On Rutger Hauer…

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly.” 

Actor Rutger Hauer passed away this week at 75.  His career spanned six decades, appearing in over 100 films and television series in the U.S. and his native Netherlands. Like so many geeks, and children of the 80s, Hauer holds a special place in our collective psyche. As I think about his long career, there are two films/roles that stand out, and I still draw inspiration from today. 

In Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke, Hauer plays Navarre, a former captain of the guard who reluctantly befriends a young thief (Mathew Broderick) to help break a curse that forever keeps he and his lover (Michelle Pfeifer) apart. Ladyhawke changed my definition of what fantasy could be, and was so different from the stories I was reading at the time. Magic and dragons weren’t required to tell a good story. Crossbows could be just as effective as swords, perhaps more so. Heroes were more human when they were flawed. And fantasy could be funny, as evidenced by the laughs sprinkled throughout the film thanks to Broderick’s cheeky performance as Phillipe. 

And can we talk about the music for a moment? While the score by Tangerine Dream is much reviled, I adored it for how different it was from the typical orchestral fare. 

But by far my favorite performance, and perhaps the role for which Hauer is most famous is Roy Batty, the lead replicant in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir classic, Blade Runner. He set the bar for all artificial life made in the image of man. His performance is a marvel filled with a raw intensity, projecting rage and rapture in equal measure. But in the end he is more human than human, and we feel only sympathy as he draws his last breath, failing to circumvent the artificial limit set upon his life by his creator. His last words in the film make for one of the most memorable scenes in science fiction cinema:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Thanks for shining so bright Rutger. You will be missed.

New short story “Forever Bound” available today!

I’m excited to announce that my new short story “Forever Bound” which received an honorable mention in QSF’s new Migration anthology is available online today!  Migration features 300 word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

“Forever Bound” is a short tale of how not even death can sever the ties that bind, and is the fifth story I have published in QSF’s anthology series, which includes Discovery, Flight, Renewal and Impact.

So what are you waiting are you waiting for? Get a copy of Migration at the links below:

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TX2WMXQ

iBooks:
https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1471834289

Kobo:
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/migration-19

Fifty years ago…

On a humid July morning In 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin climbed aboard the most dangerous vehicle man had ever built, on a voyage to the moon.

I was two and half years old. I remember that day, or at least have convinced myself that I remember it, sitting in front of an old black and white television watching a streak of light hurtle towards the stars.

Like most boys growing up, I was fascinated by all things space (and dinosaurs of course). While interest in the Jurassic and Cretaceous eventually faded, the love of space and space travel, did not. Astronomy books, science-fiction novels, movies, I couldn’t get enough. I was a certified space geek.

When I went off to college I decided to study aerospace engineering, with the dream of working one day for NASA or JPL, but soon realized I was sorely lacking the discipline necessary for that field of study—more specifically, the math. And there was a lot of it. So I decided to pursue writing instead and switched over Journalism, which had only slightly more math than majoring in English. But my interest in all things space never waned.

Barely a year into my studies I watched horrified as the shuttle Challenger exploded in front of all our eyes, the ship and her brave crew scattering across the Atlantic. I didn’t attend class that day, not even the Astronomy elective I was taking. I remember President Reagan’s moving tribute later that evening: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God…”

There have certainly been other triumphs and disasters in our quest to explore beyond this pale blue dot we call home, but for me, none quite so much like the day humankind took their first steps on the moon.

Looking back over these past 5 decades as a man in his early 50s, I had hoped by now we would have at least planted a flag, any flag, in the red sands of Mars. But unfortunately, no. In fact it’s been 47 years since we last walked the on the moon. And now with less years in front of me than behind, it seems unlikely that either will happen, or happen again, in my lifetime.

But I am a space geek. And I am hopeful.

(Revised from a blog post I wrote on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing)

Discovery

New short story “A Sky Full of Stars” lands online today

My new short story ‘A Sky Full of Stars” appears in the anthology “Discovery: QSF’s Second Annual Flash Fiction Contest” which goes on sale today! I’m so excited to be included among such a talented and diverse group of writers. All the stories have an LGBT bent, and run the gamut from platypus shifters to alien slug monsters, from carnival horror stories to haunting tales of ships with souls. There’s definitely something for everyone.

You can purchase online today at the retailers below:

Amazon
Kobo
Mischief Corner Books
All Romance Books

Also available in paperback.

