Year in Review – 2015

So, it’s the last day of 2015. That calls for some reflection.

Personally, 2015 was a big year for me. First and foremost, I got married to the love of my life, and we were so excited that we held two receptions! It was a ton of work to organize both, but getting to share the joy with family and friends that wouldn’t be able to travel was definitely worth it.

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2015 was a busy year in writing as well. I finished Season One of Genrenauts, revised the first three episodes, and developed other projects which are in various stages of secret activity even now.


Hexomancy cover

September saw the release of Hexomancy, the fourth Ree Reyes story, wrapping up the first arc of that series. It’s been met very positively by fans, and has me excited to move on to the next part of Ree’s story as soon as possible.


The Shootout Solution Final

And then in November, I launched Genrenauts season one, beginning with The Shootout Solution, from Publishing. We were able to book Mary Robinette Kowal to perform the audiobook, and I couldn’t be happier. My agent and I partnered with Macmillan Entertainment to manage TV/Film rights for the series, which I think is by far my best shot so far in that field.

I’m very pleased with the series, and excited to continue it in 2016. And I have so many ideas of other things to do with the world – an RPG, comics, a board game, etc.


AR Logo with Lettering

Angry Robot emerged from its Interregnum in March, and has been kicking ass and taking names once more. We had popular, buzz-worthy releases, award nominations, and strong sales. We signed up some incredibly exciting novels by amazing writers, and got the word out about our ongoing, beloved series. And for my own part in the team, I started writing art briefs and working with artists, as well as working on a new Thing that is currently secret but very exciting.






This was a big year in Geekdom. Just with Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we had two huge, impressive new offerings in genre-defining series, each bringing a breath of fresh air in terms of representation. I’ve spoken a lot about those films, so I don’t feel like I need to go on at great length here.

2015 was also the year I got into Steven Universe and Hamilton, it was the year of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, Supergirl, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and more.


I also joined Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers, and Fans in 2015, and have been talking with Greg Wilson, my other active co-host, about cool things we can do in 2016, which has me very excited.

Favorite Things

Here are a few more things that rocked my world in 2015, just for fun – there’s a theme here:

Blades in the Dark

Blades in the Dark is a dark fantasy cloak & dagger RPG by John Harper, in the design lineage of Apocalypse World, but distinctly its own. It cites Dishonored, the Vlad Taltos books, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, and the Thief game series as its major touchstones. BitD was Kickstarted to great effect this year, and the core book is due early 2016. It already has a very active Google+ community, so if an RPG about a group of scoundrels building a criminal empire appeals to you, check it out.

RPG Actual Plays


Another thing that delighted and surprised me this year was the rise in prominence of streaming tabletop RPGs. From Geek & Sundry’s Critical Role to Actual Play Podcasts like Friends at the Table, produced RPG video like Wil Wheaton’s Titansgrave, and Roll20 Presents games like Apocalypse World, consuming RPGs as entertainment has become far more mainstream, and I love it. As a guy who wrote his M.A. thesis on Tabletop RPGs, one of the things I wrote about was how RPGs’ mass appeal was limited because the performers were also the entirety of the audience. With these streamed and recorded games, we’re seeing more attention for the form as performance, as narrative to be enjoyed by more than just the participants. It’s super-cool, and I can’t wait to see more.


Looking ahead

2016 is already shaping up to be a big year for me – The Absconded Amabssador releases in February, I’ve got stories in two anthologies that will be Kickstarting over the course of the year, and I’ll be attending a ton of conventions for Angry Robot and my own writing. Add my current Sekret Projects to that and it’s going to be a doozy. More on 2016 tomorrow.

Until then, thanks to everyone who bought my books, wrote reviews, talked my books up to their friends, hung out with me at conventions, whiled away the hours on Twitter or Facebook, and more. Thanks for everything you’ve done to make 2015 a great year in so many ways, and here’s to making 2016 even better.

#TotallyNotFantasy and the Pointless Genre Cage Match

So, this review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant dropped Monday on Salon, and it’s been making the rounds in my part of the internet.

Last evening, Scott Lynch wrote a few tweets which I took to be responding to that article and/or to related claims that The Buried Giant is Not Fantasy.

I joined in, tweeting about my own fantasy novels and adding the Hashtag #TotallyNotFantasy.

And then…it took off. (more below the Storify)

I think it’s not a coincidence that people jumped in. The ‘It’s totally not fantasy/science fiction’ meme has been around for a while.

