Science Fiction Harder

Why ponies? I have no idea, but that’s their theme.

Excitement! Early tomorrow morning I’ll be making my way to SeaTec for a flight to Detroit. It’s been too long, three years, since the last time I made my way to ConFusion.

I still don’t have a ride from the airport to the hotel, but unless someone volunteers I’ll likely just grab an Uber or Lyft. If you’re at the convention make sure to ask me for a giveaway code. I’ve just purchased 20 copies of The Doomsday Chronicles that I’ll be giving away while roaming the halls. I’ll also have a stack of Big Red Buckles to hand out.

Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll

Doomsday Chronicles

Hey did you know that Doomsday Chronicles and consequently my short story GOAT is in the running for this year’s Critter’s Best Anthology? At the time of this writing, we’re ranked #2, right behind a horror anthology and there are only a few days left before they’ll call it.

This is another example of a place a single reader can have an enormous impact on a writer’s career. We only produce so much over the course of any year and simply being nominated is a big win, but the award accolades can make or break any cover.

Please take a moment and register your opinion.

Critter’s/P&E Annual Readers Poll – http://critters.org/predpoll

Anthology Poll – http://critters.org/predpoll/antho.shtml

 

Confusion 2017 Schedule

Below is my current panel schedule for ConFusion 2017 in Detroit, MI which takes place in a little over a week.

Topic Description Day Time Room Panel

If You Liked ‘The Martian’…

Hard science fiction is serious business. Hard science fiction done well can be big business, as exhibited by Andy Weir’s mega-hit The Martian. What other hard science fictions stories are out there in The Martian’s shadow? And what about their science is so engaging?

Friday

5:00 PM

Interlochen

Karen Burnham, Martin L. Shoemaker, Matthew Alan Thyer, Andrew Zimmerman Jones

I Believe I Can Fly

Those lyrics, popularized by R. Kelly in the film Space Jam, highlight something each and every one of us dreams of €”being able to soar in the heavens. Greek myth, superhero stories, and many genre books tap into this fantasy. What about the concept of flight is so appealing? How are today €™s books reimagining the trope and where else can we go with it?

Friday

6:00 PM

Keweenaw

Elizabeth Shack (M), David John Baker, Mary G. Thompson, Matthew Alan Thyer, Ken Schrader

From Fanfic to Profic

Many of science fiction and fantasy’s authors have come out of fandom. What’s the transition like? Why do so many talented writers stay in fanfic? What does writer with professional aspirations get out of fic?

Saturday

10:00 AM

Manitou

Kate Elliott (M), Matthew Alan Thyer, Dira Lewis, Geoff Gander, Angela Carina Barry

It Takes an Intergalactic Village

Finding and surrounding your life with positive influences that will help your kids become productive, insightful, and best of all nerd-class citizens.

Saturday

12:00 PM

Keweenaw

Karen Burnham, Matthew Alan Thyer, Vanessa Ricci-Thode, Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Reading: Matthew Alan Thyer, Ken Schrader, Martin L. Shoemaker

Authors read from current or forthcoming works

Saturday

3:00 PM

Petoskey

Matthew Alan Thyer, Ken Schrader, Martin L. Shoemaker

Autograph Session (4 PM)

Come meet your favorite authors, artists and musicians and have them sign things! (Please limit your signing requests to 3 items per person.)

Saturday

4:00 PM

St. Clair

Matthew Alan Thyer, Dyrk Ashton, Angela Carina Barry, Mishell Baker, Brandon Black, Elly Blake, Gail Carriger,Suzanne Church, Michael Cieslak, Lesley Conner, Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka, Kate Elliott, Amal El-Mohtar, Janet Harriett, Christian Klaver, Mur Lafferty, Jeffrey Alan Love, Mark Oshiro, Dustin Patrick, Cherie Priest, Adam Rakunas, Jason Sanford, Michael J. Underwood, Brigitte Winter

Citizen Scientist: Biomechanical Engineer

The current state of the art in cybernetic body parts, plus a look into the future.

