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Sci Fi Fantasy Book Meme [13 Aug 2011|12:30pm]
You know, I don't think of myself as a particular sci fi or fantasy guy, but give this list I'm clearly deluding myself.

Ones I've read in bold
Ones I've started and mean to finish some day in italics
Ones I've started and won't finish/hated underlined

Those last two are hypothethical. I've only ever not finished one book I started (Ulyssess, for the curious) and I didn't hate any of these. Some I wouldn't read again, though.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

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Hey, A Post [11 Aug 2011|08:38pm]
It was sort of Luther Strode day at Multiversity Comics:


If you interested in how Tradd works and his influences and inspirations, they did three pieces on him. Read them, they, like Tradd, are pretty awesome.

Tradd Interview

Tradd Art

Holy crap, is there any end to Tradd's stuff?

Non Spoilery Review
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Luther Strode, Previews, Today [03 Aug 2011|11:12am]

art & cover TRADD MOORE
32 PAGES / FC / M
Luther Strode is just your average nerd until he sends away for a bodybuilding course from an old comic book, one that works a whole lot better than he ever imagined. His newfound strength and strange talents make school a lot easier, but they’ve also caused some very, very bad people to take a very, very keen interest in him. Things will never be the same for Luther Strode…if he survives.


And here's a preorder thing for you (or, if you like, you can spread it around)

2 comments|post comment

A Dance With Dragons [16 Jul 2011|01:31pm]
Holy canoli, a post!

I'm shocked too.

Anyway, I've read ADWD and I have some thoughts.

On one hand, I was entertained by the book, and that's always good.

But three things stand out:Super Mega Ultimate Spoiler WithinCollapse )
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I sense the hand of Jason Franks in this... [29 Jun 2011|12:19am]
job fails - Singled Out
see more Monday Through Friday
7 comments|post comment

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode [14 Mar 2011|03:37pm]
Fwd: Luther Strode, Issue Three

Cover of issue three? Don't ask me!
1 comment|post comment

A Post! [07 Mar 2011|01:22am]
Stolen from VonMoggy

Age: Thirtymumble

Bed size: Er...Queen? I'm not sure.

Chore you hate: I don't actually do any chores I hate. I supposed getting the garbage ready, maybe, but I don't actually hate that.

Dogs: Love dogs, don't currently have one. More a cat person, actually, but I do like dogs, too, especially beagles and hounds.

Essential start to your day: A nice refreshing urination.

Favorite color: Burgundy? I dunno - I don't really have a favorite color, but I like burgundy for shirts.

Gold or silver: Silver. But I don't wear jewelry, so kind of a moot point.

Height: A little over six foot or a little under six one - it varies depending on whether my doctor's appointment is in the morning or afternoon. I used to be taller, but that's another story.

Instruments I play: Zip. Tone deaf, apparently.

Job title: Writer. Layabout

Kids: Also zip. Like kids, don't have any.

Live: Pennsylvania

Mom’s name: Ginger

Nicknames: None, really. I get variations on big guy fairly often.

Overnight hospital stays: None, amazingly. After the last car accident (where I lost the inch mentioned above) they wanted to keep me in. They said if I could get up off the bed and walk I could go. Which I did. It was incredibly stupid, although I didn't really need to be in the hospital. That said, getting up with six broken ribs and a hide covered in bruises and full of glass - difficult.

Pet peeve: Your and you're don't mean the same thing, you gormless fucks.

Quote from a movie: "Awww man, I shot Marvin in the face."

Right or left handed: Right. I can write with my left hand, though, thanks to having broken and/or dislocated all the fingers on my right hand.

Siblings: None. My father, whom I haven't much of a relationship with until recently, married a woman who had a young daughter, and he raised her. So she is his daughter, she's not really my sister.

Time you wake up: These days, somewhere around noon. Since I don't go to a job, I've drifted back into night owl tendencies, so I'm usually up until four or five in the morning. Meme bonus: I can wake up whenever I want to, within five minutes or so. Not an especially useful superpower.

Underwear: Yep.

Vegetables you dislike: Most of them. It's actually texture I have a problem with, rather than flavor - grind stuff into a salsa and it's fine. I am quite a fan of spinach and I like onions, although I can't eat the latter raw.

