I'm a writer, mostly of science fiction, tending toward higher space opera, social/religious speculation, and ethical romance--much of it of interest even to those who don't usually read science fiction. I have a small but intense (and patient) fan base, but those who like my work tend to be both interested in other things and uncooperative by personality, so you're unlikely to find them hanging out much together.
I wrote a lot in the early 90s, retreated for a decade to raise a family and make a living (in my daytime identity as Alex Jablokow, Man of Marketing), but am back again, with new stories coming out and a novel, Brain Thief, due out in January 2010.
How I managed to do this, and how I plan to keep on doing it, is of interest in its own right, and I hope to let readers in on how it all works. This site and its blog will detail how I, at least, go about it. Many of us are in the same boat, with life requirements competing with artistic ambitions.
And our day jobs are of interest too. They aren't just filler between episodes of creative mania. My job plays a role, now, in how I understand and relate to things. I'll go into that too.
The new book: Brain Thief
It has taken me the ten years since the birth of my second child to finish it, during which I started a new career, and had many other changes in my life. Nevertheless, I hope it reads light and fast.
It's a humorous technothriller set in central Massachusetts, and involves a rogue AI, a cryobank therapist, an anti-AI activist organization, an automated junkyard, mysterious messages from beyond, and a diner topped by a thirty-foot fiberglass cowgirl. Your life would definitely benefit from checking it out.
What my writing is like
I write what I like to read: literate stories with plots, characters, and snappy dialog. If this sounds appealing, you can check out the specific books: five novels and one short story collection.
Once you pick one, here is one suggestion on how you might read it.
Head over to a coffee and pastry place you like. If the place is built into the ground floor of a half-ruined palazzo with unknown tenants on the upper floors, and has a terrace by the side of a canal, so much the better. The guy behind the counter is busy flirting with the waitress, but if you get his attention he'll give you some flourless chocolate cake on a china plate with a chip knocked out of the gold rim, and a cup of strong coffee.
Go out to the terrace and find a table made out of a Corinthian capital from a temple of Serapis. An old stone millwheel will be fine as a substitute. If the sun is bright, push your Borsalino forward to shade your face, or adjust your parasol. If you’re wearing gloves, take them off.
Take a look around. You don’t want to be unexpectedly approached while you are lost in your reading. Your friends are more likely to disturb you than your enemies.
That guy glancing nervously at everyone who walks out of the door has grown his blond hair long to hide the scars of cosmetic brain surgery. Those inserted neural tools sometimes develop personalities of their own, particularly those early models. Perhaps that’s why his left eye sometimes drifts sideways, as if in a desperate attempt to see the back of his own head, even as he’s trying to focus on the way the knob to the back door turns each time someone comes in, as if he can predict who it is going to be.
The woman in the tailored summer suit examines images of the digestive systems of alien beings, scrying the future for her clients. Aliens, after all, are mere physical realizations of our fears and desires, no matter how real their gigantic spaceships look when they crash into the Venusian crust, and are thus uniquely suitable for untangling our destinies. She waves her hand through the image, and realizes that the mist covering that stringy bluish organ actually comes from her Darjeeling. She edits her prognostication accordingly.
The canal’s water is clear, so you can see the hulk of a steam launch at the bottom. A crayfish tries to scuttle from the smokestack to a hole in the teak deck, but is picked off by a dolphin loaded with sonar jamming equipment. The dolphin swallows the crayfish, then pops out of the water and insolently soaks your shoes. Before you can react, it is gone on its errand.
You’ve flipped through the book a couple of times, grabbing random bits of dialogue and description. Nothing has turned you against it yet, but you know you’re hard to please.
You turn to the first page and start to read.