Nazi Vaccine

If you are worried about Nazism, or fascism, I have a vaccine for that. It’s the same one that our parent’s generation used to great effect. I’m afraid that you won’t like it though. Ready?

Get involved in public education somehow at some level. Demand that Rhetoric, History, and Critical Thinking are taught as *mandatory* classes once again at the high school level. Let the School boards worry about something other than ‘if bare midriff shirts are disruptive.’

You see, the Constitutional Founders had faith that if the public was well-educated they wouldn’t be attracted to puerile philosophies like Nazism. It turns out to be true. The bad thing, by some reckoning, is that they aren’t attracted to puerile philosophies like Capitalism or Communism either. A well- educated, literate population is rascally like that.


Ok, it’s been a week since the U.S. elections. I usually don’t make political posts, I mostly want to sell my books, but the times call for it, I think.  I’ve wanted to just sit with the notion that Trump was declared the winner for awhile. I have heard the wailing of my friends going on about how terrible it is that Trump got elected, and that this shows that American liberals are living in a bubble and need to pay attention to the ‘Good People ™’ of the Midwest.  You know, the salt of the earth types who ‘won it for Trump.’ First off, I grew up in the Midwest, and it’s not the ‘liberals’ who are in a bubble, it’s those ‘Good People™,’ the Left wants to emulate.

Want an example? In my little town, everyone was Caucasian except one family, who were mixed Indian and Mexican. They were Good People ™ too; everyone who knew them knew that.  The man worked for the town, and the children were all clean and well behaved. I was another mixed child, but I was also Good People™ because everyone knew my maternal family, and well, *it* happened in the best of families, didn’t it?  I was told many times how lucky I was that my Caucasian step-father accepted me, the strange little dark-haired and dark complexioned kid. No, the trouble came when a true outsider family came to live there. They were white which was good, but they were—Catholic, which was an unknown. People didn’t know if they would be Good People ™ or not. Keep in mind, that the denizens of my little town would not call themselves ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted.’ Hell, just look at how they allowed their children to play with the Catholic children before they knew they were Good People ™, and they let me and Lupe buy at the local stores didn’t they? How dare you call them racist?

But they don’t want Black people moving into town.  The TV says that they are all thieves and rappers, and who needs that?  They don’t want people with odd religions moving in either. I mean, the Catholics turned out ok, but You Never Know. Ah yes, when confronted with the uncomfortable or the unknown the Good People ™ of my little town wag their heads wisely, and say ‘Well, You Never Know.’  Code phrases for “iffy’, ‘let it be’ or “bury it, but let’s not talk about it.’

These are the people who voted for Trump.  These people are not ‘rednecks’ or ‘evil’; they just live in a bubble, a comfortable one. No, the evil ones are the carnival barkers who nod right back and say, “Yep, You Never Know! Give me $20.00, and I’ll make you safe from that Stranger over there!” thereby making the towns people’s worst fears true, and, incidentally getting them to dig for that $20 bill. These evil people are selling their fear back to them, claiming that only they will make the world safe for the denizens of my little town, thus getting rich off it. Now they’re getting elected off it.

I guess I hold to the values that I learned from my little Midwest town. That everyone deserves the right to live and love as they want to, provided it hurts no one else.  That one has the right to make a decent livelihood, and think about God however they want to. Those values that make me a ‘liberal’ outside the Midwest Bubble.  

I grew up with those Trump voters, and am certain that when those Good People ™ find out that the carnival barkers that are screaming “Fear your neighbor’ do not have the answers to keep them truly safe and prosperous, the Good People™ will be Pissed Off. Much like the protesters on my street right now. The ones chanting ‘Not my President.’ You see, I don’t think that what has the protesters angry is Trump, the man, so much as what he says and does. The carnival barker routine, the one that divides people, degrades them and makes them scared.  Granted, it has made him and his cronies very rich and very successful.  Now, though, that said Trumpster and company are in the wheelhouse of government, all I can say is that they need to change their tune real fast.  Or Well, You Never Know.




Appearing at Seattle Steamposium!

I will be reading from my new novel Alien Devices at The Seattle Steamposium at the Washington State Convention Center on Saturday afternoon,  9/24.  We’ll be giving away  signed copies of the Wind Dancer novel to three lucky individuals that sign up. So come on down, see the international Steampunk community in Seattle, and maybe win a free book! For more information:

See you there!

To buy Alien Devices:


Appearence at Westercon 69

It’s official! I will be appearing at Westercon 69 in Portland, OR. The weekend of the 4th of July. My schedule so far includes my reading from my works at 3:00 PM Saturday and being on a panel about Steampunk, Multiculturalism and Gender on Sunday from 2 to 3 PM.

So, come to a great Convention, see me, and maybe buy one of my books. (I’ll even sign it for you!)

Why Steampunk?

I was recently told that my Owen Strong Mysteries are not ‘Steampunk’. One:  because the characters use Magia, or Magic as we call it. Two: because this ability imbues the worlds technology and so on, so there is very little ‘steam powered’. Three:  the dating system is taken from the Roman cult of Mithras, so 1895 Ano Mithre rather than 1895 A.D. There is no Christian religion in Strong’s world. They had other issues as well, but at least they offered me their feedback which I love.

