Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Mystery of the Missing Past

I was recently introduced to a specific series of YouTube videos by someone on Twitter (my mind slipped on who, I apologize) that introduced me to this channel of a reader talking about the differences between the original editions of the Hardy Boys books and the latter reprints that began in the late 1950s, barely even three decades from the time the original books were published in the 1920s.

This is quite interesting, because of what the Hardy Boys actually were and what they became known as being are two radically different things. The original editions beginning to fall into the public domain is going to make those differences more well known because they will be the ones more readily available for the first time in nearly 100 years. Dover books, for instance, has already begun re-releasing the originals, and the differences are sometimes very jarring.

I've said before that the industry post-1940 is incredible different than the one before it, and what they ended up doing to things like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew might be the clearest example of this change. It would be like if publishers thought Treasure Island and Kidnapped! needed to be updated for modern standards to the point that the original intent is twisted and re-written for the suits in charge. Chances are, if you grew up with these books in the latter half of the 20th century, you never read the original versions of these books. In other words, you never actually read the original editions. And sometimes the originals are entirely different books.

It is strange that the anti-censorship crowd never brings this up, do they? It appears that censorship is only a problem if you do not contain "modern day sensibilities" in its pages.

To give you an example of what I mean, watch the video above. I can summarize the overall point, but I think the differences are more fascinating when they're outright spelled out for you. Essentially, if you read the 1950s re-writes and not the originals, you've never actually read the Hardy Boys. Amazing, isn't it?

The original Hardy Boys series began in 1926 and about 20 of the first 24 books (possibly 21 out of 26, it gets murky) were written by author Leslie McFarlane. He wrote the manuscripts while Edward Stratemeyer published and edited the original run of nine books and gave the general outline. After Stratemeyer died in 1930, his daughters Edna and Harriet were given control of his syndicate and gave the outlines to McFarlane instead.

Aside from a few books written by John Button in release cracks, the series appeared to be going well for over a decade. McFarlane's series was doing very well and making a good chunk of change, and even the syndicate did well by also putting out Nancy Drew not long after the Hardy Boys' initial success. Things went as they should.

All seemed to go business as usual, for a while. For a product of the 20th century it is amazing that it didn't rock the boat too hard. At least, on the surface, nothing appeared to change all that much. But things were bubbling under the surface.

Then, like a lot of things in the literary world, things really seemed to change when the 1940s hit, a not too uncommon era in discussions around these parts. It was is if something was pumped into the drinking water back then.

But I digress. The Hardy Boys book series was not immune to the 20th century's god of progress and unending, and pointless, change. It held out for a good while, but Harriet Stratemeyer, someone who should have known better, would begin the process herself.

Taken from

When it seemed to really shift was in 1942 when Edna married and left complete control to Harriet. Starting with The Flickering Torch Mystery (the eventual revised version of this is an entirely different book, it should be mentioned) she more or less seized control over all operations. Book 24, The Short-Wave Mystery from 1945 ended up being the last book McFarlane would write (again, it is contested if he wrote book 26), and the series would have  revolving door of writers (including Harriet herself) until the original run completed with 58 books in 1979.

Now, nothing is out of the ordinary with any of this. Plenty of series went on forever, long after the original creative team departed, so there is nothing out of the ordinary here. The 20th century, after all, did this all the time.

However, there is a big difference between how Perry Rhodan is being written now, and what happened to the Hardy Boys. You can still buy the original edition of Perry Rhodan--for nearly half a century you could not buy the original Hardy Boys books unless you lucked out on finding an original copy or a rare limited edition release from the early 1990s. You simply could not read the original versions.

You see, starting in 1959, after Book 38, The Mystery at Devil's Paw, released, Harriet went on a quest to re-write the original 38 books to bring them up to "modern" standards and bring them in line with the new brand and cut down hard on page count. This is why most people who talk about old Hardy Boys tend to specify the original 38 over what came later. She essentially revised them all into a whole different series.

If you want to know a more detailed version of what changed, I suggest checking out the above channel because the proprietor of it has decided to read the original and revised versions and point out just what has been altered in the revising process. It's actually quite surprising how much has been tweaked, to the point that the Hardy Boys' squeaky clean image they became known for is the opposite of what they were originally intended to be.

Taken from

You see, McFarlane wrote the Hardy Boys in the era of pulp. This meant close calls with danger, antagonistic authority figures, intense (but not explicit) language and prose, character-based comedy, and high adventure. The intent was to give kids the same sort of exciting stories their parents were reading in the pulps, just with characters more around their ages.

The revisions that began in 1959, in contrast, appeared to designed to remove the male energy out of them, and turn the cast into bland cypher characters moving through outlined plots. Essentially, the plots were (sometimes) generally kept, but McFarlane's influence, and his contemporaries' as well, were stripped out and the shell left behind. It's a very strange process, but that's what was done, and seemed to be done specifically strip out the pulp influence that influenced the series. It also changed the setting, euphemisms, and cultural landmarks to a vague "late 50s/early 60s milieu" that continued until the line's end. In other words, it turned into a brand.

It wasn't just the Hardy Boys, either. Nancy Drew began in 1930, and Mildred Wirt Benson wrote almost all of the original 30 books (Walter Karig wrote 3, a hodgepodge of others wrote 4) from 1930-1953. It continued on mostly under Harriet Stratemeyer's pen, but then in 1959, it also began the revision process that combed through the original 34 books to do the same thing they did to the Hardy Boys. The revisions stopped when they reached the bulk of books Harriet herself wrote, since she took over writing duties from Book 33, The Witch Tree Symbol, until the line's original end in 1979 with Book 56, The Thirteenth Pearl. In other words, the revisions more or less stopped the moment she took over the series. Like with the Hardy Boys, there is a good chance you've never read the original Nancy Drew, either. Mildred Wirt Benson's influence was scrubbed out of the series she basically built, much like Leslie McFarlane with the Hardy Boys.

Needless to say, when Nancy Drew goes public domain, just like the Hardy Boys has started to, it is those original versions that will become ubiquitous again, and that's definitely a good thing. This will be the first time in half a century that they will become more widely available than the revisions and therefore will replace them as the true versions in readers' eyes. As they should, because they are the true versions.

