18 Jan

Toy Planes, my short story, is now a short comic online!

My short story Toy Planes is one of my more well received short stories at readings (particularly in the islands).

Pablo Defendini has done an amazing job of turning it into a short comic online. It’s fully responsive and serves as a testbed for demonstrating how to do fully responsive comics online that Pablo put together. It’s also a fantastic rendition of Toy Planes in graphic form. Please check it out at www.toy-planes.com.

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12 Nov

My METAtropolis novellas Stochasticity, Byways, and Tensegrity are now for sale as eBooks

If you enjoyed my novella Stochasticity from the METAtropolis anthology, know then that there were two sequels to that anthology and I wrote a novella for each one.

I’ve finally gotten these copyedited, turned into eBooks, and uploaded to Amazon as readers have frequently asked if they could buy them individually as well. Stochasticity, the first eBook of the three, is free for the next five days at Amazon.com. I hope if you’d read it you might leave a review, and if you haven’t, head over to download it and maybe leave a review!

So here they are:

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A disturbing, science fiction vision of the possible future of post rust-belt America.

Reg Stratton is a bouncer eking a life out in the decaying Wilds just outside of Detroit in a pseudo post-oil collapse. But when he gets sucked into a making a little money on the side by tasking out his time via an anonymous app, he finds himself in the middle of a riot that could change his life, the city, maybe even the world… as long as Reg keeps cool and makes the right choice.

Get it at Amazon

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A science fiction thriller that romps through a post-oil America in the middle of being re-wilded.

Working road demolition is thankless work. Reg Stratton has been helping rip up the infrastructure of a world that depended on oil, cars and carbon. Now the re-wilding of the USA is in full swing and he’s in the middle of it all. But a conspiracy threatens the Pacific North West, and Reg isn’t all he seems. Neither is someone else on the road demolition crew. Reg will have to work quickly, before time runs out, and everything he’s worked for is threatened.

Read it at Amazon.

METAtropolis Tensegrity

A science fiction detective story set on a living floating city.

Long ago, before genetic work extended his life, Reg worked to build the massive city of Skyholme that now floats well above the clouds of Earth. Now, in his retirement, Reg is being asked to investigate a murder unlike any other: the city itself. Forces are at work, distant intelligences are moving against the city, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone around Reg will suffer if he can’t solve the crime.

Get it at Amazon.

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08 Nov

Bridging Infinity (which includes short story written by me and Karen Lord) is now available!

Earlier this year Karen Lord and I wrote a short story together (here’s where I documented the process of doing that). I’m psyched to say that you can now buy this anthology.

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The latest volume in the Hugo award-winning Infinity Project series, showcasing all-original hard science fiction stories from the leading voices in genre fiction.

Sense of wonder is the lifeblood of science fiction. When we encounter something on a truly staggering scale – metal spheres wrapped around stars, planets rebuilt and repurposed, landscapes transformed, starships bigger than worlds – we react viscerally. Fear, reverence, admiration – how else are we to react to something so grand?

Bridging Infinity puts humanity at the heart of these vast undertakings – as builder, as engineer, as adventurer – reimagining and rebuilding the world, the solar system, and even the entire universe.

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21 Sep

Anthology Halo Fractures is available, contains my Halo story ‘Oasis’

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Halo Fractures, which includes stories by me, Troy Denning, Matt Forbeck, Kelly Gay, Christie Golden, Kevin Grace, Morgan Lockhart, John Jackson Miller, Frank O’Connor, Brian Reed, James Swallow, and Joseph Staten, launched yesterday for sale.

Launch once more into galaxy-spanning conflict and legendary heroism…shards of an ever-expanding journey where human and alien alike find their finest hours in facing their greatest challenges. These scattered stories span untold millennia, from the age of the ancient custodial race known as the Forerunners…to the aftermath of the Covenant’s bloody war against humanity…and even the shocking events surrounding the resurrection of the mysterious Guardians. Halo: Fractures explores mythic tales of bravery and sacrifice that blaze brightly at the very heart of the Halo universe.

You can buy from all the usual locations. Like Indiebound, here’s an Amazon, or BN.

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17 Sep

Halo Waypoint Blog announces that Halo: Envoy is a thing

So a project I’ve been working off and on for over the past year has been mentioned over at Halo Waypoint:

But wait – that’s not all! We’re also excited to announce two more upcoming stories coming to the Halo universe…

Halo: Smoke and Shadow by Kelly Gay

Halo: Envoy by Tobias Buckell

These stories actually directly connect to Kelly and Tobias’ respective tales in Halo: Fractures, so if their stories get you excited after you read them in the anthology, be aware that even more is on the way! Stay tuned for more details coming soon…

So if you want a taste of what Halo: Envoy is about, you can read Oasis in Halo: Fractures on September 20th.

