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Looking Forward: 2020 in a Nutshell

Here’s what John Prescott has cooking for the new year

If you’ve been curious what I will be up to in the new year, then have a seat. Here’s what’s coming up.* First thing’s first:

E-BOOK ALERT: Nearly all of John Prescott’s books are now available in the Kindle store

Selling books of any kind in today’s market is increasingly difficult. It’s hard to convince people that, out of all the indie writers, you deserve their cash. It’s nearly impossible if you’re selling only paperback books.

My main goal is to be read. Therefore, I feel I have little choice but to make my books available in the Kindle marketplace. That means that as of now, After, After: Requiem, Preservation Protocol, Something Deeper, and NO ROAD HOME Book One: Echoes are available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Visit the Books Page for links directly to Amazon to purchase or start reading. FAT MOP ZOO Presents The Interludes AGAIN will NOT be made available for Kindle. This is in part due to the piracy incident, but also because all the stories are already available to read on this website.

Sales of the paperback will continue to go towards supporting Fat Mop Zoo.

Future releases will be made immediately available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited unless otherwise noted.

NOW AVAILABLE: After: Requiem gets a new cover

Finding a good solution to a cover for After: Requiem has been a challenge from the beginning. What I ended up with was acceptable, but didn’t fit the feel of the first book. I went back to the drawing board and came up with a new design.

The all-new After: Requiem cover

Two lucky folks purchased the original version in the wild, meaning there are perhaps fourteen in existence. The version with the new cover is available now on Amazon. Click Here to visit the product page.

FEBRUARY 11: NO ROAD HOME Book Two: Hunter Hunted release

Raven returns in an amazing technicolor adventure involving nuclear-ravaged mutants, sentry bots, Synthetics, and more. Will Raven discover more of his past? Will he find his quarry? Or will the tables be turned once again? Find out February 11th!

Coming February 11, 2020

DID YOU KNOW: There are Easter eggs for both After and Preservation Protocol that can be found in the NO ROAD HOME series. In fact, all three works are connected. They all take place in the same world, but in three different realities. How many Easter eggs can you find?

JUNE 2020: NO ROAD HOME Book 3 release

I’ll be starting on the third book in the NO ROAD HOME series sometime in March with an eye towards a release in June. Will Raven finally find his family? Here’s a hint: You might just find out come June of this year.

AUGUST 2020: The Other Side of Things release

This is the Sci-Fantasy novel I’ve been working on in between working on the NO ROAD HOME series. It’s been a slog writing it this way, and I’ll probably never do it again, but I’m hoping to finally have it done in time for a release in mid-August.

David Rayne is a teenager that soon finds himself lost in another world. He is befriended by Vosh, a dog-like humanoid of the Kopek race. They venture together into the countryside in a bid to find David a way back home. They soon learn that the only person who might be able to help him is the most feared person in all the land: the Dark Queen.

Born out of a love for works like Labyrinth, Adventure Time and the Oz books, The Other Side of Things pays homage to both while creating a whole new fantasy world full of exciting discoveries, surprising twists, and dark-hearted reveals. Look for it sometime in August!

OCTOBER 2020: NO ROAD HOME Book 4 release

The fourth book in the NO ROAD HOME series will mark the third and final one out in 2020. It’s way too far out to offer much insight into this one, but rest assured there will be at least one major revelation ahead of the final chapter.

Will that, in fact, be the end for the series? That will be up to you, the humble reader. Raven will finish Book Five with answers, but also with a sense of purpose. Whether we pursue him in that purpose will depend on how many of you are interested in continuing the journey. To be continued? We’ll find out…

DECEMBER 2020: Fred and Jacob get their Game On release

Yup, that’s right! Fred and Jacob get their very own book for the first time at the ass-end of the year. Fred and Jacob get their Game On will be a short story collection of at least four all-original, never-before-published tales involving your favorite comic duo.

I’m going to try to flex my art muscle a little bit with this one, including possible comic strips and illustrations in between the stories, and maybe even an illustrated cover. We’ll see how much I’m willing to embarrass myself. Think of this book as an ode to the old Al Jaffe books from MAD Magazine.

