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Archive for Fiction

Thoughts from an Ongoing Midlife Crisis

My name is Jeremiah Tolbert and I’m in the depths of a midlife crisis.  Nothing could be more boring and cliched than a privileged white guy feeling out of sorts and uncertain about who he is and who he wants to be, but here we are. At this point, I assume you’re only reading this blog if you have an interest in me as a person, so I feel comfortable being more honest about the state of my life. I turned 40 in 2017, and since then, I have been struggling quite a lot.  Especially creatively.  I have not successfully written a story in almost two years now, and I’m having to own up to some other project-based creative failures lately that has me taking a deep look at who I am.

The trouble for me really began in my day job as a freelance web developer.  After the Trump election, business took a steep decline – number of prospective clients shrunk, and budgets for those projects I did have tended to shrink also. I had been on track to potentially hire my first full time employee, but that was quickly discarded in favor of just surviving. I began to have to put in 10-12 hour days to keep things on track, and that left little time for writing.  Where once I had plenty of time for writing and dealing with other creative pursuits, paying the bills soon consumed almost all my waking time.

After about 10 months of this, I began to fall apart mentally and physically. I began to suffer back problems, I gained weight, and I slipped into one of the worst depressions I’ve ever experienced. I sought help pretty quickly and was able to mostly right the ship with a good therapist, but I’ve been left disarmed and stripped of defenses.  Business is still a lot more difficult than it was before, and it’s ticking up a bit. I’m trying not to get my hopes up.  I’m still very much in a recovery/survival mode there.

These days, I’m still working hard, but I have better boundaries between life and work.  I’m not always creatively fulfilled by the work I do (hence why I used to write). However, I’ve lost the bridge to my personal creative work. I’ve spent more hours staring at a blank screen in the past year than all my other years put together.  Motivation is an issue, but I’m also, well… blocked (another ridiculous cliche). I’ve tried taking on other creative pursuits, but I’ve failed at them too, disappointing people who were counting on me in the process.

I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about other work, feeling that my life would be on a better track if I just gave up on my freelance life and landed work doing some kind of dream gig. I’ve spent time playing around with game design, thinking that maybe that was what I really wanted.  To say that I’ve gotten “nowhere” would be an insult to “nowhere.” I don’t feel like I’ve even gotten that far.

The main thing I’ve learned in 2018 is that there is a big difference between the things I think would be really cool to do and the things that I am actually capable of accomplishing. So many things I think I’d love to do, I fail at ever doing for so many reasons (not the least of which being talent and time). It is probably time to learn that I can appreciate a thing without trying to learn how to make/do the thing too.  I’ve spent years chasing phantoms when I should have been establishing core competencies.

The hard realization that has set in lately is that I’m not the creative wunderkind I wanted to grow up to be. I really wanted to learn how to do it all, but life is too short and it takes too much time to become competent at more than a handful of items. I’m just a guy who builds websites and sometimes writes decent short stories when life doesn’t get in the way. It’s not even close to the full extent of who I wanted to be, but it’s going to have to do. Maybe that’s what a midlife crisis really is? Coming to terms with the limits your remaining life has. It’s when your dreams and the reality of your life start to overlap in a way that means they can’t really coexist anymore. It’s time to grow up and learn to accept some disappointment in yourself, and to become realistic about who you are and what your creative limits really are. My hope is that going through this crucible of realizations and disappointment will leave me with a stronger bedrock as a person.  Probably even more boring and mediocre than before, but hopefully a little happier and more grounded in reality.

I’m just hoping that when this period of crisis is over, I’ll let myself dream again. I miss it already.

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Five Reasons I Prefer Running Role-Playing Games to Writing Fiction

It’s true. I do, and a testament to this fact is that I’m involved in three games of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons right now, and haven’t really written a story successfully in over a year.  Due to this discrepancy, I’ve been thinking about why that might be.  Here are five reasons I’ve come up with.

Originality doesn’t matter

In my fiction, I work very hard to be as original as I can. If I lean on a trope, I try to subvert it. If I’m inspired by something else, I try to keep that inspiration as hidden as possible.  I work very hard to remain original in my fiction.  I don’t know why.  It’s probably not necessary to be successful. It’s just one of those rules I seem to stick to.

