Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

One year ago today, April 25, 2012, I started writing The Great Dead North.

It is a post apocalyptic journal entry novel on Twitter.

When I blogged about it last year, I called it My Twitter Experiment.


Each entry is no more than 140 characters… the maximum allowed per tweet.

I post daily journal entries from the second year in aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Only a relative handful of people have survived the first year. Food, vehicles, gasoline, medicine and supplies were relatively abundant during the first year. By the second year, gasoline (a highly refined product) has ‘gone bad’ and vehicles no longer run on it. Most of the ‘easy picking’ supplies have been exhausted. Specialized ‘city folk’ are now forced to exist in a hostile environment. Our world, at best, has been plunged back into the Dark Ages. For some survivors, they have been thrown back to the Stone Age.

Please check it out on Twitter and Follow it, if  you like it.



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A few weeks ago, I broke down and got a Twitter account.

One of the things I’m following on Twitter is a series of tweets called Life After Z Day.

The premise is elegantly simple. The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse has smacked us in the face like a bloody severed hand. Despite things hitting the fan in a major way, someone out there has access to Twitter and tweets his journal entries several times a day.

Here are a few examples from this month…

  • 1 Apr:   Sorry for the inactivity, my brother and I had run out of ammunition and canned food… We had to venture into the city.
  • 3 Apr:   What a night last night, we drove the rzr into a small town and broke into a boarded up bar… It’s funny to say, but I missed hangovers.
  • 4 Apr: Hung over today, and my brother and I are being lazy and bunked down… but tomorrow we gotta get out and work on our fences.
  • 6 Apr:   Just after we had got to sleep the dog heard something and woke us up… It was a nomad walker cought (sic) up in one of our perimeter fences.
  • 8 Apr:  as soon as the door opened up i thought maybe there was a reason the door was locked from the outside.. thats (sic) when we heard the moans inside.
  • 10 Apr:  we came across a sworm (sic) of walkers, and in the middle of the swarm there was an SUV with what looked to be two girls in trouble…
  • 11 Apr:  We have been busy all day patrolling the perimeter of the farm, there was an abnormal amount of walkers caught on the fence…
  • 11 Apr:  But I suppose these days there is no such thing as ‘normal’.

Some days, there is only one entry… or two. Other days, there can be several. April 10th had about 30 entries.

It’s like reading a diary. Or rather, reading a journal over the shoulder of the person writing it, while he is writing it.

I’m hooked… like a walker on a barbed wire fence.

Check it out.

If, like me, you a zombie kinda person and you tend to drift on over to Twitter whenever you’re bored and have a few minutes to spare… give Life After Z Day a go.

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I have to confess to a question that has been much on my mind of late… one that has been weighing heavily upon my soul.

Could a ‘Death Star’ really destroy a planet? Is it even physically and scientifically possible? Could a small moon-sized battle station generate enough energy to destroy an Earth-sized planet? I mean, really?

(That’s no moon. It’s a space station)

Luckily, or maybe not, the physics geeks over at PhysOrg.com have looked into this profound and troubling question and have come to a disturbing conclusion.

As I discovered in a recent article,  a paper by David Boulderston (University of Leicester) sets out to answer that very question and it seems the answer is… YES!

Well, isn’t that just lovely.

First, for the uninitiated and/or those who have been hiding in a cave for the last 35 years, here’s Death Star-101

According to Star Wars lore, the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, or Death Star, is a moon-sized battle station designed to spread fear throughout the galaxy. The image above shows the Death Star as it appeared in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977). The Death Star’s main weapon is depicted as a superlaser capable of destroying planets with a single blast.

(Plan of DS-1 Orbital Battle Station)

Boulderston claims that it is possible to estimate how much energy the Death Star would need in order to destroy a planet with its superlaser. Taking into account a whole lot of assumptions in order to come up with the energy requirement (e.g. assuming Alderaan [the target planet in Star Wars IV] did not have any sort of planetary “deflector” shield and that the planet is a solid body of uniform density, using the idealized sphere model based on Earth’s mass and diameter, etc.),  it was possible to determine the gravitational binding energy of Alderaan, using a simple equation of:

U= 3GMp2

Where G is the Gravitational Constant (6.673×10-11), Mp is planet mass, and Rp is the planet’s radius. Using Earth’s mass and radius, the required energy comes out to 2.25 x 1032 Joules. Using Jupiter’s data, the energy required goes up to 2 x 1036 Joules.

Piece of cake, no?

(I find your lack of faith… disturbing)

According to Star Wars lore, the Death Star is powered by a ‘hypermatter’ reactor, possessing the energy output of several main-sequence stars. Boulderston asserts that, given that the power output of our Sun is about 3 x 1026 Joules per second, it’s a reasonable assumption the Death Star’s reactor could power the superlaser.

Put another way, since the Death Star’s main power reactor has the energy output equal to several main-sequence stars, even if Earth’s exact composition were used in the equation above, the required energy to destroy a planet would only be affected by a few orders of magnitude – well within the Death Star’s power budget.

So… the bottom line, according to Boulderston, is that wiping out a planet like Earth is no sweat… but if the Death Star wanted to take on a planet like Jupiter, that would be a much taller order but ultimately do-able.

Can’t wait for the Evil Empire to come up with their next nifty gadget, the Sun-Buster 3000!

May the Force with you… always!

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Nothing unnerves a gaggle of rednecks quite like the silvery laugh from a vampyre that just received 33 bullets in her chest. They generally find it unsettling.

A deep self-satisfied sigh… a single dark eyebrow arched high over a glowing green eye… a coquettish turn of the head.

“Now, now boys,” spoke the voice, soft as a silk coffin lining. “Is that any way to treat a lady?”

A half-dozen pair of eyes stared, transfixed, as a tiny smile played at the corners of those luscious moist soft red lips, two precious emeralds set just above.

The men were dead before their bodies hit the snow, their life forces seeping out, staining the soft white blanket beneath them.

This is an ‘off the top of my head’ example of the bargain-basement vampyre fiction I lovingly call ‘Trashy Fanger Lit!’

Right now, I am making my way through Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Slayer series of novels. And please do not think that Ms. Hamilton’s writing lives down to the dreck I scribbled above. I like her works.

I am not the fastest reader in the world, so it is taking me forever (or so it seems to me) but I enjoy these books. It is a fabulous blend of the film noir, hard-bitten wise-cracking private detective style and modern vampyre ‘out of the coffin’ motif.

If you haven’t read these books, give the first one, ‘Guilty Pleasures’, a try to see if, like me, you get hooked!

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