this excerpt makes me seem a bit too edgy, but notice the cool T-Rex action figure that suggests I also have heart

This is Nathan, author of Barbarian Grunge.

During the day, I work as a senior designer and as lead programmer for a small indie game company in Alberta. (We’re currently working on an exciting strategy game!)

By night, as far as this newletter goes, you can expect:

  • Original fiction, sometimes with voiceover narration. My first published story will be in the Howls From the Scene of the Crime anthology (for this sort of content, see the “Fiction” section)

  • Fully produced audio dramas, including voice actors, sound effects, and music (again, see the Fiction section)

  • Interviews with other creators, such as part of the Howls audiobook team (See the “Crafting Experiences” section for this)

  • Book reviews, story analysis, etc, such as a series of studies of the works of Bret Easton Ellis. Might include some other art review and analysis, Eg, video games as art (See the “Crafting Experiences” section)

  • Essays about creating art. Ie, about how to craft an intended experience for somebody, whether that be via prose fiction, film, video games, music, or any other way (again, see the “Crafting Experiences” section)

Some episodes are podcasts, others are text, others will be text + voiceover.

Honestly, I hope you find something here you like. Feel free to sign up for whichever sections you like—I bet some people will only be interested in the fiction and performances, but others will prefer the essays.

Either way, thanks for visiting!

A Note About the Name

Imagine a common situation back in the days of ancient Rome. You’re living in the most advanced place on earth, surrounded by art and culture, but maybe you weren’t born there. Maybe you ended up there later in life, and your origin story was along the lines of “uncultured” “barbarian” mercenary (say, from Northern Europe? Britain? Gaul?)

You might be a little culture shocked and might feel out of place. You have a bit of wealth now, not a ton, but more than you ever dared expect. You might feel tempted to try to blend in with the locals, appreciating all their culture and art; you might feel self conscious about being a little rough around the edges. You don’t know how to act in polite company. You walked into the “wrong” half of a bathhouse.

You’re used to a harder, rougher life, and you’re capable of a lot, you think, but all this is pretty alien to you. You might feel your confidence shake a little.

Basically, you’re in illustrious company, and you’ve been welcomed in (for better or worse), but you’re bringing a bit of your background with you. A bit of grunge. You can’t help it. And maybe that’s not so bad. Everyone around you, you seem almost exotic to them, at least in small ways. They are sometimes as weird to you as you are to them.

You went to dinner parties and felt you had to leave because you were (irrationally) afraid of “being caught.”

(Romans don’t say it out loud, but some of them think you probably drink blood)

But maybe it’s okay? Maybe you don’t need to fully try to fit in with your “civilized” surroundings? Maybe a little bit of barbarian grunge actually makes you more interesting.

After all, you weren’t immediately thrown out of that bathhouse.


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Original fiction, in text and audio formats, sometimes fully performed by voice actors with music; as well as essays about crafting experiences


I'm a software developer, game designer, and a writer