Let's be honest, by the time the public domain catches up to the revisions, it will be much too late for them to matter. Nobody is going to really be paying attention by the time that 38 Hardy Boys and 34 Nancy Drew books are easily accessible and widely available to readers. By that time, the originals will have reclaimed their position as the source material for the characters. 

At some point you have to ask: what is the purpose of the book you are writing? What is the intent of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew? You can see it is to make money, and you wouldn't be entirely wrong, but it has to have a point beyond that. Is it about enforcing cultural values on the youth? What does it then say that the 20th century is the first time in history we have deliberately altered our books (not just in verbiage or contested translations, but outright purposeful revisionism) to erase who we were? What kind of future can you build if you cannot accept your past?

We are seeing the result of that sort of thinking all the time now. It leads to nothing but self-destruction and self-hatred. Unless you accept the past for what it is, you are doomed to live in its shadow, and we are seeing many such examples of such a thing today.

So what does all this mean? What exactly can we learn from this whole situation?

Mainly that revisionism is not as easy as scraping away the soul of someone else's work and replacing it with your own. Eventually the truth comes out and you can see just how everything truly is. As it is with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and the same as it will be as more pulp era material becomes widely available again for all.

We might have missed out on a lot, but we always have ways of learning and adapting even when deceived. What is important is that we keep digging. There is plenty of buried treasure out there. All we have to do is never stopping searching for it.

That's all I've got this week! In case you didn't see the update on the Gemini Man Kickstarter, the last story is out at the editor and the cover for the omnibus has been commissioned. We're near the end, and I couldn't be more excited. It's been quite the year.

Also I have other news to announce, but I think I'll wait a bit longer. There's still quite a lot going on in the background.

Anyway, have a good weekend, and I'll see you next time!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Bubble Burst

Welcome to the weekend! Progress in the word mines is going very well. First draft is finished and I'm now halfway through the first edit. The end is in sight! So today I would instead like to talk about something else.

I'm sure you've heard a lot about the recent kerfuffle going on in Hollywood involving the writers and studios. The actual nitty gritty details have been bandied about on social media endlessly, usually in one dimensional rhetoric, but there is one thing about it not being discussed at all. That would be exactly the problems that led to the entire situation in the first place. Check out the video above for a more detailed explanation on how complicated it actually is.

As it turns out a lot of the reason residuals in this current climate are next to impossible to be meted out comes from the fact that streaming as a medium makes it that way. There is essentially no way to pay anyone properly or negotiate because there is no way to track proper streaming numbers in a way that could be understandable to anyone involved. And what might be revealed would at best be vague estimates, and would not be all too impressive--and would also unveil the emperor has been naked the whole time. You would most likely learn what everyone has been saying for ages: streaming is not viable long term.

It also feeds into the current AI argument in how modern writers have been deliberately writing "down" and following a formula Hollywood has wanted them to do in order to make their product more streamlined and easily accessible. In other words, they have been fashioning writers to write automated product and trying to get the audiences used to it. They've been setting up the AI climate for a long time.

The issue is that there might not be any audience here in the first place. Hollywood is relying on perception that is entirely artificial, and the writer's strike might be forced to reveal those cards definitely to the whole world.

Despite all of that, it is clear what Hollywood wants, and it is not creativity. They have been training their dwindling audience to want endless an product beltline divorced from quality. Streaming is the best way to keep this going, whether it is actually successful or not.

What this means is that technology has surpassed the need for creativity or even quality and there is not only no incentive to improve, but no way to grow. Hollywood and the streaming model are fundamentally incompatible and the recent squabbles are showing you why that is. There is actually no way for them to come to an agreement because of how the entire system works and was constructed. To rephrase it: this current situation is an albatross around their neck they made themselves. And with their abandonment of physical media or outside monitoring of their success and failures, there is no way track anything internally. You are just supposed to Listen and Believe whatever they tell you. It's all a big hot mess without any option to clean it up.

And that's how they wanted it to be. They just didn't expect the current situation to arise and put them into a deadlock. There is no winning scenario for them here.

If you were wondering why this whole event hasn't been solved yet, when it is apparently so easy to fix, well now you know. It can't be actually solved so easily, despite what you are being told by every other pundit on social media. This crazy situation can't be resolved without throwing everything else around the industry into chaos.

In conclusion, Hollywood is in a serious pickle right now. They have no straightforward path out of this and the house of cards they've constructed around themselves is about to crumble. The next few months are going to be interesting.

As an aside, here is the earlier video referenced in the one above about AI. It's also quite an interesting watch.

This is why I've said that the independent spaces are the only serious option going forward. The old industries are rusting out and dying and there is only one place you can go to get pure art and entertainment free of the corporate coffin entombing the industry. The old era is over, and it's time for the new one.

This is all the proof you need that things are shifting, and in a decade you will see a much different climate for art and entertainment than the one we have now. That future will not lie in the above mess made by these people who hate you.

Times are changing. Better get ready! It's about to get real interesting . . .

Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Big Book Sale Returns!

Find it Here!

It's back!

Once again author Hans Schantz has gathered NewPub authors from across the wide space of the online world and created a sale specifically for you, the readers! Every book is either a buck or free, and there is no end of choice. I should also mention that I am in this one, with two books! Catch up if you've missed them.

That's right, it's time for the Based Book Sale!

Here is the description for the section my books are in:

These are some of the top offerings from previous book sales. Authors include both established and emerging talent:

James Alderdice, Tony Andarian, Jon del Arroz, Hawkings Austin, Leigh Brackett, Jonathan P. Brazee, Jim Breyfogle, Henry Brown, Rachel Fulton Brown and the Dragon Common Room, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Carlos Carrasco, Kit Sun Cheah, Paul Clayton, Warren Fahy, Declan Finn, Milo James Fowler, Peter Grant, Eric M. Hamilton, Paul Hair, Harry Harrison, Chris Haught, Julian Hawthorne, Frederick Gero Heimbach, C.S. Johnson, Becky Jones, Michael Kayser, Joseph L. Kellogg, Robert Kroese, Christopher Lansdown, Moe Lane, N. R. LaPoint, Frank B. Luke, Loretta Malakie, T.J. Marquis, Yakov Merkin, Michael McCloskey, BP McCoppin, Yakov Merkin, Morgon Newquist, Russell Newquist, Richard Nichols, Brian Niemeier, Andre Norton, Christopher G. Nuttall, Jonathan Oldenburg, Chance Paladin, Thomas Plutarch, Francis Porretto, Eric Postma, James Pyles, Justin Robinson, Denton Salle, Hans G. Schantz, Richard Sezov, David Skinner, R.H. Snow, Glen Sprigg, John Taloni, Kalkin Tivedi, Henry Vogel, David Weber, H.G. Wells, David J. West, Fenton Wood, Page Zaplendam.

