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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

Nazi Snow Zombies and Marlins




Outro S4 E10

Hello and welcome back survivors.  Hope everyone is living their lives with purpose, or at least with contentment.  I know it gets hard when the winter winds drive their icy fingers under the tent flap. 

But we can huddle together for warmth. 

I think the freezing weather slows down the undead, doesn’t it? 

It should, right? 

But when do we ever let physics and science get in the way of a good zombie story? 

Like the infamous Norwegian Nazi Snow Zombie movie, Dead Snow, from 2009.  I an confidently say this is the best Norwegian Nazi Snow Zombie movie ever made. 

But, yeah, it’s getting cold.

It took a bit of last minute focus and some help from my friends, but I managed to get this episode out.

I’ve been busy with my bill-paying job.  Because, and I’ know you’ll be shocked by this, but after



the apocalypse does not pay the bills! 

My weird brain sometimes gets wrapped up in trying to do too much and make everything perfect.  That’s why I like having a set publishing schedule.  It forces you to produce something. 

In project management there is the concept of the “Iron Triangle” – Which means for every project you are working with a three-sided constraint.  The first side is quality, how much, and how good is the product going to be when delivered?  The second side is time, What is the deadline to produce something? The third side is cost, Can we throw more resources at the project to impact the time a quality?

And the joke is that you can only choose two of those.  If you want to do it faster then you will need to compromise on quality or throw more resources at it.  If you want to make it perfect you will need more time. 

So, having a set publishing schedule, in our case every two weeks, it forces me to find a compromise between the resources an quality, because the time is fixed. 

That’s a good thing.  Because it forces me to ship something.  Even if I know I could have added more time or value, I need to ship.

This is a pro tip for you folks trying to get things done.  Create constraints that force you to produce.

This is an important rule for creatives. 

Ship something

Because you don’t realize that you are wrapped up in your own head.  The value of your art is not in your understanding of it, the value of your art is when it meets its audience. 

And if you don’t ship, the value is zero.

I know, you came here to escape the world and now I’m giving you consulting lessons!

Enough of that.

What is Chris reading?




Well my friends, I finished a book called “Islands in the Sky” by Artur C. Clarke.  This is another one of those used paperbacks I picked up somewhere. 

I have not read much Arthur C. Clarke.  I suppose I’m going to need to rectify that.  He was one of the big Science Fiction writers of the 50s – 60s.  At one point he was considered “One of the big 3” with Asimov and Heinlein. 

He’s probably best know for “2001 a Space Odyssey”  This is considered a precedent setting science fiction movie and is very much in line with the work of Clarke.  His ‘style’ if you will, was to take existing hard science and extrapolate that science into the future.  In a sense he wasn’t making up new things, he was taking existing since and theory and world building with those as a ‘what if these were developed X years into the future?’

This is a common sentiment of the golden age of science fiction writers.  They didn’t see their work



as Science Fiction, per se, they saw it as Future Science.  They had a fixation with making the science credible in their future fiction. 

And I think that has changed.  If you look at modern science fiction no one even bothers to explain why there is gravity on a spaceship anymore.  Modern science fiction is closer to fantasy than science.

2001, a Space Odessey.  The genesis story behind 2001 is that Clarke was having discussions with Stanley Kubrik about potentially making a SciFi film, based on some of Clarke’s earlier stories.  Kubrik got the idea of, instead of making the movie, they would write a novel together and in parallel write the screen play, and then do the movie. 

And that’s what happened. 

The movie was lauded for its scientific accuracy.  It had space travel, the interaction with a self-aware AI, and a bunch of weird alien stuff I didn’t get.




I got similar ‘future science’ vibes from the short novel I read.  It was all about weightlessness and rockets and atomic energy – typical 1950’s view of the future.

It turns out it was a YA novel.  Which made it a bit formulaic.  Take a whip-smart teenage boy and send him out into near space Earth orbit for some adventures.  Not too terribly tasking.  Not Finnegan’s Wake. 

But that was Clarke’s gig – looking at space travel and what it could be like from a 1950’s perspective. 

And he was prolific.  26 novels.  17 non-fiction books and countless published stories.  As well as T.V. and movies and a host of other pursuits. 

The one that looks interesting to me from his bibliography is Rendezvous with Rama.  I might have to source a yellowing, dog-eared copy of that to read.



I also re-read The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway.  Because it’s a short, easy read, more of a novella than a novel.  I’m going to stick a direct quotation from Wikipedia in the blog post for this entry, but the gist of it is that Hemmingway was getting old.  He put a lot of work into a big novel called “Across the River and Into the Trees” – which ended up being his last full novel in 1950.  It was panned by critics and Hemmingway was hurt. 

