D. Wallace Peach Simply Can Not Write a Bad Book

I’ve been a fan of this author for a long time. Her fantasy and science fiction display a beautiful use of the English language coupled with great storytelling.  For those not already in the know, I recommend you give The Bonewall a try. But beware, The Bonewall is as dark as it is compelling; a richly textured journey through a post-apocalyptic nightmare that nonetheless shines through with human goodness and hope.

However, for her latest work, “The Peach” has taken a completely different direction and man is it worth it!

She’s just written a children’s book! Frankly, I’m always excited when an author breaks new ground and challenges themselves with a different medium. This is why I’ve occasionally broken away from science fiction to do other genres, and I always find I’m a better writer when I come back. D. Wallace Peach has now done this and done it well with Grumpy Ann And The Monsters. It’s a cute introduction for the wee ones into the fascinating world of science fiction through a very personal and uplifting tale.

I found her poetry endearing and her artwork (which Peach did all herself) charming. If you have kids from about four to six years old in your orbit. I highly recommend you start them out right in science fiction with this little gem.

https://www.amazon.com/Grumpy-Ana-Grouchy-Monsters-Childrens/dp/1975723945/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514316075&sr=1-2-fkmr1&keywords=grumpy+ann+and+the+monsters

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Haven’t Been To A Con, Yet? Go!

I just finished my Thanksgiving turkey, but a thing that’s left an equally filling aftertaste was the weekend before at Orycon 39. This year was my eighth, or maybe ninth Orycon. To be frank they all kind of blend together in one great fanish haze from time to time.

Again, this year I was honored to be a panelist (and grateful they forgave/forgot the whole “blasted out of my head” incident of three years back). I sat before various audiences discussing things ranging from Star Wars to Wonder Woman, and man did I get some challenging questions.

But panels be damned! I also went partying with my wife, drank more than a bit too much, played some great science fiction card games, and met a lot of truly great authors (I’m talking about you Susan R. Matthews), and fans.

Honestly, I’ve been going to these science fiction conventions since 1985 (Milinecon Minus 15, Dayton Airport Hotell) and highly recommend you give one a whirl. Oh, you can start out with one of those huge, sprawling Comicons if you like. They can be fun too.

But personally, I recommend you seek out one of the smaller, cozier ones close to home. You get a real sense of community at the local conventions that can’t be found in a larger venue. Great conversations take place in hotel lobbies with like-minded geeks you only met an hour ago, and lifelong friendships get off to a great start.

In short, it’s always worth it to seek out new friends and new conversations. To boldly con where few have coned before.

See you there!

 

Going to Orycon 39!

So…it’s coming up on my favorite Con of the year. I haven’t missed but one Orycon since I moved to Oregon, and that year I was in Iraq.

This year I’m once again a panelist and will be speaking on such wide-ranging topics as Getting Your First Professional Sale to Wonder Woman How to be her and feel comfortable doing so. And you can be sure the guys where I work are more than a little curious as to how I’m going to pull that second one off. I will also be doing an after hours, erotic reading (with a little help from my wife) of Seka Heartley’s classic Passion Pirates of The Lost Galaxy.

So, If you find yourself in the Portland area next month, I know this great party and recommend you check it out at the Red Lion Hotel in Jenson Beach, Oregon. Learn more by checking the link below.

http://39.orycon.org/

New Book, THE SPIRIT OF CAHIR MULLACH, Now on Amazon

So, I did it again…I committed novel.This is my first “Fantasy” novel. No science fiction gizmos, just some Irish magic, and ghosts. It starts in the Viking age and then the reader is woodshed eight hundred years into the time of the American Revolution when a war weary redcoat returns to the British Isles and is ordered to billet in a haunted castle.

This time I skipped the whole publisher thing and went straight to Amazon so I could keep the price low. Frankly, I don’t see any reason for people to pay more than $5 for an e-book or more than $10 for a print on demand.  I hope folks like it.

I hope folks like it.

Crazy Lucky-A Space Romance, Now An Actual Book (with paper)

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So, my sequel to The Adventures of Crazy Liddy is now available in paperback. As you may recall, Liddy often spent her spare time reading cheap romance novels with titles like Starpilot’s Mistress. This prompted my “friend,” Seka Heartly to write Passion Pirates of The Lost Galaxy (which is now also available on Amazon).

So, I figured, “what the hell?” Dosen’t Liddy deserve a romance of her own? And then I wrote Crazy Lucky-A Space Romance. Of course, this being Liddy, it had to take place in space, involve crime, adventure, alien races and a secret mission to save a world. It being a romance novel, it also had to involve a handsome, suave, dude with roguish charm and a sordid past.

Fun for one and all!

If you’re like me, e-books are not quite “real” to you yet. Real books are made of paper and you can hold them in your hand as you smell the ink off the pages. A real physical thing that you can cherish on your bookshelf forever. And, unlike e-books, you can throw ’em at people who annoy you. 🙂

Feel free to check out the real Crazy Lucky-A Space Romance at…

https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Lucky-Clayton-J-Callahan/dp/1539363813/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1476154646&sr=1-1

 

Star Trek Turns 50…And I Ain’t Feeling So Young Myself

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So, What do you think? I know, I know…a Starfleet admiral? Kind of egotistical, right? Well, I sure as hell am too old to be an ensign these days, so what else was I going to wear to Comicon?

