Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sidearm & Sorcery

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We're closing off 2021 in style, folks.

Today I'd like to present you with the newest anthology I am a part of: Sidearm & Sorcery, a compilation of modern sword and sorcery style stories! This one has been in the works for awhile now, and I'm happy to finally present it to you today.

Edited by StoryHack's Bryce Beattie, Sidearm & Sorcery is a compilation of nine brand new adventure stories to get your blood pumping. There's something in here for everyone!

The full list of stories is as follows:

In the modern world, paranormal dangers lurk all around. When there is no chosen one to be found, no altruistic half-vampire around, and no superheros flying overhead, it's up to average people to do the business of defeating evil. They have no powers, no prophecies, and all the odds are stacked against them.

In this short story collection, regular folk find themselves up against nightmare creatures, conniving warlocks, and all manner of supernatural dangers. All set in contemporary environments. Read these nine new tales of magic and adventure today.

This anthology contains the following stories:

Flight Response by Jay Barnson

An army helicopter pilot has a harrowing experience with a mind-controlling sorcerer in Vietnam. Several years later, the sorcerer has resurfaced, but will this wild chance at revenge end in tragedy?

Small Town Sorcery by Bryce Beattie

Supernatural terrors plague a child at night, and her father doesn't seem to be concerned. What nightmare is he trying to hide?

In The Forests Of The Night by Misha Burnett

Politics. Power always brought out the politicians, looking for an angle to drive in a wedge and gain some leverage. Magic was power, money was power, and this case was dripping with both.

From the case files of Erik Rugar comes another tale of magic, mystery, and a detective who is always over his head.

La Bruja by Carlos Carrasco

A New Orleans Police Detective and an Exorcist join forces to rescue a young girl from the clutches of a demonic cult. The trail leads them into the bullet-riddled inner-city streets of the Big Easy where lives and souls are held cheap and rival gang-bangers wage a bloody race war.

Living Land by JD Cowan

After the show, a rockabilly drummer follows a girl who looks like she might be in trouble. The two are swept away into an unexplainable land, where existence turns in on itself.

Under a Mango Sun by Michael DeCarolis

An agent of Thailand's supernatural crime division must infiltrate Bangkok's seedy underbelly to get to the bottom of an enchanted animal smuggling ring, where she finds herself in over her head.

The Undying Past by Dale W. Glaser

A private investigator is coerced into tracking down the cause of a curse on an ancient manor. Will he find the answer before the curse claims his life?

Green Shadow by Jason J. McCuiston

Some New Age cults are fads. Some are nefarious. A rare few actually worship dark gods. When an Afghanistan vet is hired to bring back a runaway girl, he comes face-to-face with the latter.

Prey of the Hamadame by Mark J. Schultis

A mysterious beast is preying on factory workers. A pregnant woman's husband has disappeared. Can an outcast detective find him before it is too late?

Once again, you can find it here!

For my story, you might find a familiar description in the story blurb. A drummer of a rockabilly band? Didn't I write a story starring the bassist of a rockabilly band? Perhaps there is some relation between the two tales?

Yes, actually! They are members of the same band, Three Wolves. In fact, the third story, which features the guitarist, is due out in the upcoming Pulp Rock anthology. A bunch of weirdness seems to follow this band around as they travel. And in the third story you're about to learn something really wild about the setting this takes place in.

But not just yet!

For now I'll say Living Land is a story that I wrote in literally a single sitting. One day, I sat down, decided to push everything to the side and write this tale which had elements that had been brewing in the back of my mind for years now. It's one of the ones the most like the sort of weird tale that would have ran in the magazine back in the day.

The title might not give anything away, but Edward is a man that loves to live, to be alive, and after following a girl that looks to be in distress ends up in a world that looks to be the definition of life! But reality isn't always what we see on the surface, and the two of them have to find out just what it means to not be dead. Which place really is the Living Land of the title?

Saying more would be spoilers, but I was definitely happy to explore the drummer's personality with this one. He is very different from our previous protagonist in Black Dog Bend. Of course, that is by design. All bands are filled with people of varying personalities.

Each member of the Three Wolves is a different person with different goals. You met the bassist: a rational sort that soon finds out that rationality isn't all there is. Now meet the drummer: a wild type that learns being alive is more than the noise you make. As for the guitarist, well, you'll just have to wait on that one. I can't give that away yet! Together they travel down back roads playing shows and stumbling into trouble where there shouldn't be any at all.

These stories were more than a bit inspired by Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John tales, but also from my own interest involving the larger than life mythos Rock music has surrounded itself with since coming into its own over the decades. How much of that is nonsense based on record label hype and how much of it lives in the power of sound itself? To do that, I had to separate music from industry, and that is what the Three Wolves are.

I've been into Rock music since I was a child. Something about the energy, passion, and honesty, really spoke to me. As I got older, I realized how so much of it was corporate controlled rebellion written by poseurs trying to sell an image, but that didn't make the mythic part of modern travelling bards touring the land less interesting. If anything, it made the genuine bands stick out more. What is it that attracts us to the romantic side of this genre?

While I can't listen to groups like Nirvana without retching these days, I can listen to the Meat Puppets or the Replacements, bands attempting to connect with something deeper than empty nihilism or fashion trends in an attempt to forge a bond with the audience. They share something with us, and we take it inside for ourselves.

You're always sharing part of yourself through art, which works better when you have something to share aside from slogans, rote nihilism, or prepackaged politics. You can share a lot in a two and half minute song.

Even more when you realize how much of the genre either explores the romantic side of life and up to the decay of modernity. It's quite the spread. And they do it in such a simple way which allows the initial impact to stick with you even as you get older and wiser. 

For example, who would have thought a bunch of ignorant hopeless case teenagers could write songs that effectively skewer the emptiness of the city while also managing to make the audience move and sing along at the same time? It's powerful stuff that shouldn't just be shrugged off. This isn't a medium one can just ignore.

One of the bands that inspired Three Wolves

We'll get some ID, everything is swell
C'mon down, c'mon what the hell
I know it's better than TV, there ain't a whole lot to see
When you're hangin' downtown

Wait, date? No, I can't go
I gotta stick around and watch my show
I know it's better than TV, and there's a whole lot to see
When you're hangin' downtown

Bus stop
Pimps and whores
Liquor stores
Seventh Street
Sixth Street
Bus stop
Bus stop
Bus stop
Bus stop

Anyway, I ain't got no place else to go

Bus stop
Bus stop
Bus stop
Bus stop

We'll get some ID, everything is swell
Downtown, c'mon what the hell
I know it's better than TV, and there's a whole lot to see
When you're hangin' downtown

The song sounds like one of those typical Rock pieces about why TV is bad, but going out and partying is great. Until you get to that breakdown/solo. What is wonderful about hanging downtown? Turns out it's nothing. You might as well stay home and watch TV since it's effectively just as worthless as mindlessly indulging in vice is. But the band manages to do this while retaining rock n roll's biting sound and high energy. It truly is music for guys.

