Saturday, June 24, 2017

Music Blog: Now We Are Free - Tina Guo

More music. Yes, I know, I'm boring, and a little lazy. But still, I'm going off to LibertyCon on Tuesday, driving down all the way, and getting there by Thursday night. So pardon me if I'm looking for filler.

Anyway, Tina Guo isn't all that bad to look at, now is she? You might recall her from other music blog posts where she's very ... enthusiastic about playing the cello. Heh.

Be well all.



FOR THE RECORD, you have pretty much only ONE MORE WEEK to order it at deep discounts from the publisher. A dollar e-book, or half off the paperback.

Or you can get it here from Amazon.

So you might want to get on that.

And, if you've done that....

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.


The Love at First Bite series. 


    

Friday, June 23, 2017

Who hates religion in fiction?

I'm always wary about reviews that talk about how a book is "too religious." Not even that it's religious message fic (which sucks) but that the character has religion, or is religious at all.

Sometimes I think there are people out there who are hurt at the mere mention of religion in a novel.

And I'm not talking about religious themes, or concepts, or overtones, but religion itself. What moron thinks like that? This is basic, dirt-stupid cultural anthropology. We're somehow going to have a world completely and utterly devoid of religion? What evangelical atheist paradise is this?

I mean, heck, a world devoid of all Judeo-Christian mythos will still have pagans. Just look at L Jagi Lamplighter's Rachel Griffin books if you don't believe me.

But to discount religion or religious characters, there goes half of David Weber, most of Larry Correia and at least two entire series by John Ringo. Hell, there goes Terry Goodkind and his made-up nuns in The Sword of Truth. There even goes William Lehman's books. There goes Ann Margaret Lewis, Karina Fabian, Richard Paolinelli, John C. Wright....

How about Chronicles of Narnia? Is that going into the wood-chipper too? I'm sure that Tolkein barely gets a pass, because his books were supposed to be a "pre-Christian" mythos, but he himself is Catholic.

But, heck, even the new Wonder Woman film made Ares sound like the Judeo-Christian Satan. I guess that goes down the crapper.

"I don't like religion in my stories" ... yeah, good luck with finding something completely and utterly devoid of faith. I wonder if people like this were offended by Captain America's line that "There's only one God, and he doesn't dress like [Loki or Thor]." Because, you know, that was a line written by an atheist. Even Joss Whedon respects the religion of character more than some people.

But I do try to get my head around this concept or having no religion. Are we now in a position where everyone is supposed to have one, monotonal thought process of Atheism? This is, of course, excluding the idea that Atheism itself is a religion. If you don't believe me, go out and meet the anti-theist branch sometime (THE IDEA OF GOD IS EVIL AND SO ARE THEIR FOLLOWERS), instead of the more libertarian branch ("I don't believe, and I don't care if you do. Next").

I'm sorry, but I'm generally open to all ideas and all thought processes. I read Eric Flint, atheist Communist. I read John Ringo, Recovering semi-Catholic. David Weber and Timothy Zahn, who are both ministers, if I recall correctly. John and Jagi Wright. Richard Paolinelli, who believes in God, and it's in his books. Larry the Mormon Correia.

Seriously, in order to pull something like that, I can only conclude one would have to be some sort of anti-religious SJW-zealot who hates religion in general. They're the only ones closed-minded enough to be offended by a character who might even have a religion.

I mean, good God, congratulations, there goes Dracula, by Bram Stoker. That had the Eucharist! They're Catholics involved! OMG! I can only conclude that this is particularly painful to read.

Even Die Hard has religious Catholics. The McClanes! It's directly referenced in movies 1-3. Congratulations, that's enough to be hated by this sort of person.

And anyone who hates Die Hard simply and absolutely HAS NO SOUL.

I'm sorry, wrapping my brain around a secular universe makes my brain hurt. This is in defiance of all basic cultural anthropology. Despite statements made by random philosophers, there has not now, nor has there ever been, in the history of the world, a society that is purely secular or atheistic. The closest we get in America are Deists among the founding fathers, but  that list also includes Reverends, so that's an interesting conversation. The first person who cites Thomas Jefferson will have to justify every contradictory statement Jefferson ever made, and citing the Creator in the first line of the Declaration of Independence.

