Sunday, July 26, 2009

Apologies -

- to all the people who've submitted to Sex in San Francisco and/or Best S/M Erotica Vol. 3. Alas, life - in all its various facets, both good and bad - has gotten a tad in the way of me reading through the stories. But, rest assured, I plan on going through them all in the next month or so. As always, if you have any questions, or just want to chat, please feel free to write me at or

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Love Without Gun Control - The Cover

Here's a treat: the cover of my collection of my non-erotic science fiction - as opposed to my collection of erotic science fiction, The Bachelor Machine, the re-release coming soon from Circlet Books - Love Without Gun Control, coming from Renaissance E Books. The art is by the always-fantastic Wynn Ryder.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Masquerade: Page 4

As I've mentioned, here's another preview of a very special project: Masquerade was illustrated by my great pal, and a fantastic artist, Wynn Ryder, from a story by ... well, me ... for an upcoming graphic novel anthology called Legendary.

I'll be putting up more pages from the final over the next few months ... or you can read the entire thing on Wynn's Deviantart pages.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Amos Lassen Likes Dirty Words

Here's a wonderful review of Dirty Words, compliments of the always-great Amos Lassen:

Eureka Pride:
I love reading M. Christian. I remember when I read him for the first time about two years ago, I thought to myself that this was an author whose work I wanted to keep up with and I have done just that. He is a brilliant writer with a wonderful streak of darkness that is delightful. I love his irreverence and his inventiveness and reading “Dirty Words” is like taking a trip to places unknown.

This collection is sometimes funny, sometimes scary, sometimes fantastic and always interesting. The writing is smart and clever and edgy and dark. It is hard to put a name on it because the writing transcends all labels and genre. All of us love good stories and these are some of the best. I have often said that writing goof erotica is difficult because it has to engage the minds and the senses. Christian manages to do this and with style. The stories capture the reader and he tells us strange stories that at times are very disturbing. Joy and horror are combined along with the lust of the flesh and the lust of the language.

There is sex in all of the stories but Christian does not make us work to understand what he has to say; he says it all but with magnificent care and beautiful style. Fourteen stories that reflect the author’s mind is what we have here.

I deliberately did not go into individual stories because I want you to have the experience of enjoying each and every one. You will not forget the stories or the experience that you will have reading them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Head over to Dark Roasted Blend if you want to read my little piece about how to keep out the Joneses - in other word, Great Walled Cities.

It’d be so nice if it was true, but the fact is it ain’t: the first settlements – before bronze age, before iron age, even probably before the stone age – didn’t happen because folks liked each other’s company.

As the old saying goes: there really is safety in numbers … and fortifications.

If you have any doubt about how wood -- and then stone and later even steel – walls helped shape human civilization, all you need to do is take a close look at most of our cities, especially the older ones.

Sometimes it’s easy to see where the boundaries between “Us In Here And You Out There” once were. Just look at the lovely city of Utrecht, in the Netherlands: a picture postcard of lovely homes, sparkling waterways, brilliantly green parks, and meandering walkways – a true jewel of civilization. Except that Utrecht, and a huge number of other cities throughout Europe, were built as walled fortresses. In the case of Utrecht that’s pretty obvious when you look at the city from either the air or at the old city plans. With other cities, like London and Paris, their urban growth has completely overrun the original walls and fortifications – though they’re there if you look hard enough.

If you want real defensive architecture you have go step back to Medieval times, and away from Europe. Sure, cities like Utrecht, Amsterdam, Berlin, Lucerne, Winchester, and so many others have their fortifications – either still visible or all-but invisible – from their Medieval, or even Roman, roots. But it wasn’t long before these separate city/states looked out from their battlements and discovered that instead of keeping themselves safe they were keeping their good neighbors out.

Another reason why the battlements in Europe crumbled was because of a force even more powerful that the weapons of the time: money. As trade increased and financial empires bloomed war became a bad investment. Then there was the fact that as cities expanded far out beyond their old protective walls it became simply impossible to defend them without constantly building and rebuilding fortifications which, money again, was just too darned expensive.

But when you step before the relative comfort of Western Europe and out towards the rocky cruelty of Eastern Europe – and beyond – you find some cities were the walls went up, and stayed up, for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

One of the jewels of the Adriatic is the (now) Croatian city of Dubrovnik. Beyond it’s current beauty and charm, the city is also considered to be one of the greatest, and best preserved, of the great walled cities. Even looking at it today you can see ghosts of it’s ancient strength: the specters of magnificent walls and towers surrounding a modern city.

