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I was 16 in 1977 when the book industry broke my heart. I even understood what was happening when Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara sold like pancakes at St. Alphonso’s. Frank Zappa called the idea “Cheepnis”.

My beloved Silver Age post-New Wave hard sf was disappearing from the shelves in favor of faux-medieval fantasy in short order.

The future of mankind may well be in the sociological explorations of the cli-fi and eco-fiction dystopians, but the future of bookselling became imitation Tolkien as fanfic-level epics crowded those weighty philosophical tomes from the shelves and the consciousness just as certainly as…


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Another example of flash fiction preserving a longer story. This short-short made its original appearance at Hali, where it is still, in its original form.

It answers two Lovecraftian questions — namely, who was it that viewed the face on Kadath, in the Cold Waste, and what is the origin of Brown Jenkin.

The setting and characters have so far kindled two novellas and a short story, nearly enough material to make a novel. “Lahr’s Poker”, the short story, will be in Strange Sea Stories, an anthology from Planet X Publications. The novella “Sunshine and Scarlet”, which contains most of…


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a 750-word themed collection, from my book before Crazytown. Dedicated with love to Fredric Brown.

Waiting For the Sun

I’ve been awake for so long that sounds have shadows, and the noise from the street makes dumbshow on the wall that faces the open window.

The dreams, I think, come in that window and swoop down upon me from there. They come all at once, in a flash, whether my eyes are open or not.

This is assuming that I can tell the difference anymore.

Elevator Pitch

“Maybe if we stood on opposite sides, the elevator wouldn’t lean so much,”…


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One learns by doing.

All fiction is essentially based on worldbuilding. Your given world can be as minimal as a featureless nowhere or as elaborate as your average WarHammer scenario.

Here I’m concerned with worldbuilding as expressed in science fiction, weird fiction, and some dark fantasy, where it often has elements of mythopoeia, of metaversal conceits, and to a much lesser extent the kind of environments created in faux-medieval fantasy.

This is my specialty as a fictioneer, so I warn you in advance that I will use my own life and work as an example.

I was weaned on Golden Age SF, where such…


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I’ve been seeing a lot of articles promoting the idea that the BernieBro appellation is based on myth. A good example is Keith Spencer’s Salon piece claiming qualitative analysis disproves said myth, based on the premise of mean tweets, where the actuality is that the mass of people see ‘BernieBros’ as those indefatigible worthies who go around saying such things as ‘good luck with Biden’ and subject other folks to ideological purity tests based on principles.

Having just heard Sanders’ remarks following his ignominious failing in the March 10 primaries, I am forced to conclude that Bernie Sanders himself is…


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I don’t want to put too fine a point on things but a daily injection of painkiller would be welcome. Or even a capsule or tablet. Or anything.

I’m a chronic pain patient, having awakened in the hospital after 45 days of medical coma with severely atrophied muscles, pretty much nonfunctional lungs, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. For six years, I received prescriptions for savella for the nerve pain, hydrocodone for the arthritis, and various pills for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anxiety, these conditions having been diagnosed while I was in the hospital.

Then the at-least-partially-manufactured opioid crisis came about…


The Thoughtcrime Vocab #1

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Liquor — Candy is dandy. We hold these proofs to be self-evident. This commercial break is brought to you by the people who stock one-ounce bottles at the Circle K and then write tougher drunk-driving laws.

Main Stream Media — The pool that results from everybody simultaneously pissing into the cornflakes. The stream of consciousness is therefore polluted, as well.

Mass Media — Carefully processed spoonfed pablum replete with violence and destruction carefully calibrated to act as catharsis instead of incitement and designed to blur as one nears the matrix. Often faulty.

The News — Most…


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Once again I find myself looking through the wrong end of the telescope and trying to peer through a fog of jurist imprudence, orbital junk, and Bernie cooties at the political scene in toto, even though it’s too dark to read the tea leaves, inside a dog.

The one thing that is quite clear is that Super Tuesday muddied the waters, and that we the people are still waiting for the levee to break. My candidate left the race Thursday.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: 1) This administration and indeed all politics is corrupted by greed for power…


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Let’s try again with the writing advice. Suppose for just a minute or two that I am a repeatedly published writer of short stories and longer and have been doing that for a few decades, and that I have edited fanzines, webzines, and actual books, and that I might actually have a clue.

Just for a minute or two. Suspend your disbelief, if you will.

I’m also a damn lazy bastard, and do things the easy way to suit myself, whenever possible. If there’s a corner, I’ll cut it. I taught myself to edit on-the-fly because I so dislike doing…


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I must confess that I have repeatedly committed anthologization, and would probably do so again. And, having spoken to periodical editors at some length, I feel pretty secure in saying that antho editors and mag/blog editors have similar experiences and needs.

Further, it is my belief that every writer should edit one or more of such journals at least once in their writing life, so that they can understand what it is they do.

The very first thing I will rail against is the lack of contact information or even identification at the top of manuscripts. Please feel free to…

Baldy Mulligan

Vexation without misrepresentation. Occasionally helpful but not very. Always trying. Lefty crank. Herbal enthusiast. Cat daddy. Hanging Chad.

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