Ink & Bourbon
Tilting at windmills. Because those windmills think they're better than us.

Review of Escapology by Ren Warom

Escapology is a vivid, unique and engrossing work of dystopian cyberpunk.

In a future where most of the lands we know have sunk, where survivors eke out an existence on “land ships’ of floating islands, or the overcrowded, unforgiving city on the single remaining piece of dry land, run by either a rigid social order or vicious crime lords, dreaming of escape to the orbiting cities above, the characters try to carve out a life. The Slip, a virtual world of avatars and hacks contrasts and blends and tangles with the real world as we follow hacker Shock Pao on a seeming suicide mission to steal what may bring the whole system down, Amiga, a cleaner working for the most savage boss in the city and Petrie, officer on a land ship whose newest crewmember might just hold the key to the whole sordid situation.

Ren Warom has built a world with echos of Gibson, or of Philip K Dick, but in prose darkly and beautifully poetic. Edgar Allen Poe writing cyberpunk with a foul mouth. This is the kind of book you don’t so much read as sink into and give yourself over to.

Get your copy here.


To My Conservative Friends: He Won’t respect You In the Morning.

Because I care about you, I feel I have to speak up. It’s like being in a bar near closing time and seeing a friend hanging on the words of a smooth talking douchebag. I know he’s telling you things you want to hear, and there’s something in his swagger, but I know he’s lying, and right before he sat down next to you, I saw him take off his wedding ring and slip it into his pocket, right next to his Tic Tacs and the bottle of Roofies.

I know you feel abandoned. I know you’re hurt and vulnerable, and I know he’s saying all the right things, pushing all the buttons, and I know you probably aren’t going to listen but I have to try.

First off, he’s not the guy he says he is. It’s like he wants to leave with you, but he can’t take you to his house. He’ll tell you it’s because he’s having a new, bigger ballroom put in, and the contractors have the place a mess, but it’s really because his wife is there and she thinks he’s on a business trip to Cleveland.

Trump is appealing to you because he says things that piss off all the people you hate, and he rails against the corrupt system and the rich, urban liberals who run it.

But nobody has benefited from the corrupt system as much as he has, and if you had to describe him in three words, they would be Rich, Urban and Liberal.

I know that last one surprised you, but hear me out. He shares exactly none of your values. Look at any position he took on anything prior to 2008. He was for gun control and universal health care and he was pro choice. Until he decided to run for the GOP nomination, every position he ever took on anything was pretty much the same as Clinton. He knows enough to tell you he does, because he has a showman’s instinct for the applause line. A con man’s sense of just how to lead you on. He just wants the applause. He wants the thrill of conquest, of winning. He wants you votes and your virtue, and then he’ll lose interest.

I’ll be honest with you, you are making it easy. He knows saying he’ll throw Clinton in jail will get the applause, because he’s smart enough to read the tee shirts people wear to his rallies. It’s like how if you see a guy in a New England Patriots shirt, you can get on his good side by saying Deflategate was a bullshit frame job, or if he’s wearing a Jets jersey, you know he just needs a hug and a good cry. You wore your heart on your sleeve, and he read the play.

But he doesn’t really love you.

He knows enough to say he’s for veterans, but he dodged Vietnam, a star athlete who couldn’t go fight because of sore feet. He went so far as to call “his Vietnam” his worry about getting STDs sleeping with lots of women while men his age from families without money or connections slogged through rice paddies getting shot at. He dumped on John McCain’s service and all POWs by implication. He slung mud at the grieving parents of a fallen hero. He vastly overstated his donations to veterans’ charities.

He knows people are hurting because of outsourcing of jobs, so he talks tough on China, but that’s where his products are made. He knows that lots of people fear immigration, so he stokes those fears, promising to build that wall.

I’m not even going to go down the road of being nominee of  the party of traditional values, because really? He can to point at Bill Clinton’s scandals, but he’s the only guy running who can make Bill look like an Eagle Scout.

So he can say things that you want to hear, but none of it means anything. Even if his ideas were good, even if he actually had a plan to accomplish them, even if he actually believed them, they are just not going to happen. Hillary isn’t going to jail. Republicans have been investigating her for twenty years and they haven’t made anything stick. As President, Trump wouldn’t have the authority over a special prosecutor that he thinks he would, and even if he did, Clinton’s lawyers haven’t let her down yet. There’s not going to be a wall, because it’s not a very effective way to deal with illegal immigration, and the cost and resources to build it and patrol it would be massive.

And, sorry, but if you think for a second that he can get Mexico to pay for it, I can’t help you. If you bought that line, — unexplained, like all of his promises– I’m surprised you can dress yourself. Knowing Trump, and knowing the construction industry, and how he deals with contractors, if the wall is built –and it won’t be– it may be built by Mexicans, but it won’t be built by Mexico.

I know that it’s almost closing time, and I know you can’t bring yourself to go home with Hillary, but don’t go home with Trump. I think that, best case, you’ll call tomorrow in tears, and worst case you’ll wind up in the trunk of a Buick with your mouth duct taped.

It’s ok to go home alone. Or even that nice Johnson boy. You know that won’t be long term, he won’t be President, but it will feel good and you won’t have shaved your legs for nothing.