Fire Weather

This is the view from the upper deck of my house, across the East Passage looking toward Mount Rainier right now. It’s cleared up considerably, can’t you tell?

In good weather, we’re usually able to look out over the rail and see the volcano some 40-ish miles away. Often, we can even see the Cascade Crest, situated well beyond the volcano, in the blue distance. So, when the air quality is this bad you know something is up.

What is up is a complex of fires burning in British Columbia. The whole area has been socked in since Monday varying amounts of smoke and ash. I’ve had a headache since about then, and my only relief is when that pain becomes punctuated with periodic lung sensitivity and shortness of breath. Who knew a 45-year-old man could develop asthma?

Well, apparently I did. Starting about two years ago I wrote the bones of a story called Fire Weather. It’s a spec-fic piece about an Air Quality Refugee who flees summer fire weather in Chi-town only to become entwined in a pirate fire-fighting effort working off the coast of … wait for it … British Columbia.

It’s got everything too — semi-autonomous wild fire-fighting robots, boats, heroes, anti-heroes, swine, disaster, and rescue — and there’s no reason (other than a keyboard failure) that I can’t find an editor and get this thing out there.

Look for it on Patreon first.

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IOTD

Anyone close to me knows how much running means to me. What it’s done for me and to me over my forty something years. Lately, the barometer or something else has sent my left leg into a troubled period. I’ve been a lot of pain, and consequently, depression.

This video, apparently student made for Addidas and rejected, moved me. It’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for the aged. I think that the glory day’s angle on the story told herein is nice, but less fitting.

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.

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.