Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Sol

We flicker like flames
Life and death and love and hate
On the skin of Sol

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bred is Available . . .

My new book, Bred, is now available at Barnes & Noble, and on iTunes.

Demel was bred for power, born into slavery, and lives in the city of sorcery. His talent for remaining unnoticed allows him to grow into, and master, his power. But when he frees himself from a powerful control curse, he releases a storm of events which threatens all of Lyn. Demel, and his sometimes reluctant allies, are the only ones who can stop a thousand years of violence and oppression.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Write for Yourself

In June of 2005 I started writing a science fiction blog as a simple exercise. It was, in part, inspired by the Cassini mission and the Huygens lander, but it grew into a years long project that surprised me in many wonderful ways. The story eventually out-grew the format, and so I stopped working on it. Until now, I've only told a handful of people about it because it was, all along, something I did to make myself happy.

Is it a complete novel? I'm not sure. It's just a series of blog posts by a fictional character, writing about his life aboard a space station which orbits Saturn. It is, possibly, a space opera. Each post is self-contained, or at least as self-contained as any random blog post, but there is a overarching exposure of the world, and the troubles faced by the people who live in it. There is no ending, as such. The main character simply signs off one day, making vague promises of future postings.

I hope to expand on the story of Fort Falling some day, but even so, I'm currently editing the story so I can publish it as a free ebook some time within the next couple of months. I intend to use it as a promotional tool. It's already free on the web, but a free ebook might gain me some name recognition.

Name recognition can be good, but it can also be bad. Self-promotion seems to be a fine line between obscurity and infamy.  If I constantly spam social media sites with ads trying to get people to buy my new fantasy novel, Bred, I'm more likely to turn them away than to make any sales. I know those constant spam posts irritate the crap out of me.

I'm even hesitant to publish this post, but I do want to sell books. I want to sell books so I can write more books faster--so I can do more of something which makes me happy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Geneva and the Nature of Virtual Reality

The International Committee of the Red Cross is investigating video games. Specifically, they are concerned that gamers are violating humanitarian law by . . . gasp . . . playing war games wherein they might commit war crimes. Doesn't this organization have more important things to do?

There is no solid evidence which points to violence in video games making people more violent. Or, more accurately, there is just as much evidence supporting such play as a positive influence as there is evidence to support the opposite. And these guys want to talk about what they should do about it.

Here's an idea: Think of video games as fiction. They are not real. Real people do not suffer inside of a game. They are bits of code and imagination, not people. I can summon a demon and let it loose to kill a whole room full of people in one of my video games. I can't do that in real life, and even if I could, I would have to have a real good reason for doing so. Even then, I'd probably look for another way to handle it first. How can you apply humanitarian law to fictional people? How does that even make sense?

Can we argue, honestly, that these fictional acts have a negative impact on the real people playing the game? I don't think we can. Some people will be affected, but I suspect that most will not. Some people will act in reprehensible ways, and they will enjoy it. But I believe those people, if not for the game, would have found other ways to achieve those feelings, and maybe something bad would have happened in the real world. If that is true, then what's wrong with letting the evil bastards of the world work out their problems on virtual people?

We can point to a violent person, and we can say they played video games, and we can say they would not have done what they did if not for the game. I don't believe that, be we can say it. But, if we can say that, then why not point to the 600 million gamers who don't commit real war crimes after playing the same game, and then say, "They would have killed a lot of real people if it weren't for that game!"?

*This opinion was inspired by Claire Connelly's article, which can probably be found here.