The Story Behind the Stories
In 2018 I decided to informally join National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) by writing my first science fiction novel in the month of November. I didn't finish in a month, but I got far enough in that I couldn't put the work down, and Rainbow Lullaby was the result. This novel was largely based on two dreams related to me by a close friend and my mom. It involves a magical woodland creature called a Lagu. There's sorcery and surreal imagery. The second half of the book was written in a manic state, tilting the work deep into magical realism.
When I started my second novel, The Ostermann Method, I had no idea what it would be about. So I took characters from Rainbow Lullaby and imagined some new ones, considering how they might interact with the each other and the world. I then added in scenes from my dreams. The story that emerged blended intrigue with the fantastical. It's one of my more psychological works.
One Man Embassy is my third novel. Inspired by a guy at a rainbow gathering, I created Hequa, an extraterrestrial with a knack for attracting funny drama. The story began with Hequa's arrival on Earth and progressed in linear fashion through his adventures. Along with humor, the work focuses on issues of class and technological development.
Flying Saucer Shenanigans is a direct sequel to One Man Embassy. Its main character, Lika, was sent from the planet Jhanya to assassinate Hequa. But when Lika arrives on Earth, she begins to rethink her mission, and to question the government that had sent her on it. Though it considers some serious subjects, the tone of this work is fun and light.
My fifth novel, Blue Dragon Mississippi, is the sequel to my four previous works. In this story, an ancient dragon living in the Mississippi River forms a psychic relationship with a young woman named Matilda. The dragon then inspires Matilda to start a resistance movement in protest of problematic social conditions and government policies. While I was writing this book, covid hit and then my hometown of Minneapolis became ground zero for the largest civil rights demonstrations in human history following George Floyd's public murder by local police. The bizarre climate produced by these events undoubtedly bled into the book's contents.
Psychic Avalanche is a sequel to Blue Dragon Mississippi, with its story told in two parts. The first part takes place in the present day, where a drug that makes people psychic is invented and distributed to the population more quickly than the authorities can control it. The second part takes place in the future, where society has become a much more safe and peaceful place due in part to the impacts of this drug. Psychic Avalanche brought closure to all of the characters from the stories that preceded it.
My seventh novel, The Paradise Anomaly, introduced a parallel world accessible only through a cave near the Mississippi River, where an indigenous tribe lives in relative peace, though the hidden cost of this peace is unsettling. When a tech billionaire finds a way into this world, he establishes a settlement there for the well-to-do, which causes trouble. This work delves deep into the potentials and limits of magic, as well as into questions of technological responsibility.
For novel number eight, I decided to shake things up a bit. Instead of publishing Small Gods of Time Travel as a traditional book, I chose to publish it as an online only book on IPFS, with each of its 40 chapters associated with an ai art NFT on the Tezos blockchain. The story itself is about a man who goes back to the day before 9/11, where he works with his younger self to try to improve the world. Each chapter of the web book contains links to important news reports which call mainstream narratives about public events into question.
My ninth novel, The Brockton Exodus, envisions an advanced utopian society built on a technology that allows residents of the planet Mother to study Earthlings and learn from our mistakes. This work looks hard at issues of environmental and social responsibility, as well as alternative formulations of economics. It hasn't been published yet, but a draft is available on my Hive blog.
Number ten, The 321 Incident, is about a national tragedy that claims as many lives as 9/11 did. From there, the story follows a handful of characters as they try to navigate the post-tragedy landscape. Although they face steep challenges, synchronicities and the magic of human connections help them find their way. Politics, media, harm reduction, and non-ordinary states of consciousness are some of the themes that the work explores. The 321 incident hasn't been published yet, but a draft is available on my Hive blog.
Books in Print - Buy Now
Other Notable Work
The Brockton Exodus is in final editing. You can read the first chapter here.
The 321 Incident is in final editing. You can read the first two chapters here.
Navigating Dystopia is a collection of essays about some of my most challenging experiences and the perspectives that came out of these. Read it for free here.
I also blog about everything on Hive.
Passage from Blue Dragon Mississippi
It took Silky the rest of the day to get his car clean. While he dug around between seats and under mats for bits of trash that had accumulated in the vehicle, Silky considered his nemesis, the infamous Hequa, and tried to figure out the best way forgive the man. For a time, Hequa and Silky had performed magic together. But then they'd gone their separate ways, and Hequa had played a series of increasingly elaborate, mean pranks on Silky afterwards.
After some consideration, Silky realized that he did not want to forgive Hequa. Rather, he feared Hequa deeply, and wanted to stay far away from him. But Pikwik said he had to forgive him, so Silky decided he would at least try. The first thing he did after his car was clean was to remove an old video of Hequa performing with the Great Bamzini from his website. Then he drove to Hequa's building and sat in his car, trying to produce the courage necessary to face his old enemy.
After a few minutes, Silky saw Hequa exit the building. He got out of his car and approached. "Hequa," he said. "Hequa, there's something I need to talk to you about."
"Great Bamzini!" said Hequa. "I just saw that you finally removed my video from your website. Thank you."
"Yeah, um, my name's Silky now," said Silky. "I changed it from the Great Bamzini."
"Silky is a better name," said Hequa thoughtfully. "What was it you wanted to talk to me about? I'm just on my way to meet a potential sex partner, and I don't want to get to the restaurant late."
"I just want to say, I forgive you," said Silky.
"Forgive me? For what?" asked Hequa.
"For heckling me at all those shows," said Silky. "And for showing the deepfake video me mishandling a dolphin to a crowd full of people. And for stealing my dog and giving it to your friend. All of it. I forgive you for all of it."
Hequa laughed. "I made other deepfake videos of you doing worse things," he said. "Do you forgive me for those, too? What about the one I'm working on now, which shows you locking a baby in a car on a hot summer day?"
"I don't care," said Silky, surprised to discover that he really didn't. "I forgive you for all of it. I'm moving on with my life, and there's no room where I'm going for our old petty feud."
"But who will be my enemy now, if not you?" asked Hequa. "I worked very hard at being your enemy. What am I supposed to do?"
"Do whatever, but I'm done," said Silky. "And I forgive you for everything."
"You keep saying you forgive me, but what of the problems you made for me?" asked Hequa. "What about keeping too much of the money we made together, and having me on your website for so long after I asked you not to? What about when you brought an assassin to my very doorstep? You can forgive me, but I don't forgive you for these things."
"You know that so-called assassin was just another one of your friends," said Silky. "And I don't care if you forgive me or not. The old me might have cared, but not me now. Not Silky."
"Okay," said Hequa. "I guess I will stop being your enemy if you're going to take the fun out of it. But I will still make the deepfake videos of you. They are very fun to make."
"Fine," said Silky. "Good luck with all that."
"And good luck to you, Silky," said Hequa.