What makes you run late: Usually dicking around, doing stuff. I'm not often late because I don't usually give a specific time for my arrival (for this reason).

X-Rays you’ve had: I think I've actually had everything X rayed at some point. Everything from the waist up for sure during after the aforementioned last car wreck (boy that comes up a lot). Lower legs at other times. I'm not sure about my hips and thighs, but that'd be the only thing.

Yummy food you make: I make a pretty good taco. I rarely cook these days. I am a pretty good cook, although I don't have my family's natural ability to just throw ingredients together at random and make it taste good. I need a receipe.

Zoo: The KNoxville Zoo is basically the only one I've been to. It was cool.
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Meanwhile, over at Hyperpulp 5000 [12 Feb 2011|07:51pm]
Completed stories. For the longer ones, the tags should make navigation easier.

The Bean King



Kill Phil

These are all real first draft stuff. So beware.
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I'm not sure anyone is actually reading this... [15 Jan 2011|12:23am]
...but I have another blog, dedicated to fiction.


New (or newish) fiction daily.
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Puncher - 2 [10 Jan 2011|09:30pm]

He stood at the door as Alex gave him a final check, making sure everything was tight and secure. Exposed skin or loose leathers were bad mojo. More than a few punchers died because the zombies found a weak spot and kept digging.

He stepped out into the light and held up an arm for shade as they crowd started to cheer. He walked forward out of the flood light and looked around him. Lots of people were outside the fence, watching the start of the tournament. Punching wasn’t really a spectator sport if you were actually at the venue, but people living out in the mid zones didn’t have a lot for entertainment.

Smith looked at the competition. There were seven of them, Smith had come out last. He recognized two of them, Hiller and Stahl, and they nodded at him. The other five were new or nearly so, as far as Smith could tell. Two of them stood out from the rest.

One was a tanker, somebody who’d opted to layer themselves in armor from head to toe, this one nearly to the point of being spherical. The guy was big, though, at least a head taller than Smith, who was a little over six foot. Someone that big might be able to make the tanker strategy work. He’d be a problem on the wayback.

The other was unique for more or less the exact opposite reason; he was tiny, barely over five feet and slim looking, as far as you could tell beneath the armor. That was fairly rare for a puncher; the game lent itself to people who could mix strength with speed. Small people generally didn’t have enough force behind their punches to get the job done. Generally.

Assuming no major changes to the venue, the tournament would take place in an area two blocks wide, to the end of the town. Roads and alleys were blocked off by fencing, and snipers at the top of the buildings would keep the zombies where they wanted to be. Punching was pretty simple. You were locked in the venue. Somewhere at the other end there were keys. Get there, get them, get out. One key per person.

Smith stepped up to the gate. The man in charge of the gate did a quick scan of the area through the scope on his rifle and turned back to them.

“On your mark”

The gates slid open. The crowd cheer was almost deafening.


The tanker swung a heavy arm at the puncher next to him. The punch drifted forward with the slow certain of a glacier, but it knocked the puncher completely off his feet. Hiller was already moving, a full tilt run. A couple of the other punchers started to sprint. Smith and Stahl left the gate with the same slow jog.

“Move you big dumb fucker.”

Smith glanced over a shoulder. The gatekeeper was aiming at the tanker, trying to get him clear of the gate so he could lock it. The downed puncher was out of it, probably for the duration. Smith noted that he didn’t see the tiny puncher. Worth remembering.

The crowd cheer died down, and Smith heard the zombies. He dropped back from keeping pace with Stahl, trying to get some maneuvering distance. The moan was close, and the moan meant that whatever zombies they had in the area would be attracted to the sound of it.

Smith felt something moving to his left and turned in time to see a zombie coming out of the glass less window of one of the buildings. It landed on it’s feet and began to sprint towards him, faster than it should be.


This was new. Zombies only moved this fast in the first twenty four hours after infection. No venue had ever done that. Smith took off at a dead sprint, aiming to get some distance between them.

He ran sideways, past one of the one of the new punchers, shoving him hard as he went past. The puncher went down hard on his ass, and the runner was on him. Smith heard the dull wet slap of punches, but he didn’t turn around.

He scanned the area. There should be more of them. He noticed movement on the roof across the street from him. No way there were zombies up there. The tiny puncher was running along the rooftop, leaping from building to building.

