A Little Something for the Fanbots

A good sized portion of my visitors here are bots from China and elsewhere, or at least it seems that way to me. And how do I repay them for the loyalty they show this site on a daily basis? By starving them for content. Ungrateful cur that I am, I haven’t posted an update here in over a year. All kidding aside, I do apologize for the lack of updates. Although outnumbered by bots and unfortunates misdirected here by search engines, some of you actually want to know what is going on and when you can read more of my stories.

I’ve spent much of the past year trying to write a novel, a battle royal between my inner demons and angels for control over the direction of the book. At times, it has felt like a battle for the direction of my soul. All the while, I’ve been distracted with one (and often two) eyes on the insanity of the world outside my window.

Actually, I don’t have any windows in my writing office, which happens to be an old fallout shelter in the basement. Yet the world gets in anyway. The fallout shelter offers me as much shielding as it would have to occupants during the cold war, which is to say none. Colorado Springs is bordered by military installations to the north, south, east and west. Residents needn’t have worried about fallout; they were not going to survive that long.

But I digress. I owe you an update. The novel is still in progress. I hope to have it in the hands of beta readers at the beginning of the year. Currently unpublished short stories continue to look for homes. Convention appearances have all been cancelled due to COVID (including COSine which will not return until 2022), and I am not inclined to participate in online digital conventions. There you have it.


As previously mentioned, I am dedicating a large portion of this year to writing a novel.  I was having trouble with just how dark my story had become and was trying to figure out what to do about it.  But somehow I had gotten lost in self-importance.  I was thinking about how this book might influence people; make them aware of the insanity pummeling our civilization.  I was thinking that perhaps my novel might help change the course of the insanity.

Then I looked in a dark place – doubt.  I asked myself if that was realistic.  Why did I think this book would make any difference?  There are plenty of important books that people have read and yet they still go on behaving badly.  It was similar to the realization I had when I resigned my council seat and dropped out of politics (long ago).

For a few seconds I stood at the edge of the abyss, thinking about how depressing this thought was and where it might take me.  Why write at all? I asked.

Then, SMACK, it occurred to me that I had forgotten my purpose, the reason why I write.  It was comically stupid for me to get so lost when my purpose was clearly stated at the top of my own website: “Writer of humorous science fiction – Because laughter is pain relief for the soul.”

I write to help people laugh.  To help them live through the madness.  Not to delude myself into thinking that I can stop the madness.

And then what I needed to do for the novel became clear.

Excuse my momentary euphoria.

Convention Updates:  Since I neglect posting updates, both as a habit and now with the excuse of playing hermit novelist this year, here are some updates.

I will be attending the Jack Williamson Lectureship in Portales, NM, April 4-5.  This will be my first trip to the Lectureship.  I am told it has an intimate atmosphere.  If I don’t procrastinate too long, I might report back on my experience.

Speaking of procrastinated reports. Cosine 2019 (SF convention held each January in Colorado Springs) was wonderful, as always.  Unfortunately, this was the last Cosine.  Some of the volunteers are no longer able to continue.  My thanks to them for all their hard work over the years.  Cosine has always been special, but this time there was something palpable in the air.  Something extra.  Like the parting of old friends, or the last night of a long-running play in which we were all actors.  My hope is that new volunteers are able to step in and bring Cosine back at some point.

A sConnies gift of the gabnowstorm north of the city led many panelists and attendees on arduous, white-knuckled drives over Monument Pass.  For a personal account of that journey, you can read “Over the River and Through the Snowstorm: Going to a January Science Fiction Convention” a Facebook post by Connie Willis.

Daves motormouthMy first panel on Friday was scheduled to have six panelists, but the snow delayed four, leaving Connie and I to discuss the topic of time travel.  Fortunately, there were no moments of awkward silence since both of us have the gift of the gab, or more accurately, Connie has the gift, and I am more of a motormouth.  The second picture shows Connie wondering when I will shut up. (photos courtesy of Morland Gonsoulin)

On Saturday, the roads were clear and I was on four lively panels.  During the first, “Writing for the Video Game Generation,” I had the role of the older person who doesn’t play many video games and has a hard time relating.  The second panel discussed “Classic SF as Proto-Steampunk Literature.”  We SF fans and writers really know how to stretch genre definitions.  During the third panel, we pondered the question “Is Elon Musk “The Man Who Sold the Moon”?”  Many of us are hoping so.  The last panel, “Revisiting the Drake Equation,” proved enlightening and featured our science guest, the astronomer/writer Mike Brotherton.  Cosine’s Guest of Honor was the talented, Hugo-nominated, author Carrie Vaughn.  Small world.  Carrie and I used to work together at a bookstore back in the 1990s.

