Total Oblivion

"A fast-paced, suspenseful dystopian picaresque, part Huck Finn and part bizarro-world Swiss Family Robinson..."



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Skinny Dipping

Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Crawford Award. Title short story listed for the 2000 O. Henry award.

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Goblin Mercantile Exchange

Futures, Options, and Swaps (the weblog of Alan DeNiro)

Solarium wins Best Story Award

The XYZZY awards ( showcase the best of interactive fiction in a given year-with voting open to all-and is one of the longest-standing set of awards for indie gaming. And my 2013 game Solarium won in the Best Story category! Lots of other great games that are finalists-check them out. Thank you to my beta […]

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Fri, April 11 2014 » Fiction, Games » No Comments

On the Minnesota Book Awards

I wasn’t able to find a place to publish this essay about the Minnesota Book Awards and their lack of science fiction and fantasy (or, really, most other genre) works. So I decided to put it up here. Enjoy.   THE MINNESOTA BOOK AWARDS NEED TO BE FIXED by Alan DeNiro   This weekend, the […]

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Thu, February 27 2014 » Fiction, Minnesota » 1 Comment

on one’s own work

just two scattered thoughts on the discussion about end of year self-promotion/”hey this work exists!” posts about stories for awards. I’m pulling this from a Facebook thread (and as a starting point for this, I agree with pretty much everything here): 1. one of the reasons I think this is more relevant now for short […]

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Fri, January 10 2014 » Fiction » 1 Comment

Welcome to the Club

It’s hard to know how to either quantify or qualify universalism, because so many communities make a claim to at least a cultural universalism that obscures interconnections with other communities. Truth (although the word “truth” is rarely used) becomes the cornerstone for an enclosure for-to put it in vernacular-a fandom. This also includes the fandom […]

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Thu, December 5 2013 » Fiction, Life Studies, Poetry » No Comments

Tyrannia is out, and there’s a lot to be thankful for

Well Tyrannia has finally come out officially, while in fact I was recovering from hernia surgery. So I’m doing a bit of catch up. But I wanted to thank the people (in the spirit of the week) who helped make the book possible. I’ve written the stories but any book is truly a collaborative effort […]

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Wed, November 27 2013 » Fiction, Tyrannia » No Comments

Solarium design notes

So the 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition is over, and Solarium placed 6th out of 35 entries, which I’m very pleased with. I’m very gratified by the positive feedback and constructive criticism the game received. I thought I’d delve a bit into the making of Solarium-which ended up being similar to the gameplay texture itself. […]

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Thu, November 21 2013 » Fiction, Games » 1 Comment


Cold Open: When I read this year at Wiscon, I went first. We were reading at Michaelangelo’s, a coffee shop near the hotel. I decided to read a poem-a long one that I wrote the previous year called “Blood Up to the Bridle,” a very personal (and apocalyptic) poem about my childhood, awkwardness in fitting […]

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Thu, October 10 2013 » Fiction, Polis » No Comments

IF Comp begins

The 19th Annual Interactive Fiction competition has begun. Judge and play games (a minimum of 5 games need to be played). Most can be played online. Noted without commentary: I’ve entered this year with a game made in Twine called Solarium. It’s always a fun event and I’m happy to take part in this (as […]

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Tue, October 1 2013 » Fiction, Games » No Comments

upcoming readings and events

With the new book Tyrannia coming out very very soon, I have a few events coming up. First off, last week I read and sat in some classes at Minnesota State-Moorhead and had a great time. I read “Walking Stick Fires”, mainly because I wanted to read a story from the collection that had a […]

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Mon, September 30 2013 » Fiction, Tyrannia » No Comments

role playing games and multiplicity of narratives

When I was playing red box/blue box Dungeons and Dragons in the mid-80s (the Basic and Expert sets), being 11 or 12, and rather isolated, I often never had enough people to play a session of D&D in precisely the way that it seemed meant to be played: several players, each controlling one character; and […]

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Fri, July 26 2013 » Fiction, Games » No Comments

We Are the Firewall released + design notes

I’ve released a “game-novella” that I made in Twine called We Are the Firewall. It’s set in a dystopian near-future Minneapolis (and the Republic of Georgia) and has about a dozen interwoven point-of-view characters. It’s definitely of a piece thematically and style-wise to many of the stories forthcoming in my new collection Tyrannia, and the […]

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Wed, July 24 2013 » Fiction, Games » 1 Comment

two things on “Walking Stick Fires”

An audio reading of my Asimov’s story “Walking Stick Fires” is now live as part of the StarShipSofa podcast. Also, the issue where my essay on SF and “exhaustedness” appears-in which I talk about the creation of “Walking Stick Fires” in fact!-is now online as a free PDF on the Cascadia Subduction Zone website.

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Wed, July 10 2013 » Fiction » No Comments

How to Succeed at Writing inside the Upper Middle Class

Be a writer. Opportunities exist. You will be rewarded. Youth is important at first, especially when you are young. Those ambitions will serve you well in college. Your precocity-especially if you are a man-gives you a natural base for success at writing. Precocious ideas become an extension of maleness. But DON’T WORRY-even when you get […]

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Sat, March 30 2013 » Fiction, Poetry » 1 Comment


Sergey Brin, in a recent discussion of Google Glass, noted that smartphones are “emasculating.” Let’s look at a more or less standard definition of “emasculate”. (I generally hate arguments by pedantics who pull out dictionary definitions as a kind of proof text for an argument, but I think this is worth it). 1. Make (a […]

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Fri, March 29 2013 » Computers/Tech, Fiction, Polis » No Comments

“gambling with the house’s money”

‘[The gambler] was, in fact, a man so delicate in manner, so judicious in his choice of victims, that in the strictly masculine part of the town’s life he had come to be explicitly trusted and admired. People called him a thoroughbred. The fear and contempt with which his craft was regarded were undoubtedly the […]

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Wed, March 20 2013 » Fiction, Polis » No Comments

Do check out my friend David Schwart’s ebook serial novel, entitled Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: Gooseberry Bluff is not a school for the chosen ones. It’s a school for those who have run out of choices. An unlikely place for an international conspiracy. But after suspicious paranormal signatures are reported and a professor […]

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Mon, February 11 2013 » Fiction, Minnesota » 2 Comments

“an uncanny desire to be that which we already are”

from Catherine Gallagher, “The Rise of Fictionality”, from The Novel, Volume 1, ed. Franco Moretti (Princeton Univ. Press, 2006) “In addition to the gaps between shifting textual perspectives and the separation between subjectivity and speaker, we should also mention those between attempted reference and realization or typification and individuation, which hark back to Henry Fielding’s […]

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Wed, January 23 2013 » Fiction » No Comments

my essay response to “The Widening Gyre”

I have an essay in the latest issue of Cascadia Subduction Zone called “We Have Never Been Postmodern: ‘Walking Stick Fires’ and the Knowability of Science Fiction”, a response to Paul Kincaid’s essay “The Widening Gyre” (which you should read), if nothing else than a starting point for the ongoing, rolling conversation that it has […]

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Mon, January 21 2013 » Fiction » No Comments

Glitter and Madness anthology

Do check this out. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

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Thu, January 17 2013 » Fiction » No Comments

epilogue to “The Blazing World” by Margaret Cavendish (1666)

“By this Poetical Description, you may perceive, that my ambition is not onely to be Empress, but Authoress of a whole World; and that the Worlds I have made, both the Blazing- and the other Philosophical World, mentioned in the first part of this Description, are framed and composed of the most pure, that is, […]

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Wed, January 9 2013 » Fiction, Polis » No Comments