Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Bed Intruder" Becomes Internet Phenomenon


Good for Evan and Michael Gregory, the people who created the musical version, for cutting Dodson in on the money.  And good for Dodson for taking the lemons life gave him (the attempted rape of his sister) and turning them into lemonade (thousands of Facebook fans, an active Twitter following, T-shirts for sale, a possible film role, etc).

Hopefully he'll be able to get his sister and her kid out of the ghetto with all the money he's likely to make.

And for the entertainment of my readers, here's the "Bed Intruder" rap song.

And it seems Dodson has his own YouTube channel, complete with updates on the hunt for the attempted rapist.


46,000 subscribers.  Dang.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Interesting Piece of Starcraft Fan-Art (Spoilers for "SC2")

I visited the Battle.net site yesterday and a new batch of fan-art had been posted.  Most of it had to do with Sarah Kerrigan and most of the individual pieces depicted her as being the Queen of Blades (the infested ruler of the Zerg).

However, I did find one post-deinfestation piece that I thought was really interesting.  The artist is named Marco Kunardi.  I'd post the image itself, but I'm not sure if that'd be legal (the site's submission guidelines state that they're granted Blizzard non-exclusive use, but I would still need to ask permission from the author, I would imagine).

So here's the link:


Basically it depicts Kerrigan, as a human, wearing customized Ghost armor that has a lot of spikes and a pair of bladed robotic limbs attached.  It mimicks her Zerg carapace and extra limbs from when she was Queen of Blades.

That reminded me of some speculation as to where Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was heading.  Someone on battle.net theorized that since it's similar to a role-playing game and is centered around Kerrigan, her version of the Terran campaign's "research path" could center around either improving her Ghost abilities or Zerg abilities, with the latter path possibly leading to her once more becoming the Queen of Blades (and making all the other characters hostile).

The artwork seems to depict one permutation of option #1.  She's a Ghost again, but with the biological weaponry of the Zerg replaced with robotics.  Such a configuration would make sense, if she'd gotten used to fighting with the extra limbs her Zerg infestation gave her.

(There's a post-Wings of Liberty fanfic that depicts her in a sparring match with Nova, another female Ghost, and she instinctively tries to use her former "wings," only to find them not there.  She ended up on her behind in that one and in a real fight, could have been killed.)

That'd be an interesting option for Blizzard to include in Heart of the Swarm.  One could even get some storyline drama out of it--someone might see her mimicking her previous incarnation, using technological instead of biological means, and get freaked out.

Plus it'd be really awesome--she'd have her Ghost weaponry, cloaking ability, psionic attacks, etc. and a really awesome melee attack too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Environmental Law...Or Gun Control?

I found the following link on DemocraticUnderground, of all places.  They're an example of the wacko fringe of the American political Left, with the exception of gun rights.  Although they've got some obnoxious anti-gun types (including one who bragged about calling the cops on a neighbor who had a certain model of gun illegal in California), as a whole, DU is strongly pro-individual-right-to-bear-arms and I can honor them for that.


Okay, I acknowledge the fact that lead is toxic and could certainly be an environmental danger and that the proposed regulation also governs sinkers used in fishing.

However, even though the Obama Administration has not shown itself to be especially hostile toward gun rights, this would be a de facto gun-control measure if not a de jure one.  I'm not especially knowledgeable about the different types of ammunition that exist out there, but if this passes and the only ammunition available is either inferior copper rounds or banned in certain areas as "armor-piercing," this would place an undue burden on gun owners.

If the government wants to reduce lead contamination, how about passing some measure "phasing out" lead sinkers used for fishing and grandfathering in all lead sinkers manufactured before the cutoff date?  That will give the companies producing sinkers to come up with some just-as-effective alternative material to replace lead with.

Then we'll see if the same material can be used for bullets, both for private gun owners and for the military.  After all, if the real issue is lead contamination, wars and large-scale training exercises are far more pollutive (in terms of lead) than hunting and individual shootings.

I exhort all of you to go to http://www.congress.org/ and write the President, your Senators and Representatives, etc. in order to put the kibosh on this proposed legislation before it goes anywhere.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Draka/Stargate Story is Back

Earlier, I'd blogged about a fan-fiction story entitled "Snakepit" that was a crossover between the Stargate fiction universe and S.M. Stirling's Draka novels.  The author, a member of my alternate-history forum, disappeared for awhile but is now back and posting.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, the Alien Space Bats forum of AH.com went members-only, so I won't be able to post links here for my readers into enjoy.  Luckily, he's posting the story on other places too.

