Saturday, March 28, 2015

Myths of "Fight Club": The Homemade Silencer

This will be a series about Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. The novel is famous for the popular movie adaptation, but also for the numerous anarchist "recipes" provided in the text. Throughout the book, the narrator and Tyler Durden provide various tips and methods for everything from making nitroglycerin to how to make a silencer. Palahniuk has claimed he carefully researched all of them and apparently a lot of people believe him. I'd like to set the record straight: Fight Club is full of lies. Today, we'll talk about his "homemade silencer."

"With my tongue I can feel the silencer holes we drilled into the barrel of the gun. Most of the noise a gunshot makes is expanding gases, and there's the tiny sonic boom a bullet makes because it travels so fast. To make a silencer, you just drill holes in the barrel of the gun, a lot of holes. This lets the gas escape and slows the bullet to below the speed of sound. You drill the holes wrong and the gun will blow off your hand."

Friday, March 13, 2015

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett, Author of Discworld

Terry Pratchett 2005.JPG
On March 12, 2015, Terry Pratchett died of a severe chest infection. Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. I always thought of him as the fantasy equivalent of Douglas Adams, a comic genius who perfectly lampooned as well as explored the boundaries of his genre. He's best known for his Discworld series, which is made up of about 40 volumes. I admit, I didn't read all of them. I read Pratchett's first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, and all his other Discworld novels up until Mort. My loss of interest in fantasy had more to do with me than him, but I still have fond memories of his books. But he continued long after I lost track of the series, and went on to write other works at the average of two books a year.

He was an amazing author by any standard. He was the UK's best-selling author of the 1990s, and sold more than 85 million books worldwide. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and was knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001, he won the annual Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first Discworld book marketed for children. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010.

His later years were not so pleasant. In December 2007, Pratchett announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease. He wanted to commit suicide, but ultimately died of natural causes.

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett. You brought joy and wonder to the world.

[Image source "Terry Pratchett 2005". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.]

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

100-Word Scifi: "Sucker Punch"

It's been a while, but it's back. I occasionally write hundred-word stories based on a random word. Today's word is "spike."
Sucker Punch
By Nigel G. Mitchell

Buddy Norton snickered as he poured the contents of the flask into the punch bowl. He jerked as a hand clapped onto his shoulder belonging to Principal Stern.

"Spiking the punch," Stern snarled. "A new low for you, Buddy. But wait, that's not alcohol. What is that?"

Buddy shrugged. "Found it in my dad's liquor cabinet. Thought it was beer."

Screams filled the school auditorium as the students and faculty began to sprout fur, claws, tails, and tentacles.

The monster wearing Principal Stern's suit and now holding Buddy's shoulder scowled with three eyes, and snarled, "It's detention for you, Buddy."

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

7 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels By Authors of Color Coming in 2015

Science fiction and fantasy are two genres typically associated with white males, but that's slowly changing. Minorities are growing among the ranks of genre writers, and introducing their unique perspective. Our Lady of Black Scifi created this list of Science Fiction & Fantasy novels written by writers of color that will be coming out in 2015. While by no means comprehensive, it's a great start.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (7th of April, 2015) Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (5th of May, 2015) A prequel to World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death. Phoenix is raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an accelerated woman, only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human.

Apex by Ramez Naam (5th of May, 2015) In the concluding volume of the Nexus trilogy, mankind has evolved. They call them the Apex—humanity’s replacement. They’re smarter, faster, better. And infinitely more dangerous. 

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu (7th of July, 2015) In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (4th of August, 2015) In a world that has suffered frequent, repeated Extinction Level Events for millions of years, and all life (and magic) in this world has adapted to it, Essun must fight to save her daughter at the risk of breaking herself.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (April 2015) The story of two teenagers fighting to survive under the Empire’s brutal, militaristic regime, which has outlawed reading among the once-powerful Scholar class; the Scholars live under the oppression of the Martials, who silently assassinate insurgents.

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (14th of July, 2015) After an alien ambassador’s arrival outside Lagos, Nigeria is leaked via YouTube, it’s up to a famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier to handle First Contact and prevent mass extinction.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"The Girl Who Played With the Dragon Tattoo's Nest" is a Featured Story on Wattpad

Just a heads-up that my parody, The Girl Who Played With the Dragon Tattoo's Nest is a featured story on Wattpad. You can read it with their sweet story widget.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"The Boy Next Door" Made The Dumbest Book Blunder Ever

(Jennifer Lopez/Universal Pictures)
Wow, there is a real shortage of English literacy in this world. The best evidence came recently from The Boy Next Door, the Jennifer Lopez thriller about a teacher who has an affair with her student. I haven't seen it, but apparently in one scene, Lopez's character is given a "first edition" of The Iliad.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang"

ChittyChittyBangBang.jpg
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I admit, I was first inspired to read it from the 1960's movie of the same name. I just discovered October 2014 was its fiftieth anniversary, so here's some trivia as a delayed memorial for the occasion.

1. Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series of novels.

2. Fleming would often tell his son Caspar a bedtime story about a wondrous car every night.

3. While recovering from his second heart attack, Fleming was encouraged by a friend to write his bedtime stories into a book. Chitty is the only children's book he ever wrote.

4. Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was inspired by Chitty Bang Bang, a series of customised Mercedes built and raced by Count Louis Zborowski in the 1920's. Zborowski allegedly named his cars after the noises the engines made.

5. Chitty-Chitty's flying ability was inspired by the aerodynamic designs of Zborowski's cars, which incorporated parts from zeppelins.

6. Jemima Pott, the daughter of the main character, is named after the daughter of Fleming's previous employer.

7. Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was originally serialized in the Daily Express newspaper in five episodes over the course of a week, from October 19-23, 1964.

8. The original manuscript had a recipe for fudge that, in real life, wasn't good. Fleming's editors spent a whole day trying different fudge recipes to make a better one.

9. Fleming died of a third and final heart attack two months prior to the book's publication.

10. In 2011 and 2012, author Frank Cottrell Boyce wrote two sequels in the collection, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time.

Image source: "ChittyChittyBangBang". Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.'

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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

There are a lot of different elements that go into a story. This infographic, designed by James R. Harris, is a collection of story elements collected from TVTropes arranged in a periodic table.

You can view an interactive version at his website. You can also buy a print at his DeviantART site

[Via ebookfriendly.com]

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Friday, February 6, 2015

"The Girl Who Played With the Dragon Tattoo's Nest" is Free and Finished

My parody of Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played With the Dragon Tattoo's Nest, is finished. It actually ended up a full novella, covering the entire length of the novel. I might expand and publish it as an ebook later on, but you can enjoy it in all its Swedish glory at Wattpad right now for free.

And there's still time before February 15 to pre-order my next novel Seizure for only 99 cents.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Preorder My Next Novel, "Seizure" For Only 99 Cents!

As I said in my last post, I'll be releasing my next thriller Seizure on February 15, 2015. New info, I'm going to be trying out the new pre-order feature on Amazon for it. Right now, you can order it for only 99 cents. Once it's released, the price will go up to $2.99, so this is a good chance to get it at a reduced price.

Here's the description:
When Kent Reynolds' closest friend dies of a fatal seizure, he thinks it's just another tragedy in his life, like the death of his wife years earlier. But as more people die the same way, he uncovers a horrifying conspiracy. Someone has found a way to make computers trigger lethal seizures in anyone who uses them. And it's spreading around the world. Kent must race to find the truth behind the murders and stop them before the Internet becomes a weapon to wipe out Mankind.
Click here to pre-order Seizure for 99 cents today!

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