More zombies were pouring out of the buildings, and they were all runners. Smith counted fifteen of them. The odds were wrong. This was too many runners. The town was basically laid out so that two rows of buildings served as the outer wall, with a row of abandoned buildings in the middle. Smith went for the buildings in the middle. He heard a scream, and saw Stahl go down. Stahl was a hard puncher, but that many runners would get anyone.

The windows on the middle building were covered in plywood, which was new, and they actually had doors. Smith turned and punched a runner as it got within arm’s reach of him. He felt the thing’s jaw shatter under the impact and it hit the ground. He slammed a heel down on its head, once, twice, a full two hundred pounds down on the skull. The thing stopped moving.

Three more were coming in fast and he tried the door. Locked. Figured. He smashed it with his shoulder and stepped inside. He put his weight against and felt the runners slam into. They weren’t afraid of getting hurt, so they hit it with everything they had. Smith slid forward, but he held. Fuck.

The door slammed shut behind him and he dropped to his ass when it did. He took a deep breath and realized that he could see. It was dark out and it should have been pitch black. Instead, a single lamp glowed in the dark. He heard a small whir as a camera in the corner turned to catch him. This what he was supposed to do, then.

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Puncher [09 Jan 2011|03:56am]




            Smith pulled on the thick leather gloves, flexed his hands in them. They were stained black with old blood. A good puncher protected his knuckles; bad punchers didn’t last long enough to matter.

            “What are the odds?” he asked his manager.

            “Working day”

            Alex was like that. What she meant was that there were nine to five odds against him. Knowing the odds wasn’t just important for his financial future. Those odds told him that they were going to have fresh ones. The type of zombie they released depended on what they could find. The fresher the zombie the higher the odds. Of course, the fresh ones were harder to capture, so the mix depended on the tournament.

            Smith wasn’t supposed to know any of this. Part of the point of punching was that the punchers didn’t know what they were walking into. The tournament venues were changed, so a strategy that had saved your ass at the last tourney could get you killed if you relied on it this time.

            As it happened, information on the venues was hard to get, and no puncher was likely to have the money to buy the information. Gambling on punching was big business, and the people who controlled the gambling were both very serious and very wealth, and they could buy the information and use it to set the odds. Smith could use that to plan his strategy.

            The safe zone was the old high school. Smith was putting on his gear in the locker room. This was a privilege, more or less, one of the fringe benefits of his celebrity. Smith went through the same warm up before every tournament. He did pushups, squats and worked through a series of yoga poses, looking for tight spots. It was entirely possible that he was the only person within a hundred miles that did yoga.

            He felt good. He flexed his hands again and punched a locker, hard.

            “Jesus Christ!”

            Alex was always nervous before a fight, and she nearly jumped out of her skin now. She’d grown up in no man’s land, and it showed. She still kept her head shaved and she was determined to never go back to the QZ. She was a good manager, and she’d made a shit load of money with Smith. Not enough to establish permanent citizenship in the Old States, but she was close. If Smith died, that gravy train was over, so she was nervous.

            “Just testing” he said.

            “You break your hand before the tourney you cement brained idiot, we’re both gonna be poorhouse. Already made bets.”

            She helped him slip into his leathers, and he zipped them up. Punching rules, such as they were, only restricted the use of outside weapons. Defensively speaking, Smith could have worn full plate armor into the venue. A lot of new punchers would take that approach, layering themselves with whatever tough shit they could find in order to stop from being bitten.

            Smith didn’t. He wore synthetic material underneath leather. The leather has started as no color in particular, but like the gloves, it mostly looked black. He probably could have just gone with the bite resistant body suit, but he’d started out with the leathers and he was somewhere between superstitious and nostalgic. Plus, they were part of the Smith brand, now. He was unrecognizable without them.

            “How much time?”

            Alex yanked back a sleeve, looked at one of at least half a dozen watches. Same as him; old habits.

            “Your dime.”

            Anytime. He punched the locker again. Alex didn’t jump this time, but he could feel her staring at him. He felt fine. The gloves and Alex’s wrapping were doing their job. He felt loose and good.

            The door opened, and a man stuck his head in.

            “You’re up.”

