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Showing posts from January, 2017

A Story Announcement!

I am happy to announce that I have a flash fiction piece appearing in the new A Murder of Storytellers anthology, "The Book of Blasphemous Words." The story, "Killing the First Gods," is about a woman in the upper Paleolithic trying to survive in world filled with the ghosts of slaughtered gods. This is one of my favorite flash pieces, and I am very excited to have it appear in such illustrious company. Pre-orders available now. The book will ship Jan. 31st. Thank you to Adrean Messmer for choosing this story!
https://www.amurderofstorytellers.com/shop/pre-order-the-book-of-blasphemous-words

Table of Contents:
A Hole in the Head Reveals the Secret Nature of All Things by Joseph Shelton
Sack Race To The River by Chris Kuriata
Holy Fire by Tracy Fahey
The Order of the Night Moose by Jonathan Raab
Hare Hill by Kristin J. Cooper
The Holy Filth by Tom Breen
Madness by Morrison
Hero Worship by Adrian Ludens
An Adventure in Wootton by Colin Harker
Meant to Be by Kelly Gould
Outer Dark…

Not Going to Change

So, for the past few days I've been fighting a flu. It sent me home from work and has kept me cooped up in my house with pretty much no break until now. That means that my already weak and compromised anti-cable news system has succumbed to unhealthily amounts of MSNBC and CNN. I didn't watch the Inauguration (didn't see the point) but I watched all the usual talking heads and crowds shots from yesterday's amazing parades.


I think this is about the place where a person of my particular background and education is supposed to say something like: "well, this was very encouraging but it won't mean anything unless..." or "I wish there had been a more unified theme to the protest so that we can..." But you know what? I think these parades were just about perfect. My understanding of them is that they were conceived as a statement of protest against the man now sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. In Boston, LA, Denver, Anchorage, Alas…

Back from Arisia 2017

I'm back home from Arisia 2017 and other than being completely exhausted I'm feeling very good about the experience.

To sum up my impressions of the panels, experiences, and spectacles of this year's con I guess I'd say the theme was communication.

During my first panel, Putting the Alien in Aliens with Steve Popkes, Dennis McCunney, and Sonia Taaffe, the conversation centered around this question of communication. In comparison to other panels centered on this topic - the creation and appreciation of truly alien extraterrestrials - the focus here was not so much the biology or composition of the aliens as the limited ability of we poor human beings to understand any potential creature from another solar system. Is this even possible or plausible? Or is communication with aliens one more implausible feature of science fiction we all collectively ignore like faster than light travel?

The elephant in the room, addressed relatively late by the Sonia Taaffe, was the exi…

The Purpose of Alien Life

As part of my preparations for this weekend's Arisia, I've looked back over the idea of truly alien aliens. Tomorrow, I will be joining a panel concerned with this very same topic.

Aliens are an abiding obsession in science fiction and appear in many of the classics of speculative literature generally. In fact, if a space opera doesn't contain some reference to aliens or unknown life-forms, it's considered a notable deviation (so called Mundane Science Fiction movement and Firefly both come to mind). There's a deeply-rooted expectation that science fiction will at some point address aliens.

Why?

I don't have any easy answers for this question. The topic itself is more unwieldy than it might appear. When we talk about aliens, are we just talking about the traditional space opera with human astronauts encountering strange cultures on distant planets? Are we also adding in first-contact stories, cosmic horror, and fantasy literature that includes references to &quo…

In Defense of Brevity

As a writer of short speculative fiction, I am also a reader. I was a reader first and my love of the genre leads me to want to write short fiction. I think one of the most important things a writer can do is read contemporary's work. If nothing else, you're likely to be entertained - there's a great amount of stupendous short fiction available out there for exactly nothing. But it also tends to helps to develop craft. 
Long-time readers of this blog know I write up recommendations of a few short stories each month I really enjoyed. "Sic Semper, Sic Semper, Sic Semper by Carl Wiens" was my favorite story of the year. The first line of this story pretty much sums it up: "The time traveler set up a studio apartment in Abraham Lincoln’s skull in the frozen moment before Booth’s bullet burst through and rewired history," but I also enjoyed "The Girl Who Escaped from Hell" By Rahul Kanakia and "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies," by Brooke Bol…

Further Thoughts on Preacher (AMC)

In preparation for the panel on Preacher (Gone to TV), I've been thinking about what this television series, and the graphic novel that inspired it, mean. The big take-away I have, reflecting upon both, is the extreme good fortune I feel we, as the television watching public, currently enjoy having this story taking shape on the small screen. Despite being an excellent story, with memorable characters, it surely falls within a class of works posing a challenge to bring to the screen. 


Alright, let's talk for a moment about what the graphic novel is, and why at heart, I'm still incredulous Garth Ennis' work has made it to AMC. Pared away to simplest elements, The Preacher is a story of a man named Jesse Custer who goes on a long road trip across the United States and parts of Europe to have a few words with the all-mighty creator God. He meets up with an old flame, Tulip O'Hara, and an amusing Irish libertine by the name of Proisinois Cassidy who also happens to be…

Update on Arisia Panels

Now that we are a bit closer to the kick-off for Arisia 2017, I thought I'd firm up the times and locations for panels that I'm participating in.

Arisia is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention, held in Boston in the Westin Hotel drawing bit more than 4,000 fans each every year. This will be my seventh year at the convention and the fifth on panels. So, yeah, I really like the community that turns out for this thing and it's pretty much the high point of each winter.

I like how welcoming and supportive the community at Arisia is. No matter what your interest, there is a track where like-minded individuals can gather, discuss, and participate in that fandom. There are certainly larger conventions that offer that sort of "big tent" ethos, but few that have the cozier, more casual feel of Arisia.

So, anyway, if you are interested in hearing me talk about literature and media from the past year, I'm attending the following panels (Descriptions and pane…