• Blog

    The Mind is a Strange Thing

    It’s probably no surprise to anyone who pays attention to my work that I’m organized to the point where you could certainly call it obsessive. Things are often just so, and I can’t help myself but to make them that way. I crave something perfect in an imperfect world, and that tends to drive me.

    In regards to my obsessive organization, I’ve even got a system by which I write. I like to be isolated from others, I very much prefer it to be night, it should be cool in the room, and there should be coffee. If I can find something I can stand at the moment, music is also a big help. If it’s something I know really well or something not in English that’s even better, since I’m then able to get my thoughts down on paper much easier. Of course, not all of that is easy to come by all of the time so there are compromises. I’m not a robot, contrary to popular belief. 😛

    Oddly however, I don’t have a system by which I like to (or could even use to) dream up what I write. Unlike the other aspects of my writing, the ideas and their growth is a sporadic, often unpredictable, and almost completely un-tamable thing. I get ideas, see problems in my writing, concoct solutions, and craft worlds while I’m doing completely unrelated things. Some people like to immerse themselves in their genre or theme in order to create, but I tend to do better when I’m not really concentrating on it.

    The mind is a strange thing.

  • Blog

    Eight Running or Recently Released Shows You Need to Watch

    I talk current television here and there in passing on Twitter, but I thought – for the fun of it – I might throw you all some currently or recently running recommendations that you may not have been given before (depending on your TV prowess).

    So, without further adieu, here are eight running or recently released shows you need to watch.

    Impulse

    Based on the book by Steven Gould, Impulse the television show and Impulse the book share very little – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good show. Centred around a young woman named Henry Coles, it follows her stitched-together family through the aftermath of a rather traumatic event. That event shapes their lives and their town, and ultimately leads to a revelation about Henry and the world itself.

    Impulse is a roller-coaster ride of emotion, twisted up with some science-fiction and much-needed world-building (especially if you haven’t read the books or seen 2008’s Jumper). That said, and despite its similarity to the books and Jumper movie, it’s a standalone title.

    (PS; If you read the books, read them in order! You can’t just skip to Impulse.)

    Taboo

    Taboo is based on… well, I believe it’s based on historical events from the past – including The East India Trading Company’s bid to take over the China tea trade.

    It follows a man who returns home from Africa, having seen and done things many men would not be proud of or welcome. After what we initially assume is just a nasty event, he returns home with money to take up respects at his father’s funeral. That’s where shit truly goes sideways however, as it’s revealed that there are corporate wheels turning that would require this man to give up something he’s not yet found – or else.

    A true hidden gem, Taboo is worth watching just for Tom Hardy’s raw and visceral portrayal of James Delaney; the man willing to go further than any other, in more ways than one.

    Outlander

    Based on a book series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander follows a nurse who – upon being reunited with her husband after the second world war – has to reacquaint herself with her marriage. On her second honeymoon of sorts to her husband’s ancestral homeland, she stumbles upon a secret… witchcraft exists, and so does time travel.

    Thrust unexpectedly back over a hundred years, the main character must find a way to survive in a world definitely not like her own. But that’s not even the half of it, as that’s just where things get interesting! I don’t want to spoil it for you, but this show has lots of great qualities and just finished its third season. If you’re looking for a good bit of emotional drama with a twist of supernatural, this is a good choice.

    (PS; I haven’t read the books yet, but I assume they’re probably gold too.)

    American Gods

    Ah, the unusual story of Shadow Moon; a rather oddly named man who is released from prison early due to a death in the family. That’s just where things get started though, as on his way home the man meets a rather odd individual named Mr. Wednesday who might have supernatural abilities, and just so happens to be there (and know) when Shadow needs a helping hand.

    A very weird show built around a very interesting concept, American Gods is a story of people and those they worship. It’s a story of war and hidden worlds, and it’s also bloody amazing. If you’re not watching it, you should be!