            Alex handed him his helmet, wiped her hand over sandpaper stubble. He was glad that she was doing the worrying for both of them. He slid the helmet on as he walked towards the gym door. He liked the helmet; it was a gleaming silver skull and while it wasn’t an especially subtle touch it did make a statement. Zombies didn’t care, but it did intimidate the other punchers.

            It was hard to tell from the odds how many others there would be. Ship was a big venue, a decent sized college town before the outbreak. It was a full two miles from the start point to the turn around, and that meant it could handle a lot of punchers. Smith figured a minimum of five and a maximum of ten.

Less and it would take too long for them to find each other, which didn’t make for a good show. More and it was too many for the cameras which, again, was less than entertaining.


Smith turned to the man who’d stuck his head into the locker room, a weathered little man who was probably old enough to be Smith’s dad. He might even be old enough to have lived here before the big chowdown. He was holding a skull and, amazingly enough, a marker. Smith had never seen one out here in the mid zones. The skull had a fracture in the middle of the forehead.

“It was from when you were here in 31” the little old guy said, "I was a cleaner for that one." That was a good year. He had no idea if this skull was one of his, but he liked the idea. He should try and grab one for himself this time.

Smith smiled as he scrawled his name. Alex had taught him that. Her mother had lived long enough to teach her the basics of reading, and it was a useful enough skill that she taught herself a lot more when she was old enough. It was a big part of she’d survived to make out of the QZ.

“Thank you, sir” the little man said. Most of the time, these kind of things ended up getting old in the Old States for a tidy profit. Punching was illegal, or would have been if there were actual laws in the mid zones, so anything from the actual punchers had to be smuggled into the Old States, which meant that collectors went zombie shit for it. The little old guy had a look in his eye that made Smith think that the dude probably wouldn’t sell it.

Note: Not the end of this

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Until Dawn, Part Two [22 Dec 2010|09:13pm]
Cameron Coyle waited in the car, the engine running but the headlights off. He looked idly at snow and smiled a bit. Luck was on his side. It usually was. Time wasn’t, though, and Coyle was growing impatient. This was taking far longer than it should have, and Coyle sighed when he heard the gunshot. Typical.

He wasn’t worried about the gunshot, in and of itself. Most people, even people out here in the boondocks, won’t recognize a gunshot out of context. Especially not when it was muffled by coming from inside a bank. But it meant that something had gone wrong, which meant that Coyle was going to have to bat clean up. He glanced at his watch and then out the window, waiting.

The bank wasn’t much of one. It was barely bigger than a mobile home, if it was bigger at all, and it sat beside what could loosely be considered a convenience store, albeit one of the home grown variety. Its main charm, in fact, was that it was more forty miles in either direction from any kind of real town, and the towns that were at the forty mile border had less than twenty thousand people.

Which meant that any kind of police response was a good half an hour off, unless they had the very bad luck for there to be a State Police cruiser somewhere in the area. The snow would actually slow that down even more, with the added benefit of making the car harder to spot. That made these kind of rural banks easy pickings. It did not mean that there should be guns going off.

Coyle watched the door open and the little old lady who was watching the counter at the store step out on to the concrete steps. She shivered and wrapped her arms around herself. She had that look on her face. Coyle pull a black watch cap over sandy hair and stepped out of the car.

“You heard it too, I guess?” he said.

She looked at him, faintly startled.

“Sounded like someone was shooting.”
“It was my car. Backfire. I need to fire my mechanic.”

She looked at him. She frowned. She was starting to say something else when Coyle put a bullet through her chest. She stumbled back and set down hard, mouth working, and Coyle put a bullet through her forehead. She kept the gun on her for a second. Even with headshots, even with old ladies, death could be tricky sometimes. She just sat their, eyes open but not seeing.

The doors to the bank opened, and Coyle’s partners ran out and stopped. They were young, dumb and in love. They thought, Coyle suspected, that robbing bank was something kind of romantic. Dangerous but sexy. They’d probably think of themselves as a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, if they’d ever heard of Bonnie and Clyde. They jogged to the car as Coyle slid behind the wheel. They both got in the back. Gym bags with case beside then.

