If you’re a video game player, the crescendo of anticipation over nine years for CD Projekt Red’s CYBERPUNK 2077 was inescapable. From the tantalizing trailer featuring a cyborg hailed by gunfire, to production delays that resulted in hysterical death threats against the developers and leading up to the launch crashing into a Reddit-fueled crater of outrage when console players discovered the game riddled with unplayable bugs, you might say it’s the marquee title of 2020 — a year with its surfeit of calamities.

I pre-ordered for PC, as did thousands of other devotees of CD Projekt Red’s monumental Witcher series…


Like most liberal Americans in this era of unprecedented upheaval and ongoing tragedy, the passing of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg came as a shattering hammer-blow to our already precarious state of mind.

It’s not that it was unexpected, given her health issues and advanced age. Yet it was. Because despite her personal challenges, Ruth had become someone we saw as indomitable, invincible; our warrior, our rock of jurisprudence in a seething morass of power-mongering and craven enablement of arguably the most amoral, law-breaking president in our history.

Ruth stood for what we believe in. A republic built on the…


2020 has turned out to be a banner year for controversy and nastiness, as well as rampant misunderstanding. For me, nothing has made this more apparent than the release of J.K. Rowling’s, aka Robert Gailbraith, latest novel in her Strike Series.

Given Ms Rowling’s public disclosure of her opinion on trangender women’s access to public restrooms that conform to their identity gender, as well as her voluminous manifesto justifying her position, it came as no surprise that the announcement of a transvestite serial killer featured in her new book would plunge social media into teeth-gnashing savagery. The hashtag #RIPJKRowling started…


Dame Olivia de Havilland passed away today at the venerable age of 104. Her loss marks the quickening erosion of our deities of old Hollywood; to many of us, however, she will live forever as Melanie Wilkes, the character she so memorably portrayed in the 1939 classic GONE WITH THE WIND.

I was ten years old and living in southern Spain during the final years of Franco’s dictatorship when our local cinema screened GONE WITH THE WIND in its entirety, including intermission and entre’ acte. This by itself wasn’t surprising; it might have been the 1970s, but in Spain at…


Statue of Fray Junipero Serra, Golden Gate Park — San Francisco

Like many Americans living in this tumultuous time, I’ve watched in awe through my pandemic quarantine the uprisings to protest the murder of George Floyd. As someone who belongs to an oft-oppressed community, I fully understand this fiery impulse to bring about the finale to our legacy of systemic racism. But history isn’t about erasing; it’s about recording and remembering, if we hold any hope of evading our mistakes.

Then statues came tumbling down. I now understand why statues of confederate generals, the majority of which were erected during the Jim Crow era to glorify white supremacy, were being ripped…


An author tweet with her book cover

Stephen King endorsed it. Oprah has anointed it for her coveted book club, the gold ticket to skyrocketing sales. It’s been optioned for the movies. Many booksellers are fawning over it — the potential for a huge money-maker in this dire fiction market can’t be underestimated. And the publisher has leveled the full power of its marketing machine to promote it, something very few novels ever receive. Sold for seven figures in a reportedly ferocious auction, the winning editor touts it as The Novel “that gives voice to the faceless masses” at the border — a direct quote from her…


Jaime Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in 1978’s HALLOWEEN

Ever since I sneaked into an art-house movie theater to see THE EXORCIST — its original release had been banned in Spain, where I used to live — and found myself woefully unprepared and utterly freaked out, I’ve been a die-hard scary movie fan. I’m not an adrenaline junkie by nature, so my lifelong taste for being scared out of my wits in the cinema is a baffling contradiction. I just can’t seem to resist a good shriek, and Halloween brings out that little-boy-who-shouldn’t-but-does-anyway in me.

My Halloween celebration used to involve elaborate costumes and parading about on Castro Street…


I had a new book published last year, in case you hadn’t noticed. My tenth work of historical fiction. For thirteen years before I signed my first publishing contract, seeing my writing in print was a dream I’d pursued with relentless fervor. I now make my living writing novels, something not many writers can claim, and yet recently I found myself desperately seeking my enthusiasm for a passion that until now, had never failed me.

I’ve never been the type of writer to indulge in ennui or prolonged writer’s block. Perhaps because I wrote my first four novels while still…


It’s June, Pride Month. And we have so much to celebrate. As a gay man of a certain age, I hear and read a lot of things about the young LGBQT, gender fluid and gender non-conforming generation that lightens my jaded heart. The 21st century is indeed a new era for us, despite its myriad challenges and the impending doom of climate catastrophe for all, regardless of whom we sleep with.

Today, 27 countries have legalized same sex marriage. We still have 168 to conquer, but if you realize the Netherlands was the first to legalize same sex marriage in…


I’ve written previously about my free-fall into the wild world of gaming. An update and some background context is now required.

I started gaming late in life, considering the average age of the average player (not that I put much stock in “averages”). It came about shortly after the death of my beloved corgi, Paris, in December, 2012. After she passed, my grief was so immense, I lost interest in almost everything that held meaning for me. Our twice-daily walks, mealtimes and cuddles, our hiking excursions in Tahoe and many other activities, had enriched my existence for nearly 13 years…

C.W. Gortner

C.W. Gortner is an internationally bestselling author of historical fiction. His novels are available in 28 languages. Visit him at: www.cwgortner.com

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