Saturday, November 19

Hey, I'm back again.

Yes, I have been thoroughly engrossed in CAINE BLACK KNIFE, as well as in recovering from a nasty flu bug I picked up at WFC. I fought off the space monkeys (I have managed to adapt kali and jujitsu into the art of the Double Quantum Banana -- don't ask -- and I'm pretty sure the fuckers will never dare to trouble me again).

WFC was a treat. I spent most of the weekend hanging out in the hotel bar with R. Scott Bakker, Gary Wassner, Robert Urell and my wife, the Fabulous Robyn Drake. Getting drunk with four people who are all smarter than me (and all like to talk pretty much non-stop, just like me) is an endlessly entertaining experience. It's a good thing the convention only lasts one weekend. We'd probably still be there.

I also got the chance to spend a couple hours chatting with one of my personal heroes, Stephen Donaldson . . . and got to watch him (entirely metaphorically, and in a very gentle, good-humored way) bitchslap Joe Haldeman and Gene Wolfe on a con panel . . . which made him even more a personal hero.

I've also been enjoying watching Our Commander in Cheat pile on the lies as he desperately tries to salvage the tattered reputation of his mafioso Administration.

There, that should bring the trolls out from under their bridges, huh?


I swear by the power of All Dark Gods that I will Never Ever Ever start another novel until I HAVE COMPLETED THE FUCKING OUTLINE.

Not that it helped me much with BLADE OF TYSHALLE. But I have to have something to blame it on.

On the other hand, I have finally figured out just exactly what the hell I'm writing about, and am suddenly more interested in my own work than I have been at any time since I signed my first Star Wars contract.

Go figure.

Monday, October 17

Jeez, it's been so long Blogger forgot who I am . . .

In response to a couple requests for CAINE BLACK KNIFE updates . . .

I have been wandering in the wilderness of the dead zones.

This is also why I've left off the politcal bitching 'roung these parts -- too much of my brain consumed with trying to pierce the Veil of the Blind God, as it were.

But I seem to have found my way back into the light, and work proceeds apace.

There is asskicking in plenty. There is some (very little, actually) rumination on the nature of reality. There is, well . . .

The Adventure depicted in this recording has received a rating of


from the Studio Ratings Advisory Board, for full-sensory experiences of:


In the words of the immortal Stan Lee:

'nuff said.

Thursday, September 29

So I've been thinking about this constitutional law thing. I've been thinking --

What's the point?

Witness the following case study:

In June, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Bush Administration's policy of detaining foreign nationals without legal process at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station was illegal. The Court determined that the prisoners could not be held in a prison beyond the law, and were entitled to basic legal rights. MacArthur Justice Center attorney Joseph Margulies is the lead counsel for petitioners in Rasul v. Bush.

I recently heard Mr. Margulies interviewed. He described the "legal process" the Bush Administration had established in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Rasul.

The detainees are examined by a military tribunal (not a federal court, as required under Rasul) without access to counsel (also unconstitional, under Rasul) and without even access to the evidence against them (do I need to repeat the U-word? How many times?).

You get it?

They are expected to rebut evidence they're not even allowed to see. Evidence that they face under the presumption of guilt.

This is not American justice. It's Kafka's worst nightmare.

These people have been disappeared. And they'll stay that way until somebody decides, arbitrarily, to let them go.

Fuck constitutional law. The Bush Administration already has.

The truly scary thing is: Under current Administration policies, they can do the same thing to American citizens.

They can do the same thing to you.

They can do the same thing to me.

Anybody out there taking bets if Hurricane Katrina might end up being the American version of the Reichstag fire?

All the people gathered in Washington last weekend to protest the war in Iraq, the War on Terror, the war on whatever the fuck -- you just don't get it.

The war is just an excuse.

Thursday, September 22

All I can say to this is --

My gods, how I hate these bastards.

Hate is not a word I use lightly.

This is unconscionable.

Read it and scream:

It does show, however, that Republicans are not all of a stripe: John McCain, at least, is doing his level best to cauterize these festering open sores upon the body politic.

I have, however, little hope for his success. Because I have no doubt that many Democrats will cooperate, Russ Feingold notwithstanding.

As Supreme Chancellor Palpatine so memorably put it: "All those who gain power are afraid to lose it."

Or you can simply quote Stover's Rule of Politics: "Politics is the science of human nature, and so it is governed by the three fundamental principles of human behavior: Greed, Stupidity, and Fear."

Wednesday, September 21

Here's one for all you Unclear-on-the-Concept whiners who kept whingeing on and on about Kelo v. New London:

Get it, now?

All the Supreme Court did was state that the Constitution does not bar state and local governments from using eminent domain in whimsical ways. This is what the Supreme Court does: interpret the constitutionality of law or legal action. That's all. Sadly, they don't actually rule on whether something is fair, or right (O'Connor's dissent notwistanding -- though I haven't read it in detail, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was based in the first paragraph of the Fourteenth Amendment); though disagreement is possible, this is the current Law of the Land.

The decision, as is noted in the article above, specifically noted that the state, local and federal governments were free to re-write their eminent domain laws to prevent such seizure.

Thus: If you don't like the eminent domain laws where you live, you'd better fucking get busy to elect a local and state government that will write eminent domain laws you're more comfortable with.

Tangential issue:

I got an email this morning from my regular correspondent who goes (on this blog, and on some other forums 'round the 'net) by the handle Shevchyk, concerning some stuff in the Village Voice about the Republicans using the Katrina furor to quietly snuff any Congressional investigation of the Valerie Plame affair without drawing attention from the national press. He closed the email by mumbling in passing something about looking into the idea of becoming a constitutional lawyer.

More power to him.

Canadian or not.

My beloved wife, the Fabulous Robyn, happened to glimpse that over my shoulder this morning. She said, "Shit. You should be a constitutional lawyer."

I said, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

She said, "This country's in a lot of trouble. This is what you care about. It's half of what you write about in your books, and most of what you write about on your blog. Maybe you could do this country a lot more good with a degree in constitutional law."

I said, "I'd be FIFTY YEARS OLD, for Christ's sake."

She said, "So what? At least then the next time you're in DC, you might be able to stand in the Lincoln Memorial without tears in your eyes."

Which is a salient point.

Sunday, September 18

Frank Rich: savage, but always entertaining.

He always manages to raise a smile.

Friday, September 16

Another Victory For Limited Government!

A pertinent quote:

"The most serious mistake we can make is pretending that markets do things that they do not do," said Kellan Fluckiger, executive director of the electricity division at the Alberta Department of Energy. "Markets allocate risk, they allocate capital, they provide price signals. Markets do not have a conscience, they do not provide social policy, and they do not do things they are not paid to do."

Thursday, September 15

And for those of you too busy, too apathetic or too disgusted to listen to the Roberts Supreme Court confirmation hearings, here is a useful summary from David Brooks, the brighter of the two house conservatives from the NYTimes OpEd page:

It is, in fact, the most incisive column he's ever written.
More Non-Partisan Idiocy:
File this one under "Ohhh, Christ, my head hurts . . ."

With thanks to Hawki102, for the link.

File this one also under Non-Partisan Idiocy.

Sunday, September 11

Can the crooked fucking politico change his morals in the face of a deepening national crisis?

The answer, reprinted from Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Sept. 10) - Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

There is more, of course. The article goes on to mention the more than one billion dollars in fraudulent billing KB&R submitted on their sweetheart no-bid contract to provide essential services for Our Proudly Supported (As Long As It Doesn't Cost Us Too Much Money) Troops in Iraq, and that sort of thing.

The slugline was:


I would say something along the lines of "Fuck me like a goat," but the Administration, apparently, has that part covered. So to speak.

Jesus stinking bloody Christ on a stick.

Saturday, September 10

As much as it pains me to write anything that may be construed as in any way defending our multiply-criminal Bush Administration, when the Hurricane Katrina accusations fly thick and fast, it will be worthwhile for the cognoscenti to bear in mind the first corollary to Caine's Law:

Whenever somebody tells you things are simple, they're trying to sell you something.

And that, my friends, is about as far as I'm gonna go into the Who's At Fault business, too.

Friday, September 9

And another thing

Bill Moyers has the right of it.

As usual.

Read, and shudder:

Those of you who have read JERICHO MOON, of course, are already familiar with his Old Testament exegesis. The rest, however, is pertinent.

Ahh, fuck.

Why didn't *I* "preserve my political viability"?
I have been waiting to comment on the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

This is, as we have all seen by now, another disaster that did not have to be a disaster.

This is a graphic illustration of the collision of ideology with reality.

That's all I have to say.

Friday, August 19

Everything interesting happens in the dead zone . . .

One of my favorite cartoons of all time has a physicist in front of a huge blackboard that is filled with this vast, intricate, insanely complex calculation, checking his work with obvious satisfaction. All the way at the bottom, right in front of the final "=1", there's a parenthetical notation that reads:

"Here, a miracle happens."

