Oct 122016
 

What’s better than a free book? How about four free books!

goodreads-logo-1024x576-7abf5bd8d98b9d10

Yes, it’s Goodreads giveaway time again. This time we are giving away a copy of each book in the series so far–that’s 4/5ths of the Warpworld Saga up for grabs! All you need to do to enter is warp on over to Goodreads. Here are the links for all four giveaways…

Warpworld (#1)

Wasteland Renegades (#2)

Ghost World (#3)

Final Storm (#4)

Warworld books

Entry is free but we sure hope if you win you’ll rate or review your book for us on Goodreads and/or Amazon! We loooooooooove reviews!!

Oh, and don’t forget that Warpworld Vol. 1 is now perma-free for ebook lovers. You don’t even need to win anything.

Kargin’ awesome, ol?

Blood for water

~Kristene

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Oct 062016
 

In the spirit of the Kenda, Josh and I have freed the ebook version of Warpworld Vol. 1 from the shackles of price tyranny!

Warpworld free on Amazon Kindle

You heard that right, all ebook versions of the first book in the series, Warpworld, are now free! If you’ve been waiting to dip your toes into the warpy water, go ahead and dive in (watch out for drexla, though), it’s free! If you have a friend you’ve been trying to coerce tempt into reading the first book, it’s free! If you have a paperback copy of the first book but would also like one for your Kindle or Kobo, it’s free! If you’ve never heard of Warpworld and you don’t even know why you’re reading this or how you got here, well, it’s still free!

And to make this super duper easy, here are some links. Free links!!!

Warpworld #1 on Kindle

Warpworld #1 on Kobo

Warpworld #1 on Nook

Warpworld #1 on iBooks

And if you’re a diehard print reader, have no fear, we have some giveaways coming up soon so that you too might have a Warpworld book for free.

Stay tuned and stay FREE!!!!

Blood for water

~Kristene

Thanks for visiting the Warpworld Comm! Contact us for infrequent, non-spammy, and highly entertaining Warpworld news.

Oct 042016
 
Warpworld Vol. IV, Final Storm is…out, published, launched, ready to read, done like dinner, and looking for a few good readers!

warpworld4_3d_front

Do you have any idea how long we’ve been waiting to say that? Well, I guess you do. So without further ado, here are all the spots you can get your hands on a copy right now:

Amazon (paperback)

Amazon (Kindle)

Kobo

Barnes & Nobel (Nook)

iBooks

Inktera

There are a few more vendors to come and, sorry non-US folks, it will take a bit longer for the paperback to show up on your Amazon site. <insert obligatory Canadian apology>

But wait, there’s more!

We have more news to share this week, including giveaways and freebies, so come back soon, tell your friends, tell your friends’ pets, tell your imaginary friends, tell random strangers walking down the street, shout it at them! Oh, and please don’t forget to rate and/or review us on Goodreads and/or Amazon. We love people who give us reviews, even bad reviews. It’s true. Josh and I sit around for hours talking about how much we love people who review our books and how if we ever win the lottery we’re going to give all the money to them! *nods*

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cartwheel about a thousand times while screaming, “WOOOOO HOOOOO!”. Thanks for reading and thanks for waiting!

Blood for water

~Kristene

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Sep 122016
 

Remember how I said we’re getting closer to putting book number for out into the world?

Thanks to our Super Designer Miguel S. Kilantang Jr. for another stunning cover and to digital artist Islam Farid for the brilliant compass! Monday is now officially our favourite day of the week.

Another step closer!

Warpworld Final Storm cover

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Sep 082016
 

warning sign artist at work

Poking my head in here for a quick status update.

The good news is, the manuscript for the fourth book in the Warpworld series is 100% complete! The less-good news is that we still have all those niggly details to take care of, like designing a cover, and formatting the manuscript for print and ebook. But, rest assured, very patient readers, we are hard at work and this past-due installment of Seg and Ama’s saga is this ** close to being out in the world.

Oh, and you can expect some other good news and goodies once we are finally ready to launch. See? We can be nice! (Well, Josh can. I’m still working on it.)