Sunday

10:00 AM

Isle Royale

Daniel Dugan (M), Martin L. Shoemaker, Matthew Alan Thyer

It’s been a while since I’ve seen many of you, since 2014 to be exact, and I’m very much looking forward to spending time with you over this SFF enriched weekend. If you can’t find me at these locations during the convention, hint hint, peek into the bar.

2017 Awards Consideration Post

I know, you’re wondering “What can I do to help this author person I know?” Well, I published a bit in 2016 and some of it is eligible for an award.

Best Short Story

Best Novelette

There’s more, but those are the big one’s I bled for. All of them are science fiction of one sort or another and these are the stories I’d ask that you consider when you make your nominations and vote.

As always, feel free to pass along any story you enjoyed to a friend or leave a review. As soon as I cover it, GOAT will be published on its own along with its nearly complete companion story MONITOR.

New Years Resolutions 2017

For Us, and this is the Imperial “Us,” last year was a full-fledged, no-holds-barred goat rodeo. Lots of famous people died, even more, not-so-famous people passed away, and then we elected the first Ompah-Lompa to the highest office of our country. And let’s not forget that 2016 is expected to clock in as the hottest year in more than 136 years of direct atmospheric measurement.

Despite the fact that we could be looking back at the burnt and tangled wreckage of our cluster event that’s not what this post is about, is it? Nope! We’re looking forward, because gosh darn it, 2017 should be better.

So, without further adieu, here are a few of my New Years resolutions.

Take Aral Backpacking

Have you any idea how troublesome it is to locate appropriately sized backpacking gear for a six-year-old? Seriously! As a result, I’m banging the rust off some of my ill-used sewing skills. Our first box of supplies showed up yesterday, and I’ve opened up the Pfaff.

I’ve read a small collection of articles lately that all center around the “problem” of young people staying indoors too much. First, this makes me feel old, namely because now aged enough to see two generations of young people growing up under my branches. For instance, this article in Outside — “The Outdoor Industry Has a Millennial Problem” — posits a number of causes for the drop in younger people being involved in Wilderness, but my older son Justin recently informed me of the only reason that really matters.

In a recent phone conversation, he told me that he doesn’t really know “How to plan a bike tour.” In his possession, he’s got some of the best gear for this purpose ever constructed. He’s been on a couple of nice long ones, enough to know that a bike tour is largely just an exercise in improvisation between disparate locations. I about sprained my eyes rolling them, but I listened all the same. That’s what old people are supposed to do.

It seems that I may have made some mistakes raising the first one. Go figure. I let him labor under the misunderstanding that getting outside requires precision planning and forethought. It doesn’t.

Rather, what you need, he has in spades. An ability to learn from your mistakes, an abundant sense of wonder, and a warm jacket. Alright, maybe some warm socks too. But seriously, that’s the bar of entry to this and many other outdoor endurance sports.

Aral and I have been walking a lot. He just completed a 4-miler (long for him at 6) without even noticing that it was indeed longer than most of the walks he’d previously done. He finished with a smile on his face. So, Mr. Thyer, how to you teach a kid that he can pass the bar-to-entry for backpacking. We’ll you put a pack on his back and march him up the trail.

Continue Primal Lifestyle

I probably need to write up a review of this, but yeah wow, I’m doing so much better. Last Septemeber started a “diet” which essentially got me out from under the consequences of the Standard American Diet. I’ve lost a lot of weight, I’ve kept this weight off too, but even better, I’m not always inflamed. My face, my foot, my sinuses, even my fingers are significantly less bulky. My joints move easier, even when they’re cold.

Tess bought me a pressure cooker for Xmas, and she’s been saying that she wants to join in the fun. Now all I need to do is teach Aral to like eating nuts.

