Saturday, December 22, 2018

2019 Looking Glass

Time to recap 2018 and gaze into the looking glass for 2019.

This last year gave me plenty of reasons to celebrate. I published two books, one of them my novel, Steampunk Banditos, and the anthology I'd edited, Blood & Gasoline. Plus I had one short story published, "Flawless" in A Fistful of Dinosaurs, and signed a contract for one to be published next year. I also received rejections on a couple of short stories but that's par for the course. Hopefully I'll find a home for them next year. I was honored to be a Guest of Honor at MileHi Con 50. I taught at Lighthouse and in the Regis University Mile High MFA program. Added to that is more cause for applause but I'll keep that hushed as it's not yet a done deal and I don't want to jinx myself.

My favorite read of the year has been out a while, The Promise, by Robert Crais.

Like many of you, social media has caused me to grind my teeth in frustration and disgust at many things. What's particularly grating is the increased intrusion into our lives by the tech companies. Recently Google rolled out an enhanced Gmail that supposedly improves my email "experience," but that's a lie. For one, my Gmail account is slower and more cumbersome than ever. And two, forget any pretense of privacy. Gmail automatically offers automated responses, which means they're reading my correspondence to teach their AI robots. Plus our searches are shared cross-platform. I Google something on my phone and then on my computer, without asking, Facebook pops up with relevant suggestions. Of course the companies deny they're spying, but we all know they're aggregating as much as possible about us into secret profiles, which they then monetize. Big Brother in 1984 was nothing compared to Alphabet, Inc. For 2019 I'm expecting more stories where smart speakers become part of homicide investigations. And that high-tech remains as vulnerable as ever to criminal predations.

On the writing side, I can't offer much in the way of prognostication, other than we "ink-stained wretches" have to tread on ever-more fragile eggshells. I borrowed that line from Kurt Vonnegut and I wonder how long before his reputation is pilloried for the un-pc things that he wrote back when. I've been told that steampunk has shrunk to a narrow-gauge railway, and that the time for the big breakout novel of that genre has come and gone. Demand for stories about the post-Apocalypse has stalled except when it hasn't. Vampires and other supernatural creatures, especially in YA, remain popular provided you put a timely spin on your stories. Science-fiction enjoys a resurgence. And crime fiction remains as popular as ever given that we humans are, as my favorite Bible verse (Job 5:7) puts it, "...born into trouble just as surely as sparks fly upward."


Anna said...

Smart speakers as participants in homicide investigations? How about Rocco the swearing parrot, who ordered stuff from Amazon via Alexa, as a detective for these times? Or perhaps a suspect or witness or parrot of interest?

Lord Mark said...

Are you tired of being human, having talented brain turning to a vampire in a good posture in ten minutes, Do you want to have power and influence over others, To be charming and desirable, To have wealth, health, without delaying in a good human posture and becoming an immortal? If yes, these your chance. It's a world of vampire where life get easier,We have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich, You will assured long life and prosperity, You shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness, Stronger and also very fast, You will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk, This is an opportunity to have the human vampire virus to perform in a good posture. If you are interested contact us on