Friday, June 19, 2015

The Interview



The writing process is actually more interesting than half the stuff I read. (I won't comment on half the stuff I write.)  So I was pretty happy when Sacha Black asked to interview me about the way I go about things. For the moment, it seems Kim Jong-un has not blocked this interview, but that may not last so enjoy it while you can.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Milkman - by way of Chris Hedges

In his latest book, “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” Chris Hedges argues that the world is on the cusp of revolution. French style - with world churning upheaval.

Here's my favorite quote from an interview with Salon: "There are all sorts of neutral indicators that show that. Low voter turnout, the fact that Congress has an approval rating of 7 percent, that polls continually reflect a kind of pessimism about where we are going, that many of the major systems that have been set in place — especially in terms of internal security — have no popularity at all." Followed by: "This is symptomatic of a state that is ossified and can no longer respond rationally to what is happening to the citizenry, because it exclusively serves the interest of corporate power."

I like when other writers think governments have become little more than middlemen. Makes me feel less alone.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Almost another award

The Milkman was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer book awards.  Not quite an award, but close counts in publishing. The category was general fiction. It's special when a science fiction book gets some recognition outside of the genre.  Actually any recognition is special. If ISIS chose The Milkman for its bookclub I'd be secretly thrilled inside, fighting the urge to tell people. Maybe fighting right along side Iranians, Kurds, Sad Puppies . . . anyway, this near miss is nice.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Milkman Takes Home the Gold

The Milkman has won a gold medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards competition: Best science fiction novel in North America, from an independent publisher. I am pretty happy about it. It is the only way I’m ever going to take home a gold medal as my Olympic career was cut short by lack of athletic ability and it doesn’t look like “Reading the New Yorker” or “Shouting to a barista” are even demonstration sports in Rio next year.


My wife Sarah and I will be attending the ceremony in New York May 27. I will post pictures of me wearing the medal and tearing up at the national anthem. My publisher, EDGE, is Canadian, so I hope they play both. Especially the good one.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Ian Sales Cycle

Sometimes you meet someone, you’re intrigued, you spend time together, you learn, you laugh and after a while you realize you’re smitten. Ian Sales new novel, All That Outer SpaceAllows, is the book version. It follows an American astronaut’s wife from the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. She is devoted to him and his career, and writes science fiction on the side. The two halves of her life should have a lot in common. They don’t. The resulting inner conflict is pure, real and underrepresented in literature. It’s also they kind of theme that makes literary science fiction an invaluable genre.

The novel is fully formed and overwhelmingly believable. It will make you doubt your actual knowledge of recent history. Ian employs a canny tool to assuage your doubts. He occasionally intrudes into the story, which at first I found a little disconcerting. Only at first. Once you are moved outside the story, you appreciate the full reflection. The device give the thorough research move depth and meaning.

“Allows” is book four of the Apollo Quartet. The first, Adrift on the Sea of Rains, took home the 2012 British Science Fiction Association Award for his hard sf novella. Each book experiments with our early years in space, testing and prodding and wondering what they may have been like if this or that were different. And in wondering they produce a sense of wonder.

While I enjoyed each book in the quartet, I found “Allows” quite moving. I plan to go back to book one and start again. I expect this time, the journey will be different – which I have come to believe is the point of the whole quartet.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A tale of two trailers

Two tiny glimpses of future movies were released this week. One filled me hope, the other? Meh. I am passionately interested in both projects, so it’s interesting to me that the results should be so different.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer gave me chills. Taught, energetic, fascinating – I watched it several times, loving it more with each back-drag of the scroll bar.

Batman v Superman’s trailer is the anti-Star Wars. And it shouldn’t be. The trailer for Unfriended was brighter than this wet, drippy dive into the dark.

It shouldn’t be that way. I was worried that Disney might, you know, Disnefy my beloved franchise. So far, so wrong. I was also worried Warner Bros. would fail to learn the lessons of the last two Super movies and  make Kal El the Punisher in blue.

 I’m 50-50 on predictions, but I so wanted to be wrong.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The hidden power of our Iranian deal

I have not yet heard anyone talk about the underlying, but powerful ramification of the pending nuclear pact with Iran: Sanctions. Or, more precisely – sanction flux.

It is spring in Buffalo. The thaw reminds you that life is no longer going to be like it was for the last five months. The cruel oppression of bellow-zero temperatures and nine feet of snow is lifting. You can venture outside with exposed skin. A little anyway. If you want.

The fact is, people get used to conditions - environmental, political, physical. We, as a species, adapt. Which is why we’ve got to oscillate the system on occasion. Our restricted dealings with Iran began in November of 1979. They’ve been on an ever-tightening noose ever since, dragging the rest of the world along. That is a full generation of Iranians living without full trade, full exchange of scientific advancements or full participation in the world’s economic community.

The cheering in the streets of Tehran last night had nothing to do with centrifuge inspections. Iranians know they’ve been missing out on something and now they are going to see what they’ve gone without. It will give the threat of being cut off again - should their government abandon their end of the bargain - much more force. This is the kind of personalized force no military can ever muster. The impact of economic sanctions is at home, every day. So to the boon that comes with their lifting.

 Let the money flow. That really is what we do best.