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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Fishers of Men

My newest short story, Fishers of Men is now available on Amazon! As you can see, it's a sort of Sci-Fi - Horror - Catholic - Noir mashup. I think this will definitely go down in history as one of my favorite covers.

TTFN
-Tony




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whenever I read a work of fiction, I like to have some background information about how and why it was written. So for others who enjoy reading about such things, here's the background on "Just One of Those Human Things."

BE WARNED, THAR BE SPOILERS BELOW!

Decades ago, I read a black-and-white short story in Heavy Metal. I can't remember what it was called, or what it was about. If I ever come across it again, I promise to come back and give due credit. At any rate, I remember that there was an android (humanoid robot) dressed up in World War II British combat gear. He was patrolling a sort of wasteland planet, reminiscing to himself. At one point he came across a human, and shot him, crying, "Human filth!" This android bears very little resemblance to the end character of Sir Aloysious, but over the years, my mind often thought back to him. Who was this lone, robotic patroller of the wastelands? Where was he? Why was he there? I resolved to answer these questions, someday.

The story took on a number of forms. At first, Aloysious was just a robot, and did not have any human attachments at all. He was also on his own. I don't remember what exactly triggered the moment Hannah came onto the scene. But once I added her, the story took on another dimension that it definitely had lacked.

I can't deny, having just read it, that Don Quixote does not bear some influence upon the story. After all, it's the tale of a robot who is convinced that it is something it is not. But there's no shame in that.

I'm a big Doctor Who fan, especially of the Tom Baker era. At one point over the years, I came up with the question, "What if the Doctor was killed leaving K9 stranded, and he went crazy and convinced himself that he was the Doctor?" This sort of twisted fan-fiction experiment helped carry the story through points where I was stuck.

Last but not least, users of social media will probably recognize that the AI's are a satire of online arguments, especially those on Reddit. After the last election, everyone on the internet seems to be fractured into camps of us vs. them, and incapable of discussing anything without first attacking those who have a different viewpoint. Besides, I like the idea of artificial intelligences arguing with each other non-stop about which of them is the most human.

That's about it for now. I'd like to say thank you to those who have so kindly reviewed it. Each Amazon and Goodreads review is a huge help. (Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.)

 I've just finished the first draft of my next short story. It's almost 16k words, so it's actually what you would call a novelette. It's a sort of Catholic-Horror-SciFi-Noir, so there will be a little something in there for everyone. Stay tuned!

TTFN
-Tony 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

To Dream The Impossible Dream...

I finally finished reading Don Quixote. I'm usually a purist when it comes to adaptations, but I have to admit that I prefer The Man of LaMancha ending (not the book-ending story of Cervantes and the Spanish Inquisition, but the end of Don Q's life). He should have died being mad, glorious Don Quixote, not as the beaten and depressed - but "sane" - Alonso Quixano.

The interesting thing is that as a kid, I was always told that sci-fi, horror, and fantasy books were "trash," etc. It's amusing to read that 400 years ago, everyone said the exact same thing about books of knights and chivalry.

I recently visited my parents. After watching a bit on Laugh-In that I remembered word for word, I wound up singing a Henry Gibson song about a mule that I probably haven't thought of in 35 years for my sainted mother. It's amazing what completely useless songs lie buried in the silt beneath the oceans of my memory.

In other news, my father has an old, plastic deck of pinochle cards. They came with a book extolling the virtues of this amazing, new, futuristic product -plastics! What will future archeologists think?

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, April 09, 2018

And the award for Best Vader Slaughter Scene in a Motion Picture goes to...

I re-watched Rogue One yesterday. I love Robot Chicken et al as much as the next red-blooded American, but after decades of comedic and "tragic" deconstruction (of the prequels), I love how the final scene brought Vader back in all of his old, terrifying glory.

Speaking of Star Wars, is there any chance we could crowdfund a few billion dollars, buy the rights back from Disney, and restore the old EU as canon? Everyone would just have to pay $1. Then we could have Luke and Han back as heroes, the way they were for decades. Hell, we might even get the unspecial-weshel versions of the original trilogy back...

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Not to shill, but it's an example all others need to follow!

