Posts Tagged ‘Dystopian Science Fiction’

Well, it was actually just one of many readings on the Spoken Word Stage, and that just one facet of Bloomington’s annual Labor Day weekend 4th Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts (cf. August 27; September 23 2017, et al.), but one does what one does.  And mine was the only one touted as “horror fiction,” or as one person said afterward, welcome “chilling” on a hot, humid, hazy (with one smidge of light rain about 2 p.m., a safe hour and a half before show time for me, and anyway the readings were under a tent) late summer day.  Preceding me were two half hours of fiction, “audio theatre”, and more poets and theatre; just after a “poetry band” called SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY (who we’ve met before, see March 10 2017, et al.), more poets, and a storyteller.  And that’s just today, with more poets and fiction, storytelling, and audio theatre scheduled for Sunday.

My reading featured two stories from my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (press its picture in the center column for more information, reviews, and/or ordering), with the curtain raiser “Bones, Bones, The Musical Fruit,” a dystopian future (of sorts) fairytale about music and the making of performers’ instruments.  Then finishing off was “River Red,” a far-future variant of “Snow White” — with ghouls — preceded by reading part of the back cover blurb for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, in which universe this story is set.

The audience wasn’t super large, but I kept everyone who showed up from the start (some of whom may have looked a bit nervous before it was over), and it was fun.  So, after, I treated myself to a bowl of “drunken” noodles from the Thai restaurant across Dunn Street from us, that had a stand set up at the corner.

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Good, bad, pique your interest?  Alternatively do you roll your eyes and hope the movie itself will be better?  Welcome back to author Dennis Cooper’s blog (see post just below) and another long list o’ goodies, this time the title sequences of more dark movies than I can count, with (usually) explanations of how and why they work.  Plus, of course, links to the sequences themselves.

So, how many have you seen?  For reminiscence, comparing notes, or maybe finding what you’ve been missing, please to sample “The Title Sequences of 56 Mostly Horror Movies” by Dennis Cooper on DENNISCOPPERBLOG.COM, courtesy once more of Robert Dunbar via Facebook and LITERARY DARKNESS, by pressing here!

Then in today’s email I also received a list of questions from Martin Ingham regarding Martinus Publishing’s upcoming FORBIDDEN! anthology (see June 10).  Attached are the interview questions that you can answer at your convenience.  I’ll start running the interviews on my blog in a few weeks, and space them out as we get closer to the release date for the anthology.  So, as noted before, things are chugging along pretty quickly, with more to come (including the actual interview date when it becomes known) on these pages!

Things are moving fast for Martinus Publishing’s FORBIDDEN! anthology (see post just below), with a Sunday afternoon email from Editor Martin T. Ingham:  I am pleased to finally announce that the anthology is nearly complete!  The final stories have been compiled, and the proofing has begun!  With any luck, we’ll have this book ready to release by the end of summer.  So this evening I worked out some of the details then requested, making sure my biography (for publication along with the stories) was up to date, offering suggested mini-taglines (for possible back cover use) to describe the stories themselves, double checking to be sure I’d sent in a photo.  And one more detail, agreeing to do an author interview, more on which will appear here when it’s ready.

Okay, so I lied.  Last December 18, that is (cf. which, at al., below), in announcing ASTOUNDING OUTPOST’s awarding my story “No Place to Hide,” originally published in in the Summer 1991 edition of SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW, the “Editors Choice” prize in their anthology/contest for “Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware” stories, I told a fib or, more precisely, was misinformed.  Said I at the time, [a]s it happens, in addition to first, second, and third places, there was one other award to be given.  Or, to quote from the guidelines:  In addition, one story picked by the editors, not voters, will receive 15 dollars via Paypal and a custom T-shirt from the Astounding Outpost.  This is the equivalent of the second voted-on prize in terms of loot received (in more recent anthologies, a print copy will replace the T-shirt, but NEURAL NETS is the last that’s available in Kindle form only). . . .  Well, I haven’t seen the $15 or T-shirt either, but that’s not the point here*.  Rather, a serendipitous tiptoe through Amazon today has revealed that a print edition of NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE:  THE COMPLETE SET, with “No Place to Hide” number three in the contents, can now be found as well — and in fact may have been there since January!

The moral:  Many are the surprises we get in the publishing biz, or, to see (and perchance to buy?) for yourself press here.

 

*Also, as far as I know, there have been no subsequent anthologies either.

