Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Such is the spirit of serendipity, the things we discover.  As, last night, re-checking URLs for Saturday’s post, what should I find out but that Amazon is running a fairly hefty discount for pre-ordered copies of TOMBS.  I haven’t the foggiest idea of how long this is for — best to hurry, just in case! — but as of right now the pre-order price for the print edition of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is only $10.37, with publication planned for June 1.  I’m not going to do the arithmetic to find the percentage, but the full price is listed as $14.95, giving a savings of $4.58 a copy which seems like a pretty good deal to me.  So to check for yourself, just push on TOMBS’s picture on the center column or, if you prefer, press here.  And please tell your friends — not to mention, when it arrives in June and after you’ve read it, if you like it please consider giving Amazon back a review!

Hark us back to a Thursday seven weeks ago, February 9, and recall that I had a guest blog published by Heidi Angell, “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” (see February 13*), nakedly pimping — guess what? — my own mosiac novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  You thought it was over?  But now it comes out:  “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” was only the first of a series of three essays planned for Ms. Angell’s blog, and word came today that the second of these, “It Began with a Map,” is scheduled for Thursday next week, March 30.  So what will the third be?  Well, most likely to come out in early to mid-May, anticipating the novel’s debut from Elder Signs Press on the first of June . . . well, I haven’t officially made up my mind yet, but we shall see then.  Perhaps you have some ideas?

Meanwhile, for Thursday, “It Began With a Map” will touch a bit on the geography and peoples of the world of the “Tombs,” hopefully whetting appetites further.  While I, having received an advance PDF just a few days ago, have begun the slog of proofreading the thing — another part of the thrill-a-minute life of the writer!

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*In fact, if you haven’t read “What Is a Novel-in-Stories,” why not do it now by pressing here?  Or better yet, if you would like to pre-order TOMBS, you can click on its picture or press here.

We would like to announce our third annual VESTAL REVIEW Award (The VERA).

Please feel free to nominate one story under 500 words published by your magazine in print or online in 2016.  The winning selection receives a prize of $100 and a publication in VESTAL REVIEW, and the runner-up entry gets publication in VESTAL REVIEW at our usual terms.  There is no nomination fee.  Only a magazine editor is eligible to submit a nomination.  One story per magazine, please.

Thus the VERA award, from VESTAL REVIEW, “the oldest magazine dedicated exclusively to flash fiction” as their subtitle has it, and yesterday came the news:  Third Flatiron Anthologies editor Juliana Rew wanted to check if it was okay by me for a story, “Chocolat” (yes, that’s how it’s spelled), that appeared in their spring 2016 IT’S COME TO OUR ATTENTION (cf. February 21 2016, et al., including for special story background December 11 2015) to be nominated.  “Chocolat” is the tale of a beleaguered Frenchman protesting a recent (really, though by now a few years past) European Union Financial Council change in the legal definition of chocolate — which is to say, chocolat in French — and what became of him.

When the winners will be announced is not known by me (I think stories can be nominated through September 30, which would mean not soon) and the chances, of course, of actually winning are probably not great, but Third Flatiron puts out a pretty good series of quarterly themed anthologies (for more information on which one may click here), including offering professional rates.  Or in other words, just being singled out by them is itself an honor, and so I’ve said “oui!”

No, it isn’t an early April Fool’s trick and it is a new name (slightly), but the name was especially voted on to keep the initials the same.  And so, as announced today, by fairly hefty vote margins the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) has become the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA, though there was a minority vote to add an extra F for SFFPA).  The change is simply a long-time-coming recognition that a lot of SFPA members actually write fantasy poetry, if one wants to be picky, and the name change parallels a similar change made some years ago by the SFWA (which is to say, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, once the Science Fiction Writers of America, which for a brief time then initialed itself the SFFWA with occasional members pronouncing the name as if they stuttered).  So what’s in a name?  For nostalgia hounds, here presented is the old logo, which may take a little time to update and, new name or old name, the group still can be found by pressing here.  (And between you and me, I write horror poetry, and I’m still a member.)