When I plot a novel, most of it is scenes that I can jump into inside my head: it's like opening them on a hard drive, or accessing them on DVD. I touch them, and I'm there. These are easy for me to write, because I'm literally inside the scene and all I have to do is transcribe what happens: what's there, what it looks like, sounds like, smells like, feels like, who does what to whom, whatever.

But in between those scenes there are always "dead zones." Places where I know what's supposed to happen, but I can't quite see it. It's only mist. I can't bring it into focus.

Now, I can carve that mist into workable shapes. I can make a quality scene out of just about anything. I've done it, and I can do it again. But, y'know . . .

I keep discovering those dead zones are there for a reason.

Those of you who read the Caine novels know that they tend to be Big Picture stories -- that even though they take place in short periods of time and are focussed on specific incidents and problems, the fundamental interconnectedness of reality in my personal universe means that a story about anything is also a story about Everything . . .

When I stare into a dead zone long enough, the mist begins to clear, and son of a bitch, y'know, what I knew was supposed to happen wasn't supposed to happen at all. Or not the way I thought. And the story gets better than I thought it was going to be.

Who's in charge here, anyway?

Where's Bakker? I need a Derrida expert, because I'm beginning to suspect that the author really is irrelevant.

Everything interesting happens in the dead zone . . .

Wednesday, August 17

Just when you thought it was safe to read this blog again . . .

Y'know, I was gonna leave the whole ID thing behind. I was bored with it. But those Onion guys rule.

That's all.

Thanks to Chris Billet for the above URL . . .

Friday, August 5


Shut up for a minute.

This is NOT about whether there is a Higher Power in the universe. Or more than one universe. Or whatever the fuck.

Personally: I do not believe in the "supernatural." Because the "natural" is plenty -- it is, in fact, everything. I am a pagan pantheist. To me, there is nothing that is not God.

Not even President Bush, but let that go . . .

I've been haunted by real, actual ghosts (as those who followed my RotS tour blog will recall). I do energy work; I have felt the power of kundalini and chi (which ain't the same thing, by the way -- and don't argue with me, I speak from experience), as well as reiki. I am, in fact, a reiki master. I have felt things -- and done things -- that science cannot explain.

I know things exist beyond the realm of current scientific verification.

Shit, that's why I write fantasy. Because novels without magick are not the truth.

However, none of these phenomena are supernatural. They are natural. We just don't have the science to measure them yet.


Get it? Science is not about whether something is true. Science is about whether something is verifiable.

You want to talk about truth, go study philosophy.

And Intelligent Design is the WORST thing we could be teaching in a public school science class, because it is an EXPLICIT STATE ENDORSEMENT OF A RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE.


Those of you who are interested in the politics of it might want to check out Paul Krugman's column in today's NYTimes.

[an aside to David Welch --

Holy Shit, dude -- doesn't a Major League pitcher make enough money to get a decent education? Or have the 'roids gone to your brain?

But thanks so much for playing. Vanna, show him his parting gifts.]

Wednesday, August 3

Just for a change of pace . . .

I'm NOT gonna bash Bush for being a moron.

He is, but this time I'm after the press.

So Shrub gets up on his hind legs and tells some TexAss reporters that he believes "the theory of intelligent design" should be taught alongside the theory of evolution in our nation's science classes, because students should be exposed to both sides of the debate.

So he's a moron. As is anyone else who thinks "intelligent design" is science.

I don't have a problem with the argument itself. It may even have some merit. I'm no atheist -- personally, I agree with Stephen Colbert that atheists are merely people who have chosen to abandon the worship of a higher being in favor of worshipping their own sense of smug superiority. [Sorry, Scotty -- but you've gotta admit it's a pretty good line. What do you expect from a guy with a Libertarian moustache?]

I don't even have any problem with Intelligent Design being taught -- but it should be confined to social studies classes, where it belongs. Unless you're in a religious school, in which case they can teach you whatever they want, as long as they're not using my tax dollars to do it.

This is why I'm after the press.

They keep saying "the THEORY of intelligent design" [caps mine, of course], sometimes in the same breath with the theory of evolution.

Let me say this nice and loud, so there is no misunderstanding, here:


Not in the scientific sense.

That pisses me off as much as the idiots who keep saying, "Well, Eeevil-ution's just a THEORY . . ."

Which is why I'm gonna take a minute here an explain to the morons -- which include, I'm sad to say, our national press corps -- what a theory is in the scientific sense.

It is, at its most basic form, a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena.

When one moves a theory into the scientific realm, however, one adds the element of testability.

Let me say that again.


That is: you can use the theory to generate new hypotheses about as-yet unobserved phenomena, which can then be investigated. If they prove to be consistent with the theory, then the theory stands. If they are not, the theory is changed until it is consistent with ALL OBSERVED FACTS.

With evolution, we can even observe its action in short-lived organisms in a junior-high biology lab. We see it in action every day. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, anyone? Anyone? Mr. Bush? Senator Frist?


Not one.

We cannot see Intelligent Design in action. It is BY DEFINITION mysterious and unknowable, occurring by the action of a deliberately-undefined supernatural force.

Therefore it is not a theory. It cannot be a theory.


Call it an argument. Call it an explanation. A rationale. Call it a Faith-Based Program -- the Bushitters love those. You're goddamn journalists, aren't you? Isn't it your job to get the facts?

The fact is: it's not a theory. When you call it one, you're engaging in partisan rhetoric, not journalism.

What does it take to get through to these people?

Sure, they don't have science educations -- but neither do I. My college degree was in THEATRE, for shit's sake.

Get it right.

Monday, August 1

Hey, everybody

Hey, everybody . . .

Haven't been around much lately. I'll try to get better. Too busy with the book, and with living my life . . .

Random thoughts from the meanwhile:

Been thinking quite a bit about Nixon lately. Y'know, it was the Republicans who got rid of him -- after the press finally got off their asses. Well, the American press is slowly coming to life, but there is no sign that the Republicans will ever turn against Bush.

This, to my view, springs from one fundamental distinction between the two presidents: Nixon was poor white trash. [Well, not trash exactly, but the point remains. By comparison, anyway.]

Bush comes from the WASP Mafia -- and the Bush Family is legendary for the vengeance it wreaks upon its enemies . . .

Watch Saudi Arabia now that Fahd's really gone -- Abdullah looks like an honest man, who honestly hates our guts. He's an actual enemy of Islamist terrorism -- the word is that most of the real SA progress against the Islamist whackos has come directly from him -- but apparently he also hates the whole "looting the country and funnelling the cash through American oil companies" way of doing business, too . . .

Our relations with Saudi Arabia are about to get interesting, I think.

Our relations with Pakistan will continue to be See No Evil, despite the fact(s) that Pakistan is a totalitarian military dictatorship that sold nuclear weapons technology to North Korea (now common knowledge), despite the fact that Pakistan airlifted Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters out of the siege of Kandahar (cf. Seymour Hersh's CHAIN OF COMMAND), despite the fact that any woman, in that nation, who reports a rape can still to this day be routinely prosecuted for adultery unless she can producce FOUR MALE WITNESSES TO THE CRIME (cf. Nicholas Kristof's recent reports in the NYTimes for case histories).

But they're an Important Ally in the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism.

For shit's sake.

And, in an entirely non-political note, I just wanted to let all you Caine fans know that the way things are going, it looks like I will successfully achieve my goal of fucking off the whole multiple-third viewpoint for CAINE BLACK KNIFE.

That's right.

Those of you who thought that the main problem with BLADE OF TYSHALLE was that Caine just Wasn't In It Enough, well . . .

I'm gonna make you very, very happy.

And those of you who felt that there just hasn't been enough Balls-Out Asskicking?

You're gonna be happy, too.

Monday, July 11

A Festival of Fools

Christ, it's fun to bitchslap the troll, isn't it?

From his consistent misuse of basic English and inability to punctuate, I presume there's just one. There might be two, though I hope the odds would be against it -- one shudders to think that two minds might similarly compose with such astonishing anti-erudition.

Here's the funny thing:

This blog's more active when I DON'T post here.

I am, however, curious just what it was the troll wanted someone to "say to a Special Forces face" [sic]. Whatever it was, I'll happily say it to HIS face. Words are just words. Whoever said "Words can hit as hard as a fist" didn't train at my school.

At any rate, we stumble merrily along. I can hardly wait to see Karl Rove under federal indictment. Any bets on whether Patrick Fitzgerald has the stones to really throw the book at him? My money's on "inadvertent disclosure," and criminal case closed . . . until the Wilsons file a civil suit. That's where the fun will REALLY start.

Wonder if the Supreme Court will follow precedent and let the Wilsons' lawyers depose a sitting President?

By the way, I've stopped agitating for a Bush impeachment -- that'd leave Cheney in power, which would be worse. Bush at least still looks a little embarrassed when he lies. As ineffectual as they've been lately (i.e. Social Security), I'm wondering if the country might not be better off if we just left them in place, safely neutered, until 2008 . . .

Friday, July 1

Can I just say here how wonderful it is that President Bush has declared all America is a hostage?

That we now have no choice but to stick to the bloody course his lies have set for us?

Gosh, that's swell.

Especially considering that we have managed to make Iraq into the planet's #1 training ground for international terrorists.