A truly spectacular walled city is actually part of Europe, though at the bottom of it. Recently declared a Unesco World Heritage site, the Spanish city of Cuenca is mostly a monstrously huge citadel – a stone maze of ancient fortifications, churches, famous ‘hanging houses’ and other delightfully unique architectural treasures. Walking the streets of Cuenca is like stepping back in time, becoming a Medieval citizen who knows that no matter the danger your stalwart city will protect you.

Stepping away from Europe again, another beautiful example of a walled city is another Unesco site: the Azerbaijan city of Baku. Again, what makes Baku so wonderful is the juxtaposition between the ancient fortifications with the modern world: the way you can stand on a immaculately paved street, with your iphone in your hand, and look up at walls that were constructed … well, let’s just say a very, very long time ago. What’s sad, however, about this one particular walled city is that while the fortifications may have held back legions of threats, generations of hostiles, the ancient ramparts and defenses may finally crumble and fall – partially because of earthquake damage but also because people simply don’t care enough to preserve them.

While it might be a bit of stretch, it’s interesting to look at how – as recent as the last century– some people still thought about defense as a fort, a fortress. While it didn’t surround Paris, the French military – aching from the First World War – tried to prevent the same kind of invasion of their homeland by creating what they hoped would be the wall to end all walls: an immense network of tunnels, bunkers, gun emplacements, gas-proof chambers, and even a carefully-protected narrow-gauge railway connecting a large percentage of it. Colloquially called the Maginot Line, the fortifications were – and are – a staggering achievement of military planning and architecture.

There’s only one problem: it didn’t work – or it didn’t work that well (depending on who you talk to). The fact is that while the Maginot Line was well planned and executed it was an artifact of the past – it simply didn’t have much of a chance against the kind of war the 20th century brought against it.

Like with the ancient cities all around it, the Maginot Line proved that the idea of hiding behind walls is, in the end, futile.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pauline Loves Dirty Words

My fantastic pal, Pauline, just sent me this great review for Dirty Words ... thanks, sweetie!

What is it about M.Christian’s DIRTY WORDS, that has me thinking of tapestry? In particular the Bayeux Tapestry, in Northern France? DIRTY WORDS is M.Christian’s collection of erotic, if not pornographic stories, displaying human sexuality at its most raw and crude. The Bayeux Tapestry, as I remember it, has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with Queen Matilda and her refined Ladies in Waiting, stitching away in chilly castles in Normandy, France, while their men folk sail off to conquer the unrefined British.

I think in my muddled way, my brain is drawing comparisons between two wonderful forms of story telling. I’ve been privileged to see the Bayeux Tapestry, three, maybe four times. And each time I’ve wandered around that museum in France, going from panel to panel, I’ve been struck by the tiny stories that it carefully tells. The journey across what we now call the English Channel. The logistics of transportation. The battle itself and the death of poor King Harold. Even a panel dedicated to those lonely ladies, stitching away at home. And there’s the little people. Those who don’t get noticed.

In DIRTY WORDS, M.Christian weaves us stories, that challenge and inspire. Stories of the little people; the dirty people. The people we try not to notice. In SPIKE, Christian gives us narcissism at its most extreme. Identical twin brothers sucking on each other’s cocks. No way! Shocking. But Christian doesn’t shy away from the truth about the two Spikes. Their self love is all consuming; dangerous; overwhelmingly passionate. It’s uncontrolled. The only control here, is finding out who is in control. Finally, carving out one’s own identity.

The wonderful HOW COYOTE STOLE THE SUN, gives us a drifter. A life without purpose. Or is it? The dog will cheat you, turn you over. Seduce you; rape you, steal your lover. Why? Just because he can. The odds are against dog. Even the elements are against him. The cruel sun pounds down on him and still dog wins. He doesn’t even want his prize and throws it away. But he still leaves with a smile on his face.

So who’s got the biggest cock? Mammoth or Monster? Ask Pup; he knows. THE HARLEY tells of biker culture. But not a biker culture like you’ve ever imagined it. Mammoth and Monster are crude, ugly, without any endearing features. They ride bikes and they fuck. Mostly Pup. There’s a competition going on for the Harley. Who gets it? Who deserves it? Perhaps Pup should decide.