But religion is a thing. It is a part of any society. Ancient Greeks made being an atheist a capital crime -- if you didn't pray to Athena in Athens, you obviously didn't have the interests of the city at heart, and you had to go.

Now, granted, sure, I've had some people make books that are religious message fiction. That, of course, can be problematic. Because message fiction is message fiction, no matter the message. The problem isn't necessarily the message -- Hell, I like the "save the whales" film, Star Trek IV, but that's because it was funny -- but the execution of story, plot and characters .... usually, that there is little to none of any of the above. But one cannot lump that in with Narnia, or Rachel Griffin or anything by John C Wright has written. To do so is BS.

Heck, even my novel, A Pius Man has religious characters in it ... a Jew, a Muslim, a half-dozen Catholics. Which one gets hated upon the most? Technically, the story itself isn't religious, as it centers on a historical element. But there are priests and Popes, and rosaries, and the historical MacGuffin is around the Pope of World War II. I'm certain that's enough to get those who hate religion to sniff and wave, "move along. Go find your own kind. To the back of the bus with you."

As Jeffro Johnson pointed out in his Appendix N, religion in fiction goes all the way back into the Pulps, where Christianity can rout the fae, God can be a player. Heck, look at Superversive SF, which is also welcoming to God.

And then there's SuperversiveSF, the blog. God, faith, and religion are all over the place. You can't escape it.

And this is why I think that Superversive SF and Jeffro's Pulp Revolution are probably the future of science fiction and fantasy. There are no gate keeping here. There's no snobbish, anti-religious bias that I've seen. I don't even think there's an anti-left bias, as long as one avoids going full SJW, but I could be mistaken.

It's nice that, among the SVSF / Pulp folk, there's an open, accepting atmosphere where even a freak like me can feel welcome.

Illegitimi non carborundum



And, if you've done that....

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pius Writing

Over the years on this blog, I've talked a lot about how A Pius Man came about, and I've muttered about some of my research on it. I've talked about the characters, and their biographies, and their progress from being a biography to being a real person I play with in my head.

I don't think I've ever mentioned my thought process behind the evolution of the novel.

You see, once upon a time, I considered writing a murder mystery in the Vatican. I made the head of security an Irish redhead who had family with the IRA. I was going to murder a bishop or a Cardinal or something like that. I had a Hispanic Pope named Hector (I don't recall the Papal name), and a few other loose elements kicking around. I may have had a whole page of notes.

Obviously, when I started on A Pius Man, that project went the way of the dodo.

However, one thing that stuck was it was going to be a mystery. I wanted everyone to be under suspicion. I wanted everyone to look dark and sinister, and let the reader decide who to trust, and when they could be trusted. I wanted to cheat, like Agatha Christie, and make even the investigators look like they could be in on the plot.

I wanted it look, at first glance, like every other knock off of that idiot that shall not be named.

Not that anyone would know who that is.

**COUGH** **COUGH**


Basically, I wanted it to look like X. Because, hey, if it looks like X, X is a proven formula. X is harmless. X is status quo.

A Pius Man is at once both subversive and superversive. Superversive in content, but I totally intend to subvert the status quo of X stories.

Obviously, as the first 4-5 chapters are released, you're going to have to tell me how much I managed to make A Pius Man look like the stories we've all come to know and loathe, before the story kicks into high gear and becomes a knock-down drag-out thriller.

And of course, as I've mentioned before on this blog, it spiraled. Mostly because one son of a bitch just wouldn't die.

Again, what I intend may not be what you see, but then again, I'm the idiot who thought that Honor at Stake was a light, fluffy throwaway book. So I'm not the best judge of character.

But you are. Tell me what you think when you read it.



And, if you've done that....

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.


The Love at First Bite series. 


    

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pius Politics

I mentioned politics in the last post, and I meant to really get on that a little more, but I sort of drifted away from politics and into my general temperament, which impacts my politics, but doesn't spell out what the bleep they are, or how they show up in my novel, A Pius Man

As I said before, I lean libertarian-right. More laws just means that the government can screw you over in more and more various and sundry ways, so I'm wary on laws for the "common good." I won't say kill all the lawyers, but I think tort reform can do that easily enough. Unfortunately, like most people, I'm a bit schizophrenic. I dislike the premise of feeding Moloch, but there are certain people I really want to remove themselves from the gene pool. I'm a New Yorker who thinks everyone should own a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun. I think drugs a really, really bad idea, but hey, legalize them -- the more people who get high, the more Darwin awards we can hand out.... except for PCP, not even drug dealers will sell that crap anymore, as a general rule. 

