February 28, 2016

Slice of PIE: Dystopias – BLECH!

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Sg4W-0zmL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgUsing the panel discussions of the most recent World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, August 2015, I will jump off, jump on, rail against, and shamelessly agree with the BRIEF DESCRIPTION given in the pdf copy of the Program Guide. This is event #3486. The link is provided below… 

“Dystopian Realities: What if Fiction’s Most Dire Prophesies Come True?” The bullying of humans by “helpful” digital devices (Leiber), government-mandated pregnancy (Atwood), intrusive advertising (Pohl), robot uprisings (Wilson) and other such “if this goes on” prophecies now part of our everyday lives make it seem as if sf is better at predicting dark futures than bright ones (e.g. interstellar travel, colonies on other planets). In comparison, many of science fiction’s positive fortellings—waterbeds (Heinlein), tablet computers (Clarke), wireless phones (“Get Smart”)—seem pretty small potatoes. Is that why SF has become increasingly grim? Or are dystopias more fetish than useful? Gillian Redfearn (m), William Dietz, Tananarive Due, Jessica Rising, Daniel Spector

I’ve ranted about how much I hate “dystopias” (http://www.sfwa.org/2012/07/guest-post-when-did-science-fiction-and-apocalypse-become-interchangeable/); I’ve written a novel that is NOT about a dystopia – though not about a “utopia”, either (http://www.amazon.com/Heirs-Shattered-Spheres-Emerald-Earth-ebook/dp/B012TOGF62/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8); and while some of my futures may be dark, they would fall into line with the futures of David Brin (http://www.amazon.com/Startide-Rising-Uplift-Saga-Book/dp/B0073FYDEY/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=), and Julie Czerneda (http://www.amazon.com/Survival-Imperative-Julie-E-Czerneda/dp/0756402611/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456663031&sr=1-10&keywords=julie+czerneda). These futures are certainly dangerous, but contain in themselves real hope for our future as an intelligent civilization.

It should probably be clear then that I believe that dystopian stories are a fad that (like sideburns and superballs) wax and wane.

Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, and ’s books were hardly the only dystopian literature written, in which the present (or the alternate future) has passed their visions by. Almost certainly there were dystopian excursions that have faded (mostly) from memory, like Michael Bishop’s A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE (https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/guest-post-a-little-knowledge-michael-bishop-1977/) or Maggie Gee’s THE ICE PEOPLE – though hers may have disappeared because it doesn’t fit the current climate change scenario (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ice_People). Any number of other novels readers of dystopian fiction have forgotten (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dystopian_literature#2000s) may pop up on this list, yet I would venture to guess that there are at least as many that have fallen by the wayside and will never see the light of a reader’s eye again.

I think I’ve made MY point: dystopian novels are a fad that comes and goes depending on how the political, religious, scientific, ethical, or literal climate shifts.

What do you think?

February 26, 2016


https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2014/11/02/12/07/robot-513775_960_720.jpgOn Earth, there are three Triads intending to integrate not only the three peoples and stop the war that threatens to break loose and slaughter Humans and devastate their world; but to stop the war that consumes Kiiote economy and Yown’Hoo moral fiber. The Braiders accidentally created a resonance wave that will destroy the Milky Way and the only way to stop it is for the Yown’Hoo-Kiiote-Human Triads to build a physical wall. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society may produce the Membrane to stop the wave.

The young experimental Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans – Oscar and Kashayla; the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six, pack leaders Qap and Xurf; and the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – a prime eleven, Dao-hi the Herd mother. On nursery farms and ranches away from the TC cities, Humans have tended young Yown’Hoo and Kiiote in secret for decades, allowing the two warring people to reproduce and grow far from their home worlds.

“We had nearly fallen into stagnation when we encountered the Kiiote.”

“And we into internecine war when we encountered the Yown’Hoo.”

 “Yown’Hoo and Kiiote have been defending themselves for a thousand revolutions of our Sun.”

