SF Writers Group (Temporarily) Joins Academe; Untreed Reads Spring Short Story Sale for May

SCIFI is its name and it stands for South Central Indiana Fiction Interface, or something like that.  I didn’t make it up, but for those who care, we generally pronounce it “skiffy.”  It’s the writers group that I belong to, monthly meetings involving critiquing one another’s stories.  But SCIFI went highfalutin this morning, with regulars Frida Westford, Christine Rains, and me as invited guests to Indiana University Associate Professor Joan Hawkins’s media class on Science Fiction Television.

No, we don’t write TV scripts, but the class is about how science fiction, and speculative fiction in general, “is a favored genre for reimagining, reworking and critiquing gender roles, human sexuality, the relationship between humans and technology, war, and racial stereotypes.  It is a place where utopic and dystopic notions of government and power are explored, a powerful lens for looking back at our own contemporary reality.”  And, Joan and I both (well, and Frida too, but she wasn’t there when this first came up) being in the Bloomington Writers Guild, she asked me if I, as a bona fide sometimes science fiction (or if not, horror’s close enough) writer, and colleagues if I could gather some, could come into her class one day to give her students an idea of how things work from the creators’ point of view.

And that was, among other things, my first official non-blog announcement that it looks like I’ve got a “Tombs” novel-in-stories coming down the pike (see post just below), allowing as well an DystopiaFullCoverexample I could use in discussing, in this case, far-future dying-Earth themes.  In general it worked like a panel at a science fiction or horror convention with Joan starting off and then the students following with questions about such things as what draws us to speculative fiction, if and how it may allow us to explore topics we might have trouble with in more mainstream fiction, how one gets ideas and how they’re converted to stories, other writers we’re influenced by (Frida and I both cited Ray Bradbury and, specifically, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, to which I also added Poe, Allen Ginsberg, Bertolt Brecht, and the ancient Greek tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides).  And, Heaven help us!, at one point I found myself actually explaining the plot line of my recent flash story “Killer Kudzu”  (cf. May 21, March 27).

“Killer Kudzu” aside (we also talked about vampire movies some), it was an interesting session and a good one, with the students responding well and coming up with some really good questions themselves.  And not only that, it was a chance to show off and do a Good Deed at the same time.

Also (cf. May 21, 5), “May is International Short Story Month, and what better way to celebrate than with great savings?” to quote from today’s email.  The sender this time is Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing who reminds us (cf., again, May 5):  “We’ve got tons of titles on sale in every genre, so get big savings on short reads!”  It goes on to say that from now until the end of the month, individual short story titles are $0.50 each and short story collections and anthologies will be available for up to 50 percent off.

These would include my story chapbooks PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., and VANITAS, with all three reachable by clicking one of their pictures in the center column.  And — *BONUS* — the page that will lead you to also includes the short story anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with its sale discount too.  And from there, of course, one can navigate to Untreed Reads’ main pages, of which they advise, “[b]e sure to explore all of our genres on the left side of our store page to see everything we have to offer,” adding though that one must hurry.  “Sale ends May 31st.”

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  1. Wonderful news, Jim! I think this is a great idea!!

  2. It was a lot of fun (makes up maybe a little for my not getting to be on panels at horror con[s] this time around?), and afterward Joan H. took us to lunch so, in a sense, we even got paid!




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