Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

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.

The process continues, with UNREAL (see March 19, just below) and my story “The Garden” available now for pre-order on Kindle, for which one can press here.  Also the contents have been revealed, or as Amazon has it:

UNREAL is the inaugural anthology of The Great Void Books celebrating the sheer awesomeness of speculative fiction.

The twenty stories featured in this anthology have been selected after careful consideration.  Each story is set in its own independent world.  So this single book is your ticket to twenty diverse lands where mind-bending things happen.

Speculative Fiction is a vast genre, but we have got delicacies from almost every subgenre.  We have got AI, magic, talking monkeys, time travel, oppressive governments, ancient temples, weird futuristic tech . . . even aliens!*  These short stories (btw none of them 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. . . .

The stories featured:

A Door For Miriam by Jeff Sullins
The Hidden Entity by John Campbell
Monaro Goes On A Walkabout by Steve Carr
The Runners by Lorenzo Crescentini
Blood Of The Swan by Vonnie Winslow Crist
The Wizards Of Snails And Woodlice by David Donachie
The Garden by James Dorr
Camp Napanoo by Angelique Fawns
Checkpoint by Elana Gomel
Undo by John Haas
The Monkey’s Tale by Carlton Herzog
Dark Wings by Tom Jolly
The Alien Emissary by Shawn Klimek
Dottie by W. T. Paterson
Full Integration by Sophie Jupillat Posey
Beyond The Spires by Frank Sawielijew
Abrama’s End Game by David Shultz
Sunbringer by Abiran Raveenthiran
The Gale At Quiet Cove by Austen Worley
Food For The Moon by Todd Zack

And  finally a new request came today for a biographical statement and picture, items not expected to be needed quite so soon.  Or as Editor Aditya Deshmukh emailed:  Please send me your bio and author photo ASAP (like today, if possible).  Sorry for such a short deadline.  I was thinking of putting together a Who’s Who booklet of accepted authors, but found a better way to do this within the anthology.

So, not to worry, these things were on hand and off they went this afternoon, with more to come here as it becomes known.

*Also, not to forget, cutting edge invertebrate biochemistry.

A short note on the Writing Life, and a “cave computer” coda.  The first is a new update on The Great Void Books UNREAL anthology, featuring my biochemical horror novelette “The Garden” (cf. March 7, et al.).  To quote Editor/Publisher Aditya Deshmukh, I’m currently formatting the first edition.  Will send it in a day or two.  Amazon listing has also been made.  It’s currently under review and should go online in next 72 hours.  (I will email again when it’s up.)  So new news should come around the weekend and, internet connections (and the struggling cave computer) holding up, will be reported here.

Then a second note, while I now have to cut and paste blog reports onto Facebook myself, they still presumably go automatically to my LinkedIn page.  I say “presumably” because, through the mysteries of technology and “older” computers, I’m unable to get onto LinkedIn myself and most likely won’t until the public library, with its current century computing equipment, reopens.  So those who may be reading this on LinkedIn, and others, an apology.  I’ve received several requests lately to join my network, but I’m unable to act on them, so if you’ve been trying to do so and I haven’t responded that’s why.  But once post-coronavirus conditions have hopefully normalized somewhat, please just send LinkedIn a new request then.

The full title actually is TWISTED FATE VOL. I:  APPLES RED AS BLOOD (cf. January 6), to be published by Fantasia Divinity, whose magazine of the same title we’ve met before.  The call had been for retellings and retakes on the fairy tale “Snow White,” with no nods to Walt Disney (at least ones that might cause copyright problems).  We want you to elaborate on the original short tale, give depth and feeling to the characters, motivations, desires, hope, and despair.  The stories can be told from the POV of any character, not just Snow White.  Reprints being okay, I sent a tale from the “Tombs” far future, dying Earth universe called “River Red,” originally published in the anthology ESCAPE CLAUSE (Ink Oink Art, Inc., 2009) and also appearing in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.

That was last September with the acceptance coming in January this year.  And so the wheels turned deliberately, slowly, the myriad details of publication each in its own time being addressed until, at last, today, the contract arrived, was read by me, electronically signed, and sent back this afternoon to Editor/Publisher Madeline Stout.  As for “River Red,” the names have been changed along with the setting and a ghoul added as well as, maybe, a sort of zombie, the ending cribbed from (I admit it!) the Greek tragedian Euripides (well out of copyright by now), but there is still a magic mirror.  Or a mirror, anyway.  So while maybe not obvious, the roots of Snow White are there.

Or more to the point, the Writing Life continues.  An edited copy will come next for my approval or possible re-tweaking, maybe an updated bio sent. . . .  A date for publication set?  More to be here as it becomes known.

The best laid plans, and all that.  Right?  We know by now that stuff happens, books are projected for certain release dates, but. . . .  So the email came from Aditya Deshmukh of The Great Void Books Saturday, about their upcoming anthology UNREAL (see February 6, December 17).  Publication had been expected in a week, on March 14, but . . . therefore we are postponing the schedule . . . and ask for your understanding.

So that’s the bad news, but the good news is this.  It’s for only two weeks, with pre-ordering still coming on the 14th and the book itself to be out March 28.  And looking to the near future beyond that, I’ll also be running a series of interviews to feature our authors.  I’ll send you the interview questions soon.

So my part in this is a 10,000-word novelette, “The Garden,” first published in an edited version in chapbook form by Damnation Books in 2009, more about which — plus interview info — as it becomes known.

I live near the end of a postal route which means that my mail usually arrives in late afternoon or evening — sometimes in these winter months even after dark, possibly not to be discovered until the next morning.  That’s reflected here when an item often may not get posted until the next day (though of course email items can also not be received until very late) as, for instance, now.

