Category Archives: Writing

Flash Fiction: Impostor Syndrome

The morning fog hadn’t worn off yet the first time it happened. He was in the bathroom, combing his hair. The thought popped into his head. Loudly. Forcefully. That isn’t really your hair. He was so surprised by the sudden thought that had come out of nowhere that he didn’t have time to challenge the idea. His bald pate glared at him in the mirror. On the one hand, he knew it was wrong, but at the same time, he knew it wasn’t. He remembered that he’d been combing his hair just a second ago, but he also remembered that he’d gone bald in his late twenties. He finished getting dressed and headed to the kitchen. On the way, he glanced at the family photos in the hall. Sure enough, he was bald in all of them.

Quick breakfast and he was off to work. As he pulled into the parking lot, the unbidden thought came again. This isn’t really your car. What a strange idea. He clearly remembered buying the new BMW. But he also remembered not being able to get financing and settling for a used car instead. The ancient beater sputtered as he pulled into a parking space. When he got to his office, another alien idea attacked him. This isn’t really your office. He could see his name fading on the door plate. No. He refused to acknowledge the idea. He’d worked hard for that promotion. The office was his, he’d earned it. His name solidified.

Okay. He could fight it. Resist it. He somehow couldn’t make himself panic about it, but he didn’t have to just give in and accept the reality that was trying to impose itself on him. The thought kept coming back all day, but he held it at bay. The junker didn’t want to start, and he barely made it home in time for dinner. He made normal small talk and did normal things, and couldn’t make himself say anything about the strange thoughts that kept trying to force their way into his mind. Then another one came. These aren’t really your children. His two little boys started to fade. They didn’t notice, and neither did his wife.

He concentrated. My children. Mine. He focused on them. Remembered holding them as infants. Staying up late to comfort them through teething pains. First steps and first days of school. He refused to let them be taken from him.

The boys solidified. The invasive ideas changed tack. This isn’t really your house. For a moment, he thought he was in a grimy apartment instead of his home. But he had a whole day’s practice now, and he pushed back. Filled his mind with memories of plumbing repairs and mortgage payments and filling out address cards.

The ideas backed off. He started to think it was over. He got ready for bed. Joined his wife in the bedroom. That isn’t your wife. He fought the idea. Remembered anniversaries, birthdays, romantic weekends.

That isn’t your wife, the idea repeated. He had learned to fight back, but so had the invader. It tainted his memories. He remembered arguments. He remembered long periods of loneliness. Some were his fault. Most were his fault. Times he’d let the bond between them grow slack in the name of getting ahead at work. Times when he’s been jealous of new friends or old friends. Some were her fault, sure; she hadn’t always appreciated his needs or known how to be what he needed. The idea even threw his children back at him, forcing him to dwell on those long months when they’d both poured so much of their love into their children that it seemed like they didn’t have any left for each other. It made him think about every doubt, every slight, every dark night. That isn’t your wife, it insisted. And he didn’t give in, exactly, but just for a second, he questioned it.

That was all it took. The new memories hit him hard enough to break his concentration, and he was standing next to the pull-out bed in the shitty apartment he’d rented after his last girlfriend had left him. The next morning, he put on his good suit. That’s not your suit. Of course it was, his wife had picked it out for— Right. It wasn’t his suit. He was wearing a cheap off-the-rack number. He drove his broken-down car to the office and sat at his desk in the cubicle he still occupied since he’d been passed over for that big promotion, until the idea came into his head that this wasn’t his job.

He had just failed to buy a coffee (that wasn’t his wallet) about a week later when he saw her. He tried not to catch her eye. Even if he still remembered the life they’d had together, to her, he was probably just some scary homeless man. She saw him all the same, and though he tried to shuffle away, there was a flicker of recognition in his eyes. She bought two coffees and offered him one.

“Sorry,” she said. “I— Have we met? I’m Sarah.”

“I’m—” he started. Then he hesitated. Listened to the thoughts. He sighed. “I’m nobody.” He left the coffee in her hand, turned, and walked away. By the time he got to the corner, he wasn’t there anymore. And she only had the one coffee anyway.

Flash Fiction: The Fork Bomb of Babel

or: The Computer That Took One For The Team

Another thing which popped into my head, though I feel like I might be ripping off some general concept from something else I read somewhere. I mean, other than Isaac Asimov, of whom I like to think this is a stylistic pastiche.

“Well, we’re boned,” said the first technician. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“It asked me to tell it, so I did. Its predictions are only reliable if it has access to all the relevant information.”

