Mike's Home Page

You Asked For It
Dec 14, 201405:06PM

Category: Writing


Flogging my collection of snark, satire, random internet bombs, hurled epithets and commentary.  These are my deliberate misinterpretations, vitriolic comments, puns, anecdotes and thoughts on everything, collected from several years of online posting and content.  Just in time for Christmas for that person you hate.

Eventually, I'll have download direct from the website, and possibly paper copies.

Enjoy. Or not. Doesn't matter.  Just give me money. That's what matters.

And remember:  Hugo Chavez is not a line of clothing. I stand corrected.

My DragonCon Schedule
Aug 23, 201412:43PM

Category: Writing

Title: OMG, Did He Actually Say That?
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Tedd Roberts interviews author Michael Z. Williamson about writing, shooting, sharp pointy things, and more.

Title: The Cause of the Apocalypse
Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: A discussion some of the different ways a mad scientist or disgruntled grad student (or medic) could bring about TEOTWAWKI.
(Tentative Panelists: Michael Z. Williamson, Cathe Smith, Philip Wohlrab, Tedd Roberts)

Title:  Autograph session
Time: Sat 12:00 noon Location: The Missing Volume, Exhibit Hall booths 328-330, America's Mart (Length: 1)

Title: Politics in Sci-fi
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Regency V - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: How politics of today inform the writers of science fiction.(Tentative Panelists: Michael Z. Williamson, Lee Martindale, S. M. Stirling, John D. Ringo, Dr. Charles E. Gannon, Elizabeth Moon)

Title: Trigger Warning
Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Embassy A-B - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Recent events have made some subjects taboo. This panel is not afraid to tackle those subjects.
Panelists: Tedd Roberts and Michael Z. Williamson

Title: The Real History of Science Fiction: Aliens
Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Embassy A-B - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: The history of sci-fi includes robots, spaceships, and aliens. This discussion looks at aliens from a literary standpoint.
(Tentative Panelists: Michael Z. Williamson, Jaym Gates, Diane Hughes)

Title: Apocalyptic Fun: Inventive & Messy Ways of Killing
Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Explore the silly side of bringing about the Apocalypse and killing the undead.
(Tentative Panelists: Tedd Roberts, Michael Z. Williamson, David Harmer)

This doesn't include private events I'll be hosting or attending.  I'll have lots of cards with me with my contact info and booth location (45G is the revised and correct one).  Email or Twitter will be the best way to reach me--monitored by my senior assistant.  If it's time sensitive and I don't respond, ping me again.

Misha Collins Scavenger Hunt
Aug 07, 201407:07PM

Category: Writing

I'm here at Pennsic, and this young lady stops by the booth. She says that Misha Collins is organizing a scavenger hunt for fans. One of the items is to have a published science fiction author write a 140 word vignette mentioning Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an animal that is half elephant and half octopus.

Challenge Accepted!

Here it is, for Medieval Megan:

So, no shit, there I was, thought I was gonna die. I was sitting in the Europa Hotel in Blastfell, excuse me, Belfast.

In comes the Queen of England with her entourage and guards, accompanying some bizarre creature that looked to be half octopus (the top half) and half elephant (the bottom half), and let me tell you, I've seen smaller barstools. He said his name was Misha, but he had a Swedish accent. So, anyway, Queen Liz orders a Tom Collins and Misha the squid boy offers up a toast to Cthulu.

I'm guessing that was a mistake. Next thing, the whole place erupts in hypergolic violence. A flaming penguin arced through the air and impaled a beaver. Really. I got literally peppered with spare punctuation marks. (Sorry.)

Dead serious. I stayed completely sober and the bar got bombed.


Okay, I have to respond to this horseshit:


"To get your friends into SF, show them a whole bunch of shit that no one gives a crap about, along with a few classics that aren't really good for neophytes, and some hysteria-inducing leftism. And if that doesn't work, go with a 2nd previous generation's failed attempt at literary greatness."

I'd like to destroy the prejudicial notion that the entire future is leftist, and that this is normal, desirable and believable.