Especially considering that we still haven't even won the bloody war in AFGHANISTAN.

That helicopter full of our Best and Brightest -- gods help us: Airborne special forces and Navy SEALs on a rescue mission -- was shot down (which their courage and splendid skills doesn't exactly help them survive, y'know?) by the fucking TALIBAN.

Does anybody remember them?

That war's not over. But we don't have enough people left to fight it. Because we're consumed with Bush's uselessly stupid political adventure in Iraq.

I'm a little angry about this.

Can the War in Iraq be won? Very likely.

Can it be won by the idiots in the current Administration?

I don't see it. I just don't see it.

I'm going now.

Shit, people think my BOOKS are dark. They should talk to some of these poor bastards to have to live through what's going on over there.

And I don't mean just the Americans.

Friday, June 24

Reprinted without commentary from Alexandra Walker's article at

Because this says as much as needs to be said.

The White House is feeling the heat over Iraq and Guantanamo, so Karl Rove tries to change the subject. With public disapproval about Iraq growing and more lawmakers willing to step up and criticize Bush's war and human rights record, Rove reaches into his diversionary bag of tricks and pulls out the worn, dog-eared accusation that liberals are pansies. In ridiculing groups like MoveOn for counseling "moderation and restraint" in the days following 9/11, Rove must never have expected a 9/11 widow to come to the wimpy liberals' defense.

At 30, Kristen Breitweiser lost her husband in the World Trade Center attacks. She says the attacks left her with "no faith in my government." The tragedy transformed her into a citizen activist—-well-known for her efforts with the other "Jersey Girls " to hold the government accountable for investigating 9/11. Four years later, Breitweiser has become the most credible kind of advocate for sanity after 9/11—-she has the authority as someone who has befallen great tragedy to advocate against policies based on revenge and fear.

And she is no less than outraged about the choices the United States has made since the attacks. I heard her speak recently about these choices at an awards ceremony where she was honored for "truth-telling." She condemned the Bush administration's choice to pass the PATRIOT Act rather than open up and restore trust in government. And the choice to invade oil-rich countries instead of pursuing alternative energy resources to decrease our dependency on foreign oil. To read her powerful speech, click here . [EDIT: sorry no link; you can find it in the original on --MWS]

Yesterday, on HuffingtonPost, Breitweiser unleashed on Rove for exploiting 9/11 once again for political gain. Here are some excerpts.

-- Now Karl, a question for you, since you seem to be the nation's self-styled sensei with regard to 9/11: Is Usama Bin Laden still important? Lately, your coterie of friends seems to be giving out mixed messages. Recall that in the early days, Bin Laden was wanted “dead or alive.” Then when Bin Laden slipped through your fingertips in Tora Bora, you downgraded his importance. We were told that Bin Laden was a "desperate man on the run,” and a person that President Bush was not "too worried about". Yet, whenever I saw Bin Laden's videos, he looked much too comfortable to actually be a man on the run. He looked tan, rested, and calm. He certainly didn't look the way I wanted the murderer of almost 3,000 innocent people to look: unkempt, panicked, and cowering in a corner.

-- Karl, I mention Bin Laden because recently Director of the CIA, Porter Goss, has mentioned that he knows exactly where Bin Laden is located but that he cannot capture him for fear of offending sovereign nations. Which frankly, I find ironic because of Iraq--and let's just leave it at that. But, when you say that “moderation and restraint” don't work in fighting terrorists, maybe you should share those comments with Mr. Goss because he doesn't seem to be on the same page as you. Unless of course, Porter is holding out to announce that Bin Laden is in Iran. (Karl, I want Bin Laden brought to justice, but not if it means starting a war with Iran - a country that possesses nuclear weaponry. The idea of nuclear fallout in any quadrant of the world is just not an acceptable means to any ends, be it capturing Bin Laden, oil or drugs. But, Afghanistan and Bin Laden are old news. Iraq is the story of today. And of course, it appears that Iran will be the story of next month. But, I digress.)

-- More to the point, Karl when you say, “Conservatives saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and prepared for war,” what exactly did you do to prepare for your war? Did your preparations include: sound intelligence to warrant your actions; a reasonable entry and exit strategy coupled with a coherent plan to carry out that strategy; the proper training and equipment for the troops you were sending in to fight your war? Did you follow the advice of experts such as General Shinseki who correctly advised you about the troop levels needed to actually succeed in Iraq? No, you didn't.

-- It has always been America's policy that you only place soldiers' lives in harm's way when it is absolutely necessary and the absolute last resort. When you send troops into combat you support those troops by providing them with proper equipment and training. Why didn't you do that with the troops that you sent into Iraq? Why weren't their vehicles armored? Why didn't they have protective vests? Why weren't they properly trained about the rules of interrogation? And Karl, when our troops come home — be it tragically in body bags or with missing limbs — you should honor and acknowledge their service to their country. You shouldn't hide them by bringing them home in the dark of night. Most importantly, you should take care of them for the long haul by giving them substantial veteran's benefits and care. To me, that is being patriotic. To me, that is how you support our troops. To me, that is how you show that you know the value of a human life given for its country.

-- For the record Karl, does Iraq have any connection to the 9/11 attacks? Because, you and your friends with your collective “understanding of 9/11” seem to be contradicting yourselves about the Iraq-9/11 connection, too. First, we were told that we went to war with Iraq because it was linked to the 9/11 attacks. Then, your rationale was changed to "Iraq has WMD". Then you told us that we needed to invade Iraq because Saddam was a "bad man". And now it turns out that we are in Iraq to bring them "democracy."

-- Of course, the Downing Street memo clarifies many of these things, but for the record Karl: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; there were few terrorists in Iraq before our invasion, but now Iraq is a terrorist hot-bed. America had the sympathy and support of the whole world before Iraq. Now, thanks to your actions, we find ourselves hated and alienated by the rest of the world. Al Qaeda's recruitment took a nose-dive after the 9/11 attacks, but has now skyrocketed since your invasion of Iraq; and most importantly, nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed because of your war in Iraq. These facts speak for themselves. (And, they speak very little about effectively winning any war on terror.)

-- Karl, you say you “understand” 9/11. Then why did you and your friends so vehemently oppose the creation of a 9/11 Independent Commission? Once the commission was established, why did you refuse to properly fund the Commission by allotting it only a $3 million budget? Why did you refuse to allow access to documents and witnesses for the 9/11 Commissioners? Why did we have to fight so hard for an extension when the Commissioners told us that they needed more time due to your footdragging and stonewalling? Why didn't you want to cooperate so that all Americans could “understand” what happened on 9/11?


-- Karl, if you “understand 9/11”, then why don't you understand that until we have a more environmentally friendly energy policy, we cannot effectively fight the war on terrorism. By being dependent on foreign oil, we have no choice but to cozy up to nations that sponsor terrorists. Moreover, because of oil, we may end up placing our troops and our nation at greater risk by having to invade certain oil-rich countries. Our invasion of these countries merely serves to inflame would-be terrorists by reinforcing their notion that we are gluttonous and self-centered -- invading sovereign nations solely to steal their oil. Forgive me Karl, but is that how you think you "win hearts and minds"? Does that help in any way to "spread democracy"?

-- Finally Karl, please “understand” that the reason we have not suffered a repeat attack on our homeland is because Bin Laden no longer needs to attack us. Those of us with a pure and comprehensive “understanding of 9/11” know that Bin Laden committed the 9/11 attacks so he could increase recruitment for al Qaeda and increase worldwide hatred of America. That didn't happen. Because after 9/11, the world united with Americans and al Qaeda's recruitment levels never increased.

-- It was only after your invasion of Iraq, that Bin Laden's goals were met. Because of your war in Iraq two things happened that helped Bin Laden and the terrorists: al Qaeda recruitment soared and the United States is now alienated from and hated by the rest of the world. In effect, what Bin Laden could not achieve by murdering my husband and 3,000 others on 9/11, you handed to him on a silver platter with your invasion of Iraq - a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

-- Which leads me to my final questions for you Karl: What are your motives when it comes to 9/11 and are you really sure that you understand 9/11?

Bravo, Kristen. Way to keep Karl on topic.

--Alexandra Walker | Friday 11:21 AM

Wednesday, June 22

Ahhh, crap

Holy shit, I'm alive.

I really am. I just haven't been feeling too great since the end of the Huge Motherfucking StarWarsTourFromHell, and all of my feeble energies have been directed toward reassembling my shattered life and trying to develop a head of steam on CAINE BLACK KNIFE.

Which I have.

Listen: nobody panic if I'm not around from time to time. I'm really fucking durable (not unlike some of the people I write about), and while being me is not exactly an endless weekend at Disney World, I still enjoy it enough that I will continue doing so until somebody stops me by force.

By the way, have I mentioned that Disney World is really cool? The people down there treated Robyn and me like rock stars, and the rides were great (the DW Space Mountain has to be the single niftiest rollercoaster I've ever been on, and I've been on more than my share), and Animal World or whatever the hell it's called is the coolest zoo I have ever been in, and I've been in more than my share of those, too. In fact, we had such a great time we're going back in 2006, after they finish Everest the Forbidden Mountain -- a rollercoaster that loops INSIDE a scale-model replica of Mount Everest that's gotta be 300 feet tall . . .