The brilliant ECHOES is worthy of Edgar Allen Poe, at his most gruesome. Sex and Death, and all the horrors of beyond the grave. Guilt, and secrets coming back to haunt us. The sort of story that reminds me of why I check under the bed, on those dark nights.

I seem to have drifted a long way from the ladies stitching the Bayeux Tapestry. It’s about the excellence of great story telling. M.Christian weaves his exquisite words. The tapestry is another art form entirely. It tells a big story and lots of little ones. Moments in time. DIRTY WORDS tells the big story of sexuality. It also tells the little stories of those small people. Again. Moments in time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The View From Here: Vanessa Verdugo

(the following is part of an ongoing 'column' I did for Suspect Thoughts, and, no, it's not supposed to make sense: only be weird fun)

Vanessa Verdugo looked striking in the fading daylight, approaching night – but then that year’s definition of beauty was, after all, Vanessa Verdugo: Her hats and veils were in every shop on Gold Road, her dresses were worn to every fete and soirée, the color of her lips, the shade of her blush, washed across thousands of ruffled bedspreads, delicate curtains, plush carpets, swollen pillows, overstuffed chairs, sprawling lounges, and politely sensual settees. Standing on that closely sheered lawn she didn’t appear to have boulevard stockings, avenue heels, promenade gloves, an estate skirt, a mansion blouse, sitting room jewelry or a galleria hat – but a single step beyond Robur Oberon’s estate, to the brass flowers and iron vines that entwined the balustrades of PSV’s streets and lanes and her beauty and style would flow mix and flow, wine in water, with her fashionableness to cover the city.

Sipping a flute of shimmering crystal – the unspoken cost of which would have kept a lesser republic financially solvent for a decade, and thus, for the not mentioning, made it’s prescience so much more powerful – she simply looked striking, not at all the beautiful threat of a woman who had entranced the entire city, and also unspoken, unannounced, and thus immensely more powerful than any priceless champagne flute.

“Great pleasure,” Robur Oberon said, lifting a tankard of frothy brew towards their guest. “Great, great pleasure, to have your company, sir."

Wing’s dark eyes slowly lifted from his glass, where he seemed fascinated by the hesitant streamers of minuscule bubbles in the vintage to stare intently in the direction of Robur Oberon. “I was asked.”

“Well, of course, sir. Absolutely, sir. Could I not have? How could I have turned my back on the plight of a stranger to these shores? I could not have rested if I did not do my duty as a Steward of this City, a Lord of this House and have not at least offered you a hand of friendship?”

“We’re always willing to make new friends,” Vanessa Verdugo said, lifting her own glass slightly in a soft toast.

Wing looked to her, angry puzzlement across his brow. “You and he make people?”

Robur Oberon laughed, holding himself in a tight knot of aborted muscles, the reflex to thump the stranger across the back. “The lovely Vanessa make many things, but we’ve yet to perfect that skill.”

“Fortunate,” Wing said, relief evident. Taking a sip of the vintage, his face lightning-quick changed to shock and disgust. With a smoothly practiced gesture he blew the liquid into his tightened fist, then loudly clapped both hands together.

Vanessa Verdugo noticed, turned slightly away – then raised an immaculately sculpted eyebrow when no champagne flew. She looked inquisitively at Robur Oberon to see if he’d noticed.

He hadn’t: “In fact, we were just discussing how important it is to develop new … relationships shall we say, when one is in unfamiliar lands. Helps the shock, you see, of the strange, the shock of the new, to have a personal landscape of familiarity. This world you’ve found yourself in must be disturbing in its peculiarities, but knowing that certain people - such as the lovely Miss Verdugo and myself – are as stable within it as the earth beneath your feet might give you a comfortable feeling of stability. Not that I would be so bold or arrogant as to imply that we –“ he indicated with a raise of his tankard Vanessa Verdugo “ - are the only ones qualified for such comfort. To be honest, however, Miss Verdugo and I do reach rather extensively through the Territories, so we, or by proxy our influence, would always be near.”

Wing held his flattened palm up to the setting run, examining the tight skin with wide-eyed concentration.

“I do not know how such things are done in … where is it again, friend, that you hail from? I know you’ve spoken of it, but – well - sometimes it does take a few repetitions to get things to stick in an aging mind,” Oberon said, tapping his huge cranium, accompanied by a deep laugh.

