Posted in Short story

The Invisible Hand

The names of the exact philosophers were lost to time, wiped out in one of the great chemical warfare floods. That they had called the periodic near-extinction level events “The Invisible Hand” was not lost. To this date, men debated and argued over the cause of The Invisible Hand, but these debates didn’t even rise to the level of educated guesses because no man before now had ever slipped the surly bonds of Corani to investigate the mysteries of space. It was now well-established scientific consensus that their ancestors had been too feeble minded and of such poor constitution that simple survival was a struggle—never mind scientific achievement.

The fact was that throughout the history of Corani, about every hundred generations, deadly chemical rains fell from the skies, wiping out nearly the entire population. There had been other struggles in their history as well, but it was difficult to separate the myth and legend from facts.  I mean, who would believe in spores from space landing sporadically (other than that being the obvious etymology of the word) and establishing destructive colonies? Who would believe that the many weak and feeble generations of Coranians could possibly have battled the invaders and won? Those are rhetorical questions—the whackjob religious fanatics believe exactly that. They claimed that the same mystical force that sends the deadly floods have been sending those floods to help Corani by destroying the plagues and invaders. They claim that the toxic rains completely destroy the spores and entire colonies of invaders, but they only kill the weakest of the Coranians. Continue reading “The Invisible Hand”

Posted in Site news

Update on Serial Novel

Since I haven’t submitted a new segment in awhile, I figured my few readers deserve an explanation.

Bottom line, I’m a relatively inexperienced writer. Don’t get me wrong, I think I write pretty well and I think I write things that are both interesting and my writing is technically proficient, but I ran into an issue that I probably would have foreseen if I were more experienced.

The timeline of my novel spans probably multiple lifetimes. I guess I knew that when I started it, even though not every aspect was fully formed in my brain (and almost certainly still isn’t). Yet, for some reason, I chose to start writing it in a first person point of view (which should work out fine, although may have a couple drawbacks that I’ll have to figure out how to deal with) and present tense. It’s that whole present tense thing that is giving me issues and will present even bigger problems as I continue. You see, I don’t think it’s going to be possible to write several lifetimes worth of material in present tense without producing volumes of work consisting of tons of everyday minutiae that will bore you to tears. Frankly, neither I nor you want that. I have a story to tell that (I believe) will be kind of cool and even though the time travel aspect has been written and rewritten by better authors, I have some unique and original ideas that should make it somewhat fresh.

But I can’t do that in present tense.  So what I am going to do is edit my existing segments to turn them into past tense and maybe even change it to a third person voice so that the protagonist doesn’t have to do, know, and say everything.  That way he could be a normal (read: ignorant on many things) person and there could be an omniscient narrator to fill in the gaps.

If I were writing the novel in the normal way (write entire rough draft, let it sit for awhile, reread and rewrite as needed, etc.) you would never know about this problem. Releasing it in segments as I complete them has complicated things.

Posted in Serial Fiction

Back to Me: Chapter 2, Installment 5

This is a serial story, find the beginning here.

Mr. Henderson smiled down at me. “Well you should be in band. The middle school band doesn’t have a need for a guitar, but you could learn an orchestral instrument and learn the basics of music theory in Mr. Duncan’s class.  You can’t know too much.”

“I’m sure that’s true, but I can’t imagine learning anything I don’t already know in band in school and I’m quite certain I have no interest in listening to a bunch of kids who don’t know how to play their instruments. With respect, I already know music theory and Nashville notation and play a half dozen different instruments.” I replied. “I would probably reconsider and join your band if I make it to high school.”

Mr. Henderson let out a long sigh. “Well, if I hadn’t heard you play myself, I probably wouldn’t believe any of that. There’s a regional music talent show early next month in La Crosse. You’re what, about thirteen? (I nodded) It’s open for fourteen to eighteen-year-olds—uh, high school kids. You aren’t technically old enough to be in it, but if your parents sign a release I think I could get you waivered in. Follow me back to my office and I’ll give you a brochure.” Continue reading “Back to Me: Chapter 2, Installment 5”

Posted in Serial Fiction

Back to Me: Chapter 2, Installment 4

This is a serial story, find the beginning here.

