Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Speaking of BLACK INFINITY (cf. just below, July 9, et al.), Thursday’s email had also included an early announcement for the edition to follow the one with “Waxworms.”  The next issue will be Renegade Robots, with a broad interpretation of “renegade”:  a deserter from one faith, cause, or allegiance to another; an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior or tradition.  Since all robots, by their very nature, are unconventional, the robot(s) in your story can be good, bad, or indifferent; protagonist, villain, or innocent bystander.  . . .  I’m looking for stories with a classic, traditional, or retro feel, 3000 to 10000 words, new or reprint.  While an open call wouldn’t be until later, early submission was being invited with this extra note:  Atmospheric, creepy, and/or suspenseful stories are a big plus.

Atmospheric?  Creepy?  You probably know the drill.  Anyway, Saturday I sent back a story, “Scavenger,” originally from the November 1994 FANTASTIC COLLECTIBLES about robots in an abandoned dying city with, I suggested, an appropriately “noir” tone, though at 2200-words maybe a bit short.  And so, this morning, the answer awaited:  Despite the shorter length it’s a well-developed tale, atmospheric, moving, and memorable. I’d like to include it in the next issue.

A quick double-header today as the week’s end approaches.  The first from Tom English and BLACK INFINITY was a proof copy of my story, “Waxworms” (cf. April 4, November 13), slated for issue 6, “Insidious Insects,” hopefully to be out later this month.  As it happens the proof of the story itself was perfect as I so informed Editor English about two hours ago.

Then, second, a note from Aditya Deshmukh with more news about UNREAL (see July 8 just below, et al.) along with a request for a short blurb on my story “The Garden.”  That, too, went back this afternoon.

Quoth the blurb:  UNREAL celebrates the sheer awesomeness of Speculative Fiction!  Each of the twenty stories is set in its own independent world.  So this single book is your ticket to twenty diverse lands where mind-bending things happen!  The book is the start-up anthology UNREAL (see March 28, 22, et al.) from The Great Void Books and, albeit with some delay, is finally out on Amazon in both kindle and print forms.  To continue the publisher’s description:  Speculative Fiction is a vast genre, but we have got delicacies from almost every subgenre.  There’s AI, magic, monkey gods, time travel, vampires, scary organisms, strange hidden-dimension particles, pirates, oppressive governments, ancient temples, weird futuristic tech . . . and of course aliens!

These short stories (by the way, none of these are very short) are some really serious works of art.  And since this is an anthology, you’ll get to meet a bunch of some really terrific authors.  Also, lest one forget, included is my novelette “The Garden,” originally published in 2009 as an edited chapbook by Damnation Books, a tale of cutting-edge biochemistry in, for the first time here, its “author’s cut” form.

Appetites whetted?  For more information, ordering press here.

No that’s not Harvest Moons but, rather, my story “Moons of Saturn,” originally published in Algis Budrys’s TOMORROW for July 1993 as well as in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, tentatively accepted by PULP LITERATURE pending decision on which issue to put it in (cf. November 19).  PULP LITERATURE is a Canadian quarterly founded in 2013, so named (to paraphrase Wikipedia) to reflect a taste for “great storytelling in genre fiction,” with reference to such magazines as FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, ANALOG, and ELLERY QUEEN.

So today the word came from Acquisitions Editor Genevieve Wynand:  I hope this finds you well.  I am so pleased to let you know that we have placed “Moons of Saturn” in Issue 28, Autumn 2020.  Could you send along a three- to five-line bio to include with the story?  I will be preparing the contract shortly, so if you could also email your current address that would be great, as well.  Thus closure of a sort, the “tentative” now erased from the “acceptance.”  As for the story, “Moons of Saturn” is a fanciful tale of the Voyager space probe missions past Saturn in the 1980s as watched on TV by a highly imaginative woman and her devoted lover.

More as it becomes known.

We’re speaking of visual beauty here, as the author explains:  As humans, we are predisposed to crave beauty in our lives — you know, even in the most dire of circumstances, we seek out spring flowers, blue skies, a dazzling smile.  When it comes to film, visual excellence can enhance the story in ways we, as an audience, might not even notice upon first watch.  The lighting may shift towards a darker color palette as the plot thickens.  The fabrics and dress style of our heroine may indicate something about her character.  And then sometimes the camera is fully focused on Harley Quinn’s breakfast sandwich cooking on a bodega griddle and it’s just gorgeous.  We can’t explain why, but it is.  But all of these elements combine to take us out of the real world.  And in this real world of coronavirus and global pandemic — from which any of us may crave a brief respite — the author adds that any and all of these may be streamed on the device of your choice right now.