Like libertarians, there are a lot of things I don't personally believe in, and wouldn't recommend, but I'm leaving the fate of your own soul between you and God. Enjoy.

I generally despise politics with the burning passion of a thousand suns. The government should leave me alone unless I need actual aid -- like someone has broken into my house and I've run out of bullets.

So, of course, since I truly loathe politics, A Pius Man happens to be the most politically charged book I've ever written. With the overall topic of Pius XII, I do take a side. I believe my conclusions are obvious based on my research. 

However, the political portions of the book are discussions, not rants. And the politics are driven more by the characters than by me.

For example...

Sean A.P. Ryan. Mercenary. Believes in the free market system, heavy weaponry, and grew up in Hollywood: therefore he has lived his entire life swimming out of a Leftist cesspool, and dove into the chlorinated waters of libertarianism. When queried on his political affiliations, he would say, “I believe people should be able to own marijuana and machine guns. I will laugh at the marijuana crowd, but if I have my guns, I'm happy.”

Scott Murphy. He's a spy who huts down terrorists for a living. His politics: “I believe in the power of waterboarding. But I'd sooner talk terrorists to death. It's more painful in the long run. When you can talk them into revealing everything they know, kill them, move up the chain of command. Repeat until they're willing to be peaceful, or they are peacefully dead.” He's an accountant by training, so his first thought is how to steal terrorist money.

Giovanni Figlia. Cop. His father was blown up by a Red Army faction in the 1980s, so he has a grudge against extreme, gun-toting Leftists. Aside from that, his politics are: “I have to protect the most powerful religious leader on the planet, and he insists on pissing off nearly one-third of the world's population. Leave me alone and let me do my job.”

Pope Pius XIII (Born: Joshua Kutjok): Hard right-wing. Has all but declared war on the Sudan. Thoroughly dislikes tyrannies, which means North Korea and China dislike him right back. “I am against abortion, gays being married in my church, and contraceptives are against the religion. Then again, you should only have sex with the person you marry, so abortion and contraceptives shouldn't be needed. However, my homeland of Sudan is going through thirty years of religious and ethnic warfare, I have better things to do than deal with whining hedonists!”

Father Francis Williams, S.J.: “I'm a Jesuit transfering into the Opus Dei. I speak six languages and I can kill people with my rosary beads … what was your question?”

Maureen McGrail. Interpol. “I'm too busy being shot at to have a political opinion. Leave me alone.”

Secret Service Agent Wilhelmina Goldberg: As a special adviser to anyone who wants the Secret Service to audit their security, she has been all over, and her political opinion is simple. “At the end of the day, America looks good by comparison.”

Hashim Abasi: Oxford Educated in global politics. Egyptian police officer. His name translates into “Stern Crusher of Evil.” He survived the "Arab Spring," and the military coup that follows. His general politics are "Can I do my job now? Please? Thank you."

The above characters have more influence over how the political discussions go than I do. So, the topics will be... interesting.



And, if you've done that....

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.


The Love at First Bite series. 


    

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Alt-Pius Politics

I actually did this post, once upon a time, when dinosaurs walked the Earth and I thought there was some semblance of sanity kicking around, and would be back in popular fashion after Obama left office. 

Nope. Sorry. Obviously, that didn't happen. Last week, we had the meltdown of "China Mike" Glyer and File 770 after Larry Correia took him to the woodshed. We had a Bernie Sanders psycho shoot up some Republican politicians at a ball game, and democrats trying to simultaneously 1) Disavow all responsibility for it 2) Blame Trump, 3)Try to blame guns for the shooting and 4) Laugh at shooting Republicans. All in the same week.

So, no, to quote Chico Marx, "everybody knows that there is a no sanity clause" ... especially in politics.

Myself? Most days, I'm somewhere between small-l libertarian or conservative. Most of the time, my politics boil down to "leave me alone, and no one gets hurts."

But I'm not really Alt-right. I'm certainly not control Left. There are days I'm almost Ctrl+A, Del. Because, good God, "kill 'em all and let God sort them out" really does sound like an action plan.