In case you missed our Facebook post, we shared a little teaser from our upcoming cover. Digital artist Islam Farid created a cool, Storm-blasted compass for us and then created this awesome before-and-after animation.

I also want to offer up a big round of thanks for all our guest bloggers who contributed to the latest series, On Loss. Those were some raw, inspirational, heartbreaking, and funny true tales. It took a lot of courage to share some of those personal stories with the world. Thank you all.

Okay, I’d better get back to work before Josh notices I disappeared. Thanks again for your patience. The waiting is almost over!

Blood for water

~Kristene

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Aug 262016
 

Our final guest has probably heard that old chestnut “I wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley”, a lot more than I ever have (and I’ve heard it enough for one lifetime, thank you very much). I had the pleasure of learning about Lisa Gemino’s life and struggles as a female martial artist on the Real Life Superwomen panel at the 2016 Creative Ink Festival, and the even greater pleasure of being an online friend for the past few years. When I read her submission for this series, it knocked the wind out of me.

small spider on finger

I have been afraid my whole life.

Afraid of sharks in the bathtub. Afraid elevator doors would close unexpectedly, crushing me to death. I was afraid that having two Christmas tress meant we would get carpenter ants in the house.

I was–and still am–mocked by my family for that last one. No, I was really afraid I wouldn’t get presents because Santa wouldn’t know which tree to leave them under–or so I was repeatedly told. Despite the fact that I already didn’t believe in him by then; despite my increasingly desperate protestations that my emotion was sincere. My fears were treated as selfish and laughable.

I learned not to tell people I was afraid. I cultivated a tough exterior, cold and unsympathetic.  So the adult fears that supplanted my silly childhood terrors grew in the darkness inside my armour, humid and stifling even to me. I had no key though. Someone else was holding it, waiting.

I grew afraid of the dark which had been my haven, of spiders (that I had loved as a child). I grew afraid of people, of emotion. My family taught me that love meant accepting you were a figure of fun, to be diminished and derided. I was taught never to be anything other than some steel statue.

I was alone, but I could pretend I was not afraid.

In my late twenties, I learned to fight. I’d been in martial arts since I was seventeen but it wasn’t until I found my current school and Sifu that I actually knew what I was doing. Now, I’m a stick fighter, a boxer, a wrestler.

Back then, when I started, I had a good bluff front. I had a reputation as a machine, who never stopped and never gave up until I was forced. My instructor saw differently though. In private lessons, just he and I, he saw me turn tail, turn ‘turtle’ (cover my face and refuse to fight), back down, cower. For over a year he would stop when I did that, reset himself and begin again.

Then one day… he didn’t. I covered my head in my hands and ducked away, looking down to the ground.

He didn’t stop hitting me. Not cruelly. I was not afraid I would be injured. He was calm, controlled and patient.

But he wouldn’t stop.

Until I raised my head and fought back.

Something in the back of my head snapped. I remember the world getting wider, and brighter, but I think that’s just a post-incident construction. A lifetime of fantasy novels has taught me revelation should be accompanied by bright lights and angelic choirs.

Maybe thirty seconds later, he ended that sparring session. We went on to other things.

I left the gym unaware that my whole world had changed.

Until that night, when one of the huge wolf spiders British Columbia specializes in walked across my living room floor. Instead of frantically searching for something to trap her with I picked her up with my bare hand and stuck her out in the garage. Later that night I walked through my apartment without turning on the lights, never thinking something lurked in the shadows to harm me.

It was just a living thing smaller than I, who meant me no harm, not a monster. It was just the absence of light, not a weapon of my enemies.

In time I realized what had been stripped from me in that moment, when I raised my head and legitimately claimed the title I had been fraudulently using before then: fighter.

My fear. Not my caution, or my common sense or my self-control but my fear of the unknown, my fear of my own fears. I could look inside my own head and see the spaces they made, the pits of quicksand formed by anxiety and horror of looking like a fool.

I was not reckless or careless or callous. I was just…unafraid. And in losing that amorphous existential terror I was finally able to lift up head outside the gym, in the quiet battle that is everyone’s day-to-day life.

