On the Desk

What We Yield

in Tahoma Literary Review

When the king tides flooded Waikīkī and box jellyfish floated along Kalākaua Avenue, I failed to understand that it had anything to do with me. But two years later, when the number of applicants to the private high school where I was principal had declined by nearly fifty percent, I began to feel the stings.


in Hawai'i Pacific Review

"No one knew exactly why or how she died, but millions witnessed it in real time. Even though she didn’t breathe air, most agreed that she gasped at the end like a drowning victim. Queries of “Siri, what happened?” and “Siri, are you okay?” joined the hundred thousand others hanging in digital limbo."

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The Dis-located Imagination

in Entropy

"I’ve been living in exile for forty-two years now, about half of them away from home."

The 33 The-ses: An article on an underappreciated article.

in The Writer

"'The' separates the known from the unknown. 'A boy' quickly becomes 'the boy.' 'The boy' becoming 'a boy' is far less common, and far more jarring."

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In defense of ugly prose: The virtues of very bad sentences.

in The Writer

"I’m not talking about prose that is merely bad, i.e. incompetent or unrefined; I’m talking about prose that has been masterfully crafted to defy all of those received virtues and wear its ugliness on its sleeve – prose that aims not to shimmer and flow so much as creak and stink and ooze."

Word-Worlds: On Villeneuve's 'Arrival,' the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis in Science Fiction, and the Linguistic Determinism of (Almost) Every Novel

in Futurism

"Imagine for a moment what it's like to be a baby. You come out of the womb, all soft and new and dumb, and are immediately confronted with the blooming buzzing confusion of reality. You literally don't know your ass from your elbow. You don't know your ass from your mother's elbow, for that matter."

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in Entropy

"even if you agree with sf comics genius Warren Ellis that 'Prog rock was sick and wrong then and it is sick and wrong now,' one can’t deny that prog drinks as liberally from the sf well as it does from epic and fantasy ones."

American Short Fiction: Editorial Outtakes from King of the Worlds

in American Short Fiction

"The difficult trick is to liposuck all the fat, keeping only the essentials and spreading them out over the whole novel rather than simply plopping them down all at once. If you’re going to remember just one thing from this introduction, this should probably be it: 'Spread, don’t plop.' I dare say it’s at least as useful as that old chestnut 'Show, don’t tell.'"


New Words Were Needed: How Modernism and Science Fiction have more in common than I might once have thought.

in Futurism

"What surprised me was how much overlap these "genres" turned out to have — that is, that I enjoy Ulysses and 'A Martian Odyssey' for many of the same reasons; it's just that these reasons are operating at different levels of the text."

Real Rot: My Newfound Impatience with Antiheroes

in Cleaver Magazine

"Something is wrong with me. Last week, when I tried to re-watch one of my favorite TV series of all time, Breaking Bad, I made it through just two episodes before calling it quits. The writing still struck me as masterful, but I just wasn’t in the mood to follow an essentially good man into hell."