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WC Brown

William Charles “Charlie” Brown is an American author of Science Fiction stories. His latest work, Daniel Shires and the Multiverse, is a story about parallel universes and the people who stumble into them.

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Ancient Treasure

June 14th, 2019

Well, ancient may be a bit of hyperbole. The Tickencote Treasure was originally published only 116 years ago. This wonderful tale of an English gentleman caught up in the accidental obsession of a treasure caught my attention when I was searching for similar books. The tragedy for anyone who loves treasure stories is that there are so few and searching always yields either ‘Treasure Island,’ picture books for five-year-olds, or non-fiction stories which are entertaining but all too similar to be taken seriously. I’ll have to write another blog article someday about how many stories there are about a dying vagabond who bequeaths a map to a vast treasure to the heroic doctor who made his last hours more pleasant.

I love the self-referential quality of the difficulty in finding good stories about treasure. A treasure hunt to find a book about a treasure hunt is very G.E.B. It’s also a slice of the larger tragedy of finding any book that is “just right” for the tastes of any particular person. My hope is that someday soon, machine learning will be able to give each of us genuinely unbiased recommendations.

For those who like a bit of Victorian fiction, I recommend this treasure about treasure. The Tickencote Treasure is available free in several formats - all a bit awkward to use - from Project Gutenberg. Or, you can listen to the mp3’s I made for myself. These are by no means audio-book quality (‘read’ comes out sounding like ‘red’ instead of ‘reed’) but, they are on par with the Kindle’s text-to-speech. That being said, why didn’t I just have the Kindle do it? The problem I had with the Kindle was that it stopped only a few minutes into my morning walk. I put it in my pocket, and I think it stopped when it went into sleep mode. Another frustration was losing my place, and I really missed the feature of Overcast, the app I use to listen to Podcasts, which lets me go back 15 seconds. This ‘what did he just say?’ feature is so useful I just couldn’t do without it, so I added that to the webpage I made just to listen to this book.

If you have found another old treasure like this one and want to make your own mp3s, check out my previous post Text-To-Speech


Daniel Shires and the Multiverse

May 26th, 2019

Daniel Shires and the Multiverse

Daniel Shires and the Multiverse is a Science Fiction/Adventure novel by WC Brown about inter-dimensional travel to alternate worlds.

What’s it about?

It’s about a hidden part of the universe - a powerful secret which affects us all, yet none of us can see.

It’s about a ten-year-old boy named Daniel who discovers it and uses it to travel to other worlds full of strange creatures.

It’s about a man named Fate who also knows the secret and has used it to cheat death for five hundred years.

The secret that only Daniel and Fate know, is the existence of three invisible lines which connect us to our universe. Each of us has a North-South line, another for East-West, and a third for Up-and-Down.

Each time we make a complete turn, we have twisted one of these lines and wrapped the other two around us. If we turn back around in the other direction, we can untwist the lines, but since they are invisible, we don’t know to do this, and we get more hopelessly entangled every day of our lives.

Every few hundred years, entirely by chance, one lucky individual finds himself untwisted, and witnesses firsthand its powerful effects. It exerts a strong psychological influence on anyone within range and sends animals into a frenzy. It also endows its possessor with unnaturally good fortune.

Fate is one of these untwisted people, and until he meets Daniel, he thinks he’s the only one.

Daniel has not only discovered the lines, but unlike Fate, he can also see them. Together, they must stay one step ahead of a murderer named Vogel who has had his lines completely severed - an unfortunate state which has its own set of side effects.

There are dangers at every turn! Strange people, strange worlds and even stranger creatures!


*Parental warning: This story contains violence that some parents may find inappropriate for children under the age of 9.


Star Trek and smoking while praying?

March 3rd, 2019

Many years ago, a friend told me the ‘Can I smoke while I pray?’ story. For those unfamiliar, it’s a lesson in how to ask a question. There are many variations: A man asks two priests the same question rephrased, a man asks the same priest the rephrased questions, and so on.

Man: Father, can I smoke while I pray?

Priest: Of course not! It would be an affront to God!

Man: Okay, then. I’m going out for a smoke. (turns around at the door Columbo-style) Oh, father?

Priest: Yes my son?

Man: If I get the urge while I’m smoking, can I pray?

