Archive for the ‘Tropes and Writing’ Category

4 Questionable Means of Cheating Death–Friday Four

The shadow of the reaper looms long over the human race. As mankind’s oldest foe, death is an opponent not to be taken lightly. And in fear of our very nature, a few terrified souls such as yourself have set out on a desperate search for a way to avoid fate. I could say be careful what you wish for, but I know that’ll fall on deaf ears. With time standing against you and old age eroding everything you wish to save, it’s pretty clear that you’ll take any Faustian bargain which poses a potential solution.

Instead, let me walk you through some of your options–although be warned, most of them have less than pleasant side effects. Here are 4 of the more attainable, if highly questionable, means of cheating death.

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4 Tips for Talking to the Truly Alien–Friday Four

Extraterrestrial Communication ContactIf you’re lucky enough to live in a universe with precursors, however negligent they may be, then the aliens you encounter might have more in common with you than you’d expect. But what happens when the life among the stars is so different that even basic communication is difficult? How can you hope to strike up a peace agreement, or a trade deal, or simply acknowledge each others’ right to exist, when their way of thinking is totally incompatible with us? Just imagine how much we could learn from people whose perspective is that different from ours!

As long as the guns aren’t blazing, there’s nothing to fear. With enough time and effort, communication will become possible, so stick with it. Peace is attainable, and we can reach it together by using these 4 tips for extraterrestrial communication.

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The Philosophy of Good Sci-Fi

This week saw the premiere of APB, yet another in a long line of police procedurals with a thin veneer of sci-fi slapped on top (the thinnest yet), the third on FOX in particular following the abysmal receptions of Almost Human and Minority Report (still can’t believe that got the green light). The basic premise is a Libertarian power fantasy: a tech billionaire, personally affected by crime, takes over the incompetently run police precinct by throwing his money around against the city’s politicians and turns it into his privately run force that works perfectly through the use of apps and drones and tech buzzword #37 not found. Admittedly, the premise annoys me on its face; this kind of billionaire “altruism” is just not true to reality, and by forcing this into the setting of a real, modern city like Chicago, it just makes the difference that much more stark. Yes, I’m aware it’s “inspired” by a real event, and the show had a female cop to voice the audience’s potential concerns in the pilot…

But, ironically, that’s exactly where it falls apart. In an attempt to head these off, they fall back on standard police tactics even where it doesn’t make sense, eschewing the tech advantage that they’ve built for “experience and street smarts beat all.” Trust me, the show had plenty of other issues in terms of acting and storytelling, but if it could commit to the idea at its core, it wouldn’t fall into the same category as its predecessors. Because after looking at dozens of these sci-fi TV shows over the last few years, there’s a pattern that’s emerged:

The longer a show has run, the more likely it is to have a clear philosophy to its story. Shows that aren’t founded on a core belief inevitably flounder and fail.

Why? Let’s take a look.

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4 Tips to Avoid Body-Snatching–Friday Four

A shockingly common adaptation for life among the stars, body-snatching is a problem that any would-be explorer needs to consider before setting off. Even if the alien being in question doesn’t set its sights on your body directly, it can still be a serious issue that your ship has to deal with; after all, you wouldn’t want to accidentally facilitate some kind of subversive invasion of another planet, slowly occurring behind the scenes, would you? I mean, could you imagine if the planet’s leadership just suddenly went totally nuts for no apparent reason? Like, if they just started making nonsense declarations and lying about things you’d just seen them say and do with your own eyes. It’d be so obvious that something was seriously wrong, and yet no one seems to notice this suspiciously body snatcher-like agenda…

Oh, sorry. Maybe that just happens sometimes? Either way, here are 4 points to consider when dealing with aliens that can steal the appearance and/or minds of another.

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Happy Holidays! A Free ebook gift!

unjust_tinyA special, exclusive short has just been released for free! Unjustified Nostalgia, a short story written just for my most loyal fans, is out now. Check out a brief summary below:

Fiona takes Lance out on a special birthday date to see one of his favorite bands perform live, but the fun’s put to rest when Unjustified Nostalgia reveals that it might be their last show. After a trip backstage, the band’s famed cyborg drummer has a request: help find out why the record label they were planning to sign with has suddenly gotten so aggressive. Can the band’s future be saved, or will they fade out once and for all?


If you’re already a subscriber to my mailing list, you should’ve received instructions on how to download it straight to your inbox last night. If you aren’t subscribed yet, no problem! click here and sign up; once you confirm, you’ll get the details, too, no matter when you’re reading this. It’s a permanent freebie! And don’t worry if you haven’t read The Arcology or Eidolon yet; this story’s relatively free of spoilers, so if you like it, you can always go back and get caught up.

