the anthony dobranski blog


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The Autumn 2013 Plan

Speaking strictly commercially, I did everything wrong with my writing. I don’t have an identifiable genre or sub-genre. It’s a literary noir-styled fantasy thriller romance and an allegory about globalization and growing up. There’s no shelf for that. Crossing genres and styles is gaining popularity, but it’s still a hard sell to make cold.

Perhaps I could have written odd short stories and gained a following, but my novel had too strong a pull. And of course I had to write it five times over. And it’s still a big book.

So. There it is. Nothing to do about it now but change course.  Continue reading


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Science fiction as time travel

I grew up on a solid diet of science fiction, and as a young man in the 1970s and 1980s I had a wide range of style to choose from — New Wave, Old Guard, the Cyberpunks. To read them all at once was like the old Evolution of Man posters, the history of the future all in view.

Like the time-traveler who uses knowledge of the future to succeed, I became a technology early-adopter by reading science-fiction. When I saw it happening for real in the 1980s, as limited and clunky as it was, I already knew what it was going to be. Twenty years ago I even lucked into a job in the field, first learning then explaining to others just what “online” was. That job is done.

I am running out of futures.

Continue reading


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Shutdown blues 2013 in the fissiparous USA

Two years ago I was in a tizzy about the political battles that risked our financial system. Now I am blasé. The government shutdown is a great mistake, an injustice to the needy and a body-blow to our feeble economy. It was alas inevitable. One group is intent on demonstrating its faith in a strong set of beliefs. Zealots don’t stop until they’re broken.

The shutdown will end when it hurts political donors. I am unconvinced that it will solve anything. Zealots don’t stop. The Roman politician Cato the Elder signed every document ‘Carthage must be destroyed.’ Stay on message for decades, you can get your way.

Things can change fast. The Soviet Union dissolved peacefully in three years. Why couldn’t America dissolve?

And as peacefully as the Soviets did, resentments and mistrust notwithstanding. Share certain operations – roads, ports, armies and navies. The like-minded regions need not be contiguous. If during nuclear tension we could run West Berlin, we can master rights-of-way between red or blue zones.

This is brainstorming like for a fictional setting, not reasoned analysis with data. But sometimes the novelists get one right too.