2018 may be an unusual year.  One might recall the CAMPFIRE TALES windfall only a few days ago (see January 19, below), of more than ten dollars — this for a single anthology story.  A second royalty has just arrived in Wednesday’s mail from Elder Signs Press for more than six times that amount!  And while one may also recall last July 23 and a check that would cover a decent romantic dinner (although without drinks) for two, for two separate stories in two separate books aided perhaps by the fact they’d both received a brief showing on actual bookstore shelves, today’s check is for considerably more than that amount too.  And here’s the thing:  This one does not include the anthology stories (which happened to have no payout this period due to returns) but, also published by Elder Signs Press, covers only the first sales for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  I’ll also add that if you might be interested in buying TOMBS, you can click its picture in the center column; or if you’d just like to read some reviews for 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13now, press here.

Then, speaking of TOMBS, voting also started Wednesday to pick the official 2017 Horror Writers Association Stoker(R) nominees.  Five can be voted for in each division with, I believe, eleven titles in all in “Fiction Collections” with TOMBS.  And one more item going back to the notice above, with Amazon and Barnes & Noble both still offering substantial print copy discounts which may be a factor, print sales for TOMBS in the previous six months appear to have outstripped electronic copies by more than ten to one!

Woo hoo!  We may recall from December 7, et al., that voting was ending for best story in Astounding Outpost’s NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE anthology, in which my story “No Place to Hide” appears.  Results are now in!  0riginally published in the long-dead pro magazine SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW in 1991, “No Place to Hide” has ended up in a hotly contested tie for eighth place.  But wait — there’s more.

As it happens, in addition to first, second, and third places, there was one other award to be given.  Or, to quote from the guidelines:  In addition, one story picked by the editors, not voters, will receive 15 dollars via paypal and a custom T-shirt from the Astounding Outpost.  This is the equivalent of the second voted-on prize in terms of loot received (in more recent anthologies, a print copy will replace the T-shirt, but NEURAL NETS is the last that’s available in Kindle form only) and, as it turns out, it seems there’s a dance in the old dame yet.*  Or, to quote again from the source:   After a very rough editorial battle, we can announce the WINNERS OF Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware.  First place goes to Burner, second goes to Catching Cameron Ellis, third to Never Lonely.  The editors choice goes to No Place to Hide.  Congratulations to the Neural Nets winners.  To check out the site for oneself, press here (then, to find the stories as well, press “Astounding Stories” at the upper right, but be prepared to scroll way, way down since the stories to be in the next anthology are in the process of being added).

One might then add that all stories, including the winners, can be read in the Kindle edition of NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE which may be purchased by clicking here.  (And also all writers receive a royalty on copies sold, so if enough of you . . . well, it does add up.)
.

*”a dance. . . ,” incidentally, is actually a quote that I couldn’t resist from ARCHY AND MEHITABEL (1927), one of a series of books by Don Marquis.  The specific poem is “The Song of Mehitabel,” the memoir of a somewhat disreputable alley cat (Triana, take note!) as transcribed by her friend, the cockroach Archy, and may be read by pressing here.

tourjours gai tourjours gai

We may recall from last Friday that voting had started for best story in Astounding Outpost’s NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE anthology, in which my story “No Place to Hide” appears (see December 1).  The “prize” for the three top vote-getters is a bit more pay for their stories, but last I looked my story was running in about eighth place.  Well, okay, so in a way it may really be more a popularity contest, at least in part, for Astounding Outpost “regulars” of which I’m not one, but still. . . .

Well, still, votes are nice, and in the words of the immortal Yogi Berra (I think) it ain’t over till it’s over, so herewith be reminded that voting was to be for one week only, making today the LAST DAY.  So, should one have the urge, one may read “No Place to Hide” by pressing here, or, more to the immediate point, the page for voting can be found here.

Also, just below (December 4) I noted that bargain prices for my novel-in-stories TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH were still available on Amazon, both in print and in Kindle (for which *ahem* one may press the book’s picture in the center column).  A quick check today shows that substantial discounts are also to be found from Barnes and Noble, at least in print (though NOOK copies are also available for $8.49, marked down from $8.99), notably one copy for as low as $8.98.  Perhaps your favorite book dealer has discounted copies too.  Or, in any event, to check out B & N’s prices (and check as well for special sales which may apply, one of which that ends December 10 may be good for an additional 25 percent off one item with the code GETGIFTING), though with fewer reviews on their site, one need but press here.

For those who may have a hankering to give a read to TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, the novel-in-stories of which you may have been seeing a bit about in some past posts, Amazon has been offering fairly substantial discounted prices for some while now.  A check today (lSunday), in fact, saw the print edition offered for only $9.36 (that’s compared to a cover price of $14.95) and the Kindle edition at $6.29 (compared to $8.99), though I have no idea how long these bargains may last.  I also don’t know how that will affect the royalty that comes to me, if at all, but — especially with Stoker voting season coming up soon, for those reading this who might be members of HWA — now might be a propitious time to buy.  And that goes double should you be searching for that perfect, but bizarre gift for a horror-loving (or dystopic science fiction, or dark romance, or far-future science fantasy) special friend.  Just click on its picture in the center column, or else press here.

