Monday, November 30, 2009


Rules of the Death Pool:

Each player selects 50 names. The pool of all names selected by all the participating players is called the Master List. (Living people only; no animals, cartoons, comic strip characters, etc.)

The deadline for entries for the 2010 Death Pool is midnight (PST), Monday, December 31th, 2009. Each player's list must be submitted to Marlan Harris before the deadline to be considered eligible for play. $10 must accompany your entry. Payment in cash or by personal check is acceptable. Payment by Paypal is also acceptable -- e-mail Mar for details. (And if you pay by Paypal, see if you can throw in an extra buck, since I have to pay a fee whenever someone sends money that way.)

An indecipherable or confusing name will be considered to be the closest and most logical name available (for example, "P. Diddy" would be considered to be Sean "Puffy"/"Diddy" Combs). A proper, legal name is not necessary as long as that is the way the person is popularly known (for example, Eazy E).

Submission of the list can be done in person or sent by e-mail. A typed, numbered, and alphabetized list is preferable but a handwritten list is also acceptable as long as it is legible. Submission of your list to the Death Pool head is considered final and you will be unable to change your list after you submit it. In the event of doubling of names in the same list, the extra name will be discarded and a replacement will not be requested or accepted once the list is submitted. In the event of a list submitted with more than 50 names, the last names on the list after the first 50 will be discarded and replacements will not be requested or accepted once the list is submitted. In the event of a person on the submitted list already being dead, the name will be discarded and a replacement will not be requested or accepted once the list is submitted. In the event of the death of a person on the submitted list occuring between when the list is submitted and the contest officially begins, a replacement name will be accepted.

The duration of the Death Pool is from January 1 through December 31 of the year 2010.

When a death is mentioned in Time, Newsweek, The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, and/or People publications, the name of the deceased is checked against the Master List. If there is a "Hit" in the Master List, each player who picked the "Hit" is awarded points. More than one player is allowed to select the same "Hit" and each will receive the full amount of points regardless of how many players picked the same name. Deaths are also checked against the Dead People Server, which will be at Also, eligible deaths can be reported on or the websites of any of the publications above.

Points are calculated as follows: 100 minus the "Hit's" age. For example: When Ronald Regan died, he was 93 years old; he was worth 7 points. When Ol' Dirty Bastard died, he was 35 years old; he was worth 65 points. If the "Hit" is 100 years old or older, zero points are awarded.

A death must be featured in Time, Newsweek, The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, and/or People magazines or appear on the Dead People Server for points to be awarded. The date of death must occur within the duration of play (regardless of when the death is announced). Time of death will be determined by the time zone of the location of death (for deaths occurring on December 31st). Deaths must be published in Time, Newsweek, The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, and/or People magazines or appear on the Dead People Server or the websites of any of the publications above, as well as, on or before January 15th the following year in order to score points.

The player with the most points at the end of the duration of the Death Pool is the winner. In the event of a tie, the tie breaker will be the player that has the youngest "Hit". If all of the tied players have the youngest "Hit", the next youngest "Hit" in succession will be the tie breaker, and so on. If the players each had the exact same "Hits," then the players will share the winnings, divided equally among them.

The winner, decided by a panel of judges at the end of the duration of the Death Pool, wins the total amount of money contributed by all players. The exact amount depends on the number of players.

There will be a web page which will list the current point standings of players and Master List and the address of that page will be provided to all players once play begins. The page will be updated with near-disconcerting frequency.

Please feel free to distribute this to more people and invite as many other players as you can, as long as they get their list and $10 to Marlan before the appointed deadline and abide by these rules.

Failure or refusal to abide by the rules above will be grounds for ejection of the player from the game. All disputes will be settled by the person(s) running the Death Pool and decisions will be deemed final.

To participants of the previous year(s): please submit a new list just like you were a new player coming into the contest. You may use some, all, or none of the names you have already used in previous lists. If you participated in last year's bout, you can also request that your list from last year be rolled over without submitting a full list but only if no changes are made.

50 names. 10 bucks. By December 31. That's it. That's all you have to do.

If you have any questions, contact Marlan at

(Note: your overly conservative/dull girlfriend/wife doesn't have to know you're involved in this. You can play under a different name. You can even pick the fake name. And you can still enjoy all the money you've won at the end of the competition all the same and she won't ever have to know.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quick reminder: short stories

Hey, you remember that you can read my short stories on the web at JasonArnett dot com, right?

"The Insulated Man" has been significantly re-written since it appeared in Pulp Legacy. Love to hear what you all think.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

About some comics and my writing

As usual, cross-posted from my LiveJournal

* Terry Moore's new series, ECHO, is one hell of a ride. If you liked Strangers in Paradise, this is very different. It has a very HBO kind of feel to it. The art is typically gorgeous and the dialogue is real. Highly recommended.

* Nearly hit 9000 words last night on my NaNoWriMo work, so I'm doing well with my improved goal of 2000 words a day (at least to start off) and I'm happy with how it's coming along. Since doing NaNo last year, I've written 11 short stories for an estimated total of about 62,000 words and 111,000 including the NaNovel. I don't think that's a bad total at all. Averaging 9250 a month.

* I'm proud of that.

* Thinking ahead, I'd really like to have 250,000 words total under my belt this time next year. I am confident that I can get that. (This year's NaNovel target word count is 60,000, which means another 80,000 from December 2009 through October 2010.)

* The Long Range will finish up (for me) around late February/early March. I know what I'm writing after that, but haven't put any framework around it. I like having a format (6000 words, four 1500 word chapters per story) and I think that's helped me. What one may not realize yet is that The Long Range is really a novel.

* Speaking of which, November's story, "The Insulated Man" started yesterday. Have you read it yet? Tell me what you think.

* I read the Mister X Archives by Dean Motter & Co. (including Los Bros Hernandez and Seth) as published by Dark Horse Comics and am now reading The Umbrella Academy: Dallas by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba. These two books are among the most subversive comics ever with ideas such as Psychetecture and time traveling assassins. The only book that's missing from this mix is Matt Fraction's Casanova, which is on a hiatus while MF writes a bunch of best-selling superhero books for Marvel. I should probably get the last of his run on The Immortal Iron Fist, too, because that's superhero stuff that is at least sympatico with his independent work. IIF would also really work well as a film.

* I'm signed up for a blog on NaNo with my local paper and awaiting some word on what's going on with it. More info as it comes along.

* Have I mentioned what my NaNovel is about?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oh, god --- make it stop

Cross-posted from my LiveJournal:

I have an idea.

God help me, I have an idea. Of course this comes to me as I'm cranking up to start writing a novel in 30 days, so I'm dumping it here for later in December.

There needs to be a physical version of The Long Range short stories. Paper's easy to manipulate, easy to pick up and take with you. Paper is familiar and comfortable. It's also expensive and ephemeral and it's hard to share without the possibility of losing it. Or the cat barfing on it.

It's also limited.

So --- what? What do I do instead of paper?

What if I put the stories, complete with the icon I've been using on the site, into a pdf, enclosed an MP3 and a quick video intro?

What if I dropped these on CD, stuck a site logo and the address on it and left them laying around? You know, for free to pick up and take home?

They're less expensive but more time-consuming. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I think this might be an idea worth pursuing. If I did twenty copies of each story, then that's twenty copies floating around for someone to print the story off if they like, or to upload under the Creative Commons license I've attached to each story.

It needs some more thought, but that's it in a nutshell. Tell me what you think, will you? Hell, I'd probably even send a few out of the country if there were some willing helpers.

We'll see.