Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Interview with Edward Frank, who interviewed me

Interview by Edward Frank
My questions are for Angus H. Day. His responses when completed can be found on his blog here:
1) I see you have three books available through Amazon Kindle listed on your Author's Page: All are science fiction. Do you consider yourself primarily a science fiction writer?
Yes I do.  I particularly am attracted to writing plots which involve how technology dependence can sometimes cripple our basic sense.  I avoided the use of the word common because that would imply that it is in abundance which I just don't see.  Science Fiction, as a genre, has motivated some of the most outstanding developments of the last century.  Some one has to keep that pipeline fed and it might as well be me.

2) How did you get started as a writer?
I got started writing novels as a form of therapy and as kind of a middle years checklist.  I wasn't getting younger and as I kept reading more books I would reflect that I could do that or my plot would have been.  Every body needs a creative outlet of some form and this seems to be mine.  In short I ran out of excuses not to write.

3) Are there particular authors or books that have influenced your writing style, approach to writing fiction, or subject material?
There are a lot of authors that deserve mention in this answer but I will keep to the most contributing to my delinquency.  Joe Haldeman, Phillip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Peter Hamilton, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Harry Harrison, Douglas Adams, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlem, Frank Herbert, Ben Bova, Arthur Clarke and many others. 
For plot development I would have to say that I have learned the most from Star Trek tie in writers such as Dayton Ward, Kevin Dillmore, David Mack and Keith DeCandido.
A lot of my subject material comes from science as I am a scientist and this is science fiction.  Who knew?  I am a manufacturing synthetic biochemist.
4) What do you see as the role of sex in science fiction stories as opposed say to romance novels?
The role of sex in science fiction is to ground the character and make them more real.  The idea that someone can just run around shooting ray guns, planting cyber or real viruses, fight off hoards of blood thirsty aliens without taking a break every once in a while to get laid according to their preference would definitely convince me that I don't even want to visit that world.
In romance the whole point of that genre is to generate emotion in the reader and make them feel empathy for the main characters.  That is also the best use of sex in science fiction, it's just better for the genre if you remember to add some science.

5) How would you describe your writing process?
I start with an overall idea for what I want the story to be about.  I'll spend a couple of hours developing a mind map with all of the satellite ideas I would like to work into the story.  Then I begin writing with occasional glances at the map, maybe once every two weeks.  The story unfurls in my minds eye and I try to keep up with it.

6) What aspects of a science fiction story do you feel is critical to have in the story to hold the reader's interest? Or conversely what would ruin a story for you if it was present?
Subtle hints leading up to a larger plot work for me.  I like to tie in multiple plot lines.  What sometimes ruins it for me is the plot device known as the "Data Solution".  The situation is dire, we've run out of ideas, all is lost--In steps Cmdr. Data or Wesley Crusher with a solution so simple that all others involved should just be fired.

7) How has being a writer changed your life (especially now that you are rich and famous because of this blog interview series)?
Writing has given me something creative to look forward to doing.  I enjoy it and it gives me a sense of accomplishment to tell a story.

8)8) I am sure that as a science fiction author, you are at least casually familiar with Star Trek. What one guest character among all of the others stand out in your mind, and why? (If not Star Trek, a character use an example from some other popular series.)
I don't have the character's name handy but there was a Romulan Admiral who had defected and was fed false secrets to mislead the Federation in an episode of TNG.  I'm pretty sure he committed suicide because he had been made into such a fool.  For some reason that one sticks with me.

9) What is the most difficult hurdle or problem you have faced when trying to complete a book, and how do you overcome it?
My most difficult writing hurdle is balance.  As a self-published author you have to commit more time and effort to self-promotion.  This I am very inefficient at and it eats up a lot of the time I would prefer to use for writing.

10) What one question were you hoping I would of you ask during this interview and did not, and what would have been your answer?
"Why self-publish?"
I have waited very late to begin my writing career and I don't wish to wait to swim to the top of somebody's slush pile.  Self-publishing can be done well without bankrupting the author and the author retains control.

