Links or Consequences, New Mexico

I’m up to 19.5k words on the first draft of The Morpheist, though my projected word count is also up–to 33k. I like how it’s shaping up so far, though it’s going to take a lot of working over after the first draft is done to get it ready to go. I’m realizing a lot about the motivations and desires of some of the characters as I go, even though they may not surface in this novella. I’d almost forgotten how much I like this process of discovery. I’ve had to pause it, though, to work on the revisions and polishing of “Goldilocks Zone,” the horror short I first-drafted a couple months ago. Once that’s out the door, it’s back to The Morpheist till it’s done.

As I briefly mentioned three weeks ago, I’m going to be at PenguiCon 2012, April 27th-29th in Dearborn, Michigan (USA), on panels and otherwise slithering about. Don’t know my schedule yet, but I’ll list it here when I get it–also, it will be available online here. I’m really looking forward to this one, as PenguiCon always has some seriously awesome and fun stuff going on.

I’m also slated to be doing a reading from Brutal Light at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan (USA) on May 7th, 2012 (7pm EDT). I won’t be there by my lonesome–also reading and signing there will be Jim C. Hines, author of the Princess Novels fantasy series from DAW Books, Emmy Jackson, author of Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson, and Bethany Grenier, author of Sings with Stars. Save the date!

You know what else is happening on April 28th, besides Penguicon? It’s Obscura Day! Which, according to the website, is “an international celebration of unusual places, full of expeditions, back room tours & explorations of the hidden wonders in your own hometown.” Sadly, even if I wasn’t busy that day, I’d still be far, far away from the events I’d like to go to the most, such as ones at the House of Automata in Scotland, the Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts, and Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois.

I fully support this use of unmanned drone helicopters, even though it doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon: TacoCopter startup delivers tacos by unmanned drone helicopter.

Here’s a cool DIY augmented reality monitor baseball cap… thing. I’m tempted to see if I can put one of these together myself.

The privacy invaders are back. Did they ever leave? CISPA looks even more awful than SOPA.

Waiting for those hand-manipulable 3d windows, as seen in films like Minority Report? They’re getting closer to being real.

Someday soon, you’ll be able to design and print your own robot. THE FUTURE, WE ARE IN YOU.

For writers: Eight reasons your story might not be selling that have little or nothing to do with whether the story is any damn good. Favorite line: “I mean, sure, it seems funny and original when you’re six tequilas to the wind, but then again, so does Zardoz.”

More for writers: 9 ways to piss off an editor. I don’t know how accurate this is. I’ve been a pretty princess for ages, and no editor has yet remarked on it.

And finally, here’s what your favorite tv shows would look like if they starred marshmallow peeps — at least, if your favorite shows are The Walking Dead, Dexter, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, or Arrested Development. I see this and pose two questions: 1) Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? 2) No Doctor Who or True Blood?

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Links… in… Spaaaaaaaaace!

I’m still working away on my dark science fiction novella The Morpheist. It’s at about 12.5k in verbiage, around halfway in terms of story told. It’s the most sustained work on a single story I’ve done in quite a while; it gives me confidence that this will be the next big thing I finish. It used to be that I wrote with discipline and a sense of purpose. That was true in the 90s when I wrote for Superguy, and it was true for Brutal Light. I have to admit I lapsed once I finished Brutal Light, and stayed lapsed for several years–not going over all the reasons why, just acknowledging it happened. I’m mildly relieved to find I can still write this way.

It looks like I’m going to be a panelist at Penguicon 2012 (Friday April 27th through Sunday April 29th) in Dearborn, Michigan, USA! I’ll post again when I know the what and the when of the panels. PenguiCon attracts some big crowds, and is always insane amounts of fun, so I’m really looking forward to it.

The first review I’ve seen anywhere of my novel Brutal Light has come in. Admittedly, it’s mixed, but it’s overall positive. What do you think?

Meanwhile, on to the links!

Author and editor Lincoln Crisler has been hosting a series of ‘virtual panels’ on various subjects regarding Corrupts Absolutely?, the dark superheroic fiction anthology he edited. Two weeks ago, the topic was Meta-Morality. Last week it was Meta-Misses. Yesterday, it was Meta-Mates. Lots of perspectives and food for thought!

The first communication using neutrinos has been sent and received by a group at the University of Rochester. It’s the first step toward someday being able to communicate without worrying about pesky things like oceans or the moon getting in the way. (Not quite Star Trek-style, since it doesn’t beat the lightspeed barrier, but pretty cool, nonetheless.)