Without looking away from his dry hand, Wing said, “Russia. From there I Navigate.” Sadness on his face with the saying of the noun and the verb: a longed for home, and a talent that had betrayed, stranded him.

“Oh, yes, that’s it. ‘Russia’ such an exotic sounding land. Some day when the no-doubt pain of your departure isn’t quite so fresh you will have to tell us of that land: the foods they partake, the strength and duration of the seasons, the music your people enjoy, the mechanisms they may perhaps create. Ah, yes, another reason to join another friend to one’s life: the gaining of knowledge of other places, other lives, other devices and processes. An alliance, if you will: the partnership of two into a stronger one. Would that appeal to you? You with the need for friend in this new world, Miss Verdugo and I with the need to sate our curiosity about your far-flung land? Does that sound appealing to you in any way?”

Wing lowered his hand, blinked once, twice at Oberon – impending tears making his dark eyes shine. His mouth opened, preparation for speech, revealing brass teeth polished to a glowing shine.

But before their guest could expel a sound into the growing darkness of the night, a trio appeared at the far side of the house, rounding the columns. Their soft blue glow, their rolling, liquid gait, their simple shapes – everyone in PSV knew Robur Oberon’s Cell Men, his congealed servants and handymen: low aptitude, chemically dependent, smelling of kerosene and fusil oil, never far from their Master.

They exploded. One, two three – all gone in a wash of shockwave, a balls of fire rolling up into the dark sky. A column, a purple rose bush, a section of hedge crackled and smoked.

Robur Oberon stood and stared, too shock to speak or move. His tankard, held in a suddenly weakened wrist, poured onto the immaculate lawn, foaming at his feet. Vanessa Verdugo slowly lowered her hands, instinctively thrown in front of her legendary face.

“Not good. Making people bad - opposite of good,” Wing said, his dark eyes lit by twirling lights of gold and silver. Turning to that year’s beauty, and the most powerful man in the Territories, he repeated himself, in case they hadn’t heard: “Not good. Making people bad - opposite of good” then, without looking back, he walked through the still lingering flames and away into the soft darkness of that summer night.

“Guess we’ll have to make new friends,” Vanessa Verdugo said, slowly turning her legendary smile at the wide-eyes of Robur Oberon.

(with thanks to

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: e-book, e-publisher, e-fun

(if you want to check out my brand new Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker head over to the great Erotica Readers & Writers site. In the meantime, here's a taste)

"My name is Chris and I … until recently … used to be a printed book addict.”

Yes, dear readers, I had it bad: bookstores used to suck me in, tearing the money out of my wallet for, at first, a single paperback, but then whole boxes and then entire bookcases of reading materials.

My bedroom walls were covered by bookshelves of paperbacks, my coffee table’s legs bowed under the weight of picture books, my toilet tank cracked from the weight of stacked hardbacks, and my nightstand always had a perilous pre-topple of trade paperbacks. Professionally, I looked at printed books as the one-and-only, and glowered at those who'd gone the ebook route.

I said ‘until recently’ because a few years ago, that changed. This is the story of how I went from being a printed book junkie to an e- book booster.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: Location, Location

(the following is part of an ongoing series of columns I did for The Erotica Readers & Writers Association on the ins and outs and ins and outs and ins and outs of writing good smut)

Even before writing about the sex in a sexy story you have to set the stage, decide where this hot and heavy action is going to take place. What a lot of merry pornographers don't realize is that the where can be just as important as the what in a smutty tale. In other words, to quote a real estate maxim: Location, location ... etc.

Way too many times writers will makes their story locales more exotic than the activities of their bump-and-grinding participants: steam rooms, elevators, beaches, hot tubs, hiking trails, space stations, sports cars, airplane bathrooms, phone booths, back alleys, fitting rooms, cabs, sail boats, intensive care wards, locker rooms, under bleachers, peep show booths, movie theaters, offices, libraries, barracks, under a restaurant table, packing lots, rest stops, basements, showrooms -- get my drift?

I know I've said in the past that sexual experience doesn't really make a better smut writer, but when it comes to choosing where your characters get to their business, it pays to know quite a bit about the setting you're getting them into.

Just like making an anatomical or sexual boo-boo in a story, putting your characters into a place that anyone with a tad of experience knows isn't going to be a fantastic time but rather something that will generate more pain than pleasure is a sure sign of an erotica amateur.