And every title is either free or $0.99! Note: prices are set by the authors, so please confirm before you buy. And some of the offerings are short stories or novellas instead of full-length novels.

Here is the the main sale page!

For those who didn't see mine, both Grey Cat Blues and Brutal Dreams are included in this sale for a buck each.

Find it Here!

A Living Nightmare

After awakening in the woods, Christopher Archer finds himself trapped in a world outside of time.

Fog monsters, armed gangsters, and a legendary spear, all await his arrival.

But what about the fiancé who disappeared months ago?

As Archer explores this eternal midnight, he can only wonder—is this all just a dream, or is there something more hidden in the dark, watching his every move?

There is one choice.

He must traverse the nightmare and learn the truth.

Find it Here!

Siege on the Shadow Planet!

Ex-punk Two Tone is left for dead and his friend is taken. His assailants: men of mud from some place darker than Hell!

The inscrutable Sarpedon has slithered from the depths to rule a planet that has long abandoned hope for a better tomorrow. With no one to stop his spree of violence, it is only a matter of time before Two Tone’s world is overrun.

Old friends and a mysterious beauty gather by his side, but are they enough? Is it too late for this dying world? If all cats are grey in the dark, will anyone see the panther stalking its prey? Two Tone will find the answers the best way he knows how—through his fists!

Grey Cat Blues tells the tale of a distant planet at humanity’s end. In this place, a man must choose between love and hate. And where his choice leads him might not be where he expects . . .

Thanks again for all your support, and please look into the sale for yourself and share it with others you know. There are also plenty of new books to be found by NewPub authors both older and new! You can find the entire list for the works in the sale here.

As for me, it is time to return to the word mines. I am very close to the end of the first draft on my final Gemini Man story, and still need to finish it off. It's going to be wild!

Until next time!

Also out is the third book in the Gemini Man series! Learn what happens when perfect nothingness meets perfect eminence as Matthew and Jason find a home they can fight for!

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

New Release ~ Gemini Outsider is Out!

Find it Here!

You have no idea how excited I am to release this, the third book in the Gemini Man series today! It's been years trying to get these works out to readers and I am glad to say that all three are finally out. The third book, Gemini Outsider can be found here!

Kickstarter backers have already received this one, as well as the two previous books, but it can now be purchased by everyone who missed out on the campaign. As a reminder, unlike Gemini Warrior (and Gemini Drifter, to an extent), Gemini Outsider was completed post-Silver Empire after I was given back the final draft to be edited. This is the first time it has ever been properly available, and with a cover commissioned by me from the extremely talented Manuel Guzman.

It is nice to finally have this out there for all the readers to dig into.

Here is the description:


Matthew and Jason have finally escaped the forces on their tail. But all is not what it seems in the quaint town of Riverview. Hidden monsters and psycho killers emerge from the shadows to drag them back into the void. A madman closes in! But can they even fight back without their powers?

The final test begins for the Gemini Man in the third book in the Gemini Man Trilogy, Gemini Outsider! What does it mean to live in peace? Read on and find out!

Originally I had said this was the conclusion of the series, and it more or less still is. Book Three completes the story began in Gemini Warrior and continued through Gemini Drifter of Jason and Matthew finding a place for themselves. This is basically the end of their story, one of wanted to give to readers for ages.

However, as backers of the campaign know, two more short stories were commissioned due to the stretch goals. These are both novella length and do not star either Jason or Matthew, but do feature the same central conflict from the main series. This is because I wanted to give readers not just the end of their tale, but the conclusion of the overall conflict as well. With these two bonus stories (which will be released in a package once they are finished and edited) the Gemini Man will be completed and readers will have the final ending. Though that does not mean Gemini Outsider does not have a very satisfying conclusion of its own. It very much does, and it is my favorite overall book in the series. You'll have to read it to see what I mean.

Speaking of campaign backers, I have two chapters left to write in the second story before I give it the once over twice for editing. Then I will send it off to my editor who hopefully is not too busy. Once I complete the final edit, I will send them out to backers in both digital form and in place them in the omnibus for complete series backers. After which they will be put on Amazon for the public. Then I can finally bid the series goodbye as it will then be complete.

As it is, you can see the series page here on Amazon in case you missed anything or have yet to jump on. I would really appreciate more reviews. I've heard good word from backers and readers so I would be really appreciate if you could leave a review yourself. They really do help reach more readers and give the series more exposure. It's been quite the experience writing and putting the Gemini Man out. Thank you for reading!

Also, if you are hoping for a physical edition and didn't back the campaign, you will have to wait a bit longer. After finishing up the bonus stories, I will be focusing on the omnibus edition first and foremost and sending that out to backers. If you want the books individually, it will take quite some time. Until then, I thank you for your patience.

That's all for this time. I'm once again sorry activity on the blog has been so slow. I've been focusing on finishing this series more than anything else, and its taken up a lot of online time. When you consider the bonus stories, I'm basically putting out four books this year, double my previous record. It's not something I'll probably ever do again, but it's quite an experience either way. It isn't every day that your publisher unfortunately folds and leaves you with three books to put out on your own. Though I am grateful to have had the chance to work with them in the first place.

It is sad that Silver Empire is gone now, but if it wasn't for them I never would have written this to begin with. If anything, I hope this series helps contributes to their legacy as a publisher different from the rest. If you enjoyed the books, please check out other works they previously published. You won't be let down.

Thank you for reading and enjoying the Gemini Man series! Once again I would appreciate some reviews, even if it is a sentence or two long for potential readers to get an idea of what you felt when going through it. Art is connection, so showing what it meant to other readers helps us all out just a little more.

Again, thank you for giving the series a chance, and I will see you next time!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Ludicrous Edition

Not much to report on this week, unfortunately. I'm still in the word mines and dealing with real life stuff, so here is a short update to something fun.

The overlooked FPS classic Rise of the Triad has finally been re-released, and not only re-released but given a full head to toe remaster adding a bunch of new features and content that make the package extra enticing. Check the above video for the full report. This new edition is absolutely stacked with content and improvements.