In games I run, all that goes out of the window.  The only hard and fast rule is that I want the players to experience a fun story and just generally have fun. If that means stealing liberally from other sources, I don’t mind.  RPGs wear their influences on their sleeves. They pretty much owe their existence to Tolkien fans, so a little obvious inspiration is accepted and even to some degree encouraged.

No editors.  It’s direct to the intended audience

I don’t mind editors. They do a good job of helping my work improve through their process. But the psychic wear and tear of being a writer is one of being constantly and utterly rejected over and over again. It means that if you measure success in getting your fiction to the reader (which I do), then you’re not going to feel the zing of success very often.   With RPGs, I get to tell stories and I don’t have to worry about selling them to an intermediate who determines if the work is worthy. I produce it. People play it.  There’s no middle man I have to get through. That’s refreshing and good for the soul.

Immediate response

In fiction, getting feedback on a work outside of critiquing is rare, and valuable, but often not very timely.  When running a tabletop game (including “virtual” tables), the feedback is fairly immediate, so long as you pay attention.  A good GM can tell if the players are having a good time, and if not, adjust things accordingly.  There’s little time between what you orchestrate and the reaction of the “audience” (which aren’t really even strictly an audience.  See next item.)

The other players are co-conspirators

We’re fond of saying that writers only bring part of the story, and the reader brings the rest, but I don’t see them in my office typing the manuscript and helping me figure out tricky plot points.  Players in a tabletop game are in on the gag, they’re there to shape things and play their part.  They’re semi-autonomous narrative characters, and as someone who struggles with weak characterization, I very much enjoy out-sourcing that work to sub-contractors.

No writer’s block

Put me in front of a group of eager players, and I will spin a yarn.  I don’t know where it comes from half the time… I do an odd mixture of prep and GMing on the fly. I’m often as surprised by the direction of things as the players might be.  There’s an energy in my GMed games that I don’t capture well in fiction.

I’ve never had GM’s block for more than a day or two.  Given all the reasons above, and their counters on the fiction side, it’s relatively easy to break free.  The problem with fiction is, well, if you want to do it professionally, you cannot make mistakes.  Unless you’re blessed with some remarkable talents, learning to write a good story is like learning to build a bicycle from spare parts.  There are so many moving parts to a story, and getting that right is an outsized effort for the rewards.

A lot of this boils down to me questioning whether i have any interest in being a “professional writer” moving forward, and whether or not I can find the same satisfaction I used to get from writing that I can easily get in the form of playing tabletop RPGs.  I don’t really know the answer to that right now.

The flaw of RPGs is that it’s all work for an audience of 5-6 people.  When it’s done, there’s often little evidence it existed; it’s ephemeral and limited.  Then again, is a short story really all that different anymore?  Certainly very few if any of my stories will outlive me or even their original publications.

Am I done writing fiction? Honestly, I hope not.  I’ve been here before, and it does have a few advantages and thrills over playing around with friends with dice.  It’s entirely possible I wrote this post simply to make myself feel better for utterly failing to produce any in the last 12 months.

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Ten Increasingly Plausible Theories to Explain Why Donald Trump is the President