“What the fuck?” the Girl, delicate as ever, stopping short at the sight of the dead old lady as they pulled away.
“What happened in there?”
“What happened out here?” the Boy, this time.
Coyle shrugged. No explanation would be worthwhile.
“What happened?”
“This fucking thing went off.” Despite patient instruction, the Boy had still not grasped the basics of gun safety.
“Give it to me. Was anyone hurt?”

The Boy and the Girl handed their guns forward. Coyle, as carefully as he could while driving the car, checked the safeties and dropped them onto the front seat.

“Why did you shoot that old lady?”

Coyle looked in the rearview mirror. They were a couple of miles out from the bank, but out here that meant they were in the middle of nowhere. Coyle pulled off into an access road, far enough from the road that in the near dark and with the increasing snow fall that he figured they wouldn’t be seen.

“We need to get this stuff in the trunk.”
“Here is fine.”

He stepped out of the car and pulled his gun out of his pocket. He kept it down by his legs as Bonnie and Clyde got out of the car. He half expected and half hoped they’d slide out on the same side.

The Boy said “I don’t see –“ and Coyle shot him in the back of the head. He dropped down hard, cracking the taillight as he fell. Coyle expected the Girl to scream or shout or breakdown, but she took off running immediately, without a glance behind. So much for true love. She didn’t make it ten steps before Coyle cut her down. He shot the Boy again to make sure he was dead and walked around the car to the Girl.

She was trying to crawl, without much success. Coyle rolled her over with his boot. She was crying.


Coyle shot her twice in the head. The snow was picking up, and the Boy already had a light covering by the time he walked back around. He considered dragging them into the woods, but it didn’t seem like it was worth the effort or the time. He wanted to get over the mountain before the snow really kicked in. It looked like it was going to be a big one.
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Good Gravy, Martha! A Post! [21 Dec 2010|06:33pm]
The full moon made Billy Sun nervous. He tried hard not to think of the thing in the box, but knowing it was back there made cold sweat run down his back. He didn’t want to be out here, he especially didn’t want to be driving in this weather and he definitely didn’t want to be responsible for the box. But he was, and he kept his hand on the wheel and tried to keep the truck on the road.

He was barely going fifteen miles an hour, crossing the mountain at a crawl. He could see, at best, maybe fifty feet ahead, and at some points he was essentially making an educated guess at where the road actually was. The plows hadn’t come through, and every turn felt like he was in danger of sliding off the road.

It wasn’t that Billy was uncomfortable driving in bad conditions, or even that he was bad at driving under stress. He’d spent the last four years driving Humvee around the desert while below tried to alternately shoot him or blow him up. Stress was okay, under normal circumstances, but this was different.

For one thing, there was absolutely no way that moving it, under these conditions, was even half way advisable. Most of the time, it was harmless, or as close to harmless as something like that could reasonably get. But tonight, well, tonight was not a good night to be doing what Billy was doing, but he didn’t have much choice in the matter. It had to be moved, and it had to be moved now.

Billy’s father, Big Bill, had barely managed to get the box moved out of the basement before the house burned. The box had been there, under the watchful eye of the Sun men, for as long as anybody in Billy’s family could remember.

But one of the consequences was that the house didn’t get as many upgrades as it should, and it had an electrical system cobbled together by the dubious talents of Billy’s grandfather and his uncles. It was only a matter of time before something bad happened, and it was just bad luck that something bad happened when the moon was full.

Billy wiped sweat from his brow and shook the cramps out of his fingers. He was squeezing the wheel hard enough that he expected it to have grooves where his fingers were. He knew that this wasn’t helping his ability to get his cargo from point A to point B, but he couldn’t help it. He had the fight the urge to glance through the tiny window into the back of the panel truck and make sure the box was where it was supposed to be.

The biggest problem was the snow. Billy wasn’t sure how much snow qualified as a blizzard, but he figured that this was probably there. The thing in the box was most dangerous at night, and he really, really didn’t want to be traveling with it, but when the snow started coming down, he didn’t have much of a choice.

Risk. It was all about balancing risk. Billy’s Dad insisted that Billy stay to the background, where Billy would be lucky if he passed another car at all. This minimized the chance of an accident and damage to the box. It also, to Big Bill’s way of thinking, meant that if the unthinkable happened, that the box was opened and it got out, that the number of people at immediate risk would be minimized as well.