The game is not for everyone, but it does scratch that itch of classic gameplay, somewhere between Doom and Wolfenstein 3D just before the genre made the full jump into 3D. Either way, it's quite a unique shooter.

In recent years, however, I've been finding myself more and more attracted to things like this. The new just doesn't thrill anymore. And I don't think I'm alone in that thought process. Products like this tend to sell very well for a very good reason.

There is a very good reason why in recent years more and more people have either been deliberately making new games built on old ones, or simply going back and discovering classics for the first time. As you can see from this video, good gameplay ages like fine wine. This is what makes video game an art form--the gameplay mixed with the audio and visuals to create a unique experience unlike what one would find in other mediums. And we are very quickly discovering what it is we've lost along the way to make the form "adult" or "mature" or whatever nonsense hack D-movie writers want to tell themselves.

Perhaps more mediums should realize that trying to cannibalize itself by slapping on other art forms to try and stick out is only devaluing the original medium to begin with. What we should all focus on is what makes each area unique in the first place. If our subcultures could regain that center again perhaps everything wouldn't have to be the same watered down mudgenre that becomes a subpar jack of all trades and not even competent at one.

Regardless, have a good weekend! Summer is almost over, and the fall chill is nearly here. There is still so much to do in the meantime.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Weekend Signal Boost!

Back it Here!

As I said last time, I'm still in the word mines for the final Gemini Man story, so keeping up with the blog is a bit tough. That said, there are a few things to update you with, such as some recent releases from various NewPub authors!

The first one up is a brand new manga Kickstarter by Yakov Merkin called Amaranth Angels. This is a brand new series from the author who brought you the Light from Another World light novel series and the Galaxy Ascendant space opera books. This time he is trying his hand at something quite a bit different. You can even read a 31 page free chapter here ahead of time.

The description:

Amaranth Angels is an original sci-fi adventure manga, done fully in manga style, including being drawn to be read from right to left. It's a cute-girls-doing military-things story in the vein of anime like Girls Und Panzer, High School Fleet, the Magnificent Kotobuki, and Lycoris Recoil. So you can expect cute, likable characters, and fast paced, exciting starfighter action, brought to you with a gripping story and amazing art.

You can find Amaranth Angels here!

Now as for something completely different let us take a look at a more "disgusting" and less clean project. We have to keep mixing it up for you, the readers, after all. Next is the newest entry in J. Manfred Weichsel's Tales to Make You Vomit book series!

You can find it Here!

For those who remember, Mr. Weichsel is an author that uses the macabre and the degenerate to highlight the good and true of the world. As a consequence his work can be very controversial and not for everyone, which leads to his newest book extending the invitation for others to do the same under his watchful eye. You definitely won't read anything else like it.

The description:

The librarian is back with her first misanthropic anthology!

When three brave astronauts embark on a trip to the moon, little do they know that a hidden purpose awaits them—an alien signal detected from the moon, shrouded in secrecy to prevent panic on Earth. The lunar module is damaged upon landing, stranding the astronauts on the moon's surface, with no hope of returning home. Determined to fulfill their mission, they follow the mysterious signal to a crater, leading them beneath the moon's surface and into an enigmatic library.

Here they meet the Librarian, a seemingly harmless elderly woman with a nefarious agenda. The bilious bibliosoph has decided to put humanity on trial by forcing each astronaut to read a sickening science fiction book from her liverish library. If just one can read a book without throwing up, the earth will be spared. But each time one of the astronauts gets green around the gills, the librarian will launch, by catapult, a giant rock at the earth, which will, upon impact, cause massive loss of life. As the bizarre book bazaar unfolds, the astronauts face an unsettling realization—the final rock will bring about the destruction of Earth.

Along with the frame narrative by J. Manfred Weichsel, Gruesome Futures features stories by three acclaimed authors renowned for their ability to invoke revulsion, dread, and a dark fascination. They are:

Misha Burnett!

With a penchant for crafting unsettling narratives, Misha Burnett’s latest tale, It Only Hurts When I Swallow, promises to take you on an emotional journey of grotesque beauty. In this slice of new wave fiction, Burnett’s twisted imagination births scenes of judicial punishment that will be difficult to digest.

Max Gunssler!

Prepare to be ensnared by the putrid pulp of Max Gunssler, for in The R*** and Annihilation of Babe Babylonia, he weaves a story of future professional wrestling that will disturb the depths of your puny human psyche. Gunssler’s uncanny ability to write gonzo, off-the-wall action scenes will leave you breathless, and empty your stomach.

Todd Love!

In The Secret on Subfloor 82 of Serenity Station, Todd Love offers readers an unforgiving plunge into the darkest recesses of the human condition. In this piece of Grimdark MilFic action, Love’s exploration of the grotesque serves as a reflection of our own flawed existence, challenging you to unearth the true horrors that lie within… within your gut, that is.

Gruesome Futures will invade your nightmares and make you sick. Can you read this digest of disgust without throwing up? Do you take the challenge?

You can find Gruesome Futures here!

Lastly, in case you missed it, Alexander Hellene's final book in his Swordbringer trilogy has left crowdfunding and is now available on Amazon for general purchase. He has been writing this saga for a long while so it is thrilling to see him do what many in OldPub cannot: finish a series. And if you've read anything by him, you know he goes all out.

Find it Here!

He's been neck deep in this series for at least four years, including getting an omnibus version out to backers of his campaign, while also editing the awesome Pulp Rock anthology in the meanwhile, showing just how much he loves storytelling. I am definitely looking forward to where he goes after this series.

The description:

The Reaper has landed! His mission: find the secret of immortality and destroy any who stand in his way.

With the Global Union closign in and Pysh in shambles, a bitter enemy may be humanity's only hope. Garrett and Ghryxa lead an envoy to Kharvalar with a proposal for the High Lord: join forces to fight the Global Union or Yxakh will be doomed. But Kharvalar, besieged by lizardmen, giant serpents, and ancient foes from beyond the western wastes, has troubles of its own.

Old enmities, prophecies fulfilled, and interstellar war collide in the explosive conclusion to The Swordbringer, with the fates of two planets hanging in the balance!

You can find The Final Home here!

In very related news, author TJ Marquis has started a YouTube show of his own in order to highlight NewPub releases that might be flying under the radar. It is called IndieScan. You can find his channel here, as well as the first episode here.

