Tag Archives: selznick

It’s An HNoR (Part 3)

iPOS6 Once a year or so, I like to have Ol’ Clint up there give a Head Nod of Respect to those whose work I feel is amazing, deserving of recognition, and who gets far too little of it. This isn’t a thing I do for mainstream talents. People who’ve made it to the top of their creative fields are already household names. These aren’t them, but maybe one day…

You can read the previous two here.

Nobilis Reed – In addition to having the longest running speculative fiction erotica podcast on the internets, Nobilis is a good human being, a talented writer, an incredibly smart and thoughtful person, and a dynamite RPG runner.

Matt Selznick – I’m honestly surprised I didn’t give Matt one of these previously. He was one of the first people I heard of when I started listening to podcast fiction. He’s a talented writer. a musician, and produces a monthly e-zine called Thing.

Veronica Giguere – A phenomenal voice talent and writer, Veronica is also very kind. I’ve known her for years and she just keeps getting more and more awesome.

Laura Nicole Spencer – My little sister from another mister, I’ve watched this woman grown in talent and confidence since my first Balticon. We worked together at Flying Island Press. She’s a great writer, voice talent, and knows what a good story is.

Peter O’Malley – Another talented voice actor, Peter has voiced one of my stories. He’s also helped me out in one of my most recent dark periods. I couldn’t ask for a better friend. Hire this guy, seriously.

Michelle Browne – Michelle is an amazing bringer together of people, a talented and prolific author, and an all around cool frood. You should check out her works!

I hope to give more head nods down the line. Please feel free to give your own in the comments and provide links!


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Guest Post – Telling The Stories Of Another Kind Of Faith

This is part of a series where guest authors will share their views on how their belief systems affect the fictional worlds they create. Not all of these people will be religious. If you’re interested in participating, email me at scott@scottroche.com.

Matthew Wayne Selznick is an author and creator living in Long Beach, California.

It’s an honor to be part of this exploration of the effect of faith on fiction, and I’m pleased Scott agreed I might have something interesting to share. My faith is an integral part of my fiction. To explain how and why, I think it will help to take a little look back.

Growth and Perspective

Growing up, when asked my religion, I would answer, “Roman Catholic” because that’s what I was told we were.

However, beyond baptism, which happened when I was too young to protest or embrace, I never took any of the sacraments. While my mother had been raised more traditionally, our family’s brand of Catholicism was pretty relaxed, but enhanced with what I recall as a good dose of practicality and a considerable amount of metaphysics and, most valuable to me, active encouragement of curiosity.

A belief in the highly symbolized God of the Catholic church, being raised in a house where belief in ghosts and psychic phenomenon was accepted in hand with the virgin birth and the resurrection, and a strong inquisitive streak created a child ready to know everything… and believe anything. Where most kids of my generation wanted to grow up and be firemen, cops, or the President… I wanted to be a paleontologist.

Later, the hormone-fueled hyper-drama that comes with being a teen-ager fit very well with a theatrical mix of occult complexity and a shift to a more evangelical brand of Christianity that, back in the eighties, we called “born-again.” Stir in a moral compass in which “true north” was defined by a life-long diet of comicbook superhero stories, and I was primed for an intense, romanticized period of spiritual warfare.

It was exciting to live in such a black and white world where invisible dangers lurked… and it was exhausting, too, trying to maintain a belief that things could really be so white-hot and simple. Eventually, I saw too much hypocrisy in the behavior of my “saved” friends (and displayed my share, to be sure) to remain in that social circle. At the same time, deeper research in comparative mythology eroded my confidence in the internal consistency of the Christian mythos.

Perhaps most importantly, I was gradually learning that attributing the influence of Satan (or the hand of God) to people’s actions served, in a way, to put a layer of distance between myself and other humans.

