IT’S REAL

IMG_5827Had a thing or two what needed correction inside once I took a look at it, but I suspect this is gonna be available in print by early next week, y’all.

Until then?  Just 99 cents as an ebook!

A last stand against ultimate evil. A refugee from outside of time. A corrupt governor and a graveyard of wronged spirits. A technological breakthrough that could change human culture forever, or end it entirely. An executioner listening to a genocidaire’s final statement. And a door, hanging in the air, a door that must never be opened. These and other tales await you within BALREMESH AND OTHER STORIES, a novella-sized collection of short stories and microfictions in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres.

Hundreds-selling, Hugo award-nominated(*), generally-not-as-acclaimed-as-he-feels-he-deserves author Luther M. Siler returns to independent publishing with BALREMESH AND OTHER STORIES, his first new project in nearly two years. His other works include the BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES series, the near-future science fiction novel SKYLIGHTS, and a nonfiction book about teaching, SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA.

(*) Anyone can nominate anyone for a Hugo. It’s like the Nobel prize. He was not a finalist.

In case you ever wondered how lazy I was

I became aware a couple of weeks ago that Dr. Jekyll (and, along with him, Mr. Hyde) appeared in the new Mummy movie.  I have no interest in seeing that movie at all but it reminded me that I’ve never actually read the original book.

Wherever I was when that thought occurred to me, I mentally scanned my bookshelf and decided that I probably already owned a copy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but that I wasn’t sure.  Normally the idea that I don’t know if I own a book is very unusual, but in this case I had a decent reason: at some point several years ago those cheap Barnes and Noble classics editions went really cheap– like $2.50 a book– and I scooped up a ton of them on the assumption that I’d want to read them eventually.  I was pretty certain that DJ&MH was among that list, but I wasn’t sure.

This is a picture of some (yes, some) of the bookshelves in my living room, taken from the perspective of my recliner, which is where I spend a substantial proportion of my time when I’m at home, to the point where my son calls it “Daddy’s chair”:

FullSizeRenderHelpful pink arrows are indicating where the Barnes and Noble editions I was referring to are shelved.  You will note that some of them are behind a rocking chair and a few of the boy’s toys.  Those items were not put into those places for the purpose of this picture; that is where they generally live– meaning that my view of the shelf on the right was blocked from my recliner.  In addition, my eyes aren’t quite good enough anymore to resolve individual titles of the books on that shelf from my chair, although I knew the rough size and color of the spine so I was pretty sure it wasn’t in the bunch on the left.

It took two weeks for me to simultaneously 1) remember that I had been wondering if I had a copy of DJ&MH when I was actually in the house and 2) have the energy to get my lazy ass up out of my chair to go check those books on the right.  There were multiple occasions where the first happened and the second did not.  Multiple.

The answer was yes, by the way.

I see movies

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You like movies, right?  Everybody likes movies.  You may have noticed that they made another movie about that Spider-Man dude recently.

Quick!  Guess if I saw it.

Of course I did.  And I’m pleased to report that I liked it quite a damn lot; I continue to be amazed that Marvel has cranked out something like ten thousand of these movies and I haven’t seen one I disliked yet.  It’s not the best superhero movie of the year– that title belongs to Wonder Woman still, but it’s a solid effort, especially when you consider that there have been like seventeen movies just about Spider-Man in the last fifteen years or so.

Highlights: Tom Holland, Tom Holland, Tom Holland, and Tom Holland.  Also Michael Keaton.  Actually, hell, let’s be honest here: I like the entire damn cast.  There’s just enough Robert Downey Jr– I didn’t want this to have as much Iron Man in it as, say, Civil War did– and he’s got enough screen time that it’s more than a cameo but not a lot more than a cameo, if you know what I mean.  Putting Peter Parker back in high school was the right move, and Tom Holland plays young more than well enough.  Michael Keaton as the Vulture (who, note, is never actually referred to by that name) is the best villain Marvel’s put on-screen since Loki, and I actually really like how low-stakes the film is for most of its runtime; it fits Spider-Man’s role as a street-level hero.  This movie gets the character’s soul completely right, and that’s really important.

One minor gripe: this guy?

