I’m thrilled to announce that my upcoming book, The Sightless City, is a finalist for the OZMA Book Awards for Fantasy Fiction 2019!
I realize I haven't posted in a good while. In the liminal space I find my career at, perhaps that's natural, or perhaps I'm busy, or perhaps any number of excuses.
It's a strange time at the moment. Well that's being kind, it's a pretty awful time. If you are an american, then its been a good long while since we've had a disaster quite like this, something national and long-term, not just scary, but immediate. We are all affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and none of us truly know what will happen next.
So what do I have to post? Just a game, just a silly thing on twine. But I think they're value in silly things, particularly in unsilly times. Enjoy it if you want, that's certainly my hope, but whatever happens, take care of yourself.
Starlight is, like many student games, unfinished, ideas tossed and stitched together in a desperate last-minute attempt to get something working. In that sense, its tower could be seen like that of Babels. This is no criticism in the slightest of our hardworking programmer, quite the opposite. They put an idea into flesh and blood on a program that was new to them, and made manifest ideas that were far too ambitious for the small team. That the program runs at all is a testament to their skill and determination, in spite of the foolhardy ambition of me and other more hands-off designers.
Still, there is something there, even in its embryonic form. Starlight was an attempt to make loss into a physical form, something to be climbed and overcome, but never discarded. As a young man who had suffered only the expected tragedies that come with any life, it was hubris certainly to attempt to make such a statement, and I can't claim I fully succeeded. Still, there was something magical about walking through a tower built from ideas I contributed to, to see ideas on the page becomes something a bit more tangible, to interact with entities built from collaboration on ideas we were all excited to try to explore. Hubris is merely the overextension of ambition, and though it can be blinding, and occasionally foolish, without striving in its direction we, and I mean the universal WE, would never have gotten anything done.
So build that Tower of Babel. It may fall, but in its tragedy we get the wonder of human language. And perhaps, that is worth more than what was lost.
I love Ridley Scott's Alien (and Aliens for that matter. I pretend the rest of the series doesn't exist). The xenomorph itself is one the most fascinating of all movie monsters, but what I love about it, is that despite how alien it can seem, it's disturbing lifestyle is not alien at all. We have chestbursting xenomorphs here on earth, we just call them wasps. They (at least the parasitoidic variety) lead a lifestyle so horrific that they helped push Charles Darwin to agnosticism. "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars..."
Wasps are not alone, during my biology undergraduate education I learned that the harshness of natural selection is not limited to predation. Parenting can be just as brutal as any hunt. Sibling competes against siblings, parents and offspring have divergent strategies on breastfeeding, and mothers may devour their offspring when conditions are bad. Where am I going with this? Well I just published a new flash fiction piece. So read it if you get a chance, and thank your mother the next time you get the chance, for not devouring you when the house flooded in order to regain her investment of calories.
Mutation has a bad rap. Sensibly so, I suppose, it is, you know, often fatal. Outside of the X-men you don't hear many good things about mutations.