Slugs in Real Life

When real life starts to resemble the books you write, well…

leopard print slug pale highway nicholas conley

… Pale Highway fans will understand my amusement.

No, this little guy didn’t start talking to me, and definitely didn’t mention anything about a “Sky Amoeba,” but when I happened upon him in the backyard, I couldn’t help but take notice.

Hope you’re all doing well!

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The 2018 Exeter UFO Festival

This past weekend, the skies of Exeter, New Hampshire were filled with flying saucers. So-called “little green men” walked through the streets, filled up the shops, or made themselves evident in numerous ways. Luckily, no laser guns were fired, no shrink rays went off, and the 2018 Exeter UFO Festival was a happy occasion for Earthling and extraterrestrial alike.

Nicholas Conley aliens Intraterrestrial exeter UFO festival new hampshire

The reason that the state of New Hampshire plays host to such an intergalactic gathering every year is because—as all UFO fans know—of a 1961 incident generally known as either the “Betty and Barney Hill abduction,” or the “Zeta Reticuli Incident,” where a Portsmouth couple reportedly witnessed a UFO, and claim to have subsequently been taken aboard and examined by inhuman beings from another world. This alleged encounter was the first alien abduction report that spread to a wider audience, popularizing many of the tropes that are now familiar today. Whatever one thinks about the story, whether it’s belief or skepticism, there’s no questioning the incident’s huge impact on pop culture.

Exeter UFO festival New Hampshire nh aliens

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about “aliens” that captures the human imagination so fervently. Perhaps it has something to do with our own hubris: humans are so naturally inclined to think of themselves as the center of the universe, but the arrival of another living species that is so much more advanced than us would completely undo any sense of Earthling superiority, forever. As a species, we’d have to reckon with our own terrifying smallness for the first time, like ants figuring out that they’re ants.

Besides all that, talking about aliens generally just makes for a good time, and that’s why Exeter’s annual celebrations are a blast. As the proud author of my own alien science fiction novel, Intraterrestrial, I’m always thrilled to dive deep into some alien mythology, though I still can’t quite answer the person who was wondering about those sharp theets back in 2016.

Anyhow, kudos to the city of Exeter for hosting such a weird, wonderful event every year, thanks to the Exeter Area Kiwanis Club for putting it on, and a huge round of applause for the fact that all of the money raised during the UFO Festival is donated to local children’s charities. Very cool.

Alien Exeter UFO Festival NH

 

Grunge.com: Fake archaeological finds that nearly changed history

Good morning, folks! Got another piece I wrote for Grunge.com, telling the history of archaeological hoaxes that made the world spin backwards—until they got found out, anyway. From the Cardiff Giant to the Kensington Runestone, here are some of the craziest.

Fake Archaeological Finds That Nearly Changed History

At some point in your childhood, you probably wanted to be an archaeologist. Depending on your age, it probably had a lot to do with either the Indiana Jones movies or Tomb Raider. Either way, nothing seemed cooler than digging out old bones, relics, or religious items, and then forcing those snobby history book editors to make revised editions. Real-life archaeology might not involve magical arks that melt people’s flesh off, but it’s still insanely cool: When archaeologists uncover ancient plumbing, statues, or fossils, they reveal the history of humanity, plug up the holes, and sometimes prove old theories wrong.

Every once in a while, though, a prankster gets in the mix and tries to cash in on some fake discovery. These turkeys always get found out sooner or later, but not without breaking some hearts on the way. Here are some of the biggest archaeological hoaxes that would have changed history.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/131569/fake-archaeological-finds-that-nearly-changed-history/?utm_campaign=clip

Intraterrestrial is an Amazon Best Seller!

So, I woke up this morning to find a little orange tag hanging around Intraterrestrial‘s neck—or rather, on the book’s Amazon page— which happened to be a dream come true:

Intraterrestrial Amazon Best Seller science ficion alien invasion

Now, to be fair, that #1 status is only within the crazy-cool genre known as “Alien Invasion Science Fiction,” but nonetheless, Intraterrestrial soared through the stars yesterday: in the overall paid Kindle store, it managed to float all the way to the #194 spot!

The cosmic dance only lasted for a little while, of course, but a huge thank you to everyone who picked up a copy and/or showed their support. As you all go flying into the furthest reaches of the universe, I hope you enjoy the ride!

Cluttered Bookcase? The Benefits of Horizontal Stacking

Ah, the conundrum of book storage. While many have jumped onto the “all e-reader, all the time” bandwagon, casting aside the dead tree paperbacks of the past for those newfangled digital tablets, there is still a sizable number of people who prefer the look, feel, and experience of actual books (disclaimer: I’m one of them). If you like reading books, the chances are that you also like displaying those books in a place where, presumably, others can look through and admire your truly exceptional reading taste.

But what if the shelf is too small for the number of books you have on it? Or what if you just keep reading more and more books, resulting in your entire living room turning into the world’s most disorganized library?

Well, here’s my proposed solution: stack your books horizontally, instead of vertically.

bookshelf books horizontal stack organization king gaiman house of leaves johnny gun

Ever since I discovered this crafty little trick a few years ago, it has saved me countless hours of struggling to fit too many books on too few shelves. It sounds simple, but it really works. While the standard vertical stacks of books make a shelf disappear faster than a Star Trek transporter,  horizontal stacking makes it so that no space is wasted. Every inch of shelf space carries multiple books on top of it.

Seriously, it works.

Of course, no system is without flaws, and horizontal stacking has one big downside: if you want to get one of the books from the bottom of the stack out, it can be annoying. Horizontal stacking also makes organization a bit trickier, if you’re going for that whole alphabetical thing. But honestly, these minor irritations are nothing compared to the longterm challenge of having no shelf space, or frustrating every person you live with by taking up all available living space with dozens of books that you’ve already read.

Find out for yourself, fellow book lovers! Maybe we’ll conquer the demon of proper space organization, once and for all! Or maybe not, but hey, it’s worth a try.

Real life people who had medical conditions named after them

Everyone wants to leave their mark on history, and there’s no better way to do that than having something important named after you. A bridge? Awesome. A new invention? Great! An obscure scientific theory? Well … everyone who understands it will appreciate it. It’s no different when it comes to the world of medicine and psychology, where long and unique names like Alzheimer, Klinefelter, Münchausen, and Tourette now fly off any nurse’s tongue as easily as a kid spouting Latin dinosaur names. While critics oppose the practice of naming medical conditions after people, it’s definitely easier for non-medical folks to remember a unique name than a string of letters.

This raises a question, though: What does an ambitious person have to do if they want a medical condition named after them? The answer isn’t so clear. Sometimes doctors get the credit, sometimes it goes to a well-known patient, and sometimes, telling a few exaggerated stories will do the trick.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/125859/real-life-people-who-had-medical-conditions-named-after-them/?utm_campaign=clip