There is no shame in being afraid of things…until the moment that fear turns you away from the path of happiness because it’s dark and full of spiders.

Because the world did get wider. And brighter. And easier to deal with.

And seriously, spiders are neat.

 

Author TG Shepherd

Lisa Gemino is a martial artist with over twenty five years of experience in many different arts, currently training in Kali, JKD Concepts, boxing, kick boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She writes sword and sorcery, high fantasy and stuff involving monsters under the name T. G. Shepherd. Her first novel, As A God, will be published in summer 2016 by ETreasures Publishing.

You can find her author self on Twitter @tgshepherdvan

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Aug 252016
 
bigstock-welcome-88453334
There’s an old superstition that bad things come in threes. Superstitions hang around for a reason.
It was 2003 and President George Bush Jr. had declared mission accomplished. I was stationed in a Republican guard base outside of Baghdad, wondering if anyone had told the Iraqis that the war was over. Granted, things had settled down from the initial invasion, there were no more intact Iraqi Army or Republican Guard units in the field opposing us and we went anywhere in Iraq we wanted (well to be fair, we went anywhere we wanted in Iraq even when Saddam’s army was opposing us), but there was still, call it resistance to American control over Iraq. That’s when my Gunny, my Squad Leader, and my Platoon Commanding Officer all showed up looking for me. If you’ve ever served or have any familiarity with military culture you know when all the authority figures show up looking for you it’s never a good sign. I was told I needed to see the Chaplin. That’s a really bad sign. See, among other things, the Chaplin is the designated bad news guy in the military. In my case, it was a letter from the Red Cross. My Grandfather had died while I was fighting in Iraq.

I was not as torn up about my Grandfather’s death as some thought I should have been. It’s not that my Grandfather hadn’t been present in my life–he had been there very often when I was a child and had taught me a good deal. How to fish, how to listen…things like that. The plain fact is that I had lost my Grandfather to Alzheimer’s years ago, and I had mourned him years before as I watched him slip away from us.

I won’t go into the details of my grandfather’s death, except for two things that will likely stay with me until I die. First, my Father went and saw him at least once a week, every week, without fail. No matter the weather, what was going on in his life, all of it, my father went. No one would have known if he had missed a week, or a month. Hell, my Grandfather wouldn’t have noticed, especially towards to the end! But my father did it anyway, even when seeing his father in such a state must have been a hot knife in the guts. People tell me I am brave but if I die showing half the courage my Father did in those days then I will be very proud of myself. Second, my last visit, right before the war. I knew I was going, my Father did, my Mother pretended she didn’t, my Girlfriend at the time dumped me rather than deal with it. I visited my Grandfather–more for my Father’s sake than anything else–and my Father left the room to discuss something with a damn nurse who wouldn’t go away. My Grandfather looked up and started talking to me as if I was my Father. He often switched us up. He told me that he was proud of my Father (thinking I was him) and proud of his grandson (thinking I was out of the room) but I needed to be ready because his son was going to war and he was going to come back hurt no matter what happened. I was floored that my Grandfather even knew there was a war coming. I thought he was worried I would come back shot or injured and I humored him thinking that the odds were good that I would not be injured. I never told my Father about that conversation. I simply cannot. I walked out of the war without a scratch on me. My Grandfather was still right. My Grandfather fought in the North African and Italian front in World War II. He was the only living member of my family with combat experience. I don’t let myself think about what might have changed for me if he had been alive and in control of himself at that time. Some thoughts are too sharp to play with.

There was in a tornado in Oklahoma when I was away at war. One of the causalities was my Father’s house. I didn’t grow up in that house, when you’re the son of two deaf ministers you don’t get a single house you grew up in. But it was the house I had lived in the longest, it was the first place I honestly felt was mine and it was gone. Completely, as if it had never existed. To be honest it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been–the entire family (even the cat and the dog) survived. I didn’t even find out about it until I got home. A high school friend found out I was coming home and called me so I didn’t get out of a taxi in front of a ruin. That serves pretty well as a metaphor for the whole experience that followed.