 “Together, we might do something none of us alone might have done…a destiny that included Yown’Hoo, Kiiote, and Human.” (2/19/2015)

Fax, the Kiiote, Pack Second male, rose up into his humanoid form, opening his mouth to taste the air as well as smell it. He panted, his breath a white cloud between us. After a moment, he said, “Not of your world or ours.” He drew a deep breath, “Not of the Herd World, either. Something different. Of another world I’ve never tasted or smelled.”

“Something besides us?” I asked.

Fax snarled, “You didn’t think the Universe held only Kiiote, Yown’Hoo, and Human, did you?”

I shrugged, “No one ever really mentioned anything else. The Kiiote and the Yown’Hoo are the only ones who’ve ever laid waste to Earth.”

Fax snapped at me, though he didn’t bite. That was only for enemies. Being more like pack brothers, there was an unspoken rule that Kiiote couldn’t fatally bite litter mates. I’d never learned the finer points of Kiiote law, but I did know that they didn’t include Humans. There were plenty of cases where Kiiote had killed and eaten Humans –though to be fair, there were plenty of Yown’Hoo who’d been devoured by them as well. The most educated took vows abstaining from the flesh of intelligent life, but as I understood it, the philosophy had been around for a millennium. Fax added, “Humans have been laying waste to this planet since you crawled off of the savannah.”


Fax suddenly collapsed into his canine form then pressed close to my leg. He whispered, “They’re moving around in there. I think they’re coming out.” The light went out, then the front door slammed open. “Hunker down with me.”

I dropped to my hands and knees, hiding behind Fax.

“What are you doing?”

“Hiding. Don’t move," I breathed. He stopped trying to squirm away from me and held his place.

Something large moved into the night, down the steps and across what had once been a lawn. Fax didn’t breathe – an evolutionary adaptation from their home world where the main predator had been an immense, partially armored bear-like creature that could emit a tuned sonic waved strong enough to vibrate the skull of a Kiiote’s, making it explode.

I couldn’t see well, but my genetic enhancements allowed for me to see farther into the infrared and ultraviolet than any Humans before the Triads. The being wasn’t looking in our direction, turned instead toward the barn. I heard a distinct laugh – the kind that the evil villain makes in old movies – and then it moved away.

“It’s going to kill the others!”

“What did I tell you, stupid! If you hadn’t insisted on coming here…”

I opened my mouth to snap back at him when all of a sudden, I was lifted from the ground. Fax tried to run, but a white hand grabbed his tail and gave it a yank. He yelped, then fell to the ground unconscious – something to do with the tail being a fifth limb and yanking it hard enough to dislocate the bones, it caused an electrical surge into the brain stunning him.

My attention went back to the owner of the hand as it turned me, at an angle impossible for a living Humanoid. When it’s eyes began to glow and when I lashed out with a judo kick and hit solid plastic...I knew I was dead.

February 24, 2016


I thought with the E-publication of my first two Young Adult novels, I might like to announce it to the membership:
YA science fiction, HEIRS OF THE SHATTERED SPHERES: Emerald of Earth -- "Emerald and her allies are all that stand between the annihilation of Humanity and an alien’s plan to complete its 65 million-year-old mission."
YA contemporary fiction, VICTORY OF FISTS -- "Langston has made his way for eighteen years with fists, now the only way to his future is with words."
If you prefer to shop Amazon, here you go!


 Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. 
SF Trope: (reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmutation. I think I’m going to mine THIS idea in various ways for a while!) biological transmutation, more specifically covered here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_transmutation

Seamus O’Neille and Brooke Sherman glared at each other over the lab table. Brooke crossed her arms over her chest and said, “The only reason I’ll work with you is because Ms. Harkonnen said I had to.”

Seamus scowled, his pale skin flushing red, making his freckles and red hair look dull by comparison. “Yeah, well Ms. Harkonnen said I had better be your partner ‘cause she felt sorry for you…”

Ms. Harkonnen – who hadn’t threatened or matched them out of pity – thought they make a cute pair. She knew that their IQs, if added up, would total more than any THREE other students (and the teacher, she silently amended). If their initial lab reports and test scores were any indication, Ms. Harkonnen was fairly sure there were a dozen people in the room whose IQs wouldn’t total the pair of young geniuses.

