Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dishonesty

Newer writers are always terrified that their story, play, screenplay, novel will be ripped off by some evil crooked producer or publisher.  And such things do happen.  There was a headline yesterday that accuses a famous director of copyright infringement.  I don't know the particulars. I do know such things are actually fairly rare.

What few people think about is looking at things from the other side of the desk.  On the anthologies I've edited that were not invitation only, most of them have had at least one submission presented to me that was not what it seemed.  If it's a no reprint anthology, I'll usually get at least one story that's been published somewhere else.  The most blatant thing I ever got was a short story by a major 19th century author billed as an original story some guy sent me.

Well, on the forthcoming Martian Anthology, which was not restricted to original stories, I got one anyway that the cover letter said it was original and never published.  Well, a quick computer search found it in a magazine from four years ago.  So, if that writer had simply disclosed it, I would've accepted it.  Since I was lied to about its history, I rejected it. Are we having fun yet?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ald whatever

One of the more pointless holidays on the calendar is New Years. It's the one holiday that doesn't really stand for anything.  It's just people celebrate a non event as the planet earth moves around the sun--as if our screwed up calendar has any real meaning or significance.  My point is the new year could actually start on any day, it just happens to be this Friday.  The Chinese have a much older calendar and they celebrate New Years on a different day.  In fact, it's a pretty widespread concept across religions and cultures to celebrate New Years in some fashion.  If people gave me money or food or something I might like the holiday better. But people actually celebrate New Years the night before.  And the day itself consists of watching football games.  

Gee Dave, aren't we getting kind of cranky?  Perhaps.  But I just think New Years, just a week after we've had Santa Claus sneaking around our house just kind of blows.  Most people either get drunk and make an ass out of themselves or they stand around someplace in the cold, like Times Square, I guess I just don't get it.

But if anyone is reading this and has some celebration planned, well Happy New year and to all a good night.  Maybe they should get that pink elephant to come around and hand out booze to children who can't sleep because their parents are making too much noise.  Humbug.  





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Forthcoming

Well, I have a story coming out in March in a new anthology that's going to release at Anomaly Con. I don't know if I'll go to the con. Anomaly Con is one of those cons that doesn't seem to want anything to do with me.  But the book will come out regardless of whether I'm there or not. The story is about a spoiled imperial princess who is suddenly appointed governor of a planet that is in total anarchy.  Anyway, it's in an anthology called Lightships and Sabers.  

My new science fiction novel Bonded Agent is also slated to come out in the not too distant future. This book features my Sarah Meadows character. Sarah is a Martian insurance adjuster. You just don't see a lot of books about insurance companies in the world of science fiction.  If I could get every insurance agent in the country to order a copy, well that would be something.  

And from my company, Science Fiction Trails, we'll be releasing a new anthology called simply The Martian Anthology. As the name implies, it's a collection of stories about Mars and Martians.  That will likely hit the market in February.  

So, if Santa gave you gift cards at Amazon or Barnes & Nobel, well hang onto them a couple of months and you can get some great stories.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Special

I don't review TV shows as a rule.  And I've been rather disappointed with the latest offerings from Doctor Who, as I thought them silly and preposterous--even by BBC standards.  Well, the Christmas special was quite a surprise.  It teams River Song up with the Doctor once again.  This is the first pairing with the new Peter Capaldi version of the Doctor.  Frankly, it was a delightful story and  exceptionally well written.  A very pleasant surprise indeed.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dear Santa

Thanks for nothing.  I didn't really expect anything this year and you did not disappoint.  I didn't really want any of your crappy gifts anyway.  I still haven't forgotten the defective telescope I got when I was in the second grade.  And the defective toy printing press.  And those chocolate covered cherries where the mice had gotten into the box and eaten half of them--I still remember those lovely little gems covered with mouse turds.  

Oh. and the defective bicycle pump--who the hell gives a kid a bicycle pump? That should come standard with the blasted bicycle.

So, as I've said before, I think you should work a little more on your quality control.  But since you don't give me presents anymore, I'm just basing this on some fairly old data.

