of you, as I am sure that there are many here who would love to have the opportunity to take part.

I am making an epic sci-fi musical allegorical open short movie.

I need lots of people to make this happen. I am sure that if you are at all interested in sci-fi and this project we can find a place for you. Some of the main roles that we are looking for are:

  • Actors
    • The Main Character: early twenties; programmer (so the actor needs to be able to touch-type fast). The actor needs to be able to act in anger, despair, and with a green-screen doing extensive cloning (he will be playing an army of clones by himself), comfortable with stunt martial arts, and who can sing really well (operatic).
    • The Antagonist: will be masked the whole time, but needs to be able to do stunt martial arts and look intimidating as well as show clear emotion and thought without his face being seen. We will have another actor do his voice.
    • Antagonist Voice: needs to be able to record and sing an operatic villain song. Epic, not comic.
    • Friend of Main Character: same age as Main Character, doesn’t need to sing.
    • Computer: we only need a head for this character, but he needs to be a slightly older man (like a father), who can demonstrate clear, but not overdone emotion, as well as sound mentorly.
    • Client Voice: older man, only heard over the phone, angry.
  • Director: needs good experience with sci-fi stories and with green-screen productions.
  • Copywriter: someone to keep the blog updated with our activities who can write compelling sales copy to get people on board.
  • Choir: we need a middle sized choir (or a clever equivalent) with recording capability, willing to sing in some epic songs (probably Latin) for free.
  • Photo Manipulation Artist: someone skilled with gimp or photoshop who can help with concept art, posters, banners, logos, and stuff like that.
  • Animation Team: this movie will include massive amounts of VFX and CGI, so we need top notch animators, modelers, and special effects artists. If someone has a render farm as well that would be most handy, to say the least.
  • Camera Team: we need quality recording equipment for the movie itself.
  • Fund-raising Team: we need people willing to help coordinate funds being raised to help pay for the services of those people who simply cannot help us for free.

That is just the tip of the iceberg: our top needs. There is still room for scriptwriters, composers, choreographers, songwriters, and all kinds of other people. The best thing to do is to explain what you can do and ask where we can use you. :)

I have started a few projects before, and each has been more successful than I expected, as well as bigger than the previous. This one is no exception. There is a ton of potential here. It is already getting off the ground with lots of excited people pitching in and helping out. But we need and want you!

The story will encourage and uplift Christians who can recognize the parallels, but will also reach out to non-Christians. It will present the Christian worldview in a latent manner that is palatable for secular ears.

If you have any questions or or if you are interested in participating in any way (or even if you aren’t and you just want to talk to me about it) let me know by commenting here or emailing me at jay.lauser@sir-emeth.com. We also have a forum for collaboration on all stages of the project that you can join at http://debugger.freephpbb3.com, so check that out as well.

Although I love encouragement on the project, I am really posting to get people on board who are willing to put effort into doing something bigger than each of us. It is about getting true Rebelutionaries ready and raring to go for a new project: a New Hard Thing.

Thanks for listening!

Hope to hear from you soon!

With and joy peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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