Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

If it was a goal to stop migrant deaths in overheated trucks…

 If it was a goal to prevent the horrific death of dozens of migrants in the back of sweltering trucks, or in the dry deserts where heat stroke kills or among the exploitation that they face on their difficult journey north, well, the answer is simple. Let these human beings come out of the shadows and be open and safe. Standing on the ground, itself, particularly for Mexicans who share our border, but really for anyone, shouldn’t be a crime unto itself. A person who means no harm should have the right to go anywhere safely. We create all these rules about who gets to go where, and the sign that it is a farce of racism and ridiculousness is that innocent people who only sought to work honest jobs and send money home to their families die in the back of trucks hidden away, and this quiet genocide of migrants continues in boats and trucks and back rooms all over the world.

If we actually cared about these deaths, there’s a very simple, kind, decent thing to do: let people travel where they will in peace, and let them work if they want to. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Sonnet #357

 The annual fantasy we take in Memorial

Wherein the war is behind us, now

And no one else need bleed to show

Their glory to the school tutorials,

Wherein the price is just the backdrop

of a show on pbs about the price

that love demands, once or twice

a century past, and our grief stops

with the rolling credits, play the music,

maestro, fireworks dazzle and doge

commands, where snow falls to this

cemetery old men visit to show

the children about the horrors of the past.

All of it a lie: the horror comes again; it lasts

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Check out the latest issue of ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT for a new story about Wind and Astroboy!

 The July/August Issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, available wherever your periodicals are found, including as an eBook, magazine, etc., will have a short story that I'm proud of and think is one of my better ones. It's also part of that mosaic novel thing I've been sending around to publishers called WIND OF EARTH, WIND OF TAU CETI, that is a life story of the interstellar immigrant experience, where Wind is a child on Earth (remember "Salt Gator Girl" in 3-Lobed Burning Eye? Remember "Finnegan, Feel the Pain" in Analog two July's back?) and follows her life trajectory to a new planet, a new colony, (Remember "Wind Gets Her Own Place", "Astroboy and Wind", "Long Day Lake", all in previous issues of Analog?). 

Well, here comes what ends the book, in question, justabout, quite nearly. There's more stories in there, and maybe a publisher will pick up the whole thing soon, but until then consider this a chance to check out an excellent piece from a book I think is pretty good for what it is, and hope to share with everyone someday soon.

I'm pretty busy, right now, with some things I'm not really able to talk about, but I know I'll be putting together something new, soon, and maybe you'll see more pieces of it flying around the world, and maybe even the whole shebang.

Pick up your copy, today, and let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Sorrow of the Cranes gets some love from KidsBookBuzz

 “ So far, this has been one of my favorite books and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels. It should be in every middle school library.

Reviewed By:  

See the full five star review here: , and share it and the book with all your friends!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Sonnet #356

I will try my best to be a tree

I found my ground and dwell there

Let fires come to burn my branches bare

Let drought drive roots deep to seek

Let waves of worms to gnaw my bark

Let winds blow strong to bend me down

And every fell creature tumble around

I will hold this place, and touch the dark

With my high branches, and when sun

Comes, I will sing the quiet song of trees

I will spread my roots to touch the ones

Who share this place with me, quietly,

A brotherhood of peace and quiet, a patience

That can only come from practicing patience

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Christianity and Gun Ownership

 I just don’t get the cognitive dissonance. 

What is the reason to own a firearm? To kill. A handgun is not a hunter’s tool, and neither is an armalite death spraygasm. These implements exist for only one purpose: killing people. There are hunters, of course, and folks in rural areas who worry about wild animal attacks and putting down injured animals, and I get that. But, that’s why rifles make sense. Bolt action, not too many bullets, with the expressed use of animal husbandry and game shooting. Okay, I understand that even if I disagree and think everyone should be vegan or vegan-aspirant in a world of climate change and ethical and nutritional advancement. But, whatever.

So, you’re a Christian, then, who believes with your whole heart that life is sacred and god’s creation is marvelous and martyrdom for the sake of life is the highest of gifts. And you own a gun that is intended to end life?

Self defense doesn’t come from an individual alone, standing alone. It comes from community, neighbors, prosperity and health for all. It comes from dogs that love you enough to bark and growl and fight for you if it comes to it. It comes from neighbors that rush to your aid, and call the police when they see something suspicious. It comes from police that don’t just shoot and kill and treat their community like a war zone. 

Defend yourself with peace. Arm yourself with relationships and kindness and a willingness to take the harder path to security where no one gets hurt.

Seems the only Christian thing to do, no?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Monarchy is a Blight

 The Queen’s pending jubilee is a great reminder that the monarchy is a blight. Once upon a time, feudal warlords conquered and claimed, and filled a necessary protective role in pre-industrial societies where mounting armed warriors on horses was critical to protecting the peasants and people from slavery and death. Not so, today. They trot them out for ribbon cuttings and speeches, refusing to take sides on controversial issues (and thank goodness, because these aren’t exactly folks with a strong background with a strong background in philosophy and social justice issues), and generally just keep up appearances to great expense of the common taxpaying citizen. Cut them off from governance, and they’re still fabulously wealthy plutocrats with investments and property that really should just be turned over to the state for museums and refugee housing, and let them go. 

That they are nominally a head of both a church and a state rings alarm bells of ethics, in the modern era. They refuse to exercise these rights, on the whole, and just trot out for ceremonial appearances. Does their salary and upkeep fit the role they play in public life? Should the budget for their daily staff exceed the gdp of some whole countries once ruled with iron and death by these same warlords? 

As an American, I am often mystified by the Royal obsession. One thing that is often not well-conveyed by the rosy British-loving propaganda shows on Britbox and Mystery series is how miserable everyone was. The warlord culture was one of being cold to children, who might not survive until adulthood. They were sent to miserable and abusive boarding schools, raised by staff, and generally taught to see the world as a place to dominate. Alcoholism and domestic violence were common and expected. And the long, damp, cold winters pushed everyone to the limits of endurance. The royalty that emerged from these conditions conquered the world and spread vile racist lies that continue to haunt our world for generations. 

On the queen’s pending jubilee let’s all take a moment to consider how ending monarchy and enacting democracy was one of the most important moments in human history to date, and celebrating that democracy is a greater cause for joy this summer than the birthday of an old woman who should have retired decades ago, along with the very job she claims to hold.