Posts Tagged ‘Dystopian Science Fiction’

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!

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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.)
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*”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.

“Now in its 7th year, the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival is one of the largest literary performance events in the Midwest, featuring storytelling, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, live radio theatre, and other unique collaborations,” the announcement tells us (see also, below, August 9 and 7).  As in years past, I will have a slot too, billed as “horror fiction” from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, September 3rd.  The event itself, arts fair, music, local displays, and the Bloomington Writers Guild-sponsored “Poetry on Demand” booth and Spoken Word Stage, spans the Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday September 2 and 3, arrayed along 4th Street in Bloomington, Indiana.  Or more to the point for the Spoken Word Stage, just off 4th on Dunn Street.

Here is the schedule, as of today, noting again that I’ll be on Sunday with excerpts from my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, from 3:30 to 4.  And if you like it, I’ll be up again with an excerpt from a different section the following month, in a featured spot at the Writers Guild’s First Sunday Prose Reading, on which more later.

SATURDAY Sep 2
10:30 Shana Ritter (poetry)
11:00 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:30 Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:00 Merry MAC cont’d
12:30 Butch D’Ambrisio (sonnets)
1:00 Alex Hollett (poetry)
1:30 Abegunde (poetry)
2:00 Matt Hart (poetry)
2:30 Wil Gibson
3:00 PrideSlam Showcase (poetry)
3:30 Bloomington High School South Poetry Out Loud (poetry)
4:00 Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
4:30 Fig Tree cont’d
5:00 Steve Henn (poetry)
5:30 Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)

SUNDAY Sep 3
10:00 Tony Brewer (poetry)
10:30 Eric Rensberger (poetry)
11:00 Joan Hawkins (fiction)
11:30 New Leaf New Life volunteers (poetry and fiction)
12:00 Adam Henze (poetry)
12:30 Shayne Laughter (fiction)
1:00 Jack Ramey (poetry)
1:30 Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
2:00 Wil Gibson
2:30 Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
3:00 Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 Lisa Kwong (poetry/personal essay)
4:30 Bloomington Storytellers Guild (storytelling)

In other news, today brought proof sheets for “Flightless Rats” from FANTASIA DIVINITY (cf. July 7, et al.) which, with one correction noted, went back this afternoon.  To be published in the September issue, “Flightless Rats” is the tale of New Orleanian “Casket Girl” Aimée a-prowl for a new husband, but how some prospects may not make the grade.  It is a reprint, originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG, January 12 2015, and has also appeared in the flash fiction anthology MOCHA’S DARK BREW: 10 TALES OF HORROR (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2016).

In the email station even as I write, a pdf copy of the Hydra Publications anthology DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS, with my story “Invisible People” (see October 30, et al.), has been received.  And with it has come a table of contents in story order, subject to only last-minute corrections, with mine the third to last car on the train.  “Invisible People” is an early story, first published in the Winter 1992-93 issue of DARK INFINITY, ycover artet one that may still be pertinent today, of what happens when people are so disaffected that society has forgotten about them.  But in this case it’s society itself that has forced them out in the first place.

“Occupy,” anyone?  Well not exactly, but certainly not the movements still within politics either, no matter how loudly they may claim to be excluded.  Nor terrorists either, at least not exactly — for these are people who, if not wishing to be entirely unseen, had found that blending in with the crowd, to not be too noticed, could work as a kind of survival technique.

At least up to now.

And these are the problems of just one world as depicted aboard the DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS.  There are eighteen other worlds that appear with it, as we can see here:

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Table of Contents

Friending, Gregory L. Norris — 1
Republic of Masks, Josh Brown — 4
Greater Good, Jeff Provine — 8
An Unfettered Life, C. Bryan Brown — 17
Surrender, Bob Brown — 32
The Hating, Nigel Anthony Sellars — 39
The Unbinding, M. P. Neal — 59
Cohort 17, Val Muller — 67
Data Crabs, Deborah Walker — 86
The First Price, Benjamin Sperduto — 94
Jötnar, Colonel D. R. Acula — 110
Fudgesickles, Brick Marlin — 122
Scarecrow, Scarecrow on the Hill, Tracy Fahey — 130
The Unnaturals, Michael J. Epstein — 138
Fit to Rule, Stephanie Neilan — 142
When the Wind Blows, Pam Farley — 146
Invisible People, James Dorr — 149
Twenty-One Seconds, Ian Neack — 161
Finding Chidera, Dave Creek — 169

Did someone say the Invisible Man?  Not quite, but I’ve just returned the proof sheets for a story, “Invisible People,” to Frank Hall for DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS (cf. August 23, May 30).  To be 2ae02e6ff992b2e0837892af56eaaa41published by Hydra Publications, “Invisible People” has to do with lots of invisible men, and some women too, and a near future society that likes them fine just that way.  Of course, it being a dystopian society, things may not remain exactly that way forever. . . .

“Invisible People” is a reprint, I should add, having originally appeared in the Winter 1992/93 edition of DARK INFINITY.

Then in other news, the local cave cat Wednesday (for more on whom press “Wednesday” in the column to the far right) celebrates her 11th anniversary of arriving here tomorrow, on Halloween.  All has not been completely well for her, however.  A shelter cat, she’s led a placid enough life once she came here, but this summer — a strange one for insects in general, including the Invasion of the Tiny Ants — she was apparently bitten by a mutant, flea-treatment resistant flea which in turn may have given her a tapeworm or other internal vampiric parasite, in turn afflicting her with anemia.  So last month she went to the vet, has been given meds in her food each day since, and today, Halloween Eve, she went back again for more tests.

The bottom line: she’s getting well!  But there’s still the problem of the possibly mutant fleas, so she is now wearing a modest but elegant, muted gray expensive flea collar of a veterinarian-recommended sort to deter even the most voracious of insects.

I asked, but alas, she couldn’t get it with imitation rhinestones.

Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing sent this along, that OmniLit is holding a “Welcome To Summer” sale for this Saturday only, offering all titles they sell at 25 percent off.  These include all four of my titles from Untreed Reads as well as one from Northern Frights Publishing.  Three are chapbooks, the stand-alone short stories VANITAS and I’M DREAMING OF A. . . . and the dystopian science fiction novelette PEDS, to which are added the Untreed Reads New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, with my lead-off story “Appointment in Time,” and Northern Frights’s WAR OF THE WORLDS:  FRONTLINES with my dimensional fantasy “The Candle Room.”  Books are available in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions unless otherwise noted.

More can be found on the OmniLit site (if you wish to look for me in the search box at the upper right, use “James S. Dorr” in the “Author” category — they refuse to recognize me without my middle initial).  But remember the sale is for Saturday only, June 20, ending at midnight Central Time.




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