Where’s the Science in Your Fiction?

For a brief time as a teen I was interested in sci-fi and fantasy books. Though the two genres are usually lumped together, I always had a clear understanding that sci-fi involved robots and/or space, while fantasy was almost always something about wizards, elves, magic and realms that had not yet witnessed an industrial revolution. (Seriously, why all the swords, people? Magic up some gunpowder for chrissakes). Continue reading “Where’s the Science in Your Fiction?”

Kang’ethe and the Matatu

Jake ran, his feet treading on a soft cushion of dew-covered grass, down a narrow goat path bordered by heavily pruned pencil cedar trees. Ahead, clad as always in his worn gray suit coat and pants, Mzee Kang’ethe outpaced Jake, easily widening the distance between them. Kang’ethe was 72 years old and smoked 2 packs of Sportsman cigarettes every day. Jake was exactly fifty years younger and had never smoked in his life, yet he struggled to keep up with the older man. Continue reading “Kang’ethe and the Matatu”

Birth of a Story

I’m an impatient writer. I tend to write in cloudbursts of creative energy. Stories come gushing out like torrential downpours, 5000 words flooding onto the page. Writing is in some ways a birthing process. Ideas germinate, gestate and at some point, when they’re too big to be contained, they just have to come out, there’s no stopping them.

But just as in giving birth, the work doesn’t stop once the baby is born. A story needs nurturing, it needs to mature. It needs editing, rewriting, revising, workshopping. It needs fresh eyes, new perspectives. If you’re lucky, and if you’ve given it enough care, someday it will get published, maybe years after you first scribbled it onto a napkin in the haste to capture the kernel of the idea.  Continue reading “Birth of a Story”

Stolen Memories

Here’s a new piece of fiction I just sat down and wrote after work tonight. No idea where this came from. Just a story, I guess. 

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. All characters are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, alive or dead, is purely coincidental.

The old man was sitting by himself, cradling an intricately carved walking stick between his knees. A small leather satchel lay at his feet. He looked as if his body had shrunk with time, as if withdrawing into itself, leaving behind a topographic landscape of brown and leathery skin. His hair, the parts that peeked out from under his VFW uniform hat, was white as snow, as were his bushy eyebrows. His face was smoothly shaven. The gold embroidery of the VFW hat announced him as the commander of Post 2744 of Lawton, Oklahoma. His features were distinctly Native American. I wondered what tribe he was from.  Continue reading “Stolen Memories”

Book/Movie Review: Winter in the Blood

As book nerds, we commonly hold the rather snobbish opinion that movies based on novels are never as good as the book. There are good reasons for this, as each book reading experience is very subjective. We visualize the characters in our own way. We savor each detail. Film interpretations of novels often have to be ruthless in cutting details, lest each film run hours or days in length. Characters are often cast for their star appeal rather than their authenticity to the role. Avid literati often take offence at this. “How dare they cast Brad Pitt in that role? He’s completely wrong for it.” Or, “How dare they not include the scene at the refinery, that’s the key detail that explains the ending.Continue reading “Book/Movie Review: Winter in the Blood”

The Hotel Job

This is something a little different. A new piece of fiction, in sort of the international spy thriller genre. Just something I’ve been playing around with, inspired by real events in  South Africa in 2014 which saw a Rwandan former spy mysteriously strangled in his hotel room. 

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. All characters are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, alive or dead, is purely coincidental.

Smith was standing in another bland and sterile hotel lobby. As he waited for the polite but nervous receptionist (Thumi, Trainee, according to her name badge) to figure out the credit card swiping machine, he pondered the complete lack of any identifiable culture that large international hotels displayed. Continue reading “The Hotel Job”