Friday, September 30, 2005

Michael A. Stackpole

Not to name-drop, but I was fortunate enough recently to have a fairly extensive conversation about writing with NY Times Bestselling author, Michael A. Stackpole, who's also a friend of the Dragon Page.
He's a really bright guy.
I've met and talk to lots of writiers in my relatively brief time in the field; while 99% of the writers out there are bright, engaging people, it's rare that the conversations ever inspire me to go check out their stuff. This is the case with Stackpole; I definitely plan to wedge one of his books, probably either "I, Jedi" or "Talion: Revenant", into my already-bloated reading queue...

And damn, looking at the pre-novelist game design credits on his resume (at his website), I wish I'd checked that before talking to him. "Nuclear Escalation", "Champions", a Neuromancer video game, just ot name a few of the more interesting ones. . .

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Finely Aged Cheese

This is awesome!

Supremely hokey pre-60s SF radio dramas unearthed and podcasted for our pleasure.
The way overdramatic presentation, replete with goofy sound FX and hammy performances in the Heinlein piece are a joy to my irony-appreciative ears. I can'twait to get to the Flash Gordon one.

AHOP readers know that I do have a soft spot for the hokey prehistoric SF serials. I don't usually seek them out, but am always pleased to stumble across such obsolete treasures.

There's definitely an Original Star Trek series feel to it... I'm subscribed. Go give a listen. It will also help you to appreciate just what a fantastic job Steve Eley is doing with Escape Pod.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Another place I was quoted

Did I ever post this one? No, I don't think so.
Quite awhile back, I found that my review of William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" for Beyond Infinity Magazine had been quoted at the Barrel Magic! website, in a section apparently devoted to the compilation of thoughts on the book.

I'm pretty proud of that review actually. In it, I'd first gone public with my observation that William Gibson tends to fixate on rose imagery in his writings. I can cite the story titles, "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" and "New Rose Hotel", not to mention the scores of "rose" referencs that tend to appear throughout his prose.
Any other Gibson devotees out there? Can you point to other examples of this - help to further recognize this pattern in his writing?
I suppose I oughtta also post this question to fashionpolice and the others over at William Gibson's personal message boards...

I hope my leg don't break/Walking on the Moon

Dealing with a suprise OS death, halfway through the ressurection at the moment. Otherwise, pinching seconds here and there to get writing work done... I'll check in again in a day or two.

In the meantime, I recommend the newest IMAX movie: Maginificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. James Cameron's "Aliens of the Deep" is a superior funny glasses/giant screen movie, but this one is still freekin' cool. Go check it out.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I have a new thing out there...

Could this blog post's title be more vague?

I'm an author, not a poet (dammit Jim), but I've recorded a ...... podiopoem(?) entitled, "Street Corner", for your listening and literary pleasure.

It's a dark, edgy piece (from me, imagine that). Check it out at my page and/or my Internet Archive page.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Spherical Tomi "Coming Soon" at Podiobooks

Check out the podiobooks site!

"Spherical Tomi" is in rotation now in the "Coming Soon" box at the top of the page (so you may have to refresh your browser a few times to see it).

Once you do see the nifty cover image, you can scroll over it and see the detailed description, written specifically for

Messier and Stevens

Here are some thoughts..... (there's a connection to my previous post):

Mark Messier is one of the 5 best players ever to play NHL hockey. Maybe one of the 3 best. His legacy is truly awe-inspring. As a leader of men and fans, he is as accomplished as anyone in the history of professional sports. And on top of all that, his sincere charitable off-ice actions speak of a truly noble soul.

I hate him.
As a Devils fan since they moved from Colorado to NJ, I detest this man, who singlehandedly led the Rangers to come from behind and eliminate the Devils in '94, and to go on to the Rangers' famous Cup win.
The sight of that bald, Mad-Max-villain's scalp, that big face, that number 11 on a blue jersey, just sticks completely in my craw. I've been tickled with delight at all of the years of Ranger futility to follow up that Cup victory, especially as the Devils have maintained elite status, winning THREE Stanley Cups. To see Scott Stevens, another truly great, sorely underappreciated captain, leader, and player lead his team to those championships, and to get the Conn Smythe in lieu of the Norris Trophies he's owed. It was especially satisfying to see the Rangers suck year after year, even with Messier back on the bench.

