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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

Full muddled jacket

December 14, 2019 3 comments

Just had a surreal and slightly embarrassing experience. I attended one of my infrequent social gatherings today, an early Christmas party for a local SF fan/writer community, and I hung my winter coat in the closet with the rest. When the time came for me to head home, I searched through the coats in the closet three times and couldn’t find my coat! I asked if there was somewhere else it might have been moved, but there wasn’t, and the hostess was just about to call the one couple who’d left before me to see if they’d taken my coat by mistake… when finally I recognized my sunglasses case in the pocket of what seemed to be an unfamiliar coat. I checked all its other pockets and recognized all their contents exactly where they should be… but I didn’t recognize the coat itself, even though it was definitely mine!

In retrospect, I realize that I’ve never really had to pay attention to what my winter coat looks like, beyond the fact that it’s heavier than my light jacket for cool weather. It’s just one of the two coats hanging there, and I just grab it and put it on. I usually leave both the light jacket and the winter coat hanging from the closet doorknob, so I usually only see the coat from the back when I’m not wearing it, plus it’s in a fairly dimly lit portion of my apartment. So I mainly know my coat from the inside, not the outside. I couldn’t even remember if it was dark blue or black when the others asked me. Plus I was seeing it from the front and side, quite brightly lit by the LED lights in my hosts’ hallway, which brought out the logos I usually don’t even notice, so it looked unfamiliar to me. Plus I was seeing it from the right side so I couldn’t see my sunglasses case in the left pocket. I think I usually hang my coat up facing the other way when I’m out somewhere. So I just couldn’t recognize my own item of clothing, not until the fourth time I looked.

Hmm… Maybe I should find some way to write my name on it?

Categories: Uncategorized

Q&A with Christopher L. Bennett

October 1, 2019 1 comment

Here’s my newest interview with The Astounding Analog Companion, in connection with my new Troubleshooter story “Conventional Powers” in the September/October 2019 ANALOG.

The Astounding Analog Companion

Christopher L. Bennett sold his first original story to Analog in 1998, and two decades later, we still get first-look at his tales before they’re expanded and published in future collections and anthologies. We’re lucky once again to offer you his latest, “Conventional Powers,” in the current issue [on sale now].


Analog Editors: What is the story behind this piece?

Christopher L. Bennet: “Conventional Powers” [on sale now in our current issue] is a loose followup to my first original novel, Only Superhuman (Tor, 2012). In this world, once commercial asteroid mining took off in the 2030s, it drove rapid advancement in space travel and colonization. Space dwellers embraced genetic and bionic modification in order to survive the radiation and harsh conditions, eventually experimenting with more radical “mods” to augment human abilities. The growing community of asteroid belt dwellers known as Striders embraced transhumanism as part…

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Categories: Uncategorized

Happy 30th Anniversary, Alien Nation the TV series!

It’s the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite TV series, Kenneth Johnson’s ALIEN NATION, and my friend and fellow novelist Dayton Ward has written an excellent retrospective on it at his site. Check it out!

The Fog of Ward.

That was the scene in California’s Mojave Desert five years ago: our historic first view of the Newcomers’ ship. Theirs was a slave ship, carrying a quarter million beings bred to adapt and labor in any environment. But they’ve washed ashore on Earth, with no way to get back to where they came from, and in the last five years the Newcomers have become the latest addition to the population of Los Angeles.”

Cue funky opening music and credits.

AlienNation-01

Los Angeles, 1995: Aliens are everywhere.

After their very massive starship crashes on Earth, 250,000 genetically engineered aliens who call themselves “Tenctonese” find themselves forced to assimilate into a world very different from the one to which they’d been heading. The people already living here also find themselves dealing with the very harsh reality that not only is there life “out there,” but there’s actually quite a lot…

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Categories: Uncategorized

COVER REVEAL – FOOTPRINTS IN THE STARS

Cover reveal!

eSpec Books

eSpec is proud to announce that this title has gone to press. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover by Mike McPhail of McP Digital Graphics? We certainly think so!

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To follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before, first we must find them.

Dreaded hope settles over mankind as we stare into the heavens, looking for a sign we are not alone. Fearing we will find it, puzzled when we don’t.

Among the stars or in our own backyard, lose yourself in the wonder of these tales as we humbly posit mankind’s reaction to the awesome certainty that ‘they’ are out there…or at least, they were…

Footprints in the Stars

With stories by Gordon Linzner, Ian Randal Strock, Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward, Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jody Lynn Nye, Christopher L. Bennett, James Chambers, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Russ Colchamiro, Judi Fleming, and Bryan J.L. Glass

The following authors will…

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Categories: Uncategorized

My week of superhero dreams

I’ve posted parts of this on the TrekBBS and Facebook, but since it adds up to a larger whole, I thought I’d consolidate it here. I’ve had two dreams in the past week of the sort where I’m both a viewer of and a character in a TV show/movie at the same time, and in both of them, I was a member of a superhero team.