Speaking of cool, there’s a new system developed that lets a wearer make every surface a touch screen for smartphone-like usage. I won’t comment on what uses my inner 12-year-old has already imagined for this. Every surface means every surface, is all I’m sayin’. 😉

Here’s an interesting debunking of the ‘Creative Right Brain’ myth. The truth turns out to be a lot more complex, messy and interesting, which is just how I like it.

Interesting speculation going on in The Atlantic regarding how medtech could expand beyond the injured. The future is coming, ready or not! This is the sort of thing I find fascinating, particularly as, in The Morpheist, I try to worldbuild a cyber/biopunkish future in which some of our dreams and nightmares in this area and many others have come true.

Finally, as a folklore fan, I was amazed to read about five hundred new fairytales being discovered in Germany. Tales like these, particularly so close to their sources (they were collected around the same time as Grimm’s, and were far less rewritten), are a tremendous window to our collective past.

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Are You Linksperienced?

The writing proceeds apace at Chez Olson, after some bumpy days where I was not sure what the hell I wanted to write–not because I didn’t like what I was writing, but because I had several ideas that all wanted to come out at once. For a while, I thought that Entering Cadence, my ‘science fiction noir’ novella, would be what occupied my winter, until it decided it wanted to be a novel instead. I knocked out the first draft of a short horror story, “Goldilocks Zone,” then had to decide whether to return to Entering Cadence or start in on one of these other ideas.

The idea that won was to revisit a very old short story of mine, The Morpheist, and rework it into a dark fantasy novella set in a biopunkish future (once again, showing no respect for genre boundaries–tsch!). For the first time in a long time, I’ve been meeting the (admittedly modest) daily writing goals I’ve set for myself, and expect to have a first draft done by mid-April (stopping only to revisit, revise, polish, and send out “Goldilocks Zone”). After that… it’s either back to Entering Cadence, on to an as-yet-untitled biopunk SF story targeted for an anthology, or over to True Places to see if I can take the salvagable first half of that and turn it into a decent standalone book.

(As far as Starless Midnight–the projected sequel to Brutal Light–goes, that’s also a possibility, but low in priority at this point. Maybe by fall I’ll be ready for it…)

In the meantime, here are links! Yay?

I’m going to be on Blog Talk Radio’s A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book, hosted by Jennifer Walker, on February 29th from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. Jennifer will be interviewing me on Brutal Light and other writerly things, and I’ll be doing my best to keep my brain from locking up due to the stress that comes to me from trying to keep my train of thought from leaving the station before all the words are done boarding. Drop in and listen! (It’s not really ‘radio,’ it’s streaming, so if you’ve got a good internet connection, you should be able to follow along. Also, it’ll be archived, just in case you decide not to rearrange your life so as to listen live.)

Lincoln Crisler recently released a free story on Smashwords (you’ll need to log in or create an account to see it) to promote his soon-to-be-released anthology, Corrupts, Absolutely?. (And yeah, that anthology is one of the new releases I just talked about above.) Check it out!

Here’s something that’s simultaneously both cool and worrisome: Google will be selling ‘heads-up display’ glasses by year’s end. Cool because… well, come on. Worrisome because you just know people are going to be wearing these while doing other things, such as walking and driving and who knows what else, and it’s only a matter of time until we hear someone caused a multi-car pileup because they saw that a store they were passing had several funny cat videos on their YouTube channel.

Speaking of biopunk, here’s an article on some of the real-life bio-hacking that some people are already doing. This has ‘beginning of a SyFy Channel movie’ all over it…

I used to like eating hot, hot foods. In college, I would snork up jalapeno peppers straight out of the jar, and afterward, for years, I’d grow my own chili peppers. I’ve mellowed somewhat on that (my orders of Indian food never go above ‘medium,’ which is ‘hot’ to most sane people), but this article on the world’s hottest pepper tempts me to the challenge…

Here’s Five leadership mistakes of the Galactic Empire that you’ll want to avoid, especially if ‘force choke’ isn’t an option on the table for keeping your employees in line…

Finally, here’s something (originally brought to my attention by Naomi Clark) that I just loved: the opening of Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus, retold as a heartwarming children’s story. It is made of awesome.

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Links Con Queso

It’s been a pretty warm winter up here in Michigan. There’s been nothing I’d really call a major snowfall, let alone a blizzard, when by this point in most years we’ve been held down and snicker-snagged upon repeatedly by Old Man Winter, Jack Frost, and Cold Miser. Not that I’m complaining, mind you… it’s just… strange. Strange weather… weeeeiiiird weather…

I’ve been busy, as per usual. I put my latest project, Entering Cadence, briefly on hold in order to pound out the first draft of a horror short that, if done right, will be very, very wrong. Entering Cadence itself has been chugging along pretty well, though it keeps trying to change as I type. Then again, that’s true of most anything I write.