Near as I can tell, not a single "expert" they asked is within a standard deviation of center, and they're all on the left.  The only one with reasonably good recommendations was John Scalzi.  When he's your moderate, you may have a bit of a bias.

Heinlein's YA? Neal Stephenson? Lois Bujold? Larry Niven? Sci fi with, you know, actual science? Drake for any veterans.  Hell, Ben Bova has lots of very good near future SF.  Mercedes Lackey is both liberal (since that obviously matters to them) and a good writer, with some decent present-day urban fantasy.

I've read close to 10K SF books and written a few, and I've never even heard of most of those choices. That by itself proves nothing, except that they're not recommending anything anyone center, conservative or libertarian is going to be interested in, which is 75% of the population.

And I had to explain to some enlightened, outraged "liberal" in comments about Heinlein's _Friday_.  "It starts off with the character being gangraped and she shrugs it off like it's no big deal!  Disgusting!"

Why is it necessary for me to explain this to people?:

To Dayman: I'm amazed at how many SF readers don't get Friday.

Quite obviously, as is stressed throughout the book, the character does not think of herself as human. She's in a world where she is reminded every day that her status is beneath everyone else, she can never be what they are, even though she IS fully human.

She has been taught to completely suppress everything about herself. Her very expensive membership in a line family that considers her only a source of money is more of the same. (And even her racial background is bothersome to them.)

The character spends a book learning HOW TO BE HUMAN and to love and be loved.

That so many readers don't get it is a tragedy.

And that so-many so-called "liberals" don't get it just exposes modern liberalism for the complete sham it is. They don't actually see prejudice or POV, they only see the color or group affiliation they've been taught to look down on as "oppressed."  They're clueless about the concept itself, however.

This is why literary SF will continue to grasp at relevance and market share.

There's one minority still not given proper respect in language: Left handers. The term "sinister" is still used as an epithet for evil, wrong, unpleasant. Likewise, "gauche" is a reference to rude behavior.  People are considered "dextrous" if they have good manual skills.

Why are the negative connotations expressed using references to left handedness, and positive connotations reserved for the right? 

Writers, especially in fantasy, usually right-handed, should stop using these prejudicial terms and find terms that are non-handed specific.

This is a worldwide issue.  Only about 15% of the population are left handed.  Most gadgets default or are exclusively right handed.  

Take scissors--sculpted grip scissors are unusable by a left-handed person.  Neutral grip are usable, but even so-called "left handed" scissors usually are just replacement handles on right handed blades, which cut with a bias that favors the right handed.  Hacksaws, metal shears, vernier calipers, can openers, are all right handed by default. Most modern locking pocket knives have a right-handed lock and pocket clip.  Historically, all swords with a swept hilt, shell guard or wire hilt are right handed and just don't work for someone using their left.  Most sheaths are right handed.  If you shoot rifle, forget shooting a bolt action--they're almost all right handed.  Anything left handed costs a premium, even in the modern day when it's easy to reverse the action of a digital milling machine.  Shooting jackets--right handed.  Telescopic and optical sight adjustments, as well as most adjustable iron sights--right handed.

Musical instruments--anything stringed is right handed, and to reconfigure the bridge as well as the strings, and perhaps even the pickups, not to mention any onboard controls, takes effort and money unless the company makes a left-handed variant (most classical instruments DO NOT).

Most computer mice are right handed--trackballs tend to be right handed only.  Until recently, even most jacks were configured to place the mouse on the right.  Putting it on the left took workarounds.  The numerical keypad is on the right.

 I'm sure most people have never thought of this.  They have right-handed privilege, in a world that caters to them.

I'm sure some will dismiss this as a non-issue.  I challenge them to go into a store and ask for every household good in a left-handed model.  If the store has any, they will have a token one or two of each, not the dozens or hundreds of right handed options.  Buy them.  Go home and use them in your right hand so you're using them backward. That's what it's like for left handed people every day of our lives.

Politically, I've seen conservatives refer to the political right being "correct" and the political left being "wrong."

Then crack open a book and find the bad guy is "sinister" and the clueless guy is "gauche."  Gee, thanks for that.