And was that really Gregg friggin' Dale posting down there? Holy shit. It's only been what, twenty-five years since I've seen you? And at least five or ten since we've exchanged emails, huh . . . ?

For those of you wondering if I went to high school with you, Gregg will attest that it just ain't so. Trust me -- if you'd gone to school with us, you'd remember. Everybody does. For better or worse.

So anyway, I'm back, at least temporarily. I'll be available for questions, commentary and sage advice. Mostly I'll be working on CBK and waiting for the Downing Street Memo to get enough airplay that even the Republicans can no longer avoid impeaching our Cocksmoke-in-Chief.

Saturday, April 16

Well, crap.

I'm writing this from the armpit of international airports, the L.C. Smith Terminal at Detroit Metro. I was lucky enough to be hauled out of my hotel three hours before my flight -- and just before room service opens (the hotel restaurant is under construction, wouldn't you just know it) -- so I got here hungry and entirely decaffeinated . . .

Now, there IS a Starbucks. Of course. So that part is handled. The only restaurant in the ENTIRE TERMINAL is one pathetic cafeteria-line Quiznos that doesn't even have tables. The rest of the terminal strongly evokes a 70s-era Greyhound bus station, but without the charm.

So . . .



The less said about the actual event, the better. Doing my Phil Donohue-on-crack impression from a stage in the four-story atrium of the Mall of America is an experience that will linger in my heart like the memory of my first colonoscopy. I won't deny a certain entertainment value: in that particular episode of the Movie of My Life, I think I was being played by Ben Stiller.

The fans, however, were not only tolerant in indulging my Thundering Four-Story Chrome-and-Glass Meltdown, but were enthusiastically egging me on . . .

Then dinner afterward, in which the astonishingly courageous Rebekah of the Minnesota FanForce braved my gang of Dead Cities hooligans and actually held her own, too. Even my smilingly wicked niece couldn't make her cry . . .

I won't go into details of the Dead Cities gang (plus friends and such) either, except to thank them for coming out -- Scott and Jenn and gabe and Joe and Claudia and Tom and Sarah (Did I get everybody's Real Name right?) -- largely because at least two of them are shortly to become considerably more famous than I am, and frankly, they just don't need the press.

Then off to Detroit, where my main memory is this friggin' airport, because my flight was delayed and there was a High-Speed Chase on the expressway (for real, and really serious, too: bank robbers and a shootout and injuries, and no jokes about it) which tangled up the roads, so we went straight from the airport to the event -- where Tom and Donna, Eldest Brother and Most Fabulous Sister-in-Law, were waiting -- and then from the event to the Original Borders store in Ann Arbor (which sleepy little college town ain't sleepy at all but in fact is HOPPIN' after eleven, would you believe it?) and then into bed after midnight, with the 5:30 wake-up so that I could catch the friggin' car and sit in this friggin' Greyhound terminal of an airport and whine about the hard life of the World Famous Star Wars Author.

Have I mentioned that I'm having a great time?

So I'm about to jump on a flight to Denver, where I actually get to stay TWO DAYS (thanks be to the gods, and to Colleen and Brandi) so that I can spend Saturday afternoon asleep in the mountain air . . .
New York --

City of Beautiful People on Nasty-Ass Sidewalks . . .

Had a wonderful time here . . . my first visit. Spent an hour or so walking Times Square around midnight. Nobody tried to sell me anything: the guys with the $5.00 Rolexes and the $10.00 Guaranteed Designer Handbags just nodded as I went past. The poor bastard hading out free tickets to Comedy Central's Premium Blend just shrugged -- THERE's a job I don't envy . . . like running a carnival kissing-booth in a leper colony . . . Even the bums -- I guess in N'Yawk you call e'm panhandlers -- just smiled. "How's it goin', big guy?" Me:"Not bad. You?" Him:"Can't complain."

This from a bum that I'd seen -- not thirty seconds earlier -- summoning tears to work a dollar off a tourist. "Come ON, man, just a dollar, what's a dollar to YOU? You know how long it's been since I had sompin to eat? Come ON, have a heart, brother . . . "

Guess I looked sullen enough that everybody thought I live here.

Did an extended interview for Book Look TV, which was just about the most fun I've had on tour so far. The host is James Michael Tyler, who you FRIENDS fans out there will know as Gunther the Coffee Dude . . . who turns out to be warm, charming and astonishingly smart (especially for an actor -- I mean, jeez, you ever hear the story about the actor who was so stupid that the other actors NOTICED?) not to mention a hard-core SF geek from way, way back.

I mean HARD core. This guy even watches ENTERPRISE. Not because he LIKES it (I told you he's smart) but -- as near as I can tell -- he just has to keep feeding that SF addiction.

And what the hell, anyway. Not everything can be STAR WARS or the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

He and Chuck Cirino -- the director -- really went all-out to help the book (and camera-newbie me) look as good as they could make it, and I'm really grateful. Not to mention that they -- along with Skye Van Raalte-Herzog (who is actually as cool as her name implies, which takes some doing) had the intestinal fortitude to sit through my entire event at the Union Square Barnes & Noble so they could get it on film -- and they STILL weren't sick of me . . .
We all went out to dinner afterwards at one of those Oh-So-So Chelsea bistros, with Colleen the Publicity Guru and Chris the Marketing Maven, and JMT (as us pretentious name-droppin' wannabe types call him) told a couple of stories about his FRIENDS-related visits to Amsterdam, having to do with a certain phrase he spoke in Dutch in a certain episode -- one I cannot repeat and refuse to translate -- which not only proved that nobody at the FCC speaks Dutch, but made him into a national hero in Holland and nearly had me spewing jerked pork and plaintain out my nose.

In brief, that's New York for you.

Now, on to the Promised Land of Consumer America . . . the Largest Mall On Earth.

Well, it used to be, anyway. And it's about to be again, I guess. I'm told they heard some place in Russia passed them up, so they paved over twelve surrounding counties to open an extra three bazillion Gaps.

In round numbers.

Tuesday, April 12

Dateline Chicago, April 11 --

Did my first LIVE TV interview, in the Fox Morning News studio with Tamron Hall and David Navarro. They were great -- it was just like chatting with somebody in their living room. Somebody you've never met before. In a living room with only one wall. And lots of cameras and really bright lights. For a total of three and a half minutes.

I haven't seen the tape yet, but I've been told it went really well.

When David Navarro pushed me for a spoiler, I told him "Jar-Jar Binks has a very, VERY tiny part . . ."

Which got applause from the camera crew and sound guy.

Then we whipped over to the Merchandise Mart to do the Mancow in the Morning show on WKQX FM -- Q101 to you Chicago types -- and those of you who live in Chicago know who the Mancow is already.

It was live. It was fun. It was half an hour of deflecting questions about whether Darth Vader is secretly gay and refers to his weapon as a . . . well, he could say it on the radio, but I'm not gonna put it in print on a G-rated AOL blog, that's for damn sure.

So I just gave him a flat deadpan that all this was covered by the confidentiality clause in my contract . . .

Anyway, he turns out to be a really friendly guy, off the air (on the air, he's the friggin' Tazmanian Devil), and I signed a copy of the book for him, even though he admitted to being primarily a fan of the Other Franchise (those touchy-feely Prime Directive wussies . . .).

And we had a Dead Cities sighting -- Hey, cl, glad you made it . . .

The saddest part of the event was when one guy asked me, "If you had written the rest of the NJO [post-TRAITOR], would Jacen have gotten together with Tenel Ka?" and I had to tell him the truth. Because that's who I am: straight question, straight answer.

I didn't tell him the rest of the things that WOULD have happened if I'd written the rest of the NJO. I didn't want to give the poor bastard nightmares.

And now, we interrupt this blog for an Unsolicited Testimonial:

When I left on tour, I took a couple books with me, one of which was Stephen R. Donaldson's RUNES OF THE EARTH, Book One of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

In the interests of full disclosure, I'm going to tell you that I've had the honor of meeting Steve Donaldson a few times since I've been in the biz, and I'm proud to claim him as a friend.

That, however, has absolutely nothing to do with the following.

This book ROCKS.

Listen: Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is the main reason I'm a novelist today. I read those books when they came out back in the late Seventies -- just as I was entering college -- and they were literally the epiphany that revealed to me that grown-up fantasy literature could be exactly that.

Grown-up. Literature.

While I was in college the Second Chronicles came out, and I love them too.

He was using a fantastic setting and events that resonated on a mythic scale to examine real-life issues of guilt, power, duty and responsibility, love and loss and gods I don't know what all, and those books rocked my world and all I've ever tried to do is knock people over the way those books knocked me.

And no too long ago he brought out his first new novel about the Land and Covenant's legacy in twenty years, and I've just been too busy (with REVENGE OF THE SITH, by no coincidence at all, and with CAINE BLACK KNIFE) to read it . . .