Not only was the house I considered home gone, but also the me that had left was gone forever. Going home had made me a stranger in a strange land. My friends from high school, many of them who had been very close, were now practically strangers. It’s not that they didn’t try, they all tried very hard to give me support and understanding, but… half the problem was me. I responded to the changes in me by trying to make them go away. I tried to force myself to be the same guy who had left and, in doing so, often made myself angry, listless, moody. Once, while walking down the street, a car backfired and I dove into a bush. Other times I would hear or smell something and would be unable to sleep for days as a result. My Father would wake up in the morning and find me staring at the front door and realize I hadn’t moved all night. I only started sleeping when I got a job at a factory working on air conditioners. Working long hours on heavy objects will make you tired to think the wrong thoughts. But eventually I was let go.

No matter how hard I tried to be the old me, it just wouldn’t work. I didn’t start to really adjust until I had moved out of Oklahoma to attend college in Arizona. Once out of Oklahoma, I was surrounded by people with next-to-no prior expectations and I stopped holding on to my own. That let me figure out who I was now, for better or worse. It wasn’t a short or painless process and I had a lot of help with that. A lot of help. I went back to Oklahoma to visit for the holidays and tried to tell myself that I was going home. I stayed there for 2 weeks. It was towards the end that I realized that while I missed my family when I was gone I couldn’t wait to leave and go back to the sun-blasted hell that is Phoenix. My home in Oklahoma was gone because the person whose home that had been was gone–lost somewhere in southern Iraq.
I still visit my parents and siblings in Oklahoma, but that’s all it is now–a visit to the place where other family members live. Not a journey home.
GArvin bio picGarvin Anders, born in the 80’s to Deaf Pentecostal ministers, served as a Marine, worked in factories, Walmarts, fast food places and more.  He attended ASU until someone was silly enough to give him a BA in Anthropology. He currently works for an insurance company while tutoring ASL and writing strange blog entries.

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Aug 162016
 

Of all that we can lose, our life is the most precious. But what if we almost lose it? What if we come close enough to get a glimpse at what the world might be like without us? Today’s guest, Melanie Marttila, talks about a childhood brush with death and the loss that could have been.

Melanie Marttila after surgery

Tonsillitis is hell. The true infection, the one that leaves your four-year-old self screaming, the monster pain in your ears reaching back into your brain, your throat, latching on with needle-like claws, and shredding.

I remember that.

I remember trying to lie still on my side on the couch while Mom administered oil-based ear medication into my ears, one after the other. This would hopefully happen before the screaming started, was intended to pre-empt it. I’d squirm and whine while the medication slowly dripped into my ears, swallowed doses of liquid antibiotics and Tempra.

I remember once heading out in the car with my parents and maternal grandparents. I’m not sure whether it was just for a picnic, or if it was a day trip to a camp site, but it was a ways out of town. Mom hadn’t thought to bring my medication and just to spite her, my tonsillitis decided to act up. Big time.

Mom and Nanny (I had to have a different name for this other older lady who wasn’t the same as Grandma, my paternal grandmother) tried to calm me down in the back seat, but I was howling by the time we reached our destination and we couldn’t stay. I had to be returned home and dosed.

It quickly became apparent that surgery was in order. Though this was the time during which doctors tried not to perform tonsillectomies, my situation was serious enough that everyone felt there was no other choice.

I don’t remember anything about the surgery itself. I believe it went off without a hitch. After the operation, all seemed well, and I returned home enjoying ice cream, popsicles, and TLC.

In the middle of the night, I woke, coughing, had trouble breathing, the air moving in and out of me with a rattling slurp, the sound of milk bubbling through a straw. The next cough shot a black spatter onto my pyjamas and sheets. I couldn’t summon the breath to call for my mom right away, my first attempt emerged a thready burble.

Each stuttering breath and cough produced a little more noise, until I was shouting, “Mom!”

The light switch flicked on, momentarily blinding me, but one look at the blood and I yelled again, despite the jagged burning in my throat, tried to crawl back from it, but it followed. I was covered in blood.

My stitches had burst.

A frantic ride to the hospital and the doctor ordered me back into surgery and my parents out of the examination room, the male nurse assuring them that he could handle getting the intravenous inserted.