"Right" is an acknowledgment of correctness.  One gets "left behind."

I expect there are a number of fantasy writers who are major offenders on this.  But if they're taking steps with racially, culturally, gender and religiously sensitive terms, it would be fair to not use terms derogatory to the left handed minority as well.

I don't suffer as much as others--I'm largely ambidextrous.  But let's look at that word.  "Ambi" = "both."  "Dexter" = "Right."  The word defaults that someone with flexible manipulative skills is "both right," not "both left."  Since I DO have a slight favor to the left, I am correctly ambisinistrous.

It's not been long since it was a social crime to be left handed, with most cultures forcing right handedness on children.  We're past that in most of the world, but a number of cultures and subcultures do still enforce dexter dominance.

Let's start by not using "sinister" and "gauche" in our writing.  These words are archaic, insensitive and prejudicial.  If we can take this step, we can then work on neutralizing other orientation biased words.
ETA:  I'm informed gaming consoles are usually right handed, and keyboard game controls favor the right. And let's not forget that it's considered rude to shake hands with the left (the Boy Scouts have actually addressed this, with a left-handed handshake).

Look around, and you'll see the bias is everywhere.

Mary Robinette Kowal, self-described professional puppeteer and part time writer, is very upset with some of the drama going on in SFWA at present.  I sympathize with the aggravation.  I spent years in SFWA, and stopped renewing, because of the endless drama and little accomplishment. 

She's very unhappy with several members over their politics, which is an inevitability of an organization.

Now, I understand she's unhappy with Vox Day.  I readily understand that.  His online persona is deliberately antagonistic in ways I don't particularly care for.  But, he IS an SF writer, and meets the criteria for SFWA membership.  He likes to brag about his IQ a lot, but then, MRK likes to brag about her Hugo award.  He and I had a brief go round online, and he even dedicated a couple of blog posts to something or other about me.  It was largely antagonistic, I made my reply, and I stopped arguing, because once you've said what you need to, more ranting doesn't help.  I agreed with him on a couple of other issues, but he's really not of interest to me.  I summarized it in a blog post.  Some of his cheerleaders came over, and with a terrible grasp of statistics told me I should be "humbled" to know someone as brilliant as he.  I explained why they were wrong and ignored the thread.  Done.  And that is how you handle idiots.  I've also done the same with John Scalzi, at least as far as race issues, because if I really want a summary on how race works, Steven Barnes is much better educated, more polite, and actually a minority.  Go figure.

She complains she got hate mail.  Welcome to being management.  Welcome to being a public figure.  If it is in fact the same people constantly, block them.  If you can't, because they belong to the organization you volunteered to represent, you'll have to either deal with them, or find a way within the rules to censure or dismiss them.

But, the internal workings of an organization should be kept internal.  That was always a SFWA policy.  Now we see the petty fights bleeding over into public blogs.  If this is going to happen, then they need to pull the veil off entirely, or else go back to keeping it private.

And she really should, because her own rants are emotional and chaotic, and in good "liberal" fashion, she's delightfully banning from her blog people who disagree with her.  This includes people who've had the temerity to suggest that 1:  there are better ways to address drama than more drama, and B) that SFWA should stick to writing issues, not personal politics.  Some of these suggestions were made politely and diplomatically by authors who've been in the business decades longer than she.  Her response:  Ban them.

I'm really puzzled, because the one time I met her and we were on panels at a convention together, she was a charming lady.  Her internet persona most certainly is not.

I actually contributed little to this debate.  I did try to support Will Shetterly on Twitter, and to make the point that the drama is part of the problem:

Will Shetterly ‏@WillShetterly 4 Jul

@schanoes @sinboy @MaryRobinette The rest of us believe diversity should be more than skin deep.

Michael Z Williamson ‏@mzmadmike 4 Jul
@WillShetterly @schanoes @sinboy @MaryRobinette And once again, SFWA demonstrates why I let my membership lapse.

Mary Robinette Kowal ‏@MaryRobinette 4 Jul
@mzmadmike @schanoes @sinboy What? Because of someone like @WillShetterly, who isn't even a member?