Bonus question for thirty points: I am handing you this metaphorical green rock and asking you "What color is this green rocK?" (Don't spend all of your points in one place.)
This green rock is not a rock at all but a baking potato that stayed in a moist environment for way too long.  Where are your glasses?

 You can find Edward Frank's blog at

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Reviewing the Work of Others

Reviewing the Work of Others
by Angus H Day

When someone creates a work in writing, artistic media, music or acting they have invested of themselves and followed their muse.  These are the sources of entertainment and the stimulators of imagination in our culture.  They deserve our respect and our gratitude for their effort to keep us thriving and open minded.
My point of view as an author and a consumer of fiction is that there is nothing to be gained from a negative review.  The old maxim of 'If you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all' is not just to keep from offend someone else, it is to keep from injuring yourself.
When ever we offer up negative reviews whether they are justified or not they are inflicted upon the public and the artist of the work.  However politely they may be worded they are an attack based on their venue.  Attacks actually do harm to the attacker as well, in this form they punish the attackers ability to enjoy anything in the future without stabbing at it.
Bearing that in mind these are my reviewing rules, the ones I hold myself to:

1) Regardless of how tedious or wrong-choiced, once I have committed to review something I will finish it.
2) I will find two or more things about the work to celebrate and put some work into composing a well thought out review based on the things that I liked.
3) If I have a problem with something about the work, and feel strongly enough to take up the challenge, I will make the effort to contact the artist and express my view with respect.
4) I will not publish negative reviews, which does not mean that my reviews are dishonest, meaning that the attributes I do talk about are ones that I like.
5) I will always compose my reviews off line, proofread, then post.
6) Do not spoil the plot for readers who haven't read the work.

We do not have to be snobs to be quality reviewers of works of art.  Being considerate and respectful is the way to go in regards to the target and your own conscience.  For those who would state that 'I wish they had told me how awful that was' I would add that you would not want that to be for public consumption.

(Rating system as provided by the venue)
Two to three sentences minimum to describe and highlight the work without spoilers.
"I would recommend this to" or "for".

Review.  A simple and gracious act to thank the artist for their effort.  Not a venue for attacking someone because they are not your favorite whatever.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Flash from Jupiter

"Joe, did you just see what the Hubble and the Mt. Palomar telescopes just recorded?"
"No Rob, I was out freshening up my coffee.  What's the news?"
"A flash large enough to be a comet impacting the atmosphere of Jupiter."
"Really?  How come the phones aren't ringing off of the hook?  We are NASA after all."
"It appears that the NRO has stepped in to put a lid on the event until the recordings can be analyzed."
"Umm, I thought you said that it hit Jupiter not Earth.  Why would the NRO need to clamp down on that?"
"I don't know but look at your email and see if you just got the same message that I did."
NASA to All Employees,
You are forbidden from leaving your work stations except to visit the restrooms.  Supervisors are responsible for collecting all personal communicators, if you do not comply then security will have to detain you and forcibly take said devices.  Your families will be notified of the situation according to Agency guidelines.

"Rob, I think we better just go along with the message.  The news just announced a fire at Mt. Palomar and everyone there is dead."
"Freaking awesome Joe.  This is why I went to MIT."
"Well what the hell dude?  Maybe we should just try to get some work done while were stuck here?"
"Once again, this is NASA not private industry.  There are rules about this you know."
"Okay much too angry co-worker.  What would you like to do with the time we are stuck here?"
"Instead of working on what they assigned us why don't we try to find out what is so important to the NRO?"
"I don't know, let me list these reasons; my family doesn't want me dead, I make good money and I don't really like you that much.  Is that enough?"
"Oh you wound me you trifling little minion.  You're doing it anyway, I just used your stations IP address to examine SPACECOM."
"Just because I have a pocket protector and a three hundred dollar calculator I know how to program you think I won't resort to physical violence?"  Joe emphasized his point by breaking his station keyboard over Rob's skull resulting in a fairly dead nerd on the floor with a growing pond of blood and grey matter.
Joe wiped the blood off of his glasses and walked over to the computer three stations down.  The blood had not traveled that far.  He logged in and began typing his confession.

