Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just one more week!

Kickstarting is exciting. One more week left, and already so much closer to the goal, I turn to the interwebs and request assistance both with donations, and with spreading the word. My backers who have already participated, I thank you and promise you that your rewards will be swift if and when the time comes for them.

Still, with over a thousand dollars left to go, the difficulty is real. Overcoming this large amount in such a small time will require courage and tenacity and luck and money and...

Well, mostly money.

If you were waiting to see what would happen, please don't wait much longer. The clock is ticking, and ticking down, and I am not so famous that every little whisper on the web is tracked deep. I am a humble writer, with humble goals, and I hope I can count on you to help me in my time of need.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

R.I.P. Eugie Foster

Jesus, what just happened? She was only 42!

I knew her a bit. We did things as authors together at conventions and panels. She was way too nice to die so young, with so many stories unwritten. She was extremely good. She was the kind of person that you wish you were smart enough, cool enough, to hang with. She was brilliant, sharp, and erudite. She was glamorous. She gave off an aura of leading a cooler life than most people dared to dream about. She was the kind of person whom you could imagine discovering at a secret party, somewhere, where the beasts of the city ran wild in the dark. She was such good people.

In such a short, way too short time, she produced brilliant short stories, numinous and numerous short stories.

Go read some of them, today.

Fuck cancer.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guest Posting Elsewhere, for a Kickstarter

As you all know, I am kickstarting.

J. R. Vogt was kind enough to let me borrow his megaphone for a day, and I thank him for it.

Please, do consider passing the link around, and letting everyone know. I am kickstarting. The clock is ticking, and we're not even 50% of the way!

Friday, September 19, 2014

I have neither read nor seen the "Maze Runner" thing going around...

It is a movie based on a book, and I haven't seen the movie, nor have I read the book. Another movie has arrived, apparently, where deadly competition is a metaphor for high school matriculation. I would prefer not to see that, again. Frankly, once you see these projects as all part of the same metrically-calculated metaphoric moneymaker, it's hard to appreciate them, at all.

My own MAZE is not about competition, but cooperation against the darkness and the unknown.

Adulthood has been very confusing. I think I lost my way a few times, and losing my way became the right path to follow. There is no center, no solution. There is only a long walk through these halls, and what we find there will always surprise us with both its potential horror, and the potential wonder of encountering such a thing.

I went for a walk in a park near here and saw a Nopales cactus growing like a mistletoe at the top of a damaged oak tree. I have stood in the dark at the wee hours on Easter morning in a foreign country, finding my way home on foot after missing the last bus, walking for kilometers and kilometers and seeing the night city in all its mystery and darkness. Looking up into the night sky over North Carolina, I saw more stars in an empty football stadium than I think I'd ever seen before, out in the middle of nowhere. This is not all that I have seen. I have seen wondrous things And, there was no narrative to them except this: I walked; It was my path that I was on.

I have not read the book or film, but I think my version of the MAZE might be a little more interesting to people who prefer not to run blindly after everything that shines in the dark. Walk with me. We will fight to the death, there, and we will face our confusions and fears, but we will do so at our own gentle pace.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apparently a company exists to promote kickstarter? *snorts*

I got this email from a company that claims to boost kickstarters by 1300%. They send a super special press release to Reuters, The AP, and "10 hand-picked high traffic blogs".

Yeah, how do you prove that number in a crowdfunding business model? Comparing different projects? Ones where some are deep social networks and others aren't? Some where some on is deeply professional and others aren't?

And... uh... Reuters isnt exactly in the business of covering weird art projects on the internet. That is not their business. The AP, also, is a little busy with real world tragedies for weird art projects on the internet.

Folks, stay frosty out there. If it smells fishy, and it comes at you unsolicited, best to step back and remember that the internet is full of spammers. If they dont mal easy money, they won't be kicking that can of spam at doorways and windows much longer.

