Friday, December 9, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with W. Clark Boutwell and Matthew Graybosch

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers W. Clark Boutwell and Matthew Graybosch.

W. Clark Boutwell
W. Clark Boutwell

W. Clark Boutwell, although a long time resident in Alabama, was born in Chicago in 1948 and raised outside Philadelphia. An avid solo hiker and backpacker for over fifty years, he picked up mountain climbing in his forties. He obtained his MD from Northwestern University in 1972, and trained primarily at CHoP. He is a pediatrician and continues to provide intensive care for sick newborn infants in America and has done so on four continents and seven countries. Having seen the Southern Cross from Mukinge Hill, the sunset at Hale’iwa Bay from a seat on Jamieson’s porch, the midnight sun on Beaufort Sea ice, and moonrise over the Himalayas, he is finding that writing is quite an adventure.

Clark's Book:

Outland Exile: Book One of Old Men and Infidels

Clark's Links:


Matthew Graybosch
Matthew Graybosch

According to official records maintained by the state of New York, Matthew Graybosch was born on Long Island in 1978.

Urban legends suggest he might be Rosemary’s Baby or the result of top-secret DOD attempts to continue Nazi experiments combining human technology and black magic. The most outlandish tale suggests that he sprang fully grown from his father’s forehead with a sledgehammer in one hand and the second edition of The C Programming Language in the other—and has been giving the poor man headaches ever since.

The truth is more prosaic. Matthew Graybosch is an author from New York who lives with his wife and cats in central Pennsylvania. He is also an avid reader, a long-haired metalhead, and an unrepentant nerd who plays too many video games.

Without Bloodshed (2013) is his first published novel, and followed by Silent Clarion in 2016. He is currently working on Blackened Phoenix. He has also written several short stories, among them "The Milgram Battery", "Limited Liability", and "Tattoo Vampire".

His day job is software development, and we’re not sure how he remains sane. We could ask, but we suspect he’d say, “I’m not sane. I’m just high-functioning.”

Matthew's Works

Silent Clarion

Limited Liability” (short story)

Without Bloodshed

Matthew's Links:


From Today's Show: Waves in Uranus' Rings

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Unforgettable Day

My 1999 Camaro SS (with aftermarket wheels)
Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "An unforgettable day in my live."

Well, I suppose I could talk about when my oldest son was born.

Or the day I got married.

Or the day I got left at the bus station. Oh, already talked about that.

But I'm going to talk about: my first day driving on a racetrack.

I signed up for a High Performance Driving School through the BMW club of Spokane. They didn't care what you drove, as long as it wasn't an SUV. I'd seen four-door BMW M5s driven on the track. Of course, M5s are screaming fast, especially for a sedan.

At the time I had a blue 1999 Camaro SS, stock. I had to rent a helmet from the driving school and I showed up bright and early on a Saturday morning. They put me in the "D" group (of four groups, A, B, C, and D) which were people who've never driven on a racetrack before. I was slightly insulted because I considered myself a pretty good driver. Then I got on the track with an instructor.

And it was both amazing and very difficult. The concentration required was overwhelming. One mistake at 130 mph could be fatal. But it was so much fun.

Then I was amazed to learn: it was a two-day event. I thought it was only one day. So I came back the second day. By about noon, the D class were lining up in order of speed. I was number two. A guy with a BMW roadster was number one; I had more horsepower than he, but he had more skill. On later driving days, I would be able to keep up with him. Also, the D-class had thinned out a lot as people got tired and went home.

It was the most fun I'd had with my clothes on. I was hooked. I went to a lot of those schools over the years, only stopping when I became a writer because of the costs involved. It wasn't the $300 fee. It was tires and brakes and keeping the car maintained. This got worse when I upgraded my car to a Corvette. Even though the Corvette has a lot more power than the Camaro, the Camaro was more fun to drive because you had to work to keep it going fast. The Corvette just went fast (sometimes too fast although I never put it off the track).

