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Archive for March, 2020

A thought about our current predicament

Thinking about the coronavirus and the way we’re practically shutting down the whole of society for it, I realized something:

It’s commendable that we as a society are so willing to disrupt our entire lives and endure hardship in order to protect our most vulnerable members. Most of us could probably weather the disease, but we’re not willing to sacrifice the old and weak for the convenience of the majority. It’s not even a question. So maybe there’s more hope for us as a civilization than it’s often seemed these past few years.

Categories: Uncategorized

HIGHER FRONTIER annotations are up!

It’s been over a week since The Higher Frontier came out, so I figured I might as well go ahead and post the annotations (beware of spoilers):ST Higher Frontier cover

https://christopherlbennett.wordpress.com/home-page/star-trek-fiction/tos-ex-machina/tos-the-higher-frontier-annotations/

Also, just a reminder that I’ve started a Patreon page where I’ll be posting reviews and original short fiction:

https://www.patreon.com/christopherlbennett

I hope those of you who enjoy The Higher Frontier will consider signing up for at least the $1/month “tip” level. If enough of you did so, it would help me a lot while costing you very little. Although if you sign up for the higher levels, you’ll get original content in return.

Also, please remember to rate or review the book on Amazon, Goodreads, and the like, no matter where you bought it. The more reviews a book gets, the more it’s boosted in Amazon’s search algorithms.

My Patreon site is up!

Here we go, folks… I finally managed to get a Patreon page up and running:

https://www.patreon.com/christopherlbennett

I’ve decided to start with four membership tiers:

$1/month: The Tip Jar: Help me pay for food, rent, etc. so I can keep writing. In return, you get access to public posts, plus my gratitude and the satisfaction of being a patron of the arts!

$5/month: Reviews: Reviews of classic or recent TV, movies, books, etc. about once a week, plus access to public posts.

$10/month: Original Fiction: Fiction in my original universes, including some previously unpublished stories from my files, reprints of published but uncollected short fiction, original vignettes or bonus scenes featuring characters from novels such as Only Superhuman and Arachne’s Crime, and whatever else I can come up with, roughly once a month. Plus access to all the content from the Tip and Review tiers.

$12/month: Behind the Scenes: Annotations for my Patreon-first stories, as well as various behind-the-scenes content such as worldbuilding notes and articles for my original universes, deleted scenes, concept art, or whatever else seems to fit. Plus access to everything from the Tip, Reviews, and Original Fiction tiers.

 

For the launch, I’ve put up one post in each of the three main categories. For Reviews, I begin a rewatch of the 1990 CBS The Flash TV series starring John Wesley Shipp, commemorating that series’s retroactive addition to the Arrowverse as Earth-90 and its lead character’s pivotal role in the recent Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. For Original Fiction, I’ve posted the first story I ever attempted to sell, “The Cat Who Chased Her Tail Through Time” from 1991, which was largely a celebration of my new kittens at the time, way too self-indulgent for publication in a pro magazine, but fun as a reward for my Patreon donors. Plus it comes with a few vintage kitten pictures, since cat photos are always a good draw. And Behind the Scenes offers annotations on that story.

Feel free to check it out, and let me know what you think. This is a new experiment for me, and there’s no doubt room for improvement.

The upside of introversion

I don’t tend to follow the news as much as I should (since it tends to be depressing, especially under the current administration), but it’s been hard to miss the building crisis with the COVID-19 coronavirus and the impact it’s having on society. The thing is, all the stuff that’s being advised for how to minimize the risk — social distancing, washing hands frequently, staying home, avoiding crowds — is pretty much stuff I already did anyway. As I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, I’ve let myself become rather socially isolated in recent years, especially with my money problems lately. I’d just been on the verge of trying to change that, to get out into the world more, but now it seems I’m better off sticking with my current way of living for a while longer.

As far as my money situation goes, it’s showing signs of improvement. I’ve gotten a number of donations from my very generous fans, and I’ve finally gotten some writing work lined up, hopefully just in the nick of time. I’m still kind of worried about whether I’ll have enough to pay taxes when the time comes, especially since there’s no telling if the tax preparer appointment I made for two weeks from now will have to be postponed due to the virus. But I’m still planning to start that Patreon page soon, which hopefully will help. I could still use some other kind of work in the near future, but the pandemic situation has made me think I should refocus on prospects for online work I can do from home, which was something I was already considering anyway.

