How to make a summer pun without referencing GREASE

The new fall TV season is bearing down, so it’s well past time to get caught up on all the summer things I meant to do.

First, I’ll be traveling to San Francisco the week of 9/13, and am lucky enough to have some free time to do research for a few in-progress writing projects. If you or anyone you know meets any of the following and would be open to a conversation by phone, email, or in person, please let me know! Comment below or you can leave a message on the contact form here.

  • working on/studying seawall repair
  • familiar with/studying indigenous Pacific cultures’ textiles
  • a clerk, manager, or driver for an MMJ dispensary or delivery service
  • an MMJ patient prior to 2003 OR someone who used cannabis therapeutically before SB 420 in 1996

The Apex Magazine Podcast is now on Patreon! Chuck a buck or two their way and keep these awesome stories coming to you every month.

Fear the Walking Dead getting underway and I’m recapping the collapse (literal and figurative?) over at The Televixen! The first and second episodes are up now, and the show returns to AMC on the 13th. Will it realize its true potential as a vehicle for the kid who plays Tobias, the best character in the whole thing? I’m guessing not, but we’ll see.

After a brief summer hiatus, my speculative fiction short story column, Beyond the Binary System, will be back later this month on Luna Station Quarterly. There was a ton of great new fiction over the summer, and I can’t wait to share some of it with you there.

Thanks to a weird confluence of a summer illness and remembering that Amazon Video is a thing that exists, I fell face-first into a Veronica Mars rewatch, which will be a new semi-regular column eventually. Lots and lots of thoughts about how successful it was as a mystery, as noir, as a high school drama, as an antihero narrative, &c. More to come with that, or possibly just me standing outside Rob Thomas’s office in a downpour with a poster pleading for more VMars novels? Stay tuned!

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Another Day in Seething Bay

Officially opening up a new section on the site today: Games! Games written by me!

Title card for 'Another Day in Seething Bay'First (and only) link over there so far is a short interactive fiction game I wrote earlier this year: Another Day in Seething Bay

You’re an office worker named Adanna, who’s going about a totally normal workday on the moon in which nothing at all catastrophic could possibly happen and whose future is 100% completely rosy. Really, nothing to worry about. All your decisions are the right ones!

Except: nope. There’s only one not-unhappy ending in this story. Can you get the good one? Play now »

Writing and programming the game was a fantastic experience. (Choosing where to set your future lunar colony suburbs, transportation, and “old town” is even better, btw.) If you have any interest in creating your own narrative games, I highly recommend Twine. Coding knowledge isn’t necessary; the framework outputs a complete file for you and the interface is mostly WYSIWYG. But if you know HTML, CSS, and/or Javascript, you can do a lot more.

Special thanks to Trevor Dodge, who let me get my sci-fi nerd on for class, and my beta testers: John Vekar, Matt Maynard, Julie Shininger, Bri, and Jess.

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Introducing @thoreauscope

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months with Henry David Thoreau and Walden. After years of carrying around a tiny copy of the book in a succession of backpacks and purses, I feel like I’m finally really getting what Thoreau was trying to say. From the wonders of a vegan lifestyle to the joys of frugality, even to a radical argument for rejecting rigid gender roles*, ol’ Henry really was on to something.

The "So listen up, capitalist sheep, because I know what's best for you!" is implied.
The “So listen up, capitalist sheep, because I know what’s best for you!” is implied.

It was something kind of irritating, though? For all its cultural cachet and literary importance, Walden is a pretty run of the mill self-help volume. “I went to the woods to learn how to live simply and you can too!” is a gross oversimplification, but what better use is the internet than to let me oversimplify complex things?

So, as I’m finishing up my thesis on Walden, and growing more fond of yet irritated by Thoreau, I started idly wondering what he might do with the power of, say, Twitter. Would he harass the powerful? Proselytize to the meat- and dairy-eaters? Whine about having to get a job? Post an endless stream of #nofilter shots of wildlife and woodlands?

No, say I! He’d do what he does best and become some sort of pearl-dropping guru, doling out advice to people who probably don’t always actually want it. And so: @thoreauscope.

(It’s a Twitter API bot that waits for people to post something with one of a few key phrases, then replies to them with a randomly selected quote from Walden. I wrote it myself with Node.js! And someday when there isn’t a deadline looming, I’ll fix up my code write up exactly how.)

*Seriously, though, he did! My thesis is all about how moving to the woods was in part to reject the expectations Thoreau felt constrained by as a man: that he must earn his living by participating in capitalist structures, that he was expected to marry and have children, that he should act as all the other men in town did. By getting the hell out and building a home barely big enough for himself (…and the occasional strapping young Quebecois, cough cough), Thoreau was all but standing in the middle of Concord and shouting, “You’ll never take me alive, traditional masculinity!!”

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Jupiter Ascending

A lot of people are going to tell you that Jupiter Ascending, the new movie by the Wachowskis that debuted this weekend, is stupid and not very good. You should ignore those people and listen to me instead! Sure, it’s not a brain-buster of a movie. You will probably not walk away from it with a new insight into humanity or various cultures or even the mechanics of interplanetary travel. But, good god, is it fun.

Let me give you the quick sell:

Continue reading Jupiter Ascending

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Going for the Goldblum: Transylvania 6-5000

Good news, everybody! Not only is Jeff Goldblum in fine mid-80s fettle in Transylvania 6-5000, the movie is as goofy and fun as it is dumb. (Spoiler: It’s really, really dumb.) After the last few weeks of ponderous, inexplicable, baffling movies, what a treat this is!

Read more at Pop Culture Crazy →

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