This comes to us today via Nathan Rowark on Facebook, a sale through June 30 from Horrified Press to include all e-titles.  Other than that I know no details, nor does the publisher’s Facebook page provide any more, except that all anthology titles are thus priced at $3.00 or less.  And, as it happens, I have several stories published by them although one, “Lobster Boy and the Hand of Satan” in HOW TO TRICK THE DEVIL (cf. October 14 2015, et al.) appears to be available in print only, at least on Amazon, and hence doesn’t count. Two others, though, do:  “Tunnels,” concerning familial love in an underground post-apocalyptic world, in UNTIL THE END (see June 15 2014, et al.) on sale for $2.99; and “Flesh,” of a man who strives to get fat (but, when all is said and done, perhaps not enough), in NIGHTMARE STALKERS & DREAM WALKERS (see October 14 2015, December 21 2014, et al.) for an even $3.00.  For more, for UNTIL THE END press here; and for NIGHTMARE STALKERS here.

Some fungi, viruses and bacteria have evolved a spine-chilling way of being transmitted from one host to another. They turn their hosts into witless zombies.  Say what?  But this is the subtitle of a decidedly non-fictional article,”Real-Life Zombies that Are Stranger than Fiction” by Chris Baraniuk, published earlier this week on BBC.COM.  To quote Baraniuk further:  The zombies we know from fiction are ferocious, flesh-eating post-humans.  And while such stories have never come true, nature is full of disturbingly similar cases of zombification among plants and animals.  Sometimes the parallels are striking.  And moreover this isn’t something new.  While the “victims” thus far seem to be confined to such lower life forms as insects and spiders, at least one zombie-inducing parasite will attack frogs.

So are humans next?  I have a story, “Swarms,” coming out on Earth Day, April 22, in MOTHER’S REVENGE (Scary Dairy Press, see March 8, et al.), that takes a similar spin from possibly mutated ichneumon wasps — another insect of interest in itself.  But according to Baraniuk, some ants, at least, have been so affected for 48 million years.

Interest whetted?  Then gird your stomach and take another big swig of green beer, then check it out by pressing here.  But do so at your own risk as, to quote its author once more, [t]here is something particularly disconcerting about the idea that an animal’s behaviour could be drastically changed by an infection or parasite, but it is a phenomenon well-established in nature.

Here’s one I blundered on via Facebook’s ELDER SIGNS PRESS site, dated March 9 and touting a two-week only sale on Amazon.  Today being the 16th, I think that would mean there’s a week to go, ending March 23.  So for a happy Saint Patrick’s Day Eve, check out these deals for DARK HORIZONS (Amazon’s price is 12.95, but individual new copy offers start at $9.67 as of this writing) and STREET MAGICK (Amazon price $9.21) and, as a bonus, give the figure on STREET MAGICK’s cover a green suit and hat, and it could look a little bit like a leprechaun.

To check it all out, press here for the ELDER SIGNS PRESS Facebook site, then scroll down just a tad for the sale

“. . . give the figure a green suit and hat, and it could look a bit like a leprechaun.”

announcement with links to Amazon for both books — just under the listing for early orders for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, in fact, with its own link to Amazon should you wish to indulge while you’re at it!  My dogs in these donnybrooks are “Bottles” for STREET MAGICK, of vampiric doings in the late 1950s Boston area, complete with Cold War paranoia, and “Dark of the Moon” in DARK HORIZONS, of an international expedition to the Moon’s back side, combined with a dollop of H.P. Lovecraft and Russian myth to become dark indeed.  Also (ahem!) while the books haven’t gotten too many reviews on Amazon yet — and let this be a *hint* to readers, if you like a book you do your favorite authors a favor by sending reviews in — one review under each title (cf. “Mr. Vlesco” for the one for STREET MAGICK) singles my stories out for special mention.

