August 2, 2018
The Old Spice brand has recently introduced The Gentleman character class for the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game. The Gentleman is tailor-crafted to confidently gallivant about the fantasy landscape, promoting male grooming products to a demographic that could really use them (according to the gamer stereotypes the ad agency researchers read about on the internet.)
This unsolicited intrusion may prove to be pure marketing gold, and other brands will race to stake their claims by inserting mascots into beloved game franchises. Here’s a preview of potential forthcoming collaborations.
- Hamburglar stars as the anti-hero of the next Grand Theft Auto installment. The young miscreant will roam the urban jungle, hijacking cars and knocking over fast-food joints. His predisposition for the Golden Arches will have players primed to answer in the affirmative when asked, “Would you like fries with that?” Vice City PD will also want to put an APB out for his known associate and white-gloved stooge, Hamburglar Helper.
- Mystery board game Clue replaces Mr. Green with Mr. Clean. What’s the enigmatic mascot hiding behind that smirk? The answer to that might be “Mr. Clean with the mop,” pretty much in any room of the house. They could all use some tidying up.
- Players will begin the game of Life as the Gerber Baby and enjoy a worry-free adolescence as Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman, but eventually grow up and get a job as the Maytag Repairman. The marriage to Mrs. Butterworth will be rocked by an affair with the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl, but eventually they’ll work things out and have a Big Boy of their own. Only the winning player will be able to lay claim to the title of The Most Interesting Man Alive.
- Halo’s Master Chief will be replaced with Colonel Sanders, who will need all eleven of his herbs and spices to defeat wave after wave of GEICO Geckos on some hellish alien planet.
- The Charmin Bears may only need a few sheets to get clean, but they’ll discard plenty of toilet paper to clog up the warp pipes and finally let Mario and Luigi utilize their plumbing skills in the next Super Mario Bros. side-scroller.
- Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and the Trix rabbit are few of the characters to appear in the next expansion of Pokémon trading cards. The cutthroat breakfast cereal business has prepared them for the life of savage gladiatorial combat against other cute pets.
- Hollywood won’t be far behind, casting the Michelin Man in Fast and the Furious, Cap’n Crunch in Battleship II, and Uncle Ben in the Spider-man prequel.
This trend shall continue ad infinitum, until all of us feel like the Coca-Cola Polar Bears, trapped on the ever-shrinking icebergs of pastimes and media not yet co-opted by clever marketing firms.
This tiny story is free. If you enjoyed it, please consider buying my books or supporting my current Kickstarter campaign.
July 21, 2017
Publications — just like acceptances — seem to happen for me in clumps. After a few weeks of inactivity I’ve got three releases this week, and one coming up next week.
First up is an original story over at Nature. “Catalogue of Items in the Chess Exhibition at the Humanities Museum, Pre-Enlightenment Wing” is a very dark tale. It’s one of several chess-inspired stories (sort of!) I’ve written for Nature and you can follow a link at the bottom of the story to a brief blog post about that.
Second is today’s podcast at Tales to Terrify, which produced one of my very few horror short stories — “A Thousand Cuts.” I’m proud to complete my District of Wonders trifecta as I’ve now had stories appear in all three of their genre podcasts — Starshipsofa, Far-Fetched Fables, and now Tales to Terrify.
Third up is the Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads — an anthology from Fantastic Books edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. It includes a reprint of another Nature story of mine with a long title: “Staff Meeting, As Seen by the Spam Filter.” I’m a big proponent of flash fiction and am very pleased that Fantastic Books is publishing what might be the first of many in this series. I hope the book does well enough to be followed by Fantasy for the Throne, etc.
The fourth publication is coming up in a week. Daily Science Fiction will run my new story, “The Practical Guide to Punching Nazis” on July 31.
May 20, 2015
This week’s issue of Nature includes “Grains of Wheat,” my story of big pharma, chess mythology, and revenge. You can read it here for free. There’s also a link from the story that leads to a brief essay about the inspiration and writing challenges behind it, which I hope readers of this blog will find interesting.
November 17, 2014
“A One-Sided Argument” flash story, originally published in Nature, appears on the second episode of the new podcast MedusPod. I listened to the first episode and was impressed with the voice acting and production values, so I sent in this story and they enjoyed it! Not only did D.E. Medus do a wonderful job of narrating, he also created a cool cover for it, above. Those are the two weapons mentioned at one point in the story (though I don’t want to spoil anything else for you).
MedusPod is just starting out, so give them a listen and maybe send them a story to help get them going.
Read “A One Sided Argument” in Nature
Listen to “A One Sided Argument” at MedusPod
March 11, 2014
This has been a good week for my podcast sales.
I signed a contract for a brand-new dark fantasy/horror flash story “The Lekar’s Fortune” to appear at the new pro-paying podcast, Electronic Voice Phenomenon.
Two more stories (both previously published in the journal of Nature) have been accepted by Tina Connolly to run on her Parsec-award winning podcast, Toasted Cake.
The first is “The Tell-Tale Ear” — a humorous near-future take on the Edgar Allan Poe classic.
The second is “Coffee in End Times,” a darker tale co-written by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and I.
“Coffee” sold to Nature on its first outing, and was picked up by Tina at Toasted Cake on its third-ever submission. Clearly, Alvaro and I are doing something right, and should collaborate more!
January 21, 2013
Tina Connolly did a great job reading my flash story “A Brief Respite from Eternity” at the Toasted Cake podcast.
This is a space opera about love, eternity, and the heat death of the universe. It was originally published in Stupefying Stories in April of 2012.
Also, Bogi Takacs reviews two of my religion-inspired SF stories on her blog. Spoiler alert: she likes one of them 🙂
December 9, 2012
Back in the spring, a bunch of writers on Twitter challenged each other to write the longest (and, of course, most interesting) flash stories consisting of only one sentence. This blog post explains the back story, features my own entry, and links to the stories posted by all of the other participants who chose to post their stories publicly.
Matthew Bennardo liked the idea so much, he decided to produce and publish an anthology of one sentence stories. For the next two weeks Matthew is accepting submissions, with guidelines outlined on his blog. Check it out!