  1. In 2007, Jesus returned to Earth, born unto a poor Afghani couple living in the Helmand province.  In 2015, the new Jesus was killed, along with his Earthly family, in a deadly drone strike carried out by the U.S. military.  Everything that has happened since has been the retribution of an angry God.
  2. Global warming has reached a previously unknown tipping point.  Once CO2 levels rise beyond a certain point, humanity’s self-extinction instinct is activated by a complex biological mechanism inherent in all species since the dawn of life. When triggered, the dominant species is driven subconsciously to destroy itself.  In humans, this takes the form of electing the world leaders most likely to burn it all to the ground.  If humans can murder themselves fast enough, in great enough numbers, then the planet might just make it into the next million years with an intact biosphere.
  3. A secret cabal of hyper-intelligent cats, having grown tired of living in the shadows and having finally cracked the chemical formulas responsible for the potent highs of catnip, have enacted a plan to clear the slate and make way for their outright domination of the planet.  Pretty soon, we’ll start to see dogs dying in mysterious numbers. That’s the sign that they’ve escalated their time table further.
  4. Time travel, as it turns out, is possible. Unfortunately for us, it was perfected during Hilary Clinton’s second term by the top chronal scientists of the Ku Klux Klan.
  5. In 1971, NASA’s long-range threat assessment program LoRTaP detected an extinction-level asteroid aimed at Earth, predicted to impact the Earth in 2020.  Everything that has happened since was carefully planned by the secret council known as Majestic-12.  Republicans would be allowed to run rampant in our economy, shifting ever larger amounts of money in the economy towards the titans of industry tasked with constructing enormous space-worthy life boats in underground complexes scattered around the world.  It was a carefully calculated risk, but one that top Democrats agreed to; without allowing the wealthy to strip mine our doomed planet, no one would survive this.  In order to prepare doomed Americans for what was coming, it was determined that the most incompetent president in our country’s history must be elected.  Once all hope was lost in the American people, only then would they be prepared to board the life boats and abandon life as they knew it.  Only after the meteor shattered our world would the people be allowed to begin rebuilding their spirits.
  6. Trump is the Chosen One, and it his destiny to one day  engage the Dark Lord in hand-to-hand combat.  His rise was prophesied by George Washington himself in one of his many trances chronicled in the Book Of American Splendors.   Today, a secret branch of the U. S. government hidden within the Secret Service are tasked with making sure that Washington’s visions come true.  Unfortunately, something has gone wrong.  The Dark Lord is nowhere to be found, and the Secret Service is growing increasingly worried that the prophecies have finally failed them.
  7. Economic anxiety… among the reptilians!
  8. Ratings for the trans-dimensional faux-reality show America! have slipped as the show enters its  237th season. Worried showrunners have given the writer’s room free reign to throw anything against the wall to see what sticks.  Popular characters were killed off suddenly, and the worst villains allowed to rise to power.  Things look bleaker than they have ever before, and a trillion households across the multiverse have tuned back in so ratings have, thus far, shown a very promising uptick.  Unfortunately, this strategy has left the America! writing staff in a bind; how do you top the carnage of the 236th season?
  9. Twelve year old chaos magician Aidan Nicholson discovered all too late that what he thought was just a funny “what if” scenario hammered out with a couple of his dorky friends was actually the most powerful spell any magician has ever managed to cast.   Aidan desperately attempts to undo his work every day, but each attempt leaves things in even worse condition than before.
  10. Richard Nixon’s dying words formed a powerful curse, a malediction based on his late-life studies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.  He devoted the last of his energies to curse the once-great country that he believed had wronged him.  “If you think I was bad, you fools, then I swear that one day you will elect a leader that makes me look like Abraham-fucking-Lincoln.”  Little does anyone know, this curse can only be broken by beating Henry Kissinger to death with a sack of oranges.

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Listen to “Wet Fur” on Escape Pod

My story of death and pets appears today on the Escape Pod podcast.  This marks my triumphant return  – I don’t think I’ve had a story there since I took on the editing gig for a short while.  Most of my stories get a podcast recording already for Lightspeed Magazine.  When I realized that there was no audio version of this story, which first appeared in Asimov’s, I sent it over, and was so pleased that they took it for the podcast.

Give “Wet Fur” a listen.  Have some tissues at hand.  I do believe this one can be a bit of a tearjerker.

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It’s finally here, the next Dungeonspace story!

I’ve never received the kind of fan mail that I did for “The Cavern of the Screaming Eye.” Thank you so much to those of you who sent me a note to let me know how much you enjoyed it. I felt encouraged by all of you to continue writing stories about Dungeonspace and our young heroes Flip, Domino, and Basher.

Lightspeed is running the 24,000 word novella “The Dragon of Dread Peak” in two parts.  The first is available now.  The second will be available next week… but do not fear.  If you buy the ebook version of the issue (from WeightlessAmazon, Barnes & Noble, or the site directly, to name a few options) you can read part two immediately. And if you would, consider subscribing.  Lightspeed has been a huge supporter of my work and I am so thankful to them for publishing this.

Here’s a quick taste to get you going:

When I made the decision to take up an after-school job closing trans-dimensional portals into pocket-worlds full of dangerous monsters and traps, I thought it would be easier—or at least more fun—than working the counter at a fried cockatrice joint or selling newssheets on a street corner at the crack of dawn.

My team’s first outing into dungeonspace—when we defeated The Cavern of the Screaming Eye on our first try—had gone pretty good. Since then, we’d been running low threat level, poorly synced dungeons as practice, the kind that don’t actually kill you if you take damage inside them, that instead mostly just send you hurting back to Braxis City, our little isolated fragment of the real world. A good thing, too, that we’d started slowly. The subsequent weeks of practice had taught me and my teammates that, if anything, our early success had been almost entirely luck. It was still to be determined if I had the same kind of natural skill at overcoming the dangers of d-space that my brother Rash had possessed.

