101 ways social isolation is good for you

#1 Recover the pleasure of sinking into a long novel.  

I’ve started serializing Kicking Dogs on this site (the next chapter appears next Tuesday). This novel is just 242 pages long. Hardly more than a brochure and, ideally, it’ll leave you wishing there was more of it. 

MOM and Genesis 2.0 are longer. Much longer. But ideally, again, they’ll leave you wishing there was more. (In fact more of the Magic Circles series of novels is on … Read more

IT’S A SMALL WORLD

Current edition (Cover by Colin Cotterill)

 

The previous episode concluded with the following:

Rambo was singing Carabao’s nice song “Welcome to Thailand” between his teeth into the mike — in the process, I guessed, erasing the interview with the high-ranking police officer I had managed to get only after long negotiation. Then there were three bangs on the door, and Somsak arrived with the drinks. I decided a little Mekhong was a good thing after all. 

And just at

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Pandemic books, pandemic reviews

Barbara Smaller, https://lithub.com/six-cartoonists-on-critical-failure-one-panel-at-a-time/

I’m posting a new Kicking Dogs chapter every Tuesday, and an independent item every Thursday.

Let’s kick off this week’s SIDECAR post with a seven-year-old item from Jack Shackaway, my collaborator and, incidentally, the hero of my novel Kicking Dogs.

Selling novels: What it takes
I’m probably over-reacting, but it’s already getting harder these days to take pride in thinking of yourself as a writer, since so can anybody with the price of a computer and

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BAD TIME TO QUIT SMOKING

Asia Books edition of yore

In the previous episode, Jack Shackaway was robbed at gunpoint by a pair of colorful characters. These gentlemen, name of Tommy Two-Toes and Wrong-Way Willie Wong, then bought drinks with the money they took from him till they were all legless. 

In the course of events, Tommy and Willie said they had a business deal they wanted to discuss with him, and Jack said he had to go to the toilet. In fact he

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KICKING DOGS ~ PROLOGUE

The Prologue to Kicking Dogs, a novel, appeared first in the Bangkok Post Sunday supplement in the early 1990s, and again over the years in at least two regional publications.
It was once shortlisted by The Paris Review for an annual humor competition, and they asked to see more stories from me. With my usual self-promotional genius, I never got around to submitting other stuff.
Next life.

Current edition (ebook & print on demand).
Cover by Colin Cotterill

Kicking DogsRead more

HEAR YE, HEAR YE

Drawing by John Tenniel

Announcing the upcoming serialization of Kicking Dogs on this very site.

The name is Jack Shackaway, and I’m a kind of freelance journalist. You meet some interesting people when you’re a hack writer living in Bangkok.
For example, the other day I was enjoying a few drinks with a pair of dubious characters name of Tommy Two-Toes and Wrong-Way Willie Wong. Actually, it was more than a few drinks, and these gentlemen were more than just Read more

Rocks and hard places

In an earlier post I promised to expand on a recent incident where I pulled the pin on a conversational grenade. Yeah, and then I dropped that word ‘niggardly’ right into the middle of a chat.

I’ll begin by saying that to label a certain world leader a corrupt and ignorant buffoon is merely to call a spade a spade. Or so some might claim. 

But am I indeed allowed to do that these days? Can I call a spade … Read more

Me: A Rabble

In this time of lockdown, cabin fever is my Muse

Yo. Who’s in the mood for something confessional from a writer locked down with plenty of time on his hands but too much distraction? And too little self-discipline to shoot his friggin’ internet router. 

Cri de coeur

Is my own life following a plot, or has it always been merely notes toward a motley assortment of lives I no longer have time to live? 

Hamstrung by distraction

There. That’s me, … Read more

Tilt! Tilt! Tilt! … Game over

In the old days science-fiction writers didn’t have to write so fast. But now reality has taken to outrunning the imagination. By the time you finish a draft, all you’ve got is something that reads like history. 

In Leary’s terms, it’s like our whole world is on tilt. The following rap comes to us from the late 2050s.

Climate change, the Trumpster & Co., pandemics, surveillance and social control, a cultural malaise that’s a metaphysical equivalent to HIV/AIDS, and more!
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The Great Cull

Looking back from some time in the future, assuming there’s still anyone to look back, will we interpret COVID-19 in part as a cull?  

If so, then exactly what was culled? Did the pandemic take mostly the old and weak, leaving the rest of the herd to carry on? Maybe it also culled the stupid and irresponsible to some extent, though those conditions may have been more a matter of nurture than genetic nature. (I’ll leave it to readers to … Read more