Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Unexpected Places



It seems that my story, "A Dog Of Wu," [@fandsf March/April 2018] has been cataloged at libraries for Laredo College in Texas [under "dystopias"] and Universided del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico [under "master-servant relationships"].
Stories are like beach sand. They get everywhere.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Another Human Species

They've found new bones in the Philippines - maybe a new species: Homo Sapiens Luzonenis.
Add it to Homo Sapiens Denisova, Homo Sapiens Floriensis, and Homo Sapiens Naledi.
All recent [geologically speaking] and all...extinct.
We Sapiens Sapiens are the only ones left. The sole survivors. The...murderers???? [Cue terrifying Hitchcockian music]


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

WARNING!


WARNING: YOU ARE NOT SEEING THE ACTUAL BLACK HOLE.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE SEEING THE ACTUAL BLACK HOLE, YOU ARE EITHER 
1. WRONG 
-OR- 
2. CAUGHT IN A MOMENT THAT WILL SEEM ETERNAL TO US, 
BUT TO YOU WILL BE ONLY AN INSTANT OF AGONY 
BEFORE YOUR BODY IS TORN INTO ITS COMPONENT ATOMS. 
THANK YOU AND HAVE A HAPPY SINGULARITY. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

My Back

Ah, back spasm.
We meet again, old comrade, old enemy.
For you I have broken elevator holds.
For you I have swallowed pills.
One day, my back shall be as dust.
What will you do then? Eh?
Victory shall be mine, even as the worms devour my flesh.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Thank You for Your Patience. Let's Talk Rome.

Hey, gang, sorry it's been a while. But life, right?  I've been rewriting the second novel, working on a sequel to TWS, working on a couple of short stories, not to mention life stuff with which I shall not bore you...I know, excuses, excuses.
So...I'm still not completely up to speed, but I've got some fun facts about Rome. Rome's cool, right? So let's TIL Rome.

The Roman legionary camp was essentially a city that they carried with them and then built wherever they needed it. The  plan was unvarying and included a market square, a space for sacrifices, and a giant surrounding wall. Every soldier knew where he bunked in that camp - even when the camp didn't yet exist. It was a model in their minds.

Also, five hundred years after the fall of the Western Empire, and even though their daily language and culture were medieval Greek, the Byzantines referred to themselves as Romans. So did the Muslim world.

Today "All roads lead to Rome" means a lot of different routes can lead to the same place. Originally it wasn't a proverb; it was the literal truth. The Romans were the best road builders the Western world have ever seen to that point, and all their roads - even those as far away as Britain and Turkey - were measured from the "Golden Milestone" set up in Rome's main market. A Roman road was basically a well-built stone wall buried dozens of feet in the earth so travelers could walk on top of it. They're still around.


Judas may have been called Iscariot because he carried a sica, a curved short sword that was considered dishonorable by Romans. Because it was light, concealable, and made it easy to carve an unarmored opponent, it was considered the weapon of assassins, cutthroats, and domestic terrorists. Iscariot = knifeman. And these days, sicario still has that meaning, kind of.

There.
Those are things you know now.
Welcome back!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

For Your Consideration: "A Dog of Wu"

"A Dog of Wu" is up for Hugo and Nebula nominations. It appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It's a 7k+ word novelette set in a future of genetic optimization, environmental rebuilding, and clashing philosophies.

SFWA members can find it here, and WorldCon members can purchase a copy here.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

California Cray

Well, Conjure Man is off to beta-read, and I'm playing with the sequel, Thin City, which is set in my old stomping ground of Southern California.
California has always had a reputation for the cray: fads in philosophy, religion, politics, lifestyle. I love that stuff. Try something different. Even if you fail, it will be amusing...maybe not to you, but definitely to me. And if you succeed, you've introduced or invented something worthwhile for the entire country. Yoga, drinkable American wines, American cuisine based on fresh food (not burned steak and canned peas), the personal computer - they started out there. (Granted, California also gave us biker gangs, cults, and branded water, so...)
Once leaving the East was no longer a guarantee of personal freedom and the 20th Century monoculture took hold from Maryland to the Great American Desert, California was a bastion of the weird. It's where folks who felt repressed in Hannibal and Toledo came to remake themselves with cheap land and endless sunshine - as far into the sunset as you could go without getting wet. If your notion of freedom was crouching on a piece of real estate behind a shotgun, you became a desert rat in the Mojave. If you were more entrepreneurial, you made it out to Southern California and the Bay Area.
Consider all the F/SF writers born in the Midwest who grew up in or moved to California - Bradbury, Heinlein, Dick, Ellison, Niven, Vance, Kuttner, Moore, Matheson...And the state is littered with the relics of the folks who didn't just write spec-fic: They lived it.

Some of my favorite "relics":

The Winchester Mansion
The Madonna Inn
Hearst Castle
The Integratron
The Self-Realization Fellowship Gardens
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
The Magic Castle
The Solvang Windmills
The Museum of Jurassic Technology
The Henry Miller Library

If you're ever out there...

Friday, August 24, 2018

This Is Just To Say

I have rejected 
The story
That came from 
your mailserve 

and which 
you had probably 
hoped
would validate you 

Forgive me 
It was atrocious
so trite 
and so old

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hey, Kids! What Time Is It?

It's time for an author interview!

My interview for Fantasy & Science Fiction is up on their blog, and I am my usual urbane and pithy self. Check it out! (It won't take long.)

And while we're on the subject-
A while back, when I was describing A Dog of Wu to a friend, before I'd written it, she said the worst thing you can say to a fiction writer: "It sounds like..."

In her case, she finished the sentence with "...Brave New World." But my brain heard "...someone else has written your story."

Of course, they hadn't said that. And if you actually read A Dog of Wu (go on, I dare you) you'll see it's nothing like Brave New World. But when you start writing, you're often obsessed with the originality of our ideas: Have that one great idea, your story will be successful, and you'll be off on a career of champagne, caviar, and celebrity pet treats for your dog.

Of course, none of that is true. Hamlet wasn't an original idea; neither was Romeo and Juliet. And wasn't there that musical, West Side...something?

Ideas are ideas. Everybody has them. Originality emerges in execution.

Friday, February 23, 2018