The 2019 Annual Greed List!

Every year, I publish my Christmas list for public consumption, jokingly calling it “The Greed List.” It’s not because I expect you to get anything for me. 

(Though the first two items are free gifts that may be useful to you as well, so maybe checking them out wouldn’t hazardous.)  

The reason I publish it, and hence commit these lists to the communal memory, is that I think “What you want” is a reflection of “Who you are” at this moment – your music, your hobbies, your fandoms, all help define who you are as a person.  I find it a fascinating history, watching how what I’ve desired has mutated – for example, the list used to be heavy on physical Things, which then changed slowly into digital objects as MP3s and iTunes became big, and now as I’m renting a lot of digital stuff nowadays I’m back to wanting Things again.

(And it allows me to chronicle strange bumps in my desires; for example, 2016’s list contained not one single book. Why? Was it because I stopped loving books?  No!  It’s because I just got off a book tour promoting my book Fix, and I was so overflowing with books that I needed to run down my pile. If you’re curious as to what I’m reading at the moment, well, my GoodReads automatically tracks most of it; feel free to follow me.)

(And also, well, I’ve directed my family to look at my blog for my Christmas and Birthday lists – and my Dad wants me to publish it, so here we are. I’m still on blogging hiatus, but I’d forgotten that I had this as a commitment.)

And while I guess I could just shove my Amazon Wishlist at you without context, why bother?  I want you to know who I am in this moment, and so I not only list what I want, but explain why I want it.

So.  Here’s what I’d like for this holiday season.

50 Amazon Reviews On The Sol Majestic. (Free!)
My book The Sol Majestic came out this year, to grand reviews and middling sales. It was always a hard-to-market beast; a gay foodie space opera? Oh, God, any one of those things would be a hard sell, let alone combined.

Still, those who got there largely took The Sol Majestic as what I’d intended; it’s not been a bestseller, but those who loved it found it to be somewhat of a sacred text.

Basically, those what loved The Sol Majestic really loved it, and those what didn’t skipped past.

But what irritates me about The Sol Majestic is Amazon’s review list. It’s rumored in the industry that 50 reviews is the magic number that lets a book be on promotions, on sales, in recommendations – and The Sol Majestic has been hovering at 48 reviews for, like, two months.

So if you’ve read The Sol Majestic and if you haven’t already left a review, then maybe leave a review on Amazon as a special Christmas present to me? And if you haven’t bought it, well, the great American indie bookstore Powells just listed it as one of their best science-fiction books of 2019. So maybe it’s not too late for any of us.

Dank Memes. (Free.)
As noted, I’ve shut down my social media accounts as of yesterday, and it’s already pretty lonely. I’m staying in touch with people (and feel free to email me) – but severing the ties from social media means that I am now bereft of Baby Yoda memes.

I have no idea how the Internet is having fun these days. So if you see a meme you think I’d laugh at, trust that I haven’t seen it – and maybe send it to me?

Buy My Next Book, AUTOMATIC RELOAD. ($16.99)
If you’re looking for romance and gunfire, for PTSD and automated cyborg combat, for human bravery in the face of computer-targeted guns that, for all intents and purposes, will never miss – well, my new book might be for you.

The Outer Worlds (Playstation 4, $59.99)
2018 may have been a nadir for the kinds of roleplaying games that I like; the big, sprawling story-heavy games had evaporated, and the game companies had put narrative-free “shooters as a service” in place, where people just ran around and shot things and nothing mattered.

I don’t do games without a motivation. It’s not enough to “git gud” at a game; I have to know why I’m slaughtering my way through a warehouse of colorful aliens.

Then, in 2019, the “shooters as a service” market collapsed. It turns out there’s only so many shooters you can play at a time for a couple of hours an evening, and when a newer game comes out it eats into the older games’ time, and several classic companies came out with rushed misfires (talkin’ to you, BioWare and Bethesda).

And then the best game of 2019 came out – Disco Elysium – which was a miracle of gaming, but I’ve already played it. But the second-best RPG, Outer Worlds, has gotten beautiful reviews for its story – and I saved it, because someone had to get me something for Christmas.

Untitled Goose Game (PC, $19.99)
Remember when I said I would lose fun things by being off the Internet?

Untitled Goose Game is the prime example of the good things I’ll miss by deactivating my Facebook and Twitter.

Untitled Goose Game is just that – a malicious goose goes around town, picking on the town’s inhabitants. It went viral on the net because people loved the idea of a game with a comparatively harmless goose being a dick, and the game provided the experience people wanted.

Unfortunately, it’s not available in physical form – if you want to get this to me, you’ll have to get me a gift certificate from Epic. Still. Worth it.