Which had all sounded reasonable enough to Billy when his dad, still sucking oxygen in a hospital bed, had told him what he needed to do. Billy had checked his route, double checked the truck and triple checked the weather. But once he was on the road, he didn’t know.

The snow was completely unexpected. Billy figured that once he got done with this particular fool’s errand, he might well have to find the weatherman who said that it would be a crisp clear night in southern Pennsylvania and force feed him his own teeth.

As it was, the snow meant that Billy was committed to the haul. If he pulled over, he was not going to be able to get out again, and that would be a problem. His cell service in this area was spotty at best, and he figured it would go out entirely once he crested the mountain. He had to ride it out and hope for the best. But that didn’t mean he had to be happy about it.

The snowfall was getting heavier, and Billy slowed the truck down even more, gearing down to let the engine take some of the strain of holding back. He tried to keep his mind on the road and not think about the steep grade on the other side. He’d tried turning the radio on, but every time he did, he kept imagining he heard something from the back. He wished his dad was here. Or anyone else. He didn’t want to be driving, and he definitely didn’t want to be driving alone.

The deer hopped down off the hill and skittered in the snow, black eyes reflecting in Billy’s headlights. Billy hit the breaks, not hard enough to skid, not really, but he felt the back end of the truck fishtail.


He tried to drive into the skid, but the downhill grade and the snow was preventing it. The deer leapt gracefully off the road as the truck slid slowly sideways. He fought the wheel and imagined he heard the chains holding the box in place strain.

He lost it. The steering turned uselessly in hand as the truck slid over the bank. There’s was a moment, just a half a heart beat, where the truck was balanced, but then Billy was tumbling. Everything spun and there was just a blur of slowed down images, time speeding up and slowing down, before it stopped.

Billy’s head hurt. He wasn’t sure how long he sat there before his fingers touched his head and found blood. The window beside him was gone, and Billy head dripped sluggish red into the snow on the ground. He released the seat belt and slid down into his side.
The gun. He needed the gun. The truck was lying on its side, smashed up against a tree, well down over the bank. Everything in it had been tossed and Billy Sun really need to find the damn gun. Where was the fucking gun.

It took him a few seconds to feel the reassuring weight of it in his pocket, He pulled it out, flipped out the cylinder and looked at the bullets. Six shots, four speed loaders in the pocket if they hadn’t fallen out.

Billy kicked the front windshield until it dropped out into the snow. It didn’t make a sound Nothing did, the world wrapped in falling snow and silence. Billy could hear his heart beating in his head. The autopilot was on. The box, He needed to check the fucking box. His body was working in its own years of army training and a life time of being a Sun kicking in, but somewhere deep inside, Billy Sun was praying.
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DeathHike 5000 [18 Oct 2010|04:50pm]
Warning: Rambling

So I went on a hike this weekend - Friday and (mostly) Saturday. I hiked about a whopping two miles into our camp site, so Friday was a piece of cake - two miles is no kind of distance even with a fifty pound pack and going largely up hill.

Saturday was a a different animal. Our total distance on Saturday was somewhere in and around ten miles (might have been longer) about half of which was through the woods, without the benefit of a trail, which was compounded by the rocky terrain and the leaves on the rocks, which were responsible for me twisting a knee and an ankle similataneously.

I'm not sure how hard a ten mile walk would be for me normally, since I've never tried. A ten mile walk up a mountain and down the other side, though, is pretty much the limit of my physical endurance; I blacked out without falling down in the last quarter mile.

It was fun, sort of. I don't know that I'd care to do it again, but it's been a while since I did anything this physically demanding. I was entirely sure whether or not I COULD do it, to be honest. I'm probably fitter than most near 300 pound fat men, but I am still a near three hundred pound fat man. The hike pretty well exxhausted my extremely fit 150 pound friend and moderately fit 200 pound friend, so it's cool that I kept up for a given value of kept up.

Actually, they got a lot more rest on the trip than I did - they both walk much faster than I do, which is not especially difficult, and stopped for me to catch up. On the other hand, they were moving a good bit faster. Probably balances out.

I used two of those nordic walking sticks (ski poles, more or less) for the trip, and I'm pretty sure they were key to making it - my ankles and knees actually feel fine, aside from stiffness from where I fell. The sticks allowed me to take pressure off my ankles and knees and were really, really handy for going down the hills where the rocks were sliding out from under my feet.