Priest: Of course my son. God is always listening.

So, what does this have to do with Star Trek? Seth MacFarlane

I was upset when Star Trek The Next Generation(STTNG) was canceled, and apparently, so was Seth. The story goes, that he pitched a very similar straight-up space adventure show to FOX but was rejected because - well, he’s the comedy guy right? So, Seth made a spoof of Star Trek, got it past the narrow-minded decision makers that, at least in my mind, dominate every network, and bided his time.

I watched as each episode of The Orville added more serious SciFi elements, less slapstick, and fewer cheap jokes. Seth was getting to smoke while he prayed.

Let’s not forget that STTNG tried to be funny occasionally too. It usually fell flat, and like the occasional soap opera episode we all had to endure, they were worth it because we eventually got space battles with The Borg. So, for all of you who think SciFi shouldn’t be funny(looking at you Steve Gibson) and turned up your noses at The Orville, I say, watch Season 2 Episodes 8 & 9 “Identity” and “Identity part II” This two-parter is straight up space warfare against an enemy that seems invincible.


Are We In The Matrix?

February 17th, 2019

I see coincidences all the time and recently decided to make a list(I love lists. Shut up)

Coincidence Number 1: Killjoy

I was watching the TV show Killjoy, and not paying much attention to it(my wife is a big fan). I was also reading a book and stopped, stunned at a word on the page. The word was Killjoy. I mean, how often do you randomly run across that word?

Coincidence Number 2: All the stars in the sky

I was writing Star Charmer and wrote about a star named Arcturus, 37 light years from Earth(it was the peng-weasel homeworld) Before I had finished editing the book, I saw the movie Passengers, where a spaceship passes by a star - named - Arcturus. WTF? Of all the stars in the sky, they had to choose that one? Crap. It wasn't published yet, so I changed it.

Coincidence Number 3: Brad Pitt’s Phone Booth

In my book Temporal Fuse I wrote about a robot character who changed his face to look more human. The face he chose was Brad Pitt because why not? This same character also turned a phone booth into a time machine. At this point, I must have forgotten Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but that’s obviously where I got the idea. But wait, that’s not the coincidence, though. I was researching something unrelated, and Google showed me a picture of Brad Pitt with a phone booth in the background. A phone booth! I don't remember what I googled, but there I was, facing two things that, in my mind at least, were only together in my book.

Coincidence Number 4: Robot Laser Rescue

I had just written a chapter in my next book Daniel Shires where(among other things) a giant robot uses a laser to extract something from under the ice of a frozen lake. I don’t recall how much later it was (less than a few weeks), I was watching the remake of Lost in Space where a robot uses a laser to save the girl from a frozen lake.

Coincidence Number 5: Thomas

And finally, just this week I was reading John Scalzi’s book The Consuming Fire (excellent BTW) and he introduced a new character: an intelligent spaceship with a quirky personality named - wait for it - Thomas! I almost fell out of my chair! For those unfamiliar with Star Charmer, it features an intelligent spaceship with a quirky personality named Thomas. I had to check the publishing dates to make sure I didn’t subconsciously steal a character. I was pretty sure I hadn’t read his book before. Nope, Star Charmer came out a year before Consuming Fire. Whew! I’m reasonably sure John has never read any of my books. So, what’s going on here? I think it’s like the Birthday Paradox and the world is just not as random as we think it is. When I try to come up with character names, there are only so many that work. Nobody will ever name a spaceship Dennis.

Comments? Hit me up on twitter @BrainsInChains


Twisted

September 13th, 2018

The topic of twisted phone cords came up the other day. I actually did a study of why they became twisted - yeah I’m that nerdy. People typically reach for the phone - I guess I should use past tense here since I haven’t even seen a phone with a cord since the Reagan administration. Anyway, people used to reach for it with their dominant hand. Of course, this meant that they needed to switch it to the other hand to write things down or pick up the tumbler of whiskey (don’t drink and dial that way lies madness). So that results in a half-turn. At the end of the conversation, most people would switch the handset back to the dominant hand before returning it to the cradle, completing a full twist. So it was possible to count the number of times the phone was used by counting and untwisting- yeah I used to do that too.

Comments? Hit me up on twitter @BrainsInChains