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Christmas Memories of Mister Bear

Mr. Bear walks into the room while I am putting on Christmas clothes for a Christmas party.

MB: “I don’t think that Christmas movies are really trying.”

ME: “In what sense?”

MB: “I just searched through the Netflix Christmas movie section. They have a movie called ‘A Christmas Puppy’. The cover is literally a picture of a puppy with a bow around its neck.”

ME: “And this represents a lack of effort.”

MB: “I would say that they are failing to plumb the depths of the human experience, yes.”

ME: “This is not drama which lives up to the ideals of Aristotle and Shakespeare.”

MB: “Look, I’m not saying that it’s IMPOSSIBLE that a movie called ‘A Christmas Puppy’ could be a deep existential think piece about what it means to be loved and wanted…”

ME: “So what you’re looking for is ‘A Christmas Puppy, by S√łren Kierkegaard’.”

MB: “That would be awesome.”

People think I’m the weird one.

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Deep Magic – December


Just a word to say that the December issue of Deep Magic: the E-Zine of Clean Science Fiction and Fantasy, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

This issue features my novelette “Imperial Ghosts”, which I hope you will enjoy. ūüôā

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Package Opening!

The creator of this video sent me the link on Twitter.

I was completely unprepared for it, and caught off guard.

I actually burst into tears.

Being the reason that someone is excited to open a box never gets old. And it did my heart good to know that I had inspired someone to create his own universe.

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We Are At War

Just a few words about the election and its inevitable aftermath. I will not speak about this subject extensively or often, as I am not a political writer, nor am I directly in the targeting reticle of America’s Happy Shiny Nazi Party (which has attempted to brand itself the “alt-right” in recent years).

The outcome of the election has been a source of immense pain for me, as it is for many politically progressive Americans. I am deeply disappointed and deeply ashamed of my fellow citizens for putting Donald Trump in office with their votes.

Unlike most Liberals, however, I was already frightened and disturbed that Trump was able to win the Republican nomination at all, given his record of abuses, his incredibly ugly ¬†rhetoric, and his preposterous and often dangerously dumb¬†campaign promises. I was well aware of Trump’s resemblance to Hitler and Mussolini, which he seemed to consciously orchestrate with his speeches¬†and mannerisms.

I am even more aghast after all the votes are counted to find that both the House and the Senate will¬†have a Republican majority, which will leave the American absolutely defenseless against the rabid jackals that are about to be unleashed on Capital Hill. The Supreme Court, the legal rights of all minorities, the rights of women, the lives of those who depend on social security and Medicaid…so much domestic damage will be done under this administration that it is nearly incalculable. And that’s BEFORE you imagine how bad things can and will get when Trump starts deploying troops or firing nukes.

If precedents from previous Republican administrations¬†can be relied upon…a lot of the damage done will also be irreparable. In many respects, this country has never recovered from blows dealt to the working and middle classes by Reagan, Bush, and Shrub.

Every whim of plutocratic industrial capitalism at its worst is about to be rammed down our throats. Trump and his cronies will unravel¬†every positive change made by every President since Roosevelt–and when I say “Roosevelt”, I mean Teddy, not FDR. Because even¬†our National Parks are about to¬†be destroyed in an¬†orgy of sociopathy, stupidity and greed–I guarantee it.

But ultimately…beyond the horror of bad faith, lies and retrograde politics this country is about to see…the footage of the Nazis celebrating their victory in Washington is the one image of Trump’s election that really sums it all up, for me.

If this is what “Democracy” looks like in the 20th century–Nazis throwing their Sieg Heil in a public building in Washington DC to celebrate the election of a Nazi President…then you can count me out.

Both my grandfathers went to war and risked their lives to keep people like this from ruling the world.

If this America now…then “America” and I are now at war. Which is pretty scary, because America has the largest and most powerful military in the history of the world…and all I’ve got is this laptop.

Oh well.





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The Evelyn Tables




Found a brief article today which included rare photos of The Evelyn Tables, which are thought to be the earliest known anatomical preparations in Europe. Each table is a wooden board, large enough to be a bit greater than the length and width of a human being. On each board, some system of the human body has been carefully removed from its surrounding tissues and structures, and laid out for study. The complete system is represented to the degree possible, after having been dissected with breathtaking care from the surrounding tissues and structures and arranged on the two-dimensional plane.



Everything human is fascinating to me, including human anatomy. I tend to feel a kinship with the creators and collectors of anatomical art over the millennia, especially those whose art was grounded in medical science and the humanistic will to understand.