Behold, "Stars of Iron."


Thus far, the story is centered around the New America, the sleeper-ship that was supposed to carry 100,000 Alliance survivors to the habitable world of Samothrace at Alpha Centauri.  Fortunately for them (the Draka had gotten FTL tech from a Goa'uld captive and more stuff on it from their Tollan allies and would be waiting for them), the alien known as Loki intervened and towed the ship to the other side of the galaxy.

There, they found an Ancient space-station with a giant habitable dome for them to live in...

My readers of a more squeamish/conservative bent might like this story better than "Snakepit" because it, thus far, is following the Alliance survivors.  Unlike the Draka, they're not a grisly gaggle of slavers, tyrants, and unpleasant folk with Foghorn-Leghorn accents bent on galactic domination with a propensity for molesting their slaves, impaling rebels, and generally misbehaving.  In fact, probably in reaction to the libertine Draka, they're more culturally conservative and more Catholic than our world's U.S.

I don't think it's as interesting as "Snakepit," thus far, but then, it's only the beginning.

For background, here's the author's fanfiction.net page.  It's got the original "Snakepit" and two spinoffs, "Loving on the Edge of a Blade" and "The Return of the Janissaries."


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another News Article Round-Up

Got a bit behind blogging because I've been chatting on the Starcraft 2 section of the Battle.net forums, workling on my planned pitch to Blizzard, reading Windmaster's Bane and Liberty's Crusade, and working on my book, so I'll post all the interesting news articles I've found over the last few days:


The imam who wants to expand the mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center has apparently been very helpful in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts.  This is one reason why I've been a big defender of allowing the Muslims of Lower Manhattan to expand their facility--needlessly irritating American Muslims is going to make them less likely to cooperate in anti-terrorism efforts and might encourage cultural separatism rather than assimilation.


This is very interesting.  Although I'm a staunch free-trader, I recognize the usefulness of an industrial base.  Widespread adoption of wind-power is something that would keep factory jobs here (and maybe even expand them) because they're difficult to outsource due to the transportation costs.


On my alternate-history forum, we had a big debate about the morality and practicality of space colonization.  This is something that's really interesting, as the ability to farm on another world is important for long-term viability.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jim Raynor: Christ Figure? Spoilers...

I had a thought the other day that Jim Raynor, especially in Starcraft 2, is actually a Christ figure, in a particularly Reformed sense.

The main Scripture I am using for this is Romans 5:8, whose text follows:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jim Raynor clearly loved Sarah Kerrigan in a self-sacrificing way (agape) and eventually intended to free her from the Zerg swarm.  Although Kerrigan, after her infestation by the Zerg, was less hostile toward Raynor than toward other characters, she still made war against him, especially when they were both after pieces of the Xel'Naga artifact or when Raynor and Valerian invaded Char to deploy it against the Zerg. 

This is similar to the Reformed position, based on their interpretation of Romans 8:7, whose text follows:

The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.

The Reformed believe that this means man cannot accept Jesus on his or her own--God must act on them first.  Kerrigan did not ask for Raynor's help in Starcraft 2, but was actively opposed to him.  And of her own free will as well--she was no longer under the control of the Overmind, but was acting according to her nature (albeit warped by the Zerg--a moral, compassionate person beforehand, the infestation destroyed her conscience and moral sensibilities and rendered her a de facto psychopath).

Other characters play roles similar to the Pharisees and Sadducees who opposed Christ during His earthly ministry.  Arcturus Mengsk tells Raynor "that treacherous b***** cannot be saved," which reminds me somewhat of the religious leadership that for the most part looked down on "sinners."  Raynor's friend Tychus Findlay and even the well-meaning Matt Horner are also skeptical of Raynor's insistence that Kerrigan can be saved.

The saga even has its own Judas Iscariot--Findlay himself, who is a mole for Arcturus Mengsk, albeit under duress (he's locked into a suit of armor that will kill him on command).  When Raynor and his personal guard find the de-infested Kerrigan, naked and dazed in the ruins of a Zerg hive, Findlay attempts to kill her under orders from Mengsk.  Raynor has to kill his old friend, who was his brother-in-arms during the Guild Wars and fought alongside him during the events of "Wings of Liberty."  This parallels the description of Judas as one who shared in Christ's ministry (Acts 1:17).

