Altered Carbon Aftermath

Like many, I have been enjoying the new Netflix series ‘Altered Carbon’ and like many authors I have been daydreaming about what my own cyberpunk epic might look like on screen. The filmmakers did a fantastic job with AC and I encourage any and all of my readers to check out the show. When I see something like that I am encouraged to continue, at least on occasion, to create cyberpunk fiction. As a genre cyberpunk has a significant ebb and flow in its popularity (thus sales) unlike the more stable military scifi and creature feature genres, and so I only plug into those wires when the story is burning through my spirit for release onto the page. Seeing the Takeshi Kovacs series of novels (Altered Carbon being the first) make their way to the screen and to witness a resurgence in the popularity of the novels is extremely heartening.

For those of you who are into my military science fiction series ‘Necrospace‘ or the ‘Extinction Fleet‘ trilogy, I encourage you to give ‘Beautiful Resistance‘ a chance.

High-tech mercenaries find themselves pitted against freerunning revolutionaries as global corporate warfare becomes centered around a struggling island nation and the freedom fighters defending their home.

*a character profile I commissioned

Check out Defiance Pattern (Book 1) and Opposition Shift (Book 2)

The second novel in the series has arrived, with the third having been submitted to the publisher and added to their line up.

The corporate slinger Hayden Cole finds himself seeing a different side of the clandestine war over the mysterious island energy source, learns that the some of the warriors have a dark secret, and are anything but human. The legendary slinger Lunatic 8 wages a one woman cyberwar for the resistance, matching the hackers of her corporate rivals program for program in the virtual dreamworld of Massnet, while Hirohito, the deadly cyborg, is unleashed. Hayden and his engineer partner Nibiru begin to question their loyalties as they witness the freedom fighters struggling to stay one step ahead of mercenary death squads.

The streets of the city are full of gun smoke and the wires of cyberspace hum with digital violence as opposing forces struggle over wealth, freedom, and the very soul of the islands in this grim futuristic thriller.


Nobody Gets Away Clean

Writing can be a costly thing for the person hitting the keys, and for me there is no price more steep than to venture into Necrospace. I can only write in that world for a short time before I must pull back, because I can only stand in that hard light for so long before my soul grows too heavy to continue.

I have been writing for over a decade, everything from screenplays to comic books, with many a novel in between, and nothing demands so much from me as a Necrospace story. I grew up in the Boy Scout of America, working summer camps as a living history staffer, and reading the poetry of Robert Service. Such things gave me much in the way of a framework of mythology, which I carried into my college years as a Theology student. We are nothing if not stories, and the ones that always resonated with me were those of the common men, those born to toil and die unsung in such epic tales as the Iliad and Beowulf, or in the lesser known moments of the Industrial Revolution, when much of humanity worked to justify itself upon the gears and levers of the new machines that would replace the labor of their hands and minds all too soon.

I have always been fascinated by the faceless men and women of history to whom we owe the greatest of debts. Those who wielded the iron of plow and of sword, the hardy folk who swung hammer and pick in mines of coal, the mighty among us who endure the 38 hours of no-benefit service industry labor, and the seniors who did not even get the golden watch at the end of a lifetime’s tenure at the desk or on the assembly line. The soldier who fights for minimum wage and comes back broken to a world that knows nothing of his long journey. The mother who knows her newborn child’s fate is already wed to the grind.

Carrion Duty (Book 5) took a king’s ransom from me, costing me nearly a year to write and nearly a year to recover. My own life has been a troubled one since that novel’s release, and I have had precious little to give to the scrapyard universe. I took to the road at the top of the year, and have been chewing up the miles since then (today is the 17th) with at least a week or more till I stop moving, and it has been a healing balm to do so. Out here on the blacktop I feel that I have found the energy to carry on, the surge to return to my old friend Samuel Hyst and his tragically epic life has found me again, and though I know it will hurt I am ready to return to the darkest place I’ve known.

Hard Cargo (Book 6) will be an ugly thing, and yet beautiful in its own way. I want it to hurt you to read it as much as I know it will hurt me to write it, and in the doing perhaps we both will find some measure of peace. Some kind of hope that will empower us to soldier on.

May we be so lucky.

This is the job.

Welcome to the Red List

Excerpt from Necrospace Book 5 – CARRION DUTY 

Never was there a battle so pure as the one waged for survival. As a Red List community, their freedom was a desperate sort, fueled by theft and piracy in an unending struggle to last just one more cycle. Fiat Lux had been living lean for nearly six months as their rangers had been scouring necrospace for a worthwhile target. There were mouths to feed, with prescious little time to make a good kill and harvest a fresh bounty.

