50 Days Of Soundcloud #13

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“The Long, Bloody Road To Hell”

This was back during a time when I was dealing with frenetic hand-drumming married to near-chaotic thumb piano lines. Early 2004, I think. A collection of increasingly ominous historical quotes from a variety of figures that ends with Rodney King’s sobbing plea to stop making it horrible for the old folks, and the kids.

Don’t forget to stop by the books page here to check out some fiction which you can use to subsidize my existence.

50 Days Of Soundcloud #12

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“Formula Modernia”

BUY SELL BUY SLEEP

Feel free to check out some books:  today’s featured titles include Disappearance, only 99 cents, which if you enjoy the action bits in books and you like apocalypse fiction you’ll enjoy; What You See Is What You Get, which manages to combine the specter of ag-gag laws with criminal trials that look more like reality TV than anything else; and 9th Street Blues, about a kid delivering cobbled-together drugs in the near future ruins of Woodward, OK (and is also the jumping-off point for my new serial novel, coming soon from ATM Publishing).

Enter The Apocalypse: Russell Hemmel

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Enter The Apocalypse is a new anthology of short fiction from TANSTAAFL Press that I have the good fortune to be included in.  It will be the first in a planned trilogy of apocalyptic-themed anthologies from TANSTAAFL.  Enter The Apocalypse examines the apocalypse at the point of impact.  In celebration of it’s impending release, I have a guest blogger today!  This has literally never happened before, so I’m going to get out of the way and turn the proceedings over to Mr. Russell Hemmel.

(“Russell Hemmell is a statistician and social scientist from the U.K, passionate about astrophysics and speculative fiction. Recent publications in Not One of Us, Perihelion SF, SQ Mag, and others.”)

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“You can’t but admire this virus’s purity. It’s elemental, uncomplicated, deadly powerful. We’re lucky not to be his target.”

“Virus are ten times more numerous than bacteria, did you know that?”

10 to 1.

In the last six months I have, as a fiction writer, contributed stories to a few anthologies, all dealing, in a way or another, with visions of a dystopian future. While not all of them featured an apocalypse, they were all bleak enough to made readers think that one was indeed on the way, or had just happened.

As a (social) scientist and astrophysics passionate, I have to say that what scares me the most is not the possibility of destructive cosmic events – such an asteroid impact of the kind that’s considered responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction (and the death of the dinosaurs), even though books like Stephenson’s Seveneves are frightening enough. 

[In case you haven’t read Seveneves, I do recommend it – no matter if you’re not a SF fan. There’s a lot to enjoy in this novel that has nothing to do with SF. What’s about? It deals with the aftermath of an unexplained – and utterly disastrous – disintegration of the Moon, and the world efforts to preserve human society in whatever possible ways. The first one is to build arklets in lower orbit using the ISS as starting point.

I especially liked this quote, that I think represents well the book’s spirit. “We’re not hunter-gatherers anymore. We’re all living like patients in the intensive care unit of a hospital, and what keeps us alive isn’t bravery, or athleticism, or any of those other skills that were valuable in a caveman society; It’s our ability to master complex technological skills – it is our ability to be nerds.” ]

No matter how convincing Stephenson’s scenarios and frightening the dinosaurs’ destiny, as a professional statistician, I think it’s far more probable that the next global catastrophe is going to be man-made. Here the possibilities are endless – from climate change to a highly infectious plague to a nuclear holocaust.

What keeps me awake at night at times is the sensation we’ve now reached a level of scientific development where we can summon forces that can easily destroy the planet, without the wisdom to handle them and even less the foresight to understand cause-effect mechanism on a longer timescale than the human life. The endless discussions on the responsibilities of climate changes – from people denying global warming to others debating if it is indeed a consequence of human action (Crichton’s State of Fear is a good albeit fictional example) miss the whole point: the agent of changes doesn’t really matter when an epochal change is on the way. The state of the Arctic can’t be denied by anybody that makes his/her own research, as the mass extinction of species we are going to face in the coming decades and that already started. Science is pitiless, folks, it’s not a question of opinion. Evidence speaks louder than our delusional beliefs.

