This morning, I awoke to discover that my friend, Nels, had died. His wife posted on his Facebook page to inform his friends, coworkers, and loved ones that he had died unexpectedly from an illness. Just the day before, he’d been replying to friends with his usual wry, kind humor.

Now, I cannot even ask him if he considered me a friend. I cannot ask him anything. Ever.

Let me tell you a second-hand Nels story.

After a rough day at work, Nels and some of the fellas walk to the local burger joint - right by the beach …


Keeping a promise to Shaun King

“If you want to know what you would have been doing during the civil rights movement, look at what you did yesterday.” — Shaun King

“Well, Mr. King, I would have been a coward.” I tell him. “I can’t bear to keep my family in this country, and we’re moving to Sweden. What can I do from 5000 miles away to help the people here?”

“I understand, and I can’t blame you,” he replies. “You can do one thing. You can tell people why you’re leaving. You can make them understand.”

“I will.”

Well…


Love is found in the strangest places.

Bidding Farewell to 2016

The regular orbit of Earth around the Sun has little impact on my day-to-day life. It puts different food on my table, offers me a chance to put chains on my car’s wheels, and changes where I walk when the sky calls for me to bathe in its blueness. My climate-controlled home is ever-welcoming. It took until March for my 2016 to really kick off.

We left San Francisco Bay when, for the first time in my adult life, I trusted my whole survival to the breadwinning of another. Briana moved to Portland ahead of me, blazing a trail of…


American Elections have always existed in a Post-Fact World

American elections have always been about branding and never once about policy. To see that in action, just look at our country’s very first election. Not the election for the first presidency, no, look to that first election where we chose to cast off the yoke of Britain to become a new nation. Look to the election where the votes were cast in bullets and blood.


Yesterday, my father joined a chorus of voices from across the nation to tell me that I cannot have access to healthcare, who of my friends may marry, and who I may welcome into my house. Even though I have moved 1600 miles to be free of his influence, he still reaches me here. He tells me to stay in the closet. He tells me to stay away from brown people. He gives me so many mandates.

All of this is an expression of his love. Much has been said about what is wrong in America that we could end…


Randall and I sat beneath the yellow-stained lights as shadows of moths flickered past us. In the distance, we could see our friends running to and fro as they battled whatever evil the world had spawned for them today. The world, it seems, knows no end to immediate evil.

We were tired, though, and, as we sat, a demon came to us.

He was a polite sort of demon with a melancholy demeanor. He asked to join us, and I remained silent.

“Sit, my friend,” Randall said.

The demon sat. He looked uncomfortable, suspicious. He was not used to being…


Love your characters as a fan loves them.

“Good Question.” Compiled from several The Force Awakens promotional images.

Disclaimer: This article discusses discovering more about characters by allowing them to be sexual creatures. Please do not reduce characters or people to only being sexual objects. That’s not cool.

“Kylo can’t get with Finn! Kylo hates Finn!”

“Kylo can’t get with Finn! Kylo hates Finn!”

“But hate is what keeps Kylo going…”
“I… oh… oh my.”

Something strange happened in the aftermath of The Force Awakens: everyone talked about fucking! People fought over whether Finn and Poe would get together. Or will Rey and Finn? Or will Rey and Kylo?

That was just the first wave. After that, every…


We can’t Star Trek our way out of this one

In-progress cover art by artist Briana Dempsey

Bigotry, classism, elitism, hatred, and all the other ills of our times are exacerbated by unjust distribution of resources. When someone has — or appears to have — the ability to give a resource to someone in need of that resource, that’s when societal ills go from quirks to conflicts.

When a family is starving for want of bread, they don’t simply rob the nearest baker. They choose the baker most different from them. When faced with the opportunity to hire someone and uplift them from poverty, an employer chooses the applicant with which they most empathize. …


How to enslave a population: convince them that their forced labor is voluntary

Originally posted to the Seven Days a Servant Inkshares page: https://www.inkshares.com/books/seven-days-a-servant/backer_updates/3ff5959f

The Masks of Brilliance

It’s always strange to present an alien world from the eyes of one of its inhabitants. In some ways its easy, nothing about the world is unusual to the people for whom this is all normal. For example, Senka will — at one point- compare something to a tegu, the dog-sized lizards the people of Brilliance keep as pets. This comparison is easy for her to make, but does not help my delightful readers.

That’s why we have dear old Frejvid around to ask about…


Throw a rock at the fantasy aisle of a bookstore, who’s on the cover?

When I was teenager, I found no shortage of heroes in fiction. I found Taran the Wanderer, Tanis Half-Elven, and even King Arthur. Their portrayals on the cover of books and movies all looked like the man I wanted to be when I grew up.

They were dashing, handsome, and adventurous. If you squinted just right, you could see how my features might grow to match theirs. It was a good time to be a kid. Well, it was for me.

As a white male, it’s easy to find fantasy heroes who put the world to rights with blade, spell…

Trick Dempsey

Novelist and Game Developer. Author of “Nobody’s Business” and developer for The Crooked Thimble.

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