“Eight flak batteries and four turbo-lasers on the compound, looks like they weren’t expecting anything heavier than conventional air support, and the frigate is a solid three minutes out,” reported Lelani. The mech squad could hear the voice of Morgan growling from inside Night Witch as Lelani added, “Swarm barges away. Planetfall in twenty seconds. War machines, fangs out!”

“I am the Hammer that strikes Unrelenting!” shouted Gregory Schnect from the cockpit of Swift Hammer, a Titan class mech that stood several meters taller than Sokol in his machine, making the Coyote class machine look more like an exoskeleton than a mech by comparison, as he chambered and primed high velocity thud rounds in the cannons mounted on both his arms and shoulders.

“I am the Beast that stalks the Fields!” answered Sokol before he revved his ripsaw and squared his shoulders, the beat of his heart and the grind of his mech combining to breach the barrier in his psyche between man and machine while he braced for eject.

“I am the Storm that shatters the Walls!” bellowed Angron from within Thunder Walks, the re-furbished Titan class mech that had seen combat in a dozen wars before the Fiat Lux reavers had stolen it, though any who witnessed the mech in action would swear that the man named Angron had been born in its metal womb.

“I am the Darkness that destroys all Hope,” whispered Morgan, while the Night Witch, with its twin plasma lances, stood perfectly still as the pilot deftly adjusted the mech’s stance in time with the impacts and shifts in the ship’s course.

“Good hunting,” intoned Lelani as she keyed the quick release hatch and activated an ejection sequence that hurled the four mechs forward even as the ship’s hard banking maneuver dumped them out right above the complex.

Your Wires Are Showing

“The future is already here — It’s just not evenly distributed.” – William Gibson

It was so much easier to write cyberpunk fiction in the days before laptops, iphones, and bluetooth. Or maybe easy isn’t quite the right word, since the authors of the 80’s & 90’s were making up the technology as they went, imagining it freshly in their minds as they forged the motherboard of a genre that was just as much about style as it was substance.

High Tech Low Life

It was glorious. I cannot say enough about how shaped I have been by the works of William Gibson, specifically Neuromancer, the Shadowrun and Netrunner pen & paper role playing games, the anime Ghost in the Shell, and of course our man Philip K. Dick with stories and resulting film adaptations like Minority Report and Blade Runner. I love the movie Johnny Mnemonic, and no gushing about cybepunk from decades past would be complete without mention of The Matrix.

To write cyberpunk now, in the year 2017, is a different endeavor. So much of the technological advancements that get imagined in the above works are now commonplace. The sorts of “oh wow” moments that used to hit hard in cyberpunk works just don’t hit quite the way they used to, at least for most of us. I know there are still some basic cable shows that try to present hacking as people typing Really Fast and Looking Stressed at cascading lines of gibberish while they say “someone is hacking our network”, and while that isn’t remotely what real hacking looks like (and no amount of fast edits and soundtrack could make it exciting to watch), those shows and their presentation illustrate the line we creators have to walk between real life and dynamic fiction.

For “Beautiful Resistance” we did our best to imagine a near future that moved along a similar path of technological advancement as we are now. We created our fictional “CodeSource” to be the more conventional ‘system’ that is what we basic users experience today, even if amped up for dramatic purposes, so that it would ring true to a contemporary audience. We created our fictional “MassNet” as our ‘full immersion’ system, the computer dream world of our story, which functions much like the simulations in The Matrix films, or the Neuromancer and Snowcrash novels. Throughout the story we work to present an engaging story with near-future technology that feels legitimate given where we are, as a contemporary society, today. We knew that we had to give you just enough tech-speak to make sense of everything happening, but we did not go so deep into it that A) readers poke holes in our science and B) the story doesn’t get slowed down. Though the hacker parts of the story were the most difficult, there was also the ‘combat operative’ element, where we had to present cyborg warriors who had upgrades and implants that felt realistic enough for a near future setting, but were still exciting to read about.

We also had to look at implications of near future technologies, and what they might do to the political, environmental, and economic landscape. For this we imagined a post-WWIII world, where the great superpowers finally went for blood, and our story picks up some years later. In our imagined near future corporations have taken the place of most world superpower governments (that’s a theme with me I know) and the inequality of the world has become more dramatically pronounced. In our story the mega-cities of the first world country are the neon spectacles one might see in films like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, while much of the rest of the world has experienced very little growth compared to where they are in our contemporary real world. Much of the setting, in fact the story itself, is based on the above William Gibson quote. While we don’t get preachy at all (we’re writers, not politicians, economists, or activists) we do address some of the unavoidable elements of setting a story about high powered agents pursuing first world agendas in the boardrooms and back alleys of what we call in our story ‘low grade regions’. In this way we were invited to present a rather poignant illustration of High Tech Low Life in a way that may conjure up images of Neil Blomkamp’s work from films such as Chappie, Elysium, and District 9.

