I am in favor of genre-bending.

When I was a kid, hosting a sleepover was about the coolest thing you could do. I loved having my friends over, eating pizza, drinking sugary drinks, playing games, and staying up way too late. Now that I have kids of my own, I’m not as excited about the idea of hosting them for my own kids. I suppose that’s just part of being a parent. Anyway, of the sleepover traditions that I remember, the suicides stand out vibrantly.

A “suicide” was when you played the mad scientist and mixed all of the beverages together. For the most part, the result was still a drinkable concoction. Sometimes, it was even quite good.

warm_bodiesMy wife and I just saw Warm Bodies the other night. I grabbed it from the library on a friend’s recommendation knowing very little about the film itself.

If you haven’t heard anything about it, Warm Bodies is an zombie-action-romantic-comedy loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Seriously. And, like some of the “suicides” of my younger days, the result of mixing elements was quite good.

I guess I’m a fan of messy lines around genres.

Take the books of Jasper Fforde, for instance. His Tuesday Next series mixed elements of classic literature, science fiction, time-travel, and mystery. The Nursery Crime books are basically police procedurals populated by Mother Goose’s characters. And both series are quite funny as well.

The late Terry Pratchett was likewise a master of mixing things up with his Discworld books, placing fantasy characters in a classical London-like setting and adding elements of current technological or philosophical debates.

When done well, the whole is much more than the sum of the parts. When done poorly, the result is like a “suicide” gone wrong.

Do you have any favorite books or movies that don’t fit cleanly into a specific genre?

5 Things I Just Learned About Greenland

In pursuit of my Greenland reader, I have decided to learn a bit more about their country. What I found was pretty fascinating, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.

1. The USA lost a nuclear weapon in Greenland.

In the deep north of Greenland, the USA built Thule Air Base with permission from Greenland’s government in the 1950’s. The strategic location allowed the USA to monitor for nuclear missiles that might be launched from the USSR toward the USA over the North Pole. So, Thule was equipped with nuclear capabilities in order to strike quickly, should the need arise.

And that’s all good fun, until someone crashes a plane loaded with four nuclear weapons, which is what happened in 1968. In the cleanup after the plane crash, only three of the weapons were recovered. Despite extensive efforts to find and recover the fourth, it likely remains buried in the ice. It’s like a super-deadly surprise for future generations, when my generation is finished melting all the polar ice.

2. The USA once tried to buy Greenland from Denmark.

Before we started filling up her frozen north with nuclear debris, the USA tried to buy Greenland from Denmark in 1946. Denmark wouldn’t have any of it though. Think of how silly Texas would feel if it wasn’t even the second largest state anymore. (Don’t worry Texas, we still love you.)

3. Greenland could eat us for a snack.

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And we taste like Ranch dressing.

4. 1 out of 4 Greenlanders has attempted suicide.

I’m not going to make light of this because it is a hard thing to lose friends and family to suicide. This one just saddens me.

5. The waters off Greenland are home to a predator even more frightening than the goblin shark.

The Greenland shark is larger than a Great White, can live for up to 200 years old, and regularly dines on polar bears and moose. Forget Australia being the world’s deadliest place. Greenland is steeped in frightening creatures.

So, now that I have more of an appreciation for Greenland, I’d really like to do an interview with a Greenlander. Let’s see if I can make that happen.

Flash Fiction Challenge | On his own terms…

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Jared Venus was going to kill himself. He had known this for some time. The knowledge was a twisted comfort against the disease that threatened to do it first.

No. Whatever else, Jared was in charge of his death.

Lots of people use guns. Or knives, slid from wrist to elbow. Unimaginative.

Jared wanted to fly.

Standing at the edge of the canyon, he was ready. It was either this or cancer.

“Sir,” said a girl nearby. “Are you going to answer that?”

“Hm?” Jared looked at his phone. The Clinic.

“Jared?” Wind muffled the voice. “There’s been a mix-up…”

100 Word Challenge | Being clear is essential to…

Connover lingered by Greg’s headstone. Why did he kill himself?

What didn’t his co-worker have that Connover hadn’t wanted first? The promotion, the new BMW, Emily.

Many times he’d imagined Greg’s death, but when he heard Greg boast of his exploits with the girl of his dreams, it was himself he wished dead. Now this.

Maybe it isn’t a coincidence, said a wicked thought. Maybe there was a reason that Greg got what you wished for yourself. Maybe you were the reason. Maybe you could test it somehow.

How? thought Connover.

Want something specific. Being clear is essential. To test this, you’ll need proof.

Hmm…