This week, there are a few private things that I'm grateful for. But just so I don't completely sound like an ambiguous social media twat, let me thank Simply Asia for putting their vegetables in separate packets, so I don't have to pick the damn things out. You rock the world of instant noodles.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Analyze This, and Some of That

I had a few weird dreams last night, but this one was the most vivid:

I went to my parents' house. They asked me to fix the electricity in the toilet in their closet. This request seemed strange to me for obvious reasons. Sure enough, there was a toilet in their closet, with a high-voltage BX cable running through the water. I opened the connecting box and disconnected the wires.

Then Alec Balwdwin rushed into their bedroom. He was dressed as a 1930s mobster, complete with a wide-striped zoot suit. Two similarly dressed gunmen followed, brandishing tommy guns with round-drum magazines. He demanded that I only use HIS brand of wire nuts, and handed me two of them. They were purple. He grabbed the two red Scotchloks out of my hand, and threw them out of the window.

Feel free to analyze.

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, March 16, 2018

An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh

Dear Rush (may I call you Rush?)

The great late physicist Stephen Hawking didn't come up with the Big Bang scientific theory, it's what's generally accepted because it's the theory that best proves the evidence. That's the way science works.

(Keep in mind, this theory does not prove that "nothing" existed before, just that it's what scientists call an Event Horizon - which means that nothing that happened before it can be modeled with current knowledge, nor could it have any predictable effect on what came afterward. Think of it as information written on a piece of paper. If you burn it you'll have a handful of carbon that might show you what it was previously made of, but it would be impossible to know what it said. Likewise, as no one else can ever read it, neither the present nor the future can ever be affected by it.)

For example, without any other evidence, humans thought. "The world must be flat." But soon proof (ships appearing mast first over the horizon) accumulated, and the theory that the world was round developed.

Then we thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, because the bible said so, and to the naked eye, it appeared logical. But then the telescope came along, and the paths of heavenly bodies were mapped. The only way the new data made any sense was to accept the theory that everything, even our planet, moves in orbits.

Likewise, all the scientific data we have points to the universe expanding into existence from a single point - AKA The Big Bang theory. Now, no one can prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt for obvious reasons. But until there is evidence that disproves it, it is the most accepted scientific theory (which, by need of evidence and repeatable experimentation, is different than a regular theory.)

Interestingly enough, we've discovered that recently, that expansion has begun to accelerate instead of slowing, as would make sense. But instead of saying "nope, we're ignoring that because it disproves our theory" scientists accept it (Dark Energy), and are trying to discover why. If this leads to a new, more accurate model, then it will be generally accepted. That's how science works.

Keep in mind, there is nothing about the Big Bang theory (which was put forth by a priest) or even evolution which suggests that there isn't a God, just that it happened differently than a bunch of goat herders thousands of years ago said it did. The religious world had to eventually accept that the Earth goes around the sun despite what's written in Genesis, so why couldn't it be wrong about other things? Agreeing with an atheist on matters of science doesn't make you one. There are many scientists throughout the world who practice religion.

I'll leave you with this thought. If God created man to do his work, then wouldn't he want man to find out all he could about how his creation really works to do so?


TTFN
-Tony

P.S. This discussion is redundant, as everyone knows that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world, along with the great Beer Volcano and the Olive Garden of Eden.

May you all be touched by His Noodley Appendage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Coming Soon, to a Kindle Near You!

Often, when I'm working on a story, I'll doodle the characters to help get a sense of them. The cover sketch, however, takes a little more work.

Coming soon!

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

It CAN'T be worse than the TV movie

Despite the bad reviews and cheesy dialogue in the trailer, I still want to give A Wrinkle in Time a chance. Sadly, Mandy says it looks too scary for her, so I'll probably wait for Netflix.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Let No Ruffle Go Unfeathered

I've seen a lot of IPs that I grew up with go through major changes in recent years - some of them deliberately baiting and trying to cause division (see below) - and my question is this:

Instead of buying or inheriting a property and making wide-swept changes, why not just make something new?

If creators have an idea, theme, ideology etc. that they wish to express, why do they have to hijack classic, beloved characters to do it? Why not create something new of their own? If it's good, it will stand up on its own. The latest formula seems to be "Hijack existing IP, then spew preemptive, generalized accusations at anyone who doesn't like our changes."