For this reason, I gravitate strongly toward the anatomical art of many eras–everything from the¬†memento mori art that emerges from various religious traditions to the modern art that incorporates or celebrates the human corpse.

To read more about the Evelyn Tables, and about the tradition of Anatomical Tables in general:

The Royal College of Physicians: The Anatomical Tables

Emma Goldsmith on the Hunterian Museum, and other treasures held by the Royal College of Surgeons

Curious Anatomies: A Video By the Royal College of Physicians.



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The Bones Tell All

Link to the article on Vintage News

Dug up an older article¬†today which briefly describes some research¬†which was done on Viking “warrior burials” in eastern England. Earlier gender attributions had assigned these individuals as “male” based on their grave goods, which often included a sword and/or knife. Once you do the actual science, however, six of the fourteen “warrior” burials are biologically female, seven are biologically male,¬†and one could not be determined.

Link to the article on Tor.com

The upshot to this story is the same that you find with the Hunter of Bäckaskog and many other cases in mortuary archaeology. You have to be very careful about applying modern gender stereotypes and prejudices to an ancient burial population. Your job as an archaeologist is to reconstruct the values, social roles and division of labor in the past based on evidence. (This is worth repeating in all caps: EVIDENCE.)

Your job is not to regurgitate your modern view of what is “natural” or even “possible” for men and women, based on your own social training and gender expectations in the 20th and 21st century.

Do. Your. Osteology.

Every. Single. Time.

Link to the article on Jezebel.

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World Fantasy Award for She Walks In Shadows!


Incredibly pleased to say that She Walks In Shadows by Innsmouth Free Press has won the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology.

Congratulations are due to all the winners this year, but I know this award is particularly richly deserved. Stiles and Moreno-Garcia have been doing important work for many years now, and it’s an honor to be on the TOC of this book.

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Latest Sale – “Imperial Ghosts”


Made a new fiction sale, and received the go-ahead from the publisher to share the details!

My novella “Imperial Ghosts” has been sold to Deep Magic, the E-zine of Clean Science Fiction and Fantasy. Since 2002, this publication has been providing a home for speculative fiction which explores big ideas or conveys a sense of wonder without including heavy gore or explicit sex.

Needless to say I am incredibly thrilled to be working with editor/founder Brendan Taylor and the crew at Deep Magic. Venues that offer professional rates and remain open to longer works are rare in this field. The turn-around time is also nice fast–my story is slated for the December issue, which makes me very happy.

I’m more than usually¬†pleased that this story has finally found a home, however, as I have been sending it out off-and-on for years now. I would tend to dust it off every 18 months or so, give it another revision and polish, and then try sending it to any venue or editor who hadn’t seen it. Nevertheless, this one always seemed to be my “almost-sold” story, the one that the editors would hold onto for a long time, seriously tempted to buy it, but then finally reject with a personal note that said they liked it, but it “didn’t quite work well enough”.

I’ve revised it in a few ways over the years, but it was editor¬†C.c. Finlay at the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction who finally gave me the key to “fixing” the story, by pin-pointing the one scene that really was fatally flawed. I took a step back, looked at it with a fresh perspective, and agreed with him that it actually WASN’T right–that one scene was completely counter to the protagonist’s true personality and her sense of agency throughout the rest of the piece.

So I re-wrote it, in a very simple way. And boom. The story sold to the next editor who saw it.

I always try to listen to constructive criticism, but this is a really fantastic example of the most constructive criticism a writer can receive. A lot of people can tell you that something is not quite working about a piece of fiction–but a person who can point out the exact place where you might have lost your way is worth his weight in gold.

Many thanks, Mister Finlay! I owe you one.



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Grey Goop is Here!


Just a quick note to let you all know that one of the projects I’ve been working on for the last few weeks is now on-line.

Grey Goop is the latest expansion of Kaiju-A-Gogo, including a brand new kaiju and a new Mad Scientist crew. The proud creator/owner/operator of the Goop is Malady Maleficarum, who teams up with her intern Mister Gill and her retired supervillain father Malachi Maleficarum to take over the world.

The Goop is a really interesting kaiju, composed of programmable nanites. As such it has incredible (and kind of adorable) shape-shifting abilities, most of which appear in its metabolic tree.

It was really fun writing the scripted messages for the  crew and I sincerely hope that all of the kaiju fans out there will enjoy playing with the monster. We even made it a special alternate skin to wear as a Halloween costume!

Buy Kaiju-A-Gogo on Steam

Buy the Grey Goop DLC

Grab the Grave Goop Skin

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