Friday, October 24, 2014


About the only wild animal I fear is the skunk.  They're mean little bastards with teeth and claws and that special bonus package.  I've been skunked before.  It's the most vile smell there is.  This time of year they always seem most active for some reason.  At work about two weeks ago one came inside the building through an open door.  Fortunately, it turned around and went back outside.  If it hadn't, I don't know how you make a skunk leave until it's ready to go.  Later that very same day I was home sleeping and suddenly this horrid stench permeated my bedroom.  My immediate thought was  Oh god, that skunk followed me home.  I slowly realized that, although skunks are clever, skunks aren't likely to follow me 20 miles to my house after I left work.  I guess one could hop in a cab and say "follow that car," but that seems a bit far fetched. Cab  fares in Vail are astronomical.  So, I gradually realized the skunk was not really after me. The neighbor's dog went after one and, big mistake. 

This all came back to the forefront of my attention yesterday as I went out to my car and around the front of my car came a skunk.  I reasoned it was there waiting for me.  And I was doomed.  It paid me little mind and sort of waddled off down the street.  I dove into the Ford and closed the door as fast as I could.  Safe for now, anyway. We've had rattlesnakes, moose, bears and mountain lions in our condo complex over the past few months.  I'll gladly take my chances with a rattler over the thought of another skunk encounter. 

By the way, tomato juice doesn't work. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and shampoo, lots of shampoo, will eventually remove that small.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mile Hi Con

This weekend I'll be at Mile Hi Con at the Hyatt Denver Tech Center.
This is my schedule:

Friday 4PM  How Small Presses Choose Their Covers

Saturday Noon   The Lasting Appeal of Time Travel Stories

Saturday 9PM Gearing Up For Steampunk

Sunday 11AM The Great 1897 Airship

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I'm amazed that gas prices have come down so much.  I doubt that it'll last for long.  They say grain prices are down too.  With the cost of production and transportation down, then I don't understand why food prices still seem so darned high at the store.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

David Boop From Outer Space

Had a very strange dream yesterday.  I should ad that I've been battling a cold or something--at times feverish, cough syrup taken may do more harm than good.  And through all of this, I had a very strange dream yesterday.  There were pods landing all over the world.  And the pods opened and each pod contained a cloned David Boop. There were hundreds of David Boops wandering around the world. Each one was dressed in khaki and wore a Pith helmet. Now, David Boop is a real person. I've know him for years, but I've never dreamed about him, not ever.  

So, the Chinese government was trying to kill all of the David Boops.  And the David Boops were trying to get their hands on weapons to fight the Chinese.  And I don't really know why any of this was happening. It has to be one of the strangest dreams I've ever had.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time's Up

Next weekend I'll be at Mile Hi Con.  One of  the panels I'm on is about time travel stories.  I've always had an uneasy relationship with time travel stories.  As an author, I've only written two.  As an editor, I've actively discouraged them.  When we were doing Science Fiction Trails  I had to change the writers guidelines to keep them away.  There was a time when all I got was some clod goes back in time to the OK Corral and doesn't really belong there.  It was always the OK Corral and the Earp Brothers.  It might not have been so bad had it occasionally been Little Big Horn or someplace else--yes it would have.  These were always dreadful stories.  

It boils down to this: Time travel is an easy crutch for an unimaginative writer to use to deal with a science fiction story set in a time different than our own.  Rather than write about the folks who actually live there, they always seem to think people from our time are superior or more interesting. So let's write crappy stories about time travel.  And how do we get back in time? Oh, we can crawl through some unexplained hole behind our stove or we can smoke crack [these are actual examples I've gotten]. 

That's not to say all time travel is crap--just most of  it. Even though I have a loathing contempt for most time travel stories, I rather like Dr. Who.    I think the H. G. Wells story was pretty good for its day. It can be done.  Heck, during the Matt Smith era of Dr. Who, there was a bona fide weird western episode set in the town of Mercy that would've fit right in the pages of Science Fiction Trails.  That one involved an alien war  criminal who was trying to escape justice by hiding out in a small western town.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


There's a comet going really close to Mars.  I gather the ESA and NASA are going to try to get the satellites already spying on Mars to take a look at it.  I find myself wondering what the Martians are doing.  Of course, there's not really much you can do about a comet.  Back in the 1800s people would freak out when a comet came close to earth--way more than they are for Ebola. They'd buy comet masks to keep from inhaling comet dust.  That's why I wonder if the Martians are freaking out about the approaching comet or simply taking it in stride.

Friday, October 17, 2014


The Postal Service has a new set of Batman stamps out. I bought some yesterday.  They're pretty cool. One of them is a round stamp depicting the bat signal that Commissioner Gordon used to shine on clouds. I always wondered how somebody living in the bat cave was supposed to see that.