Posts Tagged ‘Aliens’

Okay, sorry about that headline (but you can appreciate my temptation).  Pole to Pole Publishing  announced today that their reprint anthology RE-LAUNCH:  SCIENCE FICTION STORIES OF NEW BEGINNINGS (see  June 1, February 18, 4) is available now from major distributors, including Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, BN Nook, Scribd, and 24Symbols, with print to follow in the next few weeks.  Moreover, for about the next ten days, it will be on sale for $2.99, after which the price will go up to $4.99.  Links to sellers offering RE-LAUNCH can be found on Pole to Pole’s website, for which press here.

And, yes, I do of course have a dog in this hunt (a pup in the pack?), my story “The Game” which originally appeared in the British e-zine HUB for November 2007.  “The Game” tells the tale of an on-the-beach spaceman, the unfriendly streets of an alien town, and his striving to maintain self respect as he seeks redemption.


This came late yesterday afternoon, actually, but had to wait till I could respond (my music group meets Tuesday evenings), the proof copy from Schreyer Ink Anthologies for my entry, “The Frog Pond,” in their upcoming CHILDREN OF THE SKY (see July 5). Originally published in England in HUB MAGAZINE in 2006, “The Frog Pond” is about the opening of a new planet for exploitation, but with one possible hitch that needed to be checked out first.

CHILDREN OF THE SKY itself is scheduled for publication on August 1, with the corrected proof for this story going back late last night (or, depending on time zone, the wee hours of this morning). And indeed things are moving fast, this having been just received:  The pre-order link is now live on Smashwords. The book will also be available through Smashwords’ extended retailers (Kobo and iBooks) in the next few days. You can find it there by searching. It will be live on Amazon in a day or two . . . [t]here will not be a paperback preorder but the paperback will be available on Amazon on August 1st.

And so the second report came in this morning from Pole to Pole Publishing (see just below):  Thank you for sending “The Game” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Launch,” anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “The Game” for inclusion in the anthology.  Your contract and additional information will be sent to you in a few weeks.  RE-LAUNCH, we’ll recall, is to be the science fiction half of Pole to Pole’s reprint dyad, with my story “The Game,” about an “on the beach” spaceman earning redemption, originally published in Britain’s HUB magazine on November 7 2007.  More will appear on both publications as it becomes known.

Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. January 7, et al.), this time in a County Library conference room as it continues to seek a new home, with featured readers Molly Gleeson, a one-time teacher of English in China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan now working as a writing tutor at a Bloomington community college reading her short story “House of Atreus”; international doctoral student Maureen Chinwe Onyeziri with a story about a young girl identified as a malevolent spirit, “Taming the Spirit,” followed by a brief memoir of a recent visit to her home in Nigeria; and local poet and fiction writer Cara Hohit with three short stories linked by a theme of intimacy, both old and new and both wanted and shunned.  My own contribution, third of six when it was time for the open mike segment, was a recent tale especially chosen for Valentine’s Day, “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” about a first meeting between a vampiress and a just-in-the-process-of-changing werewolf.

The beat goes on, or, you get acceptances, then comes the scut work.  The little tasks that must be done to get a story into actual print.  Thus it was this weekend, when PDFs came for not one, but two stories from different publishers — and both of these also second-round proof copies, ones where preliminary proofreading had been done before.

But it’s one more step closer to seeing a book in print.  Or two, in this case.  Saturday brought line edited copy from Upper Rubber Boot Books for “Bubba Claus Conquers the Martians” (cf. December 1 2015, et al.), a tale of Christmas and sorta-like zombies and a trip to Mars for THE MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS AWESOME AND THAT GO BOOM, with corrections on the corrections at this end returned Sunday evening at just about the time the Arizona-Carolina NFC championship football game ended.  So in about two weeks the Superbowl comes, yes?  Then a few hours before, on Sunday afternoon, the other had come, a “cleaned up” galley from Bards and Sages Publishing for “The Candle Room” (see January 7 this year, et al.), a less comedic, more Lovecraftian excursion to Saturn — but an other-dimensional version of sorts — for THE GREAT TOME OF FORGOTTEN RELICS AND ARTIFACTS.

That one, however, will wait till tomorrow.

“Individual and odd.  A man who thinks for himself.”

This, said of the amateur astronomer-hero of IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, was not meant as a compliment.  But then it was the “conformist” 1950s (the film was released by in 1953), a time of Cold War and McCarthyism, when alien “invasions” were not likely to be welcome.  And so, when a meteor strike in the220px-Itcamefromouterspace Arizona desert is seen by our first-on-the-scene astronomer to  actually involve what looks like a space ship, he is first ridiculed, then when it turns out he may be right — and moreover may have made some kind of contact — at the least distrusted.

Meanwhile others in town have disappeared, only to turn up again somehow “different,” something our hero has noticed too.  But by now he’s discovered the aliens mean no harm, simply needing to repair their ship, buried but reachable through an abandoned mine, after which they will be on their way.  That is, if the hero can hold off the Sheriff. . . .