This release will end the year with five titles released! My lord, what a year…

*All dates and releases are subject to change without notice or reason.

LOOKING BACK: January 2020

Simon’s all done, Bill had a good run, and Pisa’s tower lean is just no fun.

Well, we didn’t get to explore the eighties for very long, did we? Oh, well. New decade, new… decades? Heh… Here’s what was happening back in January 2010, 2000, and 1990.


JANUARY 11: Simon Cowell leaves American Idol

“Does this shirt make my nipples look big?”

It had been rumored for some time, but Simon Cowell made it official in January of 2010: He was leaving American Idol. The show still stood at the top of prime time in the US, but Simon had his sights set on returning to The X Factor back in the UK as a judge.

His replacement was Steven Tyler which, okay. But that kicked off a tradition of constantly shifting judges in the following years. The wheels finally fell off in 2015, and there was much rejoicing…

Until they brought the show back in 2018 because, clearly, we haven’t all suffered nearly enough.

We are giving this man entirely too much money.


JANUARY 13: Bill Gates steps down as Microsoft CEO

This is the face of a man that makes $20,000 while taking a shit.

The iconic nerd behind the birth of Microsoft, Bill Gates finally stood up from the Captain’s Chair in 2000 and gave it to Steve Ballmer. While he wasn’t the funnest person to hang out with, there was no question that he had built the company into a leviathan… which is why it faced antitrust litigation only two years prior.

Bill would continue to guide product strategy until 2006, which turned out to be a good time to duck out. The very next year, Windows Vista was unleashed on us all. That was, of course, followed by the band aid known as Windows 7, and then there was Bing, Microsoft Edge…

MICROSOFT: “We’re Almost Good Enough. Kind of. Maybe.”


JANUARY 7: The Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to visitors for, well, leaning too far

Just look at that shifty son of a bitch.

It’s kind of all there in the title, isn’t it? The move was largely spurred by the collapse of the Civic Tower in Pavia, Italy. It should be noted that the Civic Tower sure as hell wasn’t leaning when it collapsed, which makes one wonder why the Pisa tower was ever deemed A-Ok for occupancy.

Especially since this decision was made after experts studied its stability for TWO YEARS before finally deciding to close it. I imagine it was mostly an expert saying “This isn’t safe” followed by Pisa officials saying “But, money!” for several months. However it happened, they closed shop and set to shoring up the structure.

The solutions were almost child-like in their simplicity. They started by taking the heavy stuff out(the bells at the top.) Then they tied the tower back with cables. Finally, they dug dirt out from underneath the high side of the tower to make it lean less.

Artist’s Depiction

The plan worked (eventually) and the high side of the tower settled back down nearly eighteen inches by 2001. It was reopened to the public in December of that year. Further restoration work has shored up the tower enough that experts now say it will remain stable for 200 years.

Now watch it collapse like, two years from now.

“Perfect! Now stay right there for two hundred years. Thanks!”

DEEP THOUGHTS: Robot Battle Royale

Two Titanium Titans square off, only one stays standing. Which will it be?

For whatever reason, my mind recently wondered to Smash Bros. Now, I’ve never played Smash Bros. anything, but I’ve always been fascinated by the concept. The latest iteration pulls in characters from all walks(and systems)of life.

Cloud Strife versus Link? Solid Snake versus Simon Belmont? Samus Aran versus Mega Man? Holy shit, dude. That’s awesome! I mean, not awesome enough to dump a few hundred dollars into equipment to try it, but yeah…

That got me thinking about classic fan-based pairings. Think Aliens vs Predator, Terminator vs Robocop, and the like. I thought I’d do my own analysis of a classic face-off. Look for the twist at the end!

Ready? BEGIN!


This is surely one of the most iconic, and oldest, modern mash-ups fans have dreamed about. It’s been popular enough to spawn a comic book series and even a video game. But just how fair would this match-up be? Not very, when you think about it.


Let’s start with the Terminator, more appropriately referred to by its model designation, T-800. Lore says that its endoskeleton, the shiny metal skeleton that lies beneath the android’s flesh, is made of a “hyperalloy” that is stronger and more heat-resistant than titanium. The android is also insanely strong, showing the ability in at least one movie of resisting several tons of crushing force.