Star Trek just turned fifty and I grew right up with it. In fact, I was born the day the episode “Friday’s Child” first aired. Yes, that’s the episode where McCoy delivers a baby…weird I know. Naturally, I was too young to catch Star Trek on the first pass. Instead, I grew up watching the re-runs on late night TV. Saturday Night Live would end, then we’d watch Star Trek and finally an old Flash Gordon serial before Channel 19 ended its broadcast day and the national anthem would play.

I’ve got to say, I’ve always loved the show, and it formed much of the framework for what I think science fiction is, or at least should be. Intellectually, I’m aware that SF encompasses cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and mad scientist stories. But, for me, if it ain’t got spaceships it ain’t sci-fi. To this day I gravitate to star-spanning adventures with strong human elements and a powerful moral theme that runs through ‘em. That’s what good SF is to me, that’s what Gene Roddenberry conceived when Star Trek first aired on September 8th, 1966, and that’s the kind of stuff I put in my books.

So, my point here is simply to say, “thank you.”

Thank you to every Star Trek, writer, actor, director, producer, costume sewer and right down to the guy who swept the floor. Also a hearty thanks to every fan who kept Star Trek alive for the past five decades. My imagination owes a debt to you folks that I cannot hope to repay.

So thank you. Thank you very much!

Somthing “New” For A Change

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You may have noticed my affinity for old science fiction. It seems most of the stuff I like to read is thirty to forty years in the rear view mirror and, honestly, that’s fine. Folks like what they like. However, I despise the notion of “the good old days” that never will come again. Because human imagination and creativity go on and older does not always mean better. Frankly, there was just as much crap back then as there is now, we have only forgotten it.

Newer authors also deserve a chance, and it’s not just the Carter/Regan era SF I like. So, allow me to introduce you to Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, vintage 2006-2010…Okay, so the first book came out ten years ago. Sue me. Firefly is older than these books anyway.

The Lost Fleet series is a collection of six novels by Jack Cambell (John G. Hemry) about a space naval fleet that is trapped behind enemy lines and has to fight its way home. The books are also about the fleet’s commander Captain John Geary who has a bit of a back story, as told in the first book Dauntless.

It seems that the fleet was once commanded by Admiral Botch, who’s grand plan was to use “hypernet” gates to sneak this massive fleet deep into enemy territory for a surprise attack on their homeworld.  While traveling to his fateful battle, Admiral Botch’s ship discovers a lost escape pod with a survivor in cryo-suspension. The survivor is Captain John Geary, the legendary hero of the first battle of this war that has by now raged for over one-hundred years. Geary was believed dead and his return from this navy’s mythic past is seen as a good luck blessing by the more superstitious crewmen. But any luck he brings comes too late for Admiral Botch.

The fleet is ambushed and the surprise attack is a total failure. The enemy insists the admiral and all officers above the rank of captain get in a shuttle and come to their flagship to discuss surrender. The enemy, being rather treacherous, execute the senior officers instead and then  insist the rest of the fleet’s captains surrender unconditionally. What the enemy fails to realize, however, is they just put a hundred-plus-year-old war hero in charge of the fleet by reason of his seniority to all the other captains.

Now the stage is set. Captain Geary must acclimate himself to the new age he finds himself in, take charge of a fleet he knows little about, save an impossible military situation from complete disaster and do so without preparation of any kind. What could possibly go wrong?

Campbell does a great job in creating a flawed and very human protagonist. Captian Geary is an excellent officer but not a perfect one and has a lot to learn. Thankfully for him, he is a product of a civilized age that provided first class education to its military and he was trained by the best. Unfortunately for him, one-hundred years of war has yielded a barbaric age where military officers are unschooled in the finer points of strategy and tactics. This rough mob of new captains chafe under Geary’s tutelage and resent his insistence on rules of war. It seems that since Geary has been asleep in a life pod, practices such as the execution of prisoners and the bombardment of civilians has become commonplace…and that’s something he won’t stand for.

I seldom read series, but I devoured every last book in this one.  The descriptions of space battles are highly realistic and superbly well written. But my favorite scenes are the ones where Geary faces moral dilemmas. He must not only convince his captains that obeying the law of war is moral, but it is also essential to victory.

I served in Iraq, and I can attest that moral behavior is key to victory in any war. Enemies will not surrender when they believe they will be abused, a population will not submit to cruelty, and information gained under torture is always tainted with falsehoods. To win, the good guys MUST act like the good guys and Cambell seems to understand this (and I’m not surprised as the man did serve as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy).

To put it simply, these books are awesome. I highly recommend these books to any fan of military science fiction. My only complaint was that all the action takes place on the flagship, and I would have liked to see Geary visit some planets from time to time, but oh well.

Enjoy the books.