But no, I'm not a nihilist. I'm at once too Catholic and not energetic enough. Though the world continues to show me just how justified I am in my borderline misanthropic tendencies. I mean, let's face it, the standard response to a terrorist response should be a calm, reasoned investigation, finding the people behind it -- the planners, the money men, etc -- and kill every last one of them in horrific ways that will make anyone who has similar ideas think three or four times about doing the same thing ever again. Heck, if I were in charge after 9-11 ... well, I'm relatively certain that I wouldn't be as calm and as collected as Tom Kratman's response in A Desert Called Peace. And that series includes torturing journalists to death for supporting terrorists, and mining the perimeter of a city, starving them out, including the women and children.

As I've said elsewhere, my overwhelming sin is wrath.

But this is why I don't write anything like that. I'm depressed enough by this insanity we call reality on a daily basis, I don't necessarily need it in my day to day life. I'm already depressive. I don't write nihilistic crap, I don't read it, and I'm easily annoyed with people who see nihilism as some sort of superior art form. I'm also Catholic, nihilism isn't our beat.

Oddly enough, I'm probably more of a romantic than anything else. Pick ... almost any of my books, sooner or later, you'll probably trip over a Thermopolae situation of 100-1 odds, love conquering all, and righteous fury is a positive tool for going just that little bit farther as you're being beaten to death by a 2x4.

...Hell, forget book series, you could say that summarizes several plot points in A Pius Man alone.

I guess I'm just an idealist who hates that the world wouldn't live up to the standard of. ... anything.

But, yeah. My politics don't lend itself to nihilism, though there are days that I think "genocide" is a viable military option. Thankfully, no one ever listens to me.

So, have enough fun yet? Just click here, and you can preorder it.




And, if you've done that....

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.


The Love at First Bite series. 


    

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Pius Man, Chapter 2: A Pious Mercenary

Yup. Here we go again. Last week was chapter 1, and now we continue with your look at the new edition of chapter 2 for  A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller.

By now, you're probably well aware my yanking this from the shelves when I signed with Silver Empire Publishing.

But right now, it's back, and up for preorder, here, direct from the publisher, currently being sold with deep discounts. You can buy them cheap when you can. Because this deal will only last until July 1. So, hurry.

And if you're new here, and have no idea what A Pius Man is ... It ate up ten years of my life, and the best use I have ever gotten out of my Masters in History outside of writing biographies of older vampires.

But here you go, here's the next chapter. When you're hooked, order it. Or preorder it. Or something.

You'll note this one is a little shorter than usual. Sorry about that. But a little Sean goes a long way.

Anyway, there will be more to come on A Pius Man. You have been warned.




