Spring Update and Roswell Awards

I had a note to get this out by end of January, but what’s the point of a deadline if I meet it? Only by my being three months late does my deadline truly attain fulfillment. Break the deadline, be the deadline.

It’s not like I didn’t have an excuse. Let’s see. Mother-in-law passed away. Prostate surgery (ouch!). A wildfire in Boulder County. Dee and I moved. Father-in-law passed away—yep, just two months after his wife. And how could I forget? Dee fell and broke her kneecap. As I write, she is still recovering in a brace. It’s been a busload of misfortune. Correspondingly, this spring update will serve double-duty as my winter update.

In spite of the productivity hit, I received some awesome news. I’m a Roswell Award finalist! Read on, and celebrate with me.

Wow! I’m a Roswell Award Finalist

I’m administering self-defibrillation after finding out that my story, Dr. Harriet Hartfeld’s Home for Aging AIs, is a finalist for the 2022 Omega Sci-Fi Roswell Award. Prizewinners will be announced during the May 21 livestream event, in which finalist stories will be read aloud by celebrity narrators. I would love to see you at the virtual awards ceremony. Attend if you can. You’ll hear some kickbutt stories read by top-notch narrators.

Last year’s Roswell Awards selected six finalists from 500 international submissions, so, yeah, the defibrillation thing.

My dad inspired this story about AIs facing inevitable system failure. He once told me, “If I ever have to go into one o’ them assisted living places, just take me out back and shoot me.” Sorry I couldn’t do that for you, Dad.

I must thank my critique group, SpecFicWriters.com, for the invaluable feedback as I brought in revision after revision. It was last year’s finalist, Matthew Cushing, who encouraged me to enter this year’s competition.

Filling the Wastebasket

The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.—Isaac Bashevis Singer

Many writing contest require submitter anonymity for fairness. As I increasingly submit material to such contests, posting about my work here risks compromising that anonymity. Bummer, because I enjoy telling you, my loyal half-dozen, what I’m up to. Going forward, no more titles, and no more quotes. Sorry!

A Story about Climate Change

In spite of the chaos in my life, I’ve managed to put together an entry for the Imagine 2200 contest. I’m not sure this is the story they’re looking for. They want stories of hope, and mine is a dark warning. But it’s the story I wanted to tell, and if it loses, fine. I’ll shop it around to other publications.

A Memoir

I’ve got a couple on again / off again memoirs in progress. The latest is a mostly factual account of my time as a punk in Detroit and environs back in the ’80s. Publication isn’t the end goal, but you never know where my crap will end up. It might make a good humor piece. Regardless, it has served as an effective tool for breaking through writers block.

What I’m Reading

Tell me what you could sooner do without, books or water? Post comments below. Here are the books I drank recently.

  • The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA by Jorge L. Contreras. This is a pretty dry and slow-moving non-fiction book. That being said, the legal arguments that overturned decades of patents on human DNA kept me engaged.
  • Greg Maxwell’s Inferno by Keith James. An off-the-wall humor novel by a regular McSweeney’s contributor.
  • Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges. I read this primarily for The Library of Babel, but found the entire collection of short stories wonderous and magical.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson. Like everyone, I read this in paperback in the late-’80s. Some thirty-five years later, Neuromancer has become the first full-length novel I’ve read in Braille. Although it was a sic-week slog, nonetheless I felt my comprehension was better than if I’d read the audiobook.
  • Slackjaw by Jim Knipfel. Not just another blind memoir. Besides RP, the author also suffered from a brain lesion that caused angry seizures. I could relate to his punk attitude and sense of alienation. Recommended to any misfits out there.
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. In this children’s novella, a boy is imprisoned in a library and forced to read about tax collection in the Ottoman Empire.
  • The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher. My wife and I have been cleaning out her parents’ house, and though they weren’t hoarders, this horror novel had me worried about what we might find.
  • There Plant Eyes by Leona Godin. A personal history of blindness as told through 3000 years of literature. This was a well-researched work with spot-on observations about how sighted society perceives the blind.
  • Unthinkable by Jaymie Raskin. The non-fiction account of the suicide of the author’s son, the January 6 attack on the US Capital, and the author’s leadership role in the subsequent impeachment trial.
  • A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. In a story where the only character with a name is the protagonist’s cat, our hero travels to the distant northern regions of Japan in search for one very special sheep.
  • The Writing of the Gods by Edward Dolnick. The non-fiction account of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and subsequent untangling and deciphering of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

I can read and chew gum at the same time. Here are the books I’m chewing at the moment.

  • As You Were by Tasha Christensen
  • Early Risers by Jasper Fforde
  • Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Books waiting to be read rush in like a wild river.

  • Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • Down Below Station by CJ Cherryh
  • Fast Track by John DeDakis
  • Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

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