Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mowing Down Greenhouse Gases

Global warming finally captured mainstream news headlines last week when reality star President Trump declared he would pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. While withdrawing from the agreement will have negative environmental and economic ramifications that won't manifest themselves for years, maybe even decades, I won't pretend to be surprised by this turn events, just like I wasn't surprised by the Dakota Access Pipeline getting rammed through. I've long believed that any meaningful action to curb global warming would come from the private sector and local efforts.

To that end, it's been encouraging to see cities like Pittsburgh pledge to go 100% renewable, and cities like Oakland block the construction of coal terminals in their ports, largely thanks to pressure from local groups. Similarly, municipalities, academic institutions, and churches have been divesting from the fossil fuel industry. All of these efforts began well before Trump became president and can continue despite his efforts to gut environmental regulations.

My electric, mulching mower has a
lot of miles on it...for good reason
As individuals, we have little control of federal legislation, but we can take individual efforts and band together to put pressure on businesses and local governments.

One avenue that I feel has been overlooked is a simple one: mulching our lawns instead of bagging out the grass clippings. I know, I know, it sounds sort of stupid, but hear me out.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I'm Now an Author/Dad

Introducing Ruby, my new excuse
for not getting work done!
If I've been quiet online for the last month, and I have, it's because my wife gave birth to our daughter. I'm happy to announce that both she and my wife, Mandy Burke, made it through labor just fine and are happy and healthy.

This is our first child, and as we were warned, the first month has been a blur. Needless to say, I've done little in the way of fiction writing (and by "little" I mean none). Each day is getting easier, though, and I'm looking forward to the prospect of getting back in the saddle again.

Apart from becoming a new dad, I don't have much in the way of news, but it does appear that there's been a price reduction for the Kindle editions of Dreamwielder and Souldrifter. Cheap is good, right? I'm not sure how long the prices will stay there, so I'd jump on board with  the series quickly if you're thinking about giving it a whirl.

-Garrett Calcaterra

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fantasy Author Interview: Craig Comer

Craig Comer
Readers of this blog have heard the name Craig Comer often enough in the past. He and I go way back, and along with Ahimsa Kerp, we co-authored the mosaic novel The Roads to Baldairn Motte. In addition to both of us being writers, we both love to travel and backpack, although he’s much more well-traveled than I. He also knows a hell of a lot more when it comes to history.

That being the case, it’s not surprising that Comer’s new novel, The Laird of Duncairn, is as much about travel and historical settings in Scotland as it is about magic and steampunk. In this interview, we discuss what the new book is all about, what inspired it, and what Comer has in store next.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Reading Recs, Random Projects, and Life Things

Photo courtesy of Craig Comer
As my lack of new posts here probably indicates, April was a busy month for me. The shenanigans kicked off with a great hike in the California redwoods with fellow authors Ahimsa Kerp and Craig Comer. A week later, I turned 40, and my wife threw a steampunk themed party for me where I got to see a lot of great family and friends (and eat cake, of course).

Since then, it's been all about prepping for our new baby, due in the coming weeks. My wife and I don't have a big place, so my writing office is now a combo writing office/nursery. (I figure this will last a year or two at best, and then the kid will kick me out and I'll be relegated to writing in the garage or the backyard.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spec-Fic Author Interview: M.E. Parker

M.E. Parker is the creator of the erstwhile literature and photography magazine Camera Obscuraas well as author of Hinterland Trilogy, a series of novels that melds elements of dystopian, post-apocalyptic, steampunk, and literary fiction. Book 1, Jonesbridge, introduces his main characters, Myron and Sindra, in a dystopian work farm, and book 2, The Nethers, picks up the action with Myron as he ventures out into a post-apocalyptic world beyond Jonesbridge. Book 3, Bora Bora is due for release later in 2017.

In this interview, M.E. Parker and I discuss his love for craftsmanship, how the real world influences his dystopian visions, and his place in the world of literature which is so keen on creating categories. In doing so, he lands upon a term for a subgenre that's new to me, and one that I particularly like: junkpunk.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The List of Cli-Fi from SF/F Authors

(Click here to get right to the list!)

At FOGcon 2017, I'm moderating a panel on climate change and the geography of daily life. To facilitate our conversation, I put together this list of notable climate fiction (cli-fi) written specifically by science fiction and fantasy authors. I should point out that there is a much larger body of cli-fi work from writers in mainstream fiction, but I'm not including them here. Additionally, I'm inclined to include SF novels based on other planets, as well as secondary world fantasy, if climate change is one of the over-arching conflicts or themes.

Just a couple of other quick notes on the list. This will be a working document that I'll update periodically. As such, please share any books you think should be added in the comment section.

Unless the annotations are in quotes, they come from me. Having said that, I haven't read all these books (yet), so some of the annotations are simply me paraphrasing plot summaries from the publisher or author's website. (To that end, if you're making a book recommendation in the comments, feel free to write your own original annotation, and include a link to your homepage or social media handle and I'll quote you in the main article itself if/when I add the book.)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

FOGcon 2017

Once again I'll be attending FOGcon this year, and I'm excited to be participating in three scheduled events. FOGcon takes place in Walnut Creek from March 10 – 12, and is an all around awesome convention that takes great care to be inclusive and diverse with its programming topics. Tickets are available at the door. You can learn more info here.

Here's my personal schedule, but I will also be hanging around most of the weekend attending other panels (or at the bar), so if you're attending and see me loitering around, please say hi!