I am sore all over. Doing this kind of hike when the longest I've continually walked this year was three miles on level ground with no pack was unwise. But it is kind of cool to have some idea what I'm capable of - I'd wondered last month whether I could actually go a half marathon distance walking, which I'm pretty sure I could, presuming it's on a road. Not that I'm going to mind.

Other insights and follies:

- I sat on my pack at one point, assuming the water container I had packed was able to support my weight. I was mistaken, so I was down a gallon of water, and all my spare clothes and my sleep bag where soaked. The sleeping bag was dry enough by the time I needed it, but it was still kind of funny.

- One of the few benefits of being a great huge fat man is that I was perfectly comfortable with the temperature even the zipper on my sleeping bag was busted. Dave and Rich got to shiver all night.

- I just wore the regular sneakers I use for my normal walking, which are a twenty dollar pair of velcro shoes (hey, I like to be able to adjust the tightness on the fly and I'm lazy, where as Dave and Rich wore jungle boots (Rich, who is an Army Captain) and hiking boots (Dave). Surprisingly, no blisters or raw spots, where Dave and Rich both did.

- Nordic walking sticks make you look extremely goofy.

- We came down off the mountain by way of an access road that lead away from the power line clear cut. This is one of the reasons I'm not sure how far we went, as this was a lot of switchbacks. This was actually as difficult as the rock terrain, because was an extremely sharp grade and that underlying material was slate. Which if you're familiar with in the wild, is kind of like descending while walking on marble.

- At the end of the access road, much like a final boss in a video game, was the largest dog I'd ever seen. The acess road connected to someone's driveway, and at the connection they had their dog tied. I am absolutely not kidding when I say this was the largest I'd ever seen - his shoulders were above my waist. He looked like he was a Saint Bernard mixed with a Mastiff, presumably as some kind of biological weapon experience. Rich and Dave went bushwhacking through the woods to avoid him, because he was barking (which sounded a lot like a foghorn) and growling (diesel engine). I was too fucking tired, so I just walked by the damn dog. As soon as a I got within ten feet of him, he started wagging his tail and whining. I felt like petting him, but I refrain from doing that to think that could actually take my hand off.

- I set one foot on Rich's parents patio to declare victory and collaped in the grass. Best grass ever.
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Still Not Updating Enough [12 Oct 2010|09:27pm]
Day 71

Freelance Work: 0 words

Comic Script Pages: 0

Script Pages: 0

Fiction: 500 words


Freelance Work: 78500 words

Comic Script Pages: 78

Script Pages: 14

Fiction: 13500 words
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I Got Nothing [07 Oct 2010|03:58am]
Day 64

Freelance Work: 0 words

Comic Script Pages: 0

Script Pages: 0

Fiction: 0


Freelance Work: 78500 words

Comic Script Pages: 78

Script Pages: 14

Fiction: 13000 words

Read Zero History, visited old friends, so work can bugger itself.
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Zero Wittery [06 Oct 2010|09:06am]
Day 63

Freelance Work: 1000 words

Comic Script Pages: 0

Script Pages: 0

Fiction: 0


Freelance Work: 78500 words

Comic Script Pages: 78

Script Pages: 14

Fiction: 13000 words

That ever present 500 words in the freelance just bugs me. Grrr.
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Did You Hear [04 Oct 2010|11:04pm]
Day 62

Freelance Work: 1000 words

Comic Script Pages: 0

Script Pages: 0

Fiction: 0


Freelance Work: 77500 words

Comic Script Pages: 78

Script Pages: 14

Fiction: 13000 words
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I'm Writing The Report [04 Oct 2010|08:53am]
Day 62

Freelance Work: 1000 words

Comic Script Pages: 0

Script Pages: 0

Fiction: 0


Freelance Work: 76500 words

Comic Script Pages: 78

Script Pages: 14

Fiction: 13000 words
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A Buck Short [02 Oct 2010|10:59pm]
Day 60

Freelance Work: 1500 words

Comic Script Pages: 0

Script Pages: 0

Fiction: 0


Freelance Work: 75500 words

Comic Script Pages: 78

Script Pages: 14

Fiction: 13000 words
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