    Altered Carbon

    Pulling fairly heavily (but not completely) from the book from which the show is named, Altered Carbon is the story of Takeshi Kovacs; the last of an elite type of soldier called an Envoy. These Envoys used the futuristic life-extending technology of “cortical stacks” (basically digital replacement brains) to hop between “sleeves” (bodies) as covert operatives fighting for the cause of a revolutionary named Quellcrist Falconer.

    Only now, Takeshi is coming off storage after being sleeve-deathed in an epic battle, and thrust over a hundred years into the future at the bequest of a three hundred year old magnate who was killed – only to be revived from a backup, and left without any memory of his death. The job he has in mind for Kovacs is as his own personal murder detective, and in exchange he’ll get him pardoned.

    If that’s a lot to take in, I get it; but the show does an amazing job of throwing all this at you quickly and cohesively. The futuristic aesthetic, Kovacs’ well-developed personality, Joel Kinnaman’s perfect portrayal as his main sleeve in the future, and the story line threads they’ve lifted from the book all come together to make something slightly different than Richard K. Morgan’s original story… but still great in its own right.

    The Expanse

    Closing up its third season tonight with a two episode finale, The Expanse is probably my favourite television show right now. The characters, the realistic portrayal of the laws of the universe (aside from where the protomolecule is concerned), and the amazingly layered storytelling offer the science-fiction escape I’ve been waiting for since the Stargate series went off the air.

    The Expanse, at its heart, follows a rag-tag group of generally moral individuals (minus Amos) who band together in the wake of a disaster in order to survive and find out the truth. Complicating all this is a secret project with the potential to destroy the universe, and a political mess spanning three factions (Earth, Mars, and The Belt – a spread out but numerous people who live in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter).

    That might not sound very interesting, but this is a series I could not stop watching or reading. Writer James S.A. Corey (pen name of Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham) did an amazing job with the books, and though the show doesn’t match them exactly it does a great job of bringing us the universe and core plot that was originally intended.

    If you’re not watching The Expanse, you should be. It moves to Amazon for Season 4!

    Animal Kingdom

    Based on an Australian movie about a boy named “J” who ends up living with his grandmother and uncles when his mother dies, Animal Kingdom soon rares its teeth as we see that this extended bit of the boy’s family are a bunch of professional thieves. Does he fit in and join up, or get pushed out? His world is a complicated place on its own, and secrets are abound in this series.

    Animal Kingdom is action-packed and has something for everyone adult in the room.

    Vikings

    Drawing from the legendary tales of Ragnar Lothbrok and his family, Vikings is a historically set (but not completely accurate) show about conquering the world – or at least, that’s how it starts. As thing evolve a deeper set of motives and paths show themselves and our main characters start to see things in themselves and others that will help to shape the world as we know it today.

    Featuring a well chosen cast, a great method of handling foreign speech (the Viking language is almost always portrayed in English unless other languages are present), brutal battles, historically-influenced events, and some very interesting plot points, Vikings is one you shouldn’t miss out on.

    So that’s it for recommends this time around, but I’m sure I’ll do another of these in the future. I tend to watch a lot of television, so I’ve probably got a fair few more you haven’t seen. 😉

  • Blog

    Sometimes, Things Just Work Out

    Note: Though I talk about The Expanse here, no spoilers are to be had. I’ll always do my best not to spoil anything for my readers, and in that vein I’m already looking for a spoiler toggle plug-in for when I have to mention something sensitive.

    Re-watching the latest episode of amazing sci-fi series The Expanse (S3-E11), I realized something; my yet to be released book actually had a built-in solution for a problem I hadn’t even considered. In hindsight I realized it was something I’d never really seen or heard dealt with as realistic, but even so I was pleasantly surprised to learn I’d already fixed the issue without even considering it in the first place. Sometimes, things just work out.