He sent Mom away. It was abandonment, pure and simple. A four-year old doesn’t distinguish between her parents leaving her and her parents being forced to leave her.

Worse, the nurse tried to stab me. I showed him.

Mom and Dad were brought back in, allowed to hold my hand, held my legs down, while the newly bandaged nurse taped my arm to a block of wood and did his worst. In the moment, I hated my parents for that, for letting the nurse hurt me.

I didn’t die, but I came close.

I don’t remember any of the iconic images typical of near-death experiences. No long tunnels.  No doorways of brilliant light. No voices of lost loved ones calling to me. No angels. No voice of God.

The road back from that second surgery was a long one. I’d ingested so much blood, I became incontinent in the most embarrassing way, my family doctor plucked clots of blood out of my ears and nose, and nothing, not even ice cream, tasted good for weeks. More courses of liquid antibiotics followed, which stained my teeth indelibly and made me self-conscious for years.

I have a picture of myself right after the surgery, pale, skinny. It was Christmas, but this was the closest I could come to smiling.

What’s stayed with me the most was the dream.

My first night home after the second surgery, I dreamed of my bed, empty. The cheery yellow and white striped flannel sheets, the blue wool blanket turned down, the dark wood frame with the toy cupboard built in. Just the bed in a kind of spot light, the rest of the room, dark. The image of the bed receded into the darkness and finally disappeared.

The feeling that I woke up with was that I had died, not that I really understood what that meant, but that I had ceased to exist in the world I had grown up in to that point and that the world I woke up in was a new one. I had a new life, too. A second chance.

Now, I’d say that back then I dreamed of one of those moments at which the infinite iterations of parallel universes converge. I turned left at the crossroads. The sensation was profound.

I also think it was the experience that set me on the path of the creative. I might never know for sure, but I feel that it’s true.

Author Melanie MarttilaMelanie Marttila creates worlds from whole cloth. Ink alchemist, dream singer, and SFF novelist in progress, she lives with her spouse in Sudbury, Ontario, on the street that bears her family name, in the house in which three generations of her family have lived. Her short fiction has been published in Bastion Science Fiction Magazine and On Spec Magazine.

You can find her on Twitter @MelanieMarttila and on her blog, Writerly Goodness

 

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Aug 122016
 

You’ve lost your marriage, your job, and your house, the worst is over, right? Today’s guest blogger, Ceejae Devine, talks about saying goodbye to two special friends amid a whirlwind of loss.


Ceejae Divine and Rocket the macaw

I was so sure I’d finally made it. I’d walked away from a terrible marriage with two small kids. I’d gotten through five years of separation arrangements and divorce proceedings, and I’d gotten out of a part-time receptionist position at a Real Estate company where they’d been cutting my hours for months.

The new job appeared out of nowhere. It came up in a conversation I had one evening with a woman at the library. The pay still wasn’t great, but it was enough to complement the work I was getting from the freelance graphic design clients I’d managed to hold on to through all of the changes.

Still, I didn’t take it for granted. I’d lived with feelings of insecurity for too long. I’d started to feel like I was going to lose my home when I was working for the Real Estate company, so I’d been preparing for it, deep cleaning and packing something every weekend.

I also wanted to move. Taking care of a house and yard by myself was a ton of work, and since we lived on a steep hill every winter the snow and ice were miserable.

But in a short amount of time, I started to feel like I was in trouble. When I arrived at my new job none of the equipment was set up and there were very few usable resources. I asked questions and explained what I needed, but I didn’t get good answers. My manager only spent about five minutes a day with me, so I struggled with every project and knew I wasn’t doing the best job I could do.

When my manager walked into my office one day with the Human Resources manager and told me I was being laid off, I was hit with an immense sense of relief and the shock of knowing I was going to lose my home.

I explained what had happened to my 16- and 11-year-old daughters, and my oldest daughter, Jade, said, “You can finally leave this place! You and Amber can stay with your parents while you look for a job in Seattle!” A few minutes later she added, “But I’m going to see if I can find a place to live here so I can stay for my senior year.”

