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City of Heroes: In Memoriam

Last weekend, I lost an old friend. City of Heroes, the longest running, most popular, and best superhero MMORPG, was killed by its publisher, NCSoft. The reasons don't make sense to anyone outside NCSoft's corporate offices and are so bizarre that one wonders if they even make sense there.

There's been plenty written on the seeming stupidity of shutting down a franchise that's still making you money, and I won't go into that here (although I reserve the right to so do at a later date). Right now, I just want to reflect on what City of Heroes meant to me and to so many others.

I started playing the game in June 2004, about two months after launch, after reading a very favorable review in a PC gaming magazine. I was hooked from the start. I only made one or two characters before creating the Fire Blast/Fire Manipulation Blaster who would become my main character. Hellguard was his name, and I already miss him terribly. I have recreated him in Champions Online, DC…

Procrastination, again

So, a few months ago I wrote about how I was going to be turning over a new leaf, about how I was going to actually start finishing stuff instead of coming up with a bunch of ideas that never go anywhere.  Since I haven't updated this blog since a couple of weeks after that post, you can probably figure out how that new leaf has turned out.

Why is it so hard to get the words out?  I read an interview with George R.R. Martin, of Game of Thrones fame, where he talks about everything about writing being hard, including "the words."  He was speaking specifically about how your writing almost never comes out as you dreamed it would, but that's not even my problem.  I know "the first draft of anything is shit," as Hemingway famously said, but I can't even seem to manage to get the "shit" on the page in the first place.

I'm easily distracted, which I know is a problem for many writers.  The internet, TV, etc., make it hard for me to concentrate o…

25 years in the making

I just realized this morning that my upcoming novel, SACROSANCT, was "born" 25 years ago this year. It started as an art assignment in my 7th grade year at West Jr. High School.  The assignment was to imagine what the world of the future might be like.  Obviously, the story's gone through a lot of changes since I was 13 years old, but part of the basic premise, as well as character traits of some of the characters, are still in its current incarnation.

The book has gone through many iterations over the years, reflecting my growth as a writer and my discoveries of what the future may really have in store for us.  A big part of the reason why SACROSANCT hasn't seen the light of day so far is that I've never really been completely satisfied with the entire storyline.  I suppose that's typical of most writers; I doubt most writers are ever absolutely happy with how everything in their stories turn out.  This time is different, though, and I can't wait to fina…

Science Fiction and the Singularity

The technological singularity is a point in time coming sometime in the relatively near future in which we'll see the creation of superhuman intelligence through technological means.  Popularized by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge (who coined the term) and futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil, the technological singularity presents a huge challenge to science fiction writers who want to tell stories about the future.

The very nature of the technological singularity means it's impossible to predict what life will be like once said singularity occurs.  Implications range from true artificial intelligence, with computers operating at faster speeds and greater efficiency than the human brain, to more advanced space travel, to the possibilities of incredibly long (possibly immortal) life spans for human beings.  Most science fiction taking place in the future hasn't truly dealt with the implications of the technological singularity, but that's not all that surprising.  Ag…

SACROSANCT

I just set up a Facebook page for my upcoming novel, SACROSANCT.  Check it out here.  There's not much there, yet, of course, but it'll be the go to place for info on its development, teasers, and publication info.

Glad I got this book at a bargain price...

As an atheist and freethinker, I try to check out any "big" books on the subjects, especially by big-name authors.  About a year ago, Divinity of Doubt came out, written by Vincent Bugliosi.  In it, Bugliosi, the man who prosecuted OJ Simpson, argues that agnosticism is the only sensible answer when it comes to the question of God's existence.

I don't even really disagree with that sentiment.  Not many people who call themselves atheists would even say that they KNOW that God doesn't exist, just that, given the evidence that we have, there's no good reason to believe that he/she/it does.  Most atheists would probably be agnostics, given Bugliosi's definitions.

I have two main problems (so far) with Divinity of Doubt.  Firstly, Bugliosi misrepresents atheism's top thinkers -- Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris.  In examining their major works on the subject of atheism (Hitchens' God is Not Great, Dawkins' The God Delusion, …

Procrastination

So, obviously I'm a writer.  That's kind of the whole point of this blog.  I write nonfiction articles for Examiner.com, for which I get paid (a little bit).  I've even had one paid fiction sale.  I've got a couple of dozen short stories in various stages of development, and the same can be said for a few novels.  But I have trouble finishing anything, and I'm just not that aggressive with marketing or submitting even the stuff that I have finished.

When I began realizing how easy it was to get your work out there with Amazon's Kindle publishing program (and programs from other e-reader makers), I was very excited.  Sure, I was worried my work might get lost among all the other self-published novels and short story collections out there, but I could worry about that after I posted it for sale.  The thing that excited me most was that I wouldn't have to go through the grueling process of submission to and rejection from major publishing houses.  And even if …

Article roundup 4/10/12

Article Roundup, 1/25/12

I've been pretty active on HubPages over the last few days.  Here's a listing of my recently published articles there:

All about the Kindle Fire
Must-have Kindle Fire apps
Coping with your loss of faith
Poem: BeLIEf
Five things not to repost on Facebook

Also, my Examiner MMORPG column has some breaking news about this year's BlizzCon, or lack thereof...

Check 'em out, if you're so inclined, and let me know what you think.