John G. McDaid is a science fiction writer, folk/filk singer-songwriter, and freelance journalist from Rhode Island. A 1993 graduate of the Clarion science fiction workshop, he sold his first short story, the Sturgeon Award-winning "Jigoku no mokushiroku" to Asimov's in 1995. In 2017, his songs won both the topical and “Iron Filker” contests at the Ohio Valley Filk Fest. In 2020, he took first place in the Common Fence Music Community Hoot. Trail Of Mars is his first solo studio album.
John G. McDaid is an award-winning science fiction writer, folk/filk singer-songwriter, and freelance journalist from Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop in 1993, and sold his first short story, the Sturgeon Award-winning "Jigoku no mokushiroku"to Asimov's in 1995. His 1993 digital novel, Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, included two audio tapes, which The New York Times review called the work of “A mischievous guitarist and vocalist with a gift for the inimitable phrase."
His journalism has appeared in RIFuture and the Providence Phoenix. A student in the Newport MFA creative writing program at Salve Regina University, he teaches media theory courses at Roger Williams University.
Since his early retirement in 2016 from a day job in corporate communications, he has been writing full time and playing at folk venues and science fiction conventions, including a featured concert at Worldcon Dublin in 2019, and a first-place finish in the 2020 Common Fence Music Community Hoot. Trail Of Mars is his first solo studio album.
John G. McDaid is a science fiction writer, folk/filk singer-songwriter, and freelance journalist from Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Born in Brooklyn, NY the year NASA was created, his surrogate parents were Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton (as he grew up, they morphed into James Tiptree, Jr., Thomas Pynchon, and Ursula Le Guin.)
He attended the Clarion science fiction workshop in 1993, and sold his first short story, the Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning "Jigoko no mokushiroku (The Symbolic Revelation of the Apocalypse)" to Asimov's in 1995. His most recent story, "Umbrella Men," appeared on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He is currently working on an alternate history novel set in the last weeks of WWII.
His most recent publication, "We Knew The Glass Man," an interactive fiction built in Twine, appeared in Cream City Review in 2019. He was an invited speaker at the Association for Computing Machinery conference in Hof, Germany in September, 2019, where he read from and was interviewed about the work.
Other publications include the Nebula®-shortlisted "Keyboard Practice, consisting of an Aria with diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with two manuals" in the January 2005 Fantasy & Science Fiction (which won the Media Ecology Association Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional work, and was a Sturgeon finalist), and "The Ashbazu Effect" in the 2004 anthology ReVisions, which was a finalist for the 2005 Sidewise alternate history award.
In April, 2019, he won second prize in the FilKONtario topical songwriting contest with "Check out Time at the Owl Creek Hotel." In October, 2017, he won both the topical and "Iron Filker" songwriting contests at the Ohio Valley Filk Fest.
In April, 2017, MIT Press published Traversals by Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop, which features commentary and analysis of McDaid's pioneering hypertext novel "Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse." The book grew out of a 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to the Electronic Literature Organization for the preservation of early digital texts.
A theorist and practitioner in the field of hypertext narrative, he wrote one of the first hypertext novels, Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, a New Media Invision Award finalist, in 1993. It was reviewed in The New York Times, where Robert Coover gave a nod to its "sheer pleasure of play." As a member of the TINAC collective, he has written on digital narrative and spoken at dozens of colleges and conferences.
He helped create one of the first hypertext writing programs (within Expository Writing) at New York University in 1988 where he served as Coordinator of Computer Composition. He taught writing and communication courses at NYU, Adelphi University, and the New York Institute of Technology during his 7 years in academia and served on the program committee for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Hypertext conferences in 1999 and 2000.
He attended Syracuse University and the New School University, and did doctoral work in Media Ecology at NYU. He is an MFA student in fiction at the Newport MFA at Salve Regina University
About "Trail Of Mars"
MAKING MUSIC IN THE TIME OF CORONA
Portsmouth's John McDaid had just started working on a solo acoustic album when music venues shut for the pandemic. With musicians facing tough economic times, he re-envisioned the project and reached out to the folk community.
"I was able to work with musicians who would normally be tied up playing gigs every night," said McDaid, "But during the lockdown, they were uncommonly generous with their time, and we worked together to create something really amazing. They're not songs about the pandemic, but they are definitely of the times."
"Trail of Mars" is the debut solo studio album of John McDaid, a singer-songwriter born in Brooklyn, NY. He has played his geek-inflected style of folk/filk* music on stages everywhere from Common Fence Music in Portsmouth, to the 2019 World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin. With a lyrical sensibility that draws on his experience as an award-winning science fiction writer, he brings a critical eye to contemporary events in the ten songs on "Trail Of Mars."
The album spans a broad range of styles, from a spare 12-bar blues ("The Bottom Line") to straight-up Americana ("Down To The River") to alt-folk ("Virus: A Heresy") to wailing guitar-driven prog rock ("Trail Of Mars"). But at the core of each are McDaid's lyrics: penetrating, dense, and finely crafted.
The New York Times called his first self-produced albums, released as part of his ground-breaking 1993 interactive novel, Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, the work of a "mischievous guitarist and vocalist with a gift for the inimitable phrase." Created after his return to the creative arts full time, "Trail Of Mars" represents six months of writing and recording, working with some of the top names in the folk field.
"Trail Of Mars" was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mark Dann, who's recorded folk and rock heavyweights like Ray Charles, Garth Hudson, Ellis Paul, and Steve Forbert. Behind the drums is Eric Parker, who recorded and toured with Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, and Lou Reed. On bass is Craig Akin, the bassist for top Americana group Red Molly. Also from Red Molly, Abbie Gardner brings her fiery dobro and backing vocals to two tracks and Laurie MacAllister adds her signature background vocal on one. Tracy Grammer, of the well-known folk duo with the late, great Dave Carter, adds violin and vocals on three tracks. On electric guitar and mandolin is Jim Henry, the in-demand session player and multi-instrumentalist who's toured with Grammer and Mark Erelli.
*What's filk? Filk is a sub-genre of folk music that draws on influences from the world of speculative fiction and its fans. What began as a typo more than 50 years ago in a program item announcing a concert has grown into a branch of folk music with its own songbook, conventions, and awards. McDaid is nominated for "Writer/composer" in this year's Pegasus Awards, which recognize excellence in filk music worldwide.
"Trail Of Mars" will be released on all streaming platforms on or about Oct. 2 (depending on Covid-19 related delays). List price is $10 for digital download and $12 for the CD, which includes a 16-page booklet with lyrics and the story behind each song. A pre-release single, "Lost In Translation" is available with album pre-order at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A music video for the single "Lost In Translation" is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7ctDcGKgUtw
1. Lost In Translation (5:08) *Recommended (Henry guitar)
2. Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride (3:56)
3. The Bottom Line (3:25)
4. Sigmund Freud's 115th Dream (4:29) *EXPLICIT
5. Down To The River (5:13) *Recommended (Gardner dobro + bg vocals)
6. Into Thin Air (4:42) *EXPLICIT
7. Gioconda Smile (4:06)
8. Virus (A Heresy) (3:53)
9. Trail Of Mars (4:17)
10. Walking Off The Earth (4:42) *Recommended (Grammer violin + bg vocal)
Full download link available to press on request