On the other hand, I've also grown more fascinated with the genre's origin points as I've gotten older. As Rock has traveled further from its roots, much like adventure fiction has, it has lost not only its testosterone, but its morality and bearings. The genre as it is now is dead because it hit a wall spurred on by the endless push for Progress at the expense of songwriting. Now, it's all the same early 21st century sounds recycled endlessly, usually with ironic tongue implanted in cheek or obnoxious one-sided, and one dimensional, political screeds.

The only sounds you'll see coming from the genre these days are the same rehashed ones again and again. How many times can you lift from Radiohead or New Order, anyway? And what even are they singing about? Insular psychosis or bland good guy/bad guy political sloganeering. They have nothing left to say beyond empty tropes. They have nothing left to say because they dislike the very source and origins of their own genre.

Rock n roll was built on blues, country, and gospel, three Average Joe Christian forms of music made for the common man to give them hope and inspiration to get through the day. Essentially really coming into its own in the 1950s, it was around 1957 when the freakish concoction known as Rockabilly (originally an insult, because of course it would be) emerged out of the American South to construct a unique combination of rhythm and blues and hard driving fun that the record industry has been trying to make sense of for over half a century since.

This music was made for community get together and fun: socializing. And this flies in the face of the weaponization the industry wanted from the genre. They turned party music into psychosis treatment, and that's why no one cares anymore.

Genre roots: from 1949!

It was only when Brian Setzer and his band the Stray Cats came around in the 1980s that the genre was able to claim its spot as valid by the critique class, who even then would insult it as "warmed over Gene Vincent" and other silliness. This critic group would never understand that good songwriting will always trump "originality" or whatever they're calling the newest Thom Yorke palette swap these days. But even back in the day, being original wasn't enough for Rockabilly: it wasn't saying anything, man.  It didn't matter if it was new or people liked it.

But it was saying anything--literally anything. Rockabilly is guy music distilled. It's about girls, cars, hanging out with the boys, having fun, and just celebrating life, even God. It is the core of what makes Rock music so good. It is a celebration of life.

That's what makes it the bedrock of the genre, and why it should be more appreciated by the industry. It is everything about the roots or Rock taken to its base. Without it, your favorite band and song would not exist, because it forms the backbone of that sound.

And that's what I wanted to touch on in these stories. I wanted to bring this energy into a world that appreciates everything except the little things. Where everything is going wrong, a little light can come from anywhere: even a bunch of goobers playing old music that went extinct ages ago. Because why not? As long as it lifts you up, it works.

The main inspiration for Three Wolves

I'll talk a bit more about it when the next story in this series releases with Pulp Rock. For now, I'll just say that it's been a joy to write these and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did when thinking them up. They were a lot of fun to write.

But aside from my Living Land, there are eight other off the wall adventure tales in Sidearm & Sorcery, so be sure to check it out for yourself! It's a ride, I'll tell you.

As for when the physical edition will be out, I do not know yet. It should be on the way in the very near future. I will update when that happens. For now, I am just thrilled that this anthology is finally out the door for everyone to read. It's been a long time coming.

Anyway, that is all for me from 2021! The next time we speak it will be 2022, a whole new year of possibilities.

Have a safe New Years and I will see you next time!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Final Signal Boost of 2021 ~ Cirsova!

Find it Here!

Cirsova, at this point, is one of the leading purveyors of adventure fiction. It has been a long ride, being here since the pulp revolution first went off back in 2016, and one of the most consistent and highest quality dispenser of short fiction since. They are still going strong today, just recently putting out the ninth issue of their second volume. This after a squabble with Ingram Spark that ended with them without a home for their physical releases until recently.

Nonetheless, their 2021 output was very admirable. You can see the full list here. Certainly a lot of work for a NewPub publication!

Of course I should mention that next year, I will be in the magazine, but this post is about the final issue of 2021 and their fifth anniversary. It has quite the lineup of interesting tales that float between the adventurous, the heroic, and the macabre, and everything in between.

This is the sort of thing that made the old pulp magazines so great back in the day. Over 20 issues later and it's safe to say that Cirsova should be ranked with them, showing just how many modern writers simply wish to entertain as much as the classics did.

The stories included:

For We Are Many

Infinite universes are filled with myriad worlds of infinite possibilities—and infinite selves! One man hunts and is hunted across the multiverse, seeking absolution!
The Wreck of the Cassada

The Mongoose and Meerkat have been hired to lay claim to the salvage of a wrecked ship… and will be partnered with none other than the Hand of Bursa!
Wychyrst Tower

A strange find on a Caribbean expedition haunts the atavistic Dulf Abbandonato… Why would the family name of an old New England friend appear in the West Indies!?
She Saw It Creeping Up the Stairs

Lisa and her mother have moved in with her grandmother! Grandmother is wheel-chair-bound, and Mom is in the other room… So who is walking around upstairs?!
Fail Early, Fail Well

Some projects are doomed to failure… Sometimes, it’s better they fail sooner than later! It is Vinellius’s job to ensure the worst of these projects fail just right!
Thorwynn Stapledon and “The Mellifluous Phoenix”

It was supposed to be a drug-fueled science fiction anthology alleging to recreate the human brain! But what was the sinister truth behind The Mellifluous Phoenix?!
Harmonious Unity Burns
By Jed Del Rosario

The most diverse city in the Federated Alliance is burning! Riots and upheaval have necessitated the intervention of elite mercenaries—who is behind the chaos?!
My Name Is John Carter (Part 10)

[Editor’s Note: Continued from Cirsova Vol 2. #6]
Stealing the Alchemist Stone

Burke Fletcher and his wife Llana have just absconded with an Alchemist Stone! But the baron they stole it from is not the only one who desires its arcane powers!
To the Sound of a Silent Harp

Harp, a deadly and addictive vidliq, will possess you forever—much like Cavan, the magnate who built his fortune on it! Ciaon, Cavan’s errand boy, finds himself caught in a deadly web of deception—can he escape, or is he, too, a man possessed?!
Queen of the House

A door-to-door salesman promises a fantastic cleaning device that can get rid of anything and everything! But what can get rid of a salesman who won’t give up?!
The Creation of Science Fiction

Once again, you can find Cirsova Vol. 2, #9 here!