Michael Z Williamson ‏@mzmadmike 4 Jul
@MaryRobinette @schanoes @sinboy @WillShetterly No, because of those who are members. Didn't you just say as much?

Mary Robinette Kowal ‏@MaryRobinette 4 Jul
@mzmadmike @schanoes @sinboy Oh... so you're agreeing with @WillShetterly. That's all right then. I'm glad you're not a member.

Michael Z Williamson ‏@mzmadmike 4 Jul
@MaryRobinette @schanoes @sinboy @WillShetterly Yup. It would be terrible to have dissenting members. Even if they agree with you.

Michael Z Williamson ‏@mzmadmike 4 Jul
@MaryRobinette @schanoes @sinboy @WillShetterly What exactly has SFWA accomplished in the last decade? Other than internet bitch fights?

She's glad I'm not a member.  And that Will is not.  And here's the problem.

SFWA is an organization for American SF writers, or SF writers who publish in America.  She is such, but so am I.  In point of fact, I qualified for membership, and joined a couple of years before she did, with my first novel sold in 2002.  This doesn't even count my prior, non-SF sales.  And, I've published about five times as many books as she.  Will Shetterly qualified a couple of decades ago.  He's published a lot more books than she, too.  Other notable non-SFWA members include Sarah Hoyt, Larry Correia, John Ringo.  And that's just people I know.  There are a lot of well-published authors who never have belonged or no longer belong to SFWA. Brad Torgersen qualifies, and just contracted his first novel.  He's not joining SFWA, either.

So it's pretty damned conceited for a part time writer to look at senior full timers and say, "You shouldn't belong."  (Cue her tired boast of having a Hugo award.  Yippee skip.  That will impress a bank when you need to make a mortgage payment.  Yes, it absolutely is a legitimate award.  It confers no additional credibility on the business end. Someone who is paid professional rates for their writing is a paid professional.  After that, it's all good.)

Now, SFWA is supposed to deal with writers' issues—contracts, the business of writing, the art of writing, appearances.  There are other issues it might address, but most of those are secondary.

During my membership, SFWA made a lot of noise, but accomplished very little.  For example, members spent literally years fighting e-publication, arguing over free promotional content, with some demanding DRM to prevent "piracy," and other such stuff that in recent retrospect was obviously a waste of time, and detrimental to the business of making money.

There were several proposals to revise membership requirements—as it stands, anyone with a novel or three short sales qualifies as a member, even if those sales were 30 years ago.  The market has changed, and what mattered then doesn't matter now.  One proposal was to require one of the sales be within the last 5 years.  It makes sense, and means writers will be more current in the business.  That proposal got voted down vigorously by the part-timers and usedtobes, because that membership is the only shred of credibility some authors have.  And some of them are still arguing over whether or not online publishing is "legitimate."

There was a discussion over a convention having a Guest of Honor who was only "published" by PublishAmerica, a notorious vanity publisher.  A very senior author and officer went on a tearing, frothing rant about how that convention was no longer "credible."  He did this within the privacy of SFWA's forum, well enough.  He did not, however, propose a solution.  I suggested perhaps SFWA should draft a guideline for what constitutes a professional author for such purposes. A guideline only.  His response to me was, "SFWA is not in the business of running conventions."

No?  Then shut the fuck up.  Seriously. 

I presume the same crap is happening now over the debate about sexual harassment at cons (I only hear the SFWA part second hand).  Yes, this is a problem at some cons and with some people.  Is it relevant to the business of writing?  No.  And, if SFWA is not in the business of running conventions, it's rather pointless for them to waste time on it.  Either address the issue productively, or stay out.

There's an issue over "sexist" cover art that presents women in awkward, unrealistic, and often submissive poses. This is a legitimate issue.  The complications are that this requires input from commercial artists—they don't tell us how to write, we shouldn't tell them how to illustrate for the market until we understand that market from the POV of those working in the field.  There's also the fact that such portrayals sell very well in the Romance genre, which is almost exclusively read by women, and in various paranormal romances, same market.  Some members of SFWA have addressed this with blog posts or reposed photos of the cover models.  Okay, so everyone can see how ridiculous they look.  Great.  Now, as a writer's organization, perhaps there's something concrete to be done, such as, oh, I don't know, ADJUSTING THE MODEL CONTRACT TO GIVE AUTHORS MORE INPUT ON THE COVER.  Of course, this will fly in the face of both the artists and marketing, but it would at least get those groups to the table for a discussion, rather than being yet another internet dramafest.