Take for instance the wonderful sexual pleasure than can come from screwing around in a car. Haven't done it? Well you should because after you do you'll never write about it -- unless you're going for giggles.

Same goes for the beach. Ever get sand between your toes? Now think about that same itchy, scratchy -- very unsexy -- feeling in your pants. Not fun. Very not fun.

Beyond the mistake of making a tryst in a back alley sound exciting (it isn't, unless you're really into rotting garbage), setting the stage in a story serves many other positive purposes. For instance, the environment of a story can tell a lot about a character -- messy meaning a scattered mind, neatness meaning controlling, etc. -- or about what you're trying to say in the story: redemption, humor, fright, hope, and so forth. Not that you should lay it on so thick that it's painfully obvious, but the stage can and should be another character, an added dimension to your story.

Simply saying where something is happening is only part of the importance of setting. You have to put the reader there. Details, folks. Details! Research, not sexual this time, is very important. Pay attention to the world, note how a room or a place FEELS -- the little things that make it unique. Shadows on the floor or walls, the smells and what they mean to your characters; all kinds of sounds, the way things feel, important minutiae, or even just interesting features.

After you've stored up some of those unique features of a place, use special and evocative descriptions to really draw people in. Though quantity is good, quality is better. A few well-chosen lines can instantly set the stage: an applause of suddenly flying pigeons, the aimless babble of a crowd, rainbow reflections in slicks of oil, twirling leaves on a tree, clouds boiling into a storm ... okay, that was a bit overdone, but you hopefully get my gist.

Once again: location is not something that's only important to real estate. If you put your characters into an interesting, well-thought-out, vividly written setting, it can not only set the stage for their erotic mischief but it can also amplify the theme or add depth to the story. After all, if you don't give your writing a viable place, then a reader won't truly understand where they are -- or care about what's going on.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dark Roasted M.Christian (flashback)

Head over to Dark Roasted Blend if you want to read about men and their obsession with the size of their ... guns.

For as long as men have had them, they've been trying to see who has the
biggest one.

You have a dirty mind: I'm talking about CANNONS.

Although they aren't known for having the biggest, the Chinese were definitely the first builders and also the first to point them at people they didn't like. For many reasons, though, they stopped using them, mostly because while the big guns terrified the folks they were pointed at, they also had a little defect. They blew up.

Europeans really took to the idea of a thick metal cylinder, a charge of gunpowder, and a nasty surprise to hurl at people they didn't like. A first these early cannons were simple mortars: a lump of bell-shaped iron (because bell-makers were the first cannon-makers) with a hole for the charge and the shell. They still exploded as often as they fired, but unlike the Chinese, the Europeans thought the bang was worth the buck. As long as someone else lit the fuse, that is.

Once they got that whole "exploding in your face" thing fixed, or at least tuned down to a dull roar, they really began to really play the "mine is bigger than yours" game.

The first true "supergun" to be unzipped and waved at people was The Great Turkish Bombard, which was also called the Dardanelles Gun, the Royal Gun, the Hungarian Cannon, Muhammed's Great Gun or the less common but more honest 'Good Lord, Look at the Size Of That Thing." Built in 1453 to defend Constantinople, they shocked their builders by unexpectedly doing what they were designed to do: lobbing a 1,500 pound granite sphere at whoever they were pointed at.

Not to be outdone, the Russians swaggered up with their own Mutually Assured Demolisher. Forged in 1585, the Tsar Cannon was a 35-inch-wide yawning monster designed to toss 800 pounds of grapeshot -- a whole lot of little balls instead of one big one -- at people unliked. The Tsar was never fired, but that didn't stop the Russian military from boring everyone by bragging about how huge it was.

It's said that the first world war was truly the first modern war. Poison gas, tanks, air combat, the machine gun -- they were all gleefully experimented with during those years of trench horror. But the classics were used as well, the old standby of thick metal cylinder, a charge of gunpowder, and a nasty surprise, never really going out of style. But as this was a modern war, the classic cannon got a big -- a very big -- upgrade as well.

It's odd that such a phallic monster got a woman's name, but the always-romantic Krupp engineers did just that: smashing champagne over the 17-inch-caliber gun, they christened it after their boss's -- possibly zaftig -- daughter. Big Bertha, or more accurately "Fat Bertha" was a hit with the German military, showing the Belgians at Liège, Namur and Antwerp, and the French at Maubeuge who had the really big one.