The article is “In Pursuit of Visual Escapism:  8 Beautifully Designed Films to Watch Now” by Christina Orlando via TOR.COM, and I haven’t seen the “Harley Quinn” movie, but she does mention a few that I have.  First off, for instance, Guillermo del Toro’s CRIMSON PEAK (which I, with DVDs I can watch too, just took off the stack for a possible re-screening tonight) as well as PAN’S LABYRINTH at number seven, combined with Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (cf. June 26 2014) in number four spot.  So one of these, already, is about vampires, to which is added (and which I may re-watch tonight instead) BYZANTIUM at number 3.  And then there are four more, including BLADE RUNNER 2049, which from their descriptions I think I may want to add to my collection.

To see more, press here.

The question is raised:  At a time when speculative fiction and fact seemed to have collided, three small magazine publishers have gotten together to discuss their viewpoints on the genre and the future of publishing.  Join Scot Noel of DREAMFORGE MAGAZINE, John Linden Grant of OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY and me, Angela Yuriko Smith of SPACE AND TIME as we discuss how the pandemic is affecting publishing.  The “questioner” is PUBLISHER’S ROUNDTABLE via ANGELAYSMITH.COM, and whether or not things end up seeming as dire as one might expect, it seems appropriate for the season.  My thanks for this go to Ms. Smith via HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION on Facebook, while for the actual piece one may press here.

Life continues, the good with the bad.  As I write this, Triana has just had her supper.  Outside there’s still coronavirus, but as one unexpected local spinoff, at least for now one can ride city buses for free (albeit on a somewhat reduced schedule, and there may be fewer places or events to ride them to).  And then — the Writing Life — today brought the contract from BLACK INFINITY for “Waxworms” (cf. April 4, et al.), my story of insects and flying saucers and strange goings on in the West Virginia hills:  Please find attached the contract for “Waxworms”.  I’m sending these contracts as word documents, which should make signing easier for contributors, I hope.  Please sign and return at your earliest convenience during the next two weeks.

The document format was easy to handle, even for The Second Slowest Computer In The World (the slowest is being used exclusively these days for off-line work), and it went back about an hour ago to BLACK INFINITY Editor Tom English.  The theme this time out is “Insidious Insects,” with the issue expected to be published around early June.

A little bit roundabout in its coming, via Facebook, from BLACK INFINITY Editor Tom English (cf. November 13, October 28, 21, et al.):  A sneak peek at the cover (barring any last-minute tweaking) of upcoming issue 6 for spring.  And nestled among (or [blush] actually at the top of) such names as Murray Leinster, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Sheckley is . . . mine.  Well, actually my name is the shortest which makes a top placement convenient for design purposes, but why not bask in it?  More to the point, the issue theme this time is “Insidious Insects,” along with a factual portion on the earlyish TV series THE OUTER LIMITS.

An exciting combination, I think.  My part of the brew is a story first published in CHIZINE for July-September 2003 and also appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, “Waxworms,” a tale of the days of UFO reports, and probable landings, spiced in this case by a series of insect infestations that seemingly almost follow the story’s narrator.  This also will mark my second appearance in BLACK INFINITY, an extremely well put together semi-annual with a classic 1950s/’60s science fiction flavor, my first being with “Ghost Ship,” set in the universe of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH and first published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU (Red Skies Press, 2013), in issue 5 on the theme of “Derelicts.”

This one’s a short note, a bit of an early taste of UNREAL (cf. March 22, 19, et al.), the The Great Void Books anthology that includes my novelette “The Garden.”  Quoth the blurb:  In these 20 short stories and novelettes, there’s magic, time travel, a gravity defying machine, resurrection, selkies, pirates, a talking monkey-god, aliens, vampires, unknown particle physics, AI and so much more!  Each story also comes with a brilliant illustration.  The special price is valid for only a limited time.  So get your copy now!

Intrigued?  Press here.

It’s been awhile.  The issue was actually published on New Year’s Day (cf. Jan 24, 2; Oct 7 2019, et al.), and today the copy arrived in my mailbox, a longish time later though not a record.  The publication is HOUSE OF ZOLO’S JOURNAL OF SPECULATIVE FICTION, VOLUME 1, with an original call:  HOZ are looking for literature that explores possibilities for the future.  We want challenging short stories that are character driven, that reimagine the world and our place in it.  We are looking for radical authors, feminist authors, LGBTQ2S authors, authors who experiment.  Themes that thrill us:  transhumanism, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, new systems, resistance, activism, queer perspectives, feminist perspectives, nature.  My own story in this, “Golden Age,” a tale of extension of life through bio-mechanical transplants was originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 (also reprinted in ZIPPERED FLESH 3, see February 3 2017, et al.), and is one of thirty-two items, both prose and poetry, in a hefty three hundred plus page book — a fair bit of reading to help fill the hours while confined to one’s home.  Or to see more for yourself, press here.




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