Thoughts on COVID-19

These are crazy times, right? We haven’t had a do a wide-scale quarantine like this since the 1918 Flu. It’s good this sort of thing doesn’t happen more than once every 100 years or so. At least we can learn from the past. Looking at the 1918 Flu, we know social distancing does slow the spread of the disease and saves lives. It might need to last months, but that’s better than ending it early. The most important take-away is we’ve been through this before, we can go through it again. Plus, we have much better medical technology now than we did then, so it likely won’t be as bad as 1918. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2 by G. Willow Wilson

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In many ways, this is a typical superhero comic with people not guessing the secret identity of the hero even though it should be obvious, the main villain starting out as a friend, gratuitous cameos from other superheroes, and so forth. Also, as a middle-aged man, I don’t exactly fit into the target demographic since it’s about a high-school girl with high-school problems like falling in love for the first time and going through the awkward transition into adulthood. (In fact, her shape-changing superpower makes a great metaphor for the bodily changes teenagers go through.) Continue reading

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote

This is a basic haunted house story, but I really liked it. It starts, like many similar stories, with the main character seeing things other people don’t, so her sanity is questioned and so forth. However, the fact the main character is a Muslim makes the story stand out from other similar stories and it does a great job building tension by having racism and paranoia divide the neighbors of the apartment building from each other. Continue reading

Download Pioneer Day for Free

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Hello, just thought I’d drop a note to let you know my book Pioneer Day is available to download for free on Amazon right now. As you can probably guess from the cover, it involves zombies, although they’re zombies with a twist. If you like it, be sure to leave a review. However, it won’t be free forever, so be sure to check it out before the price goes back up.

When some of the workers at Pure Laboratories suddenly become violent and even start eating each other, everyone reacts differently. Some people freeze up, unable to process what’s happening. Some people run, trying to get as far away as possible. Others pull out their phones and start posting pictures online. Since anyone can go crazy at any point, no one can turn their backs on anyone else and paranoia is rampant. Is this violent behavior caused by a new drug? A virus? Are the people trampling each other in order to flee back to their homes spreading this infection throughout the city?

With the outbreak being natural rather than supernatural, Pioneer Day is not a typical zombie story. At alternate times humorous, disturbing, and even philosophical, Pioneer Day will stick with you long after you’ve read it.

Amazon Link

A Fine Night for Tea and Bludgeoning by Beth Cato

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“A Fine Night for Tea and Bludgeoning” by Beth Cato originally appeared in the anthology Little Green Men Attack, but I first heard it on Escape Pod episode 661. Rosemary Hardy is a proper Victorian lady by day, but by night she takes part in a precursor to roller derby in which she battles other women while roller skating. Her life becomes strange after she meets a green-skinned alien named Elvis Wibbles.

There’s a lot of funny lines in this one. During a fight between toddlers, we’re told that “several baby teeth had made early exits.” At one point, Rosemary insults her rival’s pink dress: “Certainly, such a screaming shade of color violates laws of both civil and religious nature.” When her mother expresses shock that Rosemary has a gentleman caller, she replies, “If you’re unsure of the visitor’s gender, we could make the fellow drop trou.” I also liked when “Mama, in her excitement, had managed to baptize her lap in lukewarm tea.”

I highly recommend everyone check it out!

Methods of Persuasion by Nick Kolenda Part 2 of 2

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A good way to build rapport with a potential customer is to point out similarities. We all have an inherent bias in favor of people who remind us of ourselves, even in trivial ways such as liking the same TV show. We even prefer products that have the same letters in their name as we do. Similarities that are less common, such as having the same birthday as someone else, enhances this effect. Also, using pronouns such as “we” and “us” can make someone feel more connected to you. We also tend to mimic people we like and like people who mirror our nonverbal behavior. Continue reading

The Witcher

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I didn’t care much for The Witcher. One problem I had with it is how magic works. Magic can basically do anything: teleportation, telekinesis, mind control, illusion, healing, etc. There’s even a genie that can grant wishes. So anything can happen. (At least we didn’t see anyone raised from the dead, but maybe that’s just because they’re saving that for the next season.)

Continue reading