LTUE Part 2

This is the second post in my series recapping the Life, The Universe, and Everything 2017 writer’s conference held in Provo, Utah earlier this year. Part 1 is here.

Tackling Sensitive Subjects

This was an interesting panel addressing the question of how writers should deal with sensitive subjects in their fiction. (Hopefully, I haven’t misrepresented anyone’s views due to my hasty note taking.) The first point is that things that don’t matter aren’t sensitive subjects, so if you’re writing about something that matters, there’s going to be potential for readers to get upset and you should be prepared for their reactions. Continue reading

LTUE Part 1

I attended the Life, The Universe, and Everything 2017 writer’s conference in nearby Provo last weekend. It took place between February 16-18. The only event I’ve been to before that’s similar is Comic Con, so I couldn’t help comparing the two. Like Comic Con, there was a game room and a few artists there. There were even a few steampunk cosplayers. This event focused on novels instead of geek culture in general though, so it was less crowded. They didn’t have any big name celebrities, although I recognized some of the names. Continue reading

Mark Z. Danielewski Reading


Mark Z. Danielewski was at the King’s English Bookshop  in my hometown of Salt Lake City last Monday, February 13th to promote his latest book The Familiar, Volume 4: Hades. I’m a fairly introverted person, so normally I’d want to go to an event like this, but end up chickening out and staying home instead. This time, I actually went and was glad I did. I joked with a few other people in line about how his books wouldn’t work in audio format and my hope that one day Kindle will have an option for an author to digitally sign eBooks the same way we sign tablets when using credit cards in some places. Hey, it could happen. Continue reading

Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest


The first story in this collection, “Cruising Through Blueland”, is probably the strongest. Jeri Cristobel enlists the help of a drug dealer to find his brother who’s been kidnapped by a paramilitary organization known as the Blueboys. The Blueboys have the technology to give themselves super speed and super strength, as well as control the weather and trick people with holograms. Their leader is a woman who can force any man to love her using pheromones. They’re a formidable villain indeed, so I was disappointed when they didn’t show up in any of the subsequent stories in this collection. It would have been great to have a story from the point of view of one of the Blueboys, but they inexplicably disappear after the first story. Continue reading

Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny


The year is 2098 and a revolutionary new drug has been invented that allows people to stay young for decades, perhaps forever. This new drug, of course, is reserved for the rich. The poor are condemned to living normal lifespans. It isn’t all bad, though. We’re told that since the rich are living longer, they finally do something about climate change since they realize they’ll now live long enough to see the consequences. Also, some of the poor celebrate the fact that they won’t live forever since it gives life and their art more meaning. Continue reading

The Acts of Simon Magus in the First Century AD: Book I – A Search in Secret Egypt


Simon Magus is a figure briefly mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8:9-24). The word simony (paying for influence in the church) is named after him. In the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he’s a powerful sorcerer with the ability to fly. Early church fathers such as Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Epiphanius considered him to be the father of all heresies. However, some biblical scholars from the 1800s to today think Simon Magus may have actually been the historical epistle writer Paul. Continue reading

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling


This book has been called Lovecraftian, but I think that’s mostly because any book that’s described as Lovecraftian automatically sells a bunch of copies. (Note to self: Describe next book as Lovecraftian.) Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow mythos, which this book is actually based on, is less well known, but I’ve got to say, it’s refreshing to come across a horror novel that isn’t Lovecraftian for once. This book stands on its own, so you don’t need to have read The King in Yellow first, but if you have, you’ll pick up on some cool references. Continue reading