Hipster, Go Home

Quick health update, gang.  As you may or may not be aware, I’ve been experiencing some severe headaches that have basically shut me down cold.  The neurologist thinks it’s a nerve over my eye.  The good news is that I had an MRI and my brain looks good.  Which is nice, since I try to use my brain nearly every day.  And while I have a few more tests coming up, the pain has subsided as I’ve taken to exercising, eating regularly, and just generally taking better care of myself.  Writing, like many jobs these days, is a sedentary profession.  It’s easy to spend all day just sitting in a chair, staring at a computer screen.  Heck, even when goofing off, I don’t have to get up.  So I’m mindful of periods of inactivity, and it seems to have fixed the problem.  So hopefully, it was just my body telling me to stop sitting so much.  I’ll keep you updated.

Oh, and that Mack Megaton short story I promised, I haven’t forgotten it.  But these last few weeks have thrown me a bit behind schedule and Mack has taken a backseat.  But he’s coming.  I swear.

And I’m back to my regular blog schedule.  So let’s get to it.

I think I’ve grown to hate irony.  Or rather, the hipster version of it.  Probably because so many things I love are deemed silly and dumb and only worthy of ironic appreciation.

The things I love, the stories I enjoy, they come from a sincere, honest place.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the globetrotting adventures of Scrooge McDuck or the larger-than-life battles of a superheroic god of thunder, these stories always work best for me when they don’t wink at the audience.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of dark and gritty stories for their own sake.  I can’t stand most modern superhero comics because most of them go out of the way to remind me that this is serious business.  DC’s recent relaunch seemed to miss a great opportunity to start fresh.  Instead, we get more of the same blood and gore and mature-content that has been the bane of comic book superheroes since the 90’s.  I don’t particularly care for Batman stories were people are tortured to death and where faces are cut off.  But that’s not going away anytime soon, I guess.

On the other hand, I’m not a fan of when a writer apologies for the weirdness of a story.  I prefer it when a story is presented from a sincere place, even when it is bizarre.  Whether it’s Kung Fu Panda, Tangled, or The Incredibles, I much prefer my fantasy to be absurd without irony.

Often my own books get confused with a hipster attitude, as if I don’t take them seriously because of their subject matter.  But I do.  I care about the characters and the stories.  My next book, Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain has many of the hallmarks of hipster irony.  It’s hero is a space squid supervillain.  It takes place in a universe of superscience and grand adventure.  And Emperor Mollusk is the embodiment of the brilliant, nearly infallible adventurer who populated classic pulp stories.  Except that he only weighs about ten pounds and doesn’t have a spine.  But otherwise, he’s just Doc Savage with a more nefarious backstory, more or less.

But this isn’t ironic.  It’s an intentional throwback to an age of fantasy when every planet seemed like it was inhabited, when lost civilizations covered the Earth, and when the idea of a hidden island filled with mutant dinosaurs seemed cool, not silly.  My inspiration was every classic story where the Martians invade or where some intrepid explorer goes to the center of the planet.  It’s a world of secret assassin guilds and nefarious plots, where every corner of the universe is filled with weird adventure.

Of course, I’m sure many will find it silly.  But I care about Emperor and his universe.  And, at least on my end, there’s nothing ironic about it.

I have to believe there’s a middle ground between irony and unpleasant.  I don’t think a story needs to brandish a smirk like a shield or drown in maudlin dreariness.  A story can be crazy, bizarre, and downright weird without being stupid.  A space squid can fight a disembodied brain for the fate of the galaxy, and it can be both fun and sincere.  I’d like to think so.

This always comes up because it’s something I struggle with.  Not just in my writing, but in so many things I love.  And the battle for the soul of weird fiction is far from over.  But if I had my way, there’d be a lot less irony, a lot less blood, and a whole heck of a lot more sincerity.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


This entry was posted in Blog, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted September 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Glad the health situation is better. My job requires sitting around all day as well, and I hate it. Great post as usual. I thought you might also appreciate this from David Foster Wallace on irony; http://www.reddit.com/r/philosophy/comments/aunae/david_foster_wallace_on_irony/

  2. Jenny
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I can relate to this. When I tell people I like things like clowns and ventriloquists and sleight of hand and wax museums and roadside attractions I always feel like I have to add, “But not in an ironic way. I mean I really do like these things for what they are.”

    Maybe one day sincerity will be the new cool?

  3. Posted September 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I, too, believe in the vast middle between the two extremes. As a Batman fan, I was particularly shocked with the ending of Detective Comics #1. I actually went back to the cover and looked for the mature readers warning. Didn’t find it. Should have. As an adult and a writer, I’ll admit that the storytelling options are vast now that Joker’s had a facelift and could, conceivably, become anyone. But I pine for the great tales so wonderfully rendered in the recently-cancelled Brave and the Bold cartoon. It’s a gateway for so many kids to learn about Batman. Problem with the comics: there may be a gateway, but it’s to a land I wouldn’t want kids to visit. In my own writing–crime and westerns–I’ve realized that, because there is only so much you can do with guns and violence, I find myself quickly tiring of a lot of what counts as modern pulp and crime fiction. The vast majority of electronic venues for new hard-hitting stories trend way over the top with the violence. We need the vast middle to reassert itself. There’s got to be a middle ground somewhere. Glad you are there on the front lines. New cover looks great. Reading The Automatic Detective now.

  4. Posted September 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    glad you’re feeling better!

  5. Louis Arico
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    always good to hear that someone is feeling better and get motivated. I get increasingly mad at the phrase there is nothing to do and i have no money to do things. This may be a stretch from your main idea of this bog, but it has happened upon me in a couple of circles I hang out with. Motivation and energy sometimes are not in a heaping surplus, but these people just burst my feel good bubble and make me feel guilty at times. Hopefully all of you have great support and awesome friends/family/kids.

    all the best to ya lee

  6. Deep Seed of Evil
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh! Wow! That settles it. Thanks for clarifying your intentions Mr. Action. You truly aren’t a hipster. You never ever said “I consider my writings pastiche. I use pastiche to gain an ironic twist.” To which I said, “How hipster of you.” To which you replied, “yep.” on twitter one time. Ha! Lies and Deception. I bet you are laughing at all who believed this blog.

    Get well soon

  7. Robert Holder
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    “The good news is that I had an MRI and my brain looks good. Which is nice, since I try to use my brain nearly every day. ”


    I really hope your head pain gets better, that must be pretty unpleasant!

    I agree, I’ve come to dislike the way many people default to using irony, sarcasm, innuendo, and other forms like that. I think often they believe they are being amusing, but deep down, I sometimes get the feeling it is because they are afraid to say what they really mean, usually, I think, because they are afraid to get laughed at. I think it’s better to just speak plainly. Communication is difficult enough as it is, without adding layers of misdirection and vagaries on top.

    Robert Holder

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  • копирайтинг
  • SEO копирайтинг
  • копирайтер
  • копирайтеры
  • рерайт
  • рекламная кампания
  • обслуживание сайта
  • биржи статей
  • пресс-релизы
  • статьи для сайта
  • новости для сайта
  • коммерческое предложение
  • продающий текст
  • слоган
  • нейминг
  • Website Design & Wordpress Template by A.J. Roberts