The Substitute Sleuth launch!

She’s a Wacky Comedian. He’s a Gruff Detective. They Fight Crime!

The Substitute Sleuth - Genrenauts Episode 4 cover

Today, Genrenauts continues with Episode 4 – The Substitute Sleuth.

This episode draws on contemporary police procedurals like Castle, Psych, Lie to Me, White Collar, and others. It puts Leah Tang on the spot in a big way, and dives into Angstrom King’s backstory. It also kicks the season into high gear as we barrel forward into the season finale.

You can buy your copy direct via Gumroad.

Or on: Kindle  Nook  Kobo  iTunes

The first season of Genrenauts will conclude with The Failed Fellowship, the two-part finale, coming in October!

To whet your appetite, here’s the first chapter of The Substitute Sleuth:


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Write-a-Thon Week One

As I previously mentioned, I’m participating in the Clarion West Write-a-Thon, which runs concurrently with the 2011 workshop in Seattle.

My first story for the Write-a-Thon is “Can You Tell Me How To Get…”, a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk muppet story.  Yeah, that’s right: muppets.

We’ve hit our participant goal, now we’re looking for sponsors to support one or more writers while we toil away for the next six weeks, sculpting awesome out of pure nothing, fueled by caffeine, madness, and whatever other sins the various writers use for inspiration.

Here’s a short teaser from the story-in-progress:

“Can you tell me how to get to Paprika Place?” Charlie would ask.  The ones that remembered him from their TV days would shake their heads politely.  They’d been viewers once, tuning in every afternoon to learn their letters and numbers.  The younger ones, or the ones whose parents had worked for The Mouse or CapeCo, who’d been forbidden to watch Bunco’s shows, they would just recoil from Fluffasaurus and run back to their houses.  Then the guards would come in their sharp black suits and sunglasses and ask him to move along.

Remember kids, don’t talk to strangers!

Noise by Darin Bradley — Abhorrent & Fascinating

One of my recent reads was Noise, by Darin Bradley.  This book got lots and lots of buzz when it came out (at least online), but it wasn’t until last month I picked it up, as my original response was ‘that sounds like I’d hate it.’

Turns out that response was correct, just not in the way I’d expected.

The book is all filtered through the perspective of one disaffected youth, with his life-long BFF at his side.  These guys grew up playing D&D, playing boffer swordfighting, and learning survival skills in scouts.  So when the digital changeover leaves a gap of frequencies that pirate broadcasters hijack to share their apocalyptic warnings, the boys listen.  They start planning, preparing, assembling their own ‘how to survive the apocalypse’ manual, a manual that assumes violence.  Not just violence to survive, but lots of violence, as a primary tool of obtaining what you want.

Noise is a book about the ways that personal mythology can be used to completely transform your thinking, and how cultural narratives and groupthink can be used to justify all sorts of horrible acts.

The book is far easier to understand just by reading it.  I found that as much as I deplored what was going on in the book, it was compellingly told, and I could imagine that there would be no small number of people who, in the event of a collapse as described (sketchily, I’ll add — either viewable as a bug in the book or a feature if you think that the main character doesn’t really care about the collapse, just the response), would go off the deep end like that.

It’s not an easy book to read, and it is not a clear condemnation or valorization of geeks, boy scouts, or anarchists.  It is, instead, a fascinating character study of how a pair of suburban boys try to transform themselves into the kind of people who can survive and thrive in an apocalypse and post-collapse world.