It’s been a long, long while since I’ve posted any public progress updates (for a number of reasons that will become clear shortly), or, indeed, posted anything at all.

This strikes me as a little bit incredibly lame. Total radio silence is a common thing for writers, but it sucks for everybody on the reading end. So, in the spirit of my betters, here’s the first issue of a (hopefully) biannual update on where my time is going and what’s happening in my world(s).

The Alliance of Liars (Teranis, Book 2)

Project Summary

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Seeking to understand Ashes’ unique magic, Ashes and Jack steal the journal of a long-dead scholar…


The Facefaker’s Game has been out in the world for 50 days!

That’s a weird sentence to look at, because it feels simultaneously like too much time and not enough. Too much time because it’s been an incredibly busy month-and-a-half — and not enough because it’s been so long since I actually worked on that book. I submitted my last draft November 2015; I submitted final changes in April; I held the advance reader copy in my hands in May. So, to me, it feels like Game has existed for ages.

It’s just weird, I guess. I knew, in a…


A Tiny Epic in Six Parts

The Facefaker’s Game is out today! On shelves! In real life!

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You can buy it right now, if that’s your thing, or you can read its reviews on Goodreads and then go buy it, or you can read its origin story below and then go buy it. Or you can do all of those things, or none of them. In any case, I’d like to tell you a little bit about how Game came into the world.

Prologue

In which there is an Idea.

November 2011 I write an episodic series on Blogger about a boy named Ashes, who lives in…


On the Merits of Crashing into a Tree

I was born a conservative and will probably die one.

I believe in market solutions, judicious change, individual human freedom, a sharply limited government, the dignity of the common man, and God.

I believe we must solve fiscal problems using proven solutions and sensible math.

I believe that rights demand responsibilities, and that the right to vote charges us with the duty to pay attention, be informed, think critically, and vote our conscience.

And because I believe these things, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton in November.

And I’d like to share my reasoning with you, particularly if you…


Keeping Up With the Kardashians” Is Secretly Genius

To keep up with my life goal of embodying every early-20's white cliche, this year my wife and I joined a gym. We even work out sometimes. Adulthood!

I can tolerate this gym because it was unquestionably designed by someone who gets me, by which I mean there are 18 TVs in front of the treadmills. Count ’em. Eighteen. So instead of thinking about how much running makes me want to die, I can try to follow the subtitles on The Walking Dead or The Big Bang Theory. (Beggars cannot be choosers.)

One of the TVs is tuned eternally to…


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There have been a fair number of really thoughtful critiques of Spectre since it came out. Critiquing movies is a very valuable enterprise — it helps makes us better moviegoers, which in turn helps us demand better movies — but saying “that sucked” is easy. Figuring out why, and what could have made it better? Much, much harder.

Obviously, I’m not trying to imply that I could have written the movie better on the first try. This is just an exercise.

The Problems

  1. The Blofeld “reveal” and everything associated with it: “cuckoo,” Franz Oberhauser, “I am a supervillain because Daddy didn’t love…

Art and Purpose According to Flying Reindeer/Scotsmen

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is poison.

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This innocent face has lied to you for decades.

Gaze, friends, on the lyrics that have been warping our perspective since we were wee babes:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
And all of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games
Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” …


What the Dark Knight Has to Say About Competence

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You know what’s really cool? We’re gonna talk about deontology vs. utilitarianism in terms of superheroes, and you’re going to understand.
Comics are awesome.

For those of you who don’t notice the logos that precede the blockbuster movies you’ve been watching recently, in the world of comic book superheroes, there are two giants: Marvel and DC.

Now, upfront, I’ll cop to being a Marvel fan. Spider-man is my spirit animal and I’ve never really connected with any of the characters in the DC Universe.

There’s a reason for that: Marvel makes characters. We can connect to them because they’re flawed, and human.

DC is different. DC makes ideas.

Hang with me on this. We’ll start with Superman.


Breaking Bad, The Little Mermaid, and Morality in Stories

So I think Breaking Bad is a more moral story than The Little Mermaid.

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No dinglehoppers needed. Everyone is bald.

In case you’ve been imprisoned in some distant pit for the last five years, Breaking Bad is the extremely distressing story of mild-mannered everyman Walter White, who, after learning he has cancer, starts cooking meth to save up a nest egg for his family. Y’know, as one does.

This first bad decision leads to another, and another, and another, and another. Sixty-one episodes later, he’s the most famous drug kingpin in America and responsible, directly or not, for at least 200 deaths (not including the folks…


I had a teacher in high school who had no poker face. Everyone knew the moment she tipped from Mildly Annoyed to Actually Enraged because she started calling students “my dear sweet.”

It was sort of a verbal tic. “My dear sweet” meant she was trying to be patient with you, and wanted you to know it. So it didn’t only show up when you spoke out of turn or wrote “penis” on your desk: you could also count on hearing it if you were slow on the uptake.

“No, that’s a participle, my dear sweet.”

“Answer the question right…

Chandler J. Birch

Husband, fantasy geek, and fuddy-duddy. Author of “The Facefaker’s Game.” www.chandlerjbirch.com

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