Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Cora Goes to Flights of Foundry

Flights of Foundry banner

I promise you that the detailed analysis of the 2021 Hugo finalists is coming, but for now I want to focus on a completely different convention.

Because this weekend, April 17 and 18, 2021, I will be at Flights of Foundry, a virtual SFF convention for people all around the world to enjoy. Registration is free, though donations are encouraged.

You can find me on the following panels:

Sunday, April 18 • 17:00 - 17:50 CET: Making Your Reader Hungry: Food in SFF

For a long time, speculative fiction rarely engaged with food. Over on the science fiction side of the fence, protagonists lived on food pills or ordered "Tea, Earl Grey, hot" from the replicator, while fantasy characters subsisted on the ubiquitous stew and quaffed tankards of ale. However, this has changed in recent times and now detailed food descriptions are a lot more common in SFF. Nor are we just seeing only stereotypical western and American food anymore, but also dishes from non-western cuisines and food traditions. This panel will discuss how food is portrayed in science fiction and fantasy and how this parallels real world developments, whether it's meal replacement products like the unfortunately named Soylent or trends like pandemic baking.

Moderator: Cora Buhlert
Panelists: Nibedita Sen, Shweta Adhyam, Georgina Kamsika

Sunday, April 18 • 21:00 - 21:50: Romance in SFF

Romance has been a part of speculative fiction since its earliest days, even though SFF and romance are often viewed as polar opposites. Nowadays, SFF romance is a broad and varied field, encompassing anything from fantasy and paranormal romance via time travel romance to science fiction and post-apocalyptic romance. But even though speculative romance is popular and very successful, it is often ignored by the SFF community. This panel will give you an overview of the spectrum of SFF romance and discuss why speculative romance still doesn't get the respect it deserves. And of course, we'll also offer you reading recommendations.

Moderator: Cora Buhlert
Panelists: Jeffe Kennedy, Grace Draven, Cassie Hart, Elle Ire

Sunday, April 18 • 22:00 - 22:50 CET: The Unique Challenges of Speculative Translation

Translation is always challenging, but translating the weird, fantastic, and out of the world elements of speculative fiction presents its own special test of skill. This panel will discuss the trade-offs, linguistic tricks, and techniques these translators have utilized when working with speculative material.

Moderator: Fabio Fernandes
Panelists: Janna Ruth, Julia Meitov Hersey, Marina Berlin, Cora Buhlert

So what are you waiting for? Register and join us at Flights of Foundry.

 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cora is a Hugo Finalist Again!

Hugo Award Logo

As you probably know, the finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards have just been announced. You can watch the announcement video on the DisCon III YouTube channel. I always link to the announcement (and to any other SFF award announcement I can find) in the weekly link round-up, but I normally don't write about the Hugos here at the Speculative Fiction Showcase.

However, this time around I want to make an exception. Because if you take a look at the finalists for the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, you will find – among most excellent company – my name.

Yes, I'm a Hugo finalist for Best Fan Writer again!

I've known about this for about three weeks now (for those who don't know, the Hugo coordinators contact you beforehand to ask if you want to accept the nomination). Indeed, I got the mail from DisCon III about three hours after I posted my Open Letter to the 2021 Hugo Finalists on this blog.

It's a great honour to be a Hugo finalist for the second time and I want to thank everybody who nominated me. I'm also in the excellent company of Paul Weimer, Alasdair Stuart, Jason Sanford, Charles Payseur and Elsa Sjunneson, all of whom are great fan writers.

Unfortunately, DisCon III recently moved their dates to the fourth advent weekend, which is way too close to the holidays for me to attend, even if the German and US government will let me travel. So sadly, I will lose out on my chance to attend the Hugo ceremony in person as well as the reception beforehand and the Hugo Losers' Party afterwards again. That said, I got the full Hugo finalist experience in Dublin in 2019 as the designated accepter for Galactic Journey. But I'm still sad I can't go, though on the plus side I don't have to buy a new evening gown.

I also have a request. Like all Hugo finalists, I will be asked to put together a selection of writings for the Hugo voters packet. And that's why I need your help. Which 2020 articles, essays or reviews of mine should go into the Hugo Voters packet? There is a full list here, so let me know in the comments which ones you think should go into the packet. You can still download my 2020 Hugo Voter Packet for free here BTW.