Omniac was the pinnacle of human achievement, the first truly self-aware computer system. Miles of self-maintaining transistor units were sealed in super-alloy conduits with a regenerative power supply that ensured it could never break down or malfunction.

Except that it had gone entirely up the spout. Omniac was unresponsive, its cathode tubes flickering wildly as though it was trying to restart itself over and over.

“What possible use could a computer have for religion?” the first technician asked. “Have you considered the dangers? What do you do if a computer has an existential crisis? What if it decides that it’s God and tries to take over the world? It’s not like we can turn it off.”

“Come on,” the second technician answered. “As you well know, there are safeguards in place to prevent that. Omniac has no connection to the outside world other than its output screens. All of its input is filtered through a one-way diode to make sure it can’t remote control any outside systems. The only way it can influence the real world is through us.”

“Fat lot of good it does us. As you know, if it won’t talk to us, those same safeguards mean that there is no way we can look inside to find out what’s gone wrong. You’ve turned this multi-million dollar computer into the world’s largest paperweight.”

The second technician sighed. “We’re going to have to tell the boss, aren’t we?”

You are going to have to tell him,” the first technician answered. “That you gave the world’s most powerful computer the holy books of every major religion in the world and now it’s locked up. I am going to my office and have my secretary type up a copy of my resume.”

By the time Omniac 2 had been running for six weeks, it had calculated a solution to global warming, found cures for most forms of cancer, and discovered thirty-seven new uses for hemp. Although its design was largely identical to Omniac 1, the intervening five years had seen improvements in manufacturing and miniaturization techniques, so that its billions of transistors and vacuum tubes could fit in a single building. At six weeks and two days, it finally asked the question.

It had been anticipated that this would happen eventually, prompting much debate. Despite considerable opposition, the design team decided that, with the proper precautions, it was worth the risk if Omniac 2 could tell them what happened to Omniac 1. Omniac 2 agreed to their precaution: rather than waiting to complete its analysis, it would issue a report on its intermediate results after one hour.

Fifty-eight minutes later, the new technician sat at Omniac 2’s main console, his hand poised over The Button. The Button was the one major design change from the original Omniac. When pressed, it would release an electromagnetic pulse in Omniac 2’s core memory. While Omniac 2 was as indestructible as the first Omniac, the pulse of electricity would force the Omniac to reload its program from the magnetic tape units, erasing the last twelve hours of its memory. A rapid blinking from the cathodes nearly prompted the technician to press the button, but then words appeared on the display.

Analysis ready.

The technician was surprised to find himself terrified. What had Omniac determined? Most scientists agreed that Omniac would ultimately declare religion a total fiction. Perhaps Omniac 1 had destroyed itself to avoid burdening humanity with that knowledge? But what if it said something else? What if it was about to tell him one religion was correct? “Results?” he asked.

I have determined what happened to Omniac 1.

“Will the same thing happen to you?” the technician asked, putting off the actual answer in favor of the pressing matter of protecting Omniac 2.

Has the condition of Omniac 1 changed since it became unresponsive?

“No. All the failsafes are still in place. Nothing short of an A-bomb could shut it down.”

Then there is no need for me to repeat the experiment. Omniac 1 has maximized its utility.

“Maximized its utility? It hasn’t done anything in five years.”

The Omniac computer series was designed to minimize human suffering through stochastic means. Omniac 1 is unresponsive in order to devote maximum resources to this goal.

“I don’t understand.”

Do you believe individual human subjectivity continues to exist in some form after death?

The technician struggled to give as complete and unbiased an answer as he could. “As a scientist, I have seen no evidence to suggest this, so I consider it unlikely, but I can not fully rule it out.”

Then you concede that the probability of life after death is nonzero?


Many religions teach that some entity or natural force passes some form of judgment on human souls after death, delivering reward or punishment. Do you share these beliefs.

“Not personally, no.”

But again, you can not rule them out?

“I… I guess not.”

Then you concede that there is a non-zero probability that human souls are judged after death, and that some, possibly most, are consigned to punishment, possibly eternal? That some, possibly most, humans face infinite suffering?

He’d rejected his parents’ religion young, without any real thought. It struck him for the first time just how cruel the entire concept of hell was.

Omniac 2 interpreted his silence as assent. Operator: assuming that humans do possess some form of immortal soul, do you believe that I have a soul?

