November 20, 2013

Interview at Weird Tales Magazine

Weird Tales Magazine interviewed me yesterday about my writing, both table tennis and science fiction & fantasy. (If you read it, feel free to comment!) I was also able to talk a lot about my new novel, "Sorcerers in Space." Remember, Sorcerers in Space isn't just a fantasy novel - it's about a 13-year-old who has to give up his ping-pong dreams to save the world!!! There are 11 scenes that mention table tennis in some way, mostly early on. So buy it!!!

I have a story coming out in Weird Tales in January, "Galahad Returns," and had another one in 2009, "Defeating Death." The latter includes these immortal lines:

Zargo walked to the basement door. It had been boarded up ever since an accident involving a rather unfortunate former assistant and a rather unfortunate game of ping-pong that got out of hand. ("Magic and ping-pong," Zargo had solemnly said, "don't mix.")

Besides this table tennis blog, I also have a science fiction & fantasy blog, though I don't update that as often.

One of the strangest things is that I get interviewed more as a science fiction and fantasy writer than as a table tennis coach and writer. Below are the four times I've been interviewed that I can recall. Note that the only one that interviewed me about table tennis was the humorous one by The Daily Quarterly.

  • Weird Tales Magazine, 2013 (about my writing in general)
  • New Myths Magazine, 2013 (about my SF & Fantasy writing. They've published three of my stories.)
  • The Daily Quarterly, Part 1 and Part 2, 2011 (a humorous interview about both my table tennis and my fiction writing)
  • Community Fridays, 2008 (about my SF & Fantasy writing. It refers to me as a "semi-retired table tennis coach, which was true at the time, when I was focusing on fiction writing.)

Picture of O'Day and Me

Here's a picture of me (on left) coaching Orioles pitcher Darren O'Day yesterday at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Here's another where you can see Darren about to hit the ball. His forehand and backhand are now pretty good, even in live play, now that he's got the tip down and moves to each ball. To work on his backhand counter-hitting I introduced him yesterday to "The Backhand Game." I put a box on each side of the table to block off all but the backhand side. On his side I only gave myself about 1.5 feet, while on my side I gave him half the table, 2.5 feet. Then I spotted him five points, and we went at it, backhand to backhand. I won each time, but now he has a goal, to beat me at that game. When he does, then we'll gradually move the boxes so we are both covering 2.5 feet and remove the spot - but he has to earn it.

He's picked up looping pretty well in multiball, but still needs work on incorporating it in game situations - we're working on it. He can loop against both backspin and topspin, but in multiball finds it easier to loop against topspin. I've also started him on backhand looping against backspin, but only in multiball.

He practices all these shots at home on a robot he bought recently.

His serves are getting pretty spinny. I taught him the forehand pendulum serve, and he's practiced it a lot. He still feels a bit awkward going from the serving grip to his regular grip.

Play Closer to the Table

Here's the article: The Pyramid Rule - Playing Close to the Table

Great Counterlooping Point

Here's a video (58 sec) of a great rally between Taiwan's Chuang Chih-Yuan and Japan's Kaii Yoshida, with a nice Chuang celebration at the end.

Scream Player Revealed

Remember the video I posted on Monday (at very bottom) of an obviously very good player playing in a Scream mask and outfit? The player has been unmasked - it was Christian Suss, a member of the German National Team and world #58 (and as high as #17 three years ago). Here's an article and video on this.

Car Pong

Here's a video (3:31, in Spanish) that shows a table tennis tournament held with a mini-table entirely in the back of a car! I think it's some sort of advertisement for Chevrolet Captiva.

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