The Best Sci Fi books…from Hays, Kansas?

Best Science Fiction books

My first attempt at a novel was a dystopian science fiction story while I was in 7th grade in Hays, Kansas. It focused on the Junior High students and our coming challenges as we were to be protected from a cataclysm that would wipe out society before were were to restart humanity. Probably not the best sci fi book plot of all time. 

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A writer’s life… And raccoons, deer, hawks, owls and spiders

Dog and deer, Trevose and buck

This morning, while I was sitting on the deck doing some writing, our dog (Trevose — named after the street we lived on in Singapore, where we adopted her from the humane society) and a buck had a conversation through our back fence.

Moments before, a huge owl had been sitting on a limb not far above where the buck was standing in this picture. And there used to be a famiy of hawks that lived in a nearby tree, but they seem to have departed about a month ago. We have a couple hummingbird feeders, but there seems only two that frequent them. And we have a squirrel with a black head and a brown body that crosses the deck from time to time. There is a downside…

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Why the Population Bomb bombed

Population Bomb, The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich

This book came up in a discussion I was having earlier today. Published in 1968, and an eventual bestseller, The Population Bomb asserted that within 10 – 20 years the world would be wracked by starvation and wars for food.

In my early teens in the ’70s I lived in a small town in western Kansas surrounded by literally an ocean of wheat that farmers were going broke producing because the world had too damn much of it. So I could not reconcile the dire warnings of “The Population Bomb” and the reality around me.

At least until the famous “bet”.
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James Gunn and the role of Science Fiction

Analog Science Fiction, Analog Sci Fi, Analog Science Fiction Science Fact, Analog Magazine

I grew up reading Analog Science Fiction magazine. In fairness, it is more accurately Analog Science Fiction and Fact, but I always did better with the fiction part than I did the fact part.

Later in life, while earning my MA in Creative Writing, I had the chance to study under James Gunn at the University of Kansas. Gunn has published a number of science fiction novels over the last ~50 years, but he is probably better known in the sci fi community as a historian of science fiction and has published a number of books to that end.

I took three or four classes from him, and I spent some time chatting with him in his office, which was as you would imagine it: Stacked high with paperbacks on every flat surface, he was staring into the small screen of his antiquated computer. He eventually chaired my thesis committee.

As luck would have it, he came to our wedding. For a wedding gift — in typical Gunn fashion — he handed me a couple of his most recent paperbacks. 

He is the author of the guest editorial in Analog this month and has written an interesting article on the role of science fiction with some focus on Star Trek and Star Wars. Check it out.

Science Fiction, Aliens…and Mama Bears

Aliens Science Fiction

Aliens has long been one of my favorite Sci Fi movies. It is not great movie making, and it is not great Science Fiction. But it is a great action flick with lots of worthy special effects and various thrills. There is more than that, though, and it comes to a head when Ripley shouts out at the alien: “Get away from her you bitch!”

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Lonely Hunter…interrupted

Lonely Hunter in progress, Sci Fi novel, Science Fiction Novel

Six weeks ago I was on the verge of sending my manuscript to my editor, but I had a few interruptions: My older twin daughters (yes, we have two sets of twins) graduated from high school and we had to visit the colleges they are going to for orientations, we moved to a new house (which was a ton of physical work, and I aggravated an old collarbone injury), my boss (and friend) was fired and I’ve taken on a bigger role at work, and my wife and I have both had to travel for various other reasons.

I saw some of this coming, so I decided to take advantage of the pause to have two more beta readers go through the manuscript. Both are accomplished readers with keen and critical eyes, and both are preparing to publish their first novels. I finally had some time today to look at their feedback in detail…

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Giveaway: KindleFire

This giveaway is now over. Sharon from Michigan was the lucky winner. Thanks for all the entries! 

I will notify all my subscribers of the next one.  🙂

Kindle Fire, Giveaway, Amazon Fire, Amazon Kindle Fire

Just wanted to let everyone know I’m giving away a KindleFire. You will also get an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) in a few months of my forthcoming military science fiction novel, Lonely Hunter. I expect to publish it later this summer. When you enter to win the Kindle Fire, be sure to forward the link to your friends to increase your chances of winning.

Military Science Fiction at it finest — The Forever War

The Forever War cover

 

I’ve long enjoyed military science fiction, so I have had The Forever War on my to read list for…well…you know…forever. I’m glad I did. Finally. It is not just damn good, it is good for a reason. Several, in fact.

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Hemingway Editor + Ginger = Paradise (almost)

Hemingway Editor, Ginger Grammary checker, Grammarly, Chrome Extension, Spell checker, Style CheckerA few months ago, I published a blog about how to use the free Hemingway Editor and Grammarly’s free grammar checker together. Both are powerful tools for writers – the Hemingway app focuses on readability by highlighting unnecessary words and complex, overly long sentences even if they are grammatically correct. In contrast, Grammarly will identify many of the grammatical errors in your work.

Great news! There is another grammar checker you can now use with the Hemingway Editor if you are not fond of Grammarly. You can now use the free Ginger grammar checker with the Hemingway app. It is super easy.

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An update on publishing End War: Lonely Hunter

Archers, Lonely Hunter, Crossbow

I don’t normally post about WIP (Works In Progress). However, I thought I’d provide an update on how End War: Lonely Hunter is progressing. It is my first full length Science Fiction novel. To be honest, I’m a bit burnt out at the moment. Between a demanding full-time job (that has nothing to do with writing), blogging, relentlessly growing my understanding about how self-publishing works, continuing to promote my first novel (to include finishing up the audio book), and working on Lonely Hunter and its four sequels…I’m smoked.

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The 25 Greatest Science Fiction novels ever? Damn close!

How to write science fiction. Dune, 2001, Enders Game, Herbert, Clarke, Asimov

 

Came across this very cool post on StumbleUpon: 25 greatest Sci Fi novels ever. Check it out and see what you think. Nice summaries and engaging graphics.

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