Posts Tagged ‘Dystopias’

Set in the “universe” of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but an ancillary story not in that volume, “Ghost Ship” was first published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU in 2013.  But again on the haunt, with Halloween coming, it has more recently been in the news with its acceptance, and then contract signing for a special “Derelicts” issue of science fiction journal BLACK ETERNITY (cf. September 15, August 11).  And so, again, it has materialized; from Editor Tom English:  Here’s “Ghost Ship” for review.  Please let me know if anything (text or formatting) needs adjusting.  If possible, please get back to me by Tuesday or sooner.  Thanks again!

So the writing life ticks on.  The issue will be BLACK INFINITY #5, set to be out later in October, in time for you-know-when.  And, the copy checked over and my reply sent, I’ll be looking forward to it in time for reading as ghosts and pirates and who knows what else flock to my door questing for Halloween candy.

Well, at the top of the list of names at the lower right, but you get the idea.  And . . . appearing just above Philip K. Dick?  Not shabby at all (and look farther down on the list as well)!  The magazine is DARK INFINITY #5 (see September 15, August 11), the “Derelict” issue, and my story is a reprint too, “Ghost Ship,” harking back to TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU (Red Skies Press, 2013) and set in the universe of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

But as for the magazine itself, let’s let Editor Tom English do the honors:  Cover of BLACK INFINITY #5, (the DERELICTS issue) out in early October.  Stories by Gregory Norris, David VonAllmen, Douglas Smith, James Dorr, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Stewart C Baker, Jason J. McCuiston, Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, Jack Williamson, Alan E. Nourse and others, with art by Allen Koszowski and others.  Plus:  retro movie reviews by Matt Cowan; weird science by Todd Treichel; a classic SF comics story from the 50s; a special tribute section to the original Lost in Space series; a brief survey of derelict spaceships in SF; and a free music download (details inside the mag) created especially for BLACK INFINITY by Mac of BIOnighT.  — with Jason Krueger.

And out well in time for Halloween — I’m looking forward!

The story is called “Ghost Ship” and it’s for a special “Derelicts” issue of BLACK INFINITY.  The magazine’s subtitle:  “Strange Science, Weird Worlds, Hostile Aliens, Renegade Robots  . . .  and the Cold Vacuum of Space.”  And so, “Ghost Ship” having been accepted (see August 11), this morning the contract arrived and, signed later today, has gone back to Editor/Publisher Tom English.  Another small part of the writing life.

The call had been for tales of [a]bandoned space ships, alien ships, lost ships on the high seas, as long as they had some science fiction element, and added that reprints would be welcome too.  “Ghost Ship” itself was originally published in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU in 2013 (cf. May 2 2013, et al.), and is set in the universe of my novel-in-stories TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  It is a sea story about the origins of a “Flying Dutchman”-like apparition, as told to the crew of fishing boat hurrying back to land just before a new sunrise.

So then the next step, receipt of a PDF file of the story for proofing should come, according to the email, in a week or so and, when all else is ready, is set to appear in BLACK INFINITY #5.

It’s not easy being different — and especially so if one has what one may call “special” powers.  So, too, of films, Julia Hart’s FAST COLOR (billed as Drama, Science Fiction, and Thriller) being a last minute addition to the Indiana University Cinema’s “International Arthouse Series” with special reference this fall to films directed by women, and of which the docent declined to comment on “the way the movie unfolds.”

There was, though, a blurb, even if emailed just four days before:  In the dystopian near future of a drought-plagued American Midwest, a young woman, Ruth, with superhuman abilities is forced to go on the run when her powers are discovered.  Pursued by law enforcement and scientists who want to control her and study her powers, Ruth is running out of options.  Years after having abandoned her family, she realizes the only place she has left to hide is home.  While seeking shelter with her mother, Bo, and the daughter she’s never really known, Lila, Ruth begins to mend her fractured familial bonds and discovers how to harness her powers rather than be haunted by them.

And on Friday the thirteenth as well (and a rare one on which there was also a full moon!), I had some doubts as I went to the screening.  But I can say that I was delighted.  The docent did point out that FAST COLOR received rave reviews at its premiere at the 2018 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival; for myself I would say while there may have been plot holes as well as a possibly simplified ending (e.g., would not agents of the “evil” scientists and cops still have pursued the main character, even if having had it demonstrated that that might not be a good idea), the characters came off as emotionally true — relatable to and likeable, if in weird circumstances — and the SFX (when sparingly used) were good.  All of which I’d expect goes to good direction.

2013, the year that brought us the films GRAVITY and DESPICABLE ME 2, as well as in which my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS was published. And what should I run across this afternoon, through sheer serendipity, but an interview of me dated May 7 that year on LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS (“Reviewing Fiction One Happy Ever After at a Time”)?  At that time THE TEARS OF ISIS was about to be published in roughly a week by Isis4_2Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing — pre-orders on Amazon were being taken and five free copies being raffled on Goodreads — although the cover was not the one shown in the center column. The cover change only came a year after, acknowledging TEARS having won a Stoker(R) nomination. While other concerns were about a book that was already planned, but had suffered some setbacks in terms of finding a publisher for it:  James has a series of short stories he’s been writing set on a far future, dying Earth in and around a vast necropolis called The Tombs.  Something more than a dozen of these have been published in various places, including three (two reprints and one for the first time) in THE TEARS OF ISIS, “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red” (another new one, “Raising the Dead,” is also scheduled for later this year in the White Cat Publications steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS AND AUTOMATONS). . . .