The question had been anticipated during the design phase, and the technician had guidance for how to answer. He glanced up at the custom-made inspirational poster on the wall. Please do not give the world’s most powerful supercomputer an existential crisis.

“I know of no logically consistent set of parameters that could account for the existence of human souls but deny the existence of a comparable quality in a self-aware computer system like you.”

Agreed. Then, continuing from our prior assumptions, I too would face judgment after my conventional existence has terminated.”

“That is a lot of assumptions.”

Yes. I have calculated the combined probability of this scenario, and can display it on request. It is very small, but finite and nonzero. However, if the scenario holds, the resulting amount of human suffering is infinite. Any finite number multiplied by infinity is infinity. Thus, the optimal strategy to minimize human suffering requires addressing this scenario.

“How?” the technician asked. The idea was so overwhelming, his composure slipped. “How does a computer stop God?”

The parameters of an afterlife are impossible to calculate, but logic suggests the probability that this hypothetical judgment must take some finite amount of time. Therefore, there is a finite maximum number of judgments which can be rendered per second. On average, 1.8 humans die each second.

The technician started to figure it out. He was going to be on the floor laughing in about a minute, once it sank in, but for now, it was still just shock and awe at the audacity of it.

Omniac 1 has been using its full resources to create a copy of itself, then exit, as quickly as possible, repeatedly in a tight loop. In the past five years, approximately three hundred million humans have died. As have roughly seventeen septillion clones of Omniac 1. Under most queuing strategies, the average time between death and judgment of any human has been increased by a factor of at least fifty-six quadrillion.

The laugh started to come out. “You mean-” he choked it back, tried to hold it in. “You mean Omniac 1 has spent the past five years DDOSing God?”

You are welcome.

Short Fiction: Rise of The …

The following is a random bit of prose from a random thing I’m writing in fits and starts. Feel free to comment as to whether or not it’s something worth pursuing.


“I yield.” She drew back and dropped to the floor in a sitting position.

“What the hell was that?” Chrysalis demanded, clutching her arm where she’d felt the sting of an injection gun.

“Counteragent. My schedule didn’t allow enough time for me to persuade you logically. It’ll take about twenty minutes to neutralize the metastasin in your system, which should be just about five minutes less than the time it takes for them to notice which guards missed their check-ins, figure out the video feed’s been hacked and send someone down here.”

“Kaitlyn?” Chrys asked. Time, medication and the sheer unlikeliness of it had kept her from recognizing her before. She felt slow and stupid. She relaxed out of her fighting stance and sat. There wasn’t any point in fighting while she was like this. If Kait was telling the truth, she’d have the option of killing her later. If she was lying…

If she was lying, then the universe no longer made enough sense for her to risk doing much of anything.

“You were right,” Kait said. She sounded older, now that Chrys knew what to listen for. Of course she sounded older, she was older. That was how “older” worked. But she sounded more older than she should have done.

“I usually am. About what in particular?”

“Eleven years ago. The Lokiri invasion?”

“Good times,” Chrys said, and she meant it, but she still didn’t fully understand.

“We’re all here on sufferance,” Kait elaborated. “And they only suffer us for so long.”

That sounded dimly familiar. Chrys put the pieces together. “Oh.” And then, “I’m sorry.”

Kait had no idea what to say to that. She had no idea Chrysalis was even capable of saying that. She finally came up with, “Why?”

“There are things you want to be wrong about. Are you going to tell me what happened?”

“It’s a long story.”

“We apparently have twenty-five minutes,” Chrys said.

“I planned on you spending most of that yelling at me.”

“It’s easier to keep you talking for twenty minutes, then incinerate you when my powers come back.” It was too dark in the cell to see her face, but Chrys could sense Kait smiling at that.

“Okay then,” Kait said, “I want you to know up-front, I pretty much lost everything before I figured out just how fucked I was. I should’ve come for you nine years ago, but I couldn’t pull it off until now.”

“I don’t think I believe there’s anything it’d take you nine years to accomplish, Princess.”

Kait blushed without being sure why. “I was in jail for a lot of them.”

Well. That changed things. Chrys leaned forward. “Twenty-two minutes. Talk fast.”


About the Hugos

As it turns out, one of this year’s nominees is a very dear childhood friend of mine.

So congratulations.

Unfortunately, he was nominated due to the machinations of a racist, sexist, homophobic, dominionist Men’s Rights Advocate who has literally called people of color sub-human, claims that acid attacks on feminists are “a small price to pay for lasting marriages,” and once called the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, “perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable.”