Here's a Muppet News Flash: No one is obligated to like anything.

If the answer is "because an existing fanbase means money in the bank" then when they shit all over that existing fanbase, they deserve all the criticism they get.

Speaking of untrue adaptations, I've finally gotten around to reading Don Quixote (a modern translation, not the 400 year old original Spanish version, obviously.) He's a bit of a dick compared to the Peter O'Toole cinematic version. But I guess when you adapt a book that's about 1000 pages long, you have to change a few things. I can't wait until Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (starring Jonathan Pryce) is finally released. Gilliam is a god. He's allowed to change anything he wants.

Yes, I'm a proud hypocrite.

TTFN
-Tony



Monday, March 05, 2018

Black Mirror Rating Request

While it's all still very well written and great science fiction, I wish the Netflix produced episodes of Black Mirror (seasons three and four) came with a sort of emoji rating. That way those of us who loved the original British series for its dark, sick and twisted dystopian Twilight Zone tone can know which of the new feel-good, wider-audience episodes to skip.

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, March 02, 2018

Giant Squids Have Feelings Too!

Okay, here's something that always bugged me about the otherwise awesome "Key to Time" miniseries on Doctor Who. The Doctor and Romana practically cream in their jeans over the injustice of trapping princess Astra, but they didn't give two shits that the same fate awaits Kroll, the giant squid. Maybe he had friends and family, squid hopes and squid dreams, he had every right to live his giant squid life as Astra did. But since he wasn't a pretty blonde, no one - not even the Doctor - cared.

But then again, Tom Baker wasn't planning to marry the actress.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Dream Journal Entry 3.14159265...

A few nights ago, I dreamed that my paternal grandfather was still alive, and that he was driving my father's old, black, late 60s Buick. It broke down half-submerged in water, and I had to fix it underwater. I needed a snorkel, but for some reason mine was broken. I went from store to store and shop to shop trying to buy a new one, but they were all broken, or didn't work.

Keep in mind that IRL I do not own a snorkel, nor do I know doodlysquat about car repair.

So now Trump wants to do away with due process for gun owners who might be a problem. Yeah, I'm all for sane reform, but doing away with the constitution isn't the answer.

I've decided to work on a few short stories before I gear up for another novel. It never ceases to amaze me how sometimes the story or characters take on a life of their own, and things go off in their own direction. While I try to leave things alone at times to let the creative juices simmer, this does illuminate the importance of writing every day. My brain is much more in a creative zone when I'm actually being creative.

TTFN
-Tony


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sigh

In the old days, I would have just ran to this blog, and stated my feelings about things like school shootings and Star Wars films (not that they're related) but lately, with everything so polarized and so much vitriol between anyone who dares to disagree with anyone else, I fell like the fun has been taken out of it. Because saying "I'm above it all" is just another kind of virtue signalling.

I mean, I feel a deep and terrible sadness for the victims, for their families, and for the surviving kids. I feel sad and angry when I see people on one side claiming that it's a hoax, and that these kids who suffered so much and had their lives changed forever are just actors. I feel sad and angry when I see people on the other side spewing accusations against anyone who believes in their second amendment rights, or who dared to vote for a president they don't like. I feel sad and angry whenever I see the phrase "Toxic Masculinity" rear its head (yay, let's teach our boys that their gender is inherently evil. Can't cause any psychological harm doing that...) The list goes on and on.

So does it matter if I say "I believe in the right to own a weapon and protecting all of the constitution, but the assault weapon ban needs to be reinstated?" Does it matter if I say "Generalized accusations on either side just makes everything worse?" (I know, I know, it's Russian Trolls, all the way down.) Does it matter if I think the NRA needs to get their heads out of their asses, but goddamn - the deputy who was supposed to be protecting the kids ran and hid, the FBI was warned about this monster and did nothing, the cops were warned about him and did nothing... It's not a whataboutism to point out that the government failed at every possible level.

Does it matter if I feel that people on both sides of the issue are, for the most part, decent human beings?

Probably not.

Be decent to each other. You don't have to be excellent, just decent.

TTFN
-Tony.

PS. The Last Jedi sucked.

Monday, February 05, 2018

At least it wasn't Tom Brady.