I'd like to see them address the growing crap trend of conventions expecting writers to pay to attend, thus paying for the privilege of educating and entertaining the attendees.  Some conventions insist they can't "afford" a free badge, when the reality is, there is no "cost" involved.  There's a slight reduction in income, immediately recouped if at least one attendee shows up to see said author.  If a dozen show up, the convention is hundreds of dollars ahead.  But this trend continues, and authors should refuse.  Is SFWA addressing it?  Not that I'm aware of.

And that's what SFWA used to do—contract policies, appearance guidelines, criteria.  During the years I was a member, there was a lot of ranting, hand-wringing, and little actual productivity.

And seriously (and I'll name names, since the guilty party is now deceased), when Harry Harrison refers to Daffyd ab Hugh as "Daffy ab Duck" in internal correspondence, it shows neither professionalism nor maturity.  This fine tradition carries on today with various members attacking the politics and thoughts of others on various issues irrelevant to the business writing.

I watched dozens of proposals regarding membership, awards, and other issues fail for lack of quorum.  Everyone agreed that Something Should Be Done, but frequently didn't care enough to vote.  The Nebula Awards, for example—there are dozens of categories (at least it feels that way) with more added all the time.  A novel is defined as 40K words.  This definition was relevant in the 1950s, but no longer. These days, you pretty much have "short work" and "novel."  But they want Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, etc.  Because if there are more categories, there are more potential awards one might win to get that shiny star on the page. So it hasn't changed.  I believe they've even added a couple of categories.  (I may be wrong, but I honestly don't care.)  And then, of course, there were complaints that members WERE NOT READING THE CANDIDATES FOR AWARDS!  Dozens of novels, hundreds of shorter pieces, as well as TV and movie presentations.  I'm not a critic, and I don't have time to read recreationally—I'm busy earning a living WRITING.

The organization became a complete waste of time quite some years back.  It has no power over publishers, does little for the writers, and expends most of its effort in internet bitch sessions.  I have one answer to that: Facebook.  Blogs.  Fora.  It's just not necessary to pay money to join a group to complain, when most of the members are publicly available, and there's no demands elsewhere to fit particular politics to interact.

Just for the record:  Two of my favorite authors to talk with are Eric Flint, who's a Trotskyite, and Tom Kratman, who regards Genghis Khan as a bleeding heart.  Both are educated, literate, fun to debate with, and not assholes.  So please don't whine that this is about my "right wing" politics (since I lean libertarian myself).

Something SFWA should be concerned about and address better is how to assess self-publication for membership, since there are self-pubs these days selling 5000, 10,000 or more copies of their work—well into professional sales levels. That trend is not going away.  The longer SFWA ignores it, the less relevant they'll be, especially if they keep trying to have a political test for entry.  They'll turn into a bunch of bickering, self-righteous elitists, accomplishing nothing and looking quaint and outdated, that working writers don't care about.

Oh, wait. That's what they are now.

I have better uses for fifty bucks a year, thanks. (Apparently, it's eighty bucks a year now.  I can get two good bottles of Scotch for that.)  So be comforted, MRK, I won't be damaging the virgin purity of your organization, which was mine before you came on the scene.

But let's look at what some others say, just for diversity of opinion:


Larry Correia says:

"I don't really have anything to contribute since I've avoided SFWA. I'm not a member because everything I see from them is fairly useless, they've got nothing to offer me, but when they asked me to join it was so that I could "support new writers," but I help new writers now without giving John Scalzi's politicized nonsense any more credibility. I'd join a professional organization to benefit my professional endeavors. If I wanted to join a group that existed to lobby for various bits of bullshit and protest chain mail bikinis, I'd do that instead. Personally, I like selling books in order to pay my bills.

