Most of my toughest problems writing fiction come from hitting a wall midway through the first draft when I realize I must alter the narrative in some dramatic way, requiring massive rewrites of what I’d written so far. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is demoralizing—especially for longer projects like novels. I dread going back to do that rewriting work because it is difficult, tedious, and time-consuming. Fixing what I wrote before often takes longer than it took to write in the first place.Continue reading
1. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)
I first read this book about ten years ago when I started reading science fiction novels. I repeatedly saw Snow Crash on many “greatest sci-fi books” lists and it was considered the best in the cyberpunk genre (along with William Gibson’s Neuromancer). When I first read Snow Crash, (and Neuromancer for that matter) I liked parts of it, but most of the book went over my head. I was looking for cyberpunk action (such as the computer hacking and futuristic skateboarding) and became bored by the ancient religious and evolution of language aspects, which I did not fully understand. I didn’t recognize it as being a portrayal of an anarcho-capitalist society the first time around, as I did not know what that was. Ten years older and wiser, I now find the philosophical aspects of the book the most fascinating, and the hacking, action, and skateboarding parts are like gravy on top. Snow Crash is like all my varied interests (technology, futurism, virtual reality, hacking, skateboarding, pizza delivery, punk rock, samurai swords, economics, history, philosophy, libertarianism, ancient religion, language, and the evolution of consciousness) all rolled into one book. It doesn’t seem like there can be that many different ideas in one novel but there are and it all somehow fits together.Continue reading
For a limited time, discounted deals are available for several of my books.
A paperback version of Story Addict is now available for $14.99.
Death by Self-Driving Car is a collection of three short stories about the near-future prospects of autonomous automobiles and their potential impact on society.
“The Autonomous Trolley Problem” is a new spin on the classic philosophical thought experiment. What was originally proposed as an insoluble ethical dilemma may soon need to be solved when programming self-driving algorithms in the real world.
“Redundant Truckers” is about the mass unemployment former truck drivers could face in the wake of self-driving semi-trucks such as those being developed by Uber’s “Otto,” as well as the possibility of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to address that issue.
Finally, the titular story, “Death by Self-Driving Car,” is a Sherlock Holmes-style detective mystery about an insurance investigator hired to look into a rare self-driving car accident that resulted in the death of a human passenger.
Death by Self-Driving Car is now available as an ebook on Amazon, free to read for Kindle Unlimited members. You can also buy the ebook from me directly via PayPal, Cash App, Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies at any price of your choosing (including free if money is a problem for you). Just email me with your preferred file format (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) and payment method.
Looking at my stats, I realize I’ve read a lot more fiction books this year than the previous few. There are several reasons for that. One is I’ve been listening to more audiobooks, which in the past I said I didn’t do because I had trouble focusing on fiction while multitasking. To solve that issue, I’ve basically stopped multitasking while listening to fiction audiobooks. I listen when I first wake up in the morning and just lay in bed with my eyes closed. Upon awakening, I don’t like to get right out of bed. Instead, I lay with my eyes closed for about a half-hour, making it the perfect time to listen to an audiobook. I can really focus with my eyes closed doing nothing else but just listening.
Another reason I’ve read more fiction is I’ve spent a lot less time reading the internet and on social media, reading less Twitter and less blogs. I’ve been trying to focus my time doing more productive things like reading books and writing. Now, onto this year’s list…
With 2019 winding down, it’s time for my fourth annual list of the ten best films (at least ten years old) that I watched this past year. As I’ve said before, these lists are always kind of random and arbitrary, based on the movies I happen to choose to watch (or re-watch) that year. I tend to prefer watching something I’ve never seen before over re-watching, though as you’ll see, there were a couple of those this year. Continue reading
It’s ironic that I write science fiction books as an adult considering I didn’t even read science fiction books as a child. Actually, I didn’t read any books at all, other than those assigned in school—which, aside from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, were never science fiction. I loved sci-fi movies as a child and was captivated by space exploration and future technology, but I struggled with books about those same topics. It wasn’t until later in life, post-college, that I really started to enjoy reading (books in general and science fiction in particular). Continue reading
Hi, my name is TZ Barry, and I’m a story addict…
Story Addict is a collection of 27 short stories written between 2010 and 2018, spanning a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thriller, literary, magical realism, dark humor, and satire. There’s time travel, telepathy, parallel universes, aliens, robots, artificial intelligence, hackers, spies, invisibility, dinosaurs, wizards, talking jellyfish, and more. The lengths of the stories vary from 300 words to over 6,000 (60,000 words in total). Eight of the stories have been previously published while nineteen are new to this collection. The stories are not connected and can be read in any order. Continue reading
Whether it’s zombie outbreaks, nuclear wastelands, or climate change, people love post-apocalyptic stories. Examples include books like The Road and A Canticle for Leibowitz, TV shows like The Walking Dead and Jericho, video games like Fallout and The Last of Us, comics like Y: The Last Man, and movies like Mad Max, I am Legend, World War Z, Book of Eli, and The Postman. The causes and effects differ, but what these stories share is the setting of a world after civilization has fallen, with people living in brutal conditions where everyday survival is a struggle. The themes are dark and dour, yet these stories are extremely popular. The question is: why are people so drawn to post-apocalyptic stories? Continue reading
There are essentially two types of science fiction: hard and soft. Soft science fiction is more like fantasy, not obeying the laws of physics (Star Wars) while hard science fiction aims to be scientifically accurate (2001: A Space Odyssey). I love Star Wars, but my real favorite genre is near-future hard science fiction such as Blade Runner, Interstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, and Her. I think those kinds of stories—built around accurate science and technological innovations that can conceivably happen in the near future—are perhaps the most important form of fiction. Continue reading