Science Fiction
In C. S. Lewis's essay "On Science Fiction", he says about the label of 'escapist': "I never fully understood it till my friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, 'What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?' and gave the obvious answer: jailers."

And yet I normally read Science Fiction (Speculative Fiction... whatever) to view the world from a different viewpoint. Not so much to escape it, but to break the molds of the prevailing worldviews and see how things might be... for good or for not-so-fricking-good.

All the Cliches in Mind
Dean-lo once mentioned he'd like to exorcise the demons of Science Fiction forever by writing a single (serious) novel that includes every single tired cliche in the genre...

... to which I mentioned that it'd be great to do the same thing for Fantasy (goodbye Tolkien wanna-be writers and all you Forgotten Realms / Dragonlance trilogy aspirants).

Here are a few excerpts about the subject matter from this link.

Predictability, you see, even though we use the term disparagingly, has become in recent years a very bankable commodity in SF and fantasy publishing. The publishers know the public knows what it wants: it wants more of the same. Safe books. No surprises. Familiar surroundings from page one. And this means that even writers with considerable literary pretensions have had to learn the Art of the Predictable as part of the basic equipment of their trade. In Gene Wolfe, who is rather a subtle writer, this only results in the occasional irritating embarrassment; in Stephen Donaldson, who is about as subtle as a lead brick, it results in contemptible gaseous claptrap. Examples follow in due course.

Well, by this stage, you're probably bouncing up and down in your seat with barely-continent excitement, thinking, "Wow, am I really going to learn to write like Stephen Donaldson?" I have to let you down as gently as I can and say no, it's not quite as easy as that. You have to remember that Mr Donaldson's spent years learning to produce a book so flatulent you have to be careful not to squeeze it in a public place. All I can do in the time available is to offer instruction on the first and most important element of crummy writing, which is (as my title suggests) bad plotting. I can't promise that by the time you've read these pages you'll have learned to write significantly more stereotyped characters, or that your style will have become significantly more leaden and clich├ęd...

and my personal favorite section..

Anyway, the first of DC's great plot generators is almost too famous to warrant discussion, except that the sheer artistry of the concept is rarely appreciated in full. I'd like you to think for a moment about red kryptonite. There was a time when the hues and varieties of kryptonite were being boosted daily by new kryptonological discoveries, but I think green and red were the only ones that really lasted the course. The effects of red kryptonite, you remember, were as follows. Each individual chunk would affect Superman, but no-one else, with a completely unpredictable effect that would last exactly forty-eight hours. He would then revert to normal and that particular chunk of red K could never affect him again. The brilliance of this only becomes fully apparent when you translate it all into plot terms; because forty-eight hours happens to be the average timespan of a story in a DC comic.
2004: Crucible
It's one of those things that doesn't seem like a time of change, or impact... but it is.

I'm looking down the barrel of a busy year: the home stretch of the NCC project, the clean-up of two other projects, trying to keep the clients of two finished projects happy, finishing two other lingering projects, and helping clean up the pipeline for the Tech group. And then there's the consulting proposal. I also wanted to write something for the Palancas (maka-submit lang... okay na), help coordinate the New Worlds thing in January and AEGIS anniversary.

And that still doesn't include the responsibilities for the two family corporations.

Focus! Focus! Focus!

2004: Beginning the Monkey
Also, our little gaming group (the GB3-LS33KERS?) is off on a little experiment inspired by SIGLO. For the month of January, each one of us will GM a game with the themes of beginning (new year) and puzzles (year or the monkey).

An adventure involving a puzzle-box, perhaps?