And that's about it for signal boosts in 2021. Hope you had a good time discovering new artists and writers this year across the open frontier of NewPub, and can't wait to see what is coming next. Because there's a lot!

Until next time.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're having a good holiday season. It's been a rocky year for many, but today is a day when you can think of higher, better things. For a few moments you can relax, even if you have things you must do. That is what holidays are actually for.

For those who have the time, or are looking for something a bit bizarre, I have just the treat for you. Check out this public domain Christmas broadcast from 1992. It contains several cartoons that are free to view.

It's a strange thing to post, but this is a strange blog. So sit back, relax and have a breather this Christmas season.

You've earned it.

2022 is just around the corner. You made it this far, you can make it the rest of the way! There is much more to see, and much more to do. However, now you can take a rest and congratulate yourself for another year survived. 

Have a good Christmas season!

Enjoy this playlist of public domain Christmas songs, and have a fruitful week!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Life City

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I think we can squeeze out one or two more signal boosts before the year is out. Why not? There is more than enough material to highlight, and I know there are many readers out there perusing for something to dig into.

So here is a new one for you!

Today I'd like to present to you Life City by the always intriguing TJ Marquis, a novella of the sort you do not see too often. This is pretty much the definition of Weird Fiction. For those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, you will see exactly what makes it so unique, if only by the cover. This is pure unadulterated fun of the kind that makes stories the joy they are.

A combination of all the things that made Gen Y and older Gen X childhoods so odd, Life City is an action packed delight of the sort that does not get made much anymore. But it also has a bit of a twist to it to keep it fresh.

The description:



The uplifted animals of Life City are used to destructive alien incursions from above. Everyone knows how to fight back.

Heroic rock band Magikrash makes a living playing music and fighting invaders, but there are some threats they may not be prepared for...

When a new and disturbing trend pops up in Life City, punk singer Saqi and her bear bassist Barley must discover how to save their brainwashed friends, and the city.

Vibes of classic Saturday Morning cartoons, punk rock and metal, synthwave, and fast-paced adventure combine for an uplifting read with the Lamb at its heart.

Once again, you can find it here.

It feels fitting for the Christmas season, does it now? No one makes it like this anymore, so check it out while they still do! You can only find such works in NewPub, and nowhere else. And that is what continues to make it such an exciting space.

Thank you so much for checking out these authors and stories and giving them the attention they need. 2021 has been the year of NewPub, and I definitely hope to see this continue far into 2022 and beyond. With OldPub detonating, we need a new place to find stories.

And that is exactly what we're creating.

Until next time!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Touch & Go

We are doing everything online these days, aren't we? At least, it feels that way. Soon every single aspect of our lives will require us to be tethered to an ephemeral network or we simply will not be able to function. These days it seems that the physical world is becoming less and less important to modernity.

It hasn't, but it sometimes does feel like it. In fact, there have been plenty of changes afoot to bring things a bit more in line with where we should be. It's just harder to notice in the fog of social media, 24/7 news assault, and endless automation of smaller jobs. Things are changing, but not quite in the way we see it changing, as is usually the case.

Even though a lot has changed over the last few years, one thing that absolutely hasn't is the existence of the physical market. Particularly in the arena of movies, disc releases still exist and have only grown in the wake of the recent pandemic and rise of customer-last services such as streaming. People still value the sensation of touch.

This is a bit strange, considering you would have figured the opposite would have happened, especially with less releases of new Hollywood product. But the niche still continues to thrive regardless of what the machine does.

For the most part, you will always have folks that will jump on the most convenient, low effort way to enjoy something, which explains the popularity of streaming over technical improvements such as 4K. However, what is surprising is that despite the hard push from corporations to get these customers to own less and pay constant rental fees for everything they're interested in (and not interested in, to be honest) physical media ownership still exists. Even despite a situation where most people couldn't leave their homes for over a year, never mind go out themselves and watch or buy new movies, they still continued to buy physical objects to own.

A bit unexpected, to be quite honest. From everything that has happened, one would have figured the previous trends of increasing online product would have continued unabated. Yet it looks like for many the opposite occurred.

Take this article about the state of the newer UHD (Ultra HD) format and its bid to seize control of the physical market since its inception nearly half a decade ago. It doesn't seem to be grabbing hold or doing much to attract customers. In fact, DVD sales are still the highest among all physical formats even 25 years after their creation.

Check the chart:

Amazing, isn't it? The cheapest, most disposable form of physical media is still the majority market share to this day. That doesn't look to be changing anytime soon.

But it feels like there is a divide between different sorts of customers. Whether it is those who just want to simply own the product, those who want the best possible presentation, and those who want the best of both worlds, the majority consensus seems to be that outright owning the product is more important than any other aspect of it.

In other words, it is about the experience more so than the bells and whistles surrounding the movie. Not much has changed in the last quarter of a century for a lot of people aside from widescreen TVs. And not even large ones.

The above chart might be confusing to those who value giant 4K television sets and a small library that has no potential to reach the spread of those on lesser formats like DVD or even standard Blu-Ray. This is understandable. Why wouldn't anyone want to pay more for higher quality, even with a library that will never reach the depth and variety of those that came before?

Why indeed.

"With the competition between streaming services intensifying, it’s easy to forget there’s still a market of consumers who buy physical media, who like to collect tangible things, for a variety of reasons including pride of ownership, wanting to actually own things, fear of tampering by content owners. Is it niche? Not quite. It’s shrinking for sure, by double-digit numbers annually, but it’s still a mass market. What’s niche perhaps is the premium segment of this market – Ultra HD Blu-ray, a 4K HDR disc format introduced 5 years ago this February, 10 years after Blu-ray Disc and 20 years after DVD. It’s likely the ultimate video disc format. 

"Nielsen VideoScan, a company of the NPD Group, has since years been collecting retail sales numbers of consumer purchases in the U.S. market. I’ve tracked those numbers the past few years and they show a couple of interesting things."

For a newer format, UHD has never pierced double digit market share, and has already fallen under what it was three years ago. Meanwhile, standard Blu Ray has fallen to a quarter of the total market share, while DVD owns nearly 3/4s of the home market! Even after 25 years, DVD still reigns supreme over it all.