Right next to Alma Drugs was a Ben Franklin five and dime store. In those days, Ben Franklin variety stores could be found in many small towns throughout the midwest; Sam Walton operated one before founding Walmart, as a matter of fact. Armin Henderson was a co-owner of the Alma Ben Franklin franchise, but most of the people around town called him Mr. Henderson since he was also the beloved high school band director. Because of this, the Alma location had a small section set aside as a musical instrument store.

I had forgotten all about that until I rode past and saw an Ovation acoustic guitar with its familiar rounded fiberglass back in the large display window of the Ben Franklin store.  I had first started playing guitar during my time in the Air Force as a hobby to keep my mind off of what we were doing in the desert of Kuwait and my dad dying back here in Wisconsin. After I got back stateside and finished my hitch with the military, I took a few lessons and I’d been playing in mostly small-time bands ever since. Now, if you’re a musician, you’ll understand the pull of the instrument every time you see one—like a heroin junkie always looking for the next fix. Continue reading “Back to Me: Chapter 2, Installment 4”

Posted in Serial Fiction

Back to Me: Chapter 2, Installment 3

This is a serial story, find the beginning here.

Author’s note: First, I apologize about the delay since the last installment. I was on a vacation to Anaheim, California to take my son to Disneyland and between driving, walking and waiting at Disney, and cheap hotels, I couldn’t get much writing done.

Second, I want to stress that this story is fiction. Although some of it is based on historic facts and sometimes I will mention a real-world company (after a little research to find out the history of said company usually), there are also going to be fictional stores, fictional people, fictional events. Alma, Wisconsin, for example, is a real town.  There really is a hydroelectric dam there.  Any other similarities between the real Alma and the Alma in this story are completely coincidental. I guess this is a good time to throw in the classic disclaimer that: This story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this work are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

Of course, I am operating under the premise that my actions can cause changes to the world. But that seems like the most logical premise so I guess I’ll go with it. I’m also operating under the premise that I have jumped back into my own past and am currently creating a new reality with everything outside of my story being exactly as it was in my, erm… real reality. I won’t really know that for sure until some time passes and I can see if the events of this world actually match what I already know—aside from the changes that I may cause, that is. (It is alternatively possible that I’m in a totally different reality where many things are different. I’m hoping for the former because I can use that to greater advantage.)

You see, we all live a story and it doesn’t really matter what happens outside of our own little story. Your neighbor, Joe, could be keeping sex slaves in his basement and it won’t really matter at all—it won’t affect your story until you find out about it. Then it becomes part of your story and you can legitimately become outraged. If you never find out about it, you go on with your daily business and Joe goes on raping his sex slaves and from your perspective, it never happened.

Likewise, your actions don’t, or shouldn’t, have any effect on people or events outside of your circle of influence. So, the mere act of transferring my forty-five-year-old consciousness with all of its memories of what’s going to happen into my younger self, won’t have caused any changes, in and of itself. But the moment I started interacting with this world, my actions started causing unpredictable reactions. It seems unlikely that a twelve-year-old could cause major world changes, though. But extending Jerry and June Nelsons’ lives should be within my circle of influence.  Maybe. Continue reading “Back to Me: Chapter 2, Installment 3”

Posted in Short story

Pit Stop

Freddie Jenkins had been driving for almost five hours since his last stop. He felt like his bladder was about to burst, but there weren’t many exits along this stretch of highway and a black man pissing on the side of the road is just looking for trouble. There was an almost empty twenty ounce coffee cup in the holder in the center console of his Malibu, but he’d done that before and always ended up with urine on his seat or on his hands and just… no.

So on he drove grimacing and squeezing his legs together.  The fucking potholes on the interstate weren’t helping either.

Finally, he saw a sign advertising a Pilot at the next exit—about 3 miles ahead. He was going to make it.  Barely, he thought. Continue reading “Pit Stop”