active maas

The blog of smart core writer Robert Maas

Archive for the category “Blog”

Sidekicks: The Billows by Penny Maez

This fierce, terrifying thriller is one of the most sustained works of pure horror I’ve written. And yet it’s over there in the relatively lightweight Penny Maez catalog, and from just looking at the cover you’d think it was schoolgirl fantasy. Go figure. Read more…

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Introducing smart core

In my new non-fiction book The Smart Core Manifesto, released this month, I define (for the first time!) plausible science fiction in the universe we perceive. It’s not hard. It’s not mundane. It’s smart core! Read more…

Free story: “Biophemia”

Here’s a short story from my collection Born From Ash. It’s one of my favorites. Enjoy! Read more…

Progress report

I recently published Progress 1968 under the name Scott Meze, the first in a series of books that take an in-depth look at rock’s golden age year by year. Here’s an excerpt. Read more…

Cast of characters

One of my standard ways of working is to write my novels first as a movie script, to “watch” virtual versions of the movie until it works perfectly, and then to novelize what I saw. Here are the people I populated Biome with. Read more…

The found weekend

I love May Pang. She gave John Lennon everything he needed, and the happiest months of his life. But was she anything more than a mouth? Read more…

The last Lennon divorce

In 1980, Yoko Ono was busy making other plans. She had finally had enough of her needy, neurotic husband. It was time to divorce for good. Read more…

The black hole where my brain used to be

At exactly 5:15pm, Japan time, on Friday 9th March 2018, an unknown cosmic event zapped my brain and erased a chunk of my memory. I forgot my PIN number. Read more…

One night in London

It’s a late Friday night in February, and the city lies timeless as a dream. Read more…

Sidekicks: The Mael by Penny Maez

In this dark and angry science fiction novel about the betrayal of innocence, the most monstrous and pitiless aliens are our own parents, teachers and leaders. Read more…

Meddling with Meddle

My latest non-fiction book has just been released. It’s a vast (370,000 words) large-format exploration of the psychedelic music of Pink Floyd called Naive Art. Read more…

Culinary infidelity: dining at Tokyo’s cannibal restaurant

My wife had been pestering me for months. So last week we finally went to Jinniku, the cannibal restaurant in Kamata, Tokyo. The only question was: how would this vegetarian handle human flesh? Read more…

Curating space: a preliminary list

The Ultimate Guide To Sci-Fi Movies (Second Edition, 2017) is a collection of articles reprinted from Total Film and SFX magazines given weight by a countdown billed as “The 50 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Ever Made.” It’s an impressive list. But is it science fiction? Read more…

Does god have toenails?

I can remember the precise moment, as a kid, when I began to question god. It happened in church. I was a choir boy. I must have been 12. I was kneeling on my hassock and my feet started hurting. I asked myself: why aren’t feet designed for prayer? Read more…

Life and life only: science fiction in 2017

I thought it couldn’t get worse. I was wrong. But at least there’s still something to talk about this year. Read more…

Nothing at all: emotion in prog rock

Prog rock is the most emotionally charged music I know. It’s the only music in which I am guaranteed to cry when I hear certain pieces, each and every time I play them. And here am I, a grown man with hairs on his arms who didn’t shed a tear when his cat died. Read more…

Raising spirits in Japan

Forget obon, the Japanese festival of the dead. The holiday that really matters here is Halloween, and it has no spiritual significance whatsoever. Read more…

Army of one

You have to pity countries like Japan, which don’t allow individuals to carry guns. They’re forever being overrun by foreign aggressors, home invaders and terrorists. Read more…

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…

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…

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