New Books to Come in 2021


Yes, it’s been quite some time. The reason is because I’ve been hard at work on new fiction. But there’s good news.

I have a couple of books coming out soon.

One of the novels is a semi-autobiographical one entitled Rejoice for the Dead (Between the Lines Publishing, release date tba). Here’s a summary:

A few months after Bobby O’Malley joins the army to pay for his college education, he learns that his father is dying. O’Malley returns home to see his father one last time and bury him. Afterward, he is forced to put off his mourning, so he can continue his new role as an infantry soldier. In 1985, during a decade of excess, that role means mostly falling in with the wrong people and drinking to dull the pain of loss. Along the way, O’Malley makes some friends, falls in love with a married woman, and learns a secret about his father that changes his life.

Here’s a peek at the cover:

The other novel, The People’s Republic of New Arkaim (Red Grit Books*), is a sci-fi dramedy which will be released in mid-September. The details are as follows:

Fifty-four-year-old army veteran and heart attack survivor Cal Paladin believes his life cannot get any worse, especially ever since his wife left him to join a desert-dwelling cult. Enter the United States Army. Cal, despite his poor health, gets called back to active duty service, along with his old army cohorts, to take part in a secret expedition to a parallel world.

After things go horribly wrong, Cal and the remaining members of his unit are rescued by Russian commandos and taken to the city of New Arkaim, a Soviet colony established back in the 1950s. The inhabitants of the socialist colonial city possess no knowledge of the USSR’s collapse back on Earth decades ago. And Alexei Podrovsky, head of New Arkaim’s secret police, intends to keep it that way.

Before long, Cal falls in love with Sofia Dashkova, a cultural hero of the colonial city whose star power is on the wane. Alexei Podrovsky thinks Sofia has outlived her usefulness. He wants her dead. Cal devises a way to save Sofia and himself, but Sofia is about to unleash a scheme of her own, one that will change the lives of everyone in New Arkaim.

Here’s a peek at the cover of The People’s Republic of New Arkaim:

I’ll post more when dates are solid for both books. I’ll probably preview a little something I’m currently getting to ready to share, too. Stay tuned…

(*You won’t find Red Grit Books online just yet as its still in its infancy stages…More news on this to follow in the new year…)

High Castle Baseball or, a Review of Sorts

I give Philip K. Dick credit for the alternate history/aftermath of WWII in his novel The Man in the High Castle. However, my biggest contention, and there are many with this particular novel, is why we meet Hawthorne Abendsen so late in the story. It was a letdown. 

Throughout the story the build-up indicates that the reader will eventually meet the author of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the novel within the novel penned Abendsen and popular among the money characters within Dick’s tale. Ultimately, however, Abendsen turns out to be not as mythical or larger-than-life as I had anticipated.

Recently, I read a quote from a literary journal editor who said, and I’m paraphrasing here, the difference between “literary” fiction and other genres like science fiction is that there are no memorable characters which is a hallmark of so-called literary fiction (Holden Caulfield, Emma Bovary, Celie, and Humbert Humbert, to name just a few).

I am hard-pressed to recall one science fiction character who makes the grade where this theory is concerned. The monster in Frankenstein, perhaps? Surely, not Winston Smith; even though we feel sorry for him (or not if you’re some sort of sociopath). Marvin the Paranoid Android from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Not exactly human, is he? The same goes for The Man in the High Castle. We have this build-up throughout the novel; only to find out that Abendsen doesn’t actually live in the High Castle anymore.

True, Philip K. Dick was prolific. Like other prolific writers, not every novel is guaranteed to be a winner. It’s ironic that Dick began his career trying to get “literary” novels published. Don’t get me wrong. Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite writers. The Man in the High Castle, however, despite winning the Hugo Award in 1963 for best novel, was more of a triple rather than a homer. For my money, nothing beats A Scanner Darkly or the VALIS Trilogy. Ditto for Flow My Tears the Policeman Said.

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