• NaNoWriMo 2016 -Wrong Exit – Week 6

    Sara, Scott and the others are slowly breaking down from the realization that they and the reality around them could change at any moment. Dale makes a final change and takes a final step to insure the safety of his friends and their reality.

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  • NaNoWriMo 2016 – Wrong Exit – Week 5

    Dale returns to the empty exit only to discover that he isn’t the only one who can find it. He then tries to help Sara gain closure over Caleb, only to have his attempt make things worse.

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  • NaNoWriMo 2016 – Wrong Exit – Week 4

    Sara joins Dale for a dinner with Scott and Diane, where they make a most unusual request. Trenton gives Dale another warning, Sara comes to a realization about Caleb and Dale is forced to consider his own behavior and choices.

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  • Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – Portals – Week 4

    Perry finds that no one has considered a psychological study of the teams on the far side of the Portals, but finds that they do regularly monitor all communications home. He and Peri are told to not talk to each other and to keep their observations to themselves, resulting in an unexpected but necessary arrangement to continue with their research.

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  • Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – Portals – Week 3

    2 Years Ago The video was played dozens of times on hundreds of stations. At first Cable News had tried to keep it exclusive to them but soon gave up as the footage was quickly copied and rebroadcast by station after station and network after network. Within 24 hours news of the Portal and what was on the other side had spread around the world. On the footage the transition from Vancouver to what we now know is Central America is abrupt. One moment there are dozens of people and a view of a well-maintained park then the next there is a riot of color, mostly green, as Jackson followed LeBlanc through the Portal. For several minutes Jackson expressed shock as LeBlanc, who had been in shock himself several minutes before, tried not to laugh. Eventually she collected herself enough to start filming the area. They were in a jungle, that much was obvious. The foliage within a few dozen meters of the Portal was stunted and shrunken, assuring that the area around the Portal was clear. We didn’t realize the significance of that at first, but later we would realize this was normal for an active Portal. In fact, we later would learn that that the maintenance crew at the Vancouver First People’s Center had been having trouble getting the grass to grow around the Portal, but we didn’t even know to ask at the time. Once she had recovered Jackson and LeBlanc made their way down the path

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  • Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – Portals – Week 2

    Interlude – 12 years earlier Everyone knows about how the first portal was found, but it occurs to me that you, reading this, may not. Well, not about ours anyway. I know this is supposed to be my story but since I don’t know where you may be reading this, I probably should give some background as well. When we first found the first Portal we didn’t even know what it was. Some kayakers on the Columbia river were the first to see it, exposed by some recent erosion caused by the same rains that brought them to the surging rapids in the first place. They apparently crawled all over the ring without anything happening. Anyway, they wound up posting pictures and video of the ring on-line. Others started stopping along the river to take selfies with it as well. Eventually someone in authority noticed and sent someone out to look at it. It was on the Canadian side of the river and after a few months a team from Montreal showed up. They didn’t notice anything about it beyond the fact that it was obviously man-made and obviously quite old. With nothing else obvious they contacted the Squamish, the First People’s tribe from the area. The Squamish didn’t immediately recognize anything about it either. It was obviously artificial and obviously pre-dated the European arrival in the Americas, but it was nothing they recognized. They took custody of it and the pedestal it had apparently stood on and immediately put

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  • Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – Portals – Week 1

    Day 1 The quad landed in the courtyard of what I would have guessed was an old British castle back home, but here it was somewhere in what would have been upstate New York. As the engines whined down I could hear the other quad coming in behind us as well as some music blaring from somewhere in the castle. I guess the weird silence here got to everyone. I adjusted my dust mask as the pilot popped the canopy. She was a skinny black woman who had spent the entire trip with a pair of earbuds plugged into her ears, nodding along with something playing on an archaic iPod. I had talked to her long enough to learn that her name was Dierdra but that was about it, After that I had done nothing but stare out at the dust-covered landscape as we flew the several hours north towards the site, over surprisingly intact cities sitting alone and uninhabited amidst empty stretches of blowing dust. Still nodding to the music, she pointed towards an entrance to one side of the courtyard where several people were exiting and walking towards us. “Thanks for the lift!” I said. I’m not sure she heard me. She was already engaged with dragging a charging cable over from the solar array back to the quad. I grabbed my pack from behind the seat, wincing as I did. My muscles had cramped up during the several hours in the quad after all the work I