Anybody with a soul is going to be rooting for Alex Murphy, better known as Robocop. Whereas the T-800 is a semi-aware war machine that has been mass-produced, Robocop is a one-of-a-kind cyborg that was once a run-of-the-mill beat-cop. Unfortunately, that humanity would be a huge Achilles’ heel in this match-up.

First, the good: Robocop’s robotic components are built using titanium and kevlar components. This makes him not quite as resilient as the T-800, but strong enough to weather attacks with heavy weapons and extreme blunt-force trauma. He is less strong than the T-800, but is still capable of lifting an average automobile.

Now for the bad. Robocop is still human. Alex Murphy’s head, neck, and most of his torso make up the core of this cyborg construct. This is key. The whole is only as strong as its component parts, meaning the very thing that makes Robocop human is also his greatest liability.


Well, shit.

I’m afraid that no matter what way you cut it, Robocop is getting his ass handed to him.

Distance fighting would see the android and cyborg fight to a stalemate. Everything from small arms up to RPGs would render some damage, but would fall short of crippling either machine. The one exception would be a well-aimed shot to Robocop’s face, at a low enough angle, destroying the brain. The real carnage would come with close-quarters fighting.

The T-800 would be able to analyze Robocop’s weaknesses on the fly and quickly dispatch him. If the machine got the drop on him, it would be able to easily approach from behind and, quite literally, rip Robocop’s head clean off. In fact, any hand-to-hand scenario would end this way. Robocop’s head and neck is an indefensible weak-point.


Enter a new contestant, from the upcoming No Road Home book Hunter, Hunted: Army Sentry One.

This heavy-duty warrior bot, built by the Army for battle and guarding heavy assets, stands at an impressive eight feet tall. The heavily armored, three-quarter-ton robot is crafted from a titanium alloy. It is armed with a Gatling-style gun, built into its right arm, with a left hand capable of exerting two thousand pounds of crushing force.



Believe it or not, this would be a relatively level playing field. Sentry One comes pre-equipped with a devastating weapon, but T-800s in the field can easily come up with weapons that are just as powerful. Both robots are heavily shielded, but would still take damage from heavy weapons fire.

The deciding factor here would be size and design. Sentry One is designed to take a huge amount of damage and remain deadly. The T-800 would already be damaged by heavy-weapons fire by the time it closed in for hand-to-hand combat. The hands-on fight would be brutal and prolonged, but the larger robot would ultimately carry the day.

BLOGGISH: Video Games

The good, the bad, and the present.

The recent announcement of the XBox Series X got me thinking about the state of video games in general. It also got me thinking about just how far video games have come since I was born. It also got me thinking about how fucking stupid and corporate “XBox Series X” sounds.

I was born in 1981. The neat thing about that is, by and large, I got to see the video game industry born. I watched it grow, falter, surge and change with each passing decade. Video games have been ever-present in my life, and boy, what an experience.

The first console we had was a Colecovision with the legally-dubious Atari add-on. My father used to tell the story of me sitting next to him on the floor with my own controller, convinced I was playing along. It wasn’t long before I actually was playing. My earliest memories of gaming include classics like Pitfall, Qbert, Carnival, and SMURF.

Yes, SMURF is a classic, DAMN IT.

We got the Nintendo Entertainment System when it first came out. It was the cheaper version that came with Super Mario Bros. only. The bottom even said “Model 1a” or some such. We got the light gun eventually, the rare gray one. I still have it somewhere.

Obviously, the Super Mario Bros. series was a big favorite. Contra, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!, Legend of Zelda, Mega Man 2, Life Force, Castlevania… There are too many favorites to count. Nintendo was the cornerstone of my childhood, and my acceptance that I will rarely ever successfully beat any given video game.

“This time for sure!” – Me last Tuesday

We even eventually had the Sega Master System, then the Super Nintendo(including Super Scope 6,) Sega Genesis, and then the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.

Oh shit you guys. I mean oh shit. Polygons!