So, good-bye to Cosine, my favorite convention for spending time with old and new friends.

COSine 2019 and Beyond

cosinebanner2019I will be on the following panels at COSine 2019 in Colorado Springs this weekend (January 18-20):

Fri 3-4pm: Must Time Travel Change History?
Sat 10-11am: Writing for the video game generation
Sat noon-1pm: Swords and Rayguns: Classic SF as Proto-Steampunk Literature
Sat 2-3pm: Is Elon Musk “The Man Who Sold the Moon”?
Sat 4-5pm: Revisiting the Drake Equation

I will also be at the author reception/signing from 5:30-7:00pm Saturday evening.  And then at the annual writers gathering at Storybook Brewing Saturday night.

…and Beyond.  This could be the last COSine.  Rumor has it (actually not a rumor) that this is the end of the line for my favorite little SF convention.  There will be no COSine 2020, but I have hopes that COSine will rise again, as it did the last time this happened.

As for my 2019 plans, I’ll be working on a novel for the next six or seven months.  In the meantime, a short story or two may surface as the ones that are complete find homes.



My COSine 2018 Schedule

cosinebanner320My first convention of the year is just around the corner (January 19-21).  COSine is a small SF convention held annually in Colorado Springs, my hometown.  It has always been a wonderful experience for me.  This year, the Guest of Honor is Jody Lynn Nye, and as is tradition, Connie and Courtney Willis are the con’s Special Guests.   The Science Guest is Biomechanical Engineer Dr. Dana Carpenter.  Expect some interesting talks on the effects of space travel on the human body.

Here are the panels I will be on at the convention:

Friday (1/19/2018)

5pm – Moon, Mars, or Beyond – the objectives of manned space flight

8pm – Inventorying and Valuing your Collection

Saturday (1/20/2018)

11am – Why are we paying for the privilege of inviting Big Brother into our homes and lives?

I will also be at the Author’s Reception and Signing on Saturday evening.

Sunday (1/21/2018)

2pm – We Kid Because We Love – parodies of science fiction and fantasy

COSine 2018 is going to be great fun.  I hope to see you there.

COSine and Another Review


This past weekend I attended COSine, a small SF convention held annually in Colorado Springs, my hometown.  It was, as has been the case every year I have attended, an excellent experience.  The Guest of Honor Jo Walton, Science Guest Jon Singer, and Special Guests Connie and Courtney Willis were all fantastic. The same can be said for all the other attendees that I interacted with, including dozens of other authors, scientists and engineers.

I was on three panels that I think were reasonably successful. You would think by now that I would have figured out that I should announce such appearances ahead of time rather than inform you about them after the fact. But the low volume of traffic here at this site, plus the need to spend my time writing fiction, tends to result in these posts taking a back seat. I will try to do better in the future. In any case, the convention was outstanding and I encourage you to join us next year.

On the review front at Amazing Stories Magazine, I recently posted a a Scide Splitters blog examining four stories by William Tenn: “Party of the Two Parts,” “The Flat-Eyed Monster,” “Lisbon Cubed,” and “On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi!” If nothing else, find and read “Party of the Two Parts.” It is just too funny.

Fun with search engines department: Looking for a graphic to use in association with this post, I put “COSine 2017” in as my search terms and Yahoo gave me -0.798635510047

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing-Wax, of Cabbages and Cons

Last weekend I attended COSine, a cozy science fiction convention held annually in Colorado Springs.  The guest of honor was Jim Butcher, the affable author of the Dresden Files.  Other authors in attendance included Connie Willis, Wil McCarthy, John Stith, Sarah Hoyt, Cynthia Felice and dozens more.  COSine offers an intimate con experience with a variety of activities.  I availed myself of a dozen or so panels and even joined in on a bit of filking (those who know me well will know how much of a shock that is).

After the convention, it was time to make plans for the main event – Worldcon.  I made the mistake of booking my hotel three hours after bookings opened and missed out on the cheapest, or should I say most economical, rooms.  Maybe I will be able to find a roommate to share the cost.  In any case, I will be at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City this August (that’s the Worldcon) and hope to meet some of the people whom I have only conversed with across the internet.

With my registration and hotel room for MidAmeriCon all set, the next step will be to make nominations for the Hugo and Retro Hugo Awards (to be handed out at the convention).    I will post more about the Hugos and Retro Hugos tomorrow.  If it is not obvious enough, this is a new website and I have a ways to go in setting it up (compounded by a learning curve in figuring out how all this works).