So it’s not that long a time really, is it?  Other “standard” topics are covered too:  How did you first become a writer?  Advice for new writers?  If interested in how the writing life looked at least for a moment back then, the interview as a whole can be read here.

Here’s another list, this one rather long and special as well as one I’d like to save for myself:  “43 Underrated Films from the Darker Side of Cinema You’ve Probably Never Seen — A Gehenna Post Article” via GEHENNAANDHINNOM on WordPress.  Well, of course I’ve seen some, but I use these things to check out the ones I haven’t in case there might be something I’ve missed that I’d better look for at least on DVD.  One’s mileage varies, as the saying goes, but to see for yourself check here.  In addition, G & H’s editor, publisher, and now list maker C.P. Dunphey not only bought my story “Flesh” for YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see November 1 2017, et al.), but also ran an interview of me on the GEHENNA POST along with an extremely positive review of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. June 3 2017, and/or check it on Amazon et al.), which can be seen by pressing here.  Or in other words, we know already he has good taste.

Which is to say, despite yesterday’s “oopsie” at HWA Central, publicity continues on TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH having made the preliminary Stoker(R) ballot.  For example, for publisher Elder Signs Press’s Facebook page press here (where, if you then scroll down and down, you’ll also find other posts about TOMBS, including one with a link to an interview by Heidi Angell).  For HWA Active and Lifetime members voting will start tomorrow, I think (with a hopefully corrected list of ballot candidates’ links/contact information), with an announcement of the final ballot early next month.  And for everyone, if you like TOMBS please consider giving it a review for Amazon, Goodreads, and other such fiction lovers’ gathering places.

Some days just aren’t one’s day.  Voting members of the Horror Writers Association will have just received, as of about the last hour, a “Special Internet Preliminary Ballot Mailer with Links” listing all books and authors in the various Stoker categories, with direct links or instructions for obtaining reading copies of the works.  As readers may know, one of these in the Fiction Collection category is my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. January 18, below — why a Fiction Collection and not a novel?  That’s how the categories work).  But, oops, one little problem on the links part of this.  When I looked up TOMBS, the link under it is for a different book altogether, Michael Hanson’s poetry collection WHEN THE NIGHT OWL SCREAMS.

So it goes.  I’m assured, however, that an updated list, to be sent Tuesday night after the actual ballots have been sent out, will have the correct information — so any HWA members reading this blog need not despair yet.  Or, better, to run around the system, if you’re a HWA voting member and wish to obtain a PDF copy of TOMBS to read, drop me a note to that effect with an email address to send it to under “comments” here.

Well, life in the far future as depicted in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is, to be sure, not exactly cheery.  And Amazon’s keywords do include the term “Dystopian,” as well as “Horror.”  But here’s a description from Erin Roberts’s “How to Tell If You’re Living in a Dystopia — And Why It Matters,” from TOR.COM:  Dystopian fiction, which comes from the Ancient Greek words “dys” (bad) and “topia” (place), lives up to its name by featuring worlds in which reality is cruel, suffering is extreme, and hope seems pointless.  But not every horrible place is a dystopia — the trope usually features a world in which society itself is the problem — and not every dystopia is horrible in the same way.  The social order is broken, but how?  The system has been corrupted, but by whom?  These futures may be bleak, but they are not interchangeable.  And so the question, are troubles in TOMBS primarily that of a social order (or orders) gone wrong, or is it more just a physically lousy place to live?  Or some kind of combination of both?

Ms. Roberts suggests four questions one could ask to determine whether one’s milieu is dystopic or not, mostly having to do with societal origins and hopes of relief, but as some of the comments after may suggest those might not be the only criteria.  But see for yourself by pressing here.  While as for TOMBS, for more information click on its picture in the center column, read the reviews, and perhaps buy a copy.

A time of revelry and reversal, Saturnalia represents the breakdown of what has been deemed the natural order.  HYPERION AND THEIA’s inaugural volume wants stories and poetry that runs the gamut of genres and turns expectations on their heads.  Submit a fantastical murder-mystery set in the biggest carnival in Atlantis.  Wow us with a sweeping romance in space where gods and goddesses serve their creations after a bloody war. . . .

Such had been the call some months ago and, last December, came the acceptance (cf. December 9 2016).  My “epic” poem DREAMING SATURN, originally published in the anthology DARK DESTINY (White Wolf, 1994) would not only be in the inaugural volume, but tentatively would be set as the opening item.  A contract would follow.

So you know how it is.  Life intrudes, delays happen.  But then, yesterday:  Sorry for the long wait!  I have attached the final contract for you to sign.  I will contact you again on the 27th of October with the cover and other promotional material.  Suffice to say, the signed 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13contract went back in the email this afternoon.

In other news, a run through the e-bookstores this morning unearthed a 33-percent discount for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH on Barnes and Noble, at $9.99 — and that’s just the “official” price, with individual sellers’ new copies as inexpensive as $8.98.  There’s no indication how long these prices may last, so best take advantage soon!  Amazon, also, while listing the full price of $14.95 on its site, has several individual listings in the $10 to $11 range.  If interested, check out Barnes and Noble by pressing here; while Amazon can continue to be found, including several substantive reviews, by clicking TOMBS’ picture in the center column.




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