But this is unfair --- it's an entirely biased stance, from the viewpoint of a heavily-biased Devils fan. Mark Messier is a great hockey player, and from all accounts, a great man. It's a shame that his chances at the Stanley Cup were basically non-existent after '94, and that his career numbers suffered from so many seasons spent on such a pitiful team. I hate Mark Messier as the icon of my team's biggest rival, but if I ever met him, I'd shake his hand and congratulate him on an amazing career. Though it suits my agenda to praise the Devils successes, and to make people aware of Scott Stevens' too-oft-overlooked or dismissed, incredible career amd talent, I have to also credit Messier where he's due. And I have to grudgingly admit that Messier ranks higher than Scott Stevens on the list of all-time greats.

However, Scott Stevens is the greatest NHL defenseman to play the game during my lifetime. Arguably the second-best of all time, behind Bobby Orr. Now I know that hockey fans with their own agendas will cry out against this statement (namely Flyers and Rangers fans), so I'll outline a few facts:
I've watched countless great blueliners over the years, including Denis Potvin, Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, etc. All of those guys were (or are) great, but none can match Stevens' on-ice accomplishments. Forget the Norris trophy, given each year to the highest-scoring defenseman. There will eventually be a trophy for best defensive defenseman, and who will it be named for?
You can talk about how Potvin captained the Islanders to 4 straight Cup wins. It's true, and he was a big part of all 4. But. That team's roster was stacked with amazing talents. If he'd been lost to trade or injury during that run, the Isles still would have taken the Cup in each of those years. The Devils won 3 Cups with Stevens wearing the 'C'. In all those of those championship seasons - without Stevens, there would have been no Devils' Cup win. Jacques Lemaire was a brilliant coach, yes. Brodeur is a great goaltender, yes. Scott Niedermayer's talent is obvious to all, yes. Praise is also due for Elias, Madden, etc. But Scott Stevens was the integral piece of each of those Devils' Cup teams, each team with a different coach and each with a notably different roster. He deserved the Conn Smythe in 2000, and a share of it in '95 and '03. His leadership isn't as flashy or media-friendly as Messier's (no predictions in the papers), but it's undeniable, nearly tangible. The low-media side of the Hudson River suited his low-key, understated, modest, lead-by-example approach to captaining a team -- a highly succesful team, I might add, with three different Stanley Cup parades within 8 years in the Meadowlands parking lot.

Also - No defenseman can match Scott Stevens' skill or on-ice intelligence (in his prime).

Yes, he was a hothead early on for the Caps, but by the time Lou Lamoriello had acquired him for NJ, he'd developed into a mature, calm, cool, strong, smart, intimidating leader, on and off the ice. Yes, Bourque, Chelios, Lidstrom, and co. are all highly skilled hall-of-fame worthies, but I'd rather have Scott Stevens back in my zone any day to defend against a 3-on-1 or 2-on-1, regardless of the goaltender. I'd rather have Scott Stevens on a penalty kill any day. There have been many other defenseman better on the power play, but Scott Stevens also proved his value there, using his size, strength, and quick wits to create chances. Let's not forget that this "Defensive-minded blueliner" once led the Devils in scoring (I don't recall the year, offhand).

And finally, let no one tell you he was a cheap-shot artist. All of his most reknowned hits were entirely clean and legal. I met Scott Stevens once and shook his hand -- my normal-sized hand disappeared inside of his huge mitt. He's just bigger and stronger than everyone else in the room, even most of those guys on the ice. There was never any chippy, dirty malicious stuff, as per Ulf Samuellson, Dale Hunter, Brian Marchment, or (yes, yes) Claude Lemieux ---anyone who tells you otherwise is pushing their own fan-biased agenda. If you got in the boxing ring and took a legal punch from Lennox Lewis that broke your skull, it would be unfortunate, but it wouldn't be because he "cheap-shotted" you. It would be because he's just way too strong for you.

