Writing a postcard is easy. But professional writing intended to either sell or teach is hard. Professional writing must be simple, clear, persuasive, and carefully tailored to its audience.
Julie Vorov thought her job was to do well in high school and stay out of trouble. She also thought her biggest problem was betraying her best friend by hooking-up with a traitorous boyfriend. But in a world where being human is just a matter of programming, everything changes.
Suddenly, Julie finds herself allied with a scrappy group of alien scientists whose own world has already been destroyed. Together, they mount a clandestine effort to stop the Earth from also being eradicated. And Julie discovers that she’s the pivotal instability—the tipping point—in the plans of another group of aliens bent on invasion.
As Julie battles to save everything she cares about, she uncovers secrets about her own origins that shatter the core of her beliefs. And she falls so deeply in love that the most extreme obstacles posed by loyalty, age, gender, species, and parents will have to be overcome.
Your heart always recognizes the one you love.
Knowing that the world is a simulation doesn’t diminish the will to live. Even when the body is made from ones and zeros, the soul doesn’t feel any less real.
In Coding Peter, the sequel to Suddenly, Paris, we learn more about the aliens who have altered the lives of the Vorov family. The URTs are a small band of scientists—the only survivors of a world simulation that no longer exists—who seek only to settle down quietly and unobtrusively in a new home. But contact with humans has led to accidents, misunderstandings, and deaths. A hundred years later, only a few of the alien refugees survive.
Now Julie Orlov’s brother, ten-year-old Peter, is asked to take on the soul of a dying alien—for the good of his family, his alien ancestors, and the Earth itself. In doing so he will become more—but also, maybe less—than himself. It’s a lot to ask of a young boy, especially when the exact consequences to Peter are unknown, even by the aliens themselves.
What Peter decides will change the fate of two civilizations—and maybe more…
Alex and Sasha are twin sisters, physically identical down to their freckles. But the resemblance is only skin deep—Sasha is profoundly autistic, while Alex is not. Sasha can’t communicate and acts bizarrely, and the family revolves around her and her intense needs. Yet the aged, wealthy, and mysterious Aunt Nana seems to have a particular interest in both girls. Offering a helping hand, she encourages the family to move to San Francisco to be near her.
When the young twins discover a tunnel in Nana’s tool shed, it leads them on a journey across the world and back 100 years in time. The tunnel is a pathway to the Firebird Estate, the home of their ancestors, located in rural Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Even more remarkable, through the effect that twisting time has on cognition, Sasha is not autistic when she’s at the Firebird Estate.
Now, growing up in two strikingly different times and places, the twins must face their separate destinies among the ravages of the incipient Russian Revolution. Can they save their families on both sides of the tunnel? Can they simultaneously stay true to their own hearts, to each other, and to the people they left behind? Each sister must face her own personal challenge—but only together can they discover their own future within their family’s past.
Pigeon is eleven, homeless, and now an orphan. Alone and scared, he seeks to find a new family. But the past he barely remembers comes back to haunt him, endangering his newly-found friends, the Kikkert Family. Fortunately, the Kikkerts want to adopt Pigeon even if he is wanted by strange para-military DNA warriors. As they race through San Francisco to save each other, the true nature of Pigeon’s birth is revealed as well as the secret identity of Madam Toad—the matriarch of the Kikkert Family.
What does is mean to be human? What does it take to be a family? Pigeon is willing to risk his life to learn and to love.
Transdimensional Industries gave the world a technical solution to the obesity epidemic—eat more than you want, and store all that you want in their fat storage tanks conveniently located outside of our set of dimensions. Complete gluttony without sacrificing beauty or health…for a price.
You can be rich and buy a thin body. You can be poor and lucky enough to get government assistance with your personal fat storage—Federal Assistance with Transdimensional Offloading of Fat and Flab. Or you can win the tits lottery—a lifetime of free blubber storage in the Transdimensional Industries’ tanks where all the humanity’s fat is stored. Thin people live well, have high paying jobs, and wield all of the social and political power and prestige while consuming unlimited quantities of food as mandated by the government. Fat people? They don’t do so well.
Humans have always wanted to know what goes on inside the minds of other animals. But what if humans could become animals? Toby’s father leads a team of neuroscientists directly connecting the brains of humans with those of animals. And Toby is a prodigy at throwing her mind into the animal subjects in his lab—she’s the best there is.
But Toby suffers from cystic fibrosis and she’s not likely to live into adulthood. Could a radical plan to embed her consciousness into an animal allow Toby to survive? And what does it mean to live without a human body?
Can Toby and her father solve the problem of fully merging two beings before she takes her last breath? Will the government succeed in stopping their efforts before they are done? It’s a race against death and into the minds of animals.
Exploring Low Tide in Northern California
Published by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the goal is to spark an interest in intertidal ecosystems and, perhaps, in nature as a whole. Activities are designed to get kids to look closer and see more than they otherwise might.
Sacred Spaces: 2004 Interfaith Sacred Space Design Competition
This book documented a fascinating international design competition. How does one design a physical space that can be utilized by the followers of many different religious practices?
Skulls Exhibit: California Academy of Sciences
These educational materials were commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences. They expand the boundaries of the physical exhibit, leveraging the museum’s existing investment. They allow visitors and teachers to use the exhibit in a variety of novel ways. These activities are made to be Xeroxed by teachers or output on black and white printers. If well-conceived and produced, these types of educational materials can be both effective and attractive. PDF 1.8 megs
Scripts: “Cook Noir” and “The Company Therapist”
Pipsqueak’s associates include talented writers and editors. Our collaborative writing project, The Company Therapist, was about increasing the competence of amateur writers while creating a new kind of web entertainment. It not only features our own prose but it also hosts the carefully edited work of authors from around the world.
In addition to fiction, we’ve written books, scholarly papers, and newspaper articles. We’ve published “Interfaces.com: Cognitive Tools for Product Designers”, a book on applying cognitive theory to product design. We’ve also written scads of technical materials and promotional copy. And we’ve written scripts for new media projects—examples of which are available for download below.
This script “The Seduction Dinner” is from “Cook Noir,” our edgy character-based cooking show. PDF 30K