But enough about me. Release the kra–er, release the links!

Last Sunday I put up a page on this site excerpting the full prologue for my novel Brutal Light. If for some gobsmacking, logic-defying, plausibility-stretching, disbelief-suspending reason you haven’t bought and devoured (or at least licked) Brutal Light, check it out!

Get photos sent directly from Mars on your smartphone! Because that’s what smartphones are for, when you’ve run out of funny cat videos.

If you’re like me, and I know I am, you’re worried about robots, AIs, and othersuch sentient artificial life rising up and destroying us all. But it turns out that cyborgs and mutants are more likely to do that. (How they compare to zombies, though, I’m not sure.)

Here’s the 6 Most Counterproductive PSAs of All Time, according to YMMV, of course, but I’m suddenly craving some Gofer Cakes for some reason…

…and then I’ll wash it down with some coffee. 10 Reasons Coffee is Both the Best and Worst Beverage Ever Invented.

The battle goes on: If you opposed SOPA and PIPA, you should oppose ACTA, too.

Some news that put a big, Gumby-like smile on my face: the Monty Python crew is reuniting to appear in ‘Absolutely Anything,’ a SF comedy. While it won’t be a ‘Monty Python’ movie, per se, it’s probably as close to one as we’ll ever get…

Finally, you may think that 2-Headed Shark Attack is the bad shark movie of the year to watch for, but I contend that Sand Sharks is going to be so much worse. And by ‘worse,’ I mean ‘more awesome.’

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Free Brutal Light Tie-In Short Story Now Available From Smashwords

Something You Should KnowMy dark fantasy/urban fantasy short story Something You Should Know” is now available for free from Smashwords. It’s a stand-alone tale set in the world of Brutal Light, taking place a few months before the ‘present day’ action in that book:

A homeless woman, Rennie Kalick, has been given the ability to turn the painful memories of others into weapons, and has used this power to seek revenge for wrongs done to herself and those like her. But Kagami Takeda, whose connection to the merciless, godlike sea of light known as the Radiance was responsible for this gift, wants to take it back. A short story set in the Brutal Light universe.

Though technically it’s a prequel, in that it takes place before Brutal Light, it’s written as a stand-alone story that can be enjoyed without having read my book, with very little in the way of spoilers. (Of course, my hope is to attract more readers for that book, which is my ulterior motive for this whole deal…)

Formats available are .mobi (Kindle-compatible), .epub (Nook-and-many-other-ereader-compatible), .pdf (Adobe), and .pdb (Palm). There should soon be a version that can be directly downloaded from for the Nook, and eventually one that can be directly downloaded from for the Kindle. All DRM-free, so you can freely share it, so long as the file is unaltered and remains free.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you enjoy it!

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.


So, we’re now six days into 2012, that exciting, unstable year with Roland Emmerich’s sweaty handprints already over it. I’ve just started on writing a dark science fiction novella, Entering Cadence, while continuing researching things in preparation for the sequel to Brutal Light. I’m determining which conventions I’ll make the extra effort to go to this year (beyond the Michigan-based ones I attend every year). I’m also working on some surprises for this month and next. Good times!

But you’re not here to listen to me be enigmatic, you’re here for a blog entry! Or possibly lutefisk. With that in mind, I direct your attention to these links…

Author J.E. Gurley’s new book of horror Blood Lust is now available for a very limited (that is, for today and the next three days) time for free as a Kindle download from If you have a Kindle (or a Kindle app for your computer or phone), check it out!

Author Karina Fabian has launched the 30 Minute Marketer, a series dedicated to helping writers market their books. It’ll come out weekly (depending on donations) and breaks down marketing tasks into easy-to-fit-into-busy-schedule bits. Well worth a look if you’re a writer like me who wants to do more with marketing but can never seem to find the time.

A new anthology will soon be open for submissions: Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, edited by Tim Marquitz. In a world where the light has faded, what creatures will make their presence known to man once more? Submissions are open from 1/15/12 to 5/15/12.

There’s a Facebook meme thingy going around where people are posting links to videos on YouTube featuring the song that was at number one on the pop charts when they were born. Here’s mine: In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans. A song that somehow manages to be both haunting and annoying at the same time. (I think I would have liked it if I’d been born one week later, though, so I could claim the Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Woman. 😛 )

One more video, from the ‘Epic Rap Battles of History’ series: Gandalf vs. Dumbledore. Because it’s Friday, and it’s made of awesome.

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.