So let's recognize Scott Stevens and Mark Messier for the great careers, talent, and spirit they've both known. Let the number 4 be retired in NJ, and let the number 11 be retired in NY AND Edmonton.


OK, I have nothing new to report, so I'm going to address an increasing problem. This is a Top-O'-Me-Head rant, not a studied, researched thesis, so grok the gist, rather than minor factual inconsistencies.

Acceptable agendas when speaking, blogging, posting to bulletin boards (basically whenever you're spouting off your stupid opinion):
~To bring up, reinforce or argue against (with facts or civil statements of mere consent or disagreement), or contribute additional bits of information or insight about a noteworthy topic, whether it be George Lucas's dialogue, butter vs. jelly on English muffins, Mario Lemieux vs. Wayne Gretzky, or the mishandling of the human devastation in hurricane Katrina's aftermath.
*Note* If your sole intention is to say something funny for ALL parties involved, then really, no comments are off-limits.

Unacceptable agendas when speaking, blogging, posting to bulletin boards (basically whenever you're spouting off your stupid opinion):
~Arguing simply to defend or attack a particular ideology, group, or individual - rather than looking objectively at the facts and considering each situation separately. It's fine and logical to allow past experience/observations to help mold your opinion, but keep your political allegiances out of it. (see attacks and especially defenses of Bush Administration).
~Branding those of different viewpoints with terms meant to package them together with other groups that you and your political bedfellows find distasteful. ("You think oil companies need to be restrained? You're a damn liberal PETA-loving tree-hugger communist." "You think it's OK to eat meat? You're a redneck Republican racist fascist dittohead.") This accomplishes nothing.
~Arguing/posting with the real intention of proving how smart you are, disguised as your thoughts on a topic. (see IMDB boards)
~Telling those of different viewpoints that they're just not intelligent enough to understand your statement. (see IMDB boards)
~Speaking with the sole intention of pissing off other parties. *Note* There are cases where this is perfectly acceptable.

And now - I'll link you to Bill Maher's latest Rule about evil.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Mention on Alien Ethos podcast

Kade Hutchinson from the Alien Ethos podcast was in the audience for my "Duel of the Fates: Battle Royale" panel at CopperCon (the guy in the kilt). Not only did he provide a lot of good feedback for the Battle, but he also discusses the experience on the second episode of their show. It was cool to hear that his partner Kevin L. Pratt, was familiar with Duel of the Fates shows from "Wingin' It!". Thanks for the mention, guys!

They're doing some interesting stuff on that show. Sounds very professional, and they're both pretty bright guys. They're plumbing a bit deeper into the material than most other shows, but still having fun.
As is becoming increasingly evident, I don't follow many (any) TV series, so I couldn't follow much of their BS:G discussion -- but I can still appreciate the themes. Recommended listening!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Laser Tag Memoir *UPDATE*

Many thanks and kudos to the staff at IROSF ---
They'd initially printed the original, inferior draft of "Supremacy: A Laser Tag Memoir" for Vol. II, Issue #8. I alerted them to this; they apologized for the error and have posted the far-superior rewrite on their site. Many thanks to Bluejack, Joy Ralph, and Travitt over at IROSF for their highly professional handling of the situation. My Bio has been updated there too.

I also appreciate their interest in the essay. Laser Tag isn't a topic that garners much mainstream attention, but it was a big deal for a small subset of people, especially gamers, movers, shakers, and loiterers in the Sci-Fi community. Photon played a huge role during a crucial stage of my life, and deserves at least some small treatment from me. It's a good essay (if I do say so myself). Give it a read.

Now, I just hope that Hawk of the Undertakers doesn't come across it and get too pissed off.....

--update to the update-- You do have to register to get in and read the full article, but it's free, and you needn't fear eternal spamnation afterwards.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Madness of King George

OK, I've stated that I'll never wax political in this blog. This isn't waxing, only quoting. And it will probably be the only time, so enjoy it (or be infuriated by it. Whatever.)