How can you vote for the 2021 Hugos? I guess pretty much everybody here knows how it works, but for those who don't, it's quite simple. If you buy a supporting membership for DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, you can vote for the Hugo Awards as well as vote to select the location of the 2023 Worldcon. You also receive all of the convention publications and get access to the Hugo Voters' packet, which contains most of the nominated works either in part or as a whole. If you buy a virtual membership, you can also attend the virtual panels and other events online. If you want to attend in person, you'll need an attending membership.

I'll do a detailed analysis of the 2021 Hugo ballot on my personal blog, which will also be linked  in Friday's link round-up. But for now, I just want to say thank you for nominating me.

 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Spelunkers by Cora Buhlert

 

Release date: March 23, 2021
Subgenre: Portal science fiction, Alien contact
 

 About Spelunkers:

 

 During a holiday in Belgium, college students Evan and Matt decide to explore an uncharted cave in the Ardennes. Also along for the ride is Evan’s sister Kate, who has been tasked with looking out for her brother since early childhood.

Deep inside the cave, Kate, Evan and Matt stumble upon a portal to another world. But does this portal represent the greatest adventure of their lives or a terrible danger…?

This is a science fiction short story of 3800 words or approximately 15 print pages.


Excerpt:

 

“I see light ahead,” Matt announced.

“Don’t be silly,” Evan snapped, “We’re some one hundred and forty metres underground. Where should the light come from?”

“He’s right. I see it, too,” Kate said, stumbling after the two men, “Maybe the light is falling in through a crevice or something.”

“It has to be a very deep crevice then,” Evan said, “And one that’s not on any maps.”

“I thought you wanted to explore this cave because so much of it is still uncharted,” Kate snapped at her brother, “So how can you know that there’s not a crevice here that’s not on any maps?”

“Because someone on the surface would have noticed,” Evan countered, “Some idiot hiker would have fallen in or…”

“Uhm, guys, why don’t we just check it out?” Matt suggested, “Then we can see what it is. Cause whatever it is, it’s right ahead.”

Undaunted he went on squeezing through a narrow cleft in the rock. Kate and Evan shrugged and followed.

Evan had always been the explorer type, even as a kid. Once, when Kate was ten and Evan eight, he’d wandered off during a camping trip. Mom and Dad had been in utter panic. They’d yelled at Kate for not watching Evan and then called in the park rangers. The rangers had been very serious and very concerned and were about to send out search parties, when, the next morning, Evan had shown up again as if nothing had happened. He hadn’t been lost, he insisted, just exploring. And besides, he’d spent the night in a cave, which had been a lot of fun and could they maybe do it again.

The fateful camping trip had been the beginning of a fascination with caves for Evan and the beginning of being tasked with looking out for her younger brother for Kate. And that was why she was here today, trudging through a bloody cave in Southern Belgium rather than sitting on the terrace of the hotel enjoying the tasty and potent local beer or browsing the entrancing shops in a place that called itself the villages of books. Because as always, Kate was Evan’s keeper, his babysitter. Even though they were twenty-two and twenty-four by now and definitely adults.

Evan was the one who’d brought Matt along. They’d met in college and bonded over their shared love for caves and lost places. Though at least Matt seemed to be more sensible than Evan, so Kate could delegate some of her babysitting duties to him.

At least that’s what she’d thought until they actually went underground. Because by that point, Matt had become as enthusiastic as Evan, two little boys playing Indiana Jones with zero regard for the danger. And Kate was the lone responsible adult, as usual.

She squeezed through the cleft after Matt and Evan, only to be brought up short when she bumped into her brother from behind, since he’d stopped just in front of the cleft.

“Wow, will you look at this place?” Evan exclaimed.

“Amazing,” Matt whistled, triggering an echo inside the cave.

“Well, maybe you could move your backside, so I can see it, too,” Kate grumbled.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Matt said, though he wasn’t the one who’d blocked her way. He even held out his hand to help her out of the cleft.

So Kate finally got to see what had Evan and Matt so enthralled. And for once, her brother was absolutely right. Cause this place, whatever it was, truly was amazing.

 

 Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple | Google Play | Smashwords | Scribd | DriveThru | Thalia

 

About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey. Cora was a finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award.

