Route 66: Ruins and Ghost Towns

This entry is part [part not set] of 16 in the series GDB & Route 66

One of my favorite things about Route 66 is discovering relics of a previous age, America’s answer to ancient ruins.

Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale: What’s good about sad?
Sally Sparrow: It’s happy for deep people.“Blink,” episode of Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat

Route 66 is full of old things, and many of them are falling apart from decades of abandonment. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite findings. Continue reading

Tyspwn or Ctesiphon

An 1864 photograph of the Taq-i Kisra. Note the figures standing atop the arch; we've always had stupid yahoos as tourists, I guess.
An 1864 photograph of the Taq-i Kisra. Note the figures standing atop the arch; we’ve always had stupid yahoos as tourists, I guess.

A drive problem is preventing more Route 66 updates — don’t worry, the photos aren’t lost, just presently inaccessible — so it’s background day here at the blog! Today we’re going to learn a tiny bit about the city where Saman, one of the Megistanes in So To Honor Him, resides — when he’s not traveling, that is.

The Megistanes, as you may recall from a previous post, were a hereditary priesthood serving four empires in succession. By Saman’s time, they were under the Parthians. Tyspwn, known better today by its latinized name Ctesiphon, was the capital city of the Parthian empire.

Continue reading

Route 66: Texas

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series GDB & Route 66
decrepit building with empty sign, surrounded by scraggly weeds and utterly forlorn
the Texas Longhorn Motel, or what’s left of it. “The First/Last Motel in Texas.”

Glenrio, as we saw on the eastern border of New Mexico, straddles the state line on an abandoned stretch of road. What shell is left of the Texas Longhorn Motel (“the First/Last Motel in Texas”) sits a few feet over the border, but there will be no guests.

Eastward, we come to Adrian, the geographical midpoint of Route 66 — probably depending on exact alignments, but who really cares to quibble? Adrian has 166 residents, per their sign, and I’m not going to begrudge them their midpoint status.

Midpoint sign for Route 66, Adrian, TX
Sunflower Station, western gifts

The gift shop and cafe across the street is adjoined by Sunflower Station, another boutique, where you can sign the pickup truck. We didn’t stop or take the time. That probably makes us Fake 66 Cruisers or something. Losers.

Continue reading

Writer Brains and Research

Jules Verne, French science fiction writer of ...

Jules Verne, the godfather of plausible speculative fiction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Fantasy is even harder to write,” I alleged recently, “because you have to make the science work.”

If the science in a story isn’t plausible — whether you actually call it science, as in hard sci-fi, or whether it’s simply background dressing or setting, as in a romance set aboard a diving boat — the rest of the story won’t be plausible, either. In the romance above, for example, even if the story is supposedly just boy-meets-girl, if the couple blithely dives hundreds of meters without special equipment and resurfaces without ill effects, I’m not going to buy the happily-ever-after. Continue reading

Preview: Panic Attack

Panic-attack
Panic-attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted to share an excerpt from a short story I sold a few months ago. This is taken from near the beginning:

He could not look away, could not move, could not speak . His chest was tight and his lungs constricted, and a distant part of his mind realized he was having a panic attack. Another fragment of rationality told him that was impossible, that he had no pulse to pound in his temples and no breath to catch. He was experiencing only what his subconscious thought he should, patterned by a lifetime of… life, when faced with a salient stimulus from a highly traumatic experience.

He swallowed against the pressure in his throat and drew a deep breath of what he knew wasn’t air. He closed his eyes and exhaled, counting to twenty. Then he opened his eyes again and faced his murderer.

No release date yet for the anthology, but I’ll let you know when I have one! Probably mid to late 2015.