"First a note of caution, though. The past year has not been a normal year for a lot of things, including entertainment spending. Expenditure on streaming services has increased at an accelerated rate while spending on physical media has not. But there’s more. Because of covid measures, Hollywood studios have had to halt movie production for months. Moreover, because of lockdowns cinemas and movie theaters have had to close for extended periods of time. This dearth of theatrical releases has translated into a complete stagnation of home video releases a few months down the line, still observing the traditional windows in the staggered releases schedules. The sell-through video market is, or at least used to be, driven by such new releases. That’s the main reason why 2020 was not a great year for movie sales, and it has exaggerated certain trends."

This is a fair assessment, but what also should be taken into account is that the modern movie industry was already flatlining before the pandemic ever started. Sales had been going down for years, and movie theaters were already seeing worse and worse returns. All the last two years did was hasten that demise faster.

The #1 appeal of buying big 4K TVs and players that blow up picture on them is for newer movies, but new movies don't really sell all that much anymore. Most people interested in them will just watch it on a streaming service. UHD was never going to be much more than a niche in a niche. And it looks like the trends are bearing that out.

"The most interesting trend in my view is what’s happening to Blu-ray Disc, the 1080p HD disc format: it’s getting squeezed between DVD and Ultra HD Blu-ray. It’s clearly visible in 2020 but if you look back a little further you can see this happening more or less from the introduction of UHD BD. The split between DVD and BD was about 50/50 (in units) before UHD BD launched. This was as far as Blu-ray Disc got in trying to displace DVD after reaching maturity. It had been on the market for ten years by then. 

"This squeeze makes sense, of course. DVD is the cheapest option here, and price does matter. Ultra HD Blu-ray meanwhile is the best format in terms of audio and video quality. Blu-ray Disc is neither. It’s a decent compromise between price and picture & sound quality but it’s neither the cheapest nor the best. It’s less and less a compelling proposition. That UHD BD would mostly cannibalize BD was to be expected: The people who want the cheapest option and still haven’t upgraded to BD more than 10 years after introduction are likely to stick with DVD while those who want the best quality migrate from BD to UHD BD."

Unfortunately, this is cope. Standard Blu Ray being down a quarter comes from not much being released that takes advantage of the format over the year. It certainly isn't losing any ground to UHD when UHD has also plunged in numbers and is now under 5% of the market share without ever reaching double digit to begin with. Not to mention, Blu Ray is the best quality when you are not buying or using 4K, as most buyers still do not.

And they probably never will, especially when using it locks out much older material that cannot be released for it. Physical media buyers, from what it appears, heavily invest in old film and television. SD content that cannot be upgraded to HD (of which there is more than you realize) can not be released on UHD or displayed on 4K TVs as they simply cannot display SD. For certain audiences, this is an obvious downgrade, and denying that is part of the above blind spot.

But tech heads tend to overlook the past to their own detriment. This isn't really a new thing, but expected at this point.

Plus, and I hate to say this, but UHD will always remain a niche in a niche. Whereas one can release SD material on Blu Ray (I would suggest looking up Discotek's anime work bringing works that aren't HD out in higher quality), only a small sample can be upgraded to 4K, and even fewer of those will make enough money to justify the exorbitant expense of making a UHD to begin with. If you're planning on leapfrogging over Blu Ray from DVD then you will miss out on a plethora of material the more expensive format of UHD will never, and can never, have. Audiences apparently seem to notice it, hence market share already shrinking.

UHD is a niche of a niche and doesn't have much in the way of growth potential, especially as newer products interest customers less and less. It's exclusively for tech geeks.

Such people usually don't even understand DVDs' continued popularity after a quarter of a century in use. Shouldn't it have been replaced like VHS was?

Well, it simply isn't that simple.

"Every week when I post the weekly market share pie chart on my UltraHDBluray tweet feed, someone – in shock about the high market share of DVD – will ask “who still buys DVDs?” Well, a lot of people, is the answer. And who can blame them? Evidently the movie business and CE industry have not done a good job educating people about the differences between DVD and BD (never mind UHD BD) and persuading them to go for the premium option. These differences go further than just image resolution. Take frame rates for instance. Most DVDs contain interlaced video. The format can support progressive video but not at the 24fps frame rate that most movies are shot at. (For an explanation of the importance of frame rates, see this article on HFR.) Dolby Atmos sound and its competitor DTS:X are exclusive to Blu-ray Disc and its 4K sibling, though much more common on the latter. And naturally 4K resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range) video are only available with Ultra HD Blu-ray."

There is this constant tendency among aficionados of some space of another to miss the forest for the trees, and the above is a clear case of that happening. The reason DVDs remain king is fairly obvious to anyone who understands art, and it has nothing to do with being uneducated. It comes from not caring about aesthetic improvements over price.

DVD was an objective step up over every format that came before it. Multiple languages, subtitles, sharper picture and sound, more disc storage, easier case storage, and it was not very expensive even at release. Tied with that is that it came included in the highest selling video game system of all time: the PlayStation 2. It was such a clear, cheap, and easy, upgrade that the public went for it almost right out of the gate. No one really thought twice about it. VHS sales plummeted almost immediately once the price came down and the PS2 was released to massive success. It was no wonder DVD was king for so long afterwards.

So what is Blu Ray's advantage over DVD? What does it do that is the equivalent of the huge improvement over VHS? What does it have that will make buyers jump for it as readily as they did for DVD back in 2001?

It does the same thing that made DVD what it is, but it does them better and it's pricier.

That's it. 

Sorry to tell you this, but that's not impressive enough to most people. Most buyers don't care about slight improvements to audio or visuals--they care about having a good reason to jump ship to a new format. I'm sorry to tell you this, but Blu Ray (and especially UHD) give no compelling reason for most people to drop their old format unless they care deeply about picture, storage, and sound. Most do not and never will. Hence why surround sound audio and 4K TVs are not owned by everyone on your block. It doesn't matter to them.

UHD suffers this issue twice over because those who collect Blu Ray already think it's enough of an upgrade, which it is if you're one of the many people who see no value in 4K, or exchanging SD entirely for a small slice of the pie in content. So you're seeing a fraction of a fraction here. Would another format after UHD occur it would then bite into UHD's already tiny percentage. It wouldn't effect the "lesser" formats. Less people care the more into the minutiae one gets. This has always been the case regarding tech. It is why most avoided the internet until 56k modems and Windows 95 became prevalent. They don't need good; they need ease of access.

Normal people are more likely to find streaming more of a revolution over UHD, and their assessment wouldn't be wrong from their perspective. "Blu Ray but better" is even less enticing than "DVD but better" when you can instead click a button to watch whatever you want at any time. The ease comes before quality.