I spent a good chunk of my childhood dreaming of the day that we would finally have video games with graphics on the level of TRON. I mean, imagine it: a game world in three dimensions! The jump to 16 bit had been amazing, and Star Fox was ground-shaking, but this was full-on earthquake territory.


Now, I wasn’t stuck at home this entire time. I was a frequent visitor to the FUN Arcade at Berlin Mall back in Vermont. Yes, it was really called FUN Arcade. I don’t judge.

That was another fun thing: dreaming of the day that home systems would FINALLY catch up to the Arcade machines in terms of graphics. How awesome would it be to finally play a home port of Mortal Kombat or Double Dragon that looked just like the original! Systems like Nintendo 64 and PS1 made that a possibility.

Which was like, SO BAD for arcades, you guys.

That was the first major change in the world of video games, from my perspective. It’s not so different from what’s happening with movie theaters today. You could get a fairly decent representation of your favorite titles at home, but had to go downtown if you wanted the full experience.

Suddenly you could squeeze the arcade into your living room! Which was great! If you weren’t arcades! As much as I enjoyed watching home systems bloom, it was crushing to watch arcades shrivel away.

It’s been fun to see arcade games make a bit of a comeback via collectors. There are plenty of games out there that never got a clean console version. An emulator will never capture that certain smell, the booming base, the glowing of the monitor that the actual machines provided.

Some day, you will be mine.

Time marches on though, as it has a tendency to do. I moved out after that generation. I was like, super-poor, so I missed out on the Game Cube, PS2, Sega Whatever-oh-shit-here-comes-the-apocalypse, etc. My next “new” system didn’t come until I picked up an XBox 360.

I was late to the game by, like, a lot. We somehow got on the subject at the place I was working at the time and Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas got name-dropped. They sounded like a fun cross between old-timey RPGs and Doom, so I picked up New Vegas. I’ve only recently put it back down.

It was INCREDIBLE! Here was this seemingly infinite world that I was dropped into, free to go wherever I want. I could do whatever quests I felt like doing(or not.) I could shoot people dead just because they annoyed me with minimal consequences, mold my character to my tastes… The world was mine!

NCR for life, bitches!
Join the NCR today!

I was so happy swimming around(sometimes literally)in the worlds of Fallout 3 and New Vegas that I just kind of shrugged when the XBox One came out. I was still pretty poor, didn’t have a lot of time, and these games are massive. Then Fallout 4 was announced.

So of course I got an Xbox One S, and of course I pre-ordered the special edition of Fallout 4, and of course I was kind of like meh? Yeah, me and Fallout 4 have kind of a weird relationship. I’ll try to explain.

What I loved so very much about New Vegas is that I could play up to any faction, and the other factions wouldn’t necessarily hate me right away. I could be an asshole or a saint when I interacted with people. I could play through the game however I chose, including the main storyline.

In Fallout 4, you, well, can’t do those things.

Factions are quick to demonize you if you sleep around, so to speak. You can’t be evil so much as just sarcastic and kind of mean. The storyline? The game all-but forces you down the linear path the game-makers prefer you to take.

Fuck you Maxson, you fucking elitist prick.

It was off-putting enough that I actually went back to playing New Vegas for like, months. I eventually picked it back up, but am starting to get burned out again. What made the earlier games fun just isn’t there, and the problem isn’t limited to Fallout 4.

This current generation of games are blockbusters in more than one sense. Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are poured into these behemoths. Because of the level of work that goes into them, they’re slowly becoming one-note adventures again.

Press X to win, follow this path for the “good” ending, miles of featureless nothing to explore… Everyone who plays games is familiar with these now well-worn tropes. What goes into games is now dictated by corporate number-crunchers, trying to discern the features and conditions most favorable to sales and the bottom line.

It all leaves me torn. Here finally is the near photo-realistic gaming experience I always dreamed of as a child, but somehow it’s all wrong. TRON’s CGI could be rendered in real-time on today’s consoles, but many of the games make the movie’s script look like Shakespeare, and offers you all the flexibility of a Choose your own adventure paperback.