Busy as bees

After a short drought, I’ve been busy as bees. I recently submitted a 12K short story to Dreamspinner Press for an upcoming anthology and it’s my first foray into the m/m romance genre. This week I’m finishing my entry into a flash fiction contest over at Queer Sci Fi and I’ll be participating in #TwitterFiction Festival at @ewmurks on Twitter. And there’s also a novel, a few more short stories and a collaboration with my friend and fellow author Jeff Adams in the works.

It’s nice to finally be writing again.

NaNoWriMo Update: Rough First Day on the Road to 5000 Words

Five thousand words in and everything has changed. This is not the story I planned to write, but it’s the story I’m writing right now. My original plan was to pick up where I left off on a previous NaNoWriMo from a few years ago, but I scrapped that idea mere hours before I was set to start. This left a vacuum ultimately filled by 1700 plus words of self-loathing prose, describing in incredible detail everything I had done wrong leading up to NaNoWriMo and that any words on the screen moving forward were not worth the pixels they were painted with.

But the next day I thankfully got over myself. There’d been an idea for a short story tumbling around in my head for months so I decided to re-visit it from a big picture point of view instead of just a few moments in time. As the wheels slowly turned in my brain it snowballed into something bigger and more complex, while maintaining a small, intimate story at its heart. I felt like I was on to something, and it gave me something to write about other than simply tearing myself apart.

So that’s what I wrote on day two, day three, and 300 words into day four. I really think I may be on to something. But the month is long, and there are many more words to write. In the end I hope there will be enough words to wipe out the first 1700 as if they had never been written.

Until the next update….

Throwback Thursday – Nanowrimo 2014

Five years ago I participated in Nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every November hundreds of thousands set out to write a novel of 50,000 words or more.  In 2009 I tried and gave up after just 8 days and almost 15,000 words. I didn’t know where to take the story, so I stopped. But now I have a pretty good idea how to proceed so will be participating in Nanowrimo again starting this weekend! Wish me luck! For today’s #throwbackthursday, I have a small sample from that original Nanowrimo effort back in 2009. Enjoy.

Conspiracy

She looked briefly at the empty seat next to her, her hands clenched tightly in her lap. Dr. Hooper had worked so hard to reach this moment, for the both of them, and now he was gone. She knew she would have to carry on for the both of them, it’s what he would have wanted. Their work was too important. She looked over at the faces of her team, some young, some old, but bright and eager, and she knew with their help that they would succeed.

Outside she could hear the steady drone of a helicopter approaching. But then the timber changed, the sound taking on staccato, irregular beat, like an overstressed heart. Everyone began to look each other nervously as the sound grew quickly louder, almost deafening.

The opaque glass canopy that served as the auditorium’s ceiling began to shudder.

The tail rotor crashed through the ceiling first, leaving behind a gaping hole and raining thick chunks of jagged glass down around them. Jessica dropped to her knees immediately covering her face. A few moments later the fuselage of Marine One came down and skated across the length of the ceiling, leaving behind a gash of twisted glass and metal. As the noise from the rotors began to fade a little, Jessica raised her head.

The explosion that followed caused what little glass that was left in the ceiling to come crashing down.

Jessica kept her head down… The last thing she wanted to do was to look up.

Throwback Thursday – Star Trek: There Be Dragons

Today’s #throwbackthursday  is a little Star Trek fan fiction from my high school days. Enjoy.

Star Trek: There Be Dragons

“HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A DRAGON, MR. SPOCK?”

James T. Kirk let the question hang in the air for a moment, as his first officer studied his cards. Spock had managed a marvelous run over the past half hour and had mostly depleted Kirk’s chips. The captain was desperate. He should never had opened his mouth. Spock, with the deliberate coolness of a practiced card shark, was drilling him into the ground.

“Mr. Spock?” Finally the knife-edge brows appeared above the cards.

“Captain, how can I continue to play with any degree of success as along as you continue this ploy to distract me?” The brows disappeared below the edge of the cards again, almost like magic.

“Is it working?”

“No, Sir.”

A chuckle came from corner. McCoy leaned against the wall casually, observing the game from across the room. McCoy had distanced himself from the captain as his luck had waned.

“Seriously, Mr. Spock. Have you ever seen a dragon before?” Glancing over at the grinning doctor and then back to his captain, Spock laid his cards down and folded his hands over them.

“If you are referring to the V’akvelsksis of Aengameron III-”

“No Mr. Spock, I mean a REAL dragon!” Kirk laid down his own cards and heard Bones pull up a chair.

“A REAL dragon sir. The term dragon is relative, depending exclusively on a culture’s-”

“Don’t you know what a dragon is?” McCoy leaned forward, relishing as always, his chance to upstage the Vulcan. “It’s a giant snake with wings that breathes fire and eats virgins.”

Not one but two brows rose.