"Another reason for the continuing success of DVD is that while just about everything gets released on DVD, that’s not the case with Blu-ray (let alone 4K). Nowadays, many TV series – even those that were broadcast in HD – are released only on DVD, not on BD. As for Ultra HD Blu-ray, many new movies get a release on the format but TV series rarely do. Also Netflix originals that are shot and streamed in 4K – series like House of Cards, The Crown, Jessica Jones and Daredevil – get a BD release at best. The only exception to that rule so far has been Stranger Things, but that 4K disc release has been a retailer-exclusive only available through U.S. chain Target."

And after five years UHD has never even risen to where Blu Ray was after the same amount of time, never mind DVD. Audiences need a bigger reason to jump ship. But they are never going to have it, especially if they care about old works.

I should go into this a bit more. There are certain things 4K TVs cannot ever do, despite supposedly being advanced. One of them is displaying any form of Standard Definition content well. They literally cannot do it.

What should also be mentioned is that most television shows were filmed on video, not film. Video does not have the materials in order to be given higher definition like film does. It can't. This means they will never be upgraded to HD, and a DVD release is the best they can ever hope for. This goes the same for a lot of things that were edited on tape too, such as properties like Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. They will never have a HD release because of the way the elements were put together or edited.

The best one can hope for is an SD on Blu Ray release (there are no improvements except less compression than a DVD disc has), which sort of defeats the selling points of Blu Ray to begin with and is not enough of a selling point for audiences.

And on a 4K TV? It will always look like garbage and run considerably worse. There is simply too much of a benefit for DVD's continued existence when a lot of things would lose physical releases should it happen to go away. In many ways, DVD represents the entirety of the physical market, which means it cannot die or else the market will too.

It also goes without saying that streaming services will just throw old series and films up as is, because picture and sound quality isn't its selling point. If it looks bad, just hop to another one. After all, you're paying for ease of access, not quality.

"Some Ultra HD enthusiasts frequently suggest that movie studios should stop releasing DVDs, apparently thinking that consumers would then upgrade to higher-quality formats. I don’t expect that would happen. The cost-conscious DVD buyers would more likely switch to streaming options. Studios would be crazy to stop the cash cow that DVD still is. And it provides essential volume for the optical disc replication plants, of which there are fewer now than during the peak days of CD and DVD, to keep running at a decent load."

I'm always fascinated with this obsessive cult-like frothing demand that normal people acquiesce over the demands of fanatics who should be allowed to consume in peace. This is a reoccurring theme, isn't it?

Let us be honest, if DVD disappeared, audiences wouldn't be jumping to UHD. Some would go to Blu Ray while the wide majority would just be pushed faster into streaming. The wider public doesn't care about 4K when they barely cared about HD to begin with. They just want the product, and they want it cheap. UHDs will never be cheap or have the wide spread that streaming offers. As far as the wider audience is concerned, it's worthless.

I say this as someone who enjoys standard Blu Ray more for its storage capability and uncompressed SD content than anything else. It's a good format, but it's not any sort of revolution. UHD even less so due to have objective steps back in the are of art preservation that no tech head wants to admit is a fatal flaw for many. It will simply never become the majority format.

"The modest rise in market share for Ultra HD Blu-ray will likely resume when blockbuster titles are getting released again and movie business returns to normal. The best weekly market share for the format so far was when Avengers: Endgame was released: 20%. Blu-ray Disc did nearly 50% that week – also a great score. Major titles have been few and far between since the pandemic struck. The only real tentpole title has been Tenet. It sold 38% in 4K in its premiere week (pushing the format’s market share to 6.6% – above average for 2020) and around 25% in the weeks following."

I'm going to throw an opinion out there that new movies do far better on streaming than UHD, while new releases of old movies and obscure releases do far better on standard Blu Ray (based on comments from boutique distributors like Discotek, Vinegar Syndrome, and Kino Lorber), while DVD is a catch all for everything else. There are segments where certain things are simply preferable to others. These are obvious audiences sectors that have easy to understand preferences.

If you ever think UHD, a format the majority of video products can never be released on, will ever be the go-to physical platform, then I think you might be blinded by the bells and whistles over the buyers' preferences. If it ever is the standard, then we will lost a lot of films and TV series to the void. This is not a good thing.

However, this is a baseless fear because it's never going to be more than a niche of a niche. That's what it was designed to be. It's only ever going to appeal to a minority.

"The hardware market indicates that Ultra HD Blu-ray is a stable niche. The number of players sold is shrinking slightly. It’s also telling that while Samsung has actually withdrawn from the disc player market altogether, the other major CE brands Panasonic, Sony and LG have not introduced new models lately and continue to sell existing models, apart from the just announced Panasonic DP-UB9000 Mk II. Cheap, low-end, no-brand competition from China, that became massive with DVD, has not entered this market. Instead we’re seeing high-end boutique brands entering, again indicating this market is becoming a premium collectors business rather than a mainstream one. Industry watchers also predict a wave of ‘clones’ of the beloved universal disc players that Oppo made."

Case in point.

It's the same people buying more UHD, not more people buying into the format. It's already stagnated in growth despite being around for over half a decade. By this point in their lives, DVD and Blu Ray had already taken off.

"The installed base of UHD BD-capable players is sure to rise massively this year thanks to the introduction of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Discless “digital-only” versions of both consoles exist – the Microsoft one is called Xbox Series S – but millions of players will be in households in the course of this year. These devices are foremost games consoles but statistics show that console owners use the devices for many forms of entertainment including music, movies and series. A lot of that may happen in the form of streaming but the option is there. Will this impact the sales of movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray a lot? Not before major movies see releases on home media again. Once that returns to normal we may see higher volumes of discs selling than before."

If the mega-successful PS4 didn't cause Blu Rays to overtake DVDs, why would newer consoles be able to do it with UHDs? The people who buy consoles would probably just jump over to streaming since, you know, all the streaming services are right there on the console. It's PC gamers who care about tech. The audiences for consoles care more about accessibility which, as we've already discussed, is what this group cares for more.

So no, the PS5 and Xbox S will not give UHD much of a boost, especially when both Microsoft and Sony are swinging hard for the digital distribution fences. They will push streaming services long before even considering expensive movie discs.

There isn't really any potential growth in this sector of the physical market because most people just want the product for as cheap as they can get it. Better picture and sound is not going to impress them. We've long since reached saturation on picture and sound improvements over HD was introduced to the mainstream over 15 years ago. Most people flat out do not care about them anymore. The wow has worn off. What they have is good enough as it is. and that's all that matters.