But that wasn't enough. Sure Bertha had the thickness and the length, but what the Germans wanted was something to really show off -- especially since those swaggering Americans were about to enter the game.

Searching for something they could stuff into their Eastern Front to make themselves look bigger, they glanced out at sea and hit on the idea of transplantation instead of simple enhancement. To put it simply, the Long Max was a naval gun, the biggest one the Germans had. Luckily it quickly got its land legs: on the battlefield it showed its potency by shooting off 1,600 pound shells a respectable distance ... of 30 miles.

But that wasn't enough. The Paris Gun wasn't named because it reminded those warm-hearted Krupps of the famous City Of Light. Hardly. Another transplanted naval piece, the gun has sometimes been called the first terror weapon. Although it needed a lot of maintenance, didn't shoot anything very heavy or destructive, but it still horrified that romantic city by dropping shells from ... wait for it ... 80 miles away. It was a monster to the Germans as well -- mounted on a special train carriage, it was so loud that a set of regular artillery was fired along with it to hide its thunderous discharge.

Then, as Monty Python said, peace broke out and everyone got much more polite about the size of their ammunition. Howitzers and field pieces tucked away, the refined gentleman nations of the world played croquet and gin rummy for a few decades until someone -- we're looking at you, Germany -- decided to wave their barrels and calibers in everyone's faces.

No doubt about it, the Schwerer Gustav certainly was impressive. Like thenold Paris gun, this monster belonged to the German Navy, but unlike the piece that had frightened the City of Light, the Schwerer Gustav was more than a thunderous braggart. The monster was so huge it took a team of 2,500 "volunteers" to lay track for it, and the train carrying and supporting it was 25 cars long, about a mile. Unlike the Paris version, it only had a range of about 30 miles, but this one could really satisfy -- the Germans, that is -- by throwing a shell that didn't weigh jut 1,000, 2,000, or even 3,000 pounds. When the Germans showed off their prize piece, people really took notice. Hell, who wouldn't when the damned thing could fire a 7,000-pound shell?

The Germans weren't the only ones obsessed with the size of their guns. The Brits and the Americans were not to be outdone, but they certainly seemed to be constantly looking down at their drawing boards, and wondering how their guns could be even bigger. Before peace again broke out, Germany had one last idea, a gun that, once and for all, would given them ultimate bragging rights.

What makes the V3 Hochdruckpumpe gun so interesting is that it wasn't one gun but a bunch of smaller ones that fired in precise order to kick its shell faster and faster. Part of the whole Victor Weapon package that included the V1 Buzz Bomb and the V2 (the first ballistic missile), the V3 was to be permanently mounted in a concrete fortress in France where it would have blasted a 300-pound shell more than 100 miles, straight into the heart of London. Possibly jealous of what the Nazis had stuffed into their reinforced concrete pants, the Yanks and the Brits blasted the gun into oblivion while it was an unfired virgin.

Things got coolly polite after the war. We and They still obsessed over the sizes of our pieces, but new toys had begun to seriously threaten the satisfyingly primal big bang of massive artillery. Missiles, luckily, hadn't completely stolen the show. Back in '61 two superpowers, the US and ... Canada? ... worked with the genius gun-designer Gerald Bull on the HARP system, a more-than-supergun designed to reach to the edge of the stratosphere.

Like those charming folks at Krupps, Bull loved his guns. After HARP went flaccid, Bull tried to find someone else to back his idea of a true supergun, a piece to end all pieces, the thing that would show the world who really had the biggest. His ultimate project was called Project Babylon, and while Bull's final intentions are a bit hazy, no one doubts that what he really wanted to do was make a gun big enough to do what HARP didn't have a chance to do: fire something into space.

Bull was a genius. But he was profoundly stupid in one very crucial way: his choice of clients. After knocking on all kinds of doors for Project Babylon sponsors, he finally managed to secure the backing of the president of a Middle Eastern country, who'd write the checks if Bull the gun master would build the biggest one in human history.

The problem was the signature on those checks belonged to Saddam Hussein, and a lot of his neighbors began to get kind of ...well, twitchy aboutb someone like Hussein being able to wave Bull's massive piece around, especially, if Bull had succeeded, it would have been able to fire a shell almost 500 miles.