It all made sense and it all seemed crazy. I went into hyperdrive making all of the arrangements, which included calling a Real Estate agent to put our house on the market.

Then I realized something I hadn’t ever considered. I couldn’t take my birds.

1RocketandKirocI’d had macaws for 23 years. They were my friends, my companions, but my mother couldn’t breathe well around them.

I talked to everyone about what to do and my mother suggested looking for a sanctuary. One after the other told me they either didn’t have room or that my birds wouldn’t survive since their birds lived outside and mine had lived indoors all of their lives.

Finally I found a guy who said he would take them. It seemed like it was going to be okay since I was going to be living about 30 miles away and he told me that I could come visit, but again, they were going to have to adjust to living outside.

Every day for about a month as I made all of the preparations to move, I counted the days that I had left with my friends. Every day I stood in the doorway crying, trying to explain to them what was going to happen. For their entire lives, whenever I left for any more than a couple of hours, I would always tell them that I had to go, but that I would be back. Now I stood in their room telling them that they had to go and they wouldn’t ever be able to come back.

I felt like I had to find a way to justify it. I told myself that their lives were going to be much harder in some ways, but better in others.

Their cages were in a tiny room with a small window, and while I had perches that they were able to sit on in different places around the house when I was home and I was able to set them outside when the weather was good, I knew it wasn’t enough. I didn’t realize how intelligent birds were when we got Kiroc, our Blue and Gold, and she seemed so sad whenever my husband and I returned from weekends away or vacations we got her a companion, a Green Wing we named Rocket.

I knew they would finally be in the company of their own kind at the sanctuary, and when I arrived with them, Rocket confirmed how important this was for him. The moment he heard the calls from the other macaws he tried to fly to join them.

For a few months Amber and I visited every couple of weeks. Then Amber realized that even though she was able to advance in her math course at the new school, the other courses were covering material from her previous year. I called her old school to see if she could get back into her class, and we moved back to a house I thought was going to foreclose on us. To my surprise, within a few days, through what seemed like a miracle, I received an offer on the house and a call about a huge freelance project.

Blue macaws in snactuarySince that time, I’ve attended the sanctuary’s annual fundraising auction every year except last year when I had to make another huge move. I always took a case of bananas and fed the other birds as I looked for my friends. I was able to find both of them the first summer, but the second summer, I couldn’t find Rocket. The year after that I was still able to find Kiroc. She came up to me and ate almost an entire banana. I pet her toes for a couple of minutes, then she climbed to the highest point of the shelter, the farthest point she could get from me where I could still see her, and she shut her eyes.

I felt like she was trying to tell me that she didn’t want me to take her away and that she felt safe.

At the last auction I attended, I wasn’t able to find Kiroc, but I will continue to support the sanctuary as long as I can, because I know people will continue to find themselves in situations like the one I found myself in.

Author Ceejae DevineCeejae Devine currently lives in the Seattle Metro area. She has two daughters, one who recently graduated from MIT and one who is starting college this fall. Ceejae’s writing focuses on the incredibly difficult, but astonishing journey she has experienced. She typically writes in the genre of memoir on subjects that include being a single parent, knowing thyself, synchronicity, and God. ceejae-devine.com

 

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Aug 102016
 

When today’s guest, David Perlmutter, pitched his idea to me, I confess I was skeptical. Then I read his piece and remembered all the fictional characters and stories whose endings have left me grieving. Loss, I was reminded, can take any form.


 

stack of old televisions Warpworld

In the late 1970s, the underrated and underexposed rhythm and blues music ensemble Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band recorded a song called “Ninety Day Cycle People” for ABC Records. Unusually for the time and the artist, it was a high concept science fiction piece involving an advanced race of human beings capable of feeling and seeing things normal ones could not. However, almost to compensate for these advanced gifts, the beings were limited to experiencing the totality of their lives through a limited time period of ninety days. Hence their name.

Upon hearing this song for the first time, I was struck by its resemblance to a type of being I knew very well. Another being with a much limited timespan, one often less than ninety days in total time experience, who also are able to live their lives to the fullest within that period more than most of us ever will.

I speak of fictional characters from television. The ones from American animated television series, in particular.