We definitely need more folks out there highlighting the avalanche of new stories we might otherwise miss, so definitely be sure to give his show a look. It is weekly and a rather short update lengthwise so you won't be too put out or exhausted by it.

Here is the most recent episode:

And that's all for this update! Thank you for reading, as always, and I hope you'll keep sticking in this space. There is so much going on at all times it is almost overwhelming. This is a full reversal of how it was back when I started writing. I never imagined a climate like this existing for stories. Here's hoping the momentum only increases.

Enjoy your weekend, and I will see you next time!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Summertime 1996

It's been a while!

I'm sorry there hasn't had much in the way of posts, but I am still deep in the word mines with the extra Gemini Man stories for the Kickstarter rewards. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the second (and last) bonus story and it has taken most of my writing focus. On top of that, there has been a lot of real world things getting in the way. I'm sure you know what that's like. I apologize for the lack of blog activity in the meantime, but it will hopefully end once I finish up with said extra work and unrelated events finally settle down.

Today's subject is a strange one that has stuck in my brain for a good while now. In a lot of ways, it feels like a random time period no different than any other, but Generation Y kids probably remember this time most fondly since it is just around where they hit adolescence. It is not because anything remarkable happened in history that the time period is fondly remembered. No, it is a time like most any other. What they probably think of it is being a period of peace before the storm hit their lives--sort of like an eye in the cultural hurricane.

I am talking about Summer 1996.

This might seem like an odd thing to bring up, not even just mention as a subject to write about, but that is because it was kind of an odd thing to notice as I was listening to music while writing recently. There were a strange amount of songs focused on that particular period of mid-90s summer I kept finding. Why? I'm not exactly sure. They weren't even recent songs.

The above video was made around a song from a long defunct band called the Skunks (and it was from their last album recorded in this very time frame) that manages to encompass that inexplainable feeling for those who were around at the time. The album itself also sounds like 1996, feeling like the end of an era before what would come next, especially in the music industry, when such bands and musical styles fell out of favor for corporate slop and they were almost instantly thrown to obscurity. The song above is called "Summertime 1996" and perfectly encapsulates both the silliness and the general atmosphere of a time period in one 4 minute song. It is a shame that said band never got more well known, but their album No Apologies from 1996, is a hidden gem still worth hearing today. It is like being transported to a time and place very far away from here.

This lead me to thinking about different eras in my own life and how they intersected both with this and others.

I am starting to understand why summer of 1996 was such a unique time, and that is because each generation that was alive at the time was at a general period in their lives when things were looking up. From the kids to the elderly, they all hit the same period with the same general outlook (yes, even Gen X, the ones who wrote the above album) and despite the outliers, it was a small bump in positivity that would fade with the very next year. This is why 1996 feels like the end of an era in many ways, and why it is the last year that engenders any sort. I even ended up asserting as much in Y Signal, which ends in the summer of 1996, a coincidence I am just now realizing and noting. There was something strange in the air back then.

At the same time, I was reminded of the album The Elements of Transition from Edna's Goldfish, released in 1999, which is a nostalgic lookback at the early 1990s as the band grew from adolescence to adulthood and talks about the things lost and gained in such a move. In the process, it highlights feelings and ideas from the timeframe that also fell out of favor with the passage of time. The first album was called Before You Knew Better, from 1997, and focused on the change from childhood to adolescence, so it is like they portrayed a full cycle of early life with both albums. It's probably providence that the band also broke up after its release. All that remains would be one discussing the transition to senior, and that isn't happening for a good while.

Regardless, the album is a bit of a trip listening to today. I can see why at the time it might have been seen as a letdown to those wanting more energetic ska from their debut, but this one offers a whole new side of the band. Even the lone popular single from the album is still seen as their most famous to this day. It encapsulates an era that doesn't exist anymore.

Sample lyrics from said album:

Everyone I Know is from Lindenhurst

Summer of 93
What did you want from me?
I'll take you out
To the show
You get to meet everyone I know

What comes next I'll keep you guessing
Come to see the life that you've been missing
Everyone I know and
Everything I see
Everywhere I've been
It means so much you meant so much to me

They've made jokes at my expense
I'm my own worst defense
Another night of being lost
I'll see you at any cost

What comes next I'll keep you guessing
Come to see the life that you've been missing
Everyone I know and
Everything I see
Everywhere I've been
It means so much you meant so much to me

Summer of 95
I still don't feel like I'm alive
Sometimes I can feel so drained
But my friends are here I can't complain
I've underestimated again
The power of the words of all my friends

Everyone I know and
Everything I see
Everywhere I've been
It means so much you meant so much to me

What comes next I'll keep you guessing
Come to see the life that you've been missing
Everyone I know and
Everything I see
Everywhere I've been
It means so much you meant so much to me

Everyone I know and
Everything I see
Everywhere I've been
It means so much you meant so much to me

As I said, the mid-90s almost comes off as a time of reflection and calm before the storm than it resembles the material high of the 1980s or the more biting cynicism and the early 90s were known for. It also doesn't help that Cultural Ground Zero started to take over here, before feeling its full flowering in the next few years. As a result, 1996 is usually the last year that garners any wide cultural nostalgia to this day. Such a thing is bizarre looking back, because the year very much feels like it is closing the book on an era and not part of the wider zeitgeist. Unfortunately, it seems the next book it opened turned out to not be what it was sold as being and was donated to Goodwill ages ago. Now all that remains are the memories.

So why bring this up now? Should we really be looking into nostalgic time period as things are crumbling around us? There are a few reasons to talk about this, the main one being a major misunderstanding about how reflection is supposed to work and how it affects those who lived at the time. We should focus on this first.

There has been a bit of a pushback online to the recent generational theory, calling it the new astrology or some such nonsense, but that kind of talk ignores the reason it exists. Deniers claim that there is nothing that holds people together on a wider level, but I would posit that such an idea is not only incorrect but missing the forest for the trees. Everything you think, believe, and do, contributes to both who you are, as well as those around you.

You are not an island. I know it has been popular to flaunt individuality and not being "sheep" like the rest, but such an attitude is one that can only exist in a society that is so safe that going anywhere you will run into someone with shared cultural values to you. Giving a "firm handshake" to get a job across the country from here is only possible because of a shared understanding you have with said employer. This is not individuality, it is only possible because they are just like you. If they don't have that shared idea--guess what? A firm handshake means nothing. In such a case your individuality is revealed as what it is: a problem.