If they are doing good works, I wouldn't know, because I never see any of it past their stupid crap like attacking Mike Resnick for saying a woman was attractive."

Sarah Hoyt says:

"I was a member of SFWA for several years.  In that time I saw it protest unfair contracts (always with small publishers) and I read other people saying how useful preditors and editors list of bad publishers was. However, in the same time, I saw the standard contracts in the industry become worse for writers, including (I signed a couple of these under duress, fortunately they’re now moot) contracts that gave publishers control over what you wrote for other people.  I watched agents going from being writers’ advocates to being more or less outsourced reading departments for the publishers.  I watched the already miniscule standard beginning advance shrink.  ALL of this without a peep from SFWA.  However, once indie was possible and while a lot of us were making money through Amazon, SFWA bestirred itself to take a small distributor’s side against Amazon in a dispute that was by no means clear cut.  That was when I left SFWA.  I’m now very sorry I did.  As the committee to lynch Resnick and Malzberg became the task force to shriek about any sexism past, present and future, I am deprived of a good opportunity to mail back my torn-up membership card with a note about how they’re proving Heinlein’s dictum about a committee being a group with two or more stomachs and no brain."

Brad Torgersen says:

"Well, truth is, I joined in 2011. But after three years, I am going to quietly let my SFWA membership lapse.

"If I had to hang quotes around a reason why, my quotes would hang around this:

“During the three years I've been a member of SFWA, I've seen the organization erupt in several significant ‘turf war’ conflicts that have each seemed (to my sensibilities) to have everything to do with ideology, and almost nothing to do with helping me as a novelist and a short fiction writer protect or advance my career.  I thought SFWA would be my ‘union’ capable of enhancing or protecting my interests.  It's not really been so.  At least in my very limited experience.

“Especially not when I stumbled across an e-mail exchange between several SFWA members who were essentially discussing ways to turf my chances on the Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell ballots in 2012.

“Why should I pay money to remain a member of an organization that seems (too often?) to be infested with personalities who explicitly want to hurt my career?  Or at least want to blunt my opportunities?

“I’m not really upset about losing any of those awards.  I was honored to be among the finalists for each, and I hope nothing but the best for the winners.  I am unhappy with the fact that people in my ‘union’ wanted to hold me back or damage me.  That’s not something I can overlook.  I say this with reservation, because I have friends and acquaintances who have each worked hard (in various ways) to make SFWA a valuable organization.  I laud their efforts.  I just think the efforts of good people are being overwhelmed by the distractions and drama caused by authors who seem more in love with commotion and picking fights, than they do with being writers.”


Many professional and full time SF authors don’t want to belong to SFWA, because they don't see it being relevant or useful to their interests.  SFWA needs to fix that before they try to address other issues.

Book Bomb Today
May 21, 201308:39AM

Category: Writing

Blake Powers has a new book out. I wrote the intro. It's worth having. Here's what Blake has to say about it:


I am pleased to announce that my latest book, A Different View: Travels to Al Qa'im and Beyond, is now out as a trade paperback via Amazon's CreateSpace and on Kindle. This new volume in the A Different View series showcases day-to-day life of Marines at Al Qa'im on the Syrian border while I was with them on the last part of my first embed. It then transitions to Germany and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where I introduce readers to a very special ceremony for arriving wounded.

Trade Paperback Kindle

To borrow from my preface: "This is not a book about combat, or combat photography. While every combat reporter wants that one-in-a-million shot or video snippet, such images can only show a few seconds out of what can seem an eternity. Blood sells, and the 99 percent of time that is routine or even boring is not news. It is, however, real." This volume is part of my continuing effort to share the "real" with the public at large.

Author and veteran Michael Z. Williamson provides the introduction, and MaryAnn Phillips of Soldiers' Angels Germany provides a very special foreword to the book. Here is a taste of what others are saying:

"A Different View is a personal and vivid narrative of the author's experience in a combat zone, showing not combat but the mundanity, humor, and boredom that make up ninety-nine percent of life 'inside the wire.' The author's photos and narrative illustrate how service members cope and adapt to the surreal conditions, and how injury and death are still close by. This is a valuable book, and anyone who cares about America's troops and the fight in the Middle East will find it worthwhile."