Last night I dreamt I was walking down my parents' street in the middle of a moonlit night. I saw a singing, ghostly apparition with the most beautiful voice I'd ever heard. It was Judy Collins.

She then sang me questions about my books, and demanded that I answer in song.

Please feel free to interpret.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, January 11, 2018

School Basement Antiquities

Check out these antiques I found in a school basement in Brooklyn - the likes of which our children shall never know!

TTFN
-Tony


Sunday, December 10, 2017

And the lazy writer cast his pestilence upon the internet and cried "IT IS DONE"

After over two years, I've finally updated my website, and the sad realization hits me that it's been far too long since I've made any art.

Check it out: www.EgotisticalProductions.com

TTFN
-Tony



Friday, December 08, 2017

The Internet is Standing By!

I'm going to be a guest on tonight's episode of The Speculative Fiction Cantina. The show starts at 6PM EST, and there will be a Q&A period, so be sure to call in!

TTFN
-Tony


Saturday, December 02, 2017

Continuing the Titanic Debate...

I'm pretty sure that I've brought up this thought experiment at some point over the years, but let us assume for the sake of discussion that there is an afterlife.

Let us also assume that we live in a multiverse of infinite possibilities, and each decision forks a different timeline.

What happens to these infinite selves when we die? Are their souls spread out amongst the living, until the most living version of our self dies? Do these conglomerate souls accumulate in the afterlife, and we join them when we die until we are whole? Or does each one get a separate afterlife in an infinity of choices?

If the last is true, then are the infinite afterlives as septate as in "real" life, or can they all be explored, observed, and experienced?

What if Rose actually did commit suicide, and everything after that point was a hypothermic hallucination until her death?

Even better: What if Jack really pushed her in at that point, got a sex change, stole her identity, and the rest of the stupid movie was all a psychotic fantasy that he was telling to his (adopted) granddaughter?

Discuss.

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, December 01, 2017

I'm going to be a guest again on next week's (12/08/17) episode of The Speculative Fiction Cantina. The show starts at 6PM EST, and there will be a Q&A period, so be sure to call in!

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Topicality is topical.

I can't believe people are still going on about Titanic and the whole "how big was the door" controversy. It's as if they think James Cameron really really wanted to save Jack, but just couldn't think of any way to do it. It's like the in-depth scientific analysis of the Stormtroopers in Star Wars, and how their blasters don't really shoot lasers. They're not really bad shots, it's just that the stars of the films had extremely heavy Plot Armor.

So everyone everywhere seems to be sexually harassing everyone else. And yet, Kermit the Frog never complained about Jim Henson fondling his green tuchus for over thirty years.

I can't believe Net Neutrality is back under fire. I've said this before, but to fellow fans of Objectivism: The ISPs want you to believe that they're Dagny's vision of Taggart Transcontinental or Rearden Steel, but that's a lie. The internet is not something new that they built from the ground up with their own money and the labors of their minds, it's something they've found a way to gatekeep through acquisition. With all of their lobbying, government subsidies, and strangulation of competition, they're much more Jim Taggart and Associated Steel.

Everyone have a fun Thursday and Friday. May your leftovers finally be finished.

TTFN
-Tony


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

So that's what 513 pages looks like...

The paperback of The Forgotten Cathedral is now available on Amazon. It should take a few days for it to combine with the Kindle page.

In the meantime, it's time for a toast!

TTFN
-Tony



Friday, November 10, 2017

Because $2.99 is just too outrageous a price...

When you planned to spend your day designing a paperback, but you have to spend time filling out DMCA forms instead. (Urge to rip the lungs out of some worthless __________ while they watch seriously rising)

EDIT - And yea, it has been removed. Go Go Gadget DMCA Takedown! 

TTFN
-Tony


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Forgotten Cathedral is now available.

It's only about nine months later than I had planned, but Debris of Shadows Book II: The Forgotten Cathedral has finally been released for kindle. (If you don't have a kindle, the app is free for smartphones and tablets.) A paperback version should be available within the next few weeks, as it takes a little more time.

Thank you to all my friends and family - especially those of you who emailed me now and then and asked when it was coming, because you wanted to know what happened next. I can't tell you how much those words of kindness kept me going.