In the end Bull didn't succeed, not because of poor engineering but because of a considerably smaller gun. A tiny thing, really, compared to what he wanted to show the world. But, as the old saying goes, it's not the size that counts but what you do with it. And the Mossad -- the Israeli Secret Service, you know -- knew just what to do with their small gun: put a tiny bullet in the brain of the man who was building a supergun for Saddam Hussein.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Awwww ....

This is from my new BFF Ralph Greco who I had a great time hanging out with at the Cybernet Expo. Thanks, Ralph!

As my newly-made-but-will-now-be-my-BFF M. Christian pointed out to me, this writer’s thang we writers do is quite a weird thang to do. We sit alone most of the time conjuring up our fantasizes or relating our experiences in the hope of releasing them onto an indifferent public at best, or a critical one at worst, aching for someone to be tickled enough to read us or, the-gods-be-praised, thrilled enough to recommend our ramblings.

Through it all we attempt to eek out a living doing what it is we love to do, but most of us sadly don’t, so we steal moments when were not trying to earn money to buy our daily bread, to do this writing thang as much as we can. Given the above, when two writers meet it is often an interesting scene to say the least. It’s a misery-loves-company situation at the best of times, a knock-out-drag-out competition at the worst. Since what we do we do in private we tend to protect that ‘thang’ we do often times to such a competitive edge that we act more like Mel G. in Thunderdome than we do like regular law abiding citizens. But, for me, at Cybernet this past weekend, and especially meeting the afore mention M. Christian, this wasn’t the case…in fact it was the complete opposite.

I have been to comic, horror, sci-fi cons galore. I actually attended the second- ever Star Trek convention in NYC, the infamous one where they oversold by thousands and there were near riots by Klingons, remember that one? I have been in the music ‘biz’ for as long as I have been writing prose and that is one cut-throat backstage shmooz-til-you-die scene, I tell ya! Cybernet couldn’t have been more different. I felt more a sense of blind acceptance for and from everyone who walked down those Holiday Inn steps than I ever did any kind of a “ok, so who are you, what do you do?” posing. In fact, I happened to speak to Jay and Connor’s female temp (yes, I’m drawn to pretty girls like the proverbial moth-to-flame…and usually end up getting my ego burned) a sweet-faced brunette standing at the bottom of the steps directing us to certain panels and she remarked how wonderful everyone was, how nice and open and smiley the faces around her were and how surprised she was given the nature of the convention. I couldn’t do much more then agree; this was a group of really nice people, made more so because we all shared the nefarious business of a business most people think is nefarious but is anything but. And for a writer at a convention like this, these Theremin®-backed good vibes went a very long way.

It’s not often I discuss what I do, I simply do it. I am not a braggart (or at least hope I’m not) and am usually too embroiled in getting my latest masturbatory fantasy to computer screen while I type with one hand that I don’t have the time to do much else then write. Like everybody else at Cybernet, I was just trying to learn a few things, meet some folk, try to make it through another day with the terrible jet-lag dragging my ass while I stored what little energy I had for the KINK debauchery. Really, my mind was on business for sure, as I know all of us had our mind on business, but it was so damn life-affirming to be with people who not only understood what I did (writers, webmasters, Internet radio programmers, etc.) but who really cared about what I did. I guess, and I hate to admit this cause I really do think of myself as a dour old fuck, but I really do like people.

Along with my partner in crime-and-cookies Lisa, we really were tickled pink to meet all these wonderful folks at Cybernet and feel part of the community. And that M. Christian guy (yeah, yeah, I’ll stop gushing) I couldn’t have met someone I have more in common with if I had written him myself! He was gracious, warm, exuberant, you name the positive attribute the man exhibits it, introducing me, chatting about films, laughing…he is the bomb man! See, the writer’s life doesn’t have to be that locked-away-in-a-garret-bemoaning-a-lost-love existence (but if you got her or him locked in that garret with you, alls the better). You can find these moments, like I did at Cybernet, where you feel the true value of what you do with people whom you come so quickly to value.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The View From Here: The Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine

(the following is part of an ongoing 'column' I did for Suspect Thoughts, and, no, it's not supposed to make sense: only be weird fun)

Congratulations on your purchase of the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine. Utilizing the finest in Hack Technology, we at Write Way guarantee that if correctly used and maintained the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine can give you years of successfully written columns of any length and subject.