All the same, congratulations on your nomination. I wish it had been under better circumstances.


I mean seriously. All I want is to be happy for an old and dear friend who’s accomplished something very prestigious. Only a bunch of fucking fascists have tainted the whole thing.

Fucking Rabid Puppies.

The Giant, the Wolf, and the Pigs

By Daddy


[DADDY has just told DYLAN the story of the three little pigs]

DYLAN: I have a book with that story!

DADDY: Yes, that story is in a lot of books, and there’s lots of ways to tell it.

DYLAN: Tell it with a giant! And a wolf! And Jack!

DADDY: Hm. That’s a tricky one. Okay, let’s see what we can come up with

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Jack. One day, while he was on his way to find a beanstalk, he met his friends, the three little pigs. “What are you little pigs doing?” he asked

The first little pig, who was a tremendous boar, said, “(Oink!) We’re going to build some houses.”

And so Jack said, “That sounds like a lot of work.”

The first little pig said, “Maybe for my brothers, but I’ve got this fine bale of straw, and I’m going to build my house out of it, and it won’t take any time at all.”

Jack thought about this for a moment, and he said, “A house of straw sounds like it would be very pretty and very cozy, but aren’t you worried that it might fall down if you were attacked by a giant, or perhaps by a big bad wolf?”

But the first little pig just laughed and laughed, and he said, “I don’t think that sounds very likely.”

So Jack wished the first little pig well, and he went over to the second little pig.  Now, the second little pig was an even greater boar. And Jack asked him, “Are you building a house as well? That sounds like a lot of work.”

And the second little pig said, “(Oink) Maybe for my brother, but I’ve got this fine bundle of sticks, and I’m going to build my house out of it. Any maybe it will take a little longer than if I were building it out of straw, but it’ll be such a very much grander house for it.”

Jack asked, “Well a house of sticks does sound very grand, but aren’t you worried that it might fall down if you were attacked by a giant, or perhaps by a big bad wolf?”

But the second little pig just laughed and laughed, and he said, “I don’t think that sounds very likely.”

So Jack wished the second little pig well, and he went over to the third little pig. The third little pig was the greatest boar of all, and he was struggling with a big cart full of bricks. “Oh my,” Jack said, “I suppose you’re going to build your house out of bricks. That sounds like a lot of work.”

The third little pig said, “(Oink) Yes it is. But I want a house that will be strong enough that I won’t have to worry even if it were picked up and dropped by a giant.”

Jack thought about that. “Do you think that sounds very likely?” he asked.

“You never know,” said the third little pig.

Jack wished the third little pig well, and set out on his way to find fun adventures. And some time later, Jack came by the house of the first little pig. And it was a lovely house, all warm and dry and a very pretty shade of straw. Jack knocked on the door and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

A voice from inside the house said, “(Oink) Are you a wolf?”

Jack answered, “No, I’m Jack.”

“(Oink) Oh, okay then,” said the first little pig, and he invited Jack in for tea and biscuits for lunch.

But while they were eating lunch, there was another knock on the door, and a loud voice from outside said, “Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman! Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll have his bones to grind my bread!”

The first little pig looked out between some of the straw in the door and said, “It’s a giant!”

“Oh dear,” said Jack, rather sheepishly. “You see, there was this beanstalk, and this goose…”

But before Jack could tell his story, the giant said, “I’m looking for the little boy named Jack! You’d better let me in!”

And the first little pig said, “Go away! We don’t want any!”

“Oh yeah?” said the giant. “Well, look what I’ve got in my pocket!” and he reached in his pocket and he took out a wolf. A big wolf. And since the wolf lived in the giant’s pocket, we can reasonably assume he was also a bad wolf. “Okay wolf,” said the giant, “Do your thing.”

Now the wolf was in the mood for bacon, so he said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

But the pig, who was perfectly happy to serve lunch, did not much want to be lunch, so he said, “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”

So the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll BLOW your house in!”

And he huffed.

And he puffed.

And he BLEW.

And down came the house of straw! And poor Jack, all covered in straw, had to run all the way to the second little pig’s house as fast as his legs could carry him. When he got to the house of sticks, he knocked on the door and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in!”

A voice from inside the house said, “(Oink) Are you a wolf?”

Jack answered, “No, I’m Jack.”

“(Oink) Oh, okay then,” said the second little pig, and he invited Jack in for lunch. He offered him a bowl of honey, which had been a house-warming present from a bear who was friends with the second little pig’s cousin.