 

Website | Mailing list | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTubeISFDB

 



Saturday, April 10, 2021

THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF ALEXA AND SIRI – or “OK, GOOGLE, WHEN AM I GOING TO DIE?” by A.E. Williams

Once again, it gives the Speculative Fiction Showcase great pleasure to welcome occasional guest blogger and essayist, not to mention satirist, A.E. Williams.

As ever. all views expressed are the author's own!


SIRI-OUS STUFF

The other day, I was driving along in the early morning, and I had a thought.

I was reminiscing about this show that used to be on Spike TV™.[1] The host, Stacy David, did a good impression of a smug frat-boy with too much money, an almost likeable personality, (if you were also a frat-boy), and a decent knowledge of automobiles.

He even made it appear that anyone, (including ham-fisted viewers drooling over his immaculate and no-doubt fabulously expensive garage), could easily perform mechanical tasks to tune or improve their vehicular device of choice. Whether a motorcycle, sedan, dump truck, half-track, ATV, boat, or gyrocopter, Stacy made fixing what ailed it look like baking a pie.

He’d have a smudge or two of grease on his forehead when he finished, but his gloved hands still retained their healthy, tanned aura of wealth and vitality.[2]

I digress…

The point is, I was THINKING about this show. I didn’t have anyone else in the car with me, save the many ghosts we all carry as we drive around.[3]

Later, when I returned to the satellite magic of my Internet connection, I was goofing around, and settled on YouTube™. And, as I am scrolling down the page, seeking some additional distraction from the oncoming freight train of viral demise headed all of our ways, I spied the Mach 5© from “Speed Racer®.” [4]

And, so, I clicked on the thumbnail, (as would any red-blooded American who was a boy who was introduced to cultural sensitivity and diversity in such fashion, many decades prior), and, Lo and Behold!

It was Stacy David. Really.

And that is when I became very, very frightened.

Because the social media giants can now obviously read our minds!

What’s next?

Do they know when we are going to the bathroom?

Is that why I get ads popping up for Charmin™ and Preparation-H® when I am on the throne?

Oh, my God!

They DO know everything about me! I mean, us!

Can they…do they know…when we are going to die?

Does Google know when I am going to die?


GOOGLE ME THIS…

Now, insurance companies and financial institutions have been leaning heavily on math and actuaries forever.

In point of fact, life insurance is a bet they make with you.

They bet you that you are going to die. Someday.

And, when you win, you do. Die, that is.

You die, and they pay the beneficiaries a sum of money to make them remember you fondly.

Well, that’s the general idea. But in reality, it’s more like they just pay a small portion of your hard-earned insurance policy that grow the fruits of all those hard-earned premiums you’ve paid, waiting out your miserable existence until you keel over.

The House always wins, as they say. Of course, they do.

They keep your money, and invest it along with all the other people they have guilted into making premium payments, (“You wouldn’t want your poor wife to remain poor, hating you even in death, would you?”), making interest on that pool of premium money. And, every so often they will pay out some outrageous sum to a bunch of people who now have you to thank for dying for them.

Hell, they probably wished you were dead anyway, most of the time. These parasites will now enjoy a far better lifestyle than you could attain while still living, and working.

You become worm-food while your widow is getting railed by a tag-team of your still-living, and incredibly randy, buddies.

Or, maybe your rotting corpse can find solace in your children performing scientific experiments as to how particular narcotics will affect their young bodies.[5]

But all of this is only my way of bracing you for the inevitable:

Google DOES know when you are going to die.

For real.

Here’s how that works –

 

ACTUARIAL MATH – THE NOT-AS-DISMAL-AS-ECONOMICS SCIENCE

There used to be a joke website where you would put your birthday in a couple of fields, and it would tell you how long you would live.

And then, there were these semi-serious medical sites, where you’d input all your sins and frailties, and it would dispense some manner of suggestions, such as “STOP SMOKING!” or “EXERCISE MORE!”

These platitudes made you feel as though you at least were thinking about taking your health seriously.

Along comes these “Healthy Option” meals at fast-food restaurants.[6]

Based on the idea that ‘green is good,’ and ‘red is bad,’ those traffic-light menu choices allow you to fool yourself into thinking you are really getting in high gear, diet-wise.