Meanwhile, the pagan friends I met in my early twenties were, nearly without exception, more relaxed, kind, reliable and moral than the Christians I had known. So I dug that for a bit, and even if the rituals involved with many pagan belief systems were usually too much of a bother for me, I understood that they pre-dated the Christian rituals co-opting them, and that most of the people performing them understood they were symbolic. The whole approach felt more spiritually legitimate.

For a while.

See, through all those years of my childhood and young adulthood, I was mainlining science, thanks to the gateway drugs of Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Carl Sagan. I read voraciously, following the rabbit of critical thinking deep into its branching, limitless warren of discovery.

And also, concurrently, I was learning how to write.

Eventually, examining the mishmash that influenced my formative years — Christian metaphysics, esoteric occultism, the paranormal, and above all else a fascination with science and history and learning of all sorts — led me to become a skeptic and, finally, settle on the only label I feel comfortable with these days: secular humanist.

What Is Secular Humanism?

I like pointing to the Council for Secular Humanism‘s list of elements and principles for a definition:

  • Need to test beliefs – A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted by faith.
  • Reason, evidence, scientific method – A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence and scientific method of inquiry in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • Fulfillment, growth, creativity – A primary concern with fulfillment, growth and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
  • Search for truth – A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
  • This life – A concern for this life (as opposed to an afterlife) and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
  • Ethics – A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
  • Justice and fairness – an interest in securing justice and fairness in society and in eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
  • Building a better world – A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

All of the above sounds to me like a grand mission statement for the human race. When I discovered it, I felt like saying, “That’s all the stuff I want, all the ways I want to be, all the things I think!”


My Faith Is In Humanity; My Observance Is Through Story

When it comes to the potential of the last extant species of the genus Homo, I have a tremendous optimism for which I am utterly unashamed. I am fascinated by humans; I love us; I have great confidence in us.

My fiction is a deliberate declaration of that confidence. I write to explore what it means to be human… and to speculate on what it could mean to be human. Granted, it could be argued that all literature works toward these goals.

To be more specific:

Every story I tell falls into one of my several storyworlds. I define a storyworld as a milieu, including settings, characters, throughlines, background and other elements, shared by a variety of stories told in a variety of media.

As of this writing, three of my storyworlds have published works (The Sovereign Era, including The Charters Duology and other works; Daikaiju Universe, represented by the short story “Reggie vs. Kaiju Storm Chimera Wolf;” Protector, with the short story “Cloak”) and one has a work soon to debut (The Shaper’s World, with the serial fiction-by-subscription project Walk Like a Stranger: Passing Through Home).

All of my storyworlds are part of a larger megaverse… and the entire mosaic of storyworlds will, ultimately, display the adventure of humanity across a multitude of realities and supereons of time.

Despite that grand scale, the stories I chose to tell are intimate ones…

  • I care less about the struggle between cthonic adversaries and generational protectors than I do about the emotionally repressed slacker dude with the haunted past who just wants to figure out why his girlfriend left him.
  • While the world might be torn apart by tensions between super-powered isolationists and nations with their fingers on the nuclear buttons, I’m more interested in the kid with the funny eyes figuring out how to live in his own skin.
  • A giant monster might tear apart that pretty coastal town, but I really want to examine what’s bugging that dude about his old lover in the middle of it all.
  • The religio-politial order up in the hills might or might not win control of a war-torn, Balkanized region, but I want to know if the young priest will sacrifice his relationship with god to fulfill an unwanted obligation.

See what I mean? People.

People are amazing.

Yeah, sure, individually and in groups, they can sometimes be a disappointing mess… but collectively… taking in all we’ve done so far and all we could do…

People are amazing.

I have faith in humanity… to keep asking, learning, and doing.

And that’s why I tell our stories.

Review – Pilgrimage by Matthew Wayne Selznick (E-Book)

pilgrimage_cover I’m a big believer in sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They allow you to find awesome projects and to be a part of bringing them to fruition. In July of last year Matthew Wayne Selznick launched a Kickstarter to find the sequel to his book Brave Men Run. I’m a fan of that book and of Matt’s writing so it was with great enthusiasm that I backed the Kickstarter. I received the e-book as a result.

