Tuesday, June 18, 2019

About those yard signs...

The "hate has no home here" stuff is so... Orwellian. 

See now, there are people I disapprove of. There are even probably a few that I dislike. There are individuals I avoid both in meat-space and inside my head because no one has time for their toxicity. But I'm allowed to "hate" people. I generally don't, but I have a choice. 

The Orwellian "hate has no home here" REQUIRES those people to hate. It's not even optional anymore. They have a moral obligation in order to maintain their status as a "good" person to hate all the "haters". They are required to be intolerant of the intolerant. People who disagree aren't merely *disapproved* of because of their wrong ideas. They have to be hated or else your moral position isn't firm enough.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Jupiter is out in E-Book!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Dome Monkeys

Dome Monkeys (Published in Space Opera :
Writer’s contest anthology.  Fall 2016) 

            Ralotarans appeared on the control room screens;
slow and stupid and thinking they could simply demand
surrender of the Xa'ethian space station.  Lan'to Paun gave a
derisive sniff before choking as the last of the shadows
resolved.  Humans.  The Ralotarans had Humans. 
            Lan'to Paun spun to her deputies.  "Where did they
obtain Humans?"
            Deputy Tu'lli Po stepped forward.  "Be calm,
Station Master.  Human allies or not, they cannot enter the
range of our defenses.  The Humans are
not magic, Station Master.  They are flesh and
can die." 
            Lan'to Paun's other Deputy, Mi'ole Tula, an ancient
crone with long teeth and more years of institutional memory
than anyone else on Lan'to Paun's  staff, shouldered
Tu'lli Po aside. "We have Humans as well, Station Master."
She turned her neck diffidently. "I did not see it before now.
The bugs brought them when we awarded the dome
maintenance contracts."
            "The dome monkeys!"  Lan'to Paun had seen
the small creatures climbing amongst the girders with
their tool belts and dirty overalls, always supervised
by the Kiptukict whose wide shells made it difficult to
reach station mechanicals.  It was impossible.
            "Consider, Station Master," Mi'ole Tula
continued.  "Don't the dome monkeys look very like
those Humans? When the Kiptukict arrived with their
small helpers, did our safety and well-being not
improve?  Our air is clearer and we no longer
fall ill.  Our humidity is constant and we no longer peel.
We paid gladly and thought the bugs were brilliant
contractors, and all this time their success was
because they had Humans."
            Lan'to Paun stared, lost in her contemplation
of the good fortune of discovering Humans on board
her station.   Everyone knew that if you were in a
tight spot that Humans were lucky.  With Humans
aboard it was no wonder that the dark ship that
rested beyond their defenses was confident enough
to demand the station surrender.   But there
was no way the Ralotarans could possibly know
that Lan'to Paun had Humans, too. 
The Station Master's smile grew.
            "Go," she snapped at Deputy Tu'lii Po.
"I want a Human here in no more than ten
            The station began an eleventh revolution
as Tu'lii Po returned with one of the Kiptukict
mechanics who pushed a scruffy dome monkey
complete with a double belt of tools into the room. 
The Human's flesh was blotted with spots of purple
and green.  A brown stain covered one side
of its face.  Up close the creatures were
not attractive at all.  It stumbled.
            The Kiptukict rose up majestically. "Mender
Latua Chait'le, at your service."
            "Tu'lii Po, escort the bug out," Lan'to Paun
ordered. "I need the Human."   
Lan'to Paun now knew the secret of Kiptukict
success.  They cheated.
            Tu'lii Po left with the protesting bug.
            Station Master Lan'to Paun observed
the dome monkey.  It was staring at
the display.  At least three Humans moved
back and forth behind the Ralotaran Captain
who was repeating what it termed
"conditions of surrender." 
            Lan'to Paun slapped open
communications and crowed.
            "Surrender to a single Ralotaran ship! 
I will never do so.  And I will show
you this, you slothful behemoth, I have
Humans, too!"  She jerked the dome monkey
forward and thrust it before the Ralotaran. 
            With a cry the Humans in the Ralotaran
command room rushed toward the display.
            Lan'to Paun's Human stared at the
display, at the Humans and at the
Ralotaran Captain.  It slowly pulled a tool f
rom its belt, a narrow thing with a grip on
one end and rod on the other which was
flattened at the very tip.  The Human turned
the tool in its hand.  One rotation.  Two. 
It looked around the control room and then
back at the display, it nodded its odd head
at something and became still.  
            Station Master Lan'to Paun got tired
of waiting for the ragged creature to do
whatever lucky thing that Humans did. She
pushed her Human aside.  It tumbled farther
than the push warranted, ending under the
auxiliary control desk along the wall in a
cascading tinkle of loose tools and electronics.
            "And now we know where we stand,"
she announced.  The lights in the control
room began to flicker.  
            Dome monkeys were maintenance.  
Lan'to Paun turned.  The Human was
now standing next to the control desk. 
"Fix it!" she commanded. Its little hands
obediently flew across the controls and then
it sprinted to another control panel.   
            The Human slapped a communications
toggle and let loose with a string of
Kiptukict language: clicks and whistles
and slaps.  The Station Master smiled.
The Human had broken from its stupor and
would rally some miraculous defense.
            But the old crone spoke Kiptukict.   
"It has dropped our defenses!"  Mi'ole Tula
roared as she charged the Human, her long
teeth bared and savage.  The Human thrust
one of its two thin arms into those open jaws. 
Blood fanned outward and the Human and
crone disappeared behind the console. 
            Lan'to Paun scrambled for the blaster
at her side.  She would not attack with teeth
like a savage.
            When the Human rose it held Mi'ole
Tula's energy weapon.   Blood flowed freely
from its wounded arm and the weapon
            Lan'to Paun's desperate shot went
through the Human's shredded arm like wind
through a wet rag.
            The human clicked twice, whistled
once, and fired.

