3

This is just a general update of sorts, as much for my own personal mile-stoning as for anything else.

Last night I typed "The End" on Lantham #6, called In The Cloud, thus adding to the stockpile that my poor publisher has to wade through in her copious free time. Normally, this would be a cause for opening the next scheduled document and working on the notes to get into the new book.

This time, it didn't quite happen, because for the first time in a few months, I'm torn about what to write next. On the one hand, I have Lantham 7 pretty much ready to write--I know what it's about, and I'm excited about where it's going. On the other hand, I've come to the uncomfortable realization over the last few months that I've been essentially avoiding Antithesis 3.

Frankly, the next two installments of Antithesis scare the hell out of me, and I've been round and round in my own head, and I can't really figure out why. In the past, books that have scared me have always wound up being some of my very favorites once they're done (and, by happy coincidence, they're frequently reader favorites too).

Since I have a podcast due, which got pushed so I could wrap up the Lantham book, I'm going to do the ultra-courageous thing and avoid making a decision for a couple days--but the thing I can't avoid looming in my near future is that, whether it starts this weekend or in a few weeks when Lantham 7 is in the can, I'm going to be diving deep once again into the dark and twisted universe of Joss Kyle, Alyssa Hartman, Cassy Orinthal, Doug Reeves, and company.

Which, I suppose, leaves us only with the nagging questions:
Will our writer conquer his paranoia and delve deep into the most paranoid universe on his plate?
Will the resulting book do justice to the ones that have come before?
Will he choke to death on index cards and thumb tacks as he lays out his plot on his office wall?
and Will he eventually survive the adventures of the characters he so dearly loves to torture, or will they turn on him and declare victory once and for all?

Find out. Next week (by looking at the word-count-o-meter in the right side bar). And remember:
It isn't whether you win or lose, it's whether you sit the fuck down and type through the game.

4

Free Will returns, this time, for good.

It's been a while, but I'm not going to re-cast the previous episodes. They're still in the feed for listening. No more delays, no more unnecessary and inconvenient service interruptions. It's time for Episode 7 of Free Will and Other Compulsions, In which Jim meets a teacher, The Omnivore finds a puzzle, and Cassy prepares for battle.
 

 

Cast this week (in order of appearance):
Elizabeth Rossi as The Schoolteacher
Derek Moore as Jim Hartman
Philippa Ballantine as Brittany Hydra
and Stephanie Sawyer as Cassy Orinthal

 

 

 

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3

The Silent Generation (folks born during the run-up to World War 2) is dying. As a cohort, they were a remarkable bunch. Tom Brokaw calls their parents "The Greatest Generation," but Tom Brokaw can go suck eggs. This little cohort is the group that kicked the western world into high gear after World War 2. They built the infrastructure that the Boomers took for granted, and they had an extraordinary work ethic and sense of optimism that, until recently, went missing from the national (and international) consciousness after the the economic and social train wreck of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They don't get enough credit for proving out the bedrock notion of a liberal democracy, that ordinary people doing ordinary things can (and do, and will) create a world of abundance worth inheriting.

Some of that great generational character comes about by accident. They were born at a time when the conditions were right for them to perform that massive, world-changing, and largely invisible service.

Now, again by accident, they are doing something else that might have an even bigger impact on the future of humanity:
...continue reading A Final Service?

6

This week on The Next Ten Thousand Hours, we have a conversation on the beach. Because: beach!

Within you will find:

  1. A conversation about choices. On the beach.
  2. Reading: A selection from The Resurrection Junket
  3. Kitty's Corner: Knit Hats - Sportsball Edition

We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

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1

The Lombard Alchemist Tales is a series I've been working on for a few years now. Beginning with At The Edge of Nowhere, these stories center around a creepy pawnshop in a gambling town on the edge of a nuclear wasteland, and the artifacts it sells--all of which are more than they seem. Subsequent installments like Chicken Noodle Gravity, Sunday Morning Giraffe, and The Serpent and the Satchel have proven very popular, and over the course of those four stories, I worked out the mythos and history of pawnshop and planned out fifteen more stories.

Now, the first of the new batch is here: The Empty House.

Love is a hunger...

Alan Tosetti set the sterling standard in a town built on silver. The greatest architect in Nevada history, he died before he could finish his masterpiece Craftsman. Two years later, his youngest daughter, died in the same house, sitting in front of the fire, of old age.
She was only twenty-six.
When the tales of Tosetti's legacy draws a hungry young architect from the big city, he finds a broken-down ruin with a soul full of music, and a chilling secret that can only be unlocked with the help of a demonic pawnshop in the radioactive wastes in a broken-down city at the edge of nowhere.

Now available as an ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Scribd.