And now, our latest run had ended like the previous six; in total disaster.

I hope you will enjoy this latest story too.  Thanks for subscribing to my mailing list!

Read Part One on Lightspeed Magazine Now!

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On Art, Writing, and Storybundles

I have often enjoyed experimenting with small scale magazine ideas. Some of you may remember the Fortean Bureau, my first foray.

When Nick Mamatas came to me with an idea to do a noir crime magazine called the Big Click, I was immediately on board.  We ran for a solid few years and published some amazingly talented authors, but ultimately, the spark died as it sometimes does. Revenue was never there, and we poured a lot of our own time and money into it.  The quality was great, but it just didn’t find a sustaining audience in its life. Perhaps in the afterlife, it will? You can now read nearly everything we published in a single collected volume available as part of the Noir Storybundle that Nick has curated.  There are a ton of great writers in the bundle, multiplied again by our collection.  It’s an awful lot of gritty fun for fifteen bucks.  You can find it here!  I’m very proud of the work we accomplished there, and I think this is a good place to leave things.

With this Bundle wrapping up the Big Click, I’m moving away from publishing experiments for the foreseeable future.  When I first became interested in electronic magazine publishing, the field was relatively wide open, but today, there seems to be a surplus of online magazines. As a reader, I can’t read a small percentage of the fiction that’s published in any given month, stuff that I’m genuinely interested in.  If I’d succeeded in finding a niche that connected with audiences early on and had a project become self-sustaining financially, that would have been another story.  The market’s matured, and new entrants are going to find it difficult to compete for attention and dollars.  The hard truth that few want to admit is that in fiction publishing, supply far outstrips demand. The thing that keeps many of these smaller magazines afloat is passion and outside money, and that was certainly the case for me and my projects. Alas, my passion for publishing is waning across the board.

Lately, I feel hesitant to even write at all, and haven’t written a word since I completed a novella in March. I feel that with each story I may just be contributing to an ever-growing surplus of content that nobody has time to read.  To pass my time usually spent writing, I’ve taken up drawing and digital sculpture as hobbies (the sculpture part, being a return to something I did in college).  I’m spending my time trying to learn the basics, watching tutorials, and doing exercises. I’ve never been a very good artist, and only a competent designer, but I hope with time I can create things that satisfy me as much as writing a story.  The visual arts have always taunted me. I have even less natural talent there than I ever did as a writer (and that’s really saying something).  I figure with raw determination, I can perhaps become competent before old age sets in.

It may well be that it’s not the pursuits that actually hold my attention, but instead the act of learning them.  I may be a learning addict.  With writing stabilizing at a level of quality just above mediocre, I feel ready to move on, at least for a while.  I doubt I’ll ever give it up entirely, but lately, it holds no spark.  The rest of the way toward writing “success” looks like an enormous, unpleasant grind with little improvement to be found.  But who knows about any of the above?  Maybe some fresh new success will rekindle my energy. A story sale, or a wildly successful Storybundle?  Maybe what I’m really seeking is some sense of a win, any kind of win, to make it all feel worthwhile again. I guess we’ll find out in time.

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Fiction, Personal Life

Scourge of the Memebots

Peeqo is a personal desktop robotic assistant who expresses himself through GIFs. Think of him as the love child of Amazon Echo and a Disney character. He has a conversational UI, so he responds to voice commands but answers only through GIFs.

Peeqo – The GIF Bot

Lin’s neighborhood was infested with memebots, and he’d absolutely had enough of them.  For the first few days, they were a novelty; cute little soda-can sized bots with screens for faces, trundling about on bug-legs.  They expressed themselves in old-fashioned gifs and memes, much to the confusion of the retirees up the block, and their neural networks were sophisticated enough that they were able to carry on something like a conversation.  They wanted to interact more than anything else, and seemed to have fairly advanced language parsing capabilities, but they had no ability to respond with anything other than images on their screens — no speech at all.   Talking with them got old very quickly.

Smart as they were at talking, they weren’t great at survival. Quite a few of the first wave were run over by selfiecars; their small stature and inability to make sounds meant they didn’t register well on the car sensors; their cheap, brittle 3D-printed plastics crumbled on impact, rarely leaving a dent.  By week two, they seemed to have upgraded their path-finding and threat evasion.   One morning over his coffee, Lin watched as a small herd of them scattered out of the way of a street cleaner.