However, Raynor's story and that of Jesus Christ do not match up 100%.  Although Raynor risks his life, he does not die, and his love for Kerrigan is romantic/sexual (eros) as well as agape.  Mengsk is also the cause of the situation--he abandoned Kerrigan to the Zerg in the first game--rather than merely a skeptical religious leader.  Raynor also initially intended to kill Kerrigan in revenge for her murder of his Protoss friend Fenix, something he abandoned after Zeratul revealed Kerrigan's prophesied role in the defeat of an evil power that would, without her, take control of the Zerg and use them to exterminate the Terrans and the Protoss.

That being said, there are a whole lot of parallels.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nathan Deal: Vulnerable on Ethics

Somehow, my work e-mail address ended up on the mailing list for Eric Gray, a Georgia Democrat.  Here's the text of a press release he sent out:

Atlanta – Wednesday was an historic day for Georgia - for the first time, one of the most corrupt Members of Congress became a nominee for Georgia’s highest office.

Congressman Nathan Deal was listed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an independent watchdog group, as one of the most corrupt Members of Congress, sparking a Congressional ethics probe that forced him to resign his seat less than 5 months ago. In addition, the Congressional Office of Ethics said Deal may have violated up to six House ethics rules while in office.

“Congressman Deal ran away from Washington, thinking he could flee an ethics investigation,” Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Jane Kidd said. “He’s mistaken if he thinks Georgia voters will let him find refuge under the Gold Dome. The last thing Georgia needs is Congressman Deal and his crooked past.

An Atlanta Journal Constitution investigative report revealed that while Rep. Deal was on the Federal payroll, his private business netted $1.4 million in four years thanks to a no-bid contract his company held with the State of Georgia.

“The choice in this election is clear: with Rep. Deal, you get a Washington, D.C. insider tainted by sweetheart deals and ethical corruption,” Kidd concluded. “With Roy Barnes you get an experienced leader who will promote transparency, end special interest favoritism and lead with honesty and integrity so we can make Georgia work again.”
Perhaps I should have blogged about this earlier, when it might have made some kind of difference, but I voted for Karen Handel for a reason when Eric Johnson (the one I voted for in the primary) didn't win.  Due to the whole no-bid contract situation, Deal is highly vulnerable on the ethical issue alone.  Barnes couldn't rag on Handel for not having a college degree without PO'ing a lot of people, but he certainly will be able to criticize Deal for having ethics problems.
Given the general public anger at incumbents, corrupt politicians, etc., Georgia Republicans have just given Roy Barnes a major advantage in the coming general election, an advantage the Democrats are already jumping on.  One hopes this will not be an election-winning advantage, since according to Johnson, the next governor will play a major role in redistricting.  Even if Barnes is himself superior to Deal (I haven't studied Barnes' positions), Barnes returning to the Gold Dome would be a major black eye for the Republican Party that tossed him out of the Gold Dome in the first place and would put the Democratic Party in a strong position for years to come.
On another note, I remember reading somewhere that Handel was the candidate of those more concerned with economics than social issues, with Deal being the reverse.  I also recall criticism of Karen Handel due to her more socially-liberal stances.  Thus, it is possible Deal won in part due to social conservatives winning out over economic conservatives.
Republicans would do well to read the book The Emerging Democratic Majority.  The U.S. is getting more socially liberal and if the Republican Party doesn't accomodate this trend, it risks electoral marginalization.  Many social-conservative stances aren't even small-government, like the War on Drugs.  That is more of an issue nationwide than in Georgia or the South, but it's going to affect us down here sooner or later.  After all, Handel, whose strength is in more-liberal Metro Atlanta as opposed to more-conservative rural parts of the state, nearly won the primary, and could have won if she'd asked for a recount (she had every right to do so).

Before someone accuses me of being some unprincipled sell-out hack, I don't want to see fiscal conservatism or a strong national defense (things far more important to me than most social-conservative positions) being dragged into the abyss by a social-conservative millstone, especially if it's the kind of social conservatism contradicts the "leave me alone" sort of government that Republicans should in theory support.

