Because the only thing more terrifying than velociraptors are velociraptors that can fly.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

On Books

Recently, I received the Booker Award from my friend and fellow blogger, Maeve Murray. (Check her page out here:

Now, the Booker Award is given to blogs that update fairly regularly and whose content is at last 50% about books. On receiving this award, the recipient is supposed to talk about their five favorite books as well as pass it to five other blogs, but it seems that the blogs that I read already have it.

As far as my favorite books go, I love far too many to narrow it down to five, so I have decided to talk about my five favorite series.

1) The Dark Tower by Steven King: These are epic books written by a master of fiction. I don't read a lot of King's other work, (because it scares the pants off me), but The Dark Tower books are masterpieces. They span all ranges of human emotion, and the ending (I won't spoil it for you) is one of the few in which a book has moved me to tears. Simply wonderful.

2) Discworld by Terry Pratchett: While King is a master of fiction, Pratchett is my very favorite author. Hilarious, inventive and insightful, Pratchett has created a flat world (literally, a disc that rests on the backs of four elephants standing on an enormous sea turtle that spins through space) and peopled it with all the classic fantasy races (elves, dwarves, trolls, etc.) There are more than three dozen Discworld books, and I'm certain I've read all of them a number of times, finding something new every time, whether it's an allusion I'd not noticed before, or a joke I just got.

3) The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde: The only word to describe the work of the Welsh author, Jasper Fforde is "biblio-wit." No other author I have ever encountered has such a playful attitude with language, and the Thursday Next books (a mixture of alternate history, fantasy, science fiction, meta-fiction, procedural cop drama, etc.) have more allusions to other works of literature than any other I can think of. His Nursery Crime novels, not set in quite the same universe, but close, are also wonderful.

4) The Dresden Files by Jeff Butcher: A wonderful example of urban fantasy, Butcher's series follows the adventures (and misadventures) of a private detective/wizard named Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Harry lives in Chicago, as do a number of vampires, fey creatures, monsters and mobsters. These books are funny with tight plots, great descriptions, and a well-thought out magic system.

5) The City of Jackals books by Stephen Hunt: A must for any Steampunk enthusiast, Hunt's books take place in a grunge fantasy/steampunk world in which airships rule the skies, revolutions rise and fail, and magic works side by side with punchcard engines, pneumatic towers, and Steammen (essentially sentient, steam-powered robots with their own nation). A great example of the trope "Fantasy Counterpart Culture," (, the Kingdom of Jackals is essentially Industrial Age England. Its neighbor, Quatershift, is basically Revolutionary era France (including the Terror) with a heavy dose of Soviet Russia. To the south lies Cassarabia, an amalgamation of the Arabian nations with some genetic engineering thrown in, and other nations, like the Catosian City-states (Ancient Greece with super-clockwork machinery and steroids), and the Holy Kikkociso Empire (the Incas), among others, round out the world. Hunt has done everything from invasion stories, to war, to spy thrillers, adventure tales, and murder mysteries in these books, and they are awesome.

So, those are five of my favorite series, and I hope my telling you about them will encourage you to check them out. They've given me countless hours of reading pleasure (and more than a few ideas to use in my own writing). Perhaps they'll do the same for you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pittsburgh Bound!

Hello hello, everyone!

Sorry about the belated and succinct nature of this blog post, but I just started my new job so I'm working quite a lot of hours this week. (Rather tired.)

My latest episode of the Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling is officially out and available for purchase. Check it out here: 

Also, some exciting news: I'm headed to Pittsburgh for the last weekend in August to see Jillian (my girlfriend)! I'm very excited.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm back (although not better than ever)

Hello hello, my friends!

I didn't update last week as I was out of town for the 4th of July, where I had a very lovely time with my family up in Michigan. There was much swimming and riding on boats and watching of fireworks. Lots of fun all the way around.

Unfortunately, the cold/flu I picked up in Ireland--the one I thought I'd kicked--has returned with a vengeance. I have been to see the doctor, who says I don't have pneumonia and who's given me some antibiotics, so I hope to be up and kicking again soon.

My illness has not prevented me from working on getting Episode 4 published, though, so don't you worry. I am still trying to figure out the title, which is weird for me. Normally I'm pretty good at divining a title fairly quickly, but there's no phrase or line that's really jumped out to me for this one, nor an allusion that I can make. Then again, I have until Sunday, so there's still time to come up with one.

In other news, I have a girlfriend, which is very exciting. Her name is Jillian and she lives in Pittsburgh. She's also a writer, although what she writes isn't quite as out there as what I do, and she's pretty awesome. (She's also pretty.) We're in the same grad school program at Carlow University, so when we first started dating, it was in Ireland, which is awesome.

Speaking of Carlow, the due date for our integrative essays is quickly approaching. Essentially, we're supposed to pick a theme or topic that arose during the residency and then craft a coherent essay on it using disparate elements from the different lectures and workshops we had. It sounds complicated, and it kinda is, but this is the last one I have to do for the program, so I don't really care anymore. I've written mine, edited it, and I don't think I'm going to do another draft.

I have an episode of Professor Jack's chronicle to get published, after all.

Until next time, friends.