So that was an unforgettable day. Actually, two days. What was your unforgettable day?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Luke Cage

I finished watching all the episodes of Luke Cage last week. Luke Cage is one of the Marvel/Netflix series, after Jessica Jones and Daredevil. For some reason I went in assuming it was going to be a prequel, but it takes place after Jessica Jones and Daredevil (both of whom get mentioned, but not by name).

I really liked Luke Cage. While there was good action, the characters drive the story. And there were some very interesting characters from a corrupt politician (played by Alfre Woodard) whose cousin is a the head of a gang, to Cage himself, played by Mike Coulter, who exudes a quite calm and confidence. You immediately want to like the guy. And Rosario Dawson is back as Claire Temple, after playing that character in Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

Each episode built and built to a final climax. My biggest complaint was the last episode got a little preachy.

One thing I also enjoyed was how music was infused into nearly every episode. The action centers around a night club that has live music performances. Because I don't listen to Soul or R&B or Hip Hop, I don't know if the performers were actual famous performers, but the music was so good, I suspect they were. But it added another enjoyable dimension to the show. Here's a website that talks about the music in Luke Cage. But it doesn't seem to be complete.

The other two Marvel/Netflix series took place in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Luke Cage takes place in Harlem (it's mentioned he moved there from Hell's Kitchen). I've never been to Harlem so I have no idea how accurate a portrayal of the area the show is. But you are dragged into it along with Luke.

Luke Cage is very good, very entertaining. If you have Netflix, I urge you to check it out. The first two episodes are a bit slow but after that, it's an amazingly good show.

The Netflix/Marvel series are in the same universe as the Avengers movies. But these series are so much better than the movies. They delve deep into the back story of the characters, and they have the time to let you get to know them well. And they tend to be a lot more serious than the movies. So please don't write them off as comic-book shows.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Washington Huskies are in the Playoffs.

Last night I checked on my DVR's program guide and saw that the CFP Rankings program on ESPN was scheduled for four hours starting at 9:00 AM PST. And I figured the CFP Committee's rankings would be put out in the last part of that fourth hour.

I was wrong. I just took a look and the rankings are out and the University of Washington Huskies are #4 and will play #1 Alabama in the Peach Bowl on New Years Eve.

(I'm sorry, the "Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl")

Which is going to be a very tough game. Hope Washington quarterback Jake Browning doesn't have another off night.

Apparently the time of and which network will broadcast the Peach Bowl aren't set, yet. I suspect it'll be on one of the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox).

What a difference a year makes. Last year the Huskies had to win the Apple Cup to win their sixth game and be bowl eligible. They did and then played in the "Heart of Dallas" Bowl in front of a half-empty stadium.

This year they are back in national prominence, they are going to the playoffs, and they are the Pac-12 Champions.

Let's just hope Chris Petersen can keep it up over the years and turn the Dawgs into a dynasty again like they were under coach Don James.

Go Dawgs!

UPDATE: The Peach Bowl will be at 12:00 PM PST (3:00 PM EST) on ESPN.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The UW Huskies are the Pac-12 Champs!

Last night the University of Washington Huskies played the University of Colorado Buffaloes for the Pac-12 Championship. And the Huskies won by a score of 41-10. And that was with Washington Quarterback Jake Browning have an off night. Thank God for the running game.

The Huskies received the opening kickoff because Colorado won the toss and deferred (which is common these days in both college and pro football). This season no team has scored on its opening drive against the Colorado defense. Until last night. The Huskies marched down the field, helped by two 15-yard penalties, and scored.

But Colorado quickly came back to tie the game, 7-7. On the Buff's next possession, their quarterback got sacked and hurt. He was out for the rest of the first half.

As I said, the Husky's quarterback, Browning, was having one of his rare off games (the last one was
our loss to USC). But the running game and the defense saved us. Miles Gaskin pretty much carried the team for the rest of the game. By the end of the first half, the score was 14-7, Huskies in the lead.