(A government big enough to confiscate alleged "drug dealers" assets without trial or mow down a 95-year-old woman because some dubious informant said he saw drugs at her house is big enough to confiscate your stuff or ventilate you on some other pretext.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taking a Stand Against "Libel Tourism"



Jim Hill, a bigwig in the Spalding County Republican Party, is a friend of Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and brought this matter to my attention.  It's not every day that I come out and praise Democrats, but it's very good that Sen. Leahy supported and President Obama signed this bill.  Ehrenfeld was a victim of "libel tourism" in Britain when Khalid bin Mahfouz, a wealthy Saudi, sued her in a British court over her book Funding Evil, Updated: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It.  Mahfouz also went after the writers of Alms for jihad and as a result, Cambridge University Press went so far as to request it be removed from libraries in the United States.  I suspect this has something to do with how few copies Amazon.com seems to have, since Cambridge University Press agreed to destroy all unsold copies.

("Libel tourism" is particularly bad in Britain, whose libel laws impose the burden of proof on the defendant and not the plaintiff.  How delightfully medieval.)

According to his New York Times obituary, Mahfouz had been libeled in the past--people falsely accused him of being Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law.  However, this still does not mean that the "chilling effect" due to fears of libel judgements does not exist.  The United Nations Human Rights Committee has taken issue with British libel laws, as have others.

The UN: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/hrcommittee/ireland2008.html

The Global Journalist: http://www.globaljournalist.org/stories/2004/07/01/libel-tourism/

The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/books/review/Donadio-t.html?ex=1350532800&en=a46a9c67602861ee&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

In particular, the UN report and the New York Times point out that due to the Internet, British libel laws are causing a "chilling effect" worldwide.

And in many of these cases, it's rich people from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia--my least favorite Middle Eastern country, more so than Iran--who are behind it.  TGJ reports that the Saudi ambassador to Britain successfully pressured the Daily Mail to not publish an excerpt of While America Slept, which is about 9/11.

Kudos to the House and Senate for their strong support of this bill and kudos to Obama for signing it.  Freedom of speech forever.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Starcraft" Crackfic Idea (Starcraft 2 Spoilers)

On my alternate-history forum, in a thread that has de facto become a Starcraft 2 discussion thread, the board member whose handle is Faeelin said that he had a "sappy" idea for what the title of the upcoming Zerg campaign--"The Heart of the Swarm"--means.  Here's his quote:

Sappy prediction: The Heart of the Swarm is about Kerrigan's power to take control of the Zerg post-cure. The Swarm get a heart. A human heart, with the power of wuv.

I added "and a buttload of guilt," considering Kerrigan's many crimes as the Queen of Blades and the fact that, if her caring, moral human consciousness is restored, she's not going to be a happy camper.
The board member whose handle is LordInsane added the following:
I get this wierd picture of Zerglings frolicking with kids and Overlords serving as transports in a Kuprulu Reconstruction project. After all, if Kerrigan is the Heart of the Swarm, and that heart feels a lot of guilt...

I said that gave me an idea for an SC2 "crackfic," which according to Urban Dictionary means: "A type of fanfiction (or original fiction) that is intentionally unbelievable and insane; often humorous. Usually short, one-shot (stories)."
So here's the "plot bunny":
Valerian uses the fact that he is the victor of Char, the conqueror of the Queen of Blades, and the fact his father has gotten really unpopular since the revelation he deliberately called the Zerg down on Tarsonis and he seized power for selfish reasons to overthrow his father Arcturus and take his place as Emperor of the Terran Dominion with the assistance of Jim Raynor (Raynor's Raiders) and Sarah Kerrigan (in control of much of the Zerg Swarm).
Once in power, Valerian pardons Raynor and Kerrigan for any crimes they may have committed against the Dominion, a move that is likely to be extremely unpopular if the human identity of "The Queen of Blades" becomes public knowledge.
The Dominion legislature (apparently there is one, with representatives of each constituent world) goes along with Valerian's pardon re: criminal charges--but votes to impose a gigantic civil penalty on Kerrigan for the carnage she's caused (which among other things, includes "casualties in the billions").  This settlement would be essentially unpayable by normal means.
Luckily, Kerrigan has got abnormal means at her command--billions of Zerg.  She's a clever, resourceful woman, so she'll put the Swarm to work paying it off.
LordInsane's suggestion of using Overlords as a means of transportation is a good one, and I was able to expand the concept of a Zerglings-as-pets to devise some lyrics for what could be one of the creepiest children's songs imaginable:
"How much is that Zergling in the window?  The one with the waggley...spines."
I also pondered how one could employ hydralisks and ultralisks in hunting or in rodeos--a cowboy who can successfully ride one of those without being made lunch would be exceptionally skilled.
I could write an entire "crackfic" devoted to all the ways Kerrigan could use the Swarm to pay reparations for all the damage her Zerg alter ego caused, but I've got things I need to work on, so I'll leave that up to my loyal readers.  If you write it and post it, please be sure to tell where you got the idea (and include a link to my blog).
Have at it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Second News Article Round-Up