Ms. Harkonnen said out loud to the class, “I want you to read the article on ‘biological transmutation’ tonight and be prepared to discuss it tomorrow. I’ll also want you to use the index in the text and a wiki search to find one reference that favors it and one reference that refutes it. Now, back to work on the sheets. Tomorrow we’ll also be starting energy levels.”

Seamus and Brooke had finished glaring at each other when Seamus said, “It’s true. My sinseanathair told tales of the Viviparous Lizard that would eat lead and pass gold beads. He said it changed in the Lizard’s intestines.”

“That’s ridiculous! I had the same ancestors as you and none of them ever told absurd stories like that! You’ve got a brain between those ears, Seamus – use it for something besides a doorstop for once!”

Ms. Harkonnen barely managed to damp her grin. She nodded to the two and said, “It seems natural then that Seamus will lead the discussion from a pro-biological transmutation stance and Brooke will lead the discussion from an anti-biological transmutation stance.” The bell buzzed and she waved the class away, saying, “Have a nice night!”

The division soon became obvious and an undercurrent of discussion carried through every class that day – they were all in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program so they often had classes together. It also soon became apparent that it was going to be a bit of “boys against the girls”.

By the time she got home, Brooke was hungry, tired and irritated all at the same time. Dad met her at the door of the kitchen. He was a biochemist at Princeton University. Brooke said, “So Dad, can you give me a few sources to use to smash my nasty opponent in a debate tomorrow?”

Dad perked up as he sat on the bar stool, took and apple, bit into it, chewed a bit then asked, “So, who’s the fool who decided to take you on and what’s the subject?”

Brooke sniffed, “The fool is that idiot, Seamus O’Neille. The subject is the absurdity of biological transmutation!”

Dad’s face suddenly went blank. He stood up abruptly, nearly knocking the chair over as he said, “Oh, sorry Sweetie. Just remembered – I’ve got papers to grade tonight…” He scurried away, leaving Brooke startled and bothered. What would have made him act like that?

Names: ♀ England/Germany ; Ireland

February 21, 2016

WRITING ADVICE #31: Writing and Air Quotes…

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Air_Quotes.jpgIn September of 2007, I started this blog with a bit of writing advice. A little over a year later, I discovered how little I knew about writing after hearing children’s writer, Lin Oliver speak at a convention hosted by the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Since then, I have shared (with their permission) and applied the writing wisdom of Lin Oliver, Jack McDevitt, Nathan Bransford, Mike Duran, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, SL Veihl, Bruce Bethke, and Julie Czerneda. Together they write in genres broad and deep, and have acted as agents, editors, publishers, columnists, and teachers. Since then, I figured I’ve got enough publications now that I can share some of the things I did “right” and I’m busy sharing that with you.

While I don’t write full-time, nor do I make enough money with my writing to live off of it...neither do all of the professional writers above...someone pays for and publishes ten percent of what I write. When I started this blog, that was NOT true, so I may have reached a point where my own advice is reasonably good. We shall see! Hemingway’s quote above will now remain unchanged as I work to increase my writing output and sales! As always, your comments are welcome!

I am not “happy” with my writing “career”…

Hmmm. Two sets of quote marks in one short sentence – both of them not saying exactly what I mean. That IS why we do air quotes, right? We use them when we’re not using the words we should be using. Typically we’re using milder euphemisms when we want to tell someone something unpleasant but we still have to live with them or be friends with them afterward.

I’m supposed to be a writer…OK, rephrase that, I am a writer. I have work published in three of the best markets a writer can be in: ANALOG, CRICKET, and THE WRITER. I am published internationally: my ebooks are put out by a Canadian publisher, I have had two podcasts performed for a British publisher, I have a short story coming out in an Irish SF magazine, and I’m published in the US.

So let me parse that first sentence. “I am not happy”. What I mean is that I am frustrated that I can’t consistently write stories and articles that are published. A quick look at my publication list in the right column will attest to that. Roughly ten percent of what I write is published. So “I am really frustrated” is what I actually mean.