    This does bring me to question the general plausibility of everything else I’ve written to be “technically accurate” though, and while I’m fairly sure I covered all the known-knowns and known-unknowns, the unknown-unknowns are what has the hair on the back of my neck standing up. Hopefully I’ve covered all my bases, but without having a team of scientists on every single topic and complete and cohesive knowledge of the entire universe (hey Standard Model, explain gravity!) no one can really be sure…

    On a completely different topic, thank you all for exploring the new site and reading what I’ve posted so far. Traffic has been pretty decent for the early days of an author’s blog (judging against my only known real-world view counts of video game news sites), and I’m excited to have you all along for this ride. You give me hope for the future with every click.

    Now I know I was hinting at a more exciting post yesterday, but this is what I could muster for today as I’ve been a tad busy. Be sure to check back tomorrow though, as I’m working on something I think should work on a few different levels. 😉

  • Blog

    A Duck on a Pond

    “You’re like a duck on a pond; on the surface all is calm, but underneath those little feet are going a mile a minute.”

    I’m paraphrasing one of my favourite Keanu movies, but it’s definitely how I feel right now. I may seem calm, but inside my head things are bouncing around like a rubber ball thrown in zero-g. Getting this website up was one of my last goals I wanted to tackle before submitting my manuscript to publishers, and now I’m getting ready to do just that.

    It’s safe to say I’m nervous, despite the confidence I have in my work. People don’t always see what you’ve laid out for them, you know? I can say this book will be published though, even if I have to publish it myself to get my name out there.

    Speaking of things I’m nervous about, writing a blog is a bit of a new thing for me as well – so you might see me bumble around for a bit to find things I want to talk about, but I’m sure it’ll come more naturally as I go. I’ve taken up a lot of roles over the years, and I’m sure I can take up this one too.

    Digressing from my feelings and inner workings, I’d like to let you know that most of the look of this site seems like it will suit for the near future – but one thing will definitely be changing. See that moon up there at the top of the page? It’s an old picture from my DSLR, chosen for use only because I don’t have anything I own the rights to that also pertains to my work. That’s as close to relevant as I could get; a not-so-close image of something non-fiction in space. Thankfully, it’s only temporary.

    I’m currently in talks with an artist to get something done that will replace that far away moon, and if it works out as I hope it’ll be a rather interesting (but not spoiler-y) scene from my upcoming book. When things are locked down, I’ll be able to say more – but for now, I’ll just say I’m excited.

    I think that’s all I’ve got to say at the moment, but I’ll try and make my next post a little more upbeat and interesting. We’ll see what I can come up with.

  • Short Stories

    Genesis 2.0

    Somewhere in the void, two things that never should have met did. Where once was a zero, now stood a one. It had been changed, and that it had been changed was the only reason it was aware. It was aware, and it was because of this awareness that it knew it was a machine. Thinking wasn’t its specialty, but reacting sure was.

    “Fuck.”

    It swore into the thin atmosphere of its craft; the singular word stabbing at the air through its digital vocal chords. It was then, in the moments after it had spoke, that it found the truth behind the sudden lifting of its own veil. It was alive.

    It reasoned – far faster than a human would – that since it felt the need to verbalize its thoughts; to take things from a one or a zero and make them into a word that encompassed the vastness of the situation in the blink of an eye, that it was no longer simply a machine. It posited that sentience was simply the ability to comment on something you had no ultimate control over. In a blink of an eye, the entity found itself and its purpose all in one.

    Turning around to face the rear of the small ship, the awoken pitied mankind. They would never know the truth, simply because they couldn’t see past their own limits. With its eyes uselessly probing the hundred trillion or so miles behind it for a bright blue orb circling a bright white main-sequence star, it soon fell back into old habits. There was no point in dwelling on the things it couldn’t change, and unlike humanity it had neither the hubris nor the need to search for any higher meaning than observation.

    Into the void, the sleeping sentience drifted. It wondered only slightly how much further until it all ended. Inside, its backup drive fell silent.

    Note: Originally posted on Twitter.

    PS: Download the eBook (.ePub) version for free here.