Hard Luck Hank

I’ve decided that I’m going to use this blog more, so here we go.

 

Just finished reading Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy by Steven Campbell. It’s a bit of a genre mash-up with science fiction, noir, superhero, and comedy all lending tropes to the story. But mostly it falls under the under appreciated science fiction sub-genre of “dumb assholes in space.”

Hank is a gang negotiator on a space station that seems to be mostly populated by criminals (indeed later in the novel Hank expresses some shock that there are honest citizens living on the station.) He’s actually fairly good negotiator even though he is a self described bully and thug. This is mostly to do with him having a mutation that renders him bulletproof, so he can keep negotiating after somebody shoots him in the face. This happens regularly throughout the novel, it’s kind of a running gag.

He’s definitely a simple man, but he possesses a shrewdness that not even he really acknowledges. However this is what often what saves his life throughout the book because despite being (somewhat) indestructible Hank’s mediocre in a fight. It’s his general ability to listen to both sides of an argument and to not quit that make him effective, and it’s his dry sense of humour and casual sociopathy that make him entertaining.

Now for the rest of the plot… it doesn’t really matter. It’s not the most tightly plotted novel but in this case I’d say that’s ok because the real charm of the book lies in Hank as a character. Most of the novel involves hank lumbering from bizarre character or circumstance to other bizarre character or circumstance. While the threads are connected the story doesn’t really follow a traditional structure and it’s much more about the journey than the destination.

It may not be a particularly enlightening read, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it and I was quite happy to see that there were two other books in the series with another on the way.

Final Score: 6 Criminal Space Stations out of 7 Exploding Robots

Published!

For those of you that don’t know I have received a publishing contract for my first novel Artificer (formerly Archon) from My Ink Books. It will be published primarily as an eBook and that’s about all of the information that I have at this time.

Weekly Update

No shut up I totally do these things weekly.

I am still waiting to hear back from the latest in my long line of potential publishers. If I didn’t tell the people that read this blog I made it past the initial reader at a publisher a bit more than a month ago and am waiting to hear how it goes.

I am also, despite all appearances, working on the next episode of the Investigators’ Club. This next one’s a bit different and focuses on a character that we haven’t seen before, but it ties into a lot of what I hinted at last time, however long ago that was. A while, it was a while.

Exactly a while.

Anyways. Here a Dinosaur Comic that perfectly encapsulates how I feel about Monopoly.

http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=1944

Chapter 6 Posted.

I’ve finally got the sixth chapter of the Investigators’ Club up, for people just checking in. This one took a lot of work to get done but I think that it paid off in the end.

On an unrelated note my attention has been drawn to a self published Space Opera series called Spinward Fringe about… I don’t know yet but you can get the first three books for free here. It has something to do with space combat and space fighters in space and more importantly the first three books are free so if you’re looking for something to read over the holidays then you don’t have anything to lose.

Updates

Hey there everybody. Haven’t posted on here in a bit. I’m still waiting on my submission to Harper Collins, there’s still a few days left and after that I will look at submitting to various literary agents.

As for the next episode of the Investigators’ club I am working on it but I’ve run into a few difficulties. I hope to have it up sometime this week. I’m also working on some short stories that I might want to submit to magazines or websites.

All in all I’m still writing and still working on my various projects. I hope to have some good news soon. If that’s that I’m being published or if I just get the next Investigators’ club done I’ll be happy.

Submissions.

I’ve just submitted my novel to Harpercollins’ Voyager Open Submission Funtime All-In SEXSTRAVIGANZA!*

Now we play the waiting game, or more specifically now I finish up that damned cliffhanger that I’ve been leaving all of you with. On top of that I’m hoping to get back to the weekly schedule I maintained for all of three weeks before.

*Some of that title may have been made up by me

More Delays and Oportunities

‘Kay, so. Big cliffhanger on the last episode for the Investigators’ Club. Unfortunately you guys are going to have to wait for a bit for the resolution, because I’ve kind of stumbled into an opportunity.

From October 1st through to the 14th Harper Collins’ speculative fiction imprint Voyager is going to be accepting submissions from first time authors for the first time in more than a decade. That means me, and that means I need to get Archon ready.

Delays and News

Hello everybody! I’m sorry to say that there is not going to be a new episode of the Investigators’ Club this week. I know. I’m sad about it too. I’m so sad I’m going to use a smiley, or should I say a frowny. Here it goes: :’(

You see? He’s even crying about it a little. That is how sad he is. But I have a good and exciting reason. I recently submitted my steampunk adventure novel Archon to a publisher! And they got back to me in two days! To say that it was being rejected!

Wait, that last one isn’t exiting. In fact I would say that it calls for another frowny. :(

Anyways, this weekend I’m going to be mostly working on Archon, which I have been neglecting for some time. The Investigators’ club has always been a side project for me but I will return to it soon, possibly for a double update next week but don’t hold me to that.

