Some Things I’m Reading Lately – 8-5-2017


Men Will Lose the Most Jobs to Robots, and That’s OK by Laurie Penny, writing for WIRED.

I’ve been a fan of Laurie Penny’s writing for a number of years, having first discovered her through a link on I opened up this month’s issue of Wired and found a short opinion piece about the looming threat of automation and joblessness – a topic I follow enthusiastically – and was pleasantly surprised to spot her byline. As I said, it’s a short piece, and worth the five minutes of your time.


In other news, I know I’ve been absent and neglectful. It’s been a busy summer. I’ll be around more soon.

Some Things I’m Reading Lately – 5-18-17


I read constantly. If I go 24 hours without sitting in my recliner with a paperback, my Kindle, or at least a magazine – real or tablet edition – I become cranky. It’s better to just leave me be and let me read, honestly.

From time to time, I like to share some of the things I’ve been reading lately… Here goes.

Freshly Remember’d: Kirk Drift is a long read, and a hell of a long read for the internet. The TLDR summary: everything you know about Captain James T. Kirk is probably bullshit, even if you’ve seen every TOS episode. This essay is fantastic. Erin Horáková knows her Trek, and her love for the source material is clear in this lengthy argument concerning collective memory and gender politics. It is absolutely worth the read. And, for me, it struck a wonderful note right from the start. Horáková’s opening anecdote rang some bells for me, as I have most definitely been to a party with That Guy. (My own That Guy tale involves an award winning author, a college girl, and a bar tab.)

God in the Machine: my strange journey into transhumanism is much shorter. And, honestly, the central premise fails to shock with any originality or true insight. Perhaps, however, that only serves to bolster Meghan O’Gieblyn’s argument. At any rate, it’s worth a read-through if you’re curious about transhumanism and the Singularity.

Google is doomed. Read the latest news from the Future! here in This is How Google Will Collapsein which Daniel Colin James sends us dispatches from the post-Google future.

And just in case anyone wondered how I do my reading, here’s a quick précis:

Fiction I either read on my Kindle (a slate-gray 5th gen model, which I refuse to upgrade until either the Voyage goes down in price or they bring back physical page turn buttons for other models) or in paperback. I frequent McKay Used Books in Knoxville, which was one of the Four Things I Missed About Tennessee while I didn’t live here.

Internet essays and articles I typically find via laptop or phone browsing. They are saved for later consumption using Pocket, and read either on my phone or on my Kindle Fire tablet.

Lucid Dreaming with Awful Beer


A few nights ago I had a dream. It unfolded in the typical way of dreams, disjointed events unfolding without conscious direction. At one point I was given a beer. I looked down at the bottle and saw it was a Miller Lite, at which point I rejected the narrative of the dream and went hunting for a better beer.

Now, I don’t think of myself as a beer snob. Sure, I know a good bit about beer. I’ve been a bartender. I’ve been a drinker. In case you’re wondering, my current favorite is Gotta Get Up to Get Down, a coffee milk stout from Wiseacre Brewing in Memphis, Tennessee.

I tend toward dark beers, and I’ve downed my share (or more than) of pints of Guinness, Newcastle, and Smithwicks. There’s this excellent South American beer, Xingu, that a friend of mine swears tastes like Coca-Cola (it doesn’t.)

I don’t always drink dark beers. The bartenders at Madam’s Organ in DC used to keep a twelve pack of Dos Equis just for me. I am at this very moment drinking a bottle of Miller High Life, with a pinch of salt dropped in.

But, and I mean this from the bottom of my stomach, if you hand me a Miller Lite you can fuck right off.

It’s a matter of taste, and I speak only for my own taste and imply no judgement on anyone else’s, but Miller Lite is the single worst beer on the market. It is the reason people who don’t drink beer don’t drink beer.

Miller Lite is so bad that, when confronted with one in a nightmare I literally hijacked my unconscious and took (momentary) control of my dream.

I’ve never been able to lucid dream.

Let me break that down a bit. Lucid dreaming, technically, is simply being aware that you are in a dream while it is happening. That happens all the time (for me, anyway), though usually right at the end of the dream. But when people say “lucid dreaming,” they’re just about always referring to the next step: controlling your dream.

I always end up thinking about Vanilla Sky when that comes up. And if I let my mind wander, I’ll end up thinking about Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks (in which certain cultures have developed VR Heavens and Hells, their governments deciding to which any particular deceased may be uploaded).

But, yeah, Vanilla Sky. Poor Tom Cruise is stuck in a lucid dream in which he has lost control. That’s what my lucid dreams are like. Not that they’re psychosexual nightmares involving Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz. (Usually) I mean only that, aware of the dream or not, I lack control. I lack agency. I am reduced to the status of NPC in my own unconscious.

I’ve always wanted to be able to direct my own dreams. Who wouldn’t?

As it turns out, the key – for me, at least – was the worst beer in the Universe.

Some Things I’m Reading Lately – 4-19-17


I read constantly. If I go 24 hours without sitting in my recliner with a paperback, my Kindle, or at least a magazine – real or tablet edition – I become cranky. It’s better to just leave me be and let me read, honestly.

From time to time, I like to share some of the things I’ve been reading lately… Here goes.

Beyond Human is the cover story in this month’s issue of National Geographic. It discusses the history of human evolution and it’s potential future, getting into all sorts of things like body-hacking, gene therapy, and embryonic gene-editing. D.T. Max, of the New Yorker, hooks you with the first line: “When I met the cyborg Neil Harbisson, in Barcelona, he looked like any local hipster, except for the black antenna…”

Vanishing Point: Rise of the Invisible Computer offers an interesting write-up on the impending obsolescence of “Moore’s Law,” and briefly explores a few possibilities for the further development of computers in a post-Moore’s-Law environment.

