I’ve spent the better part of a month piecing together coverage of The Belko Experiment, which has now gone live over at Speculative Chic. Their editorial team did a great job helping me through the process. Much of that involved them being exceedingly patient. Regardless, I think the end result might be of interest to readers of dystopian fiction, fans of the films, and people into pop culture analysis.
If you’ve been a long-time fan of Beat Kitano Takeshi like I have, going on 25 years, then you’re familiar with Battle Royale. Ever since the rise of The Hunger Games series there have been grumbles from Battle Royale fans about how Suzanne Collins’ work is derivative. And now The Belko Experiment hits the scene, purposefully inviting such comparisons, as explained in my review.
Please click through to read the full (lengthy) text. Be warned, though, this is a departure from the typical Speculative Chic review, in that it straps on galoshes and jumps into the rabbit hole of academic overthinking. For me that sorta thing is fun — I mean, I’m doing it all the time in my head while I’m watching commercials, taking kids to Laser Tag, or listening to somebody talk about their day. Don’t worry, if you’ve discussed your day with me I won’t be posting a critical analysis of it online.
I shared cake with Leza Cantoral when Christoph Paul took us to one of his favorite restaurants during the Associated Writing Programs conference. Oh, and we had a deep discussion about publishing. Don’t believe me? Listen to the podcast!
It was super fun catching up with John Edward Lawson, author and publisher of Raw Dog Screaming Press. It was fun finding out about the erotica he is writing on the side and how a publisher is always learning new tricks and skills to get noticed.
“To me, Bizarro is the Chaos Magick of literature.”
John Edward Lawson is an author, editor and poet living in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. He is the author of 16 books of fiction and poetry, and numerous chapbooks. Over 500 of his poems, stories, and articles have been published in magazines, anthologies, literary journals, and newspapers worldwide. He has been called “The forgotten black man of horror,” but he also regularly publishes science…
My 2016 holiday/birthday TARDIS acquisitions, with bonus Alex-cat photobomb. (Not shown: Hand-painted miniature TARDIS I’ve already moved to my desk at the day job and the gorgeous laptop slipcase that a sleeping cat had claimed when I was ready to take this picture.)
Happy 2017 to all! This year I’m looking forward to continuing work on the Steel Empires series, contributing to Speculative Chic, reading lots of amazing books, and attending fun conventions, and watching lots of great movies and television shows. This year’s motto is probably “Work hard, play hard.”
Maryland has a pirate band, and their fourth CD is in the works. What’s more: they are, for the first time, crowdfunding it. There are plenty of perks. Even though it just went live yesterday they’ve already got over a quarter of their goal amount pledged!
Pirates for Sail is Maryland’s #1 pirate band! Founded in 2005, we sail under the questionable leadership of Captain Nathaniel “Gute” Morgan, bringing our repertoire of sea shanties, traditional tunes and other piratical music to festivals and parties all along the East Coast. Learn more at PiratesforSail.com or our Facebook page!
Crabby Road will be our fourth full-length studio album, following A Shot Across the Bow (2008), Band on the Rum (2009), Dark Side of the Lagoon (2012), and our 2016 EP Faire Warning.
This is our first crowdfunding campaign, but we have faith that our fans, and pirates around the world, will show their support. The money will be used towards paying for recording and engineering expertise, for the printing and packaging of the CDs, and for royalty payments for song covers. We’ve budgeted for a 15-track album. If we can surpass our goals, we can pay for more studio time, which means more songs! More money = more music!
So join our campaign and follow along with exclusive behind-the-scenes updates! We promise scurvy isn’t contagious.
In addition to Crabby Road itself in either CD or digital formats, we have lots of great stuff to give our backers, including pins, T-shirts, shot glasses, handmade items and more! Check out the different pledge levels to see all the cool stuff you could snag.
(And in case you’re wondering what a Black Spot is, go forth and be educated! Robert Louis Stevenson described it in Treasure Island. Our interpretation will be inscribed with the name of your choice and a personalized message of up to ten words, and will be an ominous and confusing keepsake for generations to come.)
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My Favorite Level
My personal favorite reward level is Lord High Admiral:
You, you amazing person, are a friend of pirates for life! You’ll get everything at the $1000 level, including the private concert, but you’ll also have a pirate to do your bidding! We’re a diverse crew with many skills, so select one personal service from the list below and we’ll do it for you, while the rest of the crew tags along for the fun!
– Black Dog Nate will officiate your wedding (where permitted by law) or MC your special event
– Jackal will give a you a guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefield
– Alice will provide a professional photo shoot of you and your family (or partner, pet, baby, etc.)
– Gute will give a presentation on the history of piracy (perfect for schools or libraries!)
– Mr. Grossnickle will serve as grillmaster for your backyard barbecue (you provide the grill and the meat; we’ll bring the side dishes)
– Thudd will present you with a custom, handcrafted pair of bracers
– Lassie Lyons will give you a beginner or intermediate lesson on the fiddle
– Finn will give you a voice lesson and teach you some sea shanties
– Something we haven’t thought of yet? Talk to us!
Access to all campaign updates
Your name on Pirates for Sail’s web site
Watch a tear fall from One-Eyed Mike’s one eye
Live streaming event access
Autographed compact disc copy of Crabby Road
Digital copy of Crabby Road
A personalized handcrafted Black Spot
Autographed Pirates for Sail T-shirt (S-XXXL)
Limited-edition Pirates for Sail pin
Pirates for Sail shot glass
In-person concert from Pirates for Sail
Personal service from a Pirates for Sail crewmember (see above)
It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been 5 years since I’ve been involved with Raw Dog Screaming Press. There are other dates to mark that anniversary that might be more “official,” such as the date my first book with them was announced (at DogCon 3), but I quietly mark the beginning of this journey from my official invitation to the very first DogCon. That was when the Dog Star Books SF/adventure imprint was announced, and when I started to get the idea that I might have found a home for my urban fantasy/alternate history novel.
Funny story: I wasn’t even at the first DogCon! (Even though lots of people seem to think that I was.) I received the invitation after I’d already scheduled the housewarming party for my new home, and since I had not yet met John Edward…