Coupled with ‘smart’ gym equipment, IoT mini-refrigerators, and app-tied wrist-gadgets, it is a Pure Dee fact that you, (and, by extension, those compatriots of your socially distanced social media circles), are serious about achieving immortality - or at least outliving your grandkids.

Heck, if you have terminal indigestion, you hope to at least be able to upload a reasonable facsimile of yourself into some kind of AI.

Then, you can pester your relatives until cloning dead cells, or rehydrating that urn of cremains, becomes reality.[7]

Soon, it is hoped, miniature submarines, the size of blood cells, and pockmarked with wireless surveillance cameras, and teeny-tiny laser scalpels, will be navigating the lipid-laden, cholesterol-crammed veins and arteries of your genitals, and other extremities, restoring vitality and youth without the need for messy organ-donor sacrifices of Chinese origin.

Still, here we are, not yet achieving the tantalizing future we all so richly deserve.

The Actuarial Tables tell us our life-expectancy is dropping. [8]

We watch the calendar days fall, hour after hour, and waste our lives playing games about zombies, or mock-battles, or participate in other celebrations of death. The droning hum in our brains is briefly quieted by our efforts at exploding our enemies, or watching outlandish recreations of mutilation and carnage, while we sip on celebrity-infused tonics or smoke herbal supplements to try to deaden the realization of the Abyss we all must face.

Am I bringing you down? Sorry, not sorry…

See, I have a point with showing you all this doom and gloom.

You may not find it all that comforting, now that I think about it.

No matter.

Remember, that which does not kill us only delays the inevitable!

 

THE UNBEARABLE DARKNESS OF BEING

So, we have given our data to a networked system of social and consumerist databases. This data includes our names, identity information, shopping and viewing habits, who our friends are, and our vices, likes, dislikes, relationship status and a myriad of other bits and pieces of activities and identifiable artefacts that comprise who we are.

And, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Amazon[9] and all the others ‘share’ this amongst themselves.

Sure, it’s ‘anonymized’: much in the same way that everyone can see it is definitely you throwing up over the side of that fishing boat on YouTube®, even though you are tagged as ‘MonkyBone44’ in the photos kind of anonymized.

So what, right? Everyone does this now. In fact, try to avoid getting facially recognized, even in crowds.[10] It’s impossible. The sheer volume of surveillance is astounding.

Again, so what?

WELL – Actuaries like to take all this ‘anonymized’ data, and merge it together, into what they call BIG DATA, to make huge analysis parties to predict behaviors.

Human behaviors. Yours. Mine. Ours.

And, guess what? They create algorithms to predict and run model scenarios and come up with statistics that will give them a pretty decent idea as to what your lavish, decadent and wanton lifestyle will do to your aging body as fleeting time takes its maddening toll.

 

A TIME FOR ALL SEASONS – OR SOMETHING SOMETHING DEATH AND TAXES

The other evening, as is my wont, I was enjoying an adult beverage, a nice cigar, and the night sky around the North Forty.

The buzzing flies were mostly absent, since it was still cool. Not exactly bonfire cold, but cool enough to think about making one. In the end, I decided that procrastination was the better part of being lazy, so I sat, illuminated only by the glowing ember of my smoke.

I’ve always like H. Upmann’s™. They burn evenly, have a good, mild taste, and last just long enough.

It’s moments such as this that become contemplative. And, when the gods decide to shoot a star across your field of vision, that momentary flash of light can bring thoughts of wishes – or the ever-nearing horizon of oblivion.

For, contrasted against the Universe, we are small, humble and insignificant. And, that pisses me off…

Since my prediction of COVID19[11] has come to pass, people look at me strangely.

I mean, sure, they used to look at me strangely before, too.

But now I notice they have this haunted look, as if they are one small, insignificant, random moment from annihilation. They avoid touching other humans, and scowl when you cough behind your flimsy face covering.

You can feel the terror metastasize when people ‘social distance’ themselves.

For an example, last January I was at Sea World®, and people would stand at least a few yards from me (and, each other).

Everyone was wearing masks.

The poor SW funployees pointed their fingers and cluck-clucked at you if your mask slipped, or you scratched your nose for a second. God forbid you sneezed!

“Please wear your mask for the safety of all of our patrons!” they’d say, smiling beneath their Shamu™ masks with their mouths, one supposes, while their eyes shot sleek, wet, dolphin-shaped daggers. [12]

I wandered about while my daughter and her friend rode the rollercoasters, sipping my lukewarm beer in the Florida sun.