Life isn't about being on your own or pushing ahead of the pack. You are part of a group, many of them actually, and that is an unescapable truth.

Your generation doesn't define who you are: you define your generation. There are shared cultural ideas and social climates that influence people depending on both their geographical location and their exposure to both the education system and popular consensus and entertainment consumed. This is unavoidable--you are either slathered in or reacting against the same thing as your peers. You simply have more in common with those you grew up with than you do your grandparents or grandkids, who are several generations apart. It is unavoidable.

Yes, it has always existed, but not to this level, and there is a reason for that.

How it is different for the 20th century is that the West became a globalist world "family" in the worst sense of that word. Almost all in the West (yes, everywhere) experienced a large amount of the same things through the way focus moved from individual nations to the world itself (think "We Are the World" and you begin to understand the sort of philosophy every western country foisted on its populace) meaning that for the first time in history your youth and formation has more in common with someone your age across the sea than your parents who grew up in the same country as you. This has never been the case before the 20th century.

This exacerbated with the internet and online "communities" that function as replacements for local interaction. You are easily able to do this because you have more in common with random people you meet online in or neighboring your generational cohort than you do with the people who actually live in your neighborhood. Because you both focus on the same smaller aspect of your shared cultural identity at the expense of a wider one. Ask for the ages of the people you spend the most time online with, and you won't be surprised to see they are very near your own or in the neighboring generation to your own. At least, for normal people. That is just simply the way humanity works, but twisted to operate on a wider global scale to become more common.

The reason generational theory starts with the Lost Generation at the end of the 19th century and ends with what I called the Last Generation near the start of the 21st is because this era is over, mostly due to the obvious realization that it's not sustainable. Loneliness and atomization, rising suicide rates, and depression, the biggest issues of our time, exist because there is no more local community anymore to satiate that part of our souls, and it is only getting worse with age.

The online world will never replace human interaction, even though it tried very hard to do so. I predict a hard and forceful return to local communities in the years to come, especially as the internet continues to die. When such a thing happens, it will spell the end of the modern generational theory and the Global Village idea that is currently falling down around our ears. Essentially, we are living at the end of that time right now, with the current generation of young ones being the last to experience this world before it, too, fades away just like that world of the mid-90s did long ago.

Will this era engender as much nostalgia as that time period does now? The only comparable example we have is that of the 2000s, a decade 20 years old now, which has nothing in the way of a nostalgia movement to this day. the 90s had a movement literally right as it ended, one that continues to this day. But the 2000s remains ignored. That is because it was the first that completely championed isolation and vice as the key virtue to living a happy life. What does anyone remember besides bad music no one plays, lame movies no one talks about, or terrible TV that aged even worse. No to mention all the trends it slathered itself in never went away. The 2000s can't have a nostalgic movement because it never actually went away.

The only thing that garners any sort of wistful memories from the 2000s or appreciation of the time is the old internet, where most everyone spent their time as the real world and shared culture crumbled around us. If you take the internet out of the equation, which is easy enough to do due to it fading away as we speak, what are you left with? A long period of bland nothing.

Lockdown world was the end of a lot of things, but life online did not improve or save anyone from the inevitable realization that life as we knew it is over and changing. But what will it change into? the 20th century is done and we've been clinging to it way past its expiry date. Like we did in summertime 1996, we'll just have to wait and see what comes next, I suppose.

I'll leave you with one last video, a medley I made from the Skunks excellent 1996 album No Apologies, summing up both the sound of the band and the time period it was both recorded in and highlighting. Give it a listen as you relax your way into the weekend and gather hope for the good times coming ahead of us. There might be some rough patches, but they will pass into something better. They good times will come eventually, we just have to keep working for them.

Sooner or later, times will change. Then we will have out own Summertime 1996 to wistfully look back on and cherish, as everyone should.

Have a good weekend.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Of Dinosaurs and Pulp!

The above is the new trailer for the second issue of Anvil magazine! In case you haven't see yet, I will be in this one among many talented writers and comic artists. 

This one will feature a new Ronan Renfield story, Ghost of a Distant Star, and will feature some illustrations. Our Galactic Enforcer rides a train into the night of some far off world. What will he meet in the dark?

There is also a second crowdfund currently running on IndieGoGo for those who prefer that site. You can find that one here. Of course the original campaign can be found on Fund My Comic here, where it has already hit its goal. Back physical, digital, or whatever you prefer.

In case you forgot, it's also summer. In addition to my own Gemini Man series being up on amazon for those who missed the Kickstarter, there are other writers putting material up for people to dive into and have a ball with.

Another such writer putting out something new is NR LaPoint, author of such exciting books as Gun Magus (which is currently sitting right next to me) as well as a new series starting soon that I wanted to talk about today.

Up for preorder on Amazon is the brand new Dinosaur Warfare series, launching with book one next week! The entire series is up for preorder right now, starting with book one, the excellently named Death Planet.

Book One is out next week!

Here is the description:

The Vidarian scourge has swept through many star systems,
killing and enslaving in an endless invasion.

When his home world is targeted, Ambrose Weaver flees with a crew of exiles.
Hunted down and forced to crash land on the mysterious planet Typhon,
they soon find their escape from sure death
has only led them to new troubles and prehistoric dangers.

The dinosaurs are only the beginning.
Can Ambrose and his crew brave primeval jungles
and survive a planet filled with horror?

But if you think that's it, you are incorrect. Book Two will be out next month, as well as Book Three the month after. Much like Gemini Man, you will be able to buy every book monthly until the last one releases. That's one packed summer of reading!

Book Two, Metalsaurus, is already up for preorder here, as is Book Three, Deus Volt, available here, for your enjoyment. With titles like that, how can you resist?

Summer blockbusters might be dead with the rest of Hollywood, but NewPub is still working for you. It's a golden age of new material right now. Don't miss out on it!

Have a good weekend and I will see you next time!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

New Release ~ Gemini Drifter is Out!

Find it Here!

It's finally here! After years of back and forth issues and problems getting it out to readers, the second book in the Gemini Man series is finally available for readers! That's right, if you missed the Kickstarter and have been waiting years for the sequel, it is finally here! On top of that, if you missed the official re-release of the first book, it can be found here. The third book can even be preordered here!