            The Human and Ralotaran landing crews
met no resistance from the Xs'ethian
residents.  Teams moved through the corridors
stepping over an occasional Kiptukict slaver
with a screwdriver thrust precisely into its brain. 
In the station control room they found two
Xs'ethian bodies, scaled and cold, one with a
screwdriver in its ear and one with an energy
burn through its chest.  A living Xs'ethian sat
between them.  The adolescent they'd seen
in the transmission lay along the far wall,
            The survivor lifted claws dripping with
blood and turned them, as if in wonder. 
It spoke in a ragged, hissing whisper. 
"I told the Station Master that Humans could die,"
it said. 
"I thought it would be harder." 

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Coming Very Soon!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Cover Design

Over at Mad Genius Club Cedar Sanderson is talking about cover design.

She's got a List of Seven Rules, and they're good ones:

  1. Book Covers are Marketing Tools
  2. Clearly Readable at Thumbnail
  3. Fits into Genre Conventions
  4. Use Legible Fonts
  5. Choose Good Art, or at least Clean Backgrounds
  6. Make the Author Name Bigger
  7. Never, Ever, Use an Unfiltered Photograph on Fiction

The last one seems a bit obvious to me and it makes a person wonder what happened to turn it into a specific rule.

Covers are scary to do, though, if you're doing your own.  They're probably scary if you're trusting someone else to do them too!

Here are a couple that I threw together for NaNoWriMo.  These really are just meant to be placeholders thrown together.   Here's my last years cover:

 The picture is from Pixabay and I've rotated and cropped it.  The font was probably one on my Adobe Photoshop/Adobe suite program (which I no longer have).  I love this font.    I really like this cover.  Love it.

It's not a good cover for a couple of reasons.   As marketing it doesn't represent the subgenre of the novel.  I think it says "science fiction" but a bit more literary than it really is.  And the font reinforces that.  And the title refers to one of the groups in the novel but they aren't the focus of the novel, so the title has to go, unfortunately.

What I'm hoping for is figuring out how to get some retro-SF custom artwork, something that harkens back to Frazetta with blasters and tentacles and stuff.

But it sure is a pretty cover, isn't it?