Seeing all these people playing at accepting the ‘new normal,’ I ruminated on the previous times I had been at that same place, marking the changes silently.

What had happened to the Penguin Encounter™? How about the pink flamingo boats?

The Sky Tower© sat ominously vacant. And, why not?

I mean, who dared to ride the “Elevator of Possible Viral Doom?”

Think about that! What an exercise in trust, and staring right into the face of Death by plague!

There you would be, sitting in close proximity to dozens of total strangers, (most of whom were possibly from other countries; it was hard to tell, after all).

Everyone would stare out at the receding landscape as the tower symbolically brought us closer to Heaven, inhaling each other’s miasmas!

All that fear mirrored in everyone’s eyes…

But it was closed. Pity.

I could have used a bit of vicarious Edgar Allen Poe by that point. 

As I meandered the park, it felt positively Victorian; I am telling you!

I was surprised at the lack of Polly Penguin™ Beaked Plague Masks, or Terry Tiger Shark™ Theriac Paste for sale at the vendor’s booths.

Sure, they had Pepsi® Zero soft drinks and Shamu™ Vegan Ice Cream bars by the truckload, but ask some vendor for a decent poultice and you were met with vacant stares.

And, Disney™®© forbid you pull down your mask to make your incoherent mumbles more understood or legible.

“Sir! Please put your mask back on, IMMEDIATELY!” the startled ice-cream huckster would shout. “If you do not comply, we shall be forced to either eject you from the park, or see if we can launch you into the whale pool from the Mako Roller Coaster™!”

As they hissed you could read the secret longing in their dead-fish eyes that you would hesitate just long enough to allow them to act out on their rabid fantasy.

And, you instinctively knew you would not have been the first sacrifice to Poseidon – that day.


THEY CAME FOR THE X-MEN, BUT I WAS NOT A MUTANT

Then, there is the whole Nazi thing, regarding vaccination.

What?

You aren’t being asked to “Show your papers!”?

You have not yet been forced to provide evidence that you have indeed been given the jab in order to access some relatively normal public space?

Don’t worry, my good friend: it’s coming soon to a theater near you!

After all this confusing messaging, the immense angst and boredom of being cooped up, imprisoned in your own ‘home,’ when you walk around at a place like Sea World, you are just finally glad to be out of the confines of your habitat.

Now able to see the sun and smog and whatever, you’re so grateful that Big Brother has deemed it proper and given you ‘permission’ to just exist that you end up loving Him forever and ever.

Until, that is, you suddenly realize that every single person on the planet is really Death incarnate, that vegan Shamu®-popsicle paused just beneath your gaping jaw.

You spy a cute little girl with pigtails. She’s crawling with viral infection, from her rumpled dolly to her penny loafers.

A somewhat curvy woman goes jogging past, her head ensconced in some expensive, scientifically filtered mask, her ample bosom and buttocks bouncing hypnotically. (Hey, she’s been in quarantine for over a year, cut her some slack!) Bet she’s got the COVID!

Then there is the bearded weirdo whose mask is actually a skeletal face stitched onto a bandana. You do know that when he actually eats food, he uses that infernal, stained cloth to wipe infectious grease from his lips, right?

And, that’s just within three yards of the entrance to the Elementary School!

Yep, the Grim Reaper is open for business, and business is BOOMING!

 

KNEEL BEFORE DOOM

“But, A.E.!” you may be thinking. “What can we do?”

Not much.

Personally, I find bourbon helps.

Thanks to the magic of social media and sharing pretty much every inane thing you do, the way you interact with apps, your spending habits, and which sites you frequent, it is possible for the Powers That Be® to figure out just what kind of salami you like, and the probability that you will stop off at the pub for a beer and brat, and how many times a year you will do this.

AND – based on the data you are feeding your FIT-WATCH™, which is beaming all your vital signs to your app, you will get shamed into doing all manner of healthy behaviors!

Like running on a treadmill for forty-five seconds…and then making a beeline for your mini-fridge, where you keep a supply of mildly-flavored carbonated beverages.

As you wipe pretend sweat from your brow, and sip mineral water for five minutes, maybe you find yourself contemplating how many calories you just burned. (One.)