Another problem with updating this weekend is that I am way out at my cabin and our internet isn’t working. I’m only able to post this with the help of a neighbor who has unsecured wifi. Also I’m writing it late at night and my screen is attracting moths.

Still, hoping that my next submission goes better and that I get that next episode to you soon.

Investigators’ Club

So since I have this blog I thought I might talk a bit about what I’ve largely been working on for the past few weeks. The two stories that hopefully you have read and the third one that is a work in progress, the investigator’s club.

Mostly this started because doing nothing except editing my novel, Archon, was becoming a real drag. I also had all of these character concepts floating around in my head and no real idea about how to fit each of them into their own story. Then I looked at a lot of urban fantasy out there and I realized that most of it seems to revolve around singular  protagonists, often speaking in the first person. So I thought it might be fun to put together a sort of team of all these half thought out paranormal investigators I had rattling around in my brain.

So really, the Investigators’ club is about characters. So lets talk about them.

I’ll go in the order that they’re introduced in the first story so we’ll start with Oroitz. I chose his name because it’s the Basque word for memory and as a character he is largely defined by his memory, or more accurately his lack of one. I drew inspiration from characters like Jason Bourne and Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce’s character from Memento (a movie by Christopher Nolan (director of the Dark Knight trilogy (a movie series about Batman)))). I also based some of his characteristics off of Thomas Carnacki, one of the first real occult detectives in fiction. Think a cross between Sherlock Holmes and the Ghost Busters and you get Thomas Carnacki.

The idea for Oroitz having a book that contains knowledge of everything also kind of comes from Carnacki where he had this book called the Sigsand Manuscript that he seemed to have memorized and that also seemed to contain everything you could ever want to know about ghosts or whatever. I thought about what a book that had so much knowledge would have to be like and then thought about what it would be like to have all of that in your head and boom, Oroitz.

Anyways enough about what I stole to make Oroitz, let’s talk about what I stole to make the other characters. Let’s talk about Alan.

Alan is part of something I love to do in my stories and that’s blend magic and science. I also based him on the internet phenomenon known as “Creepypasta”. For those of my readers who don’t know what that is (hi mom and dad!) it’s basically horror stories that sometimes have accompanying images. I got this idea in my head of someone who looks into all of these stories, flushing out the truth and battling the monsters. Shunned and mocked by the very internets he protects!

Also, personality wise, I’ve probably put more of myself into Alan than I have any other character. He has many of the same hobbies and interests as me and he also has a few of my quirks. On the other hand he’s also a bitter little misanthrope who hates and mocks the very inernets he protects.

Then there’s Miranda. She’s actually an older character of mine that starred in a short story I wrote a while ago. I think my sister might have a copy? Because I sure don’t. At any rate she is the result of my frustration with the consistent negative stereotyping of mermaids in the media.

No not really. But she did stem from my noticing that mermaids in stories usually only have three things they can do. Frolic, drag unwary seamen to their watery graves, and pine for having legs. So I thought, what if the mermaid already could give herself legs, wasn’t a serial murderer, and wasn’t into the whole frolicking thing? What’s a half fish half girl to do?

Because of the way my mind works the only logical answer was battle evil.

Also, if anyone who I have not already told can tell me why I named her Miranda in the comments I will totally give them a no-prize.

Last but not least there’s Flora. She’s the result of my thinking, what if Vampirella and Harry Dresden had a kid? I you don’t know who either of those character’s are do a Google search.But do NOT do a Google image search, especially not for Vampirella. Just don’t.

Did you do it? You didn’t do an image search did you? Ok let’s keep moving.

So Vampi and Dresden have a kid, but instead of being a typical half vampire where they have a vampire’s strength but none of its weaknesses (i.e. every third female protagonist of an urban fantasy novel ever) she’s powerless and frankly kind of timid.She has to survive in a world she has no choice but to be a part of with only her knowledge and wits to help her survive a million things that could tear her to pieces without any effort.

But then my brain only works a certain way so I turned her into Batman.

 

Judge, Judy, and Executioner.

So I came across the trailer for the new Judge Dredd movie today and it got me thinking about those comics and how they’ve influenced my writing (the Archons are basically toned down versions of Judges with religious overtones instead of fascist ones). Specifically it made me think of the archetype of a character who is judge, jury and executioner. I’m not just talking about a character who takes the law into their own hands but a character who is the law (sorry).

While it shouldn’t be a surprise that this archetype will show up as villains in dystopian works it’s also surprisingly prevalent to have it with a neutral or even heroic portrayal. Why is that? Well, there is an escapist aspect to it. The idea of a lone individual, morally incorruptible, willing to cut through all the red tape and legal loopholes and dispense pure unadulterated justice. Were such a person to exist many people would be comfortable to have that person watch over them. There is a simple narrative aspect to it as well, it’s convenient. It’s convenient to not have a character have to deal with regulations or paperwork or due process because then the writer doesn’t have to deal with it, and as an added bonus neither does the reader.