After removing the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine from its ecologically protective shipping container, place it in a convenient location where it will be away from direct sunlight, moisture, dirt or dust, or undue criticism. Next, attach the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine’s Driving Force inlet jack to the nearest source of creative energy. We are Write Way recommend a standard Emotionally Vacant Upbringing (EVU), or Societally Isolated Childhood (SIC) coupled with the optional Write Way Rare Parental Approval (RPA) module for efficient creative drive. Warning: Insufficient creative energy can result in repetitive, uninspired results (see Appendix A: The Dear Abby Syndrome) or asinine whining (Appendix B: Andy Rooney).

After attaching your Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine to an available Driving Force, open the Inspiration Input panel located on the lower right section of the machine. Using a small, sharp instrument (such as your penis), activate/deactivate the appropriate DIPshit to assign the desired column inspiration input. Warning: Failure to activate the correct combination can result in various undesirable results, leading to arrest and criminal prosecution and/or National Syndication.

Next remove the deebing support ring (located under the forelock wheel assembly) and carefully stipple the mantune cage until the blue light rotates into the green. With the loose pin in your left hand, then proceed to osculate the frandip to achieve maximum caustic relux feedback. If the frandip doesn’t achieve enough caustic relux feedback, consult the enclosed Troubleshooting Guide or kick the mantune cage wearing a size twelve steel-toed boot, aiming specifically for the wizzing input slot.

After the caustic relux feedback has been achieved, it is time to select the Editorial Interface Mask (EIM). Please note that three pre-set Editorial Interface Masks have been preloaded into the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine, specifically the Father Figure (FF), the Tyrannical Ogre (TO), and the Corporate Drone. If you are interested in other Editorial Interface Masks, the Automatic Column Writing Machine Upgrade contains ten others as well as additional viewpoint features such as Alcoholic Blurring (AB) and World-weary Cynicism (WC).

To fully utilize the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine’s Deadline Matching Feature (DMF) it’s important to configure the Irresponsibility and Compulsiveness scale, located on the back of the machine, next to the Frustrated Author Input (FAI) and the Destructive Relationship Exhaust Fan (DREF). Turning the pip knob to the left will increase the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine’s dependability in meeting responsibilities (real or imaginary), though it will also affect the Spontaneity Output Mechanism possibly resulting in a creative, if predictable, column. Reversing the pip knob will diminish predictability but can also result in what is commonly referred to as Deadline Lapse Syndrome, which has been proven to be a leading cause of Writer Termination (WT). Correct balancing of these two forces is integral to the correct operation of the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine.

While we at Write Way understand that even after utilizing the excellent technology embodied in our Automatic Column Writing Machine there are other, unknown factors that can affect Creative Output (CO) and Monetary Input (MI), we must still insist that payment for the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine be received within one month of delivery (depending on location and volatility of local delivery personnel). Failure to expedite payment will result in financial and physical penalties, possibly including fines, levies, liens, testicular removal, spinal rearrangement, dental extraction, and colonic impaction.

You are now almost ready to use your Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine to produce admirable and possibly profitable columns. Before continuing, however, it is important to observe the three stage Safety Feature Checklist (SFC):

· To ensure proper lubrication of the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine’s internal assembly, a fifth of cheap bourbon must be fed into the Inhibition GearBox (IGB) on a daily basis. If suitably cheap bourbon is not available, a bottle of cough syrup or rubbing alcohol can be used.

· If overheating occurs, the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine must be automatically switched into standby mode by turning the fiddle switch to the Moderate setting. This will cause the machine to “wheel-spin” until it cools satisfactorily. Failure to place the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine into this mode if overheated can cause the sensitive gibber line to vaporize, resulting at a ten x thousand foot-pound force explosion. This, naturally, voids the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine’s warranty, as well as any operator within three hundred feet of the device.

· Before final activation of the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine, the operator must completely fill out the attached Waiver of Responsibility (WoR), absolving Write Way of any damages – real, emotional, or imaginary – that the operator may experience during the operation of the machine. Failure to do so will result in the gibber line to vaporize, resulting at a ten x thousand foot-pound force explosion.

If you have followed these instructions carefully, you are now ready to use the Write Way Automatic Column Writing Machine and produce profitable and possibly entertaining columns for years to come. If however the machine fails to operate, place it back in its ecologically protective shipping container and return it to an authorized service center or convenient landfill.

If you are in need of a column in the meantime, we suggest that you simply retype this manual – god knows, manuals are just like columns: no one reads them anyway.