Poetry and Nonsense

I was talking to my parents recently about some of the poetry I’ve written in the past few years. I mentioned how I’d developed a fascination with ways to integrate technology into poetic experimentation. I explained how much I enjoy Google search poems. I told them how I created a method of generating something akin to found poetry, using my smartphone’s auto-suggestion typing feature.

My mom said she’d like to read my tech-based poems, so I sent her links to my first auto-suggestion poem and a Google search poem I built (both written for National Poetry Writing Month in 2016).

My mom responded to these poems with this: “Is playing with words poetry in and of itself?”

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Book Review: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines

Cover of the book Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines
Terminal Alliance
by Jim C. Hines
DAW, 2017

This review was first published by Booklist on November 3, 2017.

A biological attack turns most of the crew of the spaceship Pufferfish into ravening zombies. Only the janitorial crew members survive unscathed. It’s up to them to figure out how to avoid the attackers still hunting them—but first they have to figure out how to fly the ship. Thus begins Terminal Alliance, the first novel in a new series from the author of the Magic Ex Libris series (Revisionary, 2017) that raises the bar for humorous postapocalyptic science fiction with charming underdogs, fascinating alien races, complex intergalactic politics, and a far-reaching conspiracy. With so much serious dystopia on the shelves, a story like this is a genuine pleasure to read: proudly funny and ridiculous. But don’t dismiss this novel as only silly fun. It is also good science fiction: a solid premise, an expansive universe, a compelling history, a strong and varied cast of characters, pulse-pounding action, and a galactic crisis with high stakes. The fact that it’s funny is icing on a rich and delicious cake. Clever, and should appeal to fans of Douglas Adams and John Scalzi.

Book Review: The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
by Aaron Mahnke
Del Ray, 2017

Aaron Mahnke’s Lore podcast is one of the more fascinating and informative podcasts available. He explores the world of lore: folktales and legends—usually creepy or macabre—and shares the interesting things he finds. He’s an accomplished and entertaining storyteller.

Podcasts are subject to time constraints: there’s only so much you can fit into each episode. While the stories he shares with his listeners are clearly well researched, he doesn’t go into much depth with them. And that’s OK for a podcast—the point of these stories is to share them and entertain his audience. While he occasionally asks the Big Questions (“Why are we drawn to myths and legends like these? What purpose do they serve?” etc.) he never offers much more than cursory, broad strokes answers. Again, that’s fine for a podcast—he needs to focus each episode on telling the cool stories he finds.

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