Until now. I finished it just before I got on the flight back to Chicago.

I confess to being a fan: Mordant's Need and DAUGHTER OF REGALS and REAVE THE JUST and the Gap . . . But nonetheless, the Land is the Land.

I'm here to tell you that the Land is STILL the Land.

Vintage Donaldson. Like great wine.

Loved it.

Sunday, April 10

For regular readers, I have to apologize for the generalized reportorial tone of this and the last few posts -- and for what will be the next ones, too. These have to serve double duty. In case you didn't know, my tour blog is also being carried on the AOL MovieFone site, and so I'm keeping it G-Rated.

So there's no ratcock goatfucking in the text. For a while anyway.

Jacksonville --

Beautiful city. Which I know is hard to believe for people who haven't been here for a few years. But this place just sparkles. Everything is bright and clean, the buildings look freshly scrubbed, the bridges are painted and lit at night and everything's open and full of trees and man, I just really liked it a lot.

Had my first Big-Time Local TV interview -- nice warm-up for Chicago, where I face the Fox Morning crew. Down here it was the lovely and professional Kathleen O'Toole, at the WTLV studio, which has the unusual distinction of being double-affiliated -- apparently it's both NBC *and* ABC . . . exactly how that works in prime-time is more than I can fathom, but hey, programming ain't my department. I just sit in the chair and answer questions.

And Justin? I was indeed wearing the shirt . . .

And thanks to Betty Metz and her immaculate snow-white Mercedes, I was early for the interview and the event, and managed to enjoy my very first bison tenderloin at a Ted's Montana Grill (or whatever the hell Turner's chain is calling itself these days). Anyway, it was Betty's suggestion, and it was outstanding, as was her company.

Which brings us to the Books-A-Million event at the Orange Park Mall, which was . . .


For me, anyway. About two hundred and fifty people stood around to listen to me read the Introduction and answer a few questions, then waited in a line (some for more than two hours! after driving more than two hours! -- they really DO understand the Power of the Dark Side . . .) that just seemed to keep growing and growing and growing.

Thanks again to the 501st, and to the Jax FanForce for coming out -- here we had our first appearance by Mara Jade, which is also, I believe, the first appearance by a 100% EU character. Seeing as how the film of REVENGE OF THE SITH will be the very first one to feature a cameo by a character created for the EU, I thought it was exceedingly appropriate.

Also fielded a question from the audience about CAINE BLACK KNIFE -- my current post-Star Wars project, for those newbies out there -- that this morning, from checking the legendary fan-forum TheForce.Net, I discovered came from none other than the legendary Errant Venture himself!

EV -- you should have ID'd yourself by handle, man . . . I don't recognize you guys by your *real* names, y'know.

Now I'm on my way to Chicago, for my one and only Day Off, before the Big Borders Event on State Street, Monday at 12:30.

Chicago fantypes, we'll see youse guys dere!

Saturday, April 9

April 8

Leaving Washington DC --

Finally on a jet-sized jet, and thank the gods for it, too, because Zeus is having a little fun with us today: we're bouncing around like a handful of jumping beans inside a pachinko machine.

DC was a great stop, at least partly due to the Organizator, Paul Peachey, my escort for both days. He could give lessons to C-3P0. This guy had a mental map of all the major bookstores en route to the events, and had them primed and prepared for our arrival so that -- both days -- I had stock-signed something like 300 books before I even got to the actual signings. Both days. He claimed his secret plan was to make UNsigned copies into the DC-area Hot Collectible . . .

Thanks again to the 501st, out for both events. At Olssons, we even had a published SFF novelist as the Sith in Black Armor Himself: no less than Roger Sharp, author of PSYCLONE.

Did an interview with Eye On Books' Bill Thompson, who (as it happens) is a Downstate Illinoisian like myself. I'm counting on that homestate connection; maybe he'll edit out any idiot remarks that may have slipped through the clutch-gap between my second-gear brain and fifth-gear mouth.

And I had a live -- or semi-live tape-delay -- interview on a Jacksonville morning-zoo-style radio show that included a Star Wars Geek-Off against their resident fandroid, whose name is claimed to be Amadeus. This, I must point out, was not only at ten minutes before eight this morning, but until I picked up the phone I had no idea it was going to be

1) live,
2) raucous, and
3) mildly razzing on Us Fans.

I can hold my own, though. When they asked me who was the weirdest geek I'd had to deal with at a signing so far, I told them, "Oh, they never get really bad -- it's not like they're talk radio hosts or anything . . ."

Thursday, April 7

Posting a day late, due to Internet problems at the previous hotel and extreme exhaustion last night . . .

The Buffalo Barnes and Noble put on a great event; I don't have the final numbers, but I'm pretty sure we sold around two hundred books tonight, and the North Ridge -- Buffalo FanForce -- came out in force, if you can stand the tired half a pun, and we had our very first Chewbacca, eight feet tall and hairy as a Neanderthal on Rogaine. He was popular, too -- I signed one book for a B&N employee who called herself WookieeLover . . .

I guess -- unlike Princess Leia -- she WOULD rather kiss a Wookiee.

This event also saw the first Luke Skywalker of the tour. Just think: only hours old, and already walking, talking and carrying a lightsaber . . .

My TV interview was with a terrific kid named Colin, who was doing the interview for his school's CCTV news, and it was a gas. He'll probably end up anchoring 60 MINUTES.

The store manager had me sign the rest of the stock -- about 250 (!) more books, because he figured that when the article in the newspaper came out (I did a brief interview before the event) they'd sell 'em before the end of the week . . .

He also told me that as of tomorrow -- that is, today, Wednesday -- REVENGE OF THE SITH would be appearing on the Barnes & Noble Bestsellers list, which is very cool indeed.

Apologies to the wonderful fans from North Ridge for my abject failure to hang out post-event -- I barely managed to keep my eyes open long enough to get room service at the hotel -- and thanks for the honorary induction and the plaque; I'll be starting a tour wall in my office, and yours will be the first one hung, provided I can get it home intact.

Now I'm off to Washington for my first INTENTIONAL two-day stopover of the tour.

Tuesday, April 5

Dateline Boston, Logan Airport --

which is pretty damned nice in and of itself.

I got flagged as a security risk by US Airways, and so was subjected to my very first full patdown. Despite my request, said frisk was NOT performed by the nice-looking young brunette, but rather by a cheerfully efficient middle-aged bald guy.

Maybe I'll have better luck with my first strip-search.

Anyway, they were very thorough, which I actually appreciated. I thanked them when they were done. I WANT them to be thorough. That's what they're there for.

So the event at the Harvard Coop last night was pretty cool. About sixty or seventy people -- less then I was hoping for -- but the intro I got from the event coordinator was so good I wish I had a copy to post on this blog. This guy had not only read the book, but he understands exactly what is involved in making a novel out of a novelization . . . he was great, and I don't even remember his name. Richard was his first name; I didn't get his last.

And another thing: a young man offered an essay to me in a white envelope, one that he'd written for his English class. And I am such a thoughtless, ignorant, puddle-brained bastard that I somehow let it get buried in the stock signing I did after the event and left it behind.

But this is where the people at the Coop -- led by the aforementioned Richard and the thoughtful Karen Porter (whose name I know because she's the contact on my itinerary) -- they found it, and they're sending it to a certain very good friend of mine . . . along with a copy of Richard introductory essay. Which I hope he'll give me permission to post.

As for the young man's English paper -- I won't forget it again. I'll read it, and I'll tell you what I think of it. I promise.

Now, on to the reason I became the aforementioned puddle-brained bastard. The reason I can't even remember the name of the guy who gave me that stellar introduction. It's that aforementioned very good friend of mine.

It was because when I was walking in to do the event, I bumped into Bob Salvatore.


Just showed up. Because he's a great guy, and a really good friend, and he knew I'd already be more than ready to see a familiar face.

It was a gas. Shit, he asked the first question in the Q&A. I didn't point him out to the audience because, frankly, it was MY book signing and people would have instantly stopped paying attention to what I was saying because I may be Matthew Woodring Stover but he's Bob fucking Salvatore, y'know? I also didn't know if any of the fanboys in the audience still might be carrying a grudge over the unexpected Major Character demise in VECTOR PRIME . . . in fact, one of them admitted to me privately that he had been among those slagging Bob online back when VP came out, but that he'd since changed his mind about the book and thought it was really good. I told him that he probably shouldn't mention the part about the online slagging . . .

I did get to tell the story of how Bob and Mike Stackpole bullied me into writing Star Wars in the first place, and after the Q&A he came up to the table with me and hung out, which was really cool -- he didn't push himself in at all, but the fans who recognized him were kinda knocked out to find the authors of AotC and RotS together again for the first time.

I also got to have dinner with him afterwards -- hell, he even picked up the check, which'll make Colleen's tour-budgeteers smile . . .

While I'm talking Boston, I have to plug the Hotel Commonwealth, which was absolutely stellar -- the accomodations are lovely and the staff was impeccable. Listen, in my other life I work in a hotel; I know exactly what it takes to maintain even competence, let alone mastery. I have never received finer service.

