active maas

The blog of thriller writer Robert Maas

Archive for the category “Blog”

Where are the coasters?

This year, the first of the predictions in my novel Biome will quite likely cease to come true. I really need to revise the book and set it another decade in the future. Read more…

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Robert Maas on drugs

This year, as well as a new novel, I’ve published two books about hallucinogenic drugs. A stretch, you might say. But drugs have always been a part of the Robert Maas universe. They’re what make it so dark, and so full of stars. Read more…

The Maas gallery

I always design my own covers. It’s great to hold something and know you created every part of it. Here are a few of my favorites. Warning: this post has many images. Read more…

Return to blender

One of my favorite paintings is Aida Makoto’s huge, shocking canvas that depicts hundreds of naked girls in a giant blender. But the artist got one thing wrong. Read more…

Uncommon courtesy: cyclists in Japan

Foreign friends who visit me in Tokyo are astonished when I tell them that Japan is one of the rudest countries I’ve ever lived in. “Everyone here is so polite!” they say. But anybody who’s ever been tinged by a bicycle coming up behind them on the sidewalk knows well: Japan has two faces, and one of them is mean. Read more…

Was Dr. Morbius a power-hungry madman?

The classic 1956 movie Forbidden Planet is about a mind-reading machine that can materialize solid matter in any shape you want, anywhere on the planet Altair-4. But why, in all their infinite wisdom, didn’t the Krell deem it prudent to install an off-switch? Read more…

Our ship is sinking

Most of us recognize this now. So what’s the correct course of action? Head straight for the lifeboats, of course. Isn’t that what sailors have always done? Read more…

Sidekicks: The Summoning by Catherine Mays

It’s finally out. A book with a convoluted gestation period, even by my standards. But does the world really need another medieval vampire time travel menstruation romantic body horror erotic bondage novel? Read more…

What’s the free world for, anyway?

Good question. Well, for a start, your leaders are no longer shoving you in airplanes to be used as human bombs, but I’ll let that pass. I guess it’s not something you were taught in school. Read more…

The Maas gadgets of Amazon

In the past few months, I’ve created paperback versions of all 23 of my books. You can order them from the links in the menu above. In this post I’ll go through the results. Warning: this is a long post, with many photos. Read more…

Maas on demand

In January 2017, I began offering paperback versions of my books. But since I can’t see how to make money from them, I’m selling them practically at cost. Read more…

Who are the fuck police?

I envisage a 1970s cover band whose act consists of a singer bellowing a karaoke-quality approximation of “Roxanne” while near naked girls wiggle their string driven things about the stage. Isn’t it time for some more Japanese sex outrage? Read more…

Travel without arriving

A man awakens from stasis. Everyone else on the spaceship is asleep, including a hold full of female flesh. It’s the pocket universe version of the last man on Earth fantasy, with a frisson of necrophilia thrown in. Read more…

Arrive without traveling

Here’s a new one. A giant alien structure hovers mysteriously a short distance off the ground. Two American scientists climb into it via a cherry-picker and meet the inhabitants. The Chinese attack but our heroes manage to defuse the tension and save the day. They end the movie by having a child together. Read more…

Chasing the future: architecture in Tokyo

Come the next big one, entire islands of landfill will slip majestically into the churning waters of Tokyo Bay. Goodbye, you might say, to all that junk. But junk is the very essence of Japan. Read more…

Sidekicks: The Music Of The Rending Of The Night by Kare Mois

This novel was the culmination of a series of experiments I made with dark fantasy and extreme horror. In ways large and small, it has informed everything I’ve written since. Read more…

Ain’t noise pollution

At five o’clock every evening, the open spaces of Tokyo reverberate with the blandest tune ever composed, broadcast from all the exterior loudspeakers the government uses in times of emergency. This is noise pollution Japanese style, but it’s far from the worst. Read more…

The great wank panic

Having talked about ‘the other hand’ in an earlier post, I feel compelled to get my own hand out and give it a good close scrutiny. Any hairs in that palm? Read more…

Shouting silence

In the movie Midnight Special, a kid with psychic powers is on the run from the authorities. Well that’s original. Read more…

With thanks to Anne

In 2002, the BBC held a public poll to determine the greatest Brit of all time. Winston Churchill won, but we was robbed. It should have been Anne Boleyn. Read more…

The science of sardines

If courtesy were measured in inverse proportion to the number of pornographic comics you read on the subway, I’d be the politest person in Japan. Read more…

Debunking Clarke’s law once and for all

Science fiction writers are supposed to be intelligent, aren’t they? So why are they still writing novels based on Clarke’s third law? Read more…

On the other hand: from hysteria to relaxation massage

On my walk home from my office each night, I pass a large illuminated sign fixed across the second story of an apartment block offering ‘relaxation’ therapy. As you can see from the image, Google Map has no problem showing it, though they blur the sign for the voice training studio next door. Read more…

The case for Englishnization

Japan’s simple spoken language is chained to one of the world’s most complicated methods of writing. Is it time to ditch the thing? Read more…

Why everyone should watch Aubrey Plaza masturbate

Privacy is a perception. And when it comes to some of our very public technology, most of us are getting it wrong. Read more…

Joe’s heritage

Whenever I compile my list of favorite albums, I have to restrict myself to one LP per artist. Otherwise about half my list would be Frank Zappa albums. And the rest would just be there to pad out the Zappa. Read more…