By the third week, they got more aggressive about demanding interaction.  The damned things were just so needy, even if they were cute, and that was when Lin decided he’d had enough.  After the fourth “I CAN HAZ SHELTER?” cheesburger cat  and shin-nudge on his morning walk to the commuter rail, he was determined to put an end to them.  Nobody had any idea who was fabbing the things, so he couldn’t resolve the problem with diplomacy or threats of a good old-fashioned beatdown. He had a pretty good idea how to reduce their numbers with ecology.

He spent a few sleepless nights and a long weekend designing a terminator bot.  It took a few captured and dissected meme bots to figure out how to exploit their recognition software.  The terminator bots had only the barely resemblance to a person; they looked like upright- brooms with 3D-printed skulls fastened to the handles.  But the memebots recognized them as people and moved in to pester.   That’s when the terminator bot would deploy its harpoon, skewering its prey through the CPU.  Once it had strung a few of the memebots on a tether, it would move to the nearest recycling recepticle, unload, and go back to hunting.  His first few field tests managed to clear the street outside his apartment quite effectively, at least for a few days.

He ordered up a dozen of them from his building’s fabricator, charged them over night, and released them in the morning.  Merrily they rolled along in search of memebots to destroy.   Within a few days,  they were an endangered species.  Several neighbors thanked Lin with free coffee and baked goods.  Life was pretty awesome until the memebots neural networks adapted once more to the threat.

It seemed they’d figured out how to exploit a flaw in the terminator bot’s imaging software, and could effectively hypnotize his hunters by displaying peculiar test patterns.  Lin cursed himself for not taking the time to roll his own code on that aspect; he was sure that some hacker was helping the memebots, but who was impossible to figure out.  His street was littered with seized up terminators surrounded by memebots celebrating with synchronized GIFs of the Anchorman cast jumping into the air over and over again.

He spent a few days in a deep funk, but eventually, inspiration struck.  If the memebots could exploit software vulnerabilities, then he could too.  He went back to the memebots and examined their code carefully for something he could weaponize.  Another sleepless night, and he had a solution; all he had to do was test it.

Someone had let a memebot into the lobby of his apartment building, and it made a convenient target.  It  rushed up to him, excitedly flashing cartoon characters laughing and babbling.

“Shaka, when the walls fell,” he said, smiling.

The memebot displayed a dancing question mark.

He leaned in close and whispered: “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”

The memebot displayed a puzzled Nic Cage.

“Uzani, his army with fists open.”  The memebot began to wobble, and its screen flashed white.  Then, an animated explosion, finally, a sad face.  It strolled away and pointedly ignored him.

Word among the memebots got around a few days later.  The memebots must have decided Lin was nuts; they never bothered him again.

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Fiction

Cancer Baby

Infertile women have been offered new hope after scientists found that a common cancer drug triggers the development of new eggs, an outcome which was previously thought to be impossible.
“Infertility breakthrough as cancer drug sparks growth of new eggs in ‘astonishing’ discovery”, The Telegraph, December 6, 2016

Madison had a question that found its way to her in the quiet times, in those moments free of protective distraction. It rushed up from the depths to ensnare her in its tentacular problems: can you really be called a “miracle baby” when the cancer drug that gave you life didn’t save your mother?

When she was old enough to understand the story of how she came to be, she had wondered: was the cancer inside her too? She imagined that the drug worked by taking the cancer from her mother, balling it up, and making eggs from it. It did not cure the cancer, instead only forestalling it for a time. She came to think of herself not as a “miracle baby” as her father had called her, but instead, a “cancer baby.”

She imagined that she could feel the cancer at the very core of her, hibernating like some kind of terrible, cthonic bear. One day soon, it would awaken and ravage her as it had her mother. It was only a matter of time. How much, though? That passing time turned imaginative thoughts into pillars of core belief.

The weight of it informed all of her decisions in life. She never made plans more than a few weeks in advance; after all, the cancer would wake soon, so what was the point? She worked odd jobs, never very disappointed when the work dried up. After all, putting down roots and starting a career only made sense for those people whose lymphocytes weren’t ticking time bombs.

