Water, Ice, Climate change 11/14/2018


The desertification of the western hemisphere is very much present in the series 88.3, helping to create a dystopian effect, but it doesn’t drive the action. It happened a century before — people have learned to cope. I found a picture that reminds me of an old fallen millwall I saw in Maine last year — got to thinking how people used water not only to drink but to drive things, (mills) grind flour, float the flour down to a nearby town, sell it.

The action in the series 88.3 is driven by the mere human tendency to fall into dictatorships. Mostly people want to be left alone by the authorities to, as they say, get on with their lives. This is because getting on with your life is a profound challenge. Choosing the right mate — having children and then getting a divorce is a terrible life disaster. So there’s that. Then having children — babies will take every moment of every day. Then they start crawling. Then they become teenagers.  Then your aging parents can’t see to get down the front steps and then they fall and then they need somebody 24/7 for a few weeks and an overworked child with his/her own children suddenly finds only four hours a day to sleep. Again. Like having babies. Again.

Then there’s work, making a living, trying to get to church or temple, keeping an eye on what the kids are learning, helping your neighbor get her car started…getting on with life. Somewhere in there perhaps there is time for reading, for singing, for works of the imagination. Maybe.

They just want to be left alone to get on with their lives in all those lives’ complexity and incessant demands of strength and spirit.

But people who run dictatorships are narcissists and they want to be the center of attention AT ALL TIMES. Fill out these forms for a car part! Hang the flag from your house front! Attend Great Leader’s speech or we will know you didn’t! What are you reading? That’s not approved! Into court with you, your hearing is a ten in the morning!

Narcissism is the signal definition of authoritarianism. So it is in the 88.3 series. I never defined the particular “political” strain of the cruel authorities — they all have a depressing similarity. What destroys this manic lust to spy and control in the 88.3 series is the return of water.

Meanwhile, in caverns measureless to man, water flows and we fill our imaginative cups to the brim.



old sci fi covers

Another old sci fi pulp cover — they were always discovering new worlds or rescuing babes from durance vile, from the grips of despicable creatures or Things that were experimenting on said babes.

Very little in the way of dystopias. Seems odd that dystopia was not a popular concept  at that time, what with Nazi Germany, USSR, various other aggressive and dysfunctional societies wreaking havoc everywhere. Also very popular now are End of the World As We Know it scenarios; prepper lit, much of which is very entertaining. Especially with Florence grinding its way down onto the southeastern coast. I watch the weather report with great interest as it does so, also endless articles on what to do in case of a direct hit. It is TEOTWAWKI  literature come alive. Let’s hope it loses some strength before it does hit somewhere.



June 24th 2018


Makes me think of Ringworld by Larry Niven. When I read it I cold never figure out how it would look but this seems to depict it very well. Very disconcerting, though, it would make you dizzy to try to get anywhere. It was a great story, intriguing, solid characters.

Love the old science-fiction magazine covers.  They understood images of mystery, strength, remoteness, magic.


May 14 of an unnumbered year — welcome to the Western Cessions

Many readers get post-apocalypse confused with dystopian so I put both into one book — Action Figure. Dystopias usually emphasize spying, population control, oppression, a huge difference between the upper classes and the working class with nothing in between, privilege versus desperate struggles in the streets and an urban world of overpopulation.

Post-apocalypse comes when all the spying devices fail, the weather gets really unpleasant (variations — alien invasions, EMP attacks) and the narrative becomes the individual’s struggle to survive a world lacking all those amenities we have come to know and love.

Both have been present in other historical narratives, those being the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Just finished reading the story of Francisco Orellana’s exploration of the Amazon — he starts from Quito in search of a utopia he has heard of, and ends up in a dystopian world of hunger and desperation. Fascinating reading.



May the 5th, of the numbered year 2018


Ah the future! This was the 1950’s future. So many novels I have read that saw the future as only a few decades away but I guess it’s centuries away. A lot of dystopian novels I read years ago had corporations controlling everything which made it a really bad-ass dystopia but that left me confused. If corporations controlled everything then they had to come up with education, electricity, roads, water, sewage, health care, distribution of food and clothing, etc. Then they wouldn’t be a corporation they would be a government. So the reader, being me, is left wondering and confused and the world-building doesn’t work. Usually the dystopian novels had a big villainous corporation lurking around that did bad stuff but then the writer never made it clear who was supplying the other stuff. So where is the oil and gas coming from and who makes the streetlights work?


Got me.


I decided to stick with bad-government dystopia, it’s just simpler and I don’t think I confused my readers in the 88.3 series.



March 20/18


the Old Guy, the genius of the rebellion in the Western Cessions. Actually it is a portrait of Andrew Carnegie but it will do for a face, a presence, to embody the Old Guy, secret arranger and planner and plotter, genius of strategy as well as tactics. the man behind the whole thing.

The Weaponsmaker is doing better than expected and am now working on the advertising for At Large and Action Figure. It is in Action Figure that The Old Guy finally appears and becomes prominent.

Praise for The Weaponsmaker

Great review on Amazon; “This is a good book. I would read a bit and then think what I would do in similar circumstances. It inspired me to be a better man, learn new things and help those around me. I think the author did a tremendous job describing his characters, their hopes and dreams, all in a way that made it seem entirely plausible. The “universe” created was rife for revolution and th perfect man for the job was almost forced to become the leader needed for that. After finishing the book I bought the next two in the series. I actually did something I haven’t done before, I so enjoyed living and experiencing the story that I would read a bit and then think about it because I did not want the story to end. Giles Becker was unknown to me but now I want to read and sink into more of his creations.”