I've been sending myself interesting Internet links back from the office, but due to more immediate personal concerns and blogging topics (my personal writing projects, Starcraft 2), I did not dedicate blog posts to each topic.  So now it's time for another news-article round up.


It would be good if the ban on Internet gambling was lifted.  The imposition on the ban was a bad idea in the first place, propelled by rent-seeking behavior by the casino industry, moralism from the Religious Right, and a general nanny-statist attitude.  Not only is it an unjustified infringement on citizens' rights, but it also deprived the government of potentially valuable source of revenue.  $42 billion is a substantial chunk of tax revenue, which could be spent on deficit/debt reduction or other useful tasks.


Now this is interesting.  Not only is it safer than ordinary nuclear reactors, but it could also be used to "burn" nuclear waste rather than let it pile up indefinitely, bury it under a mountain for 10,000 years, or reprocess it using existing techniques.

Unfortunately, it seems it will require more work before the technology is ready, but now we know what we need to do, there's a strong chance will be able to do it.  Let's get cracking.


Batteries.  Gigantic batteries.  That's a pretty simple concept to solve one of the inherent problems of wind power--it's lack of reliability in comparison to other sources.

In Defense of the "Ground Zero Mosque"

Just read the following article about the controversial "ground zero mosque" that's causing such a stir up in New York City.


The author makes a good point.  The assimilatory ethos of the United States--we're centered on the idea of individual liberty and self-government rather than an ethnicity like the European states--helps explain why Muslims in Europe are more prone to extremism than Muslims in the United States.  Muslims are less alienated from the dominant culture in the U.S. than they are in Europe, since our way of life is less specific to any one religion, ethnicity, or social class.

In fact, American Muslim leaders have been helpful to fighting Islamic extremism.



If American Muslims become alienated from U.S. culture, assistance like this will dry up.  That's probably a far greater risk than American Muslims going off to join al-Qaeda or some other Islamist group, since non-action is easier than action.

Furthermore, let's remember that innocent Muslims (both foreign nationals and Americans) died on 9/11, including one who was an emergency medical technician who died assisting wounded victims of the attack. 


Unless the mosque is allowed and a church, synagogue, or other house of worship is not, there is no reason to freak out.  Remember, ours is a secular government that ought not play favorites in regards to religion.

The only good argument that the critics of the "ground zero mosque" have is that it is insensitive to the concerns of New Yorkers and the families of 9/11 victims, who may view the building of an Islamic center near the site of an attack committed by Islamist radicals as insulting.  Incidentally, this is a view shared by some American Muslims as well as people like Sarah Palin and company.  Perhaps it was insensitive for the backers of the "ground zero mosque" to propose the idea, but I do not see how forbidding the construction of the center is justified because of hurt feelings alone.

That is a far better argument than Newt Gingrinch's insistence that the "mosque" (I have heard it's something more akin to a YMCA, containing both worship facilities and facilities of other sorts, including a food court) not be allowed until the Saudis allow the construction of a church--the actions of the United States, a secular democratic republic, should not be held hostage to those of a semi-theocratic absolute monarchy, no matter how odious the domestic policies of said monarchy are.  We are better than that.

American Muslims are Americans and have the rights and responsibilities of any American citizen.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Productivity Update (with some "Starcraft 2" Spoilers)

Submitted the first draft of Chapter Seven of Escape from the Wastelands to my Kennesaw writing group.  I've still got some tinkering to do with Chapter Six, though.  Much of Chapter Eight, including a sequence where Andrew must hide from a dirigible armed with a gatling gun, is already written.  I've also gotten chunks of the next few chapters, in which Andrew joins the insurgency of Alonzo Merrill and fights against the Flesh-Eaters, written as well.  After that, things get a bit spottier.

