markokloos.comTime 2022-08-10 10:14:45
Web Name: markokloos.com
The greatest evolutionary success storyaminals.castle frostbite. by Marko Kloos 3 Comments
Behold the Great Northeastern Snuggle Otter in his natural habitat: a private recliner.
05JUL2022friends.travel.writing. by Marko Kloos 5 Comments
Back when we had our driveway redone, we had the construction crew extend it all the way around the house. The surface is hard pack gravel, so if I don’t consciously use the entire driveway during the spring and summer instead of just driving on the convenient front half, the weeds will come up between the gravel and slowly reclaim that strip of ground.
Much like that driveway, the blog gets a little overgrown from time to time when I forget to tend to it, but I don’t think the weeds have ever been this high. I haven’t posted any updates since early February. I’ve been busy with the editorial back-and-forth for CENTERS OF GRAVITY, the eighth Frontlines novel, but that one’s all in the bag now and ready to meet its readers in two months. Every time I am finished with a novel, my brain needs to go into refill mode for a while instead of diving into the next project full throttle. And with the ongoing dumpster fire that is the 2020s, those refill breaks seem to get a bit longer every year. Alas, the break has been over for a little while now, and I am at work writing another novel in the Frontlines universe, for publication in 2023. (Next up on the schedule is DESCENT, the fourth book in the Palladium Wars, which will hopefully get a 2023 release as well if I manage to finish the draft as planned.)
With those two drafts on my dance card before December 31, I don’t have any firm plans for conventions or other big events this year. I simply don’t have the time right now to bounce around a con for a few days—it breaks up my work schedule, and I never manage to get any meaningful work done on the road. That probably means you won’t be seeing me out at an event in person in 2022, but it also means there’ll be two novels out next year instead of only one. (That was the pace I had set myself in 2019, before the Horrendous Times, and I’d love to be able to get back to it this year.)
That said, I did get to go out for a day recently and meet up with some colleagues for some shenanigans and shared meals. My friends Kevin (Hearne), Delilah (S. Dawson), and Chuck (Wendig) were in Boston for their joint book tour, and we used the opportunity for socializing a little. It was great to be among friends again and back to some normality.
(Also, I’ve lived in New England for 16 out of the last 25 years, and I just now found out that a.) the coffee milk is the state beverage of Rhode Island, and that b.) it’s actually pretty good.)
With the release of CENTERS OF GRAVITY just around the corner, I will have author copies before too long, so stand by for the traditional paperback give-away. Until then, I’ll try to use this here internet driveway more often so the weeds don’t take over and entropy doesn’t win…
Centers of Gravity cover revealbooks.frontlines.shameless self-promotion. by Marko Kloos 22 Comments
I am pleased to be able to show you the cover for CENTERS OF GRAVITY, Frontlines #8, which will be out on August 30. I think it may just be the best-looking Frontlines cover yet, although they’ve all been really great.
The book is available for pre-order in Kindle, paperback, and Audible formats. Pre-orders make my publisher happy, which in turn helps me to keep making up stuff for a living, so if you have a mind to read the eighth Frontlines book anyway and See How It All Turns Out, consider pre-ordering it and then seeing it appear on your Kindle (or your doorstep) in August 30 AS IF BY MAGIC.
Endings and beginningsbooks.frontlines.writing. by Marko Kloos 23 Comments
I always love being able to type those two words at the end of a draft, but it was both exhilarating and bitter-sweet to do it on this one. Nine years, eight novels, and almost a million words later, it’s not just the end of a single novel but the capstone on a storyline that started a long time ago in a writing workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. What a ride it’s been since then.
It’s not the last you’ll read of the Frontlines universe. But there’ll be new voices and new perspectives, and they’ll tell different tales. This particular one has come to its conclusion for now.
Mr. Floofyaminals.castle frostbite. by Marko Kloos 5 Comments
I know it’s high time to groom and trim Andy A. Doodle when he starts to look remarkably like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Love Death + Robots anthology on sale this weekbooks.bullets & links.capitalism.love death+robots.shameless self-promotion. by Marko Kloos 0 Comments
If you enjoyed Love Death + Robots on Netflix and you would like to own the anthology of all the short stories that were the basis for the first season, I have good news: it’s on sale this week at Amazon for the low, low price of $2.99 for the Kindle version. Here are the links for the respective regional Amazon pages:
The anthology includes both “Lucky 13″, which was the basis for Episode 13, aptly called “Lucky Thirteen”), and “On The Use Of Shape-Shifters In Warfare”, my Army-Werewolves-in-Afghanistan story that was the basis for Episode 10, “Shape-Shifters.”
Some travel snapshotstravel. by Marko Kloos 6 Comments
Not everyone got to travel internationally since the start of the pandemic, so I figured I’d share a few pictures from my quick visit back home last month. (All photos taken with the camera on my iPhone 11.)
Descending into Schiphol. I fly into Amsterdam because it’s the closest major airport to where my family lives. Big fan of both the city and the country.
Schiphol airport is best airport. Whenever I see this place, I am happy because I’m either about to see family or I’m about to head home.
A local bakery/cafe in my old home city. All the shops were open and at what looked like pre-pandemic business. Indoor mask-wearing was mandatory and universal.
Prinzipalmarkt, the heart of the main shopping mile of Münster. Bombed to rubble in WWII and (luckily) rebuilt to match the old historic buildings.
The pub/restaurant next to the old City Hall. I want to think that my great-grandpa had a beer there every once in a while back in the 19th century already.
