Please Support THE CIRCUIT

There is a new Kickstarter project going, asking for your support to realize a SciFi anthology series: The Circuit on Kickstarter. The makers behind the project are (among others) Manu Intiraymi, Walter Koenig and Tim Russ, all Star Trek alumni.
The rest of the cast and crew are also experienced actors and filmmakers coming from a wide range of genre shows.
The premise sounds fun, but even more fun is the fact that the producers want to include their supporters and fans to contribute to the project in a creative capacity.

I decided to take up the challenge and wrote a short script which I am going to hand in tomorrow. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I don’t have high hopes for my script – the competition will be hard and I have hardly any experience in script writing. Nevertheless, it was fun writing it and if the crowdfunding campaign is not successful I don’t even have to worry about the quality of my writing. Therefore, I am asking you to chip in if you can. If you like genre shows, if you believe in new ways for creative people to reach an audience, please consider supporting the Circuit. Give some money, share the campaign on your social media profiles, any help is appreciated.



Support “Everyone: Worlds without Walls” on Kickstarter


Cover art by Christian Ward; All rights belong to the artist!

Tony C. Smith of the incredibly good District of Wonders network of podcasts, including Starship Sofa (Science Fiction), Tales to Terrify (Horror), and Far Fetched Fables (Fantasy), was annoyed and outraged about the most recent drop into the bucket of right-wing backlash against democracy, inclusiveness, and liberty, namely Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban”.

He vented his frustration in a good rant on one of the shows and promised to do something. Something that Science Fiction fans are best at: to use stories to tear down the walls in our heads. Tony is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an anthology of Science Fiction stories by authors from a range of ethnic and national backgrounds: “Everyone: Worlds without Walls.” Considering how good the Starship Sofa Podcast is, I have high hopes for this anthology to not only be the right thing to do from an ethical perspective but also the right thing to support if you like to read good-quality speculative fiction.

There was a time when I used to think that Science Fiction fans were generally more open-minded and inclusive than the average public. How can you be fascinated by the Prime Directive when you’re fucking bigot? How can you believe in humanity’s future in space when you can’t even see how we should overcome petty nationalistic tendencies on Earth? I know that the truth is different. I have experienced utter indifference from SF fans against the frankly terrifying “war against science” by populists like Trump, and the AfD in Germany. I have heard that politics should not invade the hobby. Another time I might have agreed. But not this time. This is the time to take a stance.

Tony’s initiative is small. It won’t sway public opinion, it won’t make Trump lift the travel ban, it won’t bring the UK back into the European family.
But it can introduce every reader to a different perspective, a different voice, and a little more understanding. Understanding, we can only hope, that is contagious. These days, we need even those little initiatives.


I do not know Tony C. Smith personally. I have nothing to gain from the anthology (apart from the enjoyment of reading it). I do not know any contributor personally. But I DO think it’s fantastic idea and I have supported it. And I think, so should you!

Zurück in den Häxler

English Summary Below



Neulich im Hotel in Moskau

Nach beinahe 20 Jahren kehre ich wieder zurück in den “Häxler”. Der Häxler ist der Rezensionsblog meines alten Freunds Andreas Schweitzer, doch seinen Anfang nahm er als Rezensionssparte des Fanzines GRIMOIRE, das Andreas und ich in den 1990er Jahren gemeinsam herausgaben und auf das wir bis heute noch ein wenig stolz sind.


Auf einer Dienstreise las ich kürzlich wieder einen Klassiker der Phantastischen Literatur, nämlich Fritz Leibers “Our Lady of Darkness”, der mir beim zweiten Lesen genau so gut gefiel wie beim ersten Mal. Es ist schade zu sehen, dass es von diesem Buch anscheinend nur eine einzige deutsche Ausgabe gegeben hat (erschienen 1980 bei Heyne). Dabei ist der Roman mit starken autobiographischen Zügen wirklich lesenswert und hat seinen World Fantasy Award nicht unberechtigterweise erhalten. Die komplette Rezension gibt es also bei Andi im Häxler!

Es gibt auch einen interessanten virtuellen Spaziergang zu den Schauplätzen des Romans: Stalking Our Lady of Darkness.


About 20 years ago I co-edited a fanzine (Grimoire) with my old friend Andreas Schweitzer. The fanzine is long dead but Andreas has revived the review part, which we jokingly called “Häxler” (chopper, or, blender) as a blog. Recently, my reading of the classic urban fantasy novel “Our Lady of Darkness” by Fritz Leiber made me want to write a review, and re-join Andreas in a common publication after almost two decades. By the way, Leiber’s classic novel is awesome and well worth a read!

How to tell you’re getting old 2

I have been a gamer most of my life. I count myself lucky to still have a group of friends whom I meet regularly to play pen-and-paper role-playing games with. Most of these people I’ve known longer (much longer) than a decade and we jokingly refer to ourselves as ‘The Old Farts’ with the exception of “Youngster” who is barely in his mid-twenties.

Recently, we decided to switch to a new game system. We’re using the most recent edition, but our game master had a copy of the very first edition which he passed around during one of our evening meetings, and we were leafing through the pages reminiscing about the “good old times”. I looked at the publication date and remembered where and when I first played that game: 1991, in Weymouth, in the United Kingdom. I said: “Wow, guys, I just realised that the first time I played this game was 25 years ago.” The youngster gave me a funny look, and I realised that he had just realised that that was around the time he was born!

Talk about surrounding yourself with young people to feel young yourself.



At the Gaming Table


Growth Mindset: What to do when you fail

What do you do when you fail? Your short story got rejected? The photos you spent hours taking came out looking like shit?
Do you despair? Do you say, ‘ah, sod it. I’ll do something else’? These are signs of a fixed mindset, as opposed to a growth mindset. I just had one of those failure moments, and this is what I’ll do to pick me up. Continue reading

Photography and Geekery around Lake Geneva – Part 2: The H.R. Giger museum

Whilst the first installment of my travel blog from my trip to Switzerland was mostly about photography in Lausanne, the second installment will focus on my other passion: the “Phantastic” in literature and art. Read about my visit to the H.R. Giger museum in Gruyère after the jump.

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Vom Sterben und der Macht der Symbole


Wir haben Angst vor dem Tod. Wir haben ihn aus unserer Sicht verbannt. Wir sterben in Krankenhäusern oder Altenheimen, oft allein oder unter Fremden, oder umgeben von Maschinen. Wer weiß denn schon noch, dass man einen Toten drei Tage im Haus aufbahren kann, damit Verwandte und Freunde sich verabschieden können?  Wer hält denn noch eine Totenwache? Wir überlassen die letzten Riten Bestattern, denn wir haben Angst davor, dass es irgendwie unappetitlich sein könnte.
Ich bin kein religiöser Mensch mehr, doch die Bedeutung von Traditionen und die Macht von Symbolen ist mir bewusst.
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