So what Thursday’s mail brought was a fairly bulky padded package, in which was my long-awaited author’s copy of SPACE OPERA LIBRETTOS (cf. January 1, et al.), the book of [d]ramatic, large-scale stories of the distant future, focused on optimism and inclusion and blowing things up.  Weird mashups.  Actual arias.  Fat ladies singing on funeral pyres.  Watery tarts distributing swords optional.  So had said the guidelines and so, at last, it was here — part of the game is that authors’ copies, at least in print, often come slowly, publishers having to fulfill paid customers’ orders first — including my own tale in number three spot, “The Needle Heat Gun,” a saga of heroism and love on an uncharted planet with, if not formal singing, a lot of humming.

If interested, “The Needle Heat Gun” is one of twenty stories of music and outer-space (or thereabouts) mayhem, more on which can be found by pressing here.

Then for a quick Friday addendum (or electronic copies can come much faster), today’s email brought a PDF authors’ copy of SEVEN DEADLY SINS:  LUST (see post just below) with my “A Cup Full of Tears,” a brief recounting of sweet lesbian vampire love.  With it came instructions for also obtaining a paperback copy, but with a warning:  that its arrival might be less quick.

So sometimes several things come all at once, such is the magical life of the writer.  And so today, Thursday, there are three new items under the aegis of “The Writing Life.”  (1)  For starters, an authors proof copy arrived from publisher Things in the Well for BURNING LOVE AND BLEEDING HEARTS (cf. February 5, January 20, 15) in which my story “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale” appears in number three slot in the table of contents.  So says the publisher:  We’ve wound the stories and poems — all 60 of them — into a bit of a narrative.  You’ll find no two are alike, in any way.  It’s so wonderful to have such a diverse representation of dark or dangerous love.  We are delighted with how it has all come together, and hope you are too.  (2)  Then second, for Black Hare Press’s SEVEN DEADLY SINS:  LUST anthology, I received an edited copy of my story, “A Cup Full of Tears” (see December 8), to be checked over.  (3)  And then, last, a contract came from The Great Void for using my novelette, “The Garden,” in their upcoming UNREAL anthology.  So. . . .

A flurry of reading, okaying the proof for an already announced February 14th Kindle edition, with paperback following in its time, for vampiress Claudette and “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale”; more reading to check out Black Hare Press’s edits and find them okay for “A Cup Full of Tears”; and a gimlet-eyed poring over the contract for UNREAL and “The Garden,” with a hoped for publication date of March 14 — all of which I have okayed, approved, and signed and sent back to their respective recipients.  Or, in a word, just another day in the Writing Life lived.

FAKE NEWS, don’t we just love it!  I don’t mean the term the President uses when he means “real news,” but really fake fake news.  Conspiracy theories, that sort of thing, though it may seem real to those that believe it.  But now it’s time for a trip into history.

Hie us back to the year 2018, to June 13 to be exact.  A call from “a (very) small publishing cooperative” called Old Sins:  Let’s write about conspiracies that have been debunked thoroughly but do so through the lens of Alternate History, where they have actually happened.  Let’s write about the second shooter, chemtrails, the Illuminati, Lizard People, Greys, the Loch Ness Monster, Pope Joan, Templars worshipping Satan, and so many other rumored conspiracies throughout history as if they were real.  As it so happened, I had such a tale, called “Country Doctor,” a reprint first published in BOOK OF DARK WISDOM for Summer 2005, one of UFOs and a strange humanoid creature being held by the military and needing medical attention.  And so off it went.

The above itself was reported here about a year later (cf. June 20, 2019), along with more news.  On August 27 2018 an email had come from Old Sins Editor Joseph Cadotte concerning possible minor changes, and that he liked it and “Country Doctor” was being forwarded to “his partner.”  Not an acceptance but, what the heck, I sent some changes plus reasons for keeping some other things the same.  Another exchange on October 25 about “Pending Acceptance,” and then on January 27 2019 an email titled “Re. Pending acceptance to FAKE NEWS” that said in part:  We have a preliminary layout, and, if you are included in this message, you are on it.  An acceptance then, yes?  But it didn’t really, exactly say.  But then on June 19, and hence the day the June 20 2019 post referred to, came an announcement explaining delays and concluding I will try to send you a contract soonish (which, by the way, I don’t recall subsequently receiving, but you get the idea — the wheels of artistry grind slowly as well as, sometimes, quite casually too) so, what the heck, let’s assume by now that it’s all official.

And then again silence until yesterday an email arrived, “FAKE NEWS News and Request,” and later that afternoon “FAKE NEWS News and request, part 2,” to send in a bio, etc., plus a small questionnaire about original inspirations (“which conspiracy,” e.g.), plus an announcement that “the whole text is going to our design person” (that is, if there are any story changes, to get them in quickly).  So it seems, despite delays, the anthology finally is on its way!

Unless, of course, it’s all fake news.

The announcement came Thursday night, that the HOUSE OF ZOLO’S JOURNAL OF SPECULATIVE LITERATURE, VOLUME 1 (see January 2, et al.) has now been released in all formats, print and Kindle on Amazon and e-book format on its own site, as well as being listed on Goodreads.  Delving into themes of post-humanity, future-shock, and the consequences of climate change, these short stories and poems fearlessly explore what it means to be human.  Alternately dark and hopeful, heartbreaking and humorous, this volume contains stories and poems to spark the imagination and inspire new perspectives on the future.

My page in the poke is a reprint originally published in Spring 1994 in MINDSPARKS (also more recently in ZIPPERED FLESH 3 from Smart Rhino Publications, cf. February 3 2017, er al.), “Golden Age,” about what it means to grow old in a society in which death may be becoming practically unknown.  For more information or purchase, links to Amazon and to the House of Zolo can be found in the January 2 post below, while for the new Goodreads page and its links one can press here.

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