How about “with my writing career”?

While “writing” is self-explanatory – at least to anyone who reads my blog – the definition of career is less so. Google says that a career is “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress. Synonyms include: profession, occupation, job, vocation, calling, employment, line, line of work, walk of life, métier .”

I never looked up the definition before today. I would have said that my career is my job as a teacher and guidance counselor. Job, though, is only one of the definitions and not the most significant at that. The first sentence is the one that grabbed my attention, and by that definition, I can remove the quotes in my opening sentence.

While the prosaic definitions are obvious to me, I never thought of writing as a calling or a walk of life. Clearly the first sentence of the definition fits me. I’ve been writing since I was twelve and seriously pursuing publication since…well, I DID write as a teenager and send out my stories. My first paid publication was in a local slick magazine called LITTLE BIT in 1974. But I’ve been consistently sending out stories since 1990 and my current submission list stands at 983 sent out as either paper or electronic stories or queries out of which 93 were accepted for publication. So let’s say that I’ve been writing for twenty-six years.

That would be a “significant period of a person’s life”. It’s certainly allowed me to progress, from a local slick magazine to major paper, online, and podcast publishers.

I’ve defined terms and clarified definitions, so now I should be able to write the following:

I am frustrated with my writing career.

Except, after this exercise, I find that I’m a whole lot LESS frustrated…comments anyone?

February 19, 2016

MARTIAN HOLIDAY 78: DaneelAH & Company

http://img11.deviantart.net/c3c5/i/2009/067/9/3/dr__manhattan_by_theknightinhell.pngOn a well-settled Mars, the five major city Council regimes struggle to meld into a stable, working government. Embracing an official Unified Faith In Humanity, the Councils are teetering on the verge of pogrom directed against Christians, Molesters , Jews, Rapists, Buddhists, Murderers, Muslims, Thieves, Hindu, Embezzlers and Artificial Humans – anyone who threatens the official Faith and the consolidating power of the Councils. It makes good sense, right – get rid of religion and Human divisiveness on a societal level will disappear? An instrument of such a pogrom might just be a Roman holiday...To see the rest of the chapters  and I’m sorry, but a number of them got deleted from the blog – go to SCIENCE FICTION: Martian Holiday on the right and scroll to the bottom for the first story. If you’d like to read it from beginning to end (50,000 words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version. ? z Z

AzAH, first sister of their vat-quadruplets, caught her breath, then set her mouth in a thin line.

HanAH’s eyes narrowed dangerously as always and without thinking. Second brother of the vat-quad, he crouched slightly, taking on an attitude that Burroughs residents likened to “a hunting North American panther”. He rarely accepted anything without suspicion.

DaneelAH’s face was abruptly still; usually the most animated of all of them, when confronted by something novel and dangerous, he lost his normal control and opted for blankness. As First-freed of their quad, both that and first brother, his was deciding argument.

Seeing them, MishAH, second sister, last-freed, and most light-hearted of them all, grinned, “Ah. Now I have your attention. If we agree with Señor Paolo’s plan, we could very well turn him to our advantage in a Martian revolution. In any case, we’re a team capable of altering the course of Human – and Artificial Human – history.” She paused. “I suggest we keep our eyes wide open – and figure out a way to take control of this vehicle.”

HanAH cursed then said, “If it were that easy, I would have been able to reprogram this vehicle long ago!” He kicked the airlock.

“Try not to forget that this ‘bug is supposed to take us all the way into the Northern Hemisphere,” said AzAH. Cautious and responsible to the end, hers was always the voice of measured reason. She strode to the pilot’s seat and sat down, hunched over the navigation console, then turned back to them. “We may be headed to Cydonia, but our host and captor hasn’t planned for us to get there without detours. Right now, I’d say we’re headed for Burroughs.”

HanAH leaned over her shoulder then huffed. “What’s in Burroughs that’s worth anything? They don’t make anything – and they’ve got the loosest laws on Mars.” He huffed again, “To say they have laws even, is a minor exaggeration.”