Pointless Genre Cage Match

I haven’t read Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant yet. Maybe I’ll love it. And for this conversation, The Buried Giant is really just another work framed in a way to re-hash up a conversation that’s been around for a long time – Genre Vs. Literary, as if they’re somehow mutually exclusive. I’ve seen a lot of literary establishment-approved writers writing genre novels (cool!) and then getting treated by major review venues like those works are ‘transcending’ or ‘redeeming’ the genre, as if we don’t already have grand masters of high literary styling in speculative fiction.

I vehemently defy those assertions. Be proud of what you’re writing, and cite your sources. I’m very happy for writers to be producing genre novels that are then released by non-genre houses. Recent novels like Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf or novellas like Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation deploy the tools of speculative fiction in stories marketed to readers as literary fiction audiences. Sweet! These works can be used by readers to bridge the gaps between speculative fiction and literary fiction audiences. This is great – it helps readers find new stories to appreciate, especially since there are writers in both fields that write hybrid work which can satisfy aesthetic demands of primarily-speculative or primarily-literary readers. They’re just different styles of art, different traditions which have overlapped numerous times.

But if you come into the territory of speculative fiction, grab some unicorns and dragons and orphan heroes and wizards, and then go somewhere else, build a novel, and say ‘Oh, this isn’t fantasy,’ then you and me? We’ve got a problem.

And not just me. Science Fiction/Fantasy’s no-nonsense fairy godmother Ursula K. “National Book Fellowship Medalist for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters” Le Guin had some words as well.

I stand with Ms. Le Guin. Not surprising, since her Earthsea books were some of the first fantasy novels I ever read and they have left an indelible mark on my conception of the genre.

Embrace the Power of And

A work can be more than one thing. A novel being fantasy doesn’t mean it isn’t also Literary, or Young Adult. I think genres are most useful as a tagging system – a way of describing and delineating additional points of entry and accessibility for a work.

The genre gutter is an illusion. It’s just another way of casting aspersions, of creating hierarchies between camps of art that are often trying to do different things and have little reason to be opposed. Retreading those hierarchical conversations is about as useful as complaining that an ATV is a terrible vehicle because it isn’t a bullet train. They do different things.

It’s all art. Appreciate it for what it is – learn what the work seems to be doing, and help get it in front of readers that might enjoy that aesthetic experience.

Goals for 2015

2014 was a big year for my writing career, and I’m hoping that 2015 will be even bigger. Here’s how I’m planning on making that happen.

Going Hybrid

I’m planning on joining the growing ranks of authors who publish both traditionally and on their own, aka ‘Hybrid Authors.’ I’ve got a couple of options on how to pursue self-publishing, depending on how some things that are currently up the the air end up resolving.

Talking Shop

Last year, I got to talk about the business side of publishing at a couple of panels, to great acclaim. Like, kind of surprising attention. People are hungry for accurate, no-BS information about the industry, and I’m in a unique position to share that information, as a publishing professional with years of experience on both the staff and author side of the business.

To that end, I’m going to be focusing more of my blogging time on talking about the publishing industry in an organized fashion. This achieves several goals – it gets the information out there for people to use, and it helps me get the information down so that I can share it in multiple ways (see self-publishing ideas above).

I’ll also be proposing and hosting Business of Publishing panels at conventions across the year, starting with ConFusion next week in Michigan.


Ultimately, this is all about books and storytelling. I have one novel scheduled for this year, Hexomancy, the third Ree Reyes novel (fourth story in the series when counting Attack the Geek). The novel is written and currently with my editor. Hexomancy completes the first major arc for the series, bringing several storylines from the previous novels together for a geek-tastic plot-splosion.

But Hexomancy is not all you should expect from me in 2015, book-wise. More on that when the time is right. For know, be assured that what I’ve got in store will appeal to fans of my current work, while also moving into new ground in ways that I think are very cool.

If you want to keep up with what I’m doing for 2015, I’d point you toward my newsletter, which will be seeing more love, more exclusive content, and more giveaways this year.


But that’s enough vague-blogging for now.

The biggest thing I’m doing in 2015 is getting married! This will also take up a fair bit of my attention, though my fiance and I are working on making the wedding celebrations suit our interests more than fulfilling the agenda of the Wedding-Industrial Complex. Goofy dancing, yes, zillion-dollar flower arrangements, not so much.

