Wednesday, May 6, 2015
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.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 11:22 AM
Friday, May 1, 2015
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.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 12:46 PM
Friday, April 17, 2015
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.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 12:52 PM
Friday, April 3, 2015
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.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 7:28 AM
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jumps off a cliff and people in the greater Boston area freak out. He's supposed to be in cryogenic freeze until halfway through practice camp. But they shouldn't have worried. Look closely. That waterfall is aerating the water. Making it bubbly. Ariel skiers use the same technique in pools when they're training. It makes the water softer.
Brady made sure some air was added to the water to make his jump easier. Which is nothing like taking air out of something to make it easier.
And no, I will never let it go. I ain't no Disney princess.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 5:01 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The first monstrous chunk I dislodged landed in the snow pack and looked a lot like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. I told Max (the nine-year-old) to grab an action figure so I could take a picture. (Ex. 1). I returned to the roof to chip more.
Nina (the 14-year-old) saw me through the skylight and ran to get her mother. “He’s going to die,” she said. Sarah explained that the snow was five feet thick. I could, and probably would, fall off and survive.
Nina pointed to the ice sculpture I had position for better light. Right in my landing spot. Rock-hard, spear-tip ice. (Ex. 2)
“What a moron,” Sarah said as she returned to her business. Max and Nina sat staring through a window at the ice. Waiting for the whoosh, crunch and scream.
Which never came, I’m proud to say. Not despite the danger, but because of it. The spikes below made me better above. I think I’m going to start taking this approach with everything I do. Starting with my writing. If this piece is not well liked, I’m going to put a hole-punch to my left nostril.
There. That upped the ante. I’m going to put a shark in my pool before my next novel comes out.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 8:21 AM