Recover and Publish Short Stories

John Hancock's Recovered Short from Immortality Chronicles

John Hancock’s Recovered Short from Immortality Chronicles

One of my favorite things about publishing through Windrift Books is that after a pretty short period of time all rights revert to the author. Amazon’s relentless expansion of lists means that there’s a place for short stories. Great Stories In One Sitting breaks down reads, based on their length, by the approximate time it will take most people to read them. A lot of Samuel Peralta’s authors have been floating to the top with stories they’ve published previously through him.

GOAT (“Greatest of All Things,” in case you didn’t know) was my contribution to the acclaimed Doomsday Chronicles. It’s gotten great reviews next to the other PA fiction in that collection, and I had the best time writing it. Consequently, I’ve begun to develop one of the supporting characters from that story by writing more about him. Murray Biyaal is a sort of MacGyver hero of the Navajo Nation in a crumbling Western future.

I’m going to start with GOAT and plan to self-publish a whole series based on this cast.

 

Wishing I Had a Button


The days are short and usually damp and cold. A social current of unrelenting cheer is washing over me, eroding the foundations of sanity. It’s fake. A put-on job meant to fool the fools. Then there are the long nights.

I wish I had an off button. A severe and merciless depression is banging on my doors. My hinges are worried and cracked. “Excuse me while I disappear.”

Things That Interest Me

These are things that have gotten my attention lately, listed in no particular order. For the most part, they are people, ideas or technologies that are influencing what I write.

  • Bajau: This is a culture of marine nomads that mostly hang out in the tropical waters around the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Some of them live in pole houses off the coastlines of land masses, but many live on houseboats or other vessels.I love seeing and reading about these people because they’re giving me insights into how some cultures will adapt to sea level rise in a climate changed world.
  • Bamboo Railroad: I first learned of these abandoned rail lines running through the hinterlands of Cambodia when I randomly found the video below. Seems the rails are a relic of French colonialism that the indigenous people have turned around for their own benefit.Apparently, the rail cars are mostly constructed from bamboo. The wheels and axles are often scavenged from tanks left over from Cambodia’s eight-year-long civil war. The complexity of the social system that allows operation of these simple carts has to be amazing to witness. How you flag a cart down? How do carts pass one another on the same line? Who manages line maintenance? What happens in the event of a washout or flood?Technological primacy in a post-climate-change world is what I getting from here. Imagine what we’ll scavenge and convert when the power of our government is severely limited by its current ineptitudes.
  • Mycotecture: The material science of growing things out of mushroom mycelium. There’s so much potential for sustainable and even innovative goods being quietly developed these days. Other than the sterility requirements, accomplishing this on your own appears to be completely within reach which means that open sourced techniques for developing your own material — say, interlocking bricks for building or “leather” for clothing — are right around the corner.
  • States’ Rights: By concentrating power at the state level, proponents of “states’ rights” believe that policy can be more accurately tailored towards the needs of that locality’s citizens. But the concept of States’ Rights was incubated in a world that was not simultaneously host to multi-national corporations or the influences of fast and ubiquitous global trade. When considered from the vantage point of the general welfare of a country it’s easy to see that this ideology is both self-concerned and short sighted.The problem is that this ideology has become the dominant paradigm in American government. Hell, we just elected the Oompa-Loompa and Chief and he’s seen fit to use what little mandate is in his possession to fill each of his cabinet posts with an antithetical choice of what that post requires. In other words, Donald Trump is very much like Casey Jones except that he intends the wreck.

    The power will, then necessarily reside at lower levels of government. Whatever will we do?

    As I’ve said previously, I think the thing to do, given the situation, is to adapt. So I’m exploring ways in which people, and by consequence, myself can adapt to a major shift in government. Places with long traditions of bigotry, authoritarianism, and ignorance will likely become more like those places. But that social geography doesn’t prevail throughout the land, does it?

    I also imagine “Cascadia” rising from the trees and frankly, I think that this is where people should be building coalitions and doing their best work. Working this into fiction is more or less my full-time job.