Here’s to 2015 and all of its promise.

2014 in Review – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Here it is, a big 2014 in review post. 2014 has been a hell of a year, in great and terrible ways, across most axes of my life. It is a year that will not soon be forgotten, that’s for damned sure.


The Good

Three New Books

I had three new book releases this year, all in ebook and audio, and one in trade paperback (my first print release). That’s pretty freaking amazing. If I’d accomplished nothing else in 2014, this would still be a win. I’d had one book out each of 2012 and 2013, so jumping up to three book releases was a huge step for me and my writing career.

Those three books, in case you’re new to the Mike-verse, are:

Attack the Geek: A Ree Reyes Side-Quest – a long novella in the Ree Reyes/Geekomancy series. It’s short, action-and-character-driven.

Shield and Crocus: A superhero epic fantasy set in a city built among the bones of a titan. It’s my attempt to combine my favorite parts of the New Weird and Superhero genres.

The Younger Gods: A supernatural thriller starring the one moral son in a family of sociopathic sorcerers who want to bring on the apocalypse.

Writing Breakthroughs

In addition to releasing new books, I was also writing new books. I wrote Hexomancy, the third Ree Reyes novel, as well as revising the releases for this year. I also wrote three novellas in a new series which I should be able to talk publicly about very soon *plotty fingers*. All of these were written very quickly (for me). I wrote the first draft of Hexomancy (72k words) in a month, which was a total process breakthrough for me. When I finished that draft, I was exhausted, depleted, but totally excited. The major question I had was this: Can I do it again? Or was this an aberration?

Then, in about six weeks from the very end of October through the first week in December, I wrote another 70k ish words for the rough drafts of the three novellas. That’s not nearly as fast as the Hexomancy draft, but this was a new series as opposed to a series I’ve been writing for multiple years. If I can consistently produce at the 70k in 6 weeks rate? That would be a total game changer for my writing career.


One of the reasons why I was able to pull of these strong production schedules is that this is the year I made a major move along the Outliner/Pantser continuum. Thanks to books like 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron, the videos/tutorials from the folks at the Self-Publishing Podcast, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Writing on the Fast Track class, I changed my outlining and pre-production process, giving myself a much clearer outline to work from, as well as learning how to design more of the story ahead of time so that my first-drafting time was more focused on moving forward and less on having to stop and figure out what to do next. I’m still refining my pre-production process, trying to figure out what parts of the world and story I need to have at least penciled in before drafting begins. And considering the production schedule I’ve set for 2015, I’m going to need all of the help I can give myself.


In addition to tons of writing, I went to a lot of conventions. Eleven of them, in fact. About half were for work, half were on my own as a writer. I met a bunch of cool people, connected with fans, plotted with fellow authors and with my Angry Robot peeps, sold a bunch of books at the consumer shows, and decided to expand my writing career into comics.

Also, I was nominated for a Hugo Award as part of the Skiffy and Fanty Show, which is amazing. We didn’t win, but getting to participate in the pomp of the Hugo Awards as a nominee was a total delight.

In those eleven conventions, learned a lot about what makes conventions work and not work, what I want out of conventions, and how to approach a convention in a focused way to pursue that agenda.

And More

I’m also planning a wedding, co-hosting a readings series, participating in a podcast, and geeking out as much as I can.


The Bad

I Was an Adventurer Like You, Then I Took An Arrow in the Knee

Well, not an arrow. My fiance and I moved across town to a new (awesome) row-home in February, but there was a price. As a result of a day spent tromping up and down stairs with heavy boxes and crawling over the center console of my car to drive back and forth (you see, the driver’s side door was broken because fun), I did something truly unkind to my knee. Walking more than a half-mile or so hurt, driving hurt, and the moderate-intensity exercise regimin I’d been doing was right out. Even using my treadmill desk as a standing desk hurt.

It sucked. I babied the knee for a while, and it got a fair bit better, but then I went and worked two conventions in two weeks, where I had to be on my feet and energetic for eight or so hours a day. And so when I came back, my mostly-better knee had gotten a lot worse. So I went to the doctor, I got an MRI, etc. And it turns out I’ve got a nice little bone spur on my knee that scrapes the tendons as I walk and move.

Sweet. No, wait, the other thing.