First, on Sunday night (or more like Monday morning, since I only remember the dreams that happen just before I wake up), I had a DC’s Legends of Tomorrow dream that was unusually semi-coherent as dreams go, and that I remember more of than usual. There’s a lot I don’t remember, but I was at some kind of meeting or rally (in a library, I believe) where the goddess who was the episode’s villain was controlling people’s minds, including the Legends, using a glowing blue wine. (This is in keeping with the turn toward fantasy and the supernatural that this time travel-centric show has taken over the past two seasons.) Since I don’t drink, I demurred and remained uncontrolled — and I think some half-awake rational part of my brain was puzzled that I was allowed to get away with that. I also wondered what happened to Zari Tomaz, since as a Muslim she’s presumably a non-drinker too. The episode/dream went on in some stream-of-consciousness way in the library stacks, with the Legends being freed somehow, or my dreaming brain just forgetting the mind-control aspect, but the mystery of where Zari was remained.

Then we left the library and went oudoors for the climax, a big confrontation with the deity (now male due to my forgetful unconscious mind) over the font of power which he was about to merge with or draw on or do something cataclysmic with. And when we rushed there to try to stop the god, we found that Zari was there ahead of us, singlehandedly defeating the god because she’d been investigating the legal records and had found that the god had gained his connection to the font of his power through a murder centuries ago, and revealing that fact aloud somehow nullified the god’s power and bound him, either because that was how the font of power worked or because the god was subject to the human legal system within my dream logic. So while the other Legends and I were flailing around trying to fight evil the superheroic way and wondering where the hell Zari was, she’d been methodically doing the research so she could solve the whole thing far more easily. Also, in my dream, Zari was a lawyer. Who knew?

The second dream was the night after I saw Avengers: Endgame, so two nights later, and it was a dream about Thanos (no spoilers, because it’s a dream, not the actual movie). In the dream, as in the movie, it was after he’d won the previous battle, but his goal in this version had apparently been merely to conquer Earth. So he was the ruler of Earth… and he was living in the attic of what, in the dream, was my house. Or at least a house I shared with some dream version of the Avengers. The world, my house — in a dream, the difference doesn’t matter. Either way, it’s where I keep all my stuff.

So anyway, there was a point where Thanos, Ruler of All, came down from the attic to sit on our couch and watch TV. (Right next to where I was sitting. The dude takes up a lot of couch space, folks.) But I and my fellow Avengers/roommates/whoever weren’t just taking this occupation of our living room and/or planet lying down. (Most of them were standing or sitting in armchairs, since there was no room left on the couch. Personal space, Thanos!) No, we were planning to show him some book in the hopes that it would convince him that we didn’t need his rule anymore and he could go home. Because of course, even in this alternate dream narrative, he still thought he was a benevolent tyrant, and we just needed to prove to him, using the book’s contents, that whatever goal he’d conquered us to bring about for our own good had been fulfilled already, so we didn’t need him anymore and he could just fly off back to his home planet in his helicopter. (No, the Thanos copter wasn’t actually in the dream, alas. I’m interpolating. But it would’ve fit right in.)

I don’t recall whether the book in question was fact or fiction. We may have been trying to con him into leaving in much the same way Reed Richards conned the Skrulls in FANTASTIC FOUR #2 by showing them pages from Marvel’s monster comics to convince them that Earth was too dangerous to conquer. But we didn’t get very far before the dream ended. So it didn’t have the satisfaction of being a complete (if barely coherent) story like the Legends dream was — more just a vignette (or a comedy sketch, though in the dream we took it all seriously).Who knows? If the dream had continued, maybe Black Widow would’ve turned up some obscure legal precedent requiring Thanos to cede his claim to the planet. But then, as far as I recall, Black Widow was not in the dream. Alas, indeed.

 

eSPEC BOOKS AFTER-HOLIDAYS SALE

Reblogging this. For a limited time, you can get AMONG THE WILD CYBERS and many of eSpec Books’ other publications in e-book form for just 99 cents!

eSpec Books

What a year. From both a personal and professional standpoint, 2018 has been a jagged series of highs and lows. We have hunkered down and pushed forward, and in these final days of the year we rest and regroup, gathering our energy for 2019.

There are a lot of great things we are working on, and things we hope to get going again, such as the eSpec monthly flash fiction contest and Danielle’s personal writing. 

First, however, to kick off what we hope will be a year of amazing fiction for eSpec, our authors, and our fans, for the month of January we are having a sale on all our backlist ebooks at the ebook site of your choice. Because of the restrictions of when we can make price changes, the sale officially starts today, presuming the third-party vendors all make the updates in a timely manner. Below are links…

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Categories: Uncategorized