The Foggy History of Friday the 13th

In our modern age of relative enlightenment, many treat Friday the 13th the same way as they would International Talk Like a Pirate Day; by posting some amusing memes on social media and injecting it into their small-talk around the water cooler or coffee maker.

The history of the day is shrouded in the past like so many lurking monsters waiting to pounce from the shadows. There have been put forth several theories on the origins, but most fall apart under deeper scrutiny.


Ray Bradbury: The Man who Burned all the Books

Ray Bradbury (AUG 22, 1920 – JUN 5, 2012) was a prolific author who is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, in addition to writing several film and television screenplays. His work helped shape the burgeoning genre of science fiction. He was awarded a Pulitzer Citation in 2007 for his “distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”


Cosmic Horror: A Study of the Unknowable

As part of this week’s celebration of the launch of Parting the Veil, I wanted to expand on my genre studies series and share my own research into the genre of cosmic horror. In this article I explore not only the definition of the genre, but take a deep dive into its origins with the life and work of H.P. Lovecraft. We also get a glimpse of what the genre stands for today, and the lasting social and literary impact of Lovecraft’s creations.

Science Fiction Genres – Part One

Interstellar space travel, alien invasions, nuclear holocaust, and futuristic computers; what do all of these thing have in common? They are all elements found within science fiction literature.  We looked at the history of science fiction in our last installment.  Many works of science fiction fit nicely into a well established set of sub-genres, while others defy classification in their uniqueness.  We already looked at several types of science fiction in our article on the ‘Punk genres (such as Cyberpunk,) but there are many more to discuss.  In this installment in our genre studies series, I will be covering some of the broad classifications used to define works of science fiction literature.


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Everything ‘Punk!

Our article on the ‘Punk genres, such as cyberpunk and steampunk, is now availbable.

CLICK HERE to read the full article!

Like a mechanical octopus rising from the deep, the various ‘punk genres of speculative fiction can be surprising, amusing, and frightening!  The ‘punk genres often blur the lines between different types of speculative fiction.  They also share a lot of common themes, such as antiauthoritarianism and disestablishmentarianism.  The commonality of these themes is largely responsible for the use of the word “punk” in their names.  The views expressed in early cyberpunk works – which birthed the entire movement – reflected those of the punk subculture of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

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Also, don’t forget to check out my articles exploring the history and sub-genres of fantasy literature HERE, and be sure to follow the page and myself for updates on my upcoming series on the science fiction genre!

Follow me on Twitter here!

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The Fantasy Genre: Part 2

The second part of our series exploring the fantasy genre is now available!

In this second section of a three-part journey, I’ll be examining each of the major sub-genres of fantasy more closely.  In the first part, we looked at the history and evolution of the fantasy genre as a whole.  This time, we will be focusing more on the content and differences of the four major sub-genres of fantasy literature.  In the third part, we will explore the more niche sub-genres and sub-sub-genres that tackle very specific themes.

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Join me next for part three of The Fantasy Genre, where we will continue to explore the sub-genres of fantasy literature.  This next installment will look at the more specifically defined subgenres such as urban fantasy, flintlock fantasy, and dark fantasy.  See you again soon!

Global Tensions


Missile contrails over Damascus, courtesy of NBC news.

Given that this website is a platform for my career as a fiction author, I tend to avoid speaking out about current events.  Considering the gravitas of today’s events, however, I feel that opening dialogues about what is happening is the only responsible thing to do.

For those who may not be caught up, I will briefly overview the events leading up to our current crisis.  Syria has been embroiled in a civil war for seven years.  The official government, referred to as the Assad Regime, has been fighting against political rebels.  Also, Kurdish groups in the North of Syria have unofficially split off and declared independence.  Finally, ISIS has been fighting to carve out their own “Caliphate” in lands traditionally held by Syria and Iraq.  Backing the Assad Regime, Iran and Russia are involved.  Turkey has also backed some rebel groups, but also has taken military actions against the Kurdish faction.  Backing the rebels, the U.S. has been a major player.  On April 4, 2017 there was a chemical weapon attack on the rebels by the regime, which elicited a military response from the Trump administration.  For more detail, the video below (c/o Vox) is a great summary of the events up to that point.

Fast forward to March 4, 2018.  A former Russian intelligence officer and current British spy was attacked in Salisbury, England.  The method of the action was use of a nerve agent called Novichok, a chemical weapon developed in the soviet era U.S.S.R.  The government of the United Kingdom made claims that the Russian government was involved in the attacks, and as a result they expelled Russian diplomats from the U.K., supported by similar actions by 28 other nations.  Russian officials denied involvement.   Read more on this here. (c/o Wikipedia)

On April 7, 2018 another chemical weapon attack took place in Syria.  This event occurred in Douma, near the Syrian capitol of Damascus.  Over 70 people have died in the attack, with many more ill or injured as a result.  Testing of the victims has revealed a mixture of nerve agents and chlorine gas were used.  The event in Douma has been condemned by the international community.  Russia has alleged that Great Britain orchestrated the attack in response to the Salisbury poisoning to manufacture justification for action against the Assad regime.  British officials have denied these claims.

Following these actions, several resolutions were put forward in the United Nations Security Council in the interest of establishing independent investigations into the attack in Douma.  Russia used their power of veto to deny any such endeavor.  The security council consists of 15 member nations, five of which hold permanent seats.  These are held by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, China, and the Russian Federation.  Only these five nations may exercise the power to veto a security council resolution.  The other ten seats are elected positions held for two-year terms.

This morning, a joint strike was carried out by military forces of the United States, Great Britain, and France.  Russia was warned of the strikes before they happened, although they were not given information on specific targets.  Russian and Iranian forces on the ground in Syria were specifically avoided by the strikes. This combined strike involving missiles launched from naval platforms  and manned aircraft struck out at three targets considered to be involved in the research, production, storage, and distribution of Syrian chemical weapons.  Over 100 cruise missiles were launched against these targets.

U.S. officials, including President Trump, have claimed that the attacks were a success.  Both Syrian and Russian leaders claim that the majority of the missiles were intercepted by an air defense grid installed by Russia on Syrian soil.  According to the Syrian government-sponsored television station, three civilians were killed by a missile strike that missed it’s intended target.  An alleged chemical weapon research facility in the capitol of Damascus was one of the targets, but this is being referred to by the Syrian government as an education and research facility.   More on all of this can be found here, c/o The Sun.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the allied air strike on Syria.  This meeting is to take place at 3pm GMT at the U.N. in New York City.  What happens next in regards to this crisis depends upon the events of this meeting.  The world in which we live may very well change over the next few hours.

As a former member of the United States Army Chemical Corps, I have received thorough training and education involving chemical weapons.  I can say that the effect that chemical weapons have on the human body is nothing short of horrific.  Experiencing such an attack can be considered among the most frightening and painful experiences imaginable.  Any use of such an indiscriminate and inhumane weapon is an atrocity, and this is a fact that no sane person would argue against.  Be it against a military or a civilian target, the use of chemical weapons has been condemned by the international community as a criminal action since the end of World War I.

There is no doubt that some sort of reaction to the chemical weapon attack on Douma was required.  Whether the action that occurred this morning was the best course of action, or the only option, is still under debate.  What consequences will occur because of this retaliation is left to be seen.  The end result of the crisis in Syria may only be determined by future historians.  As of now, we can only hope for a peaceful resolution.