A Surprise Written in Mud

I received a free copy of the January/February 2019 copy of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine from my friend and mentor, Bill Wu. He autographed his story in this issue, personalized for me. It was a surprise “Written in Mud” on two levels. If you have a chance, grab a copy. This Tall Tale is worth it. “Written in Mud” is the story of four friends who try to figure out how they are going to survive after fraking for shale oil in Oklahoma caused massive earthquakes along the Humboldt fault in Kansas and the New Madris fault in Missouri. The friends are on what used to be a farm belonging to one of them. It is now the shores of Kansas. These four friends try to find a new occupation. They make a trip upriver and discover that the answer to their dilemma was…well, you’ll have to read it. Not only did Bill not give me any warning that he sent this to me, he didn’t tell me the story existed. It’s arrival was a Christmas surprise gifted to me without any expectations or obligations. This story is especially delightful to me because it contains a lot of nuggets or […]

The Story Planted A Seed

Today, I wanted to share a very short essay on how reading can grow into something unique for each of us. I call it, The Story Planted A Seed. There was once a girl who read a story And it was as if the story planted a seed inside her. She nurtured the seed and it germinated.    The girl read many more stories And her imaginary garden blossomed with colorful, many-petaled, and sweet-scented ideas. The ideas grew and grew until she had so many seeds she had to plant her own. In the fertile ground of her imagination story flowers sprang up between rocks and weeds and choking vines. So she read books and books and books and she took classes and she did Immersion and she found mentors and she wrote. Ye, gods, she wrote hundreds of thousands of words. Something flowered inside…a jumble of ideas came together and grew into a new idea. She pruned and watered and fed the idea. The story grew and twisted and turned and wormed its way onto the pages And a book was born. And readers came and read her story. In the readers’ imaginings, a seed is planted and the reader […]

20 Reasons Why You Love Reading Dystopian Novels

Dystopian novels are very popular these days. Have you thought about why they are so popular? Why do we choose to be entertained by dark worlds where it’s kill or be killed? I have pondered those questions. In my research, I didn’t go to the psychiatrists and academic sites to find out why. I went to the readers. 20 Reasons Why We Love Dystopian Novels They feel honest because we know politicians, military people, and corporate moguls are capable of doing awful things. Dictatorship, revolution, and counterrevolution usually cause severe physical and psychological damage to the victims and other participants.  We admire the best dystopian novels because they’re written well and depict people we can relate to. It fascinates us how some characters react bravely and some react cowardly or with resignation to the terrible situations they face. As readers, we rubberneck to see the misery; we can’t avert our eyes even as we’re enraged by what despots and other vicious officials are doing to citizens. We wonder if rebels and other members of the populace can somehow remake a wretched society into something more positive. The questions of who will survive and who won’t keep us reading.  We might […]