And how come they quit making those cool flying saucer calendars?  I really liked those.

You pal, 

Dave



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Creepy Old Guy In Living Room

Creepy Old Guy In Living Room!
What Should We Do?

Sick The Dog On Him
Sick The Dog On Him!

Siri says give him cookies and milk
Shoot him, shoot him, I say.

Siri says give him M & M's.
Candy? That's the best she can do?

Well, he's gone now.
What did he want?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Really?

Star Wars soup? Star Wars Spaghetti o's? Is this really necessary?   I ain't buying any.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Reading Stories

I'm winding down the reading period for an anthology of Martian stories.  It's been a long time since I've had to reject so many stories.  About 3/4 of the stories I got were simply not what I was looking for. Very few of them even  remotely followed the submission guidelines.  Heck, they didn't even mention Mars and could have been taking place just about anywhere.  A collection of Martian stories should have stories that actually take place on or be about Mars in some fashion. Very disappointing.  I've got a few left to read this weekend.  Oh well, that's the risk one takes.  I doubt I'll do any more anthologies, at least not for some time.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cereal Blues

I bought some Grape Nuts Flakes yesterday. I hadn't had any in a year.  No one sells it.  The store I usually shop at even told me they don't make it anymore. Well, that was a lie.  Walmart had plenty of it.  This is kind of a boring cereal.  If you haven't had any, it's kind of somewhere between bran flakes and corn flakes.  I've always liked it for some reason.  Not to be confused with regular Grape Nuts, which are readily available in most stores. These are quite different.

Speaking of cereal, if I ever win the lottery, I'm going to market Abominable Cereal.  It would have little frosted Abominable Snowmen and a picture on the box of the Abominable Snowman on top a mountain summit swatting at airplanes.  Like that's ever going to really happen.

Another cereal I'd love to see would be Martian cereal, with little green men .

But, if I can't have cereal with little green men or Abominable Snowmen, then just give me my simple Grape Nuts Flakes.  I'm happy.

I'm surprised they haven't got Star Wars cereal.  They've got everything else. Heck, they even had Star Wars soup in the store yesterday.  I didn't buy any.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Year Coming Soon /Last Minute

Well, Santa won't bring you a copy of the Martian Anthology this Christmas, as it won't be released until the end of January.  But maybe the Abominable Snowman will have one for you in his bag this  winter.  Just like it sounds, it's got stories about Mars and Martians in it.

Of course, Heat of the Midday Sun and Six Guns Straight From Hell 2 are available right now.  And who wouldn't want a little weird western action in their stocking? Tell Santa what you want.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Cartoon cannibals

Maybe it's just me, but I find cannibalism in commercials bothersome.  Cannibalism?  Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head run around unabashedly gulping down Lay's potato chips.  

And then there's the M&M guys.  They not only put out M&M's for slaughter, but have even eaten them sometimes.  

If I put out chips made out of people at parties, well it would be kind of gross methinks.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Great Christmas Tale

Looking for a great Christmas story?  Get a copy of The Toymaker by  J.A. Campbell.  You'll be glad you did.  This is a first rate Christmas tale.  In fact, it's one of the best holiday stories I've ever read. Read it to your cat. Read it to your kids.  Just get a copy and read it.  You'll be glad you did.  This story was originally created for a steampunk Christmas reading.  The audience was truly mesmerized as the author read it.  Order it! 
It's available from Amazon.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Come on people!

There’s been a lot of really nasty things being said by politicians recently.  I’m not going to comment directly on this unbridled bigotry.  But I thought I’d share a memory from a couple of years ago.

It was a summer evening.  I got a call from the hotel next door to the one I work at.  The night manager asked if we had any rooms available. I said we did.  Then she said something odd, “There’s this family here.  They’re not from this country.”

“Send ‘em on over.”

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“Yes.  I’ll take care of ‘em.”

So, a few minutes later this family shows up in our lobby.  They were dressed like they’d just posed for the cover of jihad monthly.  Yep, they didn’t look like they were from Colorado. “How can I help you folks?”