This morning, I came up with some additional material for "The Deferred Revenge of Catalina Merrill," a short story I'll write if and when I publish Escape from the Wastelands, much like how Stephen King wrote the short story "The Little Sisters of Eleuria" to tie in with his Dark Tower novels.  This story is rather different than my typical fare, since there is little action and it is centered around a female protagonist--Catalina Merrill, sister of Alonzo Merrill and concubine of Grendel, the Lord of the Northlands.  It's pretty heavily character-based rather than plot-based and will reveal aspects of both Grendel and especially Catalina that aren't covered in Escape.

The additional material also ties in with Alonzo Merrill's characterization in the primary Wastelands novels, as well as in two possible spinoff novels.  These are the first-person tales Grendel: The Life and Times of the First Lord of the Northlands and Rebel: The Life and Times of Alonzo Merrill.  Both would be in the style of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

(Grendel will begin 40 years before Escape, when Grendel is a teenager, and chronicle his rise to power from his POV.  It will last until his death at Andrew's hands in the planned fourth novel.  Rebel will begin about a decade before Escape and follows Alonzo Merrill through the conquest of his homeland by Grendel and the captivity of Catalina, his insurgency against the Flesh-Eating Legion, and his ultimate triumph as an ally of Andrew.)

Multiple planned books and at least one short story, all dependent on whether Escape is ultimately successful.  This will certainly given me incentive to complete Escape and bust my behind selling it.  :)

Also tinkered a bit with my steampunk idea file, including some more data on how the Confederacy successfully seceded from the Union and how biplanes would be used in aerial piracy.

I'm also pondering a story pitch to Blizzard for a short story or even a novel set in the aftermath of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty.  I don't want to give too much away, but it has to do with the fate of Infested Terrans who were within the blast range of the alien device that wiped out the ordinary Zerg and de-infested Kerrigan.  Some of the Starcraft novels describe how Kerrigan created Infested Terrans much like herself, creatures that retained their human memories and personality (to a point) rather than the mindless human bombs that most ITs become.  If they were in range of the device (which seems to have wiped out most if not all of the Zerg on Char), then they should be human again, just like Kerrigan.

When I was in middle school (and possibly early high school), I wrote some Starcraft fan-fiction, which despite the praise I got from my readers, was terribly marred by the fact that I played all three races' campaigns at the same time rather than in the order they were intended to be played and thus had a very skewed timeline. 

(For starters, I wasn't aware that Kerrigan had been infested due to Mengsk's treachery and that he and Raynor were no longer allies.  I didn't have any context for the "Emperor Mengsk" stuff, so I explained that away as being a fit of temporary insanity in a basically good man rather than malevolent power-grabbing on his part.  So essentially we have a democratic post-Confederate state and Raynor and Mengsk set off for Char to debug Kerrigan.  Ironically that ended up happening in SC2, only it's a different Mengsk, the Dominion is not a democracy, and Arcturus and Raynor are not friends.)

Once I played both the man game in its entirety, I started writing more canon-compliant stuff, including my own version of what I expected Brood War to be like.  It turns out I'd gotten the Raynor/Kerrigan partnership right, but I thought it would be against Mengsk, not the United Earth Directorate.  I did not anticipate Protoss involvement, nor did I anticipate Kerrigan being as evil as she was and ultimately betraying it.  The web-site ended up running into problems and the stuff I sent in was no longer posted, so I ended up abandoning the Starcraft fandom in favor of the Dark Angel one.

Now the goal is to get back in the saddle, only this time, to try to write licensed fiction for the company.  I've already done it for BattleTech, so I've got a good leg to stand on rather than old bad fan fiction (the Starcraft stuff) or recent good fan fiction (my two Harry Potter pieces).

(Catalyst Game Labs honcho Loren Coleman told me at the 2009 DragonCon that many companies look askew at fan-fiction writers because many think the characters deserve to be "free" and do not respect the fact that their creators are ultimately in charge of them.  He said he'd vouch that I wasn't insane and since Catalyst ultimately purchased my BattleTech story "Skirmish at the Vale's Edge," I imagine he was effective.  Blizzard might not be so understanding.)

I've found what I think is the main phone number of Blizzard (i.e. not the technical support hotlines), but there might be Blizzard personnel at DragonCon this year.  I think I'll work on my pitch and bring it to the convention.  While I'm at it, I should probably print some copies of "Skirmish at the Vale's Edge" and my one published original piece, "I am the Wendigo."  I think that would be much easier than calling people who might not want to hear from me.

Wish me luck.  :)