I'm quoting from Bill Maher's New Rule, calling for a California-style recall presidential election.

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!

Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in...Please don't. I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.

Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky!

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint." "

Incidentally - I have a question of my own. Why do political groups in favor of one-party dominance and freedom suppression always associate themselves with the color red?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cover to Cover

Go give a listen to this week's (and every week's) Dragon Page Cover to Cover - especially the "Feeding the Dragon" segment.

And cool -- it's on XM Radio too.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Thus Endeth CopperCon

I went, I saw, I did a few panels...
It was cool as always to see the core Dragon Pagers there (Mike, Evo, Summer, and Joe).

Cool people I met (and remember their names): Mike D'Ambrosia, Tee Morris, Michael Stackpole, Catherine Cook, Greg Keyes.
Cool people I was glad to see again: Ernest and Emily Hogan, Paul Tanton.

The highlight of the Con for me was the Live Duel of the Fates panel. Not a big turnout, but enough to get some great, fun results. Dr. Frank N Furter beat out Capt. Malcolm Reynolds in the tie-breaker to win the whole thing. Tee Morris set up an audio recording device, but I was pacing, so it may not have recorded all that well... Thanks to Tee for that, and also for absorbing some good-natured, entirely unfair jokes about his favorite TV series. Also thanks to the audience who did show up (the wives, the drunk girl, the two Serenity fans, that guy in the kilt -- he had some great feedback. I'd have listed him above if I could remember his name.)

And incidentally -- I've never met Derek from Skepticality, but I've listened to some of their shows. His name was mentioned quite a few times at CopperCon... My hope, support, and best wishes go out to him and his loved ones.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Laser Tag Memoir

My essay, "Supremacy: A Laser Tag Memoir", has been posted in the latest issue of IROSF (The Internet Review of Science Fiction).

All about my Photon experience.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The latest

Gosh has it really been six days since my last blog post?

Not a good time for blogluster to set in... (I also like the term, "blogfunk").

I don't have much news to dish, so I'll reiterate the important stuff.

"Spherical Tomi" is out at -- and from what I hear, is making "a good strong showing for an ebook 1st week". And lookie - it got its first rating -- a "Great"!!! woo hoo... (No, I didn't post that. I honestly don't know who did.)

In other news - CopperCon is just around the corner! I'll be in and out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Live "Duel of the Fates" is scheduled for 9:30 Saturday night -- you're invited! Show up, give your $0.02, maybe get some free stuff.
I know most people don't like author readings, but my "Spherical Tomi" reading, Sunday, 10:30-11:30, will be a bit different. I'll have some cool guests, and I hope (in addition to the reading) to get into a mini-writerly discussion, for beginners and experts alike.

Is that everything? Oh yeah, friggin tired lately.... You heard me on last week's Wingin' It! right? If not, go check it out.

Finally - I do have a big, cool news item to report, but I'm holding off for the mo; will post it later tonight or maybe tomorrow. I won't wait another 6 days --- check back soon.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


So listen.

I'll be at CopperCon in Phoenix, Sept 9-11. That's only a few days from now!

I'm running a live "Duel of the Fates: Battle Royale" panel Saturday night at 9:30. Evo Terra will be there to help out, along with (possibly) a few other surprise guests. The audience will select the 5 contestants and then we'll pit them against each other in the 5 categories, with a randomly selected rotating category. There will be some prizes to be given away... It's going to be a fun time.

I'm also doing a reading of Spherical Tomi Sunday morning at 10:30. Come check it out. I'm planning to spice it up a bit, not just do a 20-30 minute drone through the book, while the audience drifts and prays for the end.... I know some other authors will probably drop in, so drop by the reading to see what happens.

I also have a panel on Critical Reviews on Friday night... and I'm doing podiobooks with Evo Terra and Tee Morris Saturday morning - and I'll just be around, in and out of stuff... Feel free to say hello if you see me.

Do check out the DotF Saturday night though