Spring Science Fiction Week Story 4: The Crystal Shield (excerpt)

•25/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

Rather than give you another one of my previously published works today, I thought I’d share an excerpt from my novel, The Crystal Shield, so here it is in PDF format:



Spring Science Fiction Week Story 3: Levitation

•24/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

This piece was slated to be published in Sutra of the Poison Buddha vol. 2, before the publisher’s computer was hacked and the manuscript was lost. By the time he’d managed to recover everything the backlog of documents forced him to make cuts; sadly, “Levitation” was left out. I helped reconstruct that issue with a little transcription work, otherwise.


In the last seven minutes before his suicide, James watched the neighbour’s children levitate in their back yard. He tried to remember which was Jason, and which was Simon, and which one the police brought home two nights ago. It probably didn’t matter anyway; Kids didn’t have identities these days, they hade meme ‘plexes.

Today they were Buddhas. He couldn’t tell if it was magic, or some kind of new technology; he couldn’t even be sure if there was a difference any more. Yesterday the man on television had said that the ultimate technology was a thought pattern; he ran a business reprogramming people’s minds over the telephone.

Continue reading ‘Spring Science Fiction Week Story 3: Levitation’

Spring Science Fiction Week Story 2: Pupate

•23/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

Pupate was a miserable labour of love. Once I wrote the original everyone said they weren’t sure about the ending so I wrote an alternative, that they also didn’t like, and so I wrote another. In the end there were four versions, each with mixed reviews. I had no idea what to do with it and what version I ought to be selling. In the end a friend who hadn’t chipped in until that point told me something very helpful:

“I don’t care which ending works the best. The important part is which one is part of your vision.”

I went back and recovered the original ending and sent it out only twice before it got snapped up by Neometropolis.

At the time Neometropolis was the last bastion of cyberpunk: it had a massive following of true CP devotees, but there were endless problems maintaining it. By 2007 it had turned solely into a CP forum, and then just faded away entirely. I miss it. Pupate was published in its sixth volume in June 2005.


They sent her to the institute pretty much straight from the hospital. The report I got listed the contents of her stomach when they brought her in… a lightbulb, old-fashioned fuses for electrical systems in houses, the motherboard of a computer that she actually cut up into little bits with a fork and knife, pages from copies of The History of The Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. (Page 12 from every annual reprinting in the 1970’s.), some telephone wire, and a few dozen metres of audio tape… minus the plastic casing. When she was younger she had pretty much ground her teeth down into nothing and they were all capped with that extra strong chemical enamel. She could bite through nearly anything. The officer who arrested her said she had actually gnawed her way out of a pair of handcuffs.

She wouldn’t speak to anyone, although she certainly reacted to them, mostly by glaring and the occasional attempt to bite, she managed to do serious damage to a nurse that tried to force feed her. In the file her name was Jasmine Winters; no one in their right state of mind would believe it was the same girl as the one in the photos in her files. The Jasmine Winters in the files was a clean, healthy looking teenage girl, a blonde, leggy, homecoming queen type… about a heroin habit away from becoming a low-rent porn star. The girl in the cell had chopped off most of her hair with razor blades and painted the rest black with a can of spray paint and tangled some more of the same telephone wire in. The girl in the cell was dirty and skinny and caked with grime when the got her in. There were jagged scars spelling out Heavy Metal just below her throat.

I’m not personally supposed to read the patient files. None of my business, but after mopping up bloody vomit full of glass slivers off of a cell floor, I get curious. The first night I was in there she just sat in the corner of her room watching me over her knees. I attempted conversation as best I could while pushing around the mop.

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Spring Science Fiction Week Story 1: Catfish

•22/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

This is the first story of hopefully several I will be uploading for my Spring Science Fiction Week. “Catfish” was written in 2001 and published in the Canadian Science Fiction magazine “Tales of the Talisman” in 2005.

I received over ten rejections for the story with a broad range of advice and explanations about why the editor liked but couldn’t publish it, which all boiled down to the same thing:

“We feel our readers won’t enjoy a story that depicts human beings as puppets of gods.”

From all of these letters I learned one very important thing: Editors often don’t read a story very closely:


In the days of King Arthur and Glooscap, when the greatest of our grandfathers walked the earth, there was Sacred Clown. He came from the face of a sunflower which smiled at the sky one day, revelling in all things. He drank the sweet morning wine from lilies and plucked acorns from the trees.

On a day with no special importance Sacred Clown danced the earth for the length of nine oceans to the house of the Rain God. And challenged him to a game of magic.

Rain God put on a stone mask and frowned. The sky turned grey and cold water fell from the sky, making all the plants dark green and heavy. Sacred Clown put on a bright eggshell mask and yodelled. The sky smiled a smile-of-many-colours.

Rain God threw corn meal from a cotton bag on the ground and up sprung many blue-and-purple flowers. Sacred Clown reached into his pockets and pulled out a Coca-Cola that fizzed.

Rain God spat into the sky and flickering lightning danced in the clouds. Sacred Clown made a television from coconuts and moose droppings and flickering women in bikinis danced on the screen.

Rain God took a stone and carved a great furrow into the land which he filled with clear babbling waters, this was the first great river. Sacred Clown saw there were people by the water, and reached into his ear. From his ear he pulled a great silver catfish and he tossed it into the river.

Rain God smiled. The Catfish was good. The Catfish was a great joke to play on the people. Sacred Clown also smiled.

James watched the sunlight dance on the rippling water. He had got up at the crack of dawn, even before his uncle, and made himself breakfast out of the milk from the cooler and the cheerios they brought along. This was the second day of his march break, and he sat devising up new magical ways to make sure that the lake would be full of mysteries that he could find.

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Spring Science Fiction Week

•22/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

This week I plan on sharing some of my older Science Fiction Pieces, ones that have either been published, or probably never will. Many of them will be very different from what you are used to seeing from me, if you are familiar with The Coffee Shop Goddess. I hope that you enjoy it!

Free Sample Chapter: The Coffee Shop Goddess

•08/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

I have recently put another sample chapter of The Coffee Shop Goddess online for those interested. If it makes you laugh, please consider passing it on! You can find it here:


Free E-Book

•03/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

Every time I visit family, friends, or clients I find myself cleaning up computers riddled with malware, fixing damaged hard disks, or cleaning up garbled Windows registries. Most of the time I end up writing a little document for whomever I did the job that explains what I did and how they can do it again themselves. Little collections of brief how-tos, tips, and places where they can get free software that will protect their computer.

In fact, over the years I’ve written probably a dozen booklets like that. After a particularly gruelling clean-up; eleven hours of basic maintenance, I started thinking about how desperately something really short and simple was needed, and thus was born this little booklet. I offered it for free in a few places and got a little response. I’ve decided to try again, with some serious expansion, and my new marketing skills.

It being absolutely free certainly can’t hurt…

It is called “Maintaining Your Windows PC’s Health” and it is free for download from my Lulu store: http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=30474341