But this is not simply cold war paranoia, not 1956’s INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS from Jack Finney’s novel, but rather a deeper investigation of the problem of “otherness.”  The aliens in this case are as good as their word (they’ve only disguised themselves, for instance, as the townspeople they’ve captured and who they let go when they’re ready to leave), but to our eyes still so outré that there’s no way we could come to understand them — at least not at our present level of unsophistication.  In fact Bradbury, new to working in film, prepared four different treatments, two with the aliens turning out hostile and two benign, and let Universal-International take their pick from them, they fortunately choosing the one he preferred — and also, it turns out, had written a short story the year before called “A Matter of Taste” where it’s Earthmen who land an alien planet of nine-foot spiders with similar difficulties caused by mutual “strangeness.”*

While Bradbury does receive story credit, the actual screenplay was given over to veteran writer Harry Essex who said himself he had to do very little work, but who did smooth some rough edges, including toning down a carnival atmosphere with scoffing reporters at the beginning, making the hero more likeable, and using fewer images of spiders (although the analogy is still there).  Also we get a few glimpses of the aliens, one-eyed blob-creatures, which the producers insisted on against Bradbury’s wishes (although, more to Bradbury’s liking, there were several sequences shot “as seen by” the aliens themselves).

And one more detail, possibly helping assure that the theater for this evening’s screening was practically full:  this was Universal-International’s first film shot in 3-D (the old-fashioned kind, with the red and blue — well, technically, cyan — glasses!).


* This story, originally turned down by FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION (I believe — this is from the discussion that followed the screening), was finally published in 2004 as part of a book from Gauntlet Press, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, with all four screen treatments plus essays by Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Director Jon Eller, et al., and much, much more.

Sometimes they fall like apples from trees.  Yeah, if it were only so!  But this time, at least, in the past three days I have had three (count ‘em!) story acceptances.

So let us treasure it.  Late Sunday evening saw IN THE BLOODSTREAM take the Lovecraftian Christmas tale “A Christmas Carnage,” Monday brought Chupa Cabra’s acceptance of  “Invisible People” for WE WALK INVISIBLE, and then today, Tuesday, came this word from Diabolic Publications (cf. September 21, et al.):  “After reviewing your short story we would like the opportunity to include it in our upcoming anthology ETHER WORLD.”

The story in question is called “Jeremy’s Woman” and, as for ETHER WORLD, the call was for “original science fiction in which some facet of future science or technology is integral to the plot. The science needs to be physical, sociological, or psychological.  The technology can be any form such as electronic engineering, biogenetic engineering, and so forth.  All stories must be strong and realistic, with believable characters that may or may not be human.”

Thus “Jeremy’s Woman” who, herself, may or may not be human but also may be more than Jeremy and his team of space explorers expect.  And as for science fiction, it may add a tinge of horror as well.

Currently plans for ETHER WORLD are for a release date in January 2014.

IN POE’S SHADOW, the “other” Poe anthology (cf. Oct. 22, et al..), arrived in today’s mail, just in time to be put on the stack for Halloween reading.  And I already had plans to finish off JACK-O’-SPEC that day (plus listen to an audio presentation of FRANKENSTEIN, but that’s another story)!  Still, the more the merrier – or make that spookier.  This is the anthology of stories inspired by works of Poe, with mine, “Merryl,” in the number two spot in the contents, based on “Ligeia.”

Also today I came upon another publisher’s micro-interview, this time for my story “The Country Doctor” in AMERICA THE HORRIFIC (Oct. 19, et al.).  Find out why aliens look the way they do and why it’s not really all that outrageous in horror movies when those “meddling teenagers” decide to explore the basement of the haunted house (you know the one, where the psycho killer was last seen headed toward?) at night.  For this and more press here.


I just went through the galley proof for my story “The Country Doctor” from the editors of AMERICA THE HORRIFIC (see May 24, below) and was able to email back that I could find no errors at all. Good show! Not so fortunate was a mock-up of the book’s cover on which the gimlet-eyed may have already noticed a certain oddness to my name. And so another email to the editors. Then — busy, busy, busy! — it’s back to work to send them a current biography as well as doing a mini-interview which will be used for pre-publication PR. So hopefully by its announced release date of October 15 AMERICA THE HORRIFIC should be set to go off with a bang. (And in time for Halloween gifting too!)

Elsewhere on the PR front, Untreed Reads Publishing has announced the launch of “Take-A-Chance Tuesdays,” involving sale prices on a selected title every Tuesday. Mine, VANITAS (cf. Aug. 2), isn’t this week’s selection, but it can still be purchased at its regular price, which is pretty much a bargain already, so in the hours that are left of today — and presumably on successive Tuesdays too — why not give their website a look for that and for other specials?

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