I am finishing up The Auto Motive tonight and tomorrow, and as I write, I face west.
Whenever possible, I always write facing West. Facing the sunset. Looking out at the sun dipping behind the ocean, behind the horizon.
Literature, stories, fiction, they're the business illusion. Like the sunset. The view of the sun sinking into the sea is looking off the back of a thousand-mile-an-hour railway coach.
Looking at the past--and at the future. My sunset here is the sunrise in Asia. A new morning for another part of the world. It's a glimpse into the future I will see tomorrow in full force.
Looking East? It may be looking forward, but it's looking forward into the past. Into days already bent low with decay. Into blinding lights that illuminate the land but do little to shed light on tomorrow.
Science Fiction, Mystery, Gothic fantasy, suspense--all the genres I write in--have one thing in common: They are about unfolding. They're a peek behind the curtain, over the horizon.
It's a personal affectation.
And it's why, whenever I have a choice, I write facing west.

10

Happy New Year, everyone!
I'm back in the game with a new book, and several more scheduled right after this (I've been writing a LOT over the last year. You can see the current release schedule here). This first book takes place in the Antithesis Universe, about a hundred years after the events in Free Will, and gives you a small window into the future of that world (it is not, however, part of the series, so it won't spoil you for Antithesis, nor does it feature the same characters).

"...a gut-twisting adventure I couldn't put down."--Nathan Lowell, author of Owner's Share

She has everything to die for...

The Milky Way. Sixty thousand light years across. A hundred billion planets to explore. Most of them out of reach, even of the Mannix-Alcubierre Warp Drive. In 2235, Earth's few well-worn neighbors brim with colonists and terraformers. Humanity now faces the final limits of its growth.

 
When Chan Xiyi Aya's dream of life beyond the rim lands her in hot water with the Foundation who employs her, she gets her shot at the job she's aching for: chronicling the history of a planet she'd kill to protect, three hundred light years beyond the rim of human space.

The catch?
Only the dead can go.

Read the first chapter in your browser.
Or in epub.
Or in PDF.

Now available in paperback, or as an ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

3

There Are Some Things You Can't Change
It's the New Year again, well, almost. You can't begrudge me a couple of days late (I had to do a bit of research for this one). 2015 is opening up in front of us like the maw of a giant sarlacc that WILL swallow us all whether we want it to or not.

And, with 2015, we're looking down the barrel at things that you can't change.

Who's "we"?

The biggest possible "we" there is. All of the human race. As a species, we're like a BASE jumper that's just taken his first half-step off of Half Dome and having that moment of "maybe I shouldn't" just after it's too late to do anything about it. We're committed to the ride we signed up for--and that means there are some things we can't change anymore.

We've had moments like this before. Once upon a time, one of the quadrupedal fish that crawled out of the pond to find food or escape from being food actually decided to make a habit of it, and found it could survive better on land. From that point forward, the land--every square inch of it, everywhere--was going to be populated. Nothing within the control of those creatures (or their descendants) could change that, ever. No matter what happens, until the universe takes this planet out, there will be life on the land. The era of empty land was over.
...continue reading 2015, And Worlds Now Gone

4

It's been a while since anything hit the podcast feed, so a lot of you probably think it's about bloody time--and I can't say I blame you. So, for your Christmas, here's a brief peek behind the curtain at where I've been and where things are going.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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2

Think of this for a moment:
Everything you know--your science, your technology, your popular art and culture, and your politics--are the result of thousands of years of technological failure. That failure? The fact that only a few people could read and write and communicate. Books were expensive to produce and own, so only a relative few could afford them. People who couldn't read and write couldn't send letters. And the same thing holds true with all modes of communication and culture--radio, film, telegraph, phone, email, video conference, etc. Only a few people could be in the know, so only a few people could have ideas that affected everything.

The world was organized around that basic fact. There was nothing anyone could do to change it, so they did as best they could. Monarchy, representative democracy, election cycles, corporate conglomorates, distribution networks--all of them exist in the forms they do (or did) because they were the best ways anyone could think of to overcome the difficulty presented by the fact that not everybody could read, write, travel, and communicate.

But this post isn't about power. At least, not in that sense. Political power comes and goes, and changes hands, based on the contingencies of history.

Instead, this post is about power. The power to change history, remake how people think, create technologies that change what it means to be human. Two hundred years ago, only the aristocracy could have those ideas--they were the only ones who knew enough to have the raw intellectual materials hanging around. One hundred years ago, only the educated could have those ideas, and only ten percent of the people in the world were educated. Twenty years ago, the situation was still pretty much the same, although more people were educated.

Every institution you know, everything you grew up with, was built by a tiny tiny minority to cope with the problems of a world filled with uneducated people. Not unintelligent people, just people without access to information and communication.

And that world, increasingly, does not exist. As the final 2/3rds of the human race comes online, with the communications and information and immediacy at their fingertips that, thirty years ago, was only available to the five most powerful people on the planet, the entire world we take for granted is changing under our feet.

In the next twenty years, the human race will finally be a conversation in which everyone can participate. If one-to-ten percent brought us horrors like the holocaust and wonders like genetic engineering...
...what will all that new creativity bring?