Words on the Web


Books, Poems, Stories and Essays
by Pete Shanks

This site is still — or again — under reconstruction, which may not be complete until the end of May, 2007, owing to circumstances that seem to be beyond my control, such as laziness, vacations etc. Oh yes, other work commitments, too.

A new section will include material on the FDA proposal to allow the sale of milk and meat from cloned livestock. Until that appears, an article of mine in CounterPunch here will serve as an introduction.

I also posted on the Biopolitical Times blog a piece about some of the connections between livestock cloning companies and possible human genetic interventions. These connections are worrisome.

Human Genetic Engineering
A Guide for Activists, Skeptics,
and the Very Perplexed

Published by Nation Books

War and Peace
in Iraq and elsewhere;
links to various flyers

Poems 2001
many of which are inspired by the issues
around Human Genetic Engineering

Trying to Look in the Mirror
is a poem originally written about the Kosovo
bombing, which seems relevant again today

(Searching for) Solid Ground
a complete novel, free in its Samizdat Edition

Sonnets of Serial Monogamy
a narrative sequence

Occasional Turbulence
a collection of poems

a set of short stories

mostly on web design

(Searching for) Solid Ground is a complete novel, available FREE either as a series of web pages (in HTML) or as an Acrobat file. There is a, very limited, printed edition; if you are interested, get in touch.

It is set in Santa Cruz, CA (in 1990, during the pre–Gulf War protests), in Goa, India (in 1971), and in London and Afghanistan (mostly in 1969–71). In one word, its subject matter is identity; along the way it portrays ancient hippies and modern luddites, and places anti-establishment ideas in a context that demonstrates the long tradition of such humanistic values. It is written in high seriousness with plenty of low humor, and includes such minor delights as a recipe without numbers, a multi-lingual drama in only 26 words, three songs, an index and sundry other diversions, most of which move the plot along.

There is a more complete synopsis (which does not give away the ending), as well as links to a history of the project, a discussion of my ideas for a hypertext version and the inescapable autobiography, on the introductory page.

Earlier writings about Human Genetic Engineering and the many issues that the subject provokes. These range from the scientific to the mystical, and go to the very heart of both our society and our selves. See also the section about my book.



The summer of 2001 I spent in Nice, mostly writing poetry, and these are the bulk of them. Many were inspired by the issues around Human Genetic Engineering, though they focus on the personal rather than the obviously scientific.

"Occasional Turbulence" is an electronic chapbook of poems, presented both as a series of web pages and as a single Acrobat 3.0 document, optimized for reading on-screen.

The "Sonnets of Serial Monogamy" are 24 poems in a narrative sequence.

More collections will be posted soon.



"Borders" is a hypertext collection of a dozen very short stories (mostly less than two screenfuls) celebrating the traveling freaks of the 1970s, with an explanatory introduction.


The "Essays" at present are mostly about preparing text to be read on-line; these were written in 1997 for the first version of this site, but still have some relevance a couple of technical generations later. They include some advice I wish I'd had earlier, opinions on typography and designing for the web, explanations of some of my design choices, a rant, a resume, and thoughts about writing fiction specifically to be read on a screen.

I want to see new flowers growing
through the cracks in the new concrete

Feedback is welcome.



April 2007