Anyway, I buckled down and went through a couple of months of physical therapy, which was incredibly helpful (I know know the terror and marvel of the foam roller. Oh, foam roller, my most hateful friend). I can drive more easily now, but it still hurts. I can use my treadmill desk again in a limited capacity, which is excellent. I’m hoping in 2015 I’ll be able to expand what I do for exercise and get back into some historical martial arts or tango, but it looks like the bone spur isn’t going anywhere unless I want to go get surgery, which I’d rather avoid if I can manage with PT and smart self-care.


The Ugly

The Summer of My Discontent

The knee thing was bad. What was worse is how summer went with my day job. Our owners decided to put the whole company up for sale, but we weren’t allowed to talk about it at all, under threat of losing our jobs. Which meant I spent most of the summer worrying about whether I was going to lose my job and having very little control over much of anything.

That was not fun. In fact, it was pretty miserable. For a lot of reasons.

Luckily, we found a buyer, we’re no longer beholden to the old owners, and the company is back, with grand plans for 2015, and my quality of life at the job is way better, and will be even better when our publishing program resumes in March.



So, that’s a lot. A lot of good, some not-so-good, and many lessons.

Here are my big takeaways from the year:

  • Discipline and planning have a direct relationship to my speed of production.
  • Some separation between work and my personal life is good, even in a job I love.
  • Conventions are fun, but they require a plan just like every other part of the business.
  • Surprisingly, I am mortal, and I need to take care of myself and listen to my body.


Looking Forward to 2015

Where 2014 was a big year in writing and life, 2015 is promising to be even bigger. I’ve got a lot of work planned to be completed in 2015, including some very exciting stuff. I’m going to get married in 2015 to the coolest, smartest, funniest woman I know, and we’re throwing (two?) parties to celebrate that marriage with friends and loved ones. And there’s a ton of books and movies and comics and TV I’m excited about enjoying over the next year.

2014, you’ve been instructive in a bunch of different ways.

Roll on 2015.

Pizza, Dribbles of Ink, and More!

It’s still launch week, so I’ve assembled a few more links of goings-on.

Over on A Dribble of Ink, I talked with Aidan Moher about Shield and Crocus.

Mark Lawrence hosted me for an interview on his blog.

and today,

Fran Wilde took me to GeekMom for a special Cooking the Books interview about pizza, bar brawls, and Attack the Geek


BONUS! — I stopped by Book Country (where Geekomancy was discovered in early 2012) to talk about how to promote your book before launch.

Round ’em up!

Yesterday was a whirlwind. In order to catch up, I’m going to bring together links from activity over the last week so it’s easier to keep up.

Qwill had me back to the Qwillery to talk Attack the Geek, process, and life.’s Stubby sat me down for the Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe. also revealed Stephan Martiniere’s amazing cover for Shield and Crocus.

Attack the Geek Website size


The Armchair Librarian’s review of Celebromancy.

Talking Supe reviewed Attack the Geek.

GeekyLibrary reviewed Attack the Geek.

Shelly Romano’s review of Attack the Geek on NetGalley

And Marc Wright wrote the first reader review of Shield and Crocus.

Re-Launch — Now “Geek Theory”

I’ve decided to re-vise, re-name, and re-launch this blog as “Geek Theory.”

Since I’ve been focusing more on my fiction and my ambitions as a writer of speculative fiction, I’m re-branding this WordPress blog as my personal-professional blog, talking about writing, my life as an independent publishers’ book rep, and other fun things.  There will be far fewer reviews and essays, and they’ll be in a more personal tone, rather than my pop-academic tone from before.

First up — a summary post on the awesome that was WisCon 35.

I’m not dead — but I will be published

I’ve been quiet of late here, and not for lack of things to say.

However, the last few weeks I’ve been focusing more on my fiction writing. I sold my first short story (“Last Tango in Gamma Sector”) last week, which will be published at Crossed Genres on June 1st in their issue on “Gadgets & Artifacts.”

In addition, I’ve wrapped up line edits on my New Weird Superhero novel Shield & Crocus and have started working on a synopsis while creating a list of agents to query.

This 21st Century Geek is a maker as well as a consumer of culture, and I’m trying to find a better balance of input/consumption vs. output/creation.

More pop culture ramblings will come soon, as we’re amidst a variety of season finales in TV-land.

MFA Poet turned SF writer’s ‘Apology’ for going genre.

i09 linked to an essay by Science Fiction writer Alan DeNiro (who has an MFA in poetry), titled “Why I Write Science Fiction: An Apology.”