To whom it may concern,
Rob Sternman was using my ID to hack into secure government files and I was forced to take preemptive action for the sake of our nation.  I killed Rob Sternman as a Patriot in the crisis brought on by the imminent threat posed to this planet by the events that have unfolded at Jupiter.
Joeseph Brinkman

Joe pressed the save icon.  Then he send an email to the entire staff of the agency office with his letter of confession attached.  Upon pressing the send button he swallowed all of his nitro glycerine and prescription pain killers, forty three he remembered counting.  He chuckled "One more that the answer to everything."
He felt a smack on his shoulder five minutes later and a blood covered Rob confronted him "I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be sitting there moping if I had killed you."
Joe spun around in his chair freaking out "You're dead."
"Really?  Looks real doesn't it?  Vanessa wanted us to hold back on the blood thinking it might lead you to have another heart attack."
"You should be dead."
"Yeah, we covered that.  Look at your screen there Joe."
Joe spun around and gazed at the home screen "All Clear.  This was just a test.  All Clear.  This was just a test."
Joe's vision was blurring, he began to feel a tingling in his left arm.  "What about the NRO and the Jupiter business?  The fire at Mt. Palomar?"
"The fire happened but it was a broom closet with mislabeled chemicals that accidentally combined and combusted.  No one was hurt."
"And the lock down?"
"That was all part of the gag.  We've got two dozen people in on this including the director."
Joe was listing in his chair, one side of his face had gone slack and his head was bobbing.  The third time his head bobbed, Rob finally was paying attention to his coworker, he seized gripping his chest with his right hand as his left arm cramped and shot out into the air.  Joe rolled onto the floor out of his chair into the mixture of red dye and black molasses he had thought to be Rob's blood.
Vanessa and the director came in to enjoy the surprise sprung on Joe and found the corpse laying in the puddle on the floor.  Director Smarmy had gone along with this in the new agency air of trying to loosen things up around the office before someone snapped policy.  "Well Rob, it looks like he had a break down and attacked you.  The stress was too much for his heart."
"Umm, Director he's dead as a result of a practical joke.  We can't cover that up."
"Joe is dead as a matter of National Security because he became a danger to himself and others.  That will be the story, got it?"
"Yes director."
An official email went out to the Agency staff list explaining how Joe had a breakdown and expired due to poor health.  When the rest of the staff went to their homes and the Director, Vanessa and Rob were the only ones left the Director spoke.
"He was the last of the unchanged.  We couldn't trust him to keep our secret.  Pushing him over the edge was the best way to handle it."  The screen on the work station behind Rob was showing footage of the impact on Jupiter's atmosphere with a shadowed echo of a giant spaceship the size of one of Jupiter's moons.  "I have already sent a transmission that the damage is contained."
Rob spoke "Who thought it was a good idea to conduct pilot training for the mother ship in this system?  Has that individual been exposed to vacuum yet?"
The director fixed his steely kaleidoscope eyes on Rob, his ire pushing him out of disguise "I think the Admiral might be interested in how you think he should be punished.  Shall I relay this?"
"No, I misspoke myself Director.  Please disregard and I am happy to be of service."

The End

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Country Dumpster: A behavioral study of humans conducted in a blind.

