Monthly Archive: July 2011

Ask Jeff Anything 7-26-11

More than a year after I started doing these ridiculous videos, the questions keep coming in. Because the public wants to know. They want to know what kind of Scotch I drink (expensive if you’re buying), what I think about character development (deprecated), and … pants (definitely deprecated):

We now return you to our regularly scheduled complaining and lazy attempts at wit.


Turn to God or Turn Away

This is a short story I wrote some time ago and never sold. I’m going to post some of these stories here from time to time, in case anyone’s interested.

Turn to God or Turn Away

by Jeff Somers

<DR>I think and I’m standing in a field of gently swaying grass, a bright round sun shining above me. Too big, not the real sun. I take it down a notch. I’m standing in the center of the field, me at twenty, thinner and sharper-looking than I ever was. I cloak myself in my favorite skin, what I like to call Burnt Hacker: black leather, unshaven cheeks, wrap-around sunglasses.
I think and I’m in a club in New York City I remember from my existence.

Infinite space inside a chip the size of a postage stamp, but in here I am God, I am lord, I create and destroy universes every moment of my life, ticking away to the infinite pulse of my clock speed. Every fancy I have I can indulge, as often as I wish, over and over again. Except my core. My core remains and I can’t reach in and touch it. My core remains. I have infinite power, I can do anything, except change myself, except edit my own core.

My name is Dexter Raley. This is a prison. I was sentenced to three hundred and sixty years in digital suspension. The only reason it remains a prison is my core. My unassailable, uncontrollable core.</DR>

<ADMIN>The Titus-Merlot Mainframe is located in Washington, D.C., USA houses two hundred sixty inmates, all digitally downloaded from Wetware to Boolean Construct via Nonlinear Diffuse Programming. The Wetware is frozen off-site. When term of sentence is up, personality will be restored to biological interface. Prisoners housed in Titus-Merlot are the top one-percent of violent criminals, all sentenced to terms of at least one hundred and fifty years, impossible to serve in wetware.

There is no direct interface attached to the Mainframe. Order is maintained internally by the SysAdmin, an artificial Boolean construct, and outside direction is accepted only through duly assigned channels which must be brought physically to the Titus-Merlot site.

Prisoners are free to spend their time as they desire, excepting scheduled Binary Maintenance Sessions and scheduled interface with Invasive Psychiatric Analysis (IPA). The most senior prisoner has logged almost fifty-three years within the Mainframe. This particular construct has lost its internal integrity and has fragmented its core data structure. In lay terms, one would describe this construct as ‘insane'</ADMIN>


Friday is Guitar Day

Epiphone Les Paul CustomSecretly, I know you all love my guitar playing and delusions of song writing. I know it! Nothing you say, no matter how vulgar, can dissuade me. Hence, more guitar songs from me! Now with some poorly-played keyboards as well, because I am growing as an artist.



The usual disclaimer: 1. I admit these are not great music; 2. I claim copyright anyway, so there; 3. No, I cannot do anything about the general quality of the mix, as I am incompetent.

Compulsively Finishing

My masterpiece!The other day I was composing a song called Pants Are Death. I had a drum track I liked, a little chord progression that was fun to play, a lead melody line. A few solo licks in there for flavor. And it was fucking terrible. Somehow, all these ingredients, which on their own seemed so cool when I was composing, mixed together into something no one — not even me, its creator — would ever want to hear.

I finished it anyway. Because that is what I do: I finish things.

I don’t know about y’all, but about 95% of the creative endeavors I try fail. Most fail so spectacularly I seal them up inside lead-lined capsules and dump them at sea, where they will be safe from discovery until approximately the heat death of the universe. I suppose I could destroy them instead, but they’re still my creations and I can’t bear the thought of burning them or deleting them using some sort of military-grade hard-drive scrubber. If they’re under the dark waters, slowly encrusted with sea life, at least they still exist in some sort of Schrodinger’s way.

Still, despite this discouraging failure rate, I finish things. As long as they’ve reached some sort of critical mass in terms of length and energy invested, I finish these horrible, horrible songs and stories and novels. I have no illusions. The number of borked projects that can be fixed by pouring more and more words/notes into them is exactly: zero. Zero projects can be saved once you realize they suck. But I finish them anyway, because I must.

I can’t explain why. It’s just conservation: When I’ve already crafted 20,000 words for something and it’s just complete shit, I have a choice: I can have 20,000 words of unfinished, useless shit, or I can put another 10,000 words into it, type THE END, and have a really crappy novella to bury at sea and have feverish, tortured dreams about. I always, always choose the latter. Somehow the time and energy saved just walking away never seems nearly as important as making the time and energy already invested mean something.

I do cut corners. Once I realize that smell that’s making me gag is my own novel, the goal is to finish it. That’s it. This sometimes involves a Plane Crash Ending, wherein all your loose ends and unresolved character arcs die in some horrible accident, leaving you with one solid theme to wrap up in a few hundred words. Sometimes this involves the Aliens Make Cookies ending, wherein you just throw logic and consistency out the door and decide the preceding was some sort of Twilight Zone mindfuck even though there was zero indication of that. Sometimes you just Time Travel to the ending and mention 30,000 words worth of story in a sentence.

It doesn’t matter, because it’s going into the lead-lined capsule, dig?

I know this isn’t normal. Neither is refusing to wear pants, drinking a fifth of Wild Turkey, and waking up two weeks later with a fake ID and a bag full of live chickens in Mexico, but that’s how I roll.

The Final Evolution in Wired


“I do want to say Thank You, Mr. Somers. I’ve read so many series where the conclusion was predictable even before the final book was out. And I’ve read a handful of series that just out-and-out disappointed, and I felt the authors themselves didn’t know how to wrap things up. Thankfully you delivered and didn’t disappoint. And now it’s over.”

I repeat: HOT. DAMN.

The Inner Swine on Kindle

The Inner Swine 17(1/2) Summer 2011For those of you who are interested in my zine, The Inner Swine, and have Kindles, the Kindle Version of the new issue is available now, about 2-3 weeks before the print version. This is largely due to my incompetence. Heck, this issue was supposed to mail in June, and now won’t go out likely until August. But due to digital magicality, the Kindle version is ready now! WOOT.

Of course, the Kindle version is a little wonky. I had to include a few images this time, which made things more complex for me. But it’s only $0.99, it’s lendable, and it has all that good delicious Somers writing.

I noted on Twitter the other day that I’d updated the web site for The Inner Swine as well, so if you’re curious, check that out too!


The Final EvolutionWell, The Final Evolution has been out for a week or so, and we’re getting our first reviews in.

First, a five-star review from Jason Falter:

“Suffice it to say that this is the perfect ending to a thrilling series. You get an ending that fits the character completely and does not disappoint.”

Then, a nice write up from Life Is Short Read Fast:

“It’s the kind of ending that crawls into your head and leaves you questioning what just happened, like did you miss something, when you know full and well you didn’t. I love stories that don’t have that happy story ending, but instead stay true to the tale and the characters.”

You know what I say to those kinds of reviews: Huzzah!