Then, speaking of Christmas, while I missed November’s Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” Sunday afternoon brought the December edition and, unfortunately, last to be hosted by Boxcar Books (or, capitalism strikes again and small bookstores tend not to last forever, though part of their mission may be revived at a new location).  Be that as it may, the featured readers were Shana Ritter who read from a just completed novel about the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the late 15th century, this part told from the point of view of a teen-age girl in one of the affected families, and Writers Guild founding member and prior chairperson Patsy Rahn with a portion of a short fantasy called “The Reality Game.”  Snacks were served, then following custom it was time for walk-on readers of which I was third of four with a seasonal story originally published in DARK JESTERS (Novello Publishers, 2006), “The Worst Christmas Ever,” from the point of view of a not-too-competent Santa’s elf about . . . well . . . a pretty bad Christmas.

The crowd wasn’t the hugest, even including the homeless guy asleep in the back row, but was gratifyingly enthusiastic for this month’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic”(cf. August 7, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and Boxcar Books, and anyway it had to compete with a lovely late-summerish afternoon outside.  And, yes, this was October.  Be that as it may, it was also our starting-the-buildup-to-Halloween special, with featured readings beginning with Frida Westford and two short shorts, “That Which Remains” about a displaced bog spirit paired with a fairy tale brought up to date in “The Eve of All Hallows,” and ending with Joan Hawkins and Tony Brewer performing brief excerpts from the screenplay for Ken Russell’s never-produced film version of DRACULA, with the title character an aesthete who specializes in biting artists about to die in order to give them eternal life to continue producing.

My reading came in between these two with a presentation from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH somewhat paralleling that of the previous month at the Bloomington Arts Festival “Spoken Word Stage” (see September 3), this time with the book’s back-cover blurb plus the ghoul-poet’s tale from Section III to introduce the chapter-story “Carnival of the Animals,” and seemed to me to be well received (snoring homeless guy in the back notwithstanding).

Then after the break, with banana bread and ginger cookies, four readers, all of whom we’ve met before, offered open microphone presentations to cap the afternoon:  Tonia Matthews, Shayne Laughter, and (this time separately) Tony Brewer and MC Joan Hawkins.

While Saturday started off a bit cool and clouded for my taste, the sun had established itself by a little past noon and Sunday followed sunny and warm too, a beautiful weekend for this year’s Bloomington 4th Street Festival of Arts & Crafts and, with it, the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage (cf. below, August 30).  Along with a number of poets both days, Saturday also brought Bloomington High School South’s Poetry Out Loud (getting the new generation on our side), children’s theater with the Merry Mac Players, FRANKENSTEIN as presented by the Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players, and poetry “band” Shakespeare’s Monkey.  Then Sunday introduced more prose fiction readers, including Joan Hawkins and Shayne Laughter who we’ve met before (cf., e.g., various First Sundays Prose readings, for which in a way today’s Spoken Word session was a substitute), and . . . somewhat late in the day at 3:30 p.m., me.  In my case, I read three excerpts from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, the back cover blurb and the introduction to Section II — by way of a sort of introduction — followed by the Section II story-chapter “The Last Dance.”  This was the same as the reading I presented last July at NASFiC in Puerto Rico (see July 13) and it seemed to go over well to an audience that started out on the small side, but grew as I continued, a good sign as these things go.  Next month, also, I’ll probably read the same first two parts but a slightly shorter story-chapter for October’s First Sunday.

Then speaking of TOMBS, Saturday’s email brought an “eligibility check” from the Horror Writers Association for works submitted to the Bram Stoker Award(R) Jury.  This consisted of questions concerning publication date, length and content, and prior publication (if any) of parts of the contents, all of which I was able to answer in the affirmative and send right back.  While this will be checked by the Jury people, with an official “acceptance” probably not for two weeks, one possibly ambiguous thing has been decided.  Although TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is a novel-in-stories, akin to Ray Bradbury’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES or Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB, under the technicalities of the Stoker rules, it will be voted on in the Fiction Collection category.

So what that means in the here and now:  If you’re a HWA member and have read TOMBS, and have a hankering to recommend it for a Stoker, please do it for “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.”  But even if you’re not a HWA member, while/if the spirit moves please also consider reviewing it for Amazon and Barnes & Noble (both of which are offering wildly discounted prices on TOMBS, by the way, while they last), as well as on Goodreads.




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