PlayStation 4 Pro ($325)
Okay, this is a weird one because it’s low. But that said:

The PlayStation Pro is basically a PlayStation 4, but with 4k hi-def graphics. And I want one because it would make my games very much prettier on our big-screen television, but it’s also not, strictly speaking, necessary; I just want the pretty games.

But I also have a light list this year, so I don’t know. Life is pretty good. We’re doing well. I have lots of books, and bourbon, and shirts; if my family wanted to pitch in on this to get me something, I’d be happy, but beyond that I don’t know.

(And in terms of truly stupid purchases I can’t justify, I want the PlayStation VR to play Beat Saber and yet the whole shebang is like $600, and who the heck wants to pay that for one game?)

(Don’t mention the fact that we essentially did that for Rock Band.)

So this is a very short list, and most of it is communication. That’s where I’m at this year, I guess; good financially, struggling for healthy connections.

And, you know, trying to sell books. 🙂

Another Blog Bites The Dust, Or: Why I’m Stepping Down From Social Media.

When I was twenty, I loved Howard Stern, so the essays I wrote for the college newspaper were ripoffs of his ridiculously self-revelatory radio show. If you went on the show, nothing was sacred – you’d reveal the embarrassing arguments you had with your wife, you’d discuss your weirdo quirks, you’d share your most humiliating secrets.

So that’s what I did: I wrote about myself.

And when I got my own website in 1997, I put some of those old essays up on my site, and got a mild following for That Guy Who Wrote The Wildly Personal Essays. Which continued into LiveJournal and FetLife, where I continued to expose my life for the education and entertainment and occasional punishment of crowds, until one day I hit fifty and I realized:

Why am I still living by Howard Stern rules?

Now, if I’d revealed ridiculously intimate details of my mental health and sex life and my relationships for thirty years and I felt people had a good bead on who I was, I’d probably consider that a win. But I don’t feel that they do.

At one point recently, someone reviewed a book of mine by saying something like “Ferrett sells a lot of books, seemingly because he’s a nice guy” – which is a thought I’ve been pondering a lot lately.

I can be a nice guy. I try to be. Every day I work hard to be better than the raging asshole I was in my early twenties.

Yet still: I’m intensely human, with three barriers to work with – I’m not the most socially adept person on the planet, I’m towing years of ciswhitedudely privilege that I keep unpacking one block at a time, and I have severe mental illnesses that get in the way.

All those buried assumptions mean that I can – and do – fuck up and hurt people I care about.

And on the occasions I’ve tried to write honestly about those fuckups – to say, “Hey, I was a total shithead here, please learn from my mistakes” – I almost always got misinterpreted, with well-intentioned defenders covering for me (with that old infected bandage of “You meant well”) or the folks who disliked me assuming I was trying to cover for me, because Ferrett is a nice guy and he means well and aren’t his words comforting? Maybe a little too comforting?

For years, I’ve felt like I’ve been slowly losing some remnant of my humanity – what I’d like to be seen is as a flawed human who has some pretty monumental errors to overcome, but instead what all-too-often gets passed around is “Ferrett is cool” – and while I do try to be cool to as many people as I can, with the number of people I interact with, I’m pretty much guaranteed to step on someone’s foot.

And I felt that the image I’m presenting was all too often being reduced to either “Ferrett’s a great guy” or “Ferrett is a monster pretending to be a great guy,” and neither is close to the human truth of “Ferrett has a decent batting average, but let’s not pretend he’s an all-star either.”

(And if that’s how you’ve interpreted me all along… thank you. Sincerely. Thank you.)

I’ve been working with my therapist on that for almost two years now, and increasingly feeling like a fraud. I’ve grown to dislike the public persona. I feel it’s a shallow and reductive idea of who I am. I don’t want some arbitrary image of me to become a marketing tool.

So why not stop?

On Monday, I’ll abandon my Twitter account, shut down Facebook and FetLife, and stop blogging (with one exception that I’ll discuss).

I’m really scared.

The Internet is where I make my friends. The Internet is where I find out about all those cool memes. The Internet is where I find the new and cool books, where I find out about the public crises of the day, where I find clever jokes.

But the social side of the Internet is where I also feel like I’m exuding a persona, and despite two years of trying to unentangle that persona, I haven’t gotten closer to a solution.

I don’t know what I’ll do with all that free time. I know how many hours a day I spend reflexively checking into Twitter, chatting with buddies. If you have a group chat of people who know me and could use a Ferrett, well, I’d like the company.

