Table of Contents

Below you will find a living table of contents for Back to the Holodeck. The entries are featured in chronological order (i.e., first posting at the top to the most recent posting at the bottom).

New Blog, New Goals
I’ve been blogging, off and on, for the better part of ten years, with various blogs and minor successes and helluva lot of failures.
Returning to the Campfire
When I first read Janet H. Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, I felt like it had spoken to a part of me that I didn’t know existed as a fiction and nonfiction storyteller.
When Writing Web Serials, Forget Everything You Know About Fiction Writing
The tyranny of the novel must be overthrown before you start writing your Web serial.
The Allure of Open-Worlds/-Universes
Open-worlds/-universes are my bread and butter. I just love them—they’re what made my young adult and college years so exciting.
Some Thoughts on Writing Web Serials
Serialized fiction has a long, and, if we’re completely honest, a romantic history that attracts a lot of newbie writers to the writing format.
Binge Reading? Yes, Please!
In fact, the first serialized novels, by people like Dickens, were binge read. With the advent of cheap(ish) e-readers, readers were thought to be the next big thing when it came to binge-worthy consumption.
We Need to Reconsider the Drafting Processes; Or, Why Drafting Is the Lifeblood of Good Writing
Hemingway is said to have articulated that the first draft of anything is shit.
Notebooks: A Writer’s (and an Imagination’s) Truest Friends
“You’re wasting fuckin’ paper, kid!”
The Why of World-Building
The re-imagining of our own world/universe or even the imagining of a secondary world/universe is something that makes us tick as humans.
The (Un)Likely Hobby of World-Building
The origins of the term world-building belong to the nineteenth-century, at least according to the Oxford English Dictionary. In fact, the term world-building can be traced, if we are to take the OED at its word, to the 1830s.
Harnessing Moral Ambiguity in Fiction
Arguably, the issue of moral ambiguity is a guiding hand for much of my fiction these days — and I’m not the only one.
The Future of Storytelling Is Coming—Maybe
It’s a deceptively complex question to ask, if you think about it.
Serialization’s a Smart Move—If Done Correctly
The recent release of Ghost 3.0, a major update to the Ghost blogging CMS, got me thinking about serialization and those serialization opportunities writers have available to them today.
The Literary v. Genre War Is Over
he war between genre and literary fiction has claimed a good number of casualties, soaked up a good bit of ink, paper, and bandwidth, and, if we’re honest, wasted a good deal of time.
Operating Literary Journals in the Age of the Internet
This is a short rant from an editor of smaller journals, including Palabras [A Journal of Exchange].
A Poetics of Virtual Worlds
Justice Potter Stewart once famously summarized the problem with defining obscenity, particularly pornography, with the phrase, “I know it when I see it.”
World-Building Goes Mainstream
Fictional universes have been the cornerstone of every major franchise from Lord of the Rings to Mass Effect.
Is the Metaverse Our Post-Web Future? Probably Not.
A recent article in TechCrunch proposed that Facebook’s Horizon could very well be the beginning of the end for the Web.
Causality’s Complexities
One of the most important lessons I offer students in my English composition and introductory political science courses is an examination of the complexities of causality.
Will Superintelligent A.I. Find Religion?
Religion is one of those few constants in human experience. When superintelligent A.I. arrive, will they find religion, too?
Why the Arts (and the Imagination) Are the Future, Too
STEM is all the rage.
Finding Meaning with Imagination
Sometimes meaning comes from the weirdest of sources. For me, meaning hasn’t come from a religious awakening or even my career, but, instead, from the imagination….
The Passages of Time
Our concept of time — specifically, our mechanical, abstract sense of time — is an artificial (cultural) construct.
Immersive Storytelling’s Future
The future of storytelling is one of immersion.
Bringing Dramatic Agency to Storytelling
I have experimented to see how I can bring dramatic agency into the stories I write.
Universes Brimming with Life, (Im)possibility, and Extreme Violence: My Problems with Space Opera
I’m the first to admit that I love the space opera sub-genre.
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette: Weird Cultural Practices That Aren’t Healthy but Exist
The serious world-builder, whether hobbyist or budding or seasoned novelist, will find that human beings have some weird, and if we’re completely honest, unhealthy, habits that have been conditioned via culture.
Literary Gentrification?
I’ve heard that it has become a trend for literary fiction writers to cross into the seedy darkness of genre fiction.
Why Progress Failed Us
When I was growing up, I watched reruns of the Jetsons, with episodes containing fantastic technologies and lifestyles that were dreamlike.
Baddies in Speculative Fiction
Okay, okay. I’m sure everyone is going to hate me for saying this, but most speculative fiction baddies (i.e., the so-called bad guys) are terrible.
Naming Aliens, Uplifted Species, Etc.
One of my problems with space opera, at least traditional-esque space opera, has been the tendency to name aliens, uplifted species, etc. in ways that are either unpronounceable or in ways that are just plain weird.
Virtual Reality/Paper Adventures [VR/PA] Game Engine
The VR/PA game engine borrows heavily from two different game design philosophies
Galactic Commerce
Classic space opera (and science fiction in general) has envisioned a universe where things like commerce take place on the galactic scale, and within a regular human lifespan.
Empire Building
Empire building is as old as time itself.
Seeing Colors Again
One of the problems I have had with fantasy, as of late, has been its reliance on a whitewashed Eurocentrism.
Designing Tomorrow’s Games
Games are everywhere — ubiquitous.
On Predicting Traffic Jams; Or, the Problems with Change (Revisited)
The oft-quoted axiom by Frederick Pohl, as seen above, has tremendous insight into the nature of change, especially when it comes to technological, economic, political, and cultural change.
The Open Road Still Softly Calls
The call to adventure, for something new, for something exciting, for something else, calls to every one of us.
I Have Planned and Built Ruins
You ever get the feeling that your work doesn’t have the longevity to last a year, a decade, or even a century?
In Search of Homo Ludens
Homo Ludens in Mirrorshades, a new blog series on Back to the Holodeck, is part of a life-long obsession with play, gaming, gamers, and game cultures.
Of War Games and Tabletop Role-Playing Games
You might be asking where my story begins. Why I’m here, talking about games, play, and gamers. I guess you could say it all started when I was young, probably too young to remember anything profound.
Of War Games and Tabletop Role-Playing Games (Part II)
Zed, to an impressionable young mind, was sort of like the corrupting influence seen in Chick comics’ evil Dungeon Masters.
Simulating the World (Part I)
I might as well confess from the beginning that I did not grow up playing tabletop (pen and paper) role-playing games. I was a war-gamer from an early age.
Simulating the World (Part II)
Simulating the world is a human obsession.
Binary Introductions
In recent months, I have been pondering the importance of the digital universe that pervades our very lives in the early twenty-first century.
(World-)Building Too Much
An interesting conversation led to this week’s World-Building Notes posting. It was inspired, in part, by Reddit’s writerly communities and a community I belong to, LitFiction, on Discord.
On Critical World-Building
After the post from the other day, I began sifting through the hellhole that is the Internet to see about striking a balance between writing and world-building. One of the things that came up was this notion of critical world-building.