"At the moment, the worldwide Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc market is worth roughly 1 billion dollars, the majority of it in North America. That may be a niche in the overall entertainment business but it's a sizeable niche with healthy margins. May it live long and prosper."

This is good news if you primarily watch big budget modern Hollywood movies. If you don't then you'll realize that for those who enjoy foreign films, b-movies, animation, old television, or things made or edited on video, have no real place in this market. It's really for big budget, large studio Hollywood releases, and little else.

I think there is a tendency to get carried away by aesthetics or technology at the expense of content. One of the reasons physical media remains popular is because audiences want that tangible connection to their art, to hold and experience on a level they can't with just bits of data. The rental store used to be such a mecca of activity back in the day for a reason. There is something about being able to hold a movie and read the box art that offers something different than scrolling through menus on an internet connection does.

The people who want that, value that experience far more than the quality of picture or sound. To them it is the art itself that matters the most, and they want it however they can get it. Despite changes in the home video market, this doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. There will always be a segment of the audience that values touch.

And we should salute them for it.

Gone, but never really forgotten.

Nonetheless, the larger point in all this is that there is still a market for physical media. It isn't gone yet. That might change with the next few years, especially as the studios make harder strides towards streaming above all else. After all, no one benefits from it more than they do. Even if it does change, however, there will always be an audience of those who prefer physical media and direct ownership of art and entertainment detached from a nebulous online cord that could be severed at any time. Touch still matters.

Boutique labels are putting out more movies on Blu Ray than they ever have since the format started. We're seeing flicks from the likes of Cannon Films and labels like Vinegar Syndrome putting out even more obscure films that have never gotten good releases before. On top of it, they are also completing unfinished movies for the world to see. There is still a very activity scene thriving for those who appreciate these things.

Right now is probably the best (and will be the last for a long time, to be honest) time to build a library of affordable movies and TV series while the market has some stabilization. Sooner or later, you won't be able to. Time is running out, even if the audience thinks otherwise. This is a once in a lifetime chance.

Until then, we've got plenty of options. Better take advantage of it! Who knows how much time we have left, anyway? Might as well enjoy a good movie while you're waiting. Take your pick. The sky is the limit.

For now!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Signal Boost ~ "Not Far from Eden" by J. Manfred Weichsel

Find it Here!

Here's a bizarre one. Weird tale writer J. Manfred Weichsel once again comes up with an odd take based on a legend from history. He has a tendency to write stories that are offensive or lewd on the surface, with plenty of humor, but which masks hidden depths underneath. Today I am boosting his newest story, Not Far from Eden.

This one is an odd twist on the myth of The Watchers, a group of angels that supposedly abandoned Heaven for the hopes of intimacy with human women. Of course, this being Weichsel, you can expect very strange happenings to come from this setup.

As the description states:

The angelic Watchers of antediluvian earth have one God-given mission - to educate the primitive human population. But Edna has more interesting things to do than schoolwork. When she notices that Samyaza, the leader of the Watchers, has taken a prurient interest in her, Edna comes up with a plan: flirt with him to get better grades. After all, what does it matter? Angels just aren’t built for that.

But angels have powers Edna is unaware of. When the men are exiled to the mountains, the women of earth are left in the clutches of the Watchers. Can she resist their advances and keep from becoming the mother of great evil?

Once again, you can find it here! Adults only!

Hope you're having a good week, and I'll see you again soon. Christmas is just around the corner, so there is still much left for 2021.

Let us end this year with a bang.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

2021 Year End Update

Since we're getting near the end of a very long year, I thought it would be best to update on the general state of things. This shouldn't take too long. It's been quite a 2021, this being the most active the blog has ever been, and I'd like to talk about about this crazy place today.

Apologies about the lack a of a longer post today but, as I said earlier, activity around here will be slowing down, especially as we head into the new year. 2021's blog output is not going to be the regular around these parts. I'd also like to spend today to give a hint at what we're going to be doing next, if only to show you that there's still much to do.

Let us start in a more general way.

I tried to boost a lot of signals this year due to it really being a bad year for the mainstream entertainment complex, and meeting many people looking for alternatives. The problem is that there are a LOT of alternatives. Almost too many, actually. Finding things to highlight could sometimes be overwhelming. The new publishing spaces from independents to small publishers have really gone out of their own to offer more than ever this year, and I hope I demonstrated it to you by highlighting a good chunk of the creative work out there over 2021.

You don't have to keep giving money to people who hate you, milking tired franchises and series they did not create or had anything to do with making. Not when NewPub and its equivalent spaces offer a far better and deeper spread of works. You can find anything you want out there, if you look hard enough.

That reality won't be slowing down next year, though OldPub and its adjacent industries will definitely continue their downward spiral. Thankfully most are willing to move on to new things. It's been a long time since Cultural Ground Zero, after all. We need new ideas.

We all know this truth is obvious now.

2021 was home to many new posts on Wasteland & Sky, a good chunk of which were the blog's most popular since it s inception way back in 2014. Thank you to the readers for making it such. This could not have been done without you. We also hit 500 posts since starting this whole thing off over seven years ago. It's been quite a wild ride around this place.

One of the posts that blew up abnormally fast was this year's entry The End of Nostalgia, sort of a sequel to my still-most-popular writings on The End of Pop Culture. Whereas that earlier post covered the conclusion of shared pop culture as a concept in this atomized world, this entry was about how shared cultural nostalgia is also on the way out. I would say this year carried out that predication quite well. Once Gen Y wakes up or dies off, shared cultural nostalgia is over.

I am not sure how one can see the absolute detonation of the western world currently going on and not see that the end is near. It couldn't get more obvious. I suppose it is easier if you weren't alive in the 20th century to see just how much things have degraded, but it is hard to turn away from reality as you see decay happen in real time.

This realization opened a gate and gave me the confidence to spend this year both studying what made the old industry and its work succeed as well as giving a boost to what is new and being overshadowed by overbearing nostalgia for faded logos and tired corporate works hinged on dead creators' IP. There is so much we've forgotten and so much we just don't see by keeping up with the joneses, two sides of the same problem.

We either rush blindly to the future or covet a specific era we'd rather be living in instead. Neither will accept the present on its own terms and learn to both adapt to it, and improve on what is lacking. Instead, the middle falls apart. And we crumble with it.

Some of the examples of the past we could mine for the future were rather popular with readers, from action movies, to old books, to even video games. We went all over the map. There is a lot out there we could be doing to both be more original and satiate audiences, but there is just as much we've forgotten that we could learn from but have decided not to. And yes we can learn more than simply resurrecting dead IP names to slap on our tired modern products filled with boring modern ideas. We don't need brand names--we need spirit.