Anyway, the husband explained they just wanted a room with bedding to sleep five people. I explained what we had.  They decided that would be acceptable.  I noted they had an Egyptian address. Anyway, they went off to their room.

About a half hour later the husband showed up at the front desk.  I was afraid there might be a problem with their room.  “Can I help you?” I asked.

“Can you tell me what channel Star Trek is on?” he asked.

“Well, give me a moment.” I had a good idea.  I scrolled through the lobby TV’s listings. “Original Star Trek is on that channel.  Oddly enough, the BBC channel is running Next Generation.  And I have no idea what’s become of Deep Space Nine.”

“They don’t have Deep Space Nine in Egypt, either.  I think it got a lot better when they added Whorf,” My guest said.  

“Absolutely,” I agreed.

Anyway, it turns out he worked for the United Nations in a cultural job trying to preserve archaeological sites in the Middle East and they’d come to Colorado on vacation.  We talked about Star Trek for about half an hour.

Then the phone rang.  “Is my husband down there?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Is he talking about Star Trek?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Anyway, these folks turned out to be extremely nice people.  I was sorry to see them leave when they checked out.  The fact somebody dresses a little differently or is from a certain part of the world should not condemn them to hostility as the siren’s song of bigotry once again tries to seduce certain factions of our society.  And that’s all I have to say.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It's been over 30 years since you've given me any presents.  I mentioned this in my letter last year.  Now, it wouldn't bother me so much, except everyone else gets presents from Santa.  But my stocking remains empty.  Okay, if you're still sore I wrote that story about you stealing money from people's homes, I get it.  But that was a long time ago.  And maybe you're still sore about that story I wrote where you were doing naughty things with girls along your route--Mrs. Claus read that one maybe?   Still, all things considered, it's not like I shot you under Colorado's "Make My Day Law." Oh that's right, since you never bring me anything I guess you don't have to worry about getting shot. 
And I'm sure Prancer's still sore about that story  that reindeer are obsolete and should be cooked up on the barbecue grill.  

So, in the unlikely event you show up, I could use just about everything.  Most of my clothes are threadbare and worn out.  

Your pal, 

Dave

PS--My neighbor Karl says you stole his porno movie collection last Christmas.  He wanted me to tell you he wants it back.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gastro

Well, thus far I haven't come up with an artist to illustrate my comic book for me. Gastro, as I've mentioned before, has the power to make people poop themselves on command.  Here's a taste of it:

Gastro
Episode One

The bigot was fiddling with his tie.  Just seconds before he takes the podium at the Party convention.  A handler tells him it’s time to ascend the stairs, which lead straight to the podium. It’s time.  Phht.  The great senator can’t believe what is happening.  Phht phht.  It used to happen when he was out playing as a child.  He’d poop his pants and run home. He wasn’t going to run home this night. The podium was right in front of him.  Phhht. Could the microphone be picking this up?  Phhht phht phht splat. His pants were turning warm. Lord this stuff stunk. His BVD’s were filling up fast. “I want to be your president.”  Were these people laughing.

The man in the green bow tie headed out the side entrance of the convention center.  Who even knew it was possible to make people poop themselves on command?  As a child, it was Ricky and Jerry who raced home to tell their mothers they need clean pants–never him. Gerald Popper had other places to be that night.  His one weakness was it required line-of-sight.  He hopped on the 27 bus.

Norweigian Blue

One of the things I've always wanted to do if I had the financial resources concerns dogs.  I think it would be cool to create dogs in colors through genetic engineering.  You could have orange ones, red ones, maybe even aquamarine.  In particular, I'd like to have a blue one. I'd call them Norwegian Blue Terriers for no particular reason. It's probably good I'm not mega rich.  




Friday, December 4, 2015

Shiver Me Timbers

I've been sick this week.  I'll spare the details.  When I'm unwell, I've noticed I have a sensitivity to cold that I'm not used to.  Even though it's been rather chilly, it was not so cold that it would normally bother me all that much. But, I wanted to crawl inside any fireplace I came across.  Alas, I gradually started feeling better and things don't seem so cold.