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The character’s name is supposedly Ned?  And maybe he’s supposed to be Ned Leeds, although they don’t ever use his last name, and shouldn’t Ned Leeds be a lot older than Peter anyway?  And: nah.  Fuck that.  This isn’t Ned.  This is Ganke, dammit, and I want Miles Morales in a Marvel movie.  Donald Glover plays his uncle Aaron!  He’s out there, dammit!  Quit giving me his friends under weird pseudonyms and his relatives and give me Miles Morales!  

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I also saw this, finally.  You may remember my review of the book of The Girl With All the Gifts: I loved the hell out of it, and it ended up being my second favorite book of 2016.  I actually first heard of the book when I saw the trailer for the movie and it blew me away, and then I waited a year and a goddamn half and the damn movie either never came out in the States at all (I’ve been unable to get a solid answer on this, and believe me, I’ve looked) or got such a limited release that I was never anywhere near a theater that showed it.

Well, good news: Apple to the rescue!  I was able to rent the movie for 24 hours for just 99 cents, and if anything it’s even a bit creepier than the book was– and, remember, I loved the book.  You won’t be able to find this in theaters anywhere, but it’s absolutely worth hunting down if you have any way to stream it.  Read the book, too, while you’re at it.

RIP, Sonya Craig

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Friendship online is such an odd thing.  I have a couple of friends in my Clark Kent identity who I’ve known for damn near fifteen years and who I’ve met once and never, respectively, and I don’t have the slightest idea when those numbers might go up again. We met through the previous incarnation of this blog, over at Xanga, and at the moment I can honestly say that the only reason I’m still on Facebook is so that I can keep track of the two of them.  I have a handful of other friends who I lost track of after college and reconnected with– again, on Facebook– and for at least one of them I think we actually have a closer relationship now than we did back then.  But I never see any of them.

And making friends as Luther is even weirder, right?  Because the vast majority of you don’t even know my real name.  I’ve got this network of people, mostly bloggers or independent authors, who I interact with a lot on Twitter and a bit less on Facebook and on the blog.  I consider a lot of them friends, but the thing is people have Real Lives outside of their online personas (well, I don’t.  I’m told people do, though.) and sometimes they just get busy or change jobs or move and their priorities change and suddenly someone you interacted with on a daily or near-daily basis has just gone poof and you don’t know why, and sometimes you don’t even notice for a few weeks, in a way that would never ever happen with people you know in the real world.

And sometimes you log into Facebook and you find out through the grapevine that someone’s depression finally caught them after a lifetime of struggle, and that person is gone, and you don’t really know how to react to it.  Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.30.25 AM (2).png

“Follows @nfinitefreetime,” it says there.  Were I not connected to her on Facebook, too, I’d never have known she was gone.  It’s not like Twitter is going to notice and unfollow me on her behalf, right?  There was an outpouring of grief among our little sci-fi indie community last night on Facebook and Twitter; I retweeted a bunch of them on my account, or you could just check the #thankyousonya hashtag if you like.  There were tons of posts, and the amazing thing, to me, was just how many of the people participating were also people I “knew” and considered friends the same way I did Sonya.  She was at the center of a big group of people online, and we were all reacting the only way we could.

I don’t really know her, is the thing.  I don’t know her family, or her RL friends, or what she liked to do with her time other than write and hang out with yahoos on the internet.  I know she had a cat, named Fang, who was frequently the subject of tweets and Instagram postings.  I don’t know where Fang is right now.  I hope he’s okay.  I know that she was the type of person who created random meme pictures for people she’d never met on their birthdays, which is where that picture up at the top came from.  (My Twitter bio at the time referred to me as a friend to muskrats.)

And yet.

I wish I could have been there for her, when she was suffering, to point out all these people whose lives she’d touched and would miss her when she was gone.  But I never did.  Part of the reason why?  I know people online who are struggling with anxiety and depression and the insane thing is I wouldn’t have listed her as one of them.

I dunno, guys.  I don’t know how to end this because I don’t know how I feel right now.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel like suicide is their best option.  And I want to say something like “If you feel that way, know that you can reach out, even to a relative stranger online,” but the fucked-up part of depression is that that information doesn’t matter and it’s not that simple.  She’d probably had people she knew in the real world tell her that, people who she’d actually recognize if they walked past her at the grocery store, not rando authors behind an @ on Twitter.  And she took her own life anyway, because that’s how depression fucks with you, because it’s a disease, not a goddamn personal failure, and you can’t help it.

God damn it.

You will be missed, Sonya.  I can only hope that you’ve found some peace.