You sit idly, thinking about “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” by the Eurhythmics® for some odd reason.

It’s weird because it’s the song your ex dumped you over, and also because you’ve got Billy Eilish™ playing on your Beats® beaming tuneless noise directly into your aural cortex.

So, you towel off a rivulet of mineral water drool, and walk over to your desk.

Leaning against the burled wood, gasping for breath, tired from pretending that your exertions are in any manner healthy, you ask Siri the most important question any human can ask of anyone, be they Human, God, or A.I.:

“Siri, when am I going to die?”

A few seconds pause, and then comes the answer.

“You are going to die in five,” comes Siri’s mechanical, soothing, artificial voice.

“Five what?”

“Five. Four. Three. Two…”           

Your throat closes with fear as you drop your mineral water, and it bounces across the marble tile floor, coming to rest under an ergonomic chair, the precious fluids draining onto the floor, much as the color is draining from your increasingly pallid face.

Your visage contorted in terror, you manage to find enough breath in your shriveled lungs for a penultimate, plaintive howl of anguish. Your hands rush to the side of your face, Munch-like, and you cry out your final word.

“ALEXA!” you scream, as the Darkness closes in, and you hear your Mother, as near to you as your green bottle of Soylent.

 

BUT DON’T WORRY

You suddenly wake up, damp from the nightmarish dream.

Your heart is pounding, as you turn on the lamp on the stand next to your bed.

Your iPhone glows warmly, as if mocking you.

With a grimace, you flip your finger across in a familiar pattern, unlocking the marvels of this technological wonder.

You quickly glance over the screen, and a single message catches your eye.

“Stacey David/Gearz - Speed Racer's Mach 5”[13]

 

A.E. Williams

High Springs, Florida

March 31, 2021



[1] It still is, but it used to be, too. Thanks, Mitch!

[2] One might imagine him polishing his tool at the end of each episode until it gleamed, tall and tanned and glistening with lube! I wouldn’t, but ONE might…

[3] You know which ones I mean, right? Don’t you ever catch your dead Mother sitting in the empty passenger seat, her pale visage looking sadly at you, shaking her head mournfully, out of the corner of your eye? Her dead eyes wordlessly judge your entire being. You can hear her rattling voice, worn by years of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, directly in your brain, yes?

“Such a disappointment! And to think, nine months and eleven days in my loving womb, and then eighteen years of sacrifice, not to mention those expensive viola lessons! And then you ended up marrying that loser? The bastard who divorced you over his secretary!? I warned you, but you never listened to me, did you? Not even that time I told you that dog biscuits aren’t cookies! Miss Smarty Pants! Look at you now! Yes, I know you FEEL like a man, but you were born with the same bits I was, you tart! Don’t give ME that side-eye! Pay attention to your driving, you almost ran over that squirrel! Possum, squirrel, whatever!” Etc… It’s enough to make you seriously consider seeing how much damage a car can make on a bridge piling at 120 miles per hour, isn’t it? Go ahead. **** her judgmental ass!

[4] You do realize I am just inserting random characters here? Like this

[5] But wait! Soon, you will all be reunited in heavenly bliss! Maybe…

 The family that consumes together combusts together, or something like that. I don’t know. Lucifer won’t speak to me after “Imperious Wrecks.” He blames me for Trump losing the election.

[6] Good God, isn’t THAT an oxymoron! Heads would explode with irony, if only more people knew what irony actually is!

[7] Severed-head cryonics is SO old-school. Older than the term ‘old-school’!

[8] Not just in the poor countries. Heck, those places aren’t even used in calculating these kinds of numbers. Just statistically insignificant!

[9] The symbol insertion is getting tedious. Take it as read that I do it from now on, if I miss any, ok?

[10] I call it ‘getting a facial’, but then again, I am a writer. 

[12] I mean, you’d think I had personally made “Blackfish!”

About A.E. Williams:


A.E. Williams has a unique background of military experience, aerospace engineering and intelligence analysis. He has a varied career, from inventor to consultant, and pretty much everything in between.

Born near Pittsburgh, A.E. Williams is man of a mystery.

As a young man, Williams served the United States government in various capacities, which he then followed with fifteen years as a consultant. Williams currently resides in rural Central Florida.

He does his writing at night, usually accompanied by a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon and a large supply of Classic Dr. Pepper and ice.