Thursday, May 18, 2017

Star Trek Discovery: Or lack there of

Star Trek Discovery is 10 years before Kirk and Spock? Ten years? Really? Did no one learn the lesson of Enterprise?

It’s actually a pretty simple lesson: The end boxes you in. Sure, there are individual story arcs with fresh characters, but the viewers have already seen the future. They know where this show is headed. I find this take particularly egregious when it comes to the Star Trek franchise, which is all about wide, open ends. Exploration. Going boldly. No box. No ends.

A prequel structure also sets up contradictions. “That’s not how they met the Romulans.” “They don’t meet the whatevers for another 15 years.” Etc. The blips counteract whatever ah ha moments the writers hope to generate by showing an early iteration of what’s to come. The fun of seeing a piece of pipe laid for the future that happened 50 years ago is, well, not that much fun.

I hate to base my ire on a trailer. Still, this looks like a black and blue show. Gray industrial tunnels. Cobalt lighting. Stuff that looked cool when Alien was released in ’79. None of the brilliant, primary color, optimism intrinsic to the design language that launched the series of seven shows, novels, comic books and live entertain experiences.

Maybe the show will be great. Or maybe this new streaming service’s view of the future is painfully short-sighted.

We’ll discover soon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pre-order Now - The Link Boy



The pre-order page is now up on Amazon and looking pretty official. I'm even closer to being actually excited.

The Link Boy

Thursday, May 4, 2017



Pre-Order: 6/12
Exclusive: 6/19
Everywhere: 9/18

Vist EDGE

I might allow myself to get a little excited about this book. I love this cover.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Marriage Belts

So my sister-in-law and her new husband have completed a year of marriage. And sure, they get to go on a little trip and smile, but it really doesn’t highlight the achievement.

I think you should get different colored belts. Like in Judo.

You go through a whole year, all four seasons, four major holidays, two birthdays, living in each other’s breath – it can be a tough transition. You deserve recognition. The bride starts out in white, so I guess it’s only natural that you move on to yellow if you get through the first twelve months.

It’s easier once you find the rhythm. I’m thinking orange after five years. Green if you have a child. Purple if you stay married once the kids are gone. Brown if you have you make it to 25 years, because holy shit? Right?

If you can stay married for 50 years you get your black belt in marriage. And which point, you should really teach. I, personally, would love to pick up a few pointers at the marriage dojo from a couple that made it work for that long.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

If I hear "going nuclear" one more time . . .

. . . I’m going to explode. In a huge mushroom cloud. The media freakin’ loves this phrase, the drama of it, the imagery. “The Senate is going nuclear” or, in other words, making an adjustment to their rules of procedure. It allows for a vote to carry on a simple majority, rather than a super majority. Such things do not, normally, turn buildings to dust.

The override option has been used before, in 1975 to make other rule changes, in 2013 for judicial appointments and just a few moments ago to add other nominations to the list. None of this is what we’d call a bombshell.

My problem is not with the rule change. It’s the language. First, nothing goes nuclear. One might go to Nuclear, where it a city in Nevada. One might become nuclear, I guess. If one were a protein that decides to become the center of a cell. Otherwise, it’s a stupid construction.

But even that doesn’t bother me as much as the belittling of the adjective. For those who were sitting at school one day when it looked like the sun set down in their hometown and they heard a boom louder than their ears could stand, watched their world burn and their friends and family die where they stood, the word has a different meaning.

I’d like every news reader to read Tomiko Morimoto's
brief account of the day bomb fell on Hiroshima, and then decide if they may what to call a rule change what it is.  She allowed for an interview this back in 2009 --

In 1945, Tomiko Morimoto was a 13-year-old schoolgirl. She recalls feeling no particular fear when she and her classmates heard the lone American B-29 bomber droning through the cloudless skies above Hiroshima. Her city had never been bombed, and she assumed the plane was simply on a reconnaissance mission, like the others she had seen.

Then she saw the flash. "You know how you see the bright sun that's going down on a very hot day? Bright red -- orange red. That's what it was like," she recalls. "After we heard a big noise like a 'BOONG!' 'BOONG!' Like that. That was the sound."

After the sound, she recalls, "everything started falling down; all the buildings started flying around all over the place. Then something wet started coming down, like rain. I guess that's what they call black rain. In my child's mind, I thought it was oil. I thought the Americans were going to burn us to death. And we kept running. And fire was coming out right behind us, you know."

Adults at the school led Tomiko and her classmates across the Motoyasu River to a plateau on the outskirts of Hiroshima, and told them to wait for family members to come get them. All night long, they watched their city burning below. The next morning, no parents had come, and the children were released to find their way home on their own. For Ms. Morimoto, that meant trying to find a bridge into the city that had not been destroyed.

She remembers seeing "dead people all over. All over! Particularly, I can remember… I saw a Japanese soldier that was still mounted right on his horse -- just dead! Also that a streetcar had stopped just at that moment [of the bomb] and the people still standing, dead."

Finally, Ms. Morimoto says she found a bridge she and her classmates could cross safely - a railroad bridge. She recalls looking down through the spaces between the railroad ties. Normally, one would see the river flowing there underneath. But she says, instead she saw "a sea of dead people. There was not one space for the water, just people lying there and dead."

Survivors she encountered begged for water. "Mainly, I just wanted to find my people. Finally -- finally! -- I reached home and of course my home was gone and I couldn't find anybody."

The only person who recognized Ms. Morimoto was a family hired man, who told her her grandparents had taken refuge with some neighbors in a certain nearby cave.

"And I found my grandmother and grandfather among them. Of course my grandfather was terribly hurt," she says. "He had glass lodged all over his back, bleeding. My grandmother, she wasn't hurt but she couldn't stand up from shock. My mother, I didn't find her for a week or so, and she was burned underneath a building. I hoped she died instantly."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Back cover copy crap

I would rather pass a quivering kidney stone than write back copy cover for my book. Boiling a 75,000 word masterpiece of accessible complexity down to 50 words? It’s like making a reduction from a 1945 Rothschild. Making a cozy fire with your stash of African Blackwood. Turning your ’36 Knucklehead into a sump pump. It’s awful and shouldn’t be done. People should read my whole book and then decide if they want to read it. That is the only sound way to establish a full appreciation of the work.

I think my next novel’s back cover will read:

Read. I didn’t spend 600 hours on this thing because it’s crap.

There is an art to back cover copy, but – like ice sculpture – it’s better if someone else does it. I helped with the guest list when I got married, deciding who was cool and who not cool enough, and it’s not something I ever want to do again. It is one of the five reasons I stay married. Simmering my novel down to back cover copy is the same thing. Which of my preciously little notions is fun enough to make the cut?

I’ve arrived at this –

An assassin, a priest, and a schoolteacher walk into a secret nuclear power plant – to Edwin McCallum, detective by trade and artist by desire – there’s something wrong with this picture. He’s going to figure out what it is if it kills him. The Link Boy is the second novel set in the Freeworld, a post-government future, where there are no laws. Just bottom lines.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Music of Your Life

Max and I are sitting in the car, waiting for his sister. I scroll through the radio and stop at 102.9 WECK. Their slogan used to be: The music of your life. They’re playing an old Gloria Estefan song, though I was really hoping for England Dan and John Ford Coley or Bread.

“This is a felony,” Max says.

“What?” I reply.

“A station that plays nothing but ads? Who listens to this?”

“This is a song.”

“How can I tell the difference. This is abuse. You could go to jail for this.”

I found Red Hot Chili Peppers on 107.7 Alt Buffalo. I wanted to show him there are ways to compromise. The rifts that divide us are not so deep.