Though backers of the Kickstarter have had it for awhile (you have also received book 3 in your inboxes, it you missed it), this is the first time Gemini Drifter has ever been properly made available to the public. It is good to finally have it out there for you to read after years of issues outside of the production of the books.

Here is the description:


Matthew and Jason are on the run. With bounty hunters, magical monsters, and an entire alien world after them, the pair have their work cut out for them. At the same time, a mysterious cult has infiltrated the town of Albion and the only one that can stop them is the Gemini Man.

Can the two fugitives work together to stop the invasion of another world? Or are they doomed to wander the back roads forever? Check out the second book of the Gemini Man trilogy, Gemini Drifter, and find out for yourself!

You can find Gemini Drifter here.

This one is about a cross-country trip that ends in quite an explosive fashion where everything you thought you knew from the first book changes. If you read said first book, you'll definitely want to dive into this one. All three entries are rather unique, but this was the one where I think I really began hitting my stride with it. Gemini Drifter is quite the step up from the first one and unlike the other books I've written so far.

And in case you missed the above, the third book is also already up for preorder. That's right, it will be out next month! I can hardly believe it. We're almost there!

The entire series will be out for backers and those on Amazon by the end of the year. It's been quite a wait to get this whole shebang out, but it's nearly over! Just a bit longer to go.

Also, just like I said during the first book's re-launch, there won't be a physical edition for a long time unless you backed the campaign. The reasons for this are numerous but it is mainly the amount of time formatting for such a project takes and the recent raise in prices for physical editions on Amazon made it take a backseat. I will get around to that when I finally finish releasing the books and send out the physical edition omnibus to the backers of the campaign. For now I have to edit the first bonus story I got back from my editor and then finally start the outline for the second and last.

Anyway, that's all I have for you this time. I've got more stories to get to. Enjoy Gemini Drifter and I will see you next time.

Friday, July 28, 2023

The Death & Rebirth of the Short Story

There is nothing quite as powerful as a story. It is one of humanity's oldest surviving art forms for a very good reason, and one that predates modern technology and will survive long into the future after we have moved on to our eternal reward. They aren't going anywhere, in other words. We connect much too well to tales of wonder and adventure to ever have them fully detach from our imagination.

Even now, one of the most popular forms of entertainment online is streaming, but one of the things most commonly clipped out from said streamers' streams would be stories they tell about things that happened to them. It remains alluring even to people outside the space. The allure of the story stays strong despite advancement in technology and the form said entertainment is delivered in. People still love a good anecdote.

So what is it about stories that manages to stick to us? Why is it that we are always interested in these tales that have little to do with our own lives? Is it really just because we can gain something from them for ourselves, or is there more to it? How do they always remain so relevant despite the state of society or the people in it?

Sure there are favorite stories that come and go, but people always cling to the form anyway. Every popular movie is remember for its story, long after its effects become quaint with the passage of time. Old films are still watched today for their storytelling prowess, for instance. The biggest criticism with new movies is the writing above all, which is why they fade from relevance so quick and would even if the effects weren't lame.

As I said, stories are king. They are what the audience is always looking for.

But then how can one explain the failure of the mega pubs? How can one explain low book sales from OldPub at the same time NewPub exploded in relevance and quality? All of this is a consequence of the industry's failures to give the audience what they wanted. Surely if people wanted to read then they would be buying books from the biggest billion dollar industry industry that sells them, right? But we know that isn't the case.

An industry consisting of middle aged cat lady urbanites and their industry of writing workshop belt lines to teach authors how to write books people don't want have chased audiences away long ago. That seems to be fine, though. The industry appears completely oblivious to their cratering and is under the delusion that it's still the 20th century, that they are some kind of respectable elite class who are above the common man and know what they are doing, and that they still matter to anyone outside of their tiny, shrinking clique.

If they weren't allowed to force their stuff on kids in school thanks to government interference, they would have deservedly folded long ago. OldPub is a 20th century industry that has no relevance in the 21st.

This explains a lot about their relevance.

That small clique is what tried and failed to control publishing since at least the last days of the 20th century. They are even at the point where they are mimicking one of the things that killed the comic book industry: unending variant covers.

Except their version is much, much worse. That's right, they're making people go to different book stores to buy a complete story. It's probably the worst thing they could do, and a good sign they have learned all the wrong lessons.

It is clear now that they are tail-spinning into the ground and unable to pull up. There is no way such an oblivious industry is sustainable, and in no way can it continue to call itself a true "traditional" or professional as an industry. It is merely old and dying, it's time over.

The days when these people had control is gone. Even though less people read than ever before, more people also read independent and small pub books than any time since before OldPub existed. This shift started happening years ago as something noted with the Pulp Revolution that the perception of reading was changing. 

Normal people had already started to have enough of the dying mutation of OldPub and wanted stories again. It's hard to image how different things have become since the first PulpRev hashtag was typed out on Twitter, but it is not the same as it was then anymore. The new era has already begun.

So what is all this meant to say? Well, it goes to show you how powerful at artform storytelling is that is managed such a wide swerve over the centuries to the point that there is still a class of individuals who wish to control it with an iron fist. Even when the billion dollar mutation of an industry can't sell anything, and their stores are either filling with Japanese manga or closing at a rapid rate, they still want that control.

And all OldPub can try to do is squeeze money out of their dwindling audience. There is no growth here, only death. Readers deserve better than this kind of scummy behavior.

Buy from the right retailer to get the full story! Surely not a practice to worry about...

But where exactly did the obsession with storytelling as an artform come start from? Why are stories so powerful?

Starting from the very beginning: anecdotes, campfire and bedtime stories, myths and legends, and speculation about the world and the universe itself, all formed into being the ultimate art-- a pure expression of humanity. Covering everything from faith to love to adventure to romance to history, everything was fair game. Genres never existed before we forced them onto storytelling. In the beginning, everything was a romance toward God, creation, and existence itself: the joy and gratitude for being alive at all.

And the purest form of the tale itself, is the short story. This is where it started from.

It is hard to believe now because of how devalued it has been, but the short story is actually the original form of the story. The "short" was only added to differentiate it from the longer forms that came into fashion later. You see, stories were originally meant to be told in a sitting and were later expanded and built on for those who wanted something longer and more involving. Somewhere along the way we not only forgot that, but lost the art of the short story altogether. They are not quite as abandoned as poetry, but close enough to them that we should see it as a warning.