Enjoy the story, and if you have any problems or comments, feel free to let me know!

4 Surprising Technologies for Your Next Superweapon–Friday Four

death-star-firingSo you’ve got some very big dreams of destruction to fulfill, and shopping around for Death Stars is a little bit tricky. I mean, there aren’t many manufacturers, and there’s sort of a de facto monopoly on who gets to own one… it’s hard for your average Joe Supervillain to get his hands on the kind of weapon. And hey, we might be mad scientists, but that doesn’t mean we’re all mad inventors, right? But fear not, my ambitious world-conquering friend. Superweapons are actually a lot easier to come by than you’ve probably been led to believe. Giant lasers aren’t the be-all, end-all of earth shattering kabooms. So here are 4 sci-fi technologies you might not have realized double as great superweapons (in order of difficulty to obtain, not destructive force).

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A Dismal Reflection: Apocalyptic Alternate Realities

turn-left-titanicWhen it comes to TV, things are always at risk of getting stale; if a series has a twenty episode season, for example, then a savvy viewer might realize that the lead actor’s character won’t die in episode 10. Characters rarely die at all, in fact, and permanent injuries mean permanent makeup (just ask Coulson how long he went one-handed). Even sets are rarely destroyed, since so much money goes into building them; with so little seemingly at stake (usually), it can be easy for the audience to stop seeing the enemies as threatening. How can you show the danger posed by our enemies without upsetting the status quo? Enter sci-fi’s favorite trick, the parallel universe/alternate timeline, where events and circumstances differ from the primary setting of the show in specific ways. By using these familiar-yet-strange settings, the writers can explore facets of the characters and the world in which they live that would usually be unavailable: how they might react to the destruction of their home, or the death of a critical character. Better still, since this alternate world is only around for an episode or two, massive changes to the status quo can be made, giving the writers a chance to explore apocalyptic themes that are usually out of reach.

What? No, it’s an utter coincidence I’m writing about apocalypses the same week as the election…

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4 Dangers of FTL Travel–Friday Four

millennium-falcon-hyperdriveSince the dawn of spaceflight, mankind has been stalled by the limiting factor that is the speed of light. But no longer–with the advent of Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel, the entire galaxy is now our backyard. The idea of visiting other worlds, perhaps to seek out new life and new civilizations, going boldly where no one has gone before… it’s very appealing, isn’t it? And it’s finally a reality, so you might be tempted; Earth is boring and well explored, after all, and no new intelligent species are likely to be popping up any time soon. But before you sign up to join the space exploration agency of your choice, consider all the ways this FTL trip could go horribly, horribly wrong. Warp drives, Jump drives, or Hyperspace, they all have their problems, and here are 4 of the biggest dangers of FTL travel.

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4 Clues the New Futuristic Drug is Deadly–Friday Four

TekWar Futuristic DrugLife’s hard in a dystopian world, and sometimes you really just need any escape you can get. That’s why there’s no shortage of new and exciting drugs being created in these kinds of places–or at least, they always sound exciting. A lot of the time, these futuristic drug offerings aren’t quite what you’re promised, and come with some major downsides. The next time someone offers you a first hit for free, pause and think over the points below before you wind up the latest victim of a half-baked narcotics fad.

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Eidolon is Now Available Everywhere!

eidomaskAfter months of writing and revision, Eidolon, the second book in my Lance Canela series, is now available across the web! Eidolon is where the overarching plot of the series begins—a heavier focus on the dystopian world and how it came to be that way. Check out the blurb below:

After Lance’s contact, Wyatt, is driven underground by the followers of a crusading hacker known only as Eidolon, Lance gets saddled with the unenviable task of digging up dirt on them—one made all the more intolerable as he finds himself working alongside a clickbait blogger named Becky, whose only concern is the next big controversy.
But as Lance gets to know Eidolon, his followers, and what he stands for, he becomes less and less sure that he’s on the right side. Is Wyatt taking advantage of him, or could there really be a dark secret at the heart of Eidolon’s attempts to right the world?

If you haven’t checked out The Arcology yet, no worries! I’ve got a special promotion going on that I’ll be posting about tomorrow. In the mean time, check out the links below to find a list of retailers that have Eidolon available. Both the paperback and ebook editions include a special bonus short story, Thoughts as Gray as Ash, following Lance through a more personal case as he searches for a client gone missing.

Amazon (ebook or Paperback): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXPQHCV

SmashWords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/668494

Barnes & Noble (ebook or Paperback): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eidolon-carlyle-edmundson/1124750035?ean=2940153761695

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eidolon/id1161482752

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/eidolon-10

And remember, if you enjoy my books, please leave a rating/review at the retailer of your choice!

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