It was late and Hrvos was ready for the next test.  Thmos spoke "Hrvos, how many more times do we have to tele-operate the creature tonight?"
"At least four more times.  We need a base line for frustrating this particular human then we can move our operations again."
"But we've been here a week.  Don't we have enough yet?"
"Thmos, we will do four more clang and rolls tonight because I'm in charge and I say we need the data.  Can we please try and have some fun with this?"
"Okay Hrvos.  Whatever you say.  Just remember we will need to shut down for a day to do preventative maintenance on the creature."
"I remember, now concentrate.  We're on the path and there is the waste container.  Wow, this guy put steel chains on the thing.  Thmos, push the creatures head against the vessel and try and get it rolling."
"I got it to pivot 90 degrees.  Now what?"
"Can you push it in a straight line?"
"Yes.  Do you want it all the way to the house?"
"Maybe.  Let's start pushing and see how long it is until the human emerges to investigate.  Then we'll escape."
A few minutes later the sound of gravel scrunching brought a man in his sixties to the door of the house.  He grabbed his flashlight and bathed the dumpster with light apparently startling the bear into leaving.  "Damn critters keep trying my patience."  He went back to watching TV and talking with his wife.
"What now Hrvos?"
"Let's wait a few minutes and return to turn the vessel 90 degrees toward the machine shelter."
A few minutes later the bear was back pushing the dumpster to the garage, the wheels not making as much noise this time.  The dumpster bumped against the house and the chains rattled.  The man reappeared in the doorway of the house this time shining a spotlight on the bear and yelling.  The bear ran away and the man got some help from the neighbors to push the dumpster back into place.
"Well Thmos, so far we've gotten him to shine a light and yell.  Let's give it half an hour and try again."
A half hour passed and the bear reappeared.  This time the wheels of the vessel were locked somehow and they just dragged on the concrete and sank in the gravel.  The bear growled and tried to raise the lid with its snout making a lot of noise with the chains.  Again the man appeared in the doorway lighting up the bear and yelling.  He even took a couple of steps off of the porch to feign a lunging attack.  The bear looked at the man and trotted off across the road into the trees.
"Hrvos, it looks like we're making him angry.  I think humans lose intelligence when they get angry."
"Um, Thmos.  That is what we are trying to determine with this study.  We have to prove it, do you understand?"
"Yes Hrvos.  What next?"
"Let's wait ten minutes then get a running start at the vessel, see if we can get it to the middle of the path again.  That ought to frustrate the human."

Next to the property of the dumpster was a cabin with a vacationing family whose eighteen year old son was peering into the dark to determine what was making all of the noise.  He had a very powerful LED strobe light that cast a narrow but blinding beam of light.  When the bear came running across the road he saw the movement of the bushes and a great black form hit the dumpster with the force of a car, flipping the dumpster into the center of the path.  The bear had rolled over the form of the dumpster as the dumpster flipped landing on the opposite side of the dumpster and moving slowly as if stunned.
The boy shined his light on the black form as it began to stand up.

"Thmos, what the hell happened?  We need to get moving before the human comes out and gets too close."
"We will but I must first get out and adjust the creature's head.  We can't see anything right now because the impact jarred the camera alignment."
"Hurry the frizzle up, you stupid delouche."

As the boy watched he saw the eyes of the bear moving then two dessert plate sized ovals of greenish glow appeared between the bear's back legs and moved forward.  A being with a bulbous head stood up and handled the face of the bear moving its eyes further apart on the head.  It then ran to the back legs and disappeared.  The bear stood up and started looking around.  Seeing the pinpoint of light coming from the cabin it started to approach.
The man appeared in the doorway again this time with a spotlight, yelling and a stun gun.  He shot the dumpster and an electrical arc jumped to the bear.  This was enough to get the bear running across the road.

When morning came the man had his neighbors help him turn the dumpster up right again and before leaving for the day the boy went to speak to the man about the bear.  "Does that happen every night?"
"It has for the last week.  They'll probably move on now."
"They?  I thought it was a bear?"  The boy did not want to mention what he had seen hop out of the creature.
"Nah.  It's not a real bear.  It's a couple of grey anthropologists who think they are doing legitimate research.  Here, look at the infrared of the bear.  Me and the missus have been watching them on the television every night this week."
"You know?  Why don't you call the Air Force and capture them?"
"High Command knows about them and let's the farce go on.  It keeps them from getting into more serious mischief.  To tell you the truth I find it really amusing to see them squeeze into those imitation animals of theirs.  It took a lot of years for them to figure out how to cross the road.  You come on back next summer son and we'll start having some fun with them, what do ya say."
"I'm in."

