Articles

A New Hope, A Different Tack

What I’ve been up to and where I’ve been since the publication of Bride of the Fat White Vampire. Why I’ve resurrected my long-dead website. What I hope to be up to in the near future.

(posted 7/6/2011)

A New Hope, A Different Tack, part 1: My writing career gets off to a strong start out of the gate.  Boundless optimism!  I make plans to cut back on my day job and increase my writing hours.

A New Hope, A Different Tack, part 2: My second book does a belly flop in sales.  Editors don’t want to hear from my agent anymore.  Hurricane Katrina pays me a visit, and lots of stuff goes to hell.

A New Hope, A Different Tack, part 3: I meet Robin Sullivan of Ridan Books and decide to try out a new way of doing business, possibly resurrecting my writing career in the process.

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The Secret Origin of Jules Duchon, Vampire! Or, How Jules Duchon, New Orleans Bloodsucker, Got So Darned Fat

The question I get asked more than any other is, “How did you come up with the idea for Fat White Vampire Blues?” Here’s my answer.

(posted 7/7/2011)

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George Alec Effinger’s Thousand Deaths

My Afterword to the third collection of George Alec Effinger’s short fiction and novels edited by Marty Halpern for Golden Gryphon Press, A Thousand Deaths. A reflection on how George’s favorite of his novels, The Wolves of Memory, ended up a poignant foretelling of the final decade of his life.

(posted 7/13/2011)

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Lust for a Laptop, or the Madness of the Obsessive Collector

A novella-length memoir of my steamy romance with laptop computers; my acquiring a severe case of collectivitis; my blowing great, steaming wads of money on eBay; my ill-fated plan to create a collectors’ market for vintage portable computers; my fevered acquisition of 250 vintage laptops and palmtops; the joys of writing novels on the Panasonic Business Partner, the Gateway HandBook, and the Poqet PC; and the ignoble end of nearly two-thirds of my collection.

My experiences at the start of the Portable Computing Revolution. Twenty years of my life with laptops. Has it been that long already?

Lust for a Laptop, part 1: The beginnings of the affair. My flirtation with the Tandy 1100FD laptop. I get to know all the Radio Shack salesmen of Long Island. I dream of writing my first novel on a laptop at Borsodi’s Coffeehouse in New Orleans. I end up buying a Panasonic Business Partner CF-150B. I ditch my good job on Long Island and move back to New Orleans, chasing my dream.

Lust for a Laptop, part 2: Writing my first novel at Borsodi’s Coffeehouse. Performance art with laptop. The dismal end of my Panasonic Business Partner. Hello, Gateway HandBook! Running a campaign against holiday gunfire with the HandBook in hand. My marriage falls apart. I break my ankle and break my laptop, again.

Lust for a Laptop, part 3: I get divorced. I get depressed. I get on an antidepressant. I buy a Poqet PC. I start dating again. I begin writing Fat White Vampire Blues. My Poqet PC helps me score with a French Canadian doctoral student. I rewrite her dissertation in linguistics. She dumps me. I buy my first house. I get what seems like a great idea… which leads me into a whole heap of trouble down the road…

Lust for a Laptop, part 4: I get hooked on eBay and come down with a severe case of collectivitis. I justify my out-of-control buying by planning to write a book on the hobby of collecting vintage laptops. I secretly plan to corner the market. I believe my own bullshit. I blow wads of cash. I luxuriate in my madness. I begin filling up my house with laptops.

Lust for a Laptop, part 5: I break my house with the weight of my laptops. I meet the woman I will later marry and start a family with. I am too chicken to tell her about my vintage computer obsession. The Whistler robs me of sleep and peace of mind. Dara and I get married. Dara and I move into a bigger house. I move the laptops. Dara and I have Levi. Dara and I have Asher. I run out of vintage laptops to buy. I begin feeling ashamed of myself. Then the you-know-what hits the fan…

Lust for a Laptop, part 6: Hurricane Katrina traps my family first in Albuquerque, then in Miami. I suspect everything has been lost. We replace our roof, but the laptops survive (as do the cats, temporarily). Hard economic times when Dara’s job disappears after the storm. I try selling Saturns. I go to work for FEMA, temporarily. With the clock ticking down, I search desperately for a permanent job. I finally find one–in Washington, DC. I realize I won’t be able to take most of the laptops with me. I go through the painful process of culling my herd. The mysterious fate of two-thirds of my collection…

(posted 7/26-8/3/2011)

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Crossing the River Styx: Memories of the Aftermath of Katrina

Originally published in Moment Magazine in April, 2006, this article describes my homecoming to New Orleans six weeks after Hurricane Katrina breached the city’s protective levees and flooded eighty percent of the city. It focuses on a little described corner of the disaster: the fate of the city’s small but venerable Jewish congregations.

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The Absence of 9/11 from Science Fiction

Have the events of 9-11-2001 and the sociopolitical changes they spawned been mostly absent from science fiction? Or have they been present, even prevalent, but disguised? This article serves as the springboard to a fascinating, wide-ranging discussion among dozens of commentators.

(posted 9/9/2011)

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Science Fiction Movements and Manifestos

In science fiction, it’s not enough to merely write… you must offer a proclamation of why you choose to write what you do. A look back at the prominent and influential literary movements in the history of science fiction.

(posted 9/16/2011)

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Voices from the Planet of the Apes

A look back at those marvelous voices which spoke from behind the latex lips of John Chambers’ apes in the original Planet of the Apes series.

(posted 12/13/2011)

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Miyazaki’s Steampunk Battleships

An in-depth examination of the aesthetic of Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki, who took his inspirations for the marvelous machines in films such as Howl’s Moving Castle and Castle in the Sky from pioneering French graphic novelist Albert Robida and the battleships of the Victorian Era French Navy.

(posted 2/09/2012)

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What Kind of Literary Ecosystem Do We Want to Build?

A bit of brainstorming regarding the future of books, book selling, reading, and publishing in an era of constant, disruptive change to the industry.

(posted 5/09/2012)

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Watching the Sausage Get Made

My wife Dara serves as a poll watcher during the November, 2012 elections and is witness to widespread voter fraud in Northern Virginia.

(posted 11/28/2012)

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Burn the Witch! Swarm Cyber-Shaming in Science Fiction

Noted science fiction writers Barry N. Malzberg and Mike Resnick review the long, notable history of women professionals in science fiction in laudatory terms. However, they use the word “lady” as a modifier a few too many times; all hell breaks loose on the Internet.

(posted 6/20/2013)

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Will the Rise of Self-Publishing Change the Portrayal of Commerce in Science Fiction?

For much of the past fifty years, science fiction books and films have portrayed corporations and entrepreneurs as villains. But now that more and more SF authors are self-publishing and becoming entrepreneurs and small businesspeople themselves, will these personal experiences translate into a more positive portrayal of commerce in their works?

(posted 7/05/2013>

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Tributes

Fond remembrances of giants in the fields of imaginative literature and film, written shortly after their passing.

Remembering Anne McCaffrey (posted 12/04/2011)

Remembering Joe Simon (posted 12/16/2011)

Remembering Ray Bradbury (posted 6/06/2012)

Remembering Ernest Borgnine (posted 7/09/2012)

Remembering Richard Matheson (posted 6/26/2013)

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