As anyone else, I have my personal vision of apocalypse, the one that would probably freak me out the most, and that I’ve often written about – and it is in the form of a plague we have manufactured ourselves in some sort of experiments gone wrong. Terror apart, I won’t be that astonished to read something like that in the press one day or another. If any, I’d be surprised it has taken so long to happen. Welcome to a dystopian world.

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Time Sinks, Obscure Metal Acts, and Crusader Kings II: I Nab A Guest Spot On Literate Gamer

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http://octopuspark.libsyn.com/crusader-kings-ii-trevor-zaple

Visit the above link.  Such is the path to madness You’ll find an excellent podcast episode of Literate Gamer featuring yours truly.  Crusader Kings II!  Was there ever a more fascinating way to avoid all of your responsibilities?  There most certainly was not.

 

HOLIDAY SALE

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Like the name says, my novel Disappearance is on sale for 99 cents for all of December.  Get it while it’s hot.  Or just get it.

GET IT HERE!!!!

If that doesn’t convince you (it’s less than a medium coffee ferchrissake) then let these carefully curated review snippets do their work:

“Zaple has captured the dichotomy of human nature perfectly, our desire for stability at war with our penchant for chaos.” – Ben Bales

“Great book. I recommend this for anyone that’s willing to hack through a thorny, demon-riddled thicket with a fantastic, raw talent.” – Rachel Litt

“The prose used within this book drips with the loving consideration of a man who delights in the english language.” – Heather Friesen

“”Disappearance” is an uncanny, poly-perspectival combination of bone-curdling psycho-social insights, darkly complex Canadians, scheming politicos, singing prophets, and rugged and flimsy individualists encountering displacement and correlation, vile erotica, and subtle narrative injections of theory. If Walt Whitman had a nemesis, it could have easily been Zaple.” – Sallow Siserary

“I loved this book. I think I went through every possible star rating as I read. Ultimately, it deserves high marks.” – Tiger Grey

“An interesting, fast-paced piece that sucks you in and takes you on one helluva journey” – T.J. Sidebottom

“What the hell?  I bought this thing for five bucks and now it’s on for a dollar?  Asshole.” – Ryan Kinder

 

 

Soon To Be Featured On Dirty Little Bookers!

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A rather excellent artist I know gave me some advice the last time I saw him, and it was to the effect that art announcements should only be done a week or so in advance, so people don’t have time to forget them.  To that end, I’m proud to announce that the November spot on literature blog Dirty Little Booker’s “Calling All Indies” feature was won by yours truly, and I’ll be featured over there starting some time in the next week (as they work a month behind or so).  So, like voting in Chicago elections, visit early and visit often:  www.dirtylittlebookers.com

Haus Keeping

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So I’ve put the completed discographies in a page on the sidebar, right under where you can find links to my wonderful works of fiction that you are strongly encouraged to trade your hard-earned dollars/euros/whatever for.  If you want to check them out, they’ll load much faster through there than through the Discographies category.  Coming soon:  Melvins and the Tragically Hip.

Did I mention that I have books you can purchase?  Well, book, and a novella.  Visit the Books page to find out more.  Purchasing them is just like donating money to a worthy cause, only you get more out of it than just a sense of well-being.  Don’t get me wrong, you get that too, but you also get some nifty reading material.

Also, I’ll be attempting at some point to map this over to a top-level domain.  That should be fun, and will in no way be a frustrating experience filled with madness.

Gone From The Charts But Not From Our Hearts

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Gone From The Charts But Not From Our Hearts

…is how they usually introduce an early rock ‘n’ roll radio show but in this case the line is apt for literature.  Off The Shelf is a new site set up by publishing giant Simon & Schuster to allow business insiders (editors, agents, authors, etc.) the room to reminisce and review books that they’ve loved that are at the very least one year old (my first novel, for example, is a year old now – how time flies).

Let’s face it, even with a downturn in the industry there is a lot of books flowing through the stores on any given day.  The bestseller lists and the review pages in the papers are full of books that you would love to read, but maybe you don’t have the time when they’re out or you’re already committed to another book or series of books.  The ones you notice tend to slip away; you’ll remember them months or years later when you catch a reference to them, or maybe you’ll never think of them again.  Off The Shelf is for those books – books that the insiders feel didn’t get their fair share of attention when they were fresh and new.  It’s a neat idea and I commend S & S for setting it up.