I also should mention the hotel restaurant, Great Bay, which was INCREDIBLE. I worked four years in a four-star restaurant, under two of the finest chefs in the United States. I know a little bit about good food. The diver-caught sea scallops with blood-orange reduction over risotto-style Carolina rice were so good that they bafffle my powers of description. Bob and his buddy were similarly stunned by the sheer, stupendous goodness of everything they tasted. I saw a sign by the door that said Esquire Magazine had named Great Bay as the best new restaurant in Boston. Well, I haven't been to any other restaurants in Boston, but I've been to plenty in plenty of other cities, and the food here was as good as any I have ever had in my mouth. Period.

And I have to mention Jim and Ginny Bride, who were my escorts. They were both great -- great company, enthusiastic and indefatigable tour guides, friendly and knowledgable and all-around swell: setting the standard to which all other escorts will have trouble living up to.

Off to Buffalo!

Update --

Here I am in Buffalo. Just had some wings. They're better in Chicago.

Now I'm off for my very first TV appearance in which I play myself . . .

Tally Ho!

Monday, April 4

Leaving Raleigh --

I'm off to Boston on the smallest friggin' jet I've ever been on. It's about the size of my car. If we have to make an emergency landing, I'll put the goddamn thing in my pocket and WALK the rest of the way.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of the truly coolest feature of the event at Quail Ridge the other night. The event coordinator -- the guy who introduced me -- is Clay Griffith.

Who is the current writer of THE TICK.

No, I'm not kidding.


He's decidedly cool, too -- about my age, but better looking. And with great hair.

Saw the AP news release. Funny how stuff gets twisted around. I really have to learn to just say No Fucking Comment.

I mean, this guy was asking me WHY I wrote REVENGE OF THE SITH. Simple question. And I told him the truth: I jumped at the chance to be part of the the most important cultural pop-mythic cycle in American history. Not to mention that the money's good, and the exposure's great.

So he jumps on the money. "How much did you get paid?"

Being WASPY, I don't want to say. That's where I should have said No Fucking Comment.

"Was it huge?"


"Can I say it was a six-figure advance?"

"Uh, well, no --"

"Not even six-figures? Jeez."

"Look, I --"

"High five figures?"

"Yeah, sure. High five figures."

"And royalties?"

"Writing Star Wars isn't about the royalties -- the royalties aren't much for tie-in fiction. It's about the exposure -- I go from a respected but little-known fantasy writers to one of the best-known-fantasy writers in America practically overniight. But mostly it's what I was talking about before --"

And somehow, in the article, the whole business about the privilege of being able to participate in the central pop-cultural mythic cycle of the 20th Century just got lost in the shuffle . . .

I'll know better next time.

Sunday, April 3

Raleigh NC April 2 (& 3rd . . . see below)

Raleigh NC April 2 (& 3rd . . . see below)

The Great Friggin' Gonzo Revenge of the Sith Tour is officially under way!

Kicked it off this afternoon at Wal-Mart SuperCenter Store #5118 in Raleigh NC, and it was a party . . . the whole staff was so pumped to sell Star Wars that I had to do a 45-minute meet & greet in the employee lunch-room before the actual event -- and I think I signed more books for the employees than I did for the customers.

Which is cool by me.

A sale's a sale, baby . . .

And the NC Garrison of the 501st Storm Trooper Battalion turned out, too, so that I had a pair of clone troopers, a Red Guard, an Imperial pilot, Boba friggin' Fett and Darth by-God VADER doing CROWD control . . .

It was pretty cool.

And I got to meet in person for the very first time one of my long-time friends, HAWKi102, who I've been corresponding with for a couple years now, and discover that he's a perfectly normal-looking guy, with a very understanding moms-type in tow. Great to meet you, Steve.

Why do I always expect my fans to look like demented homeless cattle-mutilators?

And there was Shane, too (aka tyshalle83, brave lad) -- also entirely human. And towing the lovely Allison (did I get your name right? I met a lot of people today) [EDIT: AMBER, dammit, sorry about that], thus proving that my fans are not only handsome folk, but attractive to the opposite sex.

How did this happen?

In fact, over all, I'd have to say that my fans are all singularly goodlooking people (in addition to their obvious intelligence and stellar taste).

Later --

Did my first reading -- at Quail Ridge, a vastly cool independent store here. Of course, I'm kind of a small-timer round these parts, seeing as how they've also recently hosted none other than the legendary Zahn . . . not to mention Greg Keyes . . .

The 501st was here as well, and this time they hung out after the event and took off the armor -- without getting conspicuously naked, so forget about pictures -- and took me out to dinner, and proved my earlier contention applies not only to my fans, but to Star Wars fans in general.

I mean, I've been to a LOT of cons. SFF fans are a pack of scruffy-lookin' nerfherders, and not only will few of them deny it, most would be offended if I were to suggest otherwise.

Star Wars fans, tho' . . . these are good-looking people. I mean, you can't squeeze a fat ass into that storm trooper armor, you know what I mean? Hell, one of the troopers at Wal-Mart was a REAL trooper -- he could honest-to-Christ quickdraw his friggin' blaster, because he's an honest-to-Christ deputy sheriff. Two others are officers in the Air Force, for Christ's sake -- there was Navy represented, too. These aren't your Living-in-Mom's-Basement-Wearing-Spock-Ears types, y'know?

Later still --

Hey, Raleigh loves me so much it doesn't want to let me go. The US Airways shuttle to Pittsburgh turned around in midair and went back to the airport. In Pittsburgh. It never even got here. And then it was cancelled without explanation. And then US Airways politely explained that all other flights to Pittsburgh were already overbooked. Until 10:50 PM, which would make me a bit late for my 2:00 Talk & Signing at the Barnes & Noble #2898 on Freeport, which will consequently be deprived of my company.

Sorry, folks. Shit happens. Apparently it happens to US Airways quite a bit -- the next thing they did was start taking volunteers to skip the oversold flight to New York that was the next one out of the same gate . . .

The good news is that I get to spend an extra night in the Raleigh Sheraton, where people are very nice to me indeed, and the food's really good, and the Young Christian conference that was having a picnic in the hallway outside my room yesterday (no, I'm not kidding) seems to have evaporated, so I'm gonna quit blathering on about things now and get to work on CAINE BLACK KNIFE.

I'll see folks in Boston tomorrow . . .

Friday, March 25

Haven't been here for a while, largely because there has been some Classified Shit going on that I just can't write about, and when I can't write about what's on my mind, I don't write at all.

But we're getting down to the wire, here.

The Great Friggin' Gonzo Revenge of the Sith Tour gets under way a week from tomorrow, and here's the latest:

1) I still don't have an official itinerary. I know what cities I'm going to because I downloaded the schedule from The Force.Net (and I got a supplementary list from Colleen when we talked on Tuesday). But I don't have flight or hotel info. At all. Colleen? You listening?

(Though to be fair, I'm teasing her a little. She only promised me the itinerary by the end of this week, which in Publisher Time means before the close of business next Thursday.)

2) Though the book seems to be all over the goddamn Internet by now, nobody's sent an advance copy to ME . . . which means I get to go through security checks with a one-way ticket. Loads of fun. "No, REALLY, I'm on a BOOK tour . . . well, I don't have the book WITH me . . ."

3) I am damned close to broke. It's been a (to paraphrase George Harrison) long cold lonely fucking winter. [EDITED BY THE BORG. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.]

4) My meds are only half working. I'm mobile and functioning and will remain so, but can I just say . . . ow . . . ?

5) The AOL/Moviefone tour blog thing is still supposed to be happening, except they haven't gotten the software to me yet, and we're kinda running out of time.

6) I continue to maintain, despite how the above may read, my Jedi calm. This shit is entirely out of my hands; I leave success and failure entirely to the whims of the gods, the Force and the Random House publicity department, in that order. I will be squeezing every drop of enjoyment from my 15 minutes . . . er, 30 days . . . of nascent celebrity, and I continue to believe that somehow everything will work out just fine.

Because somehow it usually does.

It's not unlike working a blisteringly busy shift at a high-end restaurant -- which, as many of you know, I have done many, many times in my long career. When you're in the middle of it and things look like they're about to start going wrong, it seems like the fucking Apocalypse. But at the end of the shift, you count your money and go home. Meanwhile, nobody died.

Which is the main reason I became a bartender instead of a cop, a doctor, a fireman or a soldier.

And so far, nothing has ACTUALLY gone wrong. It's just the damned full-body migraine that makes it feel like it's going to, and I'll get over that by the time I'm on the flight to Raleigh.

Tally Ho!

Monday, March 14


Okay, I've officially had my first REVENGE OF THE SITH geekgasm.

I watched GWL's interview on 60 MINUTES last night, and thus got to see my first Actual Glimpses of The Duel. And some of the new Capital Ship combat.



I mean, let's face it: even you spoiler-free bastards are kiddin' yourselves, y'know? You already know everything important that's going to happen, too. You just don't know how it's going to look.

Well, neither do I.

But I got a hint of it last night.


Oy muckersplatter freakin' geVALT.