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  • Review – The Breach

    The Breach by Patrick Lee Ex-corrupt cop/ex-con Travis Chase, recently released from prison, is hiking through the Alaska wilderness and trying to figure out how to get his life back together when he stumbles across the crash of an unmarked 747. Inside the crash he discovers that everyone on board has been executed, including the First Lady of the United States. A note in her hand sends him in search of the two survivors of the crash, who are being brutally tortured to force them to reveal the location of an object that could lead to the destruction of everyone and everything on Earth. And thus begins Breach, the first novel in a new thriller series by Patrick Lee. While many thiller novels by such writers as James Rollins, Jeremy Robinson or Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child skirt the edges of science fiction in their novels, Patrick Lee embraces it wholeheartedly. While it is marketed as and starts out as standard thriller fare, make no mistake; this is a science-fiction thriller. Travis soon rescues Paige Campbell, the last survivor of the crash, and learns what is happening. (Warning: Minor spoiler for the first of the novel.) Paige works for an international government organization known as Tangent. Thirty years ago, an experiment beneath Wyoming opened the “Breach” of the title; an opening to… somewhere. Various artifacts (which they call “entities”) have been coming through the Breach at regular intervals since then. Some of these entities are benign, some are very dangerous

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  • It’s Not Reality, It’s Just a Fantasy

    I took a swing through a bookstore the other day, the first one I had been through since the demise of my local Borders, and as usual went to check out the SF section. What I found, also as usual of late, was that most of it was actually fantasy. Mostly Urban Fantasy, actually; so much urban fantasy. I didn’t find anything (my reading pile is still big enough that I don’t need to grab anything just to have something to read) but as I left I started wondering what happened to the Science Fiction shelves of old. I remember when Science Fiction and Fantasy were two different areas in the stores and the SF shelf was the larger of the two. No longer. Of course, part of it is the popularity and success of such things as the Harry Potter and Twilight series which of course have spawned their imitators, but this just changes the question as to why these series became so popular in the first place. I think it is because that, based on what Science Fiction promised us, Science has failed. I’m not talking about “where’s my flying car?” here. Up through the 1950’s and 1960’s, everyone thought that science (Science!) would solve all of our problems. Robots would remove all need for menial labor. The Atom would provide all our energy needs. We would be living in a utopia fueled by the fruits of science. Reality didn’t match that. We are constantly told of the

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  • The Man Behind the Curtain

    When she arrived in the Emerald City, Dorothy and her companions were groomed, dressed and prepared for their encounter with the Great and Powerful Oz. Upon entering his chamber they were awed and frightened by the Great Oz floating before them, wreathed in smoke and flame. Of course, Toto then finds the man behind the curtain who is running the whole thing. Like a villain being unmasked by Scooby and the Gang, the Great and Powerful Oz is revealed to be just a con man from Kansas. The con man then gives her companions what they want and Dorthy is shown that she has the ability to go back home herself and she returns to Kansas. I have always wondered… why is this considered a happy ending? Sure, she is happy to be home at first, but she will wake up the next morning in her black-and-white world, knowing that the bright, colorful world she left behind was only a dream and that the only magic in the world was the work of a man hiding behind a curtain creating an illusion through smoke and mirrors. I’ve been thinking about Dorothy and that man because DragonCon is coming here to Atlanta next week. I’m planning on going this year, for the first time in around a decade. You would think that I, as a long time Atlanta resident and Science Fiction fan, would have been a regular attendee but that hasn’t been the case. Actually, I haven’t been to any

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