Synopsis: The Charters Duology concludes as the Sovereign Era continues!

April, 1986 – On the eve of the first anniversary of the Donner Declaration, as tensions rise between humanity and the metahuman, super-powered Sovereigns, fathers and sons face desperate choices.

Nate Charters (Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era) struggles with his increasingly tenuous control over his temper and his powers… while Andrew Charters hopes to suppress his own bestial nature to help his distant son.

Sovereign Byron Teslowski trains to join the Sovereign defense force, but a fiery new friend forces him to question his loyalties… and Marc Teslowski, desperate to bring his family back together, falls in with the charismatic leader of an anti-Sovereign militant group.

As Sovereigns the world over converge on the Donner Institute for Sovereign Studies, Nate, Andrew, Byron, and Marc find their paths lead there as well. Will the machinations of enemies and allies tear them violently apart on Declaration Day?

This book is part of the Sovereign Era storyworld, and part two of the Charters Duology. While it can be read on its own, readers may want to read “Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era” first to get the whole story.

As the synopsis says, you should definitely read the first book (available here). If you’re a child of the 80’s or a fan of the pop culture from that era and you like superheroes, it’s really a no-brainer.

If you liked the first book, you will more than likely enjoy this one. It’s a bit different from the first (if memory serves) in that we get the story from multiple points of view. Each chapter comes either from a chapter of Nate Charter’s diary or from a third person point of view of three of the other main characters in the story. (The above link to Brave Men Run is to a revised and expanded version of the story. I read the original version.) I like it, since it adds quite a bit to the overall universe.

The events that take place over the days leading up to the celebration are given to us from the characters described in the synopsis and you couldn’t have the perspectives be much different than the ones given here. Nate and Byron are both young men, each with their own perspective on what life is like with the gifts they were granted by their birthright. Nate struggles with his wild, animalistic side, and Byron embraces his powers and works with his mentors to sharpen and use them. Their fathers give us the other half of the story. Andrew Charters has become almost completely animalistic and struggles to find his humanity to save his son. Marc wants to save his son as well, but does Byron need saving or does Marc? The parallels sharpened and broadened the story experience for me.

While Pilgrimage is a story that has comic book origins and tropes, this deals with the very serious issues of racism, rape, death, and and identity. It’s not one for the younger kids and would be at home in a graphic novel with titles from Dark Horse. One of the things I enjoy about good science fiction is that it has room to address adult issues and you get to have bullet proof people and pyrokinetics. It’s like my favorite peanut butter cup.

As with book one, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Matt’s a very talented writer and if you like these books you should check out his other titles. I give this book five capes out of five.

Matt’s Amazon Author Page
Matt’s Website

Pilgrimage To Success

Matt Selznick is trying to kickstart a follow up book to his novel Brave Men Run. This “love letter to the 80’s” is a story as much about what it’s like to be out of step with your classmates and finding out who you really are as a person as it is about “superheroes”. I enjoyed it a great deal and as such I want to see the Kickstarter succeed. Watch this video to find out more:

To back Matt and his project, go to http://crowdfundpilgrimage.info/. But before you do that I’m going to sweeten the deal. If you back his project at a five dollar level, I’ll send you a signed and personalized e-book copy of Ginnie Dare: Crimson Sands. Go ten dollars and I’ll send you Ginnie and any two stories of mine from my Smashwords page. Go fifteen and I’ll send you an autographed personalized copy of the paperback of Ginnie Dare and the e-books.

What if you’ve already backed him? Bump up your pledge by the above amounts and you’ll get my stuff as detailed above. Send me the email Kickstarter sent you dated today or later and I’ll get you my stuff as soon as he crosses the finish line. That’s the catch. If he doesn’t get backed, you don’t get anything. So get out there and tell folks about this Kickstarter!!!