Thursday, March 10

Warming Up

I am now officially In Training for the Great Friggin' Gonzo Revenge of the Sith Tour.

For the next few days I'll will be testing the muscles of my right hand in a wholly unfamiliar way . . . signing a THOUSAND FREAKIN' BOOKS.

The Special Edition, doncha know.

But it's a good way to get in shape.

Writer's cramp is a serious danger for typin' pussies like me, if I have to be signing three or four hundred books at a crack, maybe twice a day, five or six days a week . . .

Oh, my poor hand . . .

Your heart's just pumping pisswater for me, ain't it?

Thursday, March 3

Ahh, the price of (almost semi-)fame . . .

Again with the misinterpretations . . .

Never did I write while under the influence. Never ever ever.

Well, okay, once.

I wrote a play in college, a screwball comedy called A PERFECTLY RATIONAL ADJUSTMENT, in which the main character was a famous playwright who'd gone bonkers and now believed he was the main character in one of his own plays (which were all screwball comedies . . .).

I did the first draft -- working late at night, after all homework and such was complete -- by downing three shots of Bacardi 151 and then typing as fast as I could until I couldn't see the keys any more (usually about twenty minutes to half an hour). Then I'd go pass out.

But that was only the first draft. And, by the way, it was terrible. I had to rewrite it six times. Sober.

Anyone who's taken a close look at my work -- especially my Caine books -- will, I think, understand that stories of such intricacy are not to be attempted while under the influence of anything except caffeine (in small, regulated doses) and massive amounts of tortilla chips. And sometimes chocolate.

The cocktails were poured only after all work for the day was complete. And they may be again.

A lot depends on how my body adjusts to the meds.

We shall see.

Tuesday, March 1

I'm Ruined

I'm Fucking Ruined.

They're gonna throw me out of the Real Serious Writer's Club.

That's right: I've quit drinking.

Not by choice, I assure you. It was an experiment, at the behest of my beloved wife, to dry out for a while and see if avoiding the whole Scotch/bourbon/cognac Devil's Triangle helped my migraine syndrome.

Well, it didn't.

However . . . something in my metabolism (or my meds) has changed in the meantime. Everything tastes like crap. I can't even finish a solid dram without getting queasy -- shit, I can't even THINK about it without getting queasy.

Boy, I am in trouble now.

How am I gonna survive the Great Friggin' Gonzo Revenge of the Sith Tour stone cold rumphumpin' SOBER?

All I can do is start praying to Dionysios that I get over this before April 2 . . .

Friday, February 18

Trust Me

Here I am, trying to calm people down, and I seem to be whipping them up.

Does it work the other way, too?

Anyway, here's the Real Fucking Deal:

Trust Me.

You Will Not Be Disappointed.

I Do Not Hold Anything Back.

The point is that I'm just Better At Shit now than I was when I wrote HEROES DIE. I'm better than I was when I wrote BLADE. And I have absolutely no interest in repeating myself in my work; the lovingly pornographic violence in HEROES DIE is there for a reason. If I need it again, I'll use it again, but I have, I believe, since developed new and more powerful techniques for achieving emotional and intellectual affect, and I'm gonna use them. All of them.

That's all.

Fear Not, Beloved Readers.

Shit, folks, remember that I am the author of the Dead Cities Artists' Pledge.

Those of you who don't know what the fuck I'm talking about should run, don't walk, RUN, on over to [dead cities ver3.0] right now.

right here

I'll see you there.

Thursday, February 17


I'm issuing an official correction . . .

I think some people got the wrong idea from yesterday's post.

Look, nobody at Del Rey has insisted or demanded that I de-violenciate CAINE BLACK KNIFE. There has been some discussion about the level of graphic description of violence in the Overworld stories, but much of it has come at my own instigation.

I am very aware that CAINE BLACK KNIFE and DEAD MAN'S HEART are Caine's Last Best Shot at Making It . . . if he doesn't break out, he -- and Overworld -- are dead, as far as the publishing industry goes. So I asked Chris Schleup (my editor at Del Rey) straight out what he thought I could do, as a writer, to help prevent CBK from becoming the same kind of spectacular flop, sales-wise, that HEROES DIE was.

He told me that Del Rey is aware that the floppitude of HEROES DIE had more to do with marketing and packaging failure on their part than with the quality of the book itself (which is why they plan a re-package in conjunction with the release of CBK), but that he and the Powers That Be are of the opinion that some people are turned off by the exceedingly fierce and graphic descriptions of violence and suffering in HD and BLADE.

This, my good friends, is something we all know to be true.

Most people who read fantasy are looking for THE WIZARD OF OZ -- y'know, Baum wrote those books because he thought that traditional fairy tales were too scary and violent? If he'd lived to see the film made from the first of his Oz books, he would have sued the fucking studio for making the Wicked Witch of the West so, well, wicked, and for making the flying monkeys give kids nightmares . . .

So I've got a double-switch going in CBK. I've learned so much about controlling esthetic distance and using psychological closure while writing these three Star Wars novels, that I get to do shit in CBK that's actually WORSE than most of the stuff in HD or BLADE . . . but I get to do the RESERVOIR DOGS thing, where the worst of it happens in your imagination . . .

So I get to look at the beancounters and say, "Graphic violence? Where? Which sentence?"

"Well, okay, that one . . . but that's an isolated case. Except for that one there. Okay, there's one more, but really . . ."

It's honestly not a question of standing firm. This isn't about artistic integrity. I don't have any.

I can only write what I can write. I literally CAN'T do it any other way . . .

I am who I am.

Wednesday, February 16


One of these days I'm gonna have to learn how to actually USE a computer, as opposed to just typing on one.

One of those old Mac macros would be useful, so I don't have to type Great Friggin' Gonzo REVENGE OF THE SITH Tour Blog Entry #Whateverthefuck each time I update it.

Anyway, TheForce.Net reports that I now have five cities confirmed on the Right Coast, and the GFGROTST is spreading toward the Left like one of those virus projections on 24 . . .

So that's all. No real news, other than I just cut 20000 words out of CAINE BLACK KNIFE.

Yes, that's the right number of zeroes.

Twenty thousand fucking words.

My recon/retcon of the story has rendered superfluous a great deal of the shit over which I have squeezed blood from my own eyeballs to create.

For example, in my orginal (now vanished) version, Act One consisted of interleaved episodes from the "modern day" [some 3 years post-BLADE] and flashes of the uncut, unedited Master of RETREAT FROM THE BOEDECKEN, the Adventure that made Caine a star, in roughly 15 - 20 page increments . . . just enough to deliver quick smacks of action and emotional content . . . and they were arranged in such a way to elegantly contrast and comment upon each other, to set the older and theoretically more mature Caine against his 25-year-old self . . . it was all very artistic, and literary, and would have given someone a swell subject for his or her masters thesis in Litcritshit a hundred years from now.

But y'know, screw that shitpile.

The other day I decided to see what the story would look like if I put all the RETREAT stuff together. Right in a row. Which is not how I wrote it to be, but what the hell.

It turned out to be eighty pages that literally had me jumping out of my chair. Jesus, what a vicious little sonofabitch he was . . .

On the other hand, The Powers that Be -- who were hoping that the violence would be toned down -- well . . .

It IS toned down.

As long as you don't have a vivid imagination.

As Caine would say, I am who I am.

Fuckin' sue me.

Saturday, February 12

And they're OFF!

The Great Friggin' Gonzo REVENGE OF THE SITH Tour log

Part One

Seems early for Part One, don't it? I thought so too, till I checked in over at The Force.Net in my author thread, there to find, much to my surprise, that the tour will begin . . .

Yes, We Have a Winner -- check your office pools -- the tour will begin . . .

(wait for it . . .)

April 2 in Raleigh-Durham, North CAROLINA!


Now, if I can just get them to tell ME this stuff . . .

Friday, February 11

Y'know, I don't want to harp on the political shit, but Jesus CHRIST, look at what they're doing to my country:

Hey, We Fucking Torture Innocent Civilian Citizens of Friendly Countries Tra La

[html tutorial courtesy of the inimitable Chris M. (Ticketman) Billet.]

George Bush's first term made me embarrassed to be American.

His second term is threatening to make me furious.

How long beffore we start doing this to our own citizens? Oh, wait, sorry, we already have -- a kid who got shipped to Saudi Arabia.

If I disappear sometime this year, look for me in Syria.

Monday, February 7

Anybody not smell the swastikas yet?

Thanks to Shevchyk yet again for the following, which I'm reposting for those of you too lazy to read the comments.

You have to read this essay. It's the GODDAMN AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, for Christ's sake.

It just goes to show that I've been tell the fucking truth all along: that this is not a liberal issue.

Shit, I'm not a liberal. I'm an American.

Every goddamn public school and courthouse that wants to enshrine the Ten Commandments should erect, instead, stone tablets engraved with a vastly more important document: the Bill of Rights.

The Declaration of Independence is a more important statement of human aspiration than the Sermon on the Mount.

And the Bushitters are killing them. Both.