The essay itself is hosted at Bookspot Central.

Read both of those? Great. Here’s some analysis of the essay and the i09 commentary.

DeNiro’s MFA means that he has a serving of alphabet soup that serves as cultural capital in the ‘literary’ fiction world. But he’s also a graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop (sister-workshop to the Clarion West Writers Workshop, of which I am a graduate), which grants him cultural capital in the speculative fiction world. DeNiro is a crossover writer, and by his own admission, writes in a mode that might be more accurately described as slipstream or interstitial. But he’s identifying as a science fiction writer, which means he’s on my radar.

Landscape as character — DeNiro talks about how in sf, landscape acts as a character unto itself. It does, sometimes literally as he says, but also figuratively. But setting/landscape is a character in any kind of fiction. Setting is, however, one of the major tools for commentary/speculation in fiction, often and sometimes expertly-used in science fiction/fantasy/horror/speculative fiction. The setting of Battlestar Galactica is clearly speculative, and much of the story’s drama comes out of the cultural, historical, and technological differences between that setting and our own world. But in another way, the stories of Battlestar are very familiar.

Literalization of the metaphor — The i09 article gives credit to DeNiro as follows:

[DeNiro] sets out a few building blocks of a new theory of appreciating science fiction. For example, he talks about the way in which science fiction turns the metaphorical into the real, and allows the author’s observations to become more vivid or heightened

The idea of SF as a literalization of the metaphor is not new to DeNiro.  Samuel R. Delaney established years ago that SF allows for the literalization of the metaphorical, and thus, that critical tool is already established in the SF scholarship community.  It is a valuable one, but not one new to DeNiro, though Delaney is already a member of the SF community embraced by the Academy.

DeNiro references Ursula LeGuin (another Literarily-accepted SF writer), who in an introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness said “I am not predicting, or prescribing. I am describing.” — SF does not need to predict the future when it can comment on the present.  Not all SF is written to that intent, but the conventions and possibilities of the genre allow for writers to bring in any number of strange elements to contextualize a story, create a setting, and create a narrative environment that allows for a persuasive and entertaining commentary on the world we live in.

Suvin and Cognitive Estrangement

SF critic Darko Suvin spoke of science fiction as a genre of cognitive estrangement. The difference between our world and the world(s) of Battlestar would be part of the estrangement, but it is matched, tempered by the commonalities, identifiable by cognition.

This interplay between cognition and estrangement can be seen as a continuum, with Cognition/Similarity on one end and Estrangement/Difference on the other. A story could be plotted on this continuum, identifying the balance between elements/aspects of the setting/story that are similar to our own experience and those which produce estrangement as we reach across a cognitive gap to understand those differences.

Some SF shows are more familiar/close to our own setting, things like the comic DMZ, Y: The Last Man, or PD James’ Children of Men.  Those kind of narratives make one extrapolation from our world and then examines the social/political/etc. results of a world with that change.  The audience is only asked to swallow one new thing (or Novum), be it a new American civil war, the end of human fertility, or a virus that kills male mammals.  The degree of estrangement is low, and readers can easily identify with the world (Much more Cognition than Estrangement)

On the other end are narratives where a great number of things are different, and readers cling to the elements that are the same as a way to understand that world.  This would cover New Weird stories like China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, Jeff VenderMeer’s The City of Saints and Madmen, Post-Modern genre re-combinations like Astro City,  etc. In these worlds, the reader is asked to believe a great many things to immerse themselves in the story, like a world with a handful of unknown non-human species, magical-technological transmogrification as a tool of punishment, dream-eating monsters, etc. (Much more Estrangement than Cognition)  With High-Estrangement stories, the New Things (Nova) in the world create a mood and establish thematics, enter into a dialogue with established genre tropes, and more.  High-Estrangement stories can provide a high barrier to entry for readers, often requiring a wide knowledge of genre tropes to fully understand what is going on in a story.

The genre label of science fiction or speculative fiction applies to stories from throughout this continuum.  Stories with less Estrangement and more Cognition tend to be those more recognized by the Literary Establishment as Real Literature (Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union).  This seems to be the kind of SF that DeNiro himself writes.  DeNiro also acknowledges the fact that valorizing one sub-section of fiction over others is foolish, but for all that DeNiro admits having ‘gone genre’, he seems to be more in the slipstream/magic realism area.