It made no sense to become romantically attached, and so she kept suitors at a distance, only allowing two or perhaps three dates before breaking it off. She carefully explained that she did not expect to live in this world for much longer, and she was sparing them grief. After all, she had grown up in the shadow of her father’s grief, had tasted it in every half-hearted meal, smelled it in the air every morning. She would not wish that kind of grief on anyone, and it was a simple thing to avoid creating it.

She learned to do the blood work herself with at-home testing kits. She tested herself every Sunday, as part of her morning coffee and web-surfing. It came to feel like paying a toll; each week, a prick of blood onto the sensor attached to her tablet was the fee to live another week. One day, her coin would be found counterfeit, she knew. Her only uncertainty was when.

“Remember in college, how I was always coming up with excuses to get an extension for my thesis?” Her friend Bethany once asked. “Your entire life is like that. Eventually, you’re going to need to stop asking for an extension and do the work of living.

“I just don’t see the point of starting work I’ll never finish,” Madison said.

“Nobody ever really finishes–but I’m not sure this metaphor can be stretched that far,” Bethany said, and dropped the subject. She’d tried for many years to shake Madison’s certainty, but it was a load-bearing belief in the structure of Madison.

Madison was forty-three when her test kit finally showed the positive result she had been expecting. When it did, she broke down in tears of relief. She thought: could you just imagine how horrible it would have been if she had spent all those years expecting the cancer, only to have it never awaken?

She verified the results with a doctor, who advised her on course of treatments. New drugs existed that her mother had never been able to take advantage of, the doctor explained. She would live comfortably for many years, after a painful and trying year of treatment.

Madison digested this news, asking numb, distracted questions about the specifics. In all her years of certainty that the cancer had been deferred to her somehow, she had never considered the possibility that it wouldn’t take her life as it had taken her mother’s. She went along with the treatments, unable to think of any other course of action. They were painful, and at times she considered giving up. Bethany and the doctor convinced her to continue, and she began to feel better in incremental steps.

At fourty-five, the tests showed that her cancer was gone, but that only confirmed what she had felt for months now. The hollow inside her, the den where the cancer had slept for so long, was vacant. The emptiness of it ached like the socket of where a rotted tooth had once been.

At fourty-six, tender, raw, and out of practice, she began to live with tentative, new purpose: to fill the hollow in her heart with new loves and friendships. Always, a little wistfully. She could never shake the feeling that when the cancer departed, she had lost the one last, delicate strand of connection to a mother she had never really known.

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Fiction

New Story: Hunting Trip

I wrote this story out of pain and horror at the Sandy Hook massacre.  It didn’t occur to me then we were on a path to make this story a reality, but now I’m not so sure.  No editor would publish it, understandably. It’s flawed, but it captures the terror I feel about our possible future if people like Bannon are allowed to rise to power.  Do not read this unless you’re  in a good mental space.  This is a horror story.  This story has all the trigger warnings.  ALL OF THEM.  I’m not kidding.  This is the darkest thing I’ve ever written.

 

Hunting Trip

by Jeremiah Tolbert

Dex clamored out of the pickup into the heat-seared air of the disembarkment point. He slung Jane over his shoulder and shuffled his feet in the sand, watching while Dad finished checking his work messages for the thousandth time. Jane vibrated with excitement.

“Calm down,” he whispered and laid his hand across her flank.  She stilled under his touch, and he wished he could calm himself so easily. He’d had two coffees on the drive, and he and Jane had talked the entire drive from the enclave. Dad must have been feeling guilty about their fight earlier; Dex hadn’t needed to argue to keep Jane in his lap for the ride.

The only time Dex saw his father lately was in the news, and when he’d finally come home from his latest trip, Dad had brought up the subject of Dex’s low grade in survival studies. No hello. He’d launched into the lecturing and belittling right away.

“It’s your fault anyway!” Dex had shouted back. “The other boys in my class have actually hunted. How am I going to learn if I don’t do it?  You may be an expert hunter, but are are like the worst dad ever.” (more…)

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Fiction

“Taste the Singularity…” Live at Lightspeed Today!

My latest story, “Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus” is live today at Lightspeed Magazine.  This is a light-hearted story about not giving up on your dreams, on indulging what really matters to you, no matter what you think is the proper thing.  It takes place in a near-future Kansas City, has fun Willie Wonka references, and lots of strange food concepts that I think you’ll enjoy.

The story is online to read, and there’s a podcast version if you prefer to read with your ears.  I hope you’ll give it a chance and let me know if you liked it.

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Fiction