Funny thing is, this is a running theme of my fiction, too. It's that blind god thing. The hunger for easy answers. "They're EEeevil and Must Be Destroyed!" The need to belong. The willingness to be lied to, as long as we like the lies . . .

The simple need to be told what to think.

Try the following on for size, the true story of three innocent British citizens imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, without trial or legal recourse of any kind, for nearly two years.

Wake up and smell the swastikas, indeed.

Friday, February 4

We are the Empire.

Is anybody out there?

Is anybody LISTENING?

Jesus CHRIST. What does it TAKE for people in this country to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FUCKING SWASTIKAS?

But Wait, There's More!

A relevant quote:

Two years ago, an unnamed Bush aide told Suskind, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

You can find the rest in Jack Shafer's article at the address below.

Does anyone out there still think this is just some kind of fucking joke?

Wednesday, February 2

So this guy writes in to my forum over at SFFWorld. (This is not, by the way, the set-up to a joke.) He's been hearing about me, but he's never read me. He's been through the current crop of Quality Shit: Tolkien, Martin, Hobb, and he confesses to having read Eddings and Feist in his misspent youth. And he wants me to tell him why he should read my work.

After a moment's thought, this strikes me as an entirely legitimate question.

What makes me think I'm so special, anyway?

Well, I started to compose my standard lecture on the Consolatory vs. the Subversive in art. Those of you who've been around here for any length of time know that it's an article of faith with me that all honest art is inherently subversive; to paraphrase Tan'elKoth, "It is a truism that to a hammer, the world looks like a nail; the glory of art is that it can show this hammer how the world looks to a screwdriver. And to a sculptor's chisel. And vice versa."

Consolatory fiction (I can't bear to refer to it as art) is in the business of telling all the hammers out there that everything really IS a nail -- to suggest otherwise runs the risk of softening their solid steel heads . . .

[Which, of course, is exactly what got me into trouble with so many Star Wars fans -- and why so many of them hate the NJO in general. Star Wars was, for them, the ultimate in Consolatory Fiction. Opening a Star Wars novel was like sitting down to a Hollywood version of Thanksgiving dinner: no surprises, no danger, just a tasty feast that'd leave you sleepy and content. Nothing upsetting. Nothing to think about.

Which is why the climax of VECTOR PRIME resulted in Bob Salvatore getting death threats.

Which is why -- may the gods have mercy on their poor pathetic souls -- some few fanfreaks have gone so far as to claim that George fucking LUCAS is ruining Star Wars with the Prequels . . . because it's not spotless Dudley Do-Rights inevitably triumphing over irreedeemable Snidely Whiplashes . . .

Shit, some kid got so freaked out by TRAITOR that he wrote into The Force.Net BEGGING me not to ruin Star Wars with relativist heresy (not that anything in TRAITOR advocates relativism -- just the opposite, but plenty of people just aren't bright enough to figure that out) . . . and even the possiblity that there might be anything resembling moral ambiguity in the Galaxy Far Far Away was so upsetting that it completely blew this guy's mind. Poor bastard. They all want Player's Handbook Universe -- y'know, as long as you never actually throw Force Lightning, you haven't fallen yet . . .

What none of these guys realize is that Star Wars was never as black/white as they pretended it was -- it's not about the triumph of the Rebellion, it's about Luke's triumph over himself. " . . .remember your failure at the cave . . ." But that's a subject for another post -- probably to wait for the REVENGE OF THE SITH release.]

Anyway, here I was ramping up to unleash the long version of this lecture upon the unsuspecting head of this poor bastard, when I realized that I'd better shut the fuck up about it.

Here's the thing: I realized that at this point in my career, people who've read me faithfully -- especially the Caine books and the SW books -- can now, at least in theory, find my own fiction just as consolatory as any installment of the Young Jedi Knights.

You all have a pretty good idea how I see the world. Opening one of my books brings you into a reality where you -- through prior experience of my writing -- have a pretty good idea of what the rules are [i.e. victory is expensive, pure intentions count for fuck all, it's good to be skilled but it's better to be lucky -- y'know, the usual crap.).

Since most of you know this shit already, before you ever crack the cover -- since most of you crack that cover at least in part BECAUSE YOU WANT TO READ A STORY WHERE SHIT WORKS THAT WAY . . . my work isn't actually subversive anymore. Not for you.

Which is giving me kind of a pain in the crack.

Because I like to shake people up a little. Make you question your assumptions.

But on the other hand, what the hell can I do about it?

Write a fucking Quest Against the Dark Lord?

I don't think I can lie in a novel. Not well, anyway.

So what the hell do I do to shake up the people who already agree with me? What do I show people who've already seen what I've got?

I am not asking for answers, here. Nor am I fishing for "Buck up, big guy," comments.

I am merely relating the story of an uncomfortable revelation, which leads me to the reply I gave the guy over as SFFWorld. I told him --

I don't think you "should" read me. I think you should read what you like.

And I don't have a better answer than that.

Saturday, January 29

Happy Fucking Birthday Mr Stover

Happy Birthday to Me

Y'know what I want for my birthday?

"Offer me money . . ."

"Yeah, money -- tax cuts are good fer ever'body . . ."

"Offer me anything I want . . ."

"Yes . . . property in the middle east . . . yes, anything. ANYTHING!"

I want my country back, you son of a bitch.

Where's John Dean when you need him?

I have an idea. Fuck pledging allegiance to the flag. Let's pledge allegiance to the Constitution.

That's what I did.

That's what I thought Bush did. Apparently he had other ideas . . .

It's that old conservative shuffle. We are men of principle -- right up until those principles might get in the way of power. Then we're just men.

At best.

Ahh, I always get cranky on my birthday.

Friday, January 28


Hey, Gang.

Here's the news . . .

First, the Star Wars stuff:

The Great Staggering Friggin' Gonzo Sith Tour is on -- apparently there is sufficient interest in my not-so-humble RotSing self that Del Rey is going to flog my aging ass across the whole country, though specific stops and schedule are not yet set, excepting Star Wars Celebration in Indy, which I will be Wildly Celebrating along with all the other fandroids . . .

Colleen the Publicist from Hell also wants me to keep a tour log, and post it here.

Which I think is a great idea, so I'm gonna do it. Watch this space, Gentle Reader.

Though I will not be dishing any of the dirty stuff . . . because, y'know, I'm shy, and all I want is for everyone to LIKE me . . .

Oh, okay. Save your cards and letters, huh?

The Caine Update:

I have also spoken with His Honorable Schleupness on Caine's Future . . .

CAINE BLACK KNIFE is most likely to be another trade, not unlike BLADE OF TYSHALLE. He says the only way he's likely to be able to squeeze a hardcover out of the Powers That Be is if I make CBK a virtual stand-alone.

Which I'm just not sure is going to work.

At any rate, I can't make it anything other than what it's going to be. I'm writing what I'm writing. That's the only way I can do it. I've spent four books in a row writing on other people's terms, and I AM FUCKING DONE WITH IT.

Well, until the next time somebody offers me a huge wad of money and a book tour, anyway.

There may be re-issues of HD and BoT in trades, though -- or possibly an omnibus -- though when I reminded Chris that this omnibus would total half a million words, I could hear the *doink* all the way from New York.

Anyway, I'm thinking right now that the best thing that could happen for Caine might be for HD and BoT to be re-issued in trade with NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR under my name, and nice bold letters saying --


-- and that kind of shit.

Here endeth the update.

Sunday, January 23

and more

More cheerful shit:

Frank Rich has become one of my favorite lefties. He does social and political commentary as seen through the lens of popular arts & media -- usually TV and film -- and he's really, really good at it. Terrific writer, too.

For you Caine fans out there:

Right now, it looks like I might be able to retcon my recon of CBK, to save most of the 200-plus pages already written; it's hard to say. The pieces are a jumble right now . . . I've tossed them up into the fog, and they descend in a slow-motion tumble. I have a hunch that they will click into place, but right now it's only a hunch.

It's exactly the sensation described in HEROES DIE, when Caine's preconceived notions of the situation are shattered and the shards fall into a new shape.

It just hasn't quite happened yet. The old brain just ain't as fast as it used to be.

Probably the meds.

Friday, January 21

Christ help the United States

I can't even talk about this. Read it.

Monday, January 17

Holy Shit I'm back

Holy Shit, I'm Back . . . !

Thanks again to the (mostly) indefatigable -- or at least unsinkable -- gabe [hypermode] chouinard.

Looking over my final post from the beginning of October, I discover that (thanks this time to the truly indefatigable folks at LFL and Mr George Lucas) I am STILL in the process of hammering out the final reconceptualization of CAINE BLACK KNIFE, because every time I start to make headway, they come back to me with more LAST MINUTE SCREAMINGLY IMPORTANT GOTTA GET THIS FUCKING THING DONE CRAP on REVENGE OF THE SITH.

On the plus side, tho' --

That's all done now, and I think it's gonna be really really good. Finally saw what appears to be the cover art, too.



Less pensive. More asskicking. Not so much Conrad. Not even Hemingway. More HD than BoT. More Chandler than Tolstoy.

I'm having fun with it, now.

Just wait.