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Daniel Verastiqui Posts

BSIY Elevated Garden Bed

When it comes to making decisions at 36, I typically opt for the choice that doesn’t require me to bend or kneel. Thus, when it came time to think about building a garden at the new house, I didn’t want to repeat our last mistake of a raised garden bed, i.e., that it was still on the ground. So, after Dom showed me a few pictures of elevated garden beds, I looked at my wall-o-tools and decided I can build that.

Five Years of Jeet Kune Do

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen a Bruce Lee movie start to finish. I saw Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and loved it, but I think I was born too late to really appreciate Lee’s groundbreaking work. Instead, I was raised on a steady diet of American-made ninja movies, like Pray for Death and the aptly named American Ninja. Then came the Once Upon a Time in China movies with Jet Li and Iron Monkey with Donnie Yen. And of course, there was Jackie Chan.

Reconciling a new Veneer

In my novel Veneer, residents of Easton live with a shared layer of augmented reality that covers almost every imaginable surface. To change the color or design of an object, they simply have to reach out, touch it, and imagine something different, a process I named reconciliation. I find it fitting that a reader looked at the cover of Veneer, imagined something different, and decided to reconcile something new. Sure, the technology is vastly different, but the result is the same.

The Infinity Push-up Challenge

Scientific studies suggest that the number of push-ups you can do correlates to how much money you’ll earn, how many people love you, and how many grocery bags you can carry in one trip. Not only that, push-ups hit all the important muscle groups: biceps, triceps, and even the little-known diceps. And nothing fills out an Abercrombie v-neck like a cartoonishly large set of traps, just ask All-American sportsman Steve “Stone Cold” Austin.

Stealing Roberta

It’s generally not a good idea to use real people in your stories. As awesome as it would be to have Natalie Portman fighting cybernetic dinosaurs on a dinghy in the South Pacific, she probably wouldn’t be too thrilled to find out about it when your cross-genre erotic fanfic blows up like you just know it will. Profiting from a real person’s likeness (whether they’re an actor or a model or a local anchorwoman) may even get you sued.

You and I, Arjuna, have lived many lives.

I remember them all, you do not remember.   Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. I was only nine or ten when I picked up Replay for the first time. In the decades since, I’ve read it over and over again in the hopes of becoming a better writer. It has taught me how to be direct with my language, how to be honest with the motivations and desires of my characters, and most importantly, it showed me (and continues to show me) that stories can be more than just entertainment; they can make your reader feel something. Prior to reading my first big boy book, I was content to devour anything written by Judy Blume, Louis Sachar, and Bruce Coville. If there was a finer book than My Teacher Fried My Brains, I hadn’t read it. I had always been aware of my parents’ bookshelf, but the titles had always seemed so imposing. Shogun, The Satanic Verses, IT. Okay, IT is not that imposing, but still. These books were dense and full of big words I didn’t understand. Replay, though, seemed instantly accessible. I turned to the first page and there it was.   Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. It might have been the best and worst of times, and the clocks might have been striking thirteen, but I consider Replay’s opening line to be one of the best in literature. There is so much contained in this one little sentence, and it is as tragic as it is mundane. We join the story just as the main character dies. At ten years old, I had yet to read a book where anyone dies, let alone at the very beginning of the story. Replay is the story of a middle-aged guy who dies and wakes up as his 18 year old self with all of his knowledge still intact. He has to relive his life knowing what will happen, not just to himself, but to the world. He tries to avoid the bad moments and recapture the good, but as he finds out, the future isn’t set. Just by having knowledge of it, of thinking he knows how it will go, he changes his replay in ways he couldn’t have imagined. He lives another life, only to die again of another heart attack. Wash, rinse, and replay.   Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. Whenever I tell someone about Replay, I usually just parrot the synopsis and hope they find it interesting enough to purchase the book. However, to really tell you why this book is my favorite, we have to go beyond the sex, drugs, love, and loss of Jeff’s various replays. You see, on a superficial level, a man counting cards in Vegas or betting on the Preakness is just as entertaining as Peter trying to mail his little brother. There are a lot of books, and a lot of sci-fi, that are just pure entertainment. Just…

Recent Reviews

Great sci-fi book set in a world not far from our own Perion Synthetics is a gripping story that combines a lot of the best of alternative/cyberpunk-esque worlds while touching on subjects that aren’t too far from current events. There are business moguls making bad (far-reaching) decisions, government mandated corporate medical procedures, journalists scrambling to get some sort of story out however they can, and groups trying to restore the sanity they believe has been lost through the years. Add in some questions about how things will be handled in a post-singularity world, explosions and synthetic creations that are far beyond the uncanny valley, and you’ve got a great read. Easily my favorite sci-fi work by the author so far.

James Winborn – Perion Synthetics

Veneer is Snow Crash mixed with The Matrix mixed with Degrassi High… …if the kids of Degrassi Street swore and engaged in R-rated activities. I’ve been a fan of Verastiqui since reading his first novel, Xronixle, and I’m happy to say his sophomore effort is just as exciting and suspenseful, if not more. Veneer had me from the very first sentence, which if you read the preview you’ll get an idea of Verastiqui’s sense of humor. He masterfully blends elements of science fiction, the coming of age of adolescents, and a suspenseful story line with multiple twists that will make you laugh and question your reality at the same time. I found myself letting loose a hearty guffaw on one page, while on the very next page I was murmuring a “holy cow!” whilst raising my brow, which leads to those rare “I must finish this chapter” moments. While Veneer uses typical Cyberpunk themes (gritty technology gone awry, what-is-real-what-is-not-ness, evil ethereal-like corporations hell bent on the destruction of the protagonist), Verastiqui peppers in brilliantly-written sarcastic teenage characters that have the ability to change reality with their mind and, well, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it. An epic quest for redemption? Death? Sex? Check, check, check. The only reason I’m rating this 4 stars is because Verastiqui still has room to grow in his writing in order to be held in the same regard as upper echelon Cyberpunk authors like William Gibson and Neal Stevenson – a feat I wholeheartedly think he can achieve. Get this book.

KirbyLane7 – Veneer
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