But what was it that eventually killed the form as a viable mainstream form of entertainment? If they were around so long, why did they fall off in the late 20th century? After all, people still read books for a longer period after pulp magazines vanished and magazines fell completely out of relevance. So what happened? There has to be more to it.

The main reason for the devaluing of the form is that short stories became hinged on gimmicks to be sold. Much like variant covers or selling bonus chapters to books separately, OldPub stepped all over them in an attempt to wring more money out of them. Instead of giving the audience what they wanted, they sold to smaller and smaller audiences and decided to milk said dwindling base for more and more money, once again. Just look at how many times Weird Tales was revived. It's never sold on the stories inside, because if it was it could live off a new title: it is meant to survive off the carcass of someone else's invention.

At the same time, short stories were turned by jaded editors and cynical publishers into a joke. Instead of being about anything, they were about nothing but self-mockery, sold to the terminally irony-poisoned crowd.

No longer were short stories being sold as tales of adventure, romance, or wonder, but whatever cute novelty that the publisher wanted to sell at the time.

Eventually, the audience caught on and got the idea that short stories were meaningless, because that is the lesson of the stories they were being sold. Nothing mattered, laugh at everything, take not one thing serious. This is the opposite of what the form was meant for.

And this is how they are still seen as in OldPub to this day.

Exactly what purpose does something like this serve?

At the same time as this was happening in publishing, the only short stories ever taught in schools were ones based on "lessons" usually gathered from some cheap "twist" in the storytelling. A single boring idea like "The Lottery" was what short stories were presented as to children, something that teaches a "lesson" but falls apart under any further scrutiny that schools carefully ever avoid going into. Kids are taught to lump short stories in with schoolwork they already hate. Not exactly a solid way to introduce a new audience to reading, is it?

Where else could one even find a short story in the modern world? Given that even shorter books have been deemed unsuitable for publication (the last time I checked, 100K words was the minimum one could submit to OldPub), there are few places a hopeful reader could even begin to find them. For awhile, it even seemed like they might be going extinct.

To be honest, they were.

Of course, there is the elephant in the room: what about magazines? Well, what about them? Magazines truthfully ended their relevance in the storytelling world when pulp went away by the middle of the 1950s, and some would say even before that by the start of the 1940s. At the same time short stories were at their modern peak, a group of anti-social Fanatics swarmed the industry and chased the audience out.

Readers fled towards comic books and b-movies, where they remained for decades afterwards until those industries had the same invasion of self-serious professional geeks. What remained on the magazine rack dwindled as the decades went on to the point that the only ones eventually reading them were those reading for the brand of the magazine: not the stories themselves. It became about the brand over the art.

And so it went with the remainder of the 20th century when it came to the arts. Audiences continuously fled to other mediums as the medium was swarmed by people who hated what they loved. At the same time, the visual arts in technology became more striking to the eye and allowed adventure and wonder far beyond what publishers would allow in their industry. Super Mario Bros. 3 could be the highest selling game of all time, but "Science Fiction & Fantasy" would scoff at a story about a plumber exploring a foreign world filled with danger to rescue a princess. That disconnect should be extremely obvious to everyone today.

By the end of the 20th century, little remained of the Golden Age of the short story. It had to be found elsewhere.

But what about today?

Due to the rise of independent publishing during the 2010s being made viable thanks to the internet, new markets began to finally explode. The "traditional" industry ever since the internet became ubiquitous in everyday life had done little with it. Instead of growing and reaching new avenues, they continued to do what Fandom always desired for their clubhouse and closed up ranks to instead fellate their own egos. People were reading more than ever before, since that is the nature of the internet, but still OldPub only shrank and books were still becoming more and more irrelevant. If it were up to OldPub, reading would be a cult, not a hobby.

This lead to things like the Pulp Revolution coming into existence by the middle of the decade. Readers and writers had reached their limit of patience with the old industry and began looking for something else. They also began reading things the industry had buried for decades and learning truths certain cliques had deliberately hidden from them. A movement like this never would have seemed possible even in the first half of the 2010s, but it was really inevitable. Things had simply broken down far too much by then.

It wasn't just PulpRev, though. There were all kinds of new readers and writers, people that had deliberately ignored the old industry for years and were seeking alternate means of creation and storytelling. OldPub's relevance has only shrunk over the years. There has been no new trend emerging from it for years, and there never will be again. They are too deep in their gimmicks and tired outdated "genres" to care about the stories themselves anymore.

OldPub is done; now it is NewPub's time to shine.

One thing that has definitely changed is that the new market and writers that have sprung up in the age of the internet is their relationship to the old industry. That is, they have none. It is as if new writers and readers have completely bypassed the dying OldPub industry to find what they wanted online instead.

There have even been entire new magazines springing into existence to reach brand new audiences that OldPub long ago abandoned and refused to cater to. Their books only got thicker and more bloated as new readers demanded shorter and leaner tales instead. The novella, the novelette, the smaller novel, and, yes, the short story, forms that were once abandoned by OldPub, are now viable again. NewPub is dead set on essentially returning to the roots of the form.

A fascinating aspect of the 20th century is in how much was destroyed during that time that has managed to find new life in the 21st. Almost as if it is being set right again to the way it is supposed to be. I don't know how things will turn out in the next couple of years as the '20s roar on, but it is good to see so many realizing a problem and working to fix it.

That is what makes the history of art and entertainment so fascinating, after all. There's always a way to right the ship.

For the first time in ages, short stories are finally approaching their former glory again. It might take some time to reach another Golden Age, but we are on the way towards one right now. Should we reach it that will be due to NewPub discarding the rotting corpse of the dying old age and remembering it is the audience that comes first. This is the way forward.

It is the only way forward.

We've got wide open spaces, gates blown out as the gatekeepers die off, and plenty of options ahead of us--avenues that were never possible to travel before. Stories have returned to where they belong, and short stories themselves are now finally a viable form of creation again. Hopefully they only get more ubiquitous as the new age rolls on.

Even as the world changes around us, there are some things that never really change, no matter how much some might want it to. There is some comfort to be had in that.

As long as people are around, so will stories survive. And we're going to be around for a long time to come. That means there will be plenty more stories to tell.

We just need to keep telling them!