I’ve posted on here about podcasts before, but I’m going to put this one up here for more than just the podcasting aspect.

There has been more than one discussion at a Watch The Skies meeting (you should stop by if you’re in the area) about finding top quality fiction from places beyond that published by / for / in America. Getting a different point of view or a style that is something other than your ‘normal’ is important. It’s also refreshing and interesting. Hearing a voice that isn’t a homogenized version of every other voice tell you a story is no small part of the entertainment of the story.

That international flavor and alternate point of view is on display over at Escape Pod. The story is certainly worth the half hour to listen to, and particularly entertaining if you’re a fan of steampunk. Head over HERE and check it out.



I’ve posted before about podcasts. I think they’re a wonderful part of this golden age of fiction we’re living in right now. I found another podcast story the other day that is absolutely worth your time.

The Semaphore Society is a story from the point of view of a character that is disabled. The story handles this differently than I have ever seen it handled before.

Escape Pod is part of the Escape Artist family of podcasts. There are ones I’ve mentioned before PodCastle for fantasy and PseudoPod for horror. They are worthy of your time and if you’ve got the money they could definitely use your support. Check them out!


A Passing Moment

I saw something depressing yesterday. It was a very small thing that likely wouldn’t have struck many other people the way it did me. I was in a store when I came across a used book that almost jumped off the shelf into my hand. I had to stop and look at it. It’s an old book that sent me down amnesia lane looking into the foggy memories of my childhood. It was in fantastic condition. It had to have been well cared for and held in high regard. I flipped it over assessing the spine and looking for damage. There was a white sticker slapped haphazardly across the back with the current shop’s price. That price was about forty percent of the original hardcover cost. That was disappointing. Being older, in fine shape and potentially more unusual (though, not particularly rare I suppose) I had somehow hoped it would have been taken as more valuable. That in and of itself wouldn’t have been bad but then I flipped the cover open. On the inside I could see the faint imprint of a name that had been erased. A name of somebody I knew.

This person, or somebody related to this person had taken something I believe had to be tied firmly in the past, very carefully attempted to erase their imprint and sold off a chunk of childhood.

Like I said, a small thing. The chance I would be in that store on a day when I would see that particular book, pick it up, open the cover and discover the name of somebody I recognized had to be diminishingly small. I probably should have bought a lottery ticket. It just made me a little sad to know that this person had let go of this book.

Clearly I was projecting. I have no idea if the book was as deeply meaningful to that person as it would be to me. I don’t think I would ever give up my copy. I suspect I will have my copy as long as I live (and if my daughter is interested it may stay in the family longer). I couldn’t imagine taking a part of my childhood and selling it off for a couple of bucks. The object holds value to me. Memories only have value to the people that keep them and they are not a commodity. The little steps we take each day with small choices can move us further and further down a path that may one day make us willing to part with a touchstone of childhood are easy to miss. It’s part of why I suspect people are surprised at certain parts of their life and have those times others label as ‘crisis’ when they suddenly try to retrace those steps and move back to a time when they wouldn’t have sold that book off. I hope that we all are able to retain that sense of wonder that a child has and never be willing to sell it off for a few bucks.

Longer than I thought

I’ve seen a of folks out there posting about the new year. A number of them spent time talking about how much 2015 wasn’t great (some I know personally and they’ve got reasons I agree with). A lot of folks were all about goal setting and calendar year based stuff (that I’ve posted about before). Some folks looked back and discussed anniversaries of things.

It struck me that I didn’t know how long I’ve been writing The Pretend Blog. It’s not something I ever expected to go anywhere or mean anything to folks other than me (and maybe my wife) so I never tracked it.

As it turns out I started right about this time of year (my first two posts being December 28 and January 7) back in 2008. That means I’ve been at it for 8 years. That’s actually a shocking number to me. I didn’t realize I’d been at it that long. The funniest part? I may have grown and changed in some ways, but a number of things really haven’t changed at all. Blimps are still pretty pimp, and the ultimate showdown still amuses me to no end.

Here’s what I posted 8 years ago:

The Pretend Blog. Being the anal-retentive (with a hyphen, not a colon – thank you John) type that I am, I naturally didn’t want to jump into this until I had a better handle on what I would be doing and where it would all be going and what the potential legal ramifications would be etc., etc.. In November of 2006 I started a Word document and called it The Pretend Blog. It was my way of actually writing stuff down and ‘getting started’ rather than just jumping in cold and trying stuff out.

More than a year later – here it is. I kept the name and put it out there. There are maybe three people that actually care about this other than me. It seems a little pretentious to think that there will ever be a day when a whole crowd of people will be interested in what I might have to say here.

I went back and looked at the rambling stuff I wrote over the past year (about a page worth or more per month). Most of it is annoying and angst ridden – so I chucked it. This journal is my stream of consciousness stuff that’s for me. I’ll probably post a bunch of stuff I like and not worry about all the other pretentious, whiny stuff that worried me before. Besides, how else would I get these things stuck in other peoples’ heads?

Blimps are pretty pimp

Ultimate Showdown Good guys, bad guys and explosions. Thank you Lemon Demon.

Good guys, bad guys and explosions!

Good guys, bad guys and explosions!

Happy New What?

Consistency matters – and not just when you’re cooking. It’s actually something I tend to be good at. I am consistent. I suspect that will make some folks think this “new” New Year’s post is somehow cheating, but it’s not. It’s consistent. That’s the sort of thing that make a resolution something more, makes it a real change. Another year down, another year sticking to a resolution I made many years ago…

Resolutions Past