I am a very deep devotee of this frequently and deeply misunderstood art form, and, being now thirty-five years old going on thirty-six, have seen dozens of them come and go over that time. Exploring the wonders of their images, their settings and their characters has always been one of the greatest joys in my life. And, consequently, losing them whenever their corporate lords and masters decide to pull the plug on them has been one of the greatest sorrows in my life.

A television series is different in terms of consumption than other forms of art. With a film or a novel, the length is set, and the characters exist neither before nor after that length. Similarly, the experience of an audio or video recording lasts only for the length of time it takes to play that recording, however long it may be.

But television, of the truly fictional variety, requires you to return to the same place and the same people on a regular basis. In spite of the increased atomization of its audience- a process resulting more from the arrogance with which its business model operates and not simply because of new and more populist forms of content distribution nipping at its heels- it still does. Not unlike the serialization practices of Charles Dickens and other novelists of the Victorian era, or those of its immediate and still relevant predecessor, radio, television requires the audience to keep coming back on a regular weekly or (now, whenever you feel like it) basis to keep its economic model tight and together.

And I have found in television animation since the 1990s an excellent marriage between great programming content and maintenance of a bill-paying apparatus. Not always, of course, but most of the time it does occur.

And so, I keep coming back. It used to be because I wanted to, and it was just there. But now I have to. I write about it. I wrote my MA thesis in History on it. I wrote the first major historical study of it, and am now compiling a comprehensive historical and contemporary encyclopedia of it. So I suspect people are going to ask me as much about what’s going on now with it if not more than what used to happen, so I need to be ready.

But yet the creeping feeling of loss always intrudes.

Everything starts well in September, when the new fresh faced crowd comes around, comparative in many ways with the elementary schoolers, middle schoolers and high schoolers falsely seen to be their only loyal audience. I go through Halloween and Christmas with them like always, because it seems like they can’t let them pass without mention. Possibly the other ones, too, but those are the main ones. And we trudge together through the never-tiring lessons about friendship and loyalty, and I laugh at their brilliant verbal jokes and non-sequiturs and peerless physical buffoonery like I’m supposed to.

Yet, by the time spring rolls around, I know a death sentence is coming for a lot of them, even if they don’t. And by the time summer starts, I know that the Grim Reaper, in the form of the executives in far-away New York and Los Angeles, will coming for them. I don’t want to let them go. And yet they just leave in the night while I’m asleep in bed. Without even waking me up to say goodbye.

If that isn’t a means of triggering feelings of loss, I don’t know what would be.

Sure, some of them stay around. The Simpsons has been around for twenty six years, and I doubt FOX will release them from their bondage any time soon. But not all of them are that lucky. Some of them barely last a few episodes, others a couple of years. Always and only until there’s no more economic rather than creative juice left in the lemon.

And sometimes the ones who run things think it’d be a lot of “fun” to do a “new” version that only desecrates the memory of the ones you once held dear. My dearly beloved Powerpuff Girls, with whom I spent six of the happiest years of my life in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, only came back to life just now. Or, at least, some people pretending to be them. The originals were the stars of what was one of the most brilliant shows to ever come out of the whole genre, and it got treated worse than a Bernie Sanders supporter at a Donald Trump rally. Then, and now.

These folks are the ninety day cycle people, all right. They do and feel things I can’t. They live lives that are of very short duration. But they make every second count.

And, in doing so, they give me and their other admirers all the hope and gratification they will ever need.

 

David PerlmutterDavid Perlmutter is a freelance writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The holder of an MA degree from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, and a lifelong animation fan, he has published short fiction in a variety of genres for various magazines and anthologies, as well as essays on his favorite topics for similar publishers. He is the author of America Toons In: A History of Television Animation (McFarland and Co.),  The Singular Adventures Of Jefferson Ball (Chupa Cabra House), The Pups (Booklocker.com), Certain Private Conversations and Other Stories (Aurora Publishing),  Orthicon; or, the History of a Bad Idea (Linkville Press, forthcoming) and Nothing About Us Without Us: The Adventures of the Cartoon Republican Army (Dreaming Big Productions, forthcoming.) 

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