The same city, separated by a decade. Can you even tell?

From old bands that never lost their way to action movies that have very much lost theirs, it was quite a journey through 2021. We even covered why the blog is named what it is. Learn why I'll never quite stop being a weeb by reading that one. We also went over the importance of seemingly unimportant things like aesthetics and basic touch, aspects of ourselves we are losing as we rush into the unknown lands of the 21st century. One should probably check if the tank is full when going on a road trip. Instead, we've forgotten what gas even is.

In fact, if there was a big theme you could pull from this year it would be the realization that the 20th century is not only over, but our refusal to leave it behind is what is doing us in. Not only that, but that we have no plan to move forward.

We spent the 20th century mindlessly plowing towards a utopia that is never going to come, and when it didn't, we kept plowing onward regardless. We threw away the past for a future we don't even understand in order to live in a post-apocalyptic hellscape of alienation, groupthink, and mindless consuming. This is the future we wanted so badly. And don't think this is an issue that doesn't affect your team. It effects everyone, and it will until we realize where we are. Modernity is over. It died a long time ago. We just haven't realized it yet.

The issue is that the revolution did come, it was televised, but we didn't notice or care. Now the television is gone, as is your past and the future you hoped for from back then, and the world is a revolutionary new place. The 20th century is done and never coming back. We celebrated that ending two decades ago.

So why are we still living like the last two decades didn't happen? We are acting like it's still the same as it ever was? Where did all that desire for "progress" go? What past is being "conserved" anyway? Unless you think swirling the drain on the way down, rehashing the same tired, irrelevant political points from a quarter of a century ago is "moving on" or preservation then you have to understand by now that we haven't done either.

We live at the end of the world when we don't have to.

I even wrote a story (free on the blog) that emphasizes just how little (and how much) has changed since the good old days we still emulate 25+ years later. Sure it's a weird tale about a radio and a bunch of dopey kids, but it's still the same as it was then. How long are we going to live like everything is exactly as it was in another lifetime?

And this leads us what was certainly the most popular series of posts this year. That would be my continuation of the series on Fandom I started back when I first found that Sam Lundwall book buried in the corner of a used bookstore. Those posts went over so well that I decided to start a series on the subject. This time I covered the author's first work in the "historical" vein, which turned out to be very unhistorical.

A few readers took note of my tone in this series being far more vicious than previous instalments, and there is a very good reason for that shift.

The main reason is that the book being covered was actually stupid. I was very forgiving of Mr. Lundwall's other book, probably due to the fact that it was written near a decade later when he learned new things, and that I'd never read a book like his before. There was enough good information in that work to salvage it. But by the time I consumed this filth I had more or less had my fill of Fanatic failures attempting to lecture others on how to improve society despite that fact everything they push is anti-social self-destructive nonsense of the sort the 20th century already proved doesn't work at all. It was like looking into a rearview mirror filled with easily avoidable mistakes. Though "mistake" implies that it wasn't done on purpose.

Not only that, but that said book was also very badly edited yet pushed by Donald Wollheim, a man who was supposedly the best editor in the "field" at the time it was published. Why was this work pushed? One would have to guess that it is due to the poisonous message dripping inside its pages. One of massaging the past of any unrespectable ideas in order to build the future utopia they wanted to see. It was a booklet for a materialist cult, and that needed to be addressed.

In fact, this is why I am currently reading Sam Moskowitz's account of the history of Fandom entitled The Immortal Storm, which is proving to be an invaluable resource for understanding just what they wanted. I even managed to find a cheap hardcover (without the sleeve, mind!) despite it going for hundreds online. That this work isn't in print despite detailing why a hive of materialist obsessives took over the publishing industry is quite interesting. Because it says quite a lot without meaning to say it. Naturally, the only written reviews on Goodreads (all 2!) are negative, because one would have to be a fellow cult member in order to not see this farce for what it is.

Nonetheless, this series won't be for a little while. I'm still getting through it. I will mention that it is considerably easier to get through than Lundwall's work, however. In fact, it should be read by anyone in this scene or anyone who has an interest in the weird history of 20th century publishing. A lot of crazy things start to make sense when the pieces are put together for you.

But I digress.

This is a way to say that next year I will be doing another series on the blog focused on this book. I can't say whether it will be the last one ever written, since I still have other works to read from this time period, but it will be very informative as to why things such as Fandom are the way they are today. It gives good examples as to why cultists need to be gatekept out of hobbies and scenes lest you will lose it all. You'll understand it more when we get to the series in 2022.

So while the blog will be lighter next year, it won't be without content. I still have much to share with you.

Don't read this book.

At the same time, I still have a plethora of fiction on the way.

I just finished the first draft of a work I've had spinning away in the background for some time now. I'm considering doing a crowdfund for this one, because it's rather weird and unlike things I've written before. You'll see when it is time to reveal it. It's also the first in four book series that gets bizarre very fast and I'm not quite sure how to describe it just yet. Regardless of how I choose to release this ones, the book will definitely come out next year.

If you're a part of my newsletter (which is free and also comes with a whole novelette for free!) then you already know that Gemini Drifter, the second book in the Gemini Man series, now has a cover and is nearly ready to launch. Looks pretty good, don't it? In this one, our protagonists go on a bit of a road trip to escape the remnants of their enemy's forces. They soon find themselves in a brand new predicament involving another artifact and a freak named Bloodeater. It gets wild. Expect Gemini Drifter in the very near future.

At the same time, Gemini Outsider, book 3, is in the middle of editing. It's going to be out next year, but it's going to be worth it. This one has a heckuva nasty villain that Jason and Matthew are going to have a hard time putting down. Can they finally escape their fate? You'll just have to see when it comes out in 2022!

But those are books. What about short stories? As I've mentioned before, I'm not prioritizing any form of writing over the other. I want to write anything and everything.

I have stories to come in two anthologies: Pulp Rock (successfully crowdfunded!) and another about modern day sword and sorcery stories. Both of these stories are related to an earlier tale that ran in older issue of StoryHack. That would be Black Dog Bend. Will there be more in this series beyond that? We'll just have to wait and see. No one has really opened up submissions recently and I've got a lot of stories on the docket.