But he was also working on this other short novella about and old man and a Marlin.  It was published and was a big, big seller.  It won Pappa the Pulitzer prize and the Nobel Prize. 

I wanted to revisit it and see if it held up.  And it really does.  It is a story that can be used as a metaphor for all the challenges we face in life and how we react to them.  The prose is wonderful.  It’s a simple story, almost a parable. 




In the end we are all Santiago in his little skiff battling the great Marlins of life and being harassed by ugly sharks. 

It’s a great little book.  It holds up well.  Go read it if you haven’t and read it again if you have.

The last major fictional work to be published during Hemingway's lifetime, The Old Man and the Sea was begun in Cuba during a tumultuous period in the author's life. His previous novel Across the River and Into the Trees had met with negative reviews .... Having completed one book of a planned "sea trilogy", Hemingway began to write as an addendum a story about an old man and a marlin that had originally been told to him fifteen years earlier. He wrote up to a thousand words a day, completing the 26,531-word manuscript in six weeks.

Over the following year, Hemingway became increasingly convinced that the manuscript would stand on its own as a novella. In May 1952, Life magazine published the full novella in its September 1st issue; Hemingway's publishers Scribner's released their first edition a week later on the 8th. … The magazine sold a record 5.3 million copies in two days, while Scribner's sold tens of thousands of copies. Translated into nine languages by the end of 1952, The Old Man and the Sea remained on the New York Times bestseller list for twenty-six weeks. In 1953, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it was the only work explicitly mentioned when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

-          Wikipedia entry for “The Old Man and the Sea”




What is Chris Watching?

I spent last week binge watching though Freaks and Geeks which had came out for one season in 1999-2000. 

I was fascinated by this show set in 1980 high school. 

It was spot on to the themes of my own high school experience.  I could see people I knew in those characters, and maybe even a little bit of myself!

The most prominent thing about it is the cast. It is executive produced by Judd Apatow and has teenage versions of James Franco, Jason Segal and Seth Rogan as main characters. 

I really liked this show, loved the characters and loved the music.  It’s a thoughtful show. 

It’s a gentle show too.  It uses a light touch when it comes to the sex, drugs and rock & roll. 

Some of the situations were so realistic (and hit so close to home) that I cringed and had to fast forward.   

Not to mention the Grateful Dead tie-in. 

Now I feel compelled to tell a Grateful Dead story.  I won’t go into the long version of the Grateful Dead story.  I’ll give you the short version. 

Ready?

I was with my buddy last Friday night down at the local brewery – Shout out to Dirigible Brewing.  We were watching/listening to my favorite local Grateful Dead cover band – Shout out to Dead Beat – they do a 3-person acoustic set once a month there. 

And my buddy says “My wife just watched this show called Freaks and Geeks where they never made a second season but it ends with Ripple playing and the girl going off to follow the Dead tour. 

And that’s how I found it. 

I’ll use the longer version on my other podcast!

Business!

So, my apocalypse friends, we are still cooking along, according to Acast at 18-19K downloads a month.  Which is great! 

Thanks for the support. 

We could always use more.  Share with your fiction-friendly friends.  A little alliteration for you there.  Fiction-friendly-friends. 

We have an even 440 fans on in our Facebook group as of this writing.  Come over and join us.  I post curios things I find and we laugh at dad jokes. 

I also got an unsolicited ‘year in review’ presentation from Spotify, where many of you are listening right now!

According to them – and this is only for Spotify listenership –

-          The podcast grew by 10% this year.

-          Most listened to episode is episode one, which makes sense, people listen to the first episode and decide whether or not they like it.  The ones that do keep listening and the rest move on.  That’s great – in the biz we call that ‘qualifying customer out’.

-          People do share the show from Spotify, via text, facebook etc.

-          We do have some super-fans

o   ATA is the top podcast for 312 people on Spotify

o   In the top 5 of 1,500

o   In the top 10 of 2,500




I found it interesting data. 

One thing about podcasting is that you have no idea who is on the other side of the headphones.  You don’t get much feedback.  It’s an odd and unbalanced virtual relationship where I have, well, at least 312 people who love what I do that I have probably never interacted with!  They know me.  They know my work. But I have no idea.  Odd.  But, actually ok with me too because I’m a bit of an introvert and 312 more close friends to interact with on a daily basis would probably drive me to cloister in a monastery somewhere.

But, seriously, my apocalyptic brethren and brethrenas – I get great joy from serving and doing so with intent.  So thank the lovely 312 saints that dot our apocalyptic firmament.

Life, one might say, is just a box of rain.

You keep being you.  Keep your heads up and your eyes wide open.

And keep surviving.

 

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