Monthly archives: February 2016

Want to know what happens if Trump wins? I already wrote that book

SoundsofSoldiers-cover_thumbI started work on Sounds of Soldiers in November 2008.

Luckily, the premise genuinely was fiction within a few days of starting the project, as Obama was elected US President, rather than McCain. Thus the (implied but not stated outright) backstory for the book- that Sarah Palin rose to commander-in-chief and started a stupid war with Europe- genuinely was fiction. For the next eight years, anyway.

Now, the USA is, once again, teasing us with the potential setup for thousands of dystopian novels, in the shape of Donald Trump. Trump’s far scarier than Palin ever was. She’s stupid and incompetent, but he takes those two traits and piles bullying, vindictive, (more) racist, and thin skinned into the mix. If anyone had written President Trump (or even potential-presidential-candidate Trump) before this year, people would have said the character wasn’t believable.

If anything, Sounds of Soldiers is an optimistic read in a world where “The Donald” could be leader of the free world. A Trump inspired future would look a hell of a lot more like Mad Max.

Petition · Trafford Council: Stretford’s Essoldo Should Be Compulsory Purchase · 1

I’ve always rather liked the curved frontage of the old Essoldo cinema in Stretford. I think it was a bongo hall when I first came to Manchester, and I believe it housed a roller rink at some point as well. Some of its original grandeur was lost to road widening in the sixties or seventies, and it would be a shame if what’s left of the building simply rotted away.

It’s not as great an architectural crime as doing nothing with London Road Fire Station for over twenty five years, but it is a waste of an interesting building, so I support this petition calling on Trafford Council to make a compulsory purchase and find a community use for it.

Source: Petition · Trafford Council: Stretford’s Essoldo Should Be Compulsory Purchase ·

Oh, look, Trident hunting drones

Last week, the Shadow defence secretary, Emily Thornberry, was criticised- some would say mocked- by the pro-apocalypse wing of the Labour Party after she said that there could soon be sea going drones capable of tracking nuclear submarines. The Trident supporters lined up to smugly report that such devices were impossible.

So imagine my surprise when I read this morning that DARPA has a drone submarine hunter built and ready to undergo sea trials. It’s shocking that the Armageddon apologists could be wrong. I guess they’ve put so much faith in the incredible powers of Trident, that they can’t conceive any of the ways in which the system is flawed or could be compromised.

Drone sub hunter versus not-quite-stealthy-enough sub, the future of the world at stake. I think I have to store that one away as a potential story.

The Daring Novelist: The Murder of The Mystery Genre (And Its Rebirth)

An interesting analysis of the ‘death’ of the mystery genre in the US (and, no doubt, elsewhere).

Amazon, and other ebook sellers, now do a good job of replacing the warehouses full of backlist, and means that once someone discovers your work, they can get their hands on your other stuff easily. This is the basis I’m working on, putting out books and waiting for people to find the one that draws them in. Every so often, I’ll do a stand alone, but I’m going to keep adding to the Rain and Bullets series, and may start others.

Source: The Daring Novelist: The Murder of The Mystery Genre (And Its Rebirth)

Sovereign citizens

The sovereign citizen movement in the USA is a peculiar, and dangerous, bunch with ideas right out of the conspiracy theory pick and mix.

Their belief system is complex and rooted in a series of bizarre conspiracy theories that hold that the original US government set up by the Founding Fathers has been replaced with an evil secret government that has sold all US citizens into slavery by using them as collateral against foreign debt.

As explained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, they believe the government creates a secret alternate identity for each American at birth and sets up a secret US Treasury account — sort of like a corporate “trust” — under that alternate identity. The US government funds these “corporate shell” accounts to the tune of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Because the US no longer uses the gold standard, it instead uses these accounts as collateral to back up its currency. The money is said to represent each citizen’s future earning potential. The sovereign citizens thus believe the government has “pledged its citizenry as collateral, by selling their future earning capabilities to foreign investors, effectively enslaving all Americans,” according to the SPLC.

Part of their proof is that birth certificates and other government documents, said to represent this scheme, put names in all capital letters. So whereas Jennifer Williams is the real person, JENNIFER WILLIAMS is the secret Treasury account.

By declaring themselves “sovereign citizens,” members of these groups say they are freeing themselves from government enslavement and separating themselves from their secret, government-created alternate identity.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2016

Against the trend of the month, yesterday morning was sunny, if windy. Which was good for the Chinese New Year parade. Here are a few pictures of dragons and other paraders.

After the parade, I needed a couple of coffees to warm up again. By the time I’d finished them, the weather had changed again, and there was hail coming down.