Posts Tagged ‘British Science Fiction Association’

Saturday was writers group day (in which yet another “Casket Girls” story was on the griddle) after which, lurking in my mailbox back home, what should I find but the Winter 2015-16 issue of FOCUS (see February 7)?  This is the British Science Fiction Association magazine oriented toward writers, but which also contains, on page 34 as an on-board sticky note alerted me, Poetry Editor Charles Christian’s column “Poetry From the Stars” in which is, as first of seven poems and a sixteen entry “Scifaiku” section, my poem “On the Other Hand.”  “On the Other Hand” is my take on why fay1a marriage between King Kong and femme fatale Fay Wray could never have lasted, and was first published by the BSFA in the August 2015 GRIEVOUS ANGEL.

“On the Other Hand,” incidentally, is also a finalist in this year’s Rhysling Poetry Competition, sponsored by the (US-based) Science Fiction Poetry Association in the “short poems” division (see March 17,  just below), of which more here as it becomes known.  And, as for FOCUS — a nicely put together issue and one I look forward to reading more thoroughly —  as the editors have explained, an actual appearance a month or so after the date on the cover is not that rare a thing.


Featured readers for this month’s Bloomington Writers Guild First Sunday Prose (see January 3, et al.) were local mostly-poet Shana Ritter and optometry professor/novelist (under the name Terry Pinaud) Khashayar Tonekaboni.  Leading off, Ritter read what she said was her first short story, published in FIFTH WEDNESDAY, “The Invitation,” about the cruelty of teen girls, following it with a note from her blog on writing poetry vs. prose, and ended with two excerpts from a novel in progress set at the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.  Dr. Tonekaboni followed with excerpts from two novels, the first THE FIXER set in the summer and fall of 1963 prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the second in progress, tentatively titled MINE, at the time of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

None of these would be characterized exactly as happy stories, which I didn’t help when open mike time came.  Fourth of four (six people had signed up, but two apparently left early), and noting it was exactly one week before Valentine’s Day, I read a story I wrote just last month, “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale,” based on the New Orleanian urban legend of the Casket Girls (cf. April 28 2015, April 17 2014, et al.).*  This one introduced a new fille à la caissette, BritishSFAPoemsPubbedClaudette, giving a bit more of their history before recounting what happened the night her husband pledged to her his heart.

Speaking of busted love affairs, the day before, Saturday, I received an email announcing the availability of the British Science Fiction Association’s FOCUS magazine.  Or in Poetry Editor Charles Christian’s words:  “At long last the December issue of the BSFA FOCUS magazine is published (actually being only 2 months late is good) and it contains the poetry section I edit.  The contributors included are James Dorr + Andrew Darlington + Pat Tompkins + Herb Kauderer (who sadly has been deprived of his final “R”) + Kelda Crich + Geoffrey A. Landis + Noel Sloboda + John Reinhart + Guy Belleranti + Manos Kounougakis + Karen A. Romanko + Susan Burch + Christina Sng + Julie Kelsey.”  And the cool thing is, in the page shot on Facebook that gives the announcement, my poem is displayed, the print version of “On the Other Hand” that premiered electronically on GRIEVOUS ANGEL on August 30 (see September 5, March 30 2015) on why the torrid romance between Fay Wray and King Kong could never have lasted for the long haul.

*As MC Joan Hawkins pointed out after, the location was particularly apt, it also being two days before Mardi Gras.

February 4’s “Super Sunday” posting included, “I received a PDF copy of the poetry pages from the British Science Fiction Association’s magazine VECTOR (see July 5 2012) including my poem ‘California Vamp’ along with a promise that a print copy will be forthcoming.  ‘California Vamp’ was originally published in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and is one of five pieces accepted by Poetry Editor Charles Christian last summer, the others of which may appear in future issues.”  Yesterday the issue arrived and it seems I got at least one detail wrong:  rather than VECTOR, the publication “California Vamp” has found her new home in is the Winter 2012/13 FOCUS, subtitled THE BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION’S MAGAZINE FOR WRITERS.  Isn’t that just like a vamp, to go after the pros!

Be that as it may, the magazine itself looks like a winner (despite any dubious poetic company it might choose to keep :-)).  To quote Guest Editor Keith Brooke:  “In this issue we’ve tried to provide a snapshot of the genre publishing industry and where a writer’s career fits into that.  Or rather, several snapshots . . . fragments . . . a composite, if you like, intended to reflect how publishing is changing and reforming itself and what it is to be a writer in the early part of the 21st century.”  Heady stuff, this.  And lest one think that’s all very nice, but that’s in Britain and this is the US, the article listed first on the cover is by American writer and 1990s F&SF editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Then, moving to publishing, Dark Regions Press has announced a special “Sale For Good” beginning today.  What’s that? you may ask.  Not only are titles being discounted, some quite deeply, but they add that “for every in-stock book you buy we will donate a book to a school, library, military base or other charitable causes (customers are invited to choose where they would like the book(s) donated).  This is our effort to cut down on some back stock and support our local libraries, our men and women in uniform and other charitable causes.  . . . Our goal is to donate 1,000 books or more to the libraries, military bases and schools that we have contacted in regards to donations.  We hope you join us in the effort, and please spread the word on.”  Or, to amplify, “[f]or every in-stock book that a customer orders from the website we will match that with one book donated to a charitable cause; school, library, military base or other (if specified by customer).  Customers are welcome to notify us via the Order Comments section or via e-mail where they would like the books donated.  There is no limit on the amount of books a customer can order until we are out of stock.  Books will not be donated when customers order an item still in preorder phase.”