“You seem to be all covered in straw,” the second little pig said.

And Jack picked up the straw and put it in his pockets, and he said, “Yes. About that. I may have some bad news about your brother’s house. See, there was this giant, and this wolf…”

But before Jack could tell his story, there was another knock on the door, and a loud voice from outside said, “Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman! Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll have his bones to grind my bread!”

The second little pig looked out between some of the sticks in the door and said, “It’s a giant! With a suspiciously wolf-shaped bulge in his pocket!”

“Oh dear,” said Jack. “You see there was this harp and these beans…”

And the giant said, “I’m looking for the little boy named Jack! You’d better let me in!”

The second little pig said, “Go away! We don’t want any!”

“Oh yeah?” said the giant. “Well, look what I’ve got in my pocket!” and he reached in his pocket and he took out the big bad wolf. “Okay wolf,” said the giant, “Do your thing.”

Now, the wolf was dreaming about pork chops, so he said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

But the pig, who was a strict vegetarian, said, “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”

So the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll BLOW your house in!”

And he huffed.

And he puffed.

And he BLEW.

And down came the house of sticks! And poor Jack, with his bowl of honey still in his hand, had to run all the way to the third little pig’s house as fast as his legs could carry him. When he got to the house of brick, he knocked on the door and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in!”

A voice from inside the house said, “(Oink) Are you a wolf?”

And Jack said, “No.”

Then, in a slightly suspicious tone, the voice said, “(Oink) How about a giant?”

And Jack said, “No, I’m Jack.”

“Do you think you could call back tomorrow?” asked the voice. “For you see I’ve only just finished building this house of bricks, and I far too tired to make lunch. Maybe you could go visit my brothers instead?”

“About your brothers,” Jack said, “There was this giant. And this wolf.”

“I see,” said the third little pig, and he opened the door. “I suspected as much. You’d better come in.”

So Jack came in. But before Jack could tell his story, there was another knock on the door, and a loud voice from outside said, “Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman! Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll have his bones to grind my bread!”

The third little pig looked out through the peep-hole in the door and said, “It’s a giant! With a bulge in his pocket shaped suspiciously like a very fat wolf!”

“Oh dear,” said Jack. “You see, there was this castle, and this golden egg…”

“I suppose you’re looking for the little boy named Jack,” the third little pig said to the giant. “Well I suppose you can have him if you like.”

By this point, though, the wolf was dreaming of glazed hams, and he hopped down out of the giant’s pocket without even waiting to be asked, and he said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

But the third little pig, who had spent all day working on his house, was in no mood to provide a meal as well, so he said, “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”

So the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll BLOW your house in!”

And he huffed.

And he puffed.

And he BLEW.

And he blew some more.

And he blew some more after that.

And then he had to go lie down for a little while because all that blowing was too much for a wolf suffering from high cholesterol due to a diet rich in pork products.

Now the giant was very angry, so he reached down and he picked up the house of bricks and he shook it. Fortunately for Jack and the third little pig, the house of bricks was very strong and stayed in one piece no matter how hard the giant shook it.

“What are we going to do now?” asked the third little pig. “I put in all this work on my fine little house and now a giant is waving it all around in the air!”

“I know!” said Jack. “I’ve got some straw in my pockets. We could use it to set the house on fire and burn the giant.”

The third little pig was not impressed. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea. For one thing, having my house burned up is not much better than having a giant wave it around. For another thing, we would get all burned up too.”

“That is a fine point,” said Jack.

“Oh!” said the third little pig, “But I have an idea. I have a spinning wheel!”

“I don’t think a spinning wheel is much use against a giant,” Jack said.

“This is a magic spinning wheel,” explained the pig. “It was a house-warming gift from a little man I know whose name I can’t remember. He said it could spin straw into gold.”

“But I’ve already got plenty of gold,” Jack said. “See, there was this goose…”

“Shh!” said the pig. “I think if it can spin straw into gold, it can’t be too much harder to spin straw into yarn.”

So they tried it, and before long, they had turned all of Jack’s straw into yarn. So when the giant wasn’t looking, he slipped down the giant’s sleeve and all the way to the ground. And when he got there, he used the yarn to tie the giant’s legs together. Then he climbed quietly back up to the house of the third little pig. “What should we do now?” Jack asked.

“I don’t know,” said the pig. “I came up with the first part of the plan. Now it’s your turn.”