I’m also working my way through Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds – I’ll post something about that when I’m finished, but I had to take a break from it today to tear through something else:

Saga is terrific, and it seems to keep getting better. In Volume Seven, collecting the most recent six-issue arc, the comic really hits you in the feels. It also has a full-page splash of alien zombies moaning “TAAAAINTS” instead of brains…

I stopped reading and clutched my chest – yes, literally – more than once. If you’re not familiar with this wild space opera fantasy exploration of parenthood and family, you really should pick it up. If you’re already a fan but didn’t realize the Volume Seven trade was released already, it is! Go get it!

New Phone and an Old Anecdote


My Home Screen

Got a new phone this week, the Moto G4 from Motorola.

Let me provide some context here. I was an Android early adopter. I couldn’t wait for the Future – as long as the Future wasn’t built by Apple, mind you.

But the first five or six years of smartphones were a consistent disappointment to me. They felt like a technology rushed to the market before it was ready. Batteries ran down in a handful of hours (or less), apps glitched or crashed your phone, every provider loaded you down with gigs of bloatware you would never, ever use for anything but which ate half your device’s storage, and here came Facebook to bog everything down to the point where my last smartphone – a Samsung – took over a full minute to do anything.

So I chucked it in the sea and went back to a flip phone. My flip phone and I were very happy together for a number of years. But then it broke.

I’ll tell you what I think of the new phone in a bit, but first I realize this is an utterly boring post and I want to make it up to you. So here is an old post about an even older story, reprinted for your amusement:

Continue reading

Some Things I’m Reading Lately – 4-9-17


I read constantly. If I go 24 hours without sitting in my recliner with a paperback, my Kindle, or at least a magazine – real or tablet edition – I become cranky. It’s better to just leave me be and let me read, honestly.

From time to time, I like to share some of the things I’ve been reading lately… Here goes.

Love in the Time of Cryptography contains one of the most beautiful metaphors I have ever seen. Right from the opening line, journalist Quinn Norton sets a haunting tone that is both nostalgic and cynical, paranoid and blissfully optimistic. It’s really something.

I don’t really agree with everything Lincoln Michel says in Against Worldbuilding – I think he may be spending far too much time around English majors for good mental health. However, the essay makes some essential points and its central premise is something any writer – or even the discerning, critical reader – should pay heed.

As far as fiction goes, I recently finished Look to Windwardone of the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks that I had somehow missed before. I was delighted in the used bookstore when I realized here was one of the Culture books I hadn’t read yet, and I remained delighted throughout. If you’ve never read about the Culture, you really, really should.

I also raced through The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold, continuing my intermittent and reverse-order enjoyment of the Vorkosigan Saga. These books – space opera yarns that range from military adventure to spy thrillers to political thrillers and feature some of the best characters ever created – are always fun.

Cover Woes


I’m not exactly a starving artist, but… Well, being a struggling writer has its woes. Unless and until sales start properly taking off (rather than the listless trickle to which I am accustomed) I can’t really afford to pay cover artists.

The Catch-22 being that a really swell cover is said to do wonders for sales. Take note, all you cover-judgers.

Anyway, for the time being I’m left to make do on the cheap. If you ever notice the covers of my books being replaced by new versions with terrific artwork, you’ll know I’ve made it. In the meantime, I’m soliciting opinions. Which of the following covers would be most likely to pique your interest? Which one screams “hey! hey you. yeah, you. BUY ME!”?











Any suggestions, drop a comment.

E-Book Countdown Sale – Jimmy Stick



The Adventures of Jimmy Stick

The Adventures of Jimmy Stick

Normal Price $4.99

8am March 17 – Midnight March 18 : $0.99  (81% OFF)

12:01am March 19 – 4pm March 20 : $1.99

4:01pm March 20 – 8am March 22 : $2.99

8:01am March 22 – Midnight March 24 : $3.99


Cheer as Jimmy Stick fights his way out of Hell! Gasp as the Robot pursues its logical seduction of Claire! Thrill to Jimmy’s battle with the zombie mummies of Egypt! Choose your side as the original Jimmy returns from the dead to challenge his cold steel counterpart for Claire’s hand!

“This book looks inside the mind of a zombie, meets Hunter S. Thompson in Hell, and raises some thoughtful questions about abortion (like, what if the baby is a cyborg?). It has patriotism, terrorism, scary Christians and paranoid survivalists (who turn out to be kind of right). It is comic relief for the anxieties of the modern day, and reminds us all why video games really are a helpful metaphor for life.”  – Amazon Reviewer Emily S.

Dreaming the Life 2nd Edition


51qap2znvvlThe 2nd edition of Dreaming the Life and other stories is available now. Expanded to include five brand new stories, the collection is priced at $1.99 (ebook) and $4.99 (paperback).

The following stories are included in this collection:

Dreaming the Life – a man comes to believe his memories of an extra-marital affair have been stolen, and decides to get them back.

Reload – a celebrity couple discover the dangers of a device which allows them to reset their mistakes and try again.

One Thousand Words – two friends hash out the old debate of whether life influences art or vice versa, with murderous results.

Umodarok – an immigrant from another world contemplates marriage to secure Earth citizenship.

Killjack  – a social media magnate is framed for an impossible murder which took place in virtual reality.

TruFlesh – a man discovers his new sex doll may be much more than advertised.

Wishes – a young boy meets a genie.

Three Dreams  – a man recalls his dead wife through dreams.

Anyone who purchased the first Kindle edition should be able to download the updated version at no additional charge.