Chapter II:
A Pious Mercenary

Even in Rome, there were not that many people conscious so early in the morning—just people awakened by the explosion, firemen, and a scattering of pedestrians.
One pedestrian was a jogger, moving along the street casually. His gray jogging suit didn’t stand out at all, and his build was unremarkable underneath all the cloth. Even his face was covered by the hood. He was short, only 5’6”. The only other detail the observant person could pinpoint would be the occasional flash of bright, electric blue eyes.
The jogger slowed as he approached the Vatican, looking over the scene of devastation. He gave a low whistle and pulled back his hood, revealing his pale skin and raven-black hair.
He gave a small, quirky smile. The scene was amusing for multiple reasons, the foremost among them was that a hotel had been wrecked, and he hadn’t been responsible for it. For once.
He murmured, in an almost unaccented voice, “Someone had fun.”
He scanned the crowd, more interested in the people around the crime scene than destruction itself. It wasn’t even all that impressive, as far as destruction went—the only thing really damaged was the hotel room window. And the car.
Well, if you don’t count the body. But body bags aren’t that expensive in Italy, are they?
One person slipped through the crowd. A figure in black, only a little taller than the jogger himself.
Well, if anyone is going to know what’s going on here…“Ahoy,” the jogger hailed, speaking only slightly above conversational volume.
Father Frank Williams heard and looked in his direction, smiling as he headed towards the jogger. “How are you, Sean?”
The jogger named Sean shrugged. “I’m doing well, though I’m wondering why you weren’t at our usual meeting. I waited twenty minutes before I started by myself. After a while, I feel ridiculous firing off all of those bullets solo.”
Father Frank nodded. “Understandable, considering your profession. What are you calling yourself this week, a prostitute?”
The jogger shook his head. “No, a mercenary. I’m not exactly a big operation like Black Lake, but I count.”
The man in black cocked his head. “Black Lake?”
Sean furrowed his brows. “It is Black Lake, isn’t it? Blackpool…? Blackthorn…?” he thought a moment, and then his bright eyes lit up and he snapped his fingers. “Blackwater! That’s the name. The mercenary company.”
The priest shrugged, and blatantly ignored that Blackwater had changed its name years ago. “Sounds better than 'personal demolition unit’.”
Sean rolled his eyes, the electric-blue orbs looking like circular lightning. “Again, I’m not quite that bad. I’ve only killed a few… dozen … people? I think? I figure I manage to kill a few more, I win a set of steak knives.”
Father Frank was uncertain about whether or not he was joking. “In which case, I will let you get on with your day.” He turned away, then paused, and looked back to Sean. “By the way, I should probably mention, I may not be able to train with you for the next few days.”
Sean raised a brow. “Really? What’s up?”
Father Frank looked back towards the shattered car and the broken person. “Oh, just some business I’ll have to attend to, that’s all.”
Sean nodded. “Okay, then, I’ll see you around.”
The jogger watched the priest wander off, and then turned back to the devastation. He caught a whiff of something odd, and blinked. He looked up to the ruined window, studying the frame, and the faint, lingering cloud of smoke wafting away from it, like smoke at a fireworks display.
Someone used black powder on this? Wow, talk about bombs on the cheap. What did they do, dissect a box of firecrackers?
Sean shook his head. He was suddenly glad that he had left his bag full of guns at the studio; otherwise, he would probably be in even bigger trouble than usual.
He glanced down at the car, studying at the short woman Father Frank had been talking with. She wasn’t too bad-looking, even if she was a few inches short of being a dwarf—and not the kind with a beard and a battle axe. Her eyebrows hair was were a light brown, but her hair was overdone with gold highlights deliberately put in by some hairstylist who may have been holding a grudge.
Then again, what do I know? Sean thought. I’m from California, a silicon valley that has nothing to do with computer chips.
The short woman walked through the crowd with little difficulty as she followed the taller man in a dark suit. Sean quickly flipped up his hood again, hiding his features.
The last thing he wanted to do was get in the way of the head of Vatican security when he was in a bad mood—and having someone land on one’s car was more than sufficient to put anyone in a bad mood.
I wonder if I should make Gianni’s life easier, get involved.
Sean considered it, but only briefly. His resume was cluttered with inconvenient events—explosions, assaults, gunfights, and a body count that would have counted as mass murder if they weren’t all in self-defense—and offering assistance would pretty much ruin Figlia’s day.

After all, it was bad enough that the same person who had slaughtered dozens and had leveled millions of dollars in property damage was also, at that very moment, employed by the Pope.




And, if you've done that....

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.


The Love at First Bite series. 


    

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Catholic Geek: On Anthologies 06/18

The Catholic Geek: On Anthologies 06/18 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:






Jennifer Brozek will call in to talk with us about editing a shared world anthology, Jeff Sturgeon's Last Cities of Earth Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award finalist and a multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Last Days of Salton Academy, and the acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than seventy published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Review: For Steam and Country, by Jon del Arroz

For Steam and Country ... yeah. This one is going to be a little strange. But it's steam punk. Aren't they all?


Her father's been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira's day is just getting started...

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.
So, a farm girl is taken from her home in order to fight an evil empire that leveled her village, leaving nothing for her to go back to ....



And our heroine's father leaves a memoir behind that states he prefers to sword, as it is "a more elegant weapon" .... for a more civilized age, I'm sure.

Nah, that doesn't sound familiar at all, does it? Heh.

Granted, our heroine gets a much cooler inheritance from her MIA dad. No. She gets an airship, a crew, and a SpecOps command team. Cool, huh?

There are fun bits of business all over the place. There is a red shirt engineer who is very cautious about his estimates (no, he doesn't come with a Scottish accent). There are airships and a knight named Cid, and a military philosophy named Jasyn Warhpeg (subtle) ... so Jon occasionally got cute at times. But at the end of the day, it doesn't lean too heavy on the Steampunk. Yes, there are airships and cars, but For Steam and Country doesn't go as over the top as some steampunk, like Girl Genius. And for all the jokes I've made, any similarities to Star Wars end about 30% into the book. But it's enough to warrant discussions about hero journeys, that sort of thing.