If you’re familiar with Smart Rhino’s anthologies (and we certainly hope you are!), you may remember his stories “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, and “Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.  His story “Golden Age” will be published in ZIPPERED FLESH 3, now in production.  So marks the start of Monday’s outing of Smart Rhino Press Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge’s blog, BULLETS AND BUTTERFLIES.  Here you will find things concerning my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS and the lure of short stories, as well as my upcoming novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, though of the latter the publication date is now set for June (i.e. rather than “spring,” which only means things sometimes get out of date; also the poet Allan Poe may be better known as Edgar Allan, but typos can happen too).  Also the blog itself  may seem familiar, having also been published in Smart Rhino Publications’s own January NEWSLETTER (see January 18).  But as Weldon himself says on his Facebook page:  Just posted my interview with Bram Stoker nominee (and frequent writer for Smart Rhino Publications) James Dorr.  His story “Golden Age,” will appear in the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3.  He has some great advice for writers from his own experience.  So maybe it will be worth reading anew.

Or in any event for those new to this blog it can be found here.

Swinging into the life of the writer, two days ago the contract arrived from the “Scary Dairy Press Team” for their eco-horror anthology MOTHER’S REVENGE (see February 12, et al.).  My offering in this is a story I’m fond of, “Swarms,” originally published in Lone Wolf’s 2001 CD ROM anthology BLOODTYPE (and listed in Datlow/Windling’s THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR — ah, those were the years!) and also in my collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET.  A reprint in the recycling bin, as one might have it.  But MOTHER’S REVENGE is mostly to be original fiction, as most anthologies tend to be these days, making my little tale an exception but, if I may say so, a good enough fit for the theme for (my having explained the story’s status in my cover letter) the editors to have accepted it anyway.  Only problem, the contract that came was one designed for original fiction.

What one does then, though, is fairly standard.  This was one I was to print out and send back as hard copy, so what one does is to pen in corrections, initialing each as well as signing the contract as a whole at the bottom (thus, in effect, signing the contract “as corrected,” in theory allowing the publisher then to correct the corrections if need be, then send it back, and so it goes. . . ).  In this, changing a reference from “first rights” to “one-time rights” and lining out wording having to do with no “prior publication” (since for reprints there is, by definition).  And thus yesterday it went into the mail while I emailed the publisher telling them that it was on the way as well as explaining the changes I’d made in case they might cause any problem at their end.  Then, later that evening I got an email back, Wonderful!  Thanks so much!, so apparently we’re still on the path for a hoped-for Earth Day, April 22, release.

Beginning now (March 3rd) through March 11th, we’re offering 30% off every single ebook title published by Untreed Reads throughout The Untreed Reads Store.  VERY IMPORTANT!!:  There is no discount code for this promotion.  The 30% off will automatically show up during the last step of the checkout process.  . . .  Remember that when people purchase through our store they get EPUB, PDF and Kindle versions for just one price!  Plus, they Pedscan gift a title to someone or send an ebook directly to their Kindle.  So begins the announcement from Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing, home of two stand-alone short story e-chapbooks by me, the steampunkish-mystery VANITAS and Christmas horror I’M DREAMING OF A. . ., plus my dystopic science fiction novelette PEDS.  To take advantage, press the picture of any of these in the center column and, as an extra, you’ll also find the New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with its opening story, “Appointment in Time,” also by me.

So what’s the occasion?  According to Editor Hartman:  Every year, the ebook world celebrates Read An Ebook Week, and this year is certainly no different!  This year, the dates of the event are Sunday, March 5th through Saturday, March 11th.  Also, he points out, although the discount is only 25%, PEDS and I’M DREAMING OF. . . . are also on sale at DriveThruFiction from March 5 through 11, which can be reached by pressing here.  No coupon code is needed for either sale, though the one directly from Untreed Reads seems the better deal.




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