“But you can get anything there,” said DaneelAH.

What would we possible get there?” exclaimed HanAH.

MishAH said, “Maybe it’s not a ‘what’ but a ‘who’.”

“What do you mean?”

She shrugged, “All I’ve got is a bunch of rumors.” Her three siblings all turned to look at her – HanAH’s hostility was palpable; DaneelAH frowned; AzAH studied her older sister with interest.

“Such as,” DaneelAH prompted.

She shrugged again. HanAH sighed dramatically, irritated. MishAH laughed and said, “Oh, all right. I’ll quit teasing. It’s just that there’ve always been rumors that the Hero of the Faith Wars settled in Burroughs.”

“Natan Wallach? He died in the Last Riot of Islam in Opportunity,” HanAH said.
“That was never conclusively proven,” said DaneelAH. “Go on.”

“That’s not the best part of the rumor – or in our case, this next bit makes good sense given who’s kidnapped us. Where we’re headed, however…”

HanAH snarled, “Just have out with it! I hate these…” AzAH laid her hand on his forearm and he subsided.

“It’s just that,” MishAH continued, “There’s a persistent rumor that not only is Natan Wallack still alive – he’s a Christian convert.”

February 16, 2016


http://img02.deviantart.net/b6de/i/2015/024/d/d/rise_of_zombies_by_ankrie-d8f8231.pngEach Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

H Trope: The Abandoned Mall…

In the 1978 horror flick, DAWN OF THE DEAD (written and directed by the master horror director, George Romero), after the zombie apocalypse, a mall becomes a refuge for a couple of humans who clean out the zombies and go on a wild shopping spree. Of course, that doesn’t last long and the zombies get in and go on a nasty eating spree…But no one EVER talks about what happened AFTER all the zombies are done eating brains and Humans are all gone…or ever more, what happens if we figure out a way to deal with them, and it becomes a government venture, and then someone has to retire from a job of taking care of the zombies...

“Maybe you aren’t bored with zombies,” said the reporter on the thinscreen computer, “but me and the rest of the Young Alive are zeroing in on stultified unto Death! Zombs are old news, and old news is no news,” she paused. “You are all that’s left of the Crew of the first International Zombie Containment Area, there’s got to be something interesting going on there!”

Ryan Martense rested his chin in his hand. The woman on the screen was young and looked like a celebrity. She was some sort of broadpodcaster or something. He said, “The difference between you and me is that you can ignore zombies. I can’t. Zombies are my business.”

“My point exactly! My generation should learn their history a helluva lot better than they have! I’m trying really…very…hard to not ignore zombies, but I need an relevant, current story in order to interest my listeners and viewers, Mister um,” she looked off screen for an instant, “Martin.”

“It’s Martense and…”

“I need a good interview if you want me to put you back in the spotlight,” she scowled fiercely at him, sighed, adding, “If you think of anything,” she hung up on him.

Ryan made a face, sighed and said, “…call you.” He pushed the creaky old chair away from the desk and touched the thinscreen. It turned transparent. He stared through it, and through the Workhouse’s only real picture window before he finally stood up. Outside, the sun was just rising in all of its watery February glory. It was, of course, a Monday. “The rollers have to roll,” he muttered as he stood up. He crossed his office and opened the door, plucking his jacket from the coatrack, and pulling it on as he hunched against a cold blast of air. Strictly speaking, he didn’t have to roll the Area during the winter because in Minnesota, the ground was frozen solid. But all he had to do was recall the Christmas Uprising twenty-eight years ago, and he’d be out in any weather to keep the buried undead down, revving up the engine and rolling the zombie bones.