And so it goes (where have I heard that phrase before?).  As it happens, I have two horses in the Dark Regions stable myself, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE and DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, which are now being offered at fifty percent off until, as I understand it, they have received enough orders across the board to result in 1000 or more books being donated, at which point the sale will end.  “Orders are accepted with Visa, Mastercard, Discover card, American Express and PayPal.  Payment via check or money order can be arranged upon query.  We are not processing orders over the phone at this time” and “[f]irst-time customers will receive a 20% off coupon insert with their order for use on the website and a free DRP Bookmark.”

For more information on my on-sale titles press here, while for information on Dark Regions and the sale in general you can press “Home” at the top of that page or, more directly, just press here.

Today, the next-to-last day of Vampire Week, we have a double-header.  First comes a post from last June 6, with a link to a guest blog I did on “Vampires vs. Werewolves” for British author Naomi Clark, a werewolf aficionado herself (at least in terms of her latest novella), who asked guests to explain which they liked better and why.  I, taking the vampires’ side (albeit ending by noting that in European folklore there may be less difference than people think), took the vampire100occasion to say a few things about VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), but I also include directions to a second poetry essay on VAMPS under “PAGES,” to the far right, that includes a few words about the history of vampires in literature and art in England.  The essay in turn, quoted as well in the blog for Ms. Clark, includes this passage:

“In 1897 British artist Philip Burne-Jones, having been dumped by the popular actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, exhibited his latest picture depicting Campbell in what looks like a nightdress bending over the helpless, supine form of a young man in bed. He called it The Vampire. This inspired the artist’s cousin Rudyard Kipling to write a poem, ‘The Vampire,’ with these opening lines:

“A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I!)

“The poem in turn inspired a play which became the 1915 movie A FOOL THERE WAS, starring Theda Bara, whose performance popularized the term ‘vamp’ for a sexually predatory female. That is, one who sucks the life, or the love, or the reputation, or honor, or riches from her victims just as the vampires of legend preyed on honest peasants.

“1897 was also the year Bram Stoker published DRACULA, about a more traditional, literal blood-sucking vampire, while Theda Bara’s likeness, in its turn, inspired artist and poet Marge Simon’s cover painting for VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). . . .”

But for more, you’ll have to use the key phrase, “Vamps in England,” and then use the link to find it for yourself.

And there’s more, still, under “Vamps in England,” a July 5 entry detailing the visit of five “vamps” to the British Science Fiction Association.  The vamps in question are five vampire poems, all appearing in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), all of which, hopefully, will also be in the BSFA’s magazine VECTOR.  One in fact may be at the printer even now.  While Poetry Editor Charles Christian spoke of an issue for last October, things got delayed, but just over a week ago I received a PDF of the upcoming poetry pages, and featured is my own “California Vamp” (for more on which see, below, “Got to Call It a Super Sunday” for February 4).

So anyway, now you know the story behind the picture for the Vampire Bite Blog Hop below in the column at the far right.  (And for tomorrow. the last day of Vampire Week. . . ?)

Will it be all five?  Well, you know how vampires are.  And one or many, we won’t be seeing them until October when, according to Poetry Editor Charles Christian, the issue in question of VECTOR comes out.  These are five poems I submitted as a result of “The Dragon Tattoo” having been accepted by URBAN FANTASIST (cf. June 30).  With the acceptance came a note, I having mentioned VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) in the bio I sent with the story, “I’d also be interested in any of your poetry submissions as I’m the poetry editor for a UK sci-fi magazine.”  Well, I’ve published short fiction about vampires set in Paris, Mignonette in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION last December, Guillemette to come in next winter’s WHITE CAT (see May 5, December 28, 21, et al., and May 29, respectively), so why not export vampire poems to England?  Thus today the acceptance email came.

The poems in question, all of which are in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) as well as, in four cases, other places (these vamps get around!) are:  “Moonlight Swimming,” “The Esthete,” “Alley Thoughts,” “California Vamp,” and Émile’s Ghosts” which together, I think, give a good mix of serious vs. funny, male vs. female, fairly long vs. fairly short, sexy vs. sad, in other words a fair idea of the range of poetry in the volume.  But of course there’s much more —   And as for VECTOR, it’s the official review and criticism journal of the British Science Fiction Association, an organization founded in 1958 by British science fiction and fantasy fans, authors, publishers, and booksellers, so perhaps with its coming October issue the word about VAMPS, via five of the book’s more adventurous denizens, will be spread a bit more widely across the sea.

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