This is this year's cover.  I want my old font back.  I don't like the little serifs on the font.  I just want to cry, "Why?" But this is what was available on the Microsoft Paint that came with my new computer.  The background and the figure are from Pixabay.

I like the background and I sort of like the figure... she needs tobe much more prominent, golden and shining.  As is, she about disappears into the nebula behind her.  But the posture was exactly what I wanted and the colors match nicely and she will have to do.  Probably does better than I should have expected to find and throw together so I'm not complaining.

This also represents the story (as it is conceived so far... it's this year's NaNo so it's not written yet) better than the first one.  It probably needs an exploding spaceship back there, though, in order to be good marketing.

If I could make her glowing and golden and get a font I liked and an exploding spaceship, I might even want to keep this one. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Sami people

Saturday, January 27, 2018

All Art is Propaganda

I wrote a thing.

The last week or so there seems to be a rash of commentary to the tune of “all stories are message stories” or “everything in life is political” or a few other variants of the same idea that it’s impossible to separate message from art or even life.
On the surface of it, it appears obviously true.
Until one examines what these statements are meant to answer.

Check it out.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

"The Science Fiction is Settled."

 But if we are all in harmony and agreement, where do the new ideas come from? Where do the debates and intellectual discussions come from? Where is the future in looking at ourselves in the now?

Somewhat related to personalities in science fiction.  Trooper will recognize names, certainly.  But this essay by Dr. Mauser is an excellent, reasoned and sane examination of a process repeated over and over in every area of our society.

Check it out.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Planetary Fiction, Jupiter - Submissions Open

I'm editing my very first anthology.  It will be the volume of Planetary Fiction, Jupiter, for Superversive SF.   Stories should ideally play with Jupiter related themes of power, authority and leadership.  With a stronger thematic connection the story itself doesn't need to be set at the planet Jupiter.  Hard science fiction or Space Opera, even fantasy is acceptable if it is a great story.  I've said that there will be extra points given for including diamond snowflakes so long as the crystal structure and physics are reasonable.  I maybe should not have said that (though it's true) because sticking snowflakes in every story would get silly very quickly.  I might end up having to pick between them.  So please, only do that if you're carried away by the idea and can't resist. ;)

I am also open to a bit of poetry or non-fiction science, mythology, or historic pieces about Jupiter, though non-fiction should be on the short side of short.

I don't know yet what the plans for cover art are. With all the amazing pictures from Juno it would be a shame not to use them.  Payment is going to be royalties based on sales, in the event anyone buys the anthology.  I don't have a idea of the schedule for publication at this time but submissions will close sometime this fall.  I don't believe in leaving people hanging longer than necessary.

Please send any questions to jpascal@homeplanetpress.com.   If you've got a story to submit, please send it as an attachment to an email with the subject line "Jupiter", with contact information in the body of the email, to submissions@homeplanetpress.com.   If either of those don't work (they are new) leave me a note here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Flash fiction

“The legumes aren’t setting nitrogen.” 

The head botanist stood in the door of the colonial governor’s office. She thought she saw the papers in his hand tremble. “How?” 

“The.. the symbiotic bacteria are all dead.” 

“This is a problem?” 

“Yes!” the botanist took a few steps into the room. “Plants don’t grow without nitrogen. We’re all going to die.” 

“Horse shit.” 

“What do you mean, horse shit? It’s true! Dear god, didn’t you attend 5th grade!” 

The governor took a deep breath and sighed. “Horses… shit… nitrogen.” 

The botanist blinked a few times and turned red. “We’re all gonna die… and then you’ll be sorry…” 

The man left and a few moments later the door to the governor’s office was filled by a young woman. 
The papers in her hand trembled…

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Proof of concept...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Maybe it will work next time...

I drew this.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"I could have been her friendly acquaintance but she wouldn't allow it. She didn't have any of those."

When my kids were young and we homeschooled I met another mother at one of our "park days". As our children played we introduced ourselves and began to chat.  Very early on, as part of her introduction actually, she shared a very interesting fact about herself.  "People either love me or they hate me," she said.  She laughed as though this strange fact was a happenstance of fate.  People either thought she was wonderful or hated her.

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