Larry Bond, bestselling author of Shattered Trident

"My first thought as I looked at the pictures was"I've been there," "I think I know that guy" and the fine details of multiple deployments come rushing back like they were yesterday. I can smell the pictures. Blake captures a reality through a very narrow opportunity that many will never understand. Those that have been there will look at the pictures, remember their experiences, and if they are viewing with another warrior, they will simply glance at one another as they both will remember the events they lived through and will do so with a smirk on their face. They will do it for those that were there with them, that didn't come home."

Maj Pain (USMC),http://www.OneMarinesView.com

"Lest we forget - Blake Powers helps all of us who were not there witness the everyday lives and achievements of our armed forces in Iraq with gorgeous pictures and thoughtful commentary."

Toni Weisskopf, publisher of Baen Books

"None of us really know what it's like to be 'on the front lines' unless we've served. Which means most Americans really have 'no clue'. Blake shows these guys and gals in their environment. Sure, there are fun times, how could there not, you'd go bonkers otherwise. But the real deal is just being 'in country'. Living it, breathing it, seeing it, being enveloped by it every waking moment (and sleeping too) then getting through it as best one can. He has really put this out there for all of us, those lucky individuals who have been lavished with the most amazing country in the world, to feel safe, made so by the sacrifices of these brave men and women."

David Mecey, former Staff Photographer, Playboy magazine

"A Different View is well-titled; it gives the reader an alternative perspective of the fruit yielded by the American effort in Iraq. Most of it is good fruit. The book is well worth your time...and your money."

Juliette Ochieng, author of Tale of the Tigers

Given feedback from readers, the Kindle version of this new book was created specifically for Kindle in an effort to deal with format and photo issues that were reported with the previous volume. While the print and Kindle covers will be slightly different, it is hoped that the presentation of the photos will give readers the best possible experience.

This book builds on A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq, 2007 (Kindle, and trade paperback). The trade paperback will be available on Amazon shortly.

Full copies of the reviews provided by David Mecey and Juliette Ochieng can be found at http://laughingwolf.net/?p=541.


So, the lesson here, as they should have known, is never to let the director do the marketing.  No, people in 2012 don't instinctively know who John Carter is, and they've seen special effects before.

Here, then, is one example of an ad that would have doubled attendance and made it successful:


"Before Avatar"


"Before Star Wars"


"There was John Carter"


"From the creator of Tarzan"


"And the director of Wall-E"



"A century old epic, in a universe not quite our own."


"John Carter of Mars."


There y'go, Andrew Stanton.  I polluted your pure vision of JC, but sold the fucking movie.  You're welcome.


Survivors, a Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles, editor of Survivalblog.





 audio edition


"Survivors" runs concurrently with "Patriots."  You need not read "Patriots" first, though of course, I would always encourage buying more books.

These books are narrative training scenarios--How to guides written as fiction.  They do have a story, but the reason to read them is for the information they impart and the consideration they provoke.  It's much easier to remember a story than dry facts in a list.

Order or buy Tuesday, and you'll get to hear the pollyannae scream as a nice bonus.


Rogue is in stores nationwide, on Amazon, on BN.com, everywhere.  If you don't already have an order in, now is the time to do so--sales velocity in the first week is what counts for bestseller ranking.  Amazon has it at about 40% off the cover price, which is a great deal.

Rogue is a sequel to The Weapon, but it does stand alone, so you don't need to buy The Weapon as well if you don't already have it.  Of course, if you choose to buy it, Baen Books and I will completely understand.

Also, this weekend I will be personalizing the signed, plated edition of Rogue at Uncle Hugo's SF Bookstore in Minneapolis http://www.unclehugo.com/prod/index.shtml.  They still have a few copies you can order, and I'll be happy to personalize them if you tell them how.  And if you're in the Minneapolis area, I'll be glad to meet with you at the store.  Stop on by.