Friday, November 14, 2014

Who is this guy anyway?

The completion of a project gives a guy a chance to stop and take a deep breath. As the world awaits Tuesday's release of the Myke Phoenix compilation Year of the Dinosaur, I find myself taking a deep breath and contemplating what the bibliography so far means.

Since I was 10 years old and found a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #4 at the old IGA in Milton, Vermont, I have enjoyed superhero stories. Well, even before that - I do remember enjoying a Legion of Super-Heroes story or two before the summer of 1963 - but Spider-Man and Marvel Comics made me a fan. A few years later I heard about a series of 1930s pulp hero reprints of a superhero named Doc Savage, and Cold Death started me on the path that would lead me to Myke Phoenix.

My Myke stories are designed to take you about an hour to read, approximating the comic book experience or perhaps a TV show. Year of the Dinosaur collects the 12 stories I've written in the past year or so, with a bonus short called "A Myke Phoenix Christmas."

I first conceived of Myke when I was a late-30s radio news reporter. I finished four stories and started several others, but the lack of a practical outlet to share them with the world led me to set the project aside. The indie publishing movement provided that outlet, and those earlier stories have been available since 2008 as The Adventures of Myke Phoenix.

But of course, my world view goes beyond the confines of the superhero adventure. (That is not to say we couldn't have a lengthy conversation about the superiority of Marvel's The Avengers to any Superman or Batman movie ever made.)

I've always thought war was stupid, and I've come to think of states as counterproductive to individual human endeavor. That led me to write The Imaginary Revolution, the memoirs of the man who led the planet Sirius IV to independence from Earth and beyond to a commonwealth that had no state government apparatus. As discussion raged over what form of government to establish for the newly free world, protagonist, Ray Kaliber, asked the simple question, "Why do we need a government at all?"

The story is a sequel of sorts, or at least set in the same universe, as The Imaginary Bomb, a space opera perhaps best known as a series of podcasts I voiced in 2006. The universe is based sometime in the future from now, when humanity has discovered how to tap the power of the imagination as an energy source. As too often happens with new technology, someone has considered the implications of weaponized imaginary power, and my interplanetary truck drivers get tangled up in stopping the imaginary bomb before it hurts someone.

I also have a collection of short stories, Wildflower Man, anchored by the story that has gained quite a following in its podcast form, if I may say so. I haven't transferred that book to digital form because, to be honest, I wish it was a little longer. I keep meaning to write a few more short stories to pad it out. One of these days.

I've also collected some of my essays on a couple of themes. Refuse to be Afraid is about empowering yourself to battle through the fears and impulses that keep us from the greatness we could accomplish: Refuse to be afraid. Free yourself. Dream.

And A Scream of Consciousness discusses ways to fight past the distractions of everyday life and concentrate on the needs of this moment, right now. These two books, and the "What I Believe" section of The Imaginary Revolution, probably sum up what I might pretentiously describe as my life philosophy.

So there are seven books, five fiction and two non-fiction, that hopefully will entertain you, perhaps could change your life, and at least will tell you a bit about who this guy is anyway.

If you're reading this on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, the day I wrote this, you have until tonight to get a free download of Firespiders Unleashed, the pivotal Myke Phoenix story that opens the trilogy that also includes March of the Alien Dead, Claws of Death and Talons of Justice. Yes, it's a four-part trilogy. I blame Hollywood. Or perhaps Douglas Adams.

Starting Saturday I'll be devoting most of my shameless self-promotion to the collection that climaxes with those four stories, Year of the Dinosaur. But I really do like the way the saga ends, so if you want to cut to the chase and save a couple of bucks, buying the individual stories is a pretty good investment.

In any case, those are the motivations that drove the bookshelf of my stuff to date. So now you know.

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