If you know your Science Fiction, and maybe even if you don’t, you recognize the iconic line from the HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL was the artificial intelligence who, while incredibly smart, was driven to violence by the directives provided by his human creators.
Artificial intelligence is a staple of science fiction, and it’s a trope that enables writers to examine what it means to be human, what it means to create life and what our responsibility to that life we create actually is. And further, it enables us to tell stories about what that life might want to do to us in return.
There have been brilliant examples of stories in the AI genre. Colossus: The Forbin Project is a terrifying vision of what could happen if the tools of war are handed over to a machine intelligence designed to make war more efficient. The Terminator, with all it’s lean savagery, is another take on what happens when the machines come online and want control. Continue reading →
Other than in my first attempt at novel writing, which we shall speak of no more, for it is legendary in its awfulness, I write queer characters. They aren’t all queer, but my heroes are. The whole raison d’etre of both my standalone novel, Chasing Cold, and my Maverick Heart series is to write the kind of heroes I loved growing up, but make them unapologetic in whatever flavour of queerness they called their own.
In the early days of what would eventually become Soul’s Blood, I submitted to a press in Edmonton run by Candas Jane Dorsey. As it turned out, I was going to be in town, and she very graciously took me to lunch and gave me feedback on my very early efforts. And one of her comments formed a cornerstone of how the novel and series would grow.
In the initial incarnations, Keene and Daevin were initially forced apart because Daevin’s father was bothered by Daevin being in love with a man. It was the late eighties/early nineties when the novel was first conceived and I was living in a city where there were no Pride celebrations, no businesses that specifically targeted the queer community, other than the one gay bar. In many ways, we still lived our lives in shadow. Continue reading →
That was when the original Star Trek series aired on one of the only two channels that were available in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1966, and it was something we, as a family watched. I remember my mother being certain that the sight of one alien in the closing credits (Balok from The Corbomite Maneuver) would scare me too much, so she charged my sisters with distracting me so I wouldn’t see it.
Of course, when I finally did, I wasn’t bothered at all.
Star Trek truly entered my consciousness in the Seventies during first run syndication after school. When I rediscovered it, I would race home and hope it was one I hadn’t seen yet. Not that it mattered. I watched them over and over, poring over every detail, memorizing the look, the ideas, the performances. I tried over and over to build the Enterprise with my Lego. And this was back in the day when there weren’t any specially shaped blocks, just flat bits, rectangles and squares. My love for the show just continued to grow. Continue reading →
In lieu of a post here this week, I was fortunate enough to write a piece over at Spoonie Authors Network this week. Inspired by a conversation I had with a friend at Glad Day Bookshop during Pride this year, that set off a host of thoughts about my body and how I feel about it.
I’m a bad blogger. I admit it. I have neglected my site for far too long. I released a book, finished rewrites on a second and signed a contract for it.
Blogs posts? Nada.
Excuse me while I hang my head in shame.
I’m a writer. It’s kind of my thing. I mean, I have a dull, yet well paying day job with benefits and lots of vacation and stuff, but the writing is the thing that gets me going, that makes me feel like I’m not just taking up space and emitting carbon dioxide. I love the act of creating the worlds and the people and moving them around. I even enjoy the times I have to do horrible things to them.
“People must be remembered Charlie, otherwise it’s as if they were never here at all. All we are are the people who remember us. If we go away, and everybody forgets we were ever here, its as if we never were.”
Have you ever revisited a movie you saw many, many years before? One that you remember loving, even though decades have passed and you can’t even remember when you saw it the first time? For me, this weekend, I found one of those movies again. Sweet November, starring Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley. I have such vivid memories of loving it, and they were borne out when I watched it again tonight. The quote above imprinted on me somehow. I’m not sure if I loved it because it resonated with what I already believed, or if it was seeing the film and hearing those words that helped create the belief. Maybe it’s even more resonant now in the aftermath of my own brush with mortality. But it’s a lovely film. And it’s one I’ve taken in, one that has become part of who I am.
I have been distinctly neglectful of my site and my writing in general. To be honest, I sat down and took stock of all that had happened to me in the last decade and then some, and realized that there had been a lot of intense living going on during that time. Between starting a new life in Toronto, having cancer, losing my career and my mother within months; and then writing two books, I needed some down time.
I wasn’t producing any work of any kind, either writing or painting. I had an aborted start at a new novel, but the progress soon fizzled.
But, the muse always comes back eventually. Some ideas for the two novels I have complete (if desperate for revision) novels I have sitting on my hard drive (Soul’s Blood and Gatecrasher) came to the fore and I’m now eager to put some effort into beating them into shape.
Stay tuned. First chapter of Soul’s Blood is coming soon as a little amuse bouche for what’s to come.
This morning, my heart is fire and broken glass. I grieve for the women of Texas, told that their wombs are not theirs to control. I grieve for black women and men, told once again that their lives matter less and that they are expendable. I grieve for the friends and family of a young man lost to his own demons. And all I want is to see something good in the world around me.
And in the darkness, I think of you. Your wisdom, love, humour and grace give me hope. Even when you make me crazy, I love you all with every beat of my heart. You challenge me, lift me, give me strength in the moments like these. Hold on to your righteous rage, your noble hearts, your desire to see this fucked up world be a better place.
Because you do make it better. Every act of kindness, every bit of generosity, every rational, intelligent discussion, every protest and struggle for change makes a difference, if only slight.
But, we cannot stop. Even in the face of the devil himself.