It’s now an old cliche, but it’s an apt one: You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. That’s starting to sound a whole lot like the video game industry. That really stinks, you guys.


Fred’s Christmas Caper

“Yes Fred, I still like Santa Claus.” Jacob refused to look up from his computer screen.

“Then why don’t you want to come? Huh?” Fred crossed his arms and pouted.

Jacob turned to face Fred. “Because you’re wearing a Santa suit again. The last time you wore a Santa suit, it ended with Godzilla getting its ass kicked by an elder god.” He blinked. “In retrospect that sounds awesome but it certainly wasn’t at the time!”

“This is my own suit. I swear! Scout’s honor!” He held up two fingers on his right hand, fingers crossed. “Wait, I did that wrong.”

Jacob shook his head, frowning. “No, Fred.” He turned around.

“Yes it is, then!” Fred grabbed Jacob by the collar. Both men disappeared in a puff of glittery pixie dust.

They reappeared on a ridge just outside Santa’s village, laying on their stomachs. Fred had a pair of binoculars out. “There it is.”

“Fred! Damn it! I have paperwork to file… Is that Santa’s village?” Jacob began to grin.

“Atta boy.”

Jacob sighed. “Okay. We’re here. What hell are you going to wreak this time?”

“Aw now I’m just going to pull an itty bitty prank is all.”

“You don’t do anything ‘itty bitty’.”

“True…” Fred sat up. “I’m gonna prank dear cousin Santa with this!” He produced a small, green baby alien. It looked at Jacob with glistening black eyes and a tiny little smile.

“Holy shit, Fred! Is that baby Yoda?”

Fred hushed him. “No, no, no! Do you want Disney to hear? This here is a what you call a grade A knock-off! It’s a baby Shoda!”

Jacob smirked. “Right… What are you going to do with it?” He nuzzled the baby’s cheek with a finger.

“Well you see, baby Shodas are super magical. That magic goes all crazy when they cry.”

“Fred, you are not making that baby cry!”

“Of course not! Cute widdle guy!” He noogied the baby’s head. “I don’t have to! What happens when you give a baby to Santa Claus?”

“It cries. Oh, Fred, that’s terrible.”

“Terribly awesome!” Jacob took a double-take. Fred was already up and running towards the village. Jacob sighed and followed.

The baby was starting to sniff and whine by the time Jacob caught up. “I thought you said you weren’t going to make him cry!”

“I’m not! The little bastard is hungry!”


“You’ll agree if he starts crying, son. There!” Fred pointed at Dingle’s Pizza Emporium. “Let’s get him a slice.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Sure it is! Didn’t ya read the sign?”

Jacob looked back at the storefront. A sign in the window did in fact read “Perfectly Fine to Feed to Infants!” Jacob rolled his eyes. “How foolish of me. Okay, fine.”

Fred frowned. “I uh, forgot my wallet and…”

“Fine!” The baby whimpered. “Hush, little one!” Jacob darted inside. He returned a minute later with a slice of pizza. “You owe me five dollars.”

Fred handed the baby the pizza. It tipped its head back and promptly swallowed the slice whole. “Holy shit!”

“Is that normal?” Jacob grimaced.

“Is any of this?”

“Good point.”

The baby giggled and clapped its little hands. He released a might burp and hiccuped. There was a bright flash. Fred squinted at Jacob. “Say Jacob, have you always been a moose?”

“What are you…” Jacob looked down at his chest, which was now a moose chest, because now he was a moose. “AH! What did you do?”

“I didn’t do it!” The baby hiccuped again. Fred blinked his three eyes. “It must be the baby… I think I’m seeing double.”

“More like triple.” The baby hiccuped. “Oh, what the hell!” Jacob looked down at his ample breasts and buxom hips.

“What? You look all right to me.” Fred winked. Jacob dry heaved. The baby hiccuped.

Fred and Jacob returned to normal, but… “Fred! You look like you belong in a Rankin/Bass show!”

Fred shook his limited-animation finger. “Are you calling me a fish?”

“No! Think ‘Year Without a Santa Claus’!” The baby hiccuped. Half the village turned into cheddar cheese.