Looking down Prinzipalmarkt the other way, north to south.
St. Ludger’s parish church. My old Kindergarten is still there, just beyond the left edge of the photo.
The old Stuhlmacher pub next to the historic City Hall, where the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648, ending the Thirty Years’ War.
I remember playing in that fountain when I was a little kid. The church on the left is St. Lambert’s, where my great-grandfather was baptized in 1869.
Auf Schalke. 57,000 fans in attendance. Proof of vaccination was mandatory for entry, but it still felt weird to be in a big crowd like this again.
One of the things I miss from there: German bread. This isn’t even a fancy bakery, just the bakery counter at a large discount store.
Heading back to Amsterdam by train after six days of packed visitation schedule with the family.
Had the entire 1st class compartment to myself, which is a very acceptable way to travel. This is an Intercity, so not even one of the really nice trains, which go 200MPH and look like a Star Trek shuttle had a baby with an Apple Store.
Descending into Keflavik. Iceland is a pretty place.
Stopping over at Keflavik Airport on the way back to Boston.
They renovated since the last time I came through here.
This was the whole passenger load on the flight back to the US. It was a week before the end of the travel ban for Europeans, so it was all Americans or Permanent Residents going home. I’ve never been on a transatlantic flight that was this empty, and it was amazing.
Iceland, bringing the natural beauty again.
The Icelandair route between BOS and KEF goes over southern Greenland, so when the weather is good, you can get shots like this one from 36,000 feet up. (It’s not even slightly green. Erik the Red was a very skilled real estate agent.)
With the way the new case numbers are looking on both sides of the Atlantic right now, it may be a while before I get to go again, so I am glad I went when I did.
There and back againwriting. by Marko Kloos 6 Comments
I’ve been a little scarce here on the blog over the last two months. I’m running a little—okay, a lot—late on the latest Frontlines book because I have to fit a lot of action between the covers, and it’s turning out to be a little trickier than I had anticipated. But it’s coming along, and I think it will be the best book in the series when it’s done.
I turned 50 at the end of October and went over to Germany for a quick family visit. (My mother’s birthday is on the same day as mine, so it was nice to not only see her again in person for the first time since 2015 but also celebrate a birthday together again for the first time since at least the mid-1990s.) It was a fun week that was physically exhausting but mentally rejuvenating, if that makes any sense. My siblings had a pretty full program for me, but it was great to get out of the house and do some international travel again.
While I was there, my siblings took me to a soccer match. I hadn’t been to a stadium in a long time, and this one was the first match where they were allowed to have a full house: 57,000 people attending. (The team is Schalke 04, our household team, and they scrubbed Dynamo Dresden 3:0, almost certainly solely because of my presence.) This was my first big crowd event since the start of the pandemic, and it felt a little strange at first to be in a big group of singing and shouting people, even if the stadium is open-roofed and everyone attending had to prove their vaccinated status. Maybe this will feel normal again to me at some point, but I suspect it will be a good long while.
I’m home again and back at work, finishing the draft for CENTERS OF GRAVITY. There are also a few other things in development that I can’t mention yet, but I think you’ll like hearing about them when I am free to blab.
2021 started out weird, then it somehow turned into a low-budget gritty remake of 2020, and now it’s ending on a so-so note, with a lot more stress and anxiety than I would have predicted when the year began. But I have my work in front of me, the family is healthy, and I’ve had my booster shot, so I am as ready for 2022 as I can be. Let’s hope we all get a bit of a reprieve from the flood of cortisol that’s soaking everyone’s brains constantly.
(The butterfly is a paid crisis actor.)aminals.mental health.new hampshah. by Marko Kloos 5 Comments
Took a walk to my favorite pond the other day, and this shot turned out pretty all right:
With the world the way it is at the moment, I am happy to be in a place where I can just walk out the door and be at this sort of place within ten minutes of leisurely walking. I’ve never been a big fan of exercise for the sake of it, but walking out in nature never fails to improve my mood…unlike reading stuff on the Internet, which never fails to make me anxious. However the next year or two are going to go, I’ll probably be doing a lot more of one and a whole lot less of the other.
Walking is also great for listening to audiobooks or letting your brain resolve plot knots with its background processes. The Internet is useful for a lot of things, but for me it’s mostly great for realizing it’s 5pm and I got very little done because I hopped on the information overload train all day.
My favorite season is just around the corner, and I have a plan to walk a few miles every day to really squeeze the most from autumn this year. I feel like I spent most of last year’s autumn cooped up inside because I had a novel overdue (like so many other writers in 2020.) This year, it’s all mine.
“Gullibility kills.”this monkey house. by Marko Kloos
I’ve been re-reading some non-fiction favorites recently, and these quotes from Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World” (published 26 years ago, back in 1995) really seem amazingly prescient considering the state of the world in 2021:
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us – then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
The wholesale dismissal not only of science, but expertise in general (as “arrogant elitism” and so on) is a pernicious sort of nihilism that will turn out suicidal in the end. When people are no longer interested in how the world works, when they actively fight the input of the people who are subject matter experts, it creates an informational void that will get filled by any number of hucksters and grifters who are willing to tell people that the world works exactly how they feel it ought to work, and who will be more than happy to sell them snake oil.
(I am turning comments off on this post because I have no desire to spend even a second of my time dealing with ignorance from drive-by anti-vaxxers.)
The next bookCENTERS OF GRAVITY Release DayAugust 30, 202220 days to go.
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