So far, the only way the burgeoning emergency has really affected my life is that the library closed for at least 3 weeks as of tonight, which is delaying me from finishing the first set of reviews I’m planning for the Patreon page. See, I picked something I own as a DVD box set, but it turns out the discs are defective and have deteriorated over the years — for some reason, every one (correction: every damaged one, since the first two worked okay) only plays the first two episodes normally and freezes up on the last two. So I’ve had to request additional copies from the library (and interestingly the DVD player remembered my place even when I switched to a different copy of the same disc), and the last two discs were still en route to my local branch when they closed for the duration. Well, I’ve still got enough reviews to last a while, and if it comes to that, I suppose I can pay to stream the episodes online, out of whatever profits I hopefully make from the earlier reviews.

My other library news is good, though. By coincidence, I’ve just recently gotten around at long last to exploring the options for borrowing e-books from the library. I signed up for the Hoopla service, which can be used by anyone with a library card from a participating library, and I’ve discovered it has a ton of digital comics available, which has let me catch up with a lot of things I’ve had trouble finding in print form. You can borrow them for 3 weeks, but the downside is that they only let you borrow 10 items a month for some reason, and I’ve exhausted that quite quickly both this month and last. Hoopla also has movies, TV shows, music, and audiobooks (including my own Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder), though I haven’t borrowed any of those yet.

I also looked into the Overdrive lending service which partners with schools and libraries and lets you borrow e-books and audiobooks — including quite a few Star Trek novels, mine and others’. You can borrow 20 per month, though only for 2 weeks, at least for the ones I’ve borrowed. You can even borrow them in Kindle format, or for other e-readers, which has proven quite handy. What’s more, when I decided a couple of days ago to look into the possibility of installing a Kindle app on my phone so I could read e-books away from my computer, I found I already had one that had come pre-installed with the phone (along with a bunch of other apps I never use). I just had to sign in, and there all my books were! What’s more, the two Kindles communicate and keep track of how far I’ve advanced in a book. So far I’m finding that I quite like reading books on my phone, even though it’s a pretty small phone. I’m used to reading websites or playing games on my phone, so reading books on it feels quite comfortable. If anything, I think my eyes are getting close to the point that it’s easier to read on a screen where I can adjust the font size than from a printed page. I have a feeling I’m going to do a lot more reading now that it’s suddenly become so easy to get a library book delivered in seconds. I’m finding it quite enjoyable.

Between that and the new writing gig (which I’ve gotten a great idea for that I’m pretty excited by), plus my readers’ generosity, I’m feeling much better than I was a couple of weeks ago. I was so panicked before that when I finally got this job offer, I ended up just lying on the floor for a few minutes, overcome with relief. But it wasn’t until the past couple of days, with this neat new idea falling into place and with the discovery of the wonders of library e-books, that I’m finally starting to smile again and actually be in a good mood. My work situation is still not fully stabilized, and at best it’s no better than the tenuous state it’s been in for the past three years, but this renewed optimism may be what I need to take things further. Hopefully this time I can finally make progress beyond that status quo, what with Patreon and the upcoming release of Arachne’s Crime and maybe some payoff for one or two other job feelers I’ve set in motion.

Of course, I’m having this burst of optimism just as our nation descends into a state of emergency, and there’s no telling what the next few weeks will bring. But I guess that’s better than facing such a crisis from a state of deep depression. And it kind of helps that all I really have to do to cope with the crisis is keep doing what I was already doing anyway. It makes me feel somewhat better about my introverted tendencies.

Categories: My Fiction Tags: , , ,

STAR TREK: TOS — THE HIGHER FRONTIER is out!

I’m a couple of days late to announce it, but Star Trek: The Original Series — The Higher Frontier is now on sale!

ST Higher Frontier coverStar Trek: The Original Series — The Higher Frontier

An all-new Star Trek movie-era adventure featuring James T. Kirk!

Investigating the massacre of a telepathic minority, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise confront a terrifying new threat: faceless, armored hunters whose extradimensional technology makes them seemingly unstoppable. Kirk must team with the powerful telepath Miranda Jones and the enigmatic Medusans to take on these merciless killers in an epic battle that will reveal the true faces of both enemy and ally!

Available at:

 

This is the first time I’ve gotten to work in the post-TMP setting in nearly eight years since DTI: Forgotten History, and the first time since Ex Machina 15 years ago that I’ve been able to do an entire novel in that setting, rather than sneaking in continuations within other projects. To commemorate this, I’ve reworked my Ex Machina page into an overall post-TMP page putting all the relevant discussions together in one place for convenience, aside from DTI:FH, which is technically in a different series and whose dedicated page has several comments, so I figured it was better to leave it separate. You can find it here:

TOS: Motion Picture Era

Scroll down to the bottom to find discussion on The Higher Frontier, since it’s chronological. (One thing I miss about my old HTML web page is that you could link to different anchor points within a single page for quick navigation. I’ve never figured out how to do that in WordPress.)

As usual, spoiler annotations should follow before too long.