Monday, January 14, 2019

Better late than never?

Here's an anecdote about growing up with foreign-born parents some of you may find interesting, especially the science fiction fans among you.

When I was in 7th grade, I had an English teacher who saw "2001" on its initial release. She was so amazed and impressed by the film, she offered to take all her English students to see it, and pay for it herself!

Being a school field trip, we all needed to get parental permission. When I explained it, my mother refused. Being such an old world cynic, she couldn't believe anyone would do such a selfless deed.

"I don't know what it is," she said. "But she's up to something."

So I had to stay behind while everyone else went to see the film. My teacher was a bit startled that I couldn't come, but she accepted it and the subject never came up again.

Years later I bought a DVD and watched "2001".

In 2004. At that point I'd already sold a story to Asimov's Science Fiction. I thought it was silly for a science fiction writer to have never seen the movie.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The look-alike

A number of years ago - sometime between 2005 and 2007 - I was working at my newspaper job one day, and I covered an event at a local Rotary Club. It featured a recap of a trip club members made on an exchange with a club in South America.

It was to Uruguay or Paraguay - I don't remember which - and in the course of the report, the club leader mentioned - by way of "It's a small world" - that one of their host club members was William Shatner's brother, Louis Shatner. He had the photo to prove it - the fellow looked just like Bill.

I later checked up on the story, and found that Bill Shatner doesn't have a brother, but he had an uncle named Louis. This fellow in South America is probably his first cousin. I assume the Rotarian either misspoke or didn't understand the translation.

Like I said, the family resemblance was striking.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Long March

The death of a high school classmate has led to some ruminations from fellow members of The Class of 1975. What I have seen over the years is that there is a certain pattern in the way people exit this world, as explicated in class notes and newspaper obituaries.

First to leave are the kids so careless or reckless they don't make it out of high school, or who die soon thereafter. It is amazing how many high school yearbooks will have a dedication to the boy who died his sophomore year. It's almost a trope.

Then there's a decade or two gap and we see people pass away who had chronic or congenital health problems. The strain of just living in these cases takes it toll. My best friend from college, a person who had a tremendous influence in my life and is the reason I live in Texas today, was born with a neurological disorder and died at 49.

Now that we're past the big 6-0 we will finally see people start to die from simple old age. This is the most chilling sequence because it will not end until everyone in the class has passed away.

I celebrate my 62nd birthday on Sunday, so I am smack dab there. You just have to accept aging with some fatalism and perhaps a sense of humor.

As a "friend" of mine once commented, "If the good die young, you're practically immortal!"

Friday, December 28, 2018

Bibliography for 2018

Despite essentially putting all fiction writing on hold this year, after buying the local newspaper, I still had a dozen short story publications in 2018:

“Stuck in the Middle With You” - Whispers of the Apoc: Tales from the Zombie Apocalypse Jan. 2018

“Last Call” – Planetary Mercury anthology, Superversive Press, Jan. 2018

"The Wrong Venus" - Planetary Venus anthology, Superversive Press, Feb. 2018

"The Girl Who Died Twice" - Planetary Mars anthology, Superversive Press, March 2018

“Sol Invictus” – In the Shadow of the Cross collection, March 2018

“Patron Saint” - In the Shadow of the Cross collection, March 2018

"Sketches From the Apocalypse" - Toys Sha'Daa anthology May 2018

"Dry Falls" - Somnium (Brazil) May 2018

“This Planet is a Hole” - Planetary Earth anthology, Superversive Press, June 2018

“A Choice of Weapons” – Enter the Rebirth anthology, TANSTAAFL Press, June 2018

"Blue Tango" (with Brad Sinor) - 4 Star Stories, Summer 2018.

"Cain's Knife" - Liberty Island, November 2018

Look! Up in the sky!

On the subject of zoomies...

When Sugar was a pup (she's 12 now) she really liked to end her zoomies with a flourish. Sugar would land on the couch by taking a really long run and hurtling onto the couch length-wise.

Patricia told me that if she was at one end of the couch, Sugar would take a leap and actually HURDLE her and land at the opposite end of the couch. I didn't believe her.

Then one day Patricia was sitting at one end of the couch, and I was at the other. I heard a furious scrambling of paws and then looked up to see...

Well, for a moment my brain didn't register what I was seeing because it was literally something I had never seen before. The it registered. I was looking at Sugar'e underbelly because she had taken a running leap and indeed jumped over Patricia. She was flying through the air at me.

A moment later Sugar collided with my head and fell onto the floor. She hadn't known I was sitting there. If I hadn't, she would was landed perfectly at the far corner of the couch.

I was amazed at her agility, and she's still pretty agile today. But she never did that flying leap length-wise onto the couch ever again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A useful idea

I understand that in some countries today - the day after Christmas - is called Boxing Day. I have no familiarity with the tradition, but it sounds like a great idea. Gather with family members one day and be superficially polite, and then the next day, square off for pugilistic confrontations to relieve the stress and work off the grievances accumulated the day before. Brilliant! We should do that in the U.S., we'd probably be all less neurotic.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Gift Story

An American soldier is left dying, impaled on a tree by a German bayonet, the result of an encounter during the Battle of the Bulge that left the members of both the American and German patrols all dead around him.

Then he hears a rustling in the sky...

As my holiday gift to all my fans and friends, I offer an unpublished short story, "The Twilight Angels". Email me at and I will forward it to you.

Better late than never?

Here's an anecdote about growing up with foreign-born parents some of you may find interesting, especially the science fiction fans amon...