(Ironically, the place I feel most comfortable is Facebook, where I’m mostly with my friends, but Facebook is also totally fucking evil and I was planning on shutting it down come New Years’ Eve anyway, so that’s gone.)

If you and I have talked beforehand and you’d like to continue to talk afterwards, well, my email address is, and if you have my number, well, you have my number. Maybe I’ll transition to secret Slack servers and be just as content.

But if I’m not, I’ll get by.

Another issue: the Internet is also where I’ve been meeting my partners – and I think that has to stop, too.

Because I met my wife online, I used to think that you could judge compatibility through texts and emails, and so when we went poly I was happy to have near-strangers down for a test weekend to see whether our smooching was compatible – and while the communications usually went well on both sides, occasionally they really, disastrously didn’t, so I stopped having people over. Then I started flirting at kink conventions, and again, that usually went well, but there were a couple of occasions where I inadvertently pressured people, so I stopped that.

And while I have a handful of fulfilling sexual relationships I have gleaned from meeting people on the Internets (and thank you if you’re one of them), the Internet courtship means there’s often not enough real-life time to work problems out, leading to relationships which go really well until we need to hash out complex problems that don’t do well with texted words or cold phone calls. (Also see: mental health issues, on either side of the equation.) That’s led to some relationships that turned out to be fairly traumatic, if not downright abusive, for me.

And that last paragraph reveals another problem with dating while being a public persona: It could describe several of my relatonships, and yet any of my exes who read that might think it was specifically targeted at them. Blogging about personal issues without revealing personal details has been a continual landmine as long as I’ve written about polyamory, and there comes a point where the public discussions wind up hurting people who think that’s aimed at them – even if it’s not.

If I’ve been flirting with you, please – continue to flirt. But I’m going to be far more cautious in moving forward (and it’s not like it was easy before).

And when writing, or teaching, about polyamory becomes an active hindrance to fulfilling personal relationships, well, sorry, I gotta choose. So rather than risking people feeling called out by an essay that might not have even been about them, that aspect of my life’s gotta die on the vine.

Note that I haven’t said I’ll be off the Internet forever. Because I’m still writing books. I’ve got my new book AUTOMATIC RELOAD due out sometime in May, and I’ll doubtlessly be writing essays to remind you of it and saying “Hi I’m here” because, well, that’s what authors gotta do.

And I may write a few personalish essays when I get back, because that’s what reminds you I’m alive come the Novel.

But my hope is that going dark for a few months will burn some of this need to perform out of me. It’s not you, as the saying goes, it’s me. It’s all too easy when I’m having a bad day to turn to the brightness of social media, to say “HEY PAY ATTENTION TO ME” and get the attention that maybe’s not healthy.

The goal is for that to be gone, or at least to massively lessen the overlap between my personal and my public life. I may fail at that. (Also see: Human.) But I can at least give it a try.

If you’d like to stay in touch, the one place I will commit to writing once a month at it is in my personal newsletter. I’ll keep you informed there, so subscribe if you’d like the opportunity to see me nerding out about weird things.

And, as noted, if you already know me and feel like chatting privately or group chats, I’m amenable. I just don’t wanna be OMG FERRETT IS HERE, but rather “Hey! Good to see you.”

In any case, I’m leaving things up over the weekend so if anyone wants to know what happened, it’s out long enough to propagate.

And if I don’t catch you… have a great goddamned day.

Announcing My New Book: Automatic Reload!

CYBER Monday? I thought you said CYBORG Monday!

So let’s talk about my new cyborg rom-com with explosions AUTOMATIC RELOAD, now available for preorder in a bookstore near YOU!

(Oh, and if you share this post on either Facebook or Twitter I’ll enter you into a drawing for a free copy so do it do it DO IT)

Automatic Reload: Tougher Than My Garage Tools.

AUTOMATIC RELOAD’s AO3 tags would be:

* Superhuman female assassins with panic disorder
* Next-generation cybercombat in a world that’s made human soldiers obsolete
* Quippy banter in the face of deadly threats
* Sentient vacuum cleaners as pets
* Maintenancepunk
* Kissing books

And if you’re looking for personal quirks of Ferrett wedged in, how about:
* Opposite Cat made flesh
* Programming and how image processing applies to high-velocity firefights
* Cigar culture
* James Bond-style adventures with the misogyny stripped off

Anyway: AUTOMATIC RELOAD won’t be coming out for a few months, but you can order it today! From Amazon! Barnes and Noble! Or may I suggest your faithful independent bookstore?

And as noted – if you share this post on social media, I’ll put you in a drawing to win a free copy by Christmas!





The author, with books he would like to give to you.