As for the street shaman and the jungle island vampires, well, that’s another post all together.

This has been a project that I have wanted to create for some time, and am happy to finally be able to present it. Our goals are to give you a reading experience that feels less like science fantasy and more like science future, while still delivering on the style & substance promised by dubbing it a work of cyberpunk.

Naturally it is for you to decide if we accomplished any of this, and we are excited to get your feedback!

Art Scavenger

I have a facebook page for Necrospace (HERE) where I occasionally post scavenged and modified digital art. Most all of this stuff is either stock art that I’ve got laying around in my junk pile or uncredited and random pics that I’ve found online. I take these and give them some text and a few color & texture tweaks, then get the out there. I thought it would be fun to collect all of these into a single blog post. Enjoy!


Necrospace Teaser Trailer

A little something I put together using a digital piece by artist Tithi Luadthong, the audiobook(s) prologue from Jeffrey Kafer, and some bootleg garage band sounds from yours truly.

Space Marine Loki

Live. Fight. Die.

Live Again.

This is the fate of all Einherjar space marines, tasked to battle for humanity against ravenous alien swarms in an endless war of survival or extinction.

The garm on Heorot have been exterminated, and the extinction fleet’s suicidal assaults turned back upon every front across the universe. However, the Hive Mind still pulses with psychic menace, and marine Ajax can hear its hideous siren call.

Task Force Grendel has been assembled to hunt down other alpha garm that have appeared deep within human space, and a growing number of marines believe that Ajax is the great hero Beowulf, come now to re-conquer the stars. Ajax himself has doubts, though as he and his band of brothers are hurled into the slavering jaws of danger again and again, his only choice is to raise his rifle and fight.

As the Einherjar hunt monsters a legendary warrior rises from the body forge, his mind overwhelmed with equal parts myth and madness. His betrayal unleashes a host of abominations, and threatens to shake the very pillars of human civilization to dust as the traitor reveals that evolution is a weapon of mass destruction.


Cyberpunk Noir

I am presently in the far depths of co-authoring a noir cyberpunk trilogy, very much in the vein of Shadowrun, and found myself rather enjoying writing pieces of a sword fight scene between two augmented operatives, though one is significantly less human than the other. This is an unedited section of that scene, which I particularly enjoyed creating.
“The samurai swung in a wide arc that would have sliced into her side had she missed the parry, and Laine realized that while the man had been augmented for strength and resiliency, perhaps even had parts of his brain adjusted for loyalty, there was little he could do against her so long as he thought too hard about it. Any fool could swing a sword, and anyone could become a master of the blade with enough training or upgrades, yet it was only with no-mind that one could hope to win with consistency. The woman allowed her augmentations to feed her data and silenced her conscious mind, allowing her ego and her assumptions about the outcome to dissolve into the datastream from her augments. The cyberware rode Laine into battle, her ego given over to the machine’s lighting fast calculations.
Perhaps had the Samurai too achieved a similar state, free of his conscious mind, perhaps he could have beaten her. To act without thinking, to be as pure as the kata, was the only way to even have a hope in beating the machine. Laine sidestepped another swipe of the samurai’s blade and drove her own into his throat, through the windpipe and the spine in one stroke. The samurai’s body sounded hollow as it hit the ground, sword clanking against the pavement, all of it recorded by Laine’s auditory enhancements. They always sounded hollow to her ears, the bodies as they died, no matter how augmented or not they might be, and often she would listen to their final moments over and over, as if hoping to divine the exact moment life left limb and spark died in the wire.”

Hostile Salvage Confirmed


At long last the fifth book in the Necrospace series has reached publication. We are at the halfway point in this sprawling tale, and as we meet new characters with their own trials and tribulations there are a number of familiar faces who return to the stage. This book more than any before it embodies the ‘pulp noir’ style that has become the hallmark of the series. Enjoy!


Rhett Calibos is a bounty scrapper, his life as an indentured soldier a welcome alternative to imprisonment on a penal colony. A man haunted by his past, Rhett throws himself into the work, his only sanctuary. Sokol Targe is the leader of a mech warrior squad, stationed aboard an ancient and deadly warship, and conducts violent raids on behalf of a Red List commune. Cast away from corporate society, they have embraced the ravager way of life.

As these troubled men endure furious combat across the ragged edges of civilization, neither of them realize they’ve become entangled in the deeper mysteries of necrospace.

It’s a hard universe, and nobody gets away clean.