On the other hand, I will also have story in Cirsova next year, my first one! This has been a goal of mine since I first starting reading the magazine five years ago after helping to crowdfund the first issue, and I'm proud to state that in 2022 that I will be published with a number of many great and talented writers that have adorned its pages over the years. My story, Dead Planet Drifter, will be in the summer issue! More on that piece when it comes closer to release. If that title sounds enticing, well, it should. The contents definitely match the title.

In other works, I'm planning on writing more with Y Signal. The original plan was to have three stories to form a greater whole, and that is still the goal. I aim to write, edit, and release all three acts as one collection for you in 2022, specifically for the 25th anniversary of Cultural Ground Zero. This whole project was spurred on by it, after all. Nonetheless, it's currently on the way. Don't worry, it'll be worth the wait!

I also have a non-fiction project I'm working on in the background, which is far different from The Pulp Mindset. For one, I'm planning for this one to have input from others aside from myself. It will also be free. More details on that project when it is much further along than now. As for this year, you can always read my piece in Pulp On Pulp for more non-fiction.

Since I'm going to be focused more on fiction next year I'm also going to get a few more short stories, novellas, and novelettes, done and put them out for you. I have more than a few I've wanted to get to but have never quite had the chance this year. It's been quite chaotic, after all.

However, there is a lot on the way.

My previous collection of stories

And that's what is to look forward to in 2022. This past year has been quite the experience in writing, and it is relieving to have it nearly be over. Time to recharge the batteries a bit. The last thing I want to do is be left with an empty tank.

2021 was not all that bad, though I can't pretend real world events of the last couple of years didn't get in the way of certain plans, but that's how life is. They are certainly not going to stop me from doing what needs to be done. There are plenty of stories left to tell, and I'm going to tell them. No matter how long it might take for me to do so. It's just what I have to do.

So thank you for checking out Wasteland & Sky this year, and I hope to see you again next year for more. I'm not quitting as long as I have a say in it.

We're in the 21st century, after all. The old days have long since been left in the rearview mirror. Might as well start acting liking it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Saga of the Swordbreaker Crowdfund!

It's near the end of the year, but there is still one last crowdfund to being attention to before 2021 calls it a day. I'd like to share it with you today. Don't worry, it's as cool as the above image looks. The author doesn't disappoint.

PulpRev swami Kit Sun Cheah has created a new series that looks as appetizing as always. This one is a Futuristic Sword & Sorcery epic series called Saga of the Swordbreaker. It will be six volumes, and this is the first entry!

The description:

What is the Price of Immortality?

Li Ming is a small-town boy with big dreams.

Armed with gun, magic, and ancestral swordbreaker, he enters the jianghu as a biaohang, protecting the innocent from beasts and bandits.

The most glamorous and dangerous profession in the rivers and lakes, the way of the biaohang is the way to fame and fortune—and, for the elite few, immortality.

But at what price?

The world of the rivers and lakes is a world of peril and intrigue. Secret societies rule the lawless corners of the earth. Bloodthirsty monsters stalk the night. Devil cultivators abuse their gifts to unleash chaos and terror on the world. Fellow warriors of the jianghu battle each other to climb the rankings. And from the shadows come whispers of conspiracy.

Though the land of Xiazhou is divided into five nations, above the governments stand ten megacorporations. All who inhabit the jianghu must serve the Five States and the Ten Corporations, one way or another.

The Ten Corporations richly reward those who do their bidding. Wealth, power, status, even immortality.

But what will they demand?

Li Ming is going to find out. And what he learns will shake him to the depths of his soul.

Once again, you can find the campaign here!

Mr. Cheah has also included a video for the campaign below:

The year's almost over, but there's still more interesting stuff out there to highlight. I'll try to chare a few more before we finally move into 2022. 

See you next time!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

15 Stories About Life

Find it Here!

These days it's difficult to see the bright side of things. If the media isn't constantly reporting how miserable are or how soon you're going to die without listening to them, then they are busy telling you your life doesn't matter so you should be nice to other people or something. It's completely incomprehensible, but then we live in an incomprehensible age. Anyone in the future looking back on us is going to be puzzled as to why we were this way.

Thankfully, however, there are some artists and entertainers attempting to things against the grain. You can find plenty of art that is blissfully rejecting the mindlessness of modernity. NewPub thrives on this sort of hop against OldPub's despair.

For an example, there is today's book. Life: 15 Short Stories That Honor the Imago Dei, is an anthology that wishes to honor life at all stages. Whereas today we are focused on certain periods of life above others, this book hopes to respect them all.

Here is the description:

A vibrant collection of short stories presented by Doorway Publishing that explores and honors the Imago Dei (the image of God) through 15 engaging fictional tales written by a diverse group of authors.

This collection focuses on the complete spectrum of life, from formation in the womb, childhood into adulthood, and all the way through old age. Each tale stands on its own and together they illustrate the complete value of life. Some deal with moral dilemmas grounded in a snapshot of time, while others explore the past, the future, and fantastical worlds to communicate the importance of preserving life. Experience the sorrow of loss, the joy of redemption, the thrill of harrowing adventures with heroes both ordinary and exceptional.

The imaginative expression of Imago Dei is needed now more than ever for a world surrounded by emptiness, isolation, and condemnation. The Life Anthology is a beacon of hope in a dark world, projecting the light of God’s promise in a unique way that reaches the heart, stimulates the mind, and calls the reader to consider His most precious creation. Us.

That's a fairly big concept for an anthology, but very much a welcome one. It is not the sort of collection you would ever get from OldPub.

Stories included:

  • Twelve White Tulips, by J.L. Pattison
  • The Mistake I Never Made, by Yaasha Hepperle
  • The Conception Conspiracy, by Jess Hanna
  • Heaven & Hell, by Angela R. Watts
  • Underground, by Stoney M. Setzer
  • Foster Grave, by Nathan James Norman
  • The Oracle, by Abigail Falanga
  • My Darling Daughter, by Jakki Jelene
  • My Land, My Choice, by Christopher J. Weeks
  • The Diary of a Blessing, by Mark Escalera
  • The Strong Survive, by Frank B. Luke
  • Cold, by Sara M. Bowen
  • Oh, the Warring, by Abigail Kay Harris
  • The Gift of Life, by Kristin L. Norman
  • An Attempted Robbery, by Daniel Ruben

Once again, you can find the anthology here.

Welcome to December, by the way. Can you believe it's finally here? I find it a bit hard to imagine. This was one crazy year. Thankfully, it's nearly over.

But we aren't! NewPub's not finished yet. We've got a lot head of us still to explore and cover, and I'm going to help show it to you. There's some fun stuff on the horizon.

And as long as there is a horizon, they'll never stop coming!