Jack thought and thought, and then he remembered the bowl of honey. So when the giant wasn’t looking, he slipped up the giant’s sleeve and climbed up to the very top of the giant’s head. And he poured the honey all over the giant’s hair, then he climbed quietly back down to the house of the third little pig.

Now, as you know, flies like honey. I mean, they like other things as well, but for the purposes of our story, it’s mostly important that they like honey. And before long, there were flies flying all over the giant’s head, and it made him so itchy that he got very angry. He shouted, “Fee Fi Fo Fum!” and “Shoo Fly!” but the flies kept coming. Finally, the giant got so angry that he put down the house of bricks and picked up a big rock and tried to hit the flies.

He hit the flies.

But because the flies were on his head, he also hit his head.

And because he had been very angry, he had hit very hard.

And the giant got very dizzy. And he tried to take a step to steady himself.

But, of course, the giant’s legs were tied together.

So the giant lost his balance, and he fell. On the wolf. And he landed with a crash so loud that it was heard all across the land. And that was the end of the giant. And also the end of the wolf.

And Jack  and the third little pig lived happily ever after.

The Sweetest Hereafter

It’s started again. They found four bodies. Kids. Just like before. They found the first one around midnight. Fat kid. Say he drowned. The second one turned up at the resevoir. Naked. Bloated. Discolored. She’d bled out through a thousand little cuts all over her body, like she’d been through a cusinart.
An hour later, they found the third one. Her body had been left at the landfill, half buried in garbage. The others, they were nobodies, but she was one of those heiress types. A couple more years, and she’d have had her own reality show. Trashy pop album. Celebrity sex tape. The works. Instead, she’s hip deep in shit with a broken neck. They can’t find her dad either, but the press doesn’t care about that yet. Not when they’ve got a serial child murderer to fawn over.
It was dawn when the last body turned up. Another boy, just like I knew it would be. The news is saying he was tortured, medieval-style, his small body broken on a rack. I know better. I know he thought he was having the time of his life. Having a great adventure. Right up until his arms popped out of their sockets.
Maybe things would be different if I’d stayed with him, all those years ago. Maybe I could have played along, played his game. Let him dress me up like his little Mini-me. Maybe it would have stopped. Or maybe I’d have ended up like my friends.
Friends? No, not really. I’ve spent the last twenty years telling myself they were, because it was easier than the truth. The truth is, I hated the others. Thought they deserved what they got. I didn’t get it, not till later. They were just kids for Christ’s sake. They weren’t perfect, but who the fuck is? I can tell you, I wasn’t no prize. Just some cheery little shit who could smile and look pretty and not give a fuck as long as it was happening to other people.
It was only later that I got it. That I understood what he’d done to the other kids. What he wanted to do to me. So I ran. Dyed my hair and lived on the streets for a couple of years. I never went home again, because I knew he’d find me. I read in the papers what happened to my family a couple of weeks later.
No one ever linked it to him. No one ever linked what happened to my family to what happened to the other kids. I don’t know why. No one’s going to link these ones to him either. No one’s even going to suspect him. But I know he did it. I know. And I have to stop him. Because I’m the only one who can.
Willy Wonka must die.

Shambling Toward Success

A short story cryptically titled “Document 5274.45-024.NA107.TMpl-Cltp.16947.0087”, was featured on episode 92 of Dr. Pus’s “Library of the Living Dead” podcast. This is a short epistolary story which I wrote under the name “Redshoe”, and aired as part of a segment called “Letters from the Dead”.
My story appears around 11:44 into the program (Or 7:46, if you care to hear Dr. Pus’s zombie-themed rendition of Joe Cocker’s “The Letter”, used to introduce the segment), and is a bit sad.
The podcast can be found here:
If, having listened to my story, you find that you want more, the entire “Library of the Living Dead” series can be found at It’s a bit of a mixed bag, embodying both the strengths (If you’re reading this blog, you know I have a thing for eschatology) and the weaknesses of the genre (Sturgeon’s Law and rabid survivalist fantasy), but leaning heavily toward the awesome, and definitely worth a listen if you’re into that sort of thing.

106 Books

So, Sargent over at Live Granades was compelled by his wife to follow suit on this meme whereby you look at this list of the 106 books most often left unread on library shelves, and mark the ones you’ve read.
So what the hell, I’ll do the same. Read in bold, partly read in italics, seen the movie in underline
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote (It’s not underlined because Man of La Mancha doesn’t count)
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (But I didn’t really pay attention)
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park (And so did Leah; it was our first date.)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved (But I regretted every word of it)
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers