Friday, May 1, 2020
As often as possible, I'll be posting 2000-word chapters of my serial novel Strike in the Shining City. I court feedback, especially at this early stage where it'll be easier to correct defects in plot and characterization.
This will also be a home for short stories, scripts, poems, etc. They'll likely have a science fiction or fantasy bent to them. Unless they don't.
The Spell of Vesperia (Nanowrimo 2010 Novel):
I, II, III.
Strike in the Shining City:
I, II, III, IV, V.
50-Word Short Story #1, #2, #3, #4.
500-Word Short Story #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.
A Brief History of Metal, Exhumed, The Goose Girl part I, II, Latitudes, Ogre, Share and Share Alike, The Taxman
Things in History You Should Know: Queen Crisantha, Things in History You Should Know: Hal Kolger.
Completed Longer Work:
BC Ferries Haiku #1.
Pedestrian Haiku #1
Translink Haiku #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7, #8, #9 and #10, #11 and #12, #13 and #14, #15 and #16, #17 and #18.
Sonnets: Machina, On Waiting.
John A. Macdonald and the Pacific Scandal, Pierre Trudeau, Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, John Diefenbaker.
Also, here are most of my nonfiction history articles, as published in the University of Lethbridge's student newspaper, the Meliorist. Some drabbles are posted in the blog, but not listed here.
And, ahem, I have started to write some Doctor Who fanfiction, which is hosted elsewhere. Sue me, I love that show.
Thank you for visiting. Enjoy your stay.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
So many disdain manners.
Shove past anyhow.
Translink reps hover
By platform. “Tickets?” they ask.
Those jackbooted thugs!
Okay, so I've kvetched about rude escalator behaviour in the past. But seriously, if you're making an active effort to stretch across the whole width of it while ignoring my 'excuse me!'s while my skytrain's rolling in, I'm going to get shirty. And you're going to have to deal with a short woman wearing a bowler emerging from underneath your armpit. I'm pretty sure Lovecraft had nightmares about that sort of thing.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
See? I wasn’t lying about writing another chapter. This was a tough one to write. Sorry for the delay.
“I’ve got people over there,” she said, waving her hand at the purpling sunset. “Way over by the ocean. They’re good people, I guess, but I just had to get away, you know?”
The clock ticked unceasingly in the largest room of the Harlock-Glockner household, which served as a dining room, kitchen, and parlour. The circular table had been pushed out from the corner into the centre of it and upon it, five places were set. Not coincidentally, five bodies were seated in chairs before the places.
A plaid shirt and pair of trousers three sizes too large, boots so small they’d pinch Dot’s own feet, and a blue toque with a bobble on it – no one had a wig, or at least no one who’d fess up to it – should have been beneath Erasmus’ dignity, Dot thought. But if Erasmus thought so, or if he had a concept of ‘dignity’, he wasn’t saying and the specs of light in his sockets gave away nothing.
Ah, darkened spectacles, that was what she needed. But the chances of finding any pairs of any such things north of Englin were low to the point of laughable.
Said her father, in between chewing and swallowing forkfuls of his meat pie – the sort of meat being difficult to discern under the sheer amount of salt and spice – with the grim determination of a soldier on the march, “Blindfold it. Simplest way.”
“I don’t much fancy leading him by the hand all the way down to the city,” said Dot. Her pie was picked at and smushed about until it could only be grandfathered in to that category of pastry. “Or should I just put him on the back of a donkey and lead him that way?”
This did not amuse Evert Glockner and the way his fingers warped the cheap metal of his fork gave testimony to that.
“There’s that wide-brimmed hat I’ve got,” offered Agny Harlock, a taller, lankier, fairer, wearier version of her daughter. “You know, like those police on the frontier wear. That should shade its eyes enough that people won’t seem ‘em until they look, won’t it?” Like her husband, she was systematic in her eating, although she had opted to fully sublimate the crust into the filling.
Dot constructed a perfect pyramid the likes of which would meet the approval of any pharaoh should it have been made of stone, then sliced it down the ruthlessness of salvagers. “That’ll have to do, I guess. Though we’ll have to find better clothing for him. Gods’ grave, he looks like he’s wearing a tent.” Out of the corner of her eye, she spied Erasmus and Bill, both onto their second and both…
Bill Glockner muttered with all the rage at the unfairness of the universe he could muster.
The Harlock-Glockner family meals were always this happy. This is why they usually dined out at the beer hall.
Later – armed with the wide-brimmed hat, which was thankfully of too dark a material to be mistaken for the official model – Dot, Erasmus, and Bill crowded themselves in Bill’s cubby of a room. Dot had to stand on the bed and to her brother’s consternation, she did not remove her boots first. His chest was open, clothes strewn out for it, in preparation for Erasmus becoming a glorified dressing doll. The hat was placed upon his head for comparison’s sake.
“You haven’t told them yet,” said Bill, holding an ugly woollen sweater up to Erasmus’ torso for inspection. It failing to pass muster, he threw it behind him with a harrumph, an action to which his subject responded with tilt of his head. “About Kit.”
“Why would I?” asked Dot, in the manner of the superior elder sibling the world over. Her arms were crossed and her shoulder blades rested against the knotty planks that made up the wall, the effect being spoiled by the way she had to tilt her own head to prevent it from smacking the ceiling. “Think it would be kind to them? Any use? Oh, he saw her three years ago – which I might I remind you, wasn’t that long after we last saw her – does that tell them anything about where she is now and what she’s doing?”
Bill admitted that this did not. “But maybe with a little investigation…” Another sweater was tried, found wanting, and tossed into the incipient heap.
“Which is why we’re going. Both to find out where Erasmus came from and to find Kit’s trail. But I think you know why I didn’t say more than the first part. I mean, they’re fretting about me leaving enough as it is. I suppose I should keep my voice down.”
“Yep.” He continued his work with diligence. “What about you, Erasmus? Haven’t heard you speak much.”
The lights focused on Bill. “I have not much to contribute. My memories are unhelpful right now. They are damaged. By water? Heat? Pressure? I do not know. I wish I could tell you more marvellous things about Kit. She was kind to me. I recall that I had hair then, but they were not black curls like hers and yours.” As he spoke, more and more articles of clothing were held up to him, then thrown back in disgust.
Bill did not have a great deal of clothes, so it was not long at all before he only had one outfit left as an option – an off-white button shirt and a dark coat and slacks the exact same shade as the hat. The younger Glockner seemed to shake as he had his size double put them on to make sure of the fit, which was, of course, perfect.
He swore, with an even greater passion than his muttering at the dinner table. “It has to be my best, doesn’t it! The only thing that’ll work with that damned hat!” But there was nothing for it and in due course, the monstrous trousers and plaid shirt, along with the most whimsical toque, were returned to their owner, who seemed a touch disappointed to see them return.
In the morning, they set out – two hours after dawn had paid its call and just as Judge Holt was setting up court in the community of Arms of Gold. There was a matter of a burglary that the man had to sort out, along with an assault up in one of the camps; no murders or rapes or anything of that sort, gods be praised. Thus, in waiting for the correct authorities to call, the community distinguished itself from the Arms of Gold of a decade past, in which a suspected perpetrator would be strung up or elsewise abused, circuit judge or no. Evert and Agny made their gruff farewells to their daughter at the door; Bill followed Dot and Erasmus a mile down the road before he could finally be persuaded to clear off.
“Mind my clothes!” were his last words to them.
“I’ll send you up a new pair once we get to Englin, if I’ve got any money left!” In Dot’s wallet, tied with a multitude of clever knocks to her waist, there rested ten elderly dollars that she had earned with her own labours. Thus, she felt confident in her promise.
When they were left to the silence of the woods, Dot began to speak to Erasmus, in much the same manner as Kit before him. She told him all sorts of things, of the machines and of magic and how she knew a lot about the machines but not much at all about the magic and how she was going to learn it to figure him out yet…
Erasmus was so entranced – how much it was like the speeches of Kit in the times before! – that he forgot to tell her how his limbs were getting stiffer and his mind slower and how much harder it was becoming to keep with her pace.
By Dot’s reckoning, it would take a full day’s stroll to get to Poppertown, given that no one in Arms of Gold had charity that stretched far enough to lend them a steed. This Dot did not mind. She had made the journey before, even when she was much smaller than she was now, and the thought of a day’s walk filled her with not a whit of fear. It meant a change of pace, a chance to see something new, even if it weren’t quite as new as she’d like.
“I’ve only been to Englin once before,” she prattled on. “But I was too small to remember it. I was three I think, ha, and my family was just coming up from Abelia. They heard about gold, you see, but the gold was further north than they were willing to go, especially with me and Kit being as young as we were and Bill being just a baby. Think you come from the same part of the country as the gold?” Dot took in Erasmus’ impressively blank expression. “No, I shouldn’t think so. You said you travelled from the east. But where…?”
“I am sorry. I do not know.”
Her prattling continued anew and the sun made its course overhead, insofar as either of them could tell through the needles and branches and trunks that surrounded them.
As sunset arrived, Dot estimated that they were roughly an hour out from Poppertown. This was in accordance with both past experience and a particularly gnarled tree on the eastern side of the road, scratched and abused with the declarations of dozens of couples. Except, except, except…
That was with the whole family with her. And a cart that needed pulling. It was just her and Erasmus this time; shouldn’t they have gone a touch farther by this point?
She turned to Erasmus, no longer going on about whatever crossed her mind and plumbing him for answers he did not currently possess, and looked at him, really looked at him. She could not tell for certain, but his legs seemed to swing from his knees at a slower and jerkier gait than they had starting out in the morning and it was almost as if his knees were locking up for some moments with each pace…
“Erasmus?” she asked. “We can take a break, if you want.”
He shook his head, in the culturally accepted way of signifying ‘no.’ One pace, two paces, three paces, more.
“I wouldn’t mind. I could use the rest.” This was a lie and went ignored, even as its target ground ever to a halt.
He stood stock still in the middle of the dirt road. A faint sound of gears could be heard, along with a shudder in his hips, as he tried and failed to prod his limbs onwards to their destination. “I cannot, I cannot, I cannot…”
Erasmus slowly, but surely, buckled. First his toes bent over, then his knees, then his legs, his hips, his chest, then his skull, hitting the ground with a thump. His face was planted into the road, dirt shoved up into his eye sockets.
In the distance, birds and insects chirped. Dot breathed in, breathed out, then – hands shaking – slung her overloaded pack off of her back, turned Erasmus onto his own back, undid the buttons of the coat and shirt, and went to work. Around her, the sky reddened, then purpled, then blackened.
“You should know that we’re not exactly keen on you going,” said Agny, once night had well and truly fallen and all the meat pie had been placed into stomachs. The weak light of the lantern illuminated her, emphasised the lines of her face until she seemed a decade older than she was.
“I’ll send a letter, whenever I get to a new town.”
“That’s the only reason we’re letting you go.”
“I promise you, all right? But I’ve got to do this. You know I can’t stay here,” said Dot, said Kit.
Evert said nothing, but he never was a big talker.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The steam is wafting from my mug of tea.
My laptop’s screen glows brightly in the gloom.
Outside, the cold yet fails to slow the sea,
As the rain clouds o’er the city loom.
The promise of the new year still remains,
With its resolutions and well-thought schemes.
I jog, perspire, losses exceeding gains.
The French books are lonely; they haunt my dreams.
Yet the albatross, ‘round my neck he’s strung,
Waits for confirmation from a far off land.
The extensive wait is a load of dung,
And the blasted bird keeps biting my hand.
Until I know, I shan’t be a leader.
At least bring me my frickin’ ereader.
I’m gunning for you, Shakespeare. Chapter coming tomorrow, finally.
Monday, January 3, 2011
An election will come eventually. As such, I have generously provided the Conservative Party with some rhetoric to use on the campaign trail. I expect a cheque in the mail.
My people! A storm gathers! Yea, I tell you all to heed my words and learn what will transpire should you fail in your moral duty come the Day of Decision that looms larger with every passing hour and colourful pamphlet.
That filthy, socialist organisation that deigns to call itself the ‘Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’ will convert your children – the fruit of your very loins! – to the false religions of communism and talking back to authorities.
The Americans will descend upon us from the South, the Chinese from the East, the East Indians from West. All these interlopers will gaze upon our natural bounty in a way that makes us extremely uncomfortable.
All your muskets, passed down from father to son for untold generations, will be swiped from your very hands, so that you shall no longer be able to hunt man nor beast in the manner which OUR LORD has intended.
A plague of locusts and terrorists will sweep o’er the land, bombing and devouring all in their path. Nothing shall stop them, for airport security checks will be swept away by socialists and perverts and pesticides will have been banned.
Yea, the corpse of Macdonald shall rise from his grave and none shall tell whether he is a drunkard or undead until his maw rends flesh from vulnerable necks. Thereupon, his strength renewed, he shall chide us all for the grievous error we have committed that has doomed our fair and fragile. But his instruments of speech will have rotted away and none will understand him.
Department stores will post confusing and contradictory hours and none shall tell when it is the appropriate time of day or night to purchase toilet paper or Triscuits.
All these and occurrences too dark and foul to speak of on this sanctified ground will come to pass if you do not deliver unto Harper his majority. Amen.