That’s all I have for you, repeating what the Halo Waypoint blog has mentioned. But more details will come.

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08 Sep

I’ll be a guest of the Reader Riot Book Festival in Florence, Alabama this April

I have a new event I’ve agreed to travel to:

I can’t wait to meet my readers in Alabama, as well as to talk about science fiction, futurism, and my work.

Florence-Lauderdale Public Library is excited to announce the first book festival in the Shoals, coming in Spring 2017!

The Reader Riot is a community-led book festival that will feature readings, signings, interactive events, screenings, and a few surprises. It will be a festival for all types of readers, whether your books of choice are mysteries, long-loved classics, science fiction, children’s and young adult literature, or graphic novels.

(Via Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.)

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20 Aug

I’ll be a Guest of Honor at the North American Science Fiction Convention 2017!

I am utterly honored and super psyched to share that I will be a Guest of Honor at the North American Science Fiction Convention in 2017. Also known as Nasfic this is the convention that is held across from a Worldcon when a Worldcon is held outside of the US (and a Worldcon is a large science fiction convention that moves from city to city throughout the world each year).

Next year, in 2017, Nasfic will be in Puerto Rico in the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico from July 6-9, 2017.

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More details at their website.

Thank you to the people behind San Juan 2017 who thought of me. I will do my best to make this an awesome NASFIC. Thank you to everyone who voted for Puerto Rico. It’s exciting to see an event like this in the Caribbean.

Of note, Nalo Hopkinson will be the Guest of Honor at World 75 in Helsinki, Finland. So, as far as Caribbean Guests for 2017, we have you all covered!

I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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30 Jul

My short story Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance to appear in Cosmic Powers, a new John Joseph Adams anthology

I’m super psyched to be a part of this anthology that comes out early next year. The anthology was just announced at the B&N blog:

From the Golden Age to the modern day, from Lensmen, to Star Wars, to Guardians of the Galaxy, nothing has served as a more ready signifier of what science fiction can do as a genre than the space opera. Futuristic weapons and instellar warfare in fantastical, pan-galactic settings: it’s truly the stuff dreams are made of. Next April, Saga Press and accomplished editor John Joseph Adams will celebrate all the subgenre has to offer modern readers with Cosmic Powers: A Saga Anthology of Far-Away Galaxies, an collection of 17 brand-new space opera stories from a fascinating assortment of familiar and up-and-coming writers.

(Via Announcing Cosmic Powers, a Space Opera Anthology from John Joseph Adams and Saga Press — The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.)

Check out this amazing cover by Chris Foss:

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Even cooler, they have the full wrap around for people to see:

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My story in this, Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance, is a story I’ve wanted to write for almost six years. I’m so excited I had a chance to write it.

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25 Jul

I’ll be signing and reading in South Carolina and North Carolina tomorrow and later this week

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I’m spending the week in Spartanburg, South Carolina, teaching at the Shared Worlds two-week long writing camp.

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I’m here with with visiting writers Julia Elliot, Nathan Ballingrud, Terra Elan McVoy, and Leah Thomas as well.

It’s the sixth time I’ve been here (I came last year at the last minute to help out due to a cancellation) and I’m quite honored that they keep bringing me back to teach writing and critique stories written by some amazingly talented teenagers.

As part of this, I’ll be doing two book signings where you can come out to see me if you’re in the area.

The first is a reading/signing at Hub City Books that I’ll be doing with many of the above-mentioned authors:

Join us on Tuesday July 26 for a reading with Tobias Buckell, Julia Elliott, Leah Thomas, Nathan Ballingrud, and Terra Elan McVoy.

That’ll be from 6:30-8:00 PM in Spartanburg, SC.

The second signing and reading will be July 30th at 5pm in Asheville, North Carolina at Malaprops:

We’re excited to host an afternoon of readings from the instructors of Wofford College’s Shared Worlds program, a murderer’s row of sci-fi, fantasy and weird fiction. MC’d by Shared Worlds founder Jeremy L.C. Jones, this event will feature authors Jeff VanderMeer, Ann VanderMeer, Asheville’s Nathan Ballingrud, Tobias Buckell, Julia Elliott, Terra McVoy, Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Leah Thomas, who will each be reading from their personal favorite passages for an event that promises to be strange, fast-paced and even a little competitive.