At the end of the day, For Steam and Country is a very traditional story, and quite comfortable in some of what it delivers. Which is a good thing. While I hate to disagree with the man who signs my royalty checks, there is something about royalty reclaiming inheritances that speaks to us -- just ask Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a trope to start with.

It's fun. For Steam and Country has a lot of good solid characters, with back stories and a full history. And the last third of the book really does take off into strange new worlds, so if you think the story is paint by numbers ... don't bet on it. Seriously, don't.

Right now, the only weaknesses to the book are the ones that comes with the start of any series -- if For Steam and Country didn't cover it, it'll probably show up in book 2. There are some characters that need more background and some sense of what they're thinking. For example, the Iron Emperor, an adversary whom we briefly meet in the story, is interesting, in part because he has very little screen time, and we don't get a great sense of what's going on in his head -- especially when you get to revelations about what's Really Going On Here.  I suspect that the sequel to For Steam and Country will have a lot of fallout from book one, and I will be very interested to see how that works.

Let's call this a strong 4/5 stars. It's well above average, with likable protagonists, a fun romp, with enough variations on traditional story telling tropes so that you can't see what's going to happen next. And no, you won't see it coming. Go buy it, you won't regret it.


The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.


The Love at First Bite series. 


    

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Another Girl, Another Planet, a Review

Let's keep this one short:  Buy Lou Antonelli's Another Girl, Another Planet.

Thanks.

No, that's it, go out, buy this book

You don't like or read alternate history? Neither do I. Too bad, you'll like it anyway. Really.

.... Sigh. Okay. Fine. Be that way.
Dave Shuster has been confronted over a photo taken by a Mars lander of a graveyard complete with crosses on Mars. Shuster was a low-level bureaucrat in the administration of a joint U.S. – Soviet Mars colony when he was caught up in a murder mystery involving the illegal use of robot technology.

In this timeline, the Cold War took a very different turn – largely influenced by Admiral Robert Heinlein, who was allowed to return to Naval service following World War II.ic
When Shuster is thrown into a power vacuum immediately upon his arrival on the Mars Colony in 1985, he finds himself fighting a rogue industrialist using his wits with some help from unlikely sources in a society infiltrated by the pervasive presence of realistic androids.

Yes, we're going to do an alternate history with Blade Runner as a subplot.

Lou Antonelli has more than enough historical references to make any history nerd happy -- which politicians rose to power, or fell sooner rather than later, what happened to some of the others. What would have happened if Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein never went into creative fields, but stayed creative in the "real world," like MIT professor Asimov. And this shows a solid grasp of US local political history so deep, that I've got a master's degree, and I read history for fun, and I"m certain I missed some references.

All of the historical changes and references are easy and casual. Nothing is forced in this book. Especially when they refer to music and SF authors who had different lives.

And this book is laugh out loud funny. There is, at minimum, a chuckle a page.  Up to and including Mormons .....INNNN  SSSPPPPAAACCCEEE.

I'm not sure if he wanted to deliberately make a reference to Andy Weir when our hero discusses Martian potatoes, but that helps. As does having a philosophical conversation with androids about theology without being preachy about it. Yay.

The writing is brilliant. Like with some Nero Wolfe novels, Antonelli gives you relevant parts of the plot before you even know what questions are being asked, and what mysteries are coming at you.

Another Girl, Another Planet is both a closed, self contained SF mystery, as well as the best sequel bait ever. It's a murder mystery, a missing persons, alternate history, and ends on a fun and innovative hook for round two...

There will be a round two, right Lou?

Anyway, just buy Another Girl, Another Planet already, will ya?

LibertyCon 30 Schedule is up

LibertyCon, 2017, has a schedule up.

My personal schedule for the convention can be found right here.

This time, I'm slightly screwed.  My 2pm signing on Saturday will be opposite the Baen road show. So I'll be interested to see who I get to show up.

I've got a reading on Friday with Gail Z Martin, so cool.

Saturday at 6 .... Gothic Horror and the Birth of Vampire Romanticism.  Huh. I guess I'll have to fake it.

Right after that, at 7PM: Revenge of the Podcasters.

Sunday is a light day, with the Kaffeelatsch at 10am, and the "Influence of Dark Urban Fantasy on Mainstream Media."

What could go wrong?