While these are all interesting arguments, I must assert that the novels do belong in the Steampunk Genre which is a very broad umbrella indeed. While the world is imbued with magic, it matters to the story about as much as steam power does to Doyle. While magic informs the world our characters are in, it is still the 1800’s only in many ways a *better* century than the one that informs our modern world so much. Our social attitudes towards, race, women’s equality, sexuality, politics, et al. all it can be argued formed in the 1800’s. This to me is the allure of Steampunk, that we can create a different, a better society with all the romance and mystery that the age entails. What do you think? Let me know! If you haven’t yet read an Owen Strong Mystery, Might I recommend this:



Hello Gentle Reader,

Well July certainly was a month.  Besides getting the first Steampunk Magia omnibus of three Owen Strong and Jinhao novels published. I also was a guest reader at GearCon in Portland OR. It was my first GearCon.  Stephen and his staff were both very helpful and very professional to a bewildered author far from home. Thank you everyone, I look forward to next year!

On a more personal note, we managed to finally get the side yard at our home  turned into a courtyard with red brick paving, a large table and chairs with a big sun umbrella. As long as the weather holds good, I’ll be spending most of my days out here. If you’ve ever lived in the Pacific Northwest, you know exactly how rare it is that we can hang in the sunshine. I intend to enjoy it while I can.

If you haven’t yet, I want to remind you that the collection of three Owen Strong novels in one volume, entitled Strong Mystery, is available through Amazon as either a digital or a physical trade paperback here:

If you have bought it already, my deepest thanks. If you could please find a moment to review it on either Amazon, or the Goodreads site, consider the thanks doubled. I also love to hear from you– what you liked as well as what you didn’t like in the stories is incredibly valuable to me.

Until next time!

Supreme Court of the United States affirms equality under the Constition

Today the SCOTUS pronounced that under the Constitution of these United States, all are equal under those same laws, no matter who or how they love. I find it interesting that they cited the 14th Amendment to that same Constitution as the foundation for their decision. The 14th Amendment was created after the American Civil War as an answer to the notion that the different ‘races’ (ie., those that look different than what the society says are the ‘best’) should be treated differently by society. The 14th Amendment is a resounding slap in the face to this notion and every mean, petty notion of non-equality like it. It is an appeal to what is best in us as human beings, and so affirming it is a victory for all of us.

Cynicism Is A Cheat

So the other day I was at one of my favorite local bookstores when I saw a children’s book on display:
Tom Swift and His Polar-Ray Dynasphere. I looked on the inside cover and there is a lovingly done line drawing of Tom Swift Jr in a typical teenagers room., wearing a typical teenagers pullover, jeans, and sneakers sans socks. The thing is he’s looking out a window that shows the earth revolving below him with a rocket ship passing by. Very cool. It made me sad though. I have to ask why don’t we write books like that anymore? Books full of hope and ideas/ideals for tomorrow?

I believe that you can point to the popularity of the works of Phillip K. Dick and the other ‘Dystopian’ genre writers of the 1980’s as being the start of it. Suddenly, grim gritty cynical noir-style prose was in high regard, and even higher sales. Soon every story had to have either a broken protagonist or a crumbling dysfunctional civilization. Bonus points if your story had both, it was much more likely to see print as publishers tastes gave way to the money people who were only concerned with their bottom line.
Why did such themes become popular? Lots of people make their living out of answering such questions. I shall not try to second guess them. I will just say things like climate change, the hatred of science, the Mideastern wars, and social injustices are enough to make anyone turn to cynical answers.
Now, I love my dystopian noir-style writings, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I would have to say that my own writing has definitely been influenced by them. But I think we both as a society and as a group of science fiction writers have gone too far in that direction.
I once asked a British friend what he thought the biggest difference was between Americans and Britons.
He said that he had seen repeatedly that Americans simply believed that if they got together in a large enough group, then worked out a plan, they could change anything. His face took on a look of wonder and he then said, “And you know, you can!”
I believe we are in danger of losing that ideal that to the hip, worldly-wise cynical reply.
For the first time since 1963, American space efforts have to pay for a ride on the vehicles of other nations. We are told by our leaders and in our genre, to dream small, that there is no frontier, no age of miracles. This, even while it is announced that there is a vaccine for lung cancer that has been developed by one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.
There is a disconnect at work here. I have seen it among every political and social philosophy as well as in the genre fiction in every country in the first world. I believe that its cure lies in us daring to dream again. Daring to write the stories that tell us that we can.

Such stories I would argue can still fulfill the current artistic need to be also social commentary. Just look at the works of Gene Roddenberry for example. Such stories do not have to be whitewashed, or Polly Anna like. This is a need that we desperately have at this moment in time, because cynicism for all its protective glaze encourages us to not care, to not be invested in the future. A future that we need to invest in, given climate change, the hatred of science, and social injustices. And for those reasons alone, cynicism is a cheat.

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