Thaddeus Howze is the Answer-Man, a fugitive speculative fiction author and futurist with an encyclopedic knowledge of comix and pop-culture. He writes political analysis as the Cognitive Dissident. He is an assistant editor at Krypton Radio and a climate activist at the The Good Men Project.
Author | Essayist | Futurist | Activist | Comic Historian | Info Technologist
What I Write
SUMMER DAY, LOST, RETURN TO A GOOD HOME.
I woke and was surprised the crisp October night had given way to an incredible morning. The sky wasn’t clear. Yet the clouds did nothing to obscure the morning sun, peeling back before it, glowing various shades of strawberry sherbet and brilliant tequila sunrise orange. Splashes of purple receded fastest, as if embarrassed by the abundance of more aggressive color schemes pushing them out of the morning sky.
I stood on the porch and listened to the geese flying south, their honks just out of sync with each other as they speared southwest in their traditional V pattern. I noticed the second wing goose on the right side of the formation was gone, his space left empty by the others. The air had the scent of a trapped summer day. Bright and filled with promise. A day which could make you believe anything was possible. You remember a day like that somewhen in your life; a transformative day where your fortunes turned and your life became what it should be.
This was a day bottled at the peak of flavor. I realized someone had to have lost this day in order for me to find it. I ran to the into the house remembering I had visitors over for the weekend who were staying in the basement apartment. I knew my guests were already gone into the city this morning, early, almost as if they knew something I didn’t.
My closet was open. They had placed the lock on the desk next to the door. The light was on and the door was ajar, a hot funk met me as I opened the door. On the floor was a broken bottle, the remnants of its contents swirling around before rushing out the door and vanishing through the open windows of the basement apartment. They must have broken it this morning. Looking up at the other bottles — there were almost two hundred of them, salvaged from other days from other seasons, each cataloged and categorized for ease of use.
I realized the error has been my own. I left the key in the lock because no one was normally in the basement. I had no one to blame but myself. I swept up Summer, 1985, a Bay Area vintage, which was almost through making its way out into the cool fall morning. I could tell it would get hotter during the day, as the last of the trapped summer fled my basement. I thought about trying to recapture it and save it for my personal use. But the day felt so good, so liberated, I could feel it resistance to the idea even as I considered the effort it would take.
It would be a lost cause; half the day was already gone. Nobody wants half a great summer day. There was no sense in moping, it would be the waste. It seemed Bay Area Summer 1985 would be gone forever. I will put a call into my Russian clients and let them know this particular effort would not be arriving on their shores this winter. I have other days which were quite nice but nothing like this one. I am grateful they aren’t discriminating customers.
Still a bit perturbed, I grabbed a Utah winter and locked the door behind me, taking the key. I placed the harsh winter day on my nightstand. I looked at the bottle and could see the winter storm swirling within. The label written in an magnificent calligraphy, Utah, winter 2004. To anyone else, this was an empty bottle with a strange and ornate label. I was sure to pack it with their luggage on the last night before they left. I watched the weather for two weeks waiting to hear they discovered my gift.
A month later, it returned, via a specialized delivery service, with a note saying: “We’re sorry. We overstepped our boundaries and apologize for using your summer day without asking.” Hefting the bottle, seal intact, I sat down at my computer to haggle with an Australian who wanted to negotiate importing my snowstorm for a local heatwave of which he was certain no one would miss.
I knew we would be able to come to an accommodation.
|What I Write||
Thaddeus Howze is a prolific writer of speculative fiction, scientific, technical and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California. Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.
Thaddeus works as a writer and editor for two magazines, the Good Men Project, a social men’s magazine as well as for Krypton Radio, a sci-fi enthusiast media station and website. He is also a freelance journalist for Polygon.com and Panel & Frame magazine. Thaddeus is the co-founder of Futura Science Fiction Magazine and one of the founding members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop in Oakland.
Before his career reinvention as a writer, Thaddeus was a technology executive who worked in the Bay Area as the Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Services for John F. Kennedy University. He was also an adjunct instructor of Computer Science and the technology manager of the Computer Science department at Laney College.
Thaddeus’ career in information technology spanned two decades and included network design, desktop publishing, educational curriculum design and industry-related coaching.
In his identity as The Answer-Man he answers questions about science fiction, media culture, movies, anime, comics and superheroes all over the Internet. He has appeared on a variety of podcasts and convention panels as a comic historian and inspirational writing coach promoting Afrofuturism and speculative fiction writing.
Thaddeus was a Teaching Fellow for Chapter 510: Department of Make Believe for 2019-2020 teaching youth how to craft age-appropriate speculative fiction and Lakeview Middle School in Oakland.
He also works as one of the core members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop, whose goal is to help African-American writers of speculative fiction develop their writing skill-sets and improve their opportunities for publishing.
Thaddeus was recently voted the vice president of the California Writers Club in Berkeley, CA, a venerable writers group working in the Bay Area for over one hundred years.
Hayward’s Reach: Speculative Fiction; Collection
Broken Glass: Urban Fantasy; Novella
Writing Craft: Mastering the Urge to Write: Online Collection of Essays