“It’s going to be a year without a Santa Claus if we don’t get this baby to stop hiccuping! It’s getting worse!”

“This was your idea! What can we do?”

“Well you can stop being a dildo, I can tell ya that!” The baby hiccuped. Fred burst out laughing.

“What?” Jacob looked down. “I’m a… I don’t even want to know how a baby would even know what a dildo is.” Jacob started jiggling towards Santa’s house. “There’s only one man that can fix this!”

The baby hiccuped again and again. Sparks flew. The village shimmered as it cycled through various textures and questionable references to pop culture.

Jacob came to the stop at the sound of a familiar base beat. He turned to see a wide-eyed, zombified Fred shuffling towards him to the beat. His Santa suit was replaced with a red and black leather one.

A bunch of elves ran up behind Fred. They joined him in shuffling to the beat. Fred started twitching his head.

“Uh, wrong holiday, you guys.” Fred tossed Jacob the baby Shoda. “EE HEE!” Fred and the elves started dancing in formation. Jacob spun around and stood on the tips of his toes.

“Sh’ mon, little Shoda!” Jacob Jackson broke into a run for Santa’s front door.

It opened as he approached. Hiccup. JACOB skidded to a stop, the baby landing on the glossy black hood of the mid-eighties sports car. The red light on the front of Jacob swooshed. “Well this is awkward.”

Santa glowered. “Jacob, is that you?” The baby hiccuped. Jacob caught it in his big, green ogre hands. “It is! And Fred!

Fred trotted up. “Now just listen, Santa.”

Jacob turned. “Donkay!”

Santa smirked. “More like an ASS.”

Fred stomped his hooves. “Language! It’s the baby’s fault, anyway.”

“It was Fred’s idea!” Jacob added helpfully.

Santa harrumphed. “Of that I have no doubt. What to do, though?”

Jacob held up a finger. “Good question!” Another hiccup turned him back to normal… “Hey! Cool! Wait…” Except for his spider legs. “Hmm…”

“Could be worse.” Fred blinked all eight eyes at Jacob.

“GAH!” Jacob tossed the baby up into the air. Santa caught it handily. “No Santa, wait!”

The cute little Shoda looked up at Santa and stopped hiccuping. Then its face screwed up. Then it began to cry. “Aw, poor little guy!”

Fred and Jacob, along with the whole village began to rapidly change. Stupid cat memes gave way to vague references to Saturday morning cartoon shows that nobody remembers. That gave way to gritty reboots, closely followed by direct-to-TV movies with questionable plots.

Santa remained Santa through it all. First he laughed, then he rolled his eyes, then he produced a pacifier. He offered it to baby Shoda. The child took it eagerly and closed its widdle eyes. Everything grew quiet.

Jacob lowered his Buster sword and scratched at his spiky hair. “How come baby Shoda’s crying didn’t affect you?”

Santa laughed heartily. “Do you know how many centuries I’ve been putting up with crying babies?” He winked. “It doesn’t even phase me anymore.”

Jacob looked down at his strangely polygonic body. “Well, can you fix this mess, then?”

“Of course, not! Baby Shoda?” The baby looked at Santa, then at Jacob. It pulled out the binky and shouted “Woo!” Everything returned to normal except for…

“Hey, I’m pretty hot!” Fred leered at his own body. “Nice rack!” He looked up at Santa. “I uh… Where’s the closest bathroom? I have to go real bad. Heh…”

Jacob grimaced. “Dude, gross!”

“Agreed!” Santa looked at the baby, which wrinkled its nose. It pulled out the pacifier again and blew a raspberry at Fred.

The old farmhand was returned to normal, save for his second-hand Santa costume. “Aw, man!”

Jacob turned to Santa. “So, now what?”

“Now I finish getting ready for Christmas. You go with Fred and make sure he returns baby Shoda to his totally-not-a-knock-off-fictional-reality. And…” Santa turned to face you, the reader. “I’ll see you in a few short days. Merry Christmas!”

Jacob nodded. “Yes! Happy holidays!”

Fred shrugged. “Do these stilettos make me look pretty?”

Baby Shoda? Well folks, he just winked and smiled.