"Hrvos, I want a transfer.  You're going to get us killed."
"Stop whining Thmos.  We have two more years on our sentence then we can take over this stinking swamp planet."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Taxi to ISS and Beyond

     As of today NASA has narrowed the field for crew service support to Boeing, Sierra Nevada and SpaceX.  I found this announced on NBCMSN.whatever. Tech and Science News.  Boiling it down to these three are the ones getting future funding from NASA in the competition.  There has been a lot of hot air expelled over why shouldn't NASA just fund one development effort.
     That sort of thing leads to accusations of favoritism, squashes innovation and promotes waste.  Having three levelly matched competitors will most likely result in multiple options for services that will be scalable based on mission.  All three are being designed to carry 6-7 passengers but one will be capable of atmospheric glide reentry.  The other two will make better space workhorses for asteroid missions, interplanetary mission modules, cargo transfer and more uses.
     Unlike the Apollo race I choose to view this one as a race to build a sustainable infrastructure for a space based economy.  The Apollo program and the shuttle program suffered from the inertia of having locked in sourcing which meant if you didn't throw enough money in one company's direction then sooner or later you were going to have a critical shortage of a key component.  The company making that component would be fat for a while then move on or go under due to lack of growth.
     This way the three companies going to completion of human flight will bear all of the responsibilities for providing the service to both private industry and government.  Trimming the budget and getting faster improvement response with more options ready.  Who is stupid enough to find something wrong with that?
     My point is that this model makes better sense and it has taken us too long to get this far. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Nuge and Neil Prescott, AKA Joker wannabe

What do these two have in common do you ask?  Well I'll tell you oh inquisitive one.

The one on top seems to think that if everyone in the Aurora movie theater had been packing heat that a lot less people would have been killed.  I'm troubled by the concept that people with handguns in a movie theater under-fire, dark with changing lighting from the movie and smoke from the tear gas for those of you who need a little more to set the seen, could successfully engage the shooter with less loss of life.  Oh that's right, collateral damage seems to be overlooked by a lot of scared people who think more of their personal arsenals than any other human being.
The one on the bottom has bitten into the cliché of going postal.  He hoarded weapons, was probably a real opinionated joy to work with (or totally introverted), and contracted for a company that automates postal stuff until his contract was terminated. 
They both think that hosing people down with weapons is an acceptable answer to their life issues.  I am an NRA member and I am just waiting for the dues to run out.  I agree that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to keep and bear arms...(important stuff here too by the way), but how is society bettered by people feeling like they have to pack heat to go to the movies, out to dinner or heaven forbid to work unless part of their job requires them to be armed?

Friday, July 27, 2012


The Legacy of Daddy has been entered on  If anyone has read and wishes to review it then that would be a place to go.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My first review of another author's work.

I believe that we as authors should be able to review the work of our peers and be helpful.  I devoted the whole day to this and I hope that the recipient will be thankful.  I also hope that the author will reciprocate.  The purpose of this is to help us grow a skill set that we can apply to our own work and the assumption is that future work will be easier because we have already worked through these issues.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Losing it!

It is part of human nature to get frustrated and lash out.  Beginning when we are two and lasting until we have cardiac permanent shutdown there will be situations that just piss us off.  What does that pissed of, frustrated, take it out on the nearest available target win us?
A new an improved reputation for being an ass, high blood pressure, high cortisol levels and a desire to turn west and just keep going even if you are on the coast.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

I've been listening to this podcast a lot lately during commutes and other tedious tasks that eat into my life.  These guys really put together some amazing interviews with authors, scientists, publishers, screenwriters, etc, for the first half of their casts.  The second half is usually a themed review of a subject related to the interview and most of the time stays on track.  I'm giving them a thumbs up.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Keeping up the momentum

Last night I finally got back to writing in the third novel after a week off.  It's not that I didn't want to write or have plot developments I wanted to explore.  It was simply that I let everything else in my life take precedence for a week.  That's what happened with my swimming also, because I did that stupid thing which is trying to synchronize my workouts with someone else.  No matter how much I love them it always messes up what I'm trying to do.  Which forces me to reexamine what I'm trying to do and the vicious cycle repeats, arhhh!