Then in the third quarter, Colorado's leading quarterback returned. And threw three interceptions in the third quarter alone, one of which was ran in for a touchdown. All in all, those interceptions turned into 13 points for the Huskies.

Colorado did manage to get a field goal in the third quarter but were denied a touchdown by the Husky defense.

When there was about five minutes left in the game, the Huskies started putting in second-string players. In a championship game. That's how bad a blow-out it was. Final score was, as I said, 41-10. That's the tenth game (out of 13) this year they've scored at least 40 points.

So now what? The CFP Committee will announce their picks for the playoff tomorrow at twelve noon Eastern Time, or 9:00 AM Pacific Time. Some pundits and fans are saying Washington doesn't belong there. But Washington is the lowest-ranked team with a 12-1 record. Will the committee really bump Washington out of the playoffs for a 10-2 or 11-2 team?

Of course, if we go to the college football playoffs, we are most likely to play #1 Alabama (12-0 so far) in the Peach Bowl. That will be a brutal game. But if Jake doesn't have an off night . . .

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with William J. Jackson and Ray Chilensky

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers William J. Jackson and Ray Chilensky.

William J. Jackson
William J. Jackson

William J. Jackson lives in yesterday and tomorrow. He has only the vaguest awareness of the present, and when he does, he writes. As fan of history, nature, comics and science fiction, Jackson merges these hobbies into the Legacy Universe, his fictitious saga of the denizens of Railroad City, Missouri. When not writing, he travels through time, stares at birds, and works and lives in historic Salem, New Jersey with his darling wife and family.

William's Books:

Down Jersey Drive-shaft (in progress at Wattpad)

An Unsubstantiated Chamber

Cerulean Rust

William's Links:


Ray Chilensky
Ray Chilensky

Ray Chilensky lives in rural Tuscarwarus County, Ohio. He has worked briefly in law enforcement and for several years in private security. He has studied political science and history at Kent State University. Late in life he decided to pursue his passion for storytelling and combined that passion with lifelong interest in history, politics to seriously peruse a writing career. In his free time Ray’s interests include the martial arts., shooting sports, drawing and, of course reading good books.

Ray's Books:

The Fate of Nations: F.I.R.E. Team Alpha Book One

Blood and Treasure: F.I.R.E. Team Alpha Book Two

"The Engineer" (short story)

Ray's Links:


From Today's Show: Did Planet Nine Tip the Solar System?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Childhood Memories

And time now for more from the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is "Ten Years From Now." Well, not too long ago I did a blog on seven years from now. So I think I'll skip this one.

So the next one is "My Childhood Memories." That's pretty vague. There's good memories, there's bad memories, there's things I remember for some strange reason.

One time we packed up the Ford station wagon (it was brownish) and went to the bus station in Idaho
Like this, only brown
Falls, ID to pick up my grandmother. There were lots of us, including cousins visiting from Alaska. These days, with seat belt laws, you probably couldn't fit that many adults and kids in a station wagon. Probably need a large SUV like a Suburban.

Back then the bus station in Idaho Falls was white concrete or stucco. Here's how I described it in my novel, Agent of Artifice:

"The station was a white concrete building with a hardwood floor and wooden benches.  A pinball machine sat unused in one corner."

Anyway, I remember coming out of the bus station and seeing the family car drive away. I think I was about 8 when this happened. Maybe older. No more than 10.

Yes, I was "left alone." But this was a public place.

I stood on the sidewalk, waiting for them to realize their mistake and return. But they didn't return. From what I heard, they went to my grandmother's place and took her bags in and were talking when suddenly my cousin said, "Where's Evan?" Oops. They rushed (well maybe) back to the bus station.

I have no idea how long this took. It felt like forever. Finally they returned and got me. My mother was very apologetic.

I don't remember being particularly traumatized. I knew they'd come back eventually. I remember being embarrassed to be standing there waiting. I wondered what the people around me thought. That's a problem I still sometimes have today.