A special shout-out to my friends Masha and Waldo for your help with Russian and Spanish words and phrases (respectively.) Any mistakes or mistranslations are purely mine.

This is the longest thing I've written to date (134+k words, or about 530 pages) so I'm happy that apart from a few promotional things (updating my website, getting the paperback together, adding it to Goodreads, annoying my friends with a new Facebook page to like, etc.) it's finally done. I can finally enjoy life, binge Stranger Things and Black Mirror, catch up on other people's books - especially those written by my friends, get a haircut, play games on the phone on the bus instead of editing on my way to work, or even take a nap!

A final note, this is the middle of a three-part serial, so while I've tried to make it so reading The Lies of the Sage is not required, it is, of course, recommended. And yes, there will be a concluding part three. Unless HBO wants to make a series first...

Thank you again, my friends, I hope you enjoy.

TTFN
-Tony



Sunday, October 29, 2017

T-10 (for Kindle) and counting...

My Cute, Little, Sainted, Sicilian Mother: What is it with you and bugs? Your next book isn't going to be full of disgusting bugs again, is it?

Me: Well, it IS a sequel...




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pre-Birthday Tease

I'll be forty-five in a few weeks. I feel like the father in Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Mr. Dark (played by Jonathan Pryce) is tearing the book of my youth away, page by page.

Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic.

I was thinking about what I wanted for my birthday. See, that's part of what's not fun about being an adult. If I want something, I can just get it. But birthdays are excuses for big things. I've actually burned out my birthday present on Weird Al & Emo Philips tickets for Joe and myself in spring. (Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ, tickets to his upcoming show at the Apollo cost 4x as much as they did for the one in Town Hall in Morristown last year. I know that it's the Apollo, but sheesh!) But I can also have a little special something...

At first I was thinking of the new South Park game, The Fractured But Whole. I loved The Stick of Truth, but goddamn, $60 + $30 season pass is ridiculous for a game that - by all accounts - is only about 10 hours long. Also, first day DLC pisses me off.

And lets be honest, the writing on South Park has sucked more and more every year to the point that it's barley watchable anymore.

Where's My Fortune Cookie by Phil Proctor of The Firesign Theatre sounds like a definite win. He actually showed me a proof of it when we met a few months back. It's sort of his autobiography, and filled with Firesign anecdotes. But on top of that, I have another nice little present planned for myself. 

Let's put it this way. If you enjoyed Debris of Shadows Book I: The Lies of the Sage and wanted to reread it so that it would be fresh in your mind before you read Book II... then this is the time.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, October 09, 2017

Insert Sarcasm Where Necessary

For those who accused me of misogyny just because I didn't support Hillary Clinton, I apologize. If only I had been more like Harvey Weinstein...

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, September 07, 2017

And Even More Shallow Thoughts

There are things in life I simply can't comprehend. Like people who deliberately make their lives as difficult as possible. I say I can't comprehend it, but I've been guilty of it. In many ways I still am.

Then I wonder, if there is a god, FSM, or Head of Lettuce Named Ralph, then is that the way He actually wants things to be? Is God nothing more than that bright blob of 1960s FX energy from Star Trek that fed off of negative emotions?

That's the problem with religion. Once you start looking at the state of the world and asking logical questions about motivations, you come up empty handed. Actually, that's not entirely true. Robert Anton Wilson once said that if you can't understand someone's behavior, just remember that they're a primate at heart.

It makes me think of The Godfather (novel) when the Godfather explains to Michael about Luca Brasi - that as you go through life, you meet men who are crying out for others to kill them. The trick is to make yourself the one person they're afraid of doing it. Handy information, if you ever want a psychopath hatchet man.

Or you could go for the Kurt Vonnegut perspective - that most people are motivated by loneliness. I always liked his view that his job as an author was to help people see that they were not alone.

Or how about the book God Wants You Dead, which sheds light on the fact that humans love love love subscribing to ideologies - be they religions, political parties, sports teams, NuWho vs. Classic Dr Who.... The internet has fed so much confirmation bias and provided so many strawmen that these days, it's impossible to tell the difference between politics and fundamentalist religions.

I forget who said it (possibly Wilson again) but you can't talk someone logically out of a decision that they've made emotionally.

Sigh... time to get ready for work.

TTFN
-Tony