More important to me is the fact that the title of the essay is still ‘An Apology,’ assuming that one must apologize for writing speculative fiction if one is to maintain Literary Cred.  For all that SF has gained in recognition from the Academy, the acceptance seems to thus far extend mostly to the ‘more realistic’ High-Cognition, Low-Estrangement parts of SF.

I’m glad that writers are identifying the literary and ideological possibilities of SF, and pointing out that ‘realistic fiction’ is a oxymoron.  Each genre of fiction has its own qualities, possibilities and limitations, just as do genres of music, graphic art, dance, and more.  It is again telling though, that in this case DeNiro feels he must ‘apologise’ for it, though I agree with him in hoping that in a few decades or less, no one will have to apologise for choosing to write within any genre.

Battlestar Galactica 4×11 — Sometimes a Great Notion

Battlestar is back, and the WTF? factor is high.  Here’s my breakdown of the episode, Spoilers Galore.

Big things:

  1. Starbuck finds her own wreckage, with her fin #, and a corpse with her dog tags.
  2. The Final Four all have memories of living on Earth.
  3. Dee breaks down and commits suicide after one last happy memory with Lee.
  4. Tigh flashes back to Earth and sees Ellen, leading him to identify her as the Fifth Cylon.
  5. Earth is uninhabitable, and the remains discovered there are all genetically Cylon, accompanied by Centurion-style Cylons unlike those made by the humans of the 12 colonies or the Cylons they made.


1. This fits in with the fact that the Raptor that Starbuck arrived with after her dissapearance was fresh-off-the-line clean.  This leads us to believe that Starbuck is a Cylon, or that she was somehow cloned by the Cylons, based off of the tissue samples they could have taken during the time she was held at the farm during “The Farm.”  This is of course all interpolation.  Leoban is shocked by the revelation, as it disproves/disagrees with his visions.  His religious certainty is shaken, and the connection between him and Starbuck is now in question again.

2.  From Tyroll walking the marketplace to Anders remembering playing “All Along the Watchtower,” this fits in line with my reading that that the humans of Earth are descended from the intermarriage of Cylons and humans who settle on Kobol and then leave for the thirteen colonies, as a part of the cycle (hence “all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again”) — This would allow for our civilization as is now to be a part of this cycle, between when the 13th tribe reaches Earth and when nuclear war destroys civilization on the planet.

The Final Five would then be the people who remember their previous incarnations elsewhen in the cycle, who are ‘Cylons’ in that they are the descendents of the re-connected species.

3. Dee’s suicide is used as the personalization of the collective despair expressed by the fleet after being let down by Earth.  The people had held up hope for years and years, thinking ‘if we make it to Earth, it will all be ok.’ — and now that Earth has been removed as the great hope, people’s defenses are down and they’re crashing.  Everyone of the survivors have PTSD, first from the destruction of the colonies, likely again from the events on New Caprica, and many things in between and after.

Dee had already lost her connection to Lee, before that she lost Billy, on top of the destruction of the colonies.  She showed signs of breaking down throughout the episode, from the return trip from Earth to speaking to Hera to the musing about the picture from when she was five.  And then, after one more happy moment with Lee, she takes her own life.  This is the personalized version of the despair rampant throughout the fleet that we can see on Galactica with people breaking down in the hallways and from the graffiti.

4.  Ellen was originally suspected as being a Cylon because of her mysterious appearance in the fleet, then discounted because she was too human-ly screwed up.  And by the time she let Saul kill her as they departerd New Caprica, she had achieved a measure of redeption.  And now by revealing her as the fifth Cylon (confirmed in the ‘next episode’ preview), they open up the question of another instance of her being alive or able to be activated.  It also makes for more of a reason to stay on Earth for archaeological excavation to uncover more information and/or unlock more memories of the Four that remain.

5.  This supports my ideas from 2, positing that once humans and Cylons intermingle, they will just distinct enough from humans now so as to register as ‘Cylon’ (ie. ‘Other’) — But I imagine that Hera and Nicholas, our two known human-Cylon crossbreeds would register as ‘Cylon’ under the same analyses.

Next episode — Vice President Zarek makes another power play, looking to divide the fleet.  Meanwhile, people try to figure out what the hell to do now that Earth is no longer the safe End Point.  Cavill’s fleet is still out there, meaning that there will be more chances for explosions and dogfights and such.