A real challenge moving forward is going to be separating wheat from chaff. (And, honestly, whilst freelancing, I have been paid to churn some of that particular brand of butter. I know it when I see it, now.)

And, somebody tell Reuters that I am kickstarting. See if they notice the email Lon enough to delete it, or if their is just a semisentient killfile slowly waking up to digital life.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Howdy Internet,

Go there. Pledge support. Receive rewards.

It isn't potato salad, and I don't think my books will ever be as popular as potato salad, but it is a book, and it is written, and it is edited, and it is sitting in a file folder, ready to be released into the world. In the past, with publishers, preordering has been a bit of a fiasco. People who pre-ordered often got their books weeks later than people who just waited until the official release date and bought it then. As a guy in my house with two jobs, I don't actually have a complex organizational structure prepared to manage an elaborate system of preordering, and kickstarting looks like the most viable solution to creating that system. It looks like an exciting community, as well, that has made things together, and been excited about things. It looks like a positive place to be creating things, now and then.

I believe in putting a foot in every viable method of production available. I am not abandoning publishers, or abandoning strictly independent books, for some new method of funding the art. I just believe that I am remiss not to spread out across viable means of reaching an audience. I do not believe any method of production should be seen as the only one, when the complex ecosystem that is evolving is only making everything more confusing and hard to predict. I spread myself out, then, and after this project, I will return to publishers, and also do things independently. I may kickstart again, or build another dedicated WordPress site. Who knows? I don't know what tomorrow will bring!

I believe that there are at least two-hundred people in the whole world who wouldn't mind an early eBook of my next novel. Some of them might even want a little more.

I also believe I could fall flat on my face.

I keep reminding myself that it is okay to fail.

I also tell myself that I will never, ever make another video of myself if I can avoid it, ever, because I am incredibly uncomfortable on camera, and prefer only to be a human, not an icon of one.

I tell myself that words matter, and good words are important, and there is room in this world for one more little book.

Hopefully, I am not wrong about that.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

General Announcement

Deep in the business of working and writing and seasonal cleaning and yardworkery, I have only a moment to spare for this announcement.

"Paul and His Son," which is part of the same novel that "Dolores, Big and Strong" came out of, is going to be in Asimov's someday soon. It is about buying illegal drugs to medicate a child who technically needs no medication a few short steps into the future. Paul, Jr will run away again. He always does.

Also, I have received approval from the folks at Kickstarter for my little campaign for Straggletaggle. I am not ready to bang all the drums, but that day is coming. It is coming soon. I will need help banging drums.

Monday, September 1, 2014

thinking about cities 8...

The minimum amount of agricultural land necessary for sustainable food security, with a diversified diet similar to those of North America and Western Europe (hence including meat), is 0.5 of a hectare per person. This does not allow for any land degradation such as soil erosion, and it assumes adequate water supplies. Very few populous countries have more than an average of 0.25 of a hectare. It is realistic to suppose that the absolute minimum of arable land to support one person is a mere 0.07 of a hectare–and this assumes a largely vegetarian diet, no land degradation or water shortages, virtually no post-harvest waste, and farmers who know precisely when and how to plant, fertilize, irrigate, etc. [FAO, 1993]
From the FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Other sources indicate the absolute minimum to be 2 acres, including all the resources a family would need including firewood and animal pasture. Other sources state 1.2 acres. 

How many people can live here, on earth? There is a finite number, even if every patch was turned to production, and we lived in tiny tree houses in our cultivated orchards. This number would  not include the wondrous complexity of wildlife and non-human creatures. I do not seek the argument of Malthus. I seek instead to create a new dialog about how we build.

Zoning, itself, is only about a hundred years old. 

Grocery stores, as we know them, are far less than a hundred.

Cars as mass transportation tools are not centenarians. 

Our cities as we are designing them currently are so young.

We still have time to save ourselves from the worst of our imaginary constructions, our collective inability to see beyond what is delivered to us by tax revenue and corporate shells.

Good luck.