He breathed in through his nose, and hurried from the Workhouse across the gravel parking lot as he pulled on his thermal gloves. The last working roller was parked up against the charging plate. Forty-five steel-reinforced natural vulcanized rubber tires in five rows, nine wheels across supported a one million kilo payload bay filled with basalt, steel, and lead and designed to compact rock, sand, and gravel soil as well as crush human bones. The cab was nearly five meters up and then two meters tall itself. The roller had been painted neon green except for black numbers, and varicolored logos and warning signs. Access to the control cabin was by a metal staircase. He stepped up the first flight, stopped on the landing and slapped the retraction pad. The flight folded up so that it rode a meter or so above the surface. As he climbed, he counted the rust patches; remembering why this step bent down and twenty-three clumps later, that step bent up. A gust of frigid air nipped exposed bare skin whenever he reached up for the handrails. Once on the platform, he opened the cab door and slid into the freezing cold bucket seat, jerking the door shut behind himself. Built for a crew of six, he’d used sheets of insulation to make a two-meter-wide cab out of the five-meter-wide original control room. He stabbed the green INITIATE button, and the roller hummed to life.

He stopped shivering as the heater kicked up and a wan sunrise spilled golden light across the Containment Area. He tapped the computer to life. Based on the charging stall he’d parked in, it produced an optimal roll pattern. Ryan settled into the pilot seat and with a control stick in each hand, he pushed both forward and set out, the roller slowly picking up speed.

The eighty hectare IZCA had once been a gravel pit. Originally eight hundred hectares, it had been intensely developed in the decade before the world-wide zombie conflict. When the virus appeared – either some mutation of the flu and Ebola or entirely artificial – it swept around the world. The Conflict started before Ryan graduated from high school, closing all public institutions. After that, he got a job in fast food for a while, paying below minimum wage, leading exactly nowhere. Then the zombies almost won until a physicist from Haiti figured out that a precisely tuned electromagnetic pulse would stun the undead for six to eight hours…

Names: American

February 14, 2016

Slice of PIE: STRANGER THAN FICTION and A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1999 TV Movie with Patrick Stewart)

We’ve watched both movies many, many times – but this is the first time I’ve seen them in tandem.

I was startled to see that STF is a reworking of ACC!

It’s just from a different angle...

Let me back up a bit.

Lately, I feel like I’ve hit a wall with my writing. I KNOW I can write well enough to be published in major magazines: ANALOG, CRICKET, CICADA, CAST OF WONDERS, even THE WRITER.

But I have not been able to do so consistently.

Why is that?

Does the quality of my writing vary wildly from professional quality to crap? Sorry, I don’t think so. I’m not that cavalier about editing and rewriting!

Am I in a good mood one day and a bad mood another day and this schizophrenia is reflected in the writing? Doubtful. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story in one sitting. Usually it takes a month or two to finish a short story and over a year to write a novel...

Maybe I should get myself to a shrink and have them see if I have Dissociative identity disorder and there are two or more of me alternately trying to pursue a writing career. *sigh* If only it were that simple, maybe I could get therapy and forge a partnership with the part of me that’s a good writer.

But I don’t think any of those a really the problem.

I think the problem is twofold: character development and choosing the right story to tell.

Back to STF and ACC. Both of the stories are about a crotchety person who has no interest in humanity. One is a loan shark…er…accountant, the other a writer. Both of them employ a caring, kind individual, though with extreme prejudice and make life miserable for that person...while at the same time interacting with them consistently and deeply.

As well, both of them come face-to-face with ghosts. Ebenezer Scrooge quite literally; Karen Eiffel in the form of a man she thought was imaginary who turns out to be quite real.

Both also confront a tragic death that will occur if they continue on in the course of their lives. The dramatic tension in the story keeps us following, wondering if Scrooge will let Tiny Tim die and if Eiffel will let Harold die. Both have a foil against whom they must battle – Scrooge duels with Bob Cratchit and Eiffel fences with Penny Escher.

The same story, turned on its side becomes not ONLY a well-received modern film, but apparently escaped anyone else noticing the connection with a story that has been adapted over a hundred times since its publication in 1843.

So – I need to choose more recognizable stories and adapt them to the things that concern me, and the themes I visit most often in my writing.

Easy, right?

Bah, humbug!

Image: 1992-10-05 'A Christmas Carol' [Disc 1] by Charles Dickens via ...www.flickr.com