Sidekicks: Constant by Penny Maez

This spare, uncompromising thriller is the most involved thing I’ve ever written. It’s much like living inside a sealed box, with no means of punching your way out. All you see are the walls. Read more…

Happy birthday, first love

Today is the birthday of the first girl I ever loved, my first serious schoolyard relationship. Congratulations! What have you been up to all these years? Read more…

And why Apple doesn’t

As long-term survivors of this blog know, I’m not a fan of Apple. I just don’t get it. Everyone around me tells me how great they are, but I haven’t seen a single Apple product that I thought was truly revolutionary. And as a company, Apple seems to be a whole lot of nothing. Read more…

In praise of pulp

I love old books. And not just any old books: tatty yellow paperbacks with creased spines and somebody else’s name scrawled on the inside cover. Read more…

The Treks of my tears

Vic Mignogna is a fan with a plan: to boldly make the two seasons of the original Star Trek that we lost when the show was cancelled in 1969. Read more…

The curse of verse

My latest novel is, except for the frame story of a brief introduction, told entirely as a series of 116 poems. What is this, career suicide? Read more…

Sidekicks: Down Where The Dead Roll by Penny Maez

As well as publishing under my own name, I sometimes use pseudonyms. In these occasional posts, I’ll explore the work I’ve done that doesn’t fit into the Robert Maas universe. Read more…

In search of science fiction

Every year I compile a list of the new movies that I consider to be true science fiction as opposed to fantasy. In recent years the task has become thankless. In 2015 there were just seven movies on my list, and none of them were great. Read more…

Cakes and kings: Christmas in Japan

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But it’s badly placed, less than a week before the far more significant celebration of the Japanese New Year. I blame the pagans. Read more…

From the realms of gory

As Christmas approaches, my thoughts naturally turn to the finest interpretation of the nativity story in all cinema. I’m referring, of course, to the birth scene in Alien. Read more…

Kicking clouds

Once, in the wake of a swift, shattering love affair, I mapped out my path to catharsis through a novel of tribulation and redemption to be called Kick The Clouds. I never wrote it, but the planning got me through. Read more…

My big fat Shinto wedding

There’s nothing romantic about getting hitched in Japan. You simply fill in a form in the local government office. If you want romance, you’ve got to make it yourself. Of course, weirdness is also an option. Read more…

The pressure to forget

What did it feel like, the first time you fell off your bicycle as a kid? You probably don’t remember. We all forget things on the personal scale. But there are also two ways in which populations at large forget events and emotions. Read more…

Selling the machine: how artificial is AI?

Looking around, you’d think artificial intelligence is about to happen. It’s as if the mass of all the speculation is going to magically bring it into being. In the meantime, corporations want you to think it’s already here. Read more…

Why MythBusters matters

The golden age of the scientific communicator may be behind us, but there’s still hope for science on TV. We just shouldn’t expect a return of Carl Sagan and Jacob Bronowski. Read more…

Science, fiction, faith: do we still need colorful stories?

There’s nothing new about science fiction religions. Our traditional faiths were informed by celestial phenomena in an age before UFOs: flaming chariots and boats on the Milky Way. We look up and see our technology reflected. Read more…

Spirit of xenophobia

From the moment I first heard it, I was dazzled by Spirit’s 1977 album Future Games: A Magical Kahauna Dream. It appears to be a trippy sonic collage about our possibilities in space. But the album is also seamed through with military xenophobia. Read more…

Don’t look: balancing artifice and disgust

My novel Residuum explores an uncomfortable paradox. It concerns a humanity that has had every last shred of artifice stripped away, and somehow has to manage to survive in a world of naked self-disgust. At the same time, I hate all these lies we tell ourselves. Read more…

Love the trap you’re in

When I was thirteen, my favorite novel was Edmund Cooper’s The Overman Culture. I still own more copies of this novel than any other, and rank it as one of the most important books I’ve ever read. But I wish I could rip the last thirty or so pages out of every copy. Read more…

Disposable flotsam

A few years ago, my wife and I decided to erect a flimsy wooden shack in a crowded, fire-hazard ghetto in the depths of the world’s most seismically and volcanically unstable region. In short, we built a house in Tokyo. Read more…

We are all, and none of us, survivors

Like everyone else, you have a lineage that stretches unbroken right back to the first bacterium wriggling in the primordial ooze. Why then would you think that anybody else has a better pedigree than yours? Read more…

To the untidy end

When I was a kid, I often stayed in my grandparents’ manor house in England. It was a musty, falling-down place, lacking mains water or electricity. A shambles of soft floors and collapsing ceilings, of drafty corridors and mildew, of sooty chimneys, spiders, spook and shadow. I adored it. Read more…

Keep those screams a-rollin’

My new novel Slow Wilhelm Exit is an irreverent analogy of the accumulating wounds we suffer at the hands of the people we let into our hearts. It’s a literal death of a thousand cuts. But what is that title supposed to mean? Read more…

Words from the wringer

Like my previous bite-sized novels A Thousand Years Of Nanking and Tessellation Row, my new thriller Cheer Up Sleepy Gene uses a frothy technological horror plot as a framework on which to hang the dirty linen of human emotions. Read more…

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