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10 Jul

Media consumed: Midnight Special

I watched this last night. Directed by Jeff Nichols, this is a strong echo of two of my favorite childhood movies: Firestarter and Race to Witch Mountain.

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The basic tension is the same, with a modern twist. A young boy with what seems like supernatural abilities is on a car race across the US. The news is reporting he’s kidnapped, but it is by his dad. They’re fleeing a cult that seems to believe the kid has some inside scoop on the end of the world. They’re well armed.

The NSA, the FBI, and a couple of well-armed dudes from the cult are all after them (plus tipsters who spot them as they run on).

There’s a lot of sense of wonder. Some core mystery (what is the kid? Where are they going. Why do they have to get there? What’s the ticking clock). The movie is built and crafted quite masterfully to match the structures of Firestarter and Race to Witch Mountain (the original, the remake was a little less exciting, but with 100% more The Rock).

There was some pay off at the end, much like Close Encounters or Race. But the movie held back as much as it could, as long as it could. I read an interview with the director where one of his earlier movies did well because he refused to over explain to the audience.

That’s fine for Indy films, where critics pretty much masturbate over inconclusivity because it lets them ponder. It’s regularly annoying for mainstream audiences who often prefer the story teller have the conviction of the story they’re telling. While Nichols does have the conviction, by holding off so long the cross country chase drags on a bit and it affects the pacing of the film. That’s because it then puts a tremendous load on the two characters who hold this up on their shoulders. And the two adults (until a third joins, a woman, Kirsten Dunst, who has next to no lines or history or personality to add) have all the interaction and spark of a dead fish.

Because they’re all very moody and serious.

Over at Chuck Wendig’s site S.L. Huang pins something that might explain why I think Midnight Special doesn’t work too well: manpain.

When this trope is in effect, The Man’s pain is the one we are focused on, as readers/viewers, and meant to sympathize with. If his family is murdered, if his girlfriend is turned into a vampire — it is still his pain we are shown, his drama that is the important fallout.

There’s an even more disturbing subset of manpain that starts to set itself apart after you see it enough times. It’s the “Man Is ‘Forced’ To Make A Horrible Choice That Hurts Someone He Loves Just To Wring Angst For His Own Emotional Journey” trope.

The whole movie is about the dad, who is all serious and in serious pain about the risks he’s taking by kidnapping his kid to go on this journey to get the kid to a certain location.

Even when it looks like the kid is dying, he presses on. Because, it’s a hard choice damnit.

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…like, the movie is a couple hours of these two guys making these faces. All the time.

What makes Firestarter and Race to Witch Mountain so engaging, particularly to the audience with the disposable income and ability to nag their parents into going to see it, is that the child characters are (and this is important) fully developed characters within their own rights. They react constantly to the crazy shit going down on the road trip. Not so here (even thought the kid is on the poster for crying out loud).

Here it’s 100% focused on the parent character (played by Michael Shannon) and all their feels. Which are fine, but we don’t know if the kid is scared, or even if he loves the dad, and the kid is pretty damn robotic all throughout. Even DARYL in the 1980s, movie about a family that adopts an *actual godamn robot* that looks like a kid that’s on the run from the government, even DARYL has more emotions than the kid in Midnight Special.

As a result, because of both manpain and the exclusion of the kid as a character to us (I’m sure Nichols has answers, as the movie is well crafted), at some level of depth, even despite the well crafted nature of the movies, it therefore lacks a heart it needs to level up as a movie.

It lacks joy. It lacks the full depth of emotions and full depth of characterization of all its characters.

The dark sets, the grim seriousness, the empty characterization of the characters other than the father, it becomes oppressive. Even Firestarter, a straight up horror movie, had more of a sense of joy and depth of character in it.

The movie in some ways is a masterclass in how you can still create something that is an amazing bit of craft but yet still fail to create something with heart.

I wanted to feel something at the end, when the young boy leaves all the people who risked their lives to take him on this trip. But I didn’t.

I’m not surprised that people who watch it rate it highly, but that it hasn’t taken off. Not surprising it only made half of what it cost to make.

I read an article about the directors dreams and hopes for the movie and what he was trying to learn with it. It is why I watched the movie. I was hoping to love it. But it does serve to remind us to put some heart into our projects and remember that audiences need to see more character.

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