Posts Tagged ‘Dystopic Science Fiction’

It won’t be until June 2021, but “Flute and Harp” is now one step closer to publication in HELIOS QUARTERLY (cf. June 17, 3) with the arrival of the contract which, after a little bit of discussion, I signed and returned Sunday.  The still lengthy time to release, I might add, is a result of an overly successful submission drive resulting in Volume 5, for 2020, to be almost immediately filled, pushing musician lovers Flute and Harp back to issue 2 of Volume 6.  However, with success can sometimes come reversals, in this case a fire personally affecting HELIOS QUARTERLY’s editor/publisher and that in turn has engendered an emergency subscription drive, for funds to help assure the magazine can continue to come out on time.  If you would be interested in helping — or just to get a neat magazine, including the reprint of “Flute and Harp” — more information can be found here.

“Flute and Harp” was originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), and is a sort of personal favorite of mine.  It tells the tale of two doomed musician-lovers on a far-future dying planet and also appears as a story chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017), more on which can be found by clicking its picture in the center column.

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Remember those ne’er-do-wells “Crow and Rat,” and how they slinked into England to be in the book HUMANAGERIE (cf. April 3, March 21, et al. )?  So wouldn’t you know, they’ve gotten themselves in the news again, or at least the book that accepted them has.  According to Co-Editor Allen Ashley:  I just wanted to let you know that HUMANAGERIE has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award in the “Best Anthology” category.  Sarah and I are absolutely thrilled.  And of course, we could not have done this without the superb writing that we received from all of you.  . . .  The British Fantasy Award shortlist of five titles — including an anthology edited by our very own Dan Coxon (AKA Ian Steadman) — now goes to a select jury for final decision, to be announced at FantasyCon in Glasgow on 20 October.  The British Fantasy Award, I might add, is not a small thing; sponsored by the British Fantasy Society it’s the UK equivalent of, on this side of the ocean, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula or the Horror Writer Association’s Stoker Awards(R), rather rarefied company for such as Rat and Crow!

“Crow and Rat,” one might remember, were beggars and thieves in the far future world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, albeit not in that book itself, whose unwise (and probably one-sided) love simply led them into even more trouble.  To quote from their own story, [h]is name was Crow, and she was called Rat.  Both of them were beggars in the New City, not the creative kind, jongleurs or tale-tellers, gossip-mongers or criers or news-spreaders, but rather the shabbier, desperate grubbers of others’ detritus — ghouls as it were of the wealthier precincts’ trashheaps and middens.  Petty thieves, sometimes, when courage and opportunity blessed them.  In other words, common enough to be unnoticed.

However the book they are in has been noticed.  For a complete list of British Fantasy Award finalists in all categories one can press here — while for background information on the world Crow and Rat came from, the world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (which disdains to give rascals such as them even a mention), one can click its picture in the center column.

Book bargains galore (well, sort of), or a very quick update, Amazon’s price for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (see July 15) is still holding good, though one never knows when such things may change.  But here is some new news, a recheck on THE TEARS OF ISIS now has listings for three used copies in “very good” condition, and with shipping FREE, at $9.98.  That is, under ten dollars (though, since Amazon now adds on sales tax for at least some states, the actual cost may be a little bit more).  And there’s also a fourth copy at $6.03 with a shipping cost of $3.95 which comes to . . . also $9.98!  For more (and maybe to buy one?) press here.

Best hurry though, if you want a bargain — the next least expensive used copy of TEARS is for $22.98 (with shipping still free, but in just “good” condition).  While for a new copy, Amazon still lists the paperback at the cover price of $12.95.

Yes, this is new, though the catch is that, unless you’re on Prime or buy at least three copies, you will have to pay shipping costs as well.  The book:  TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and it’s still a bargain at $9.31, under $10.00, or 38 percent off its list price of $14.95.  For more click its picture in the center column or, going directly to the chase, press here.  But one would best hurry, Amazon is also doing “Prime Days” just for today and 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13tomorrow and, while this one’s for non-Prime customers too, it may not be offered for very long.
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The above is something I found out more or less accidentally and seemed worth sharing.  I then checked out THE TEARS OF ISIS (as is my wont) but, alas, at least on Amazon one must pay its full $12.95 price.  That is for a new copy (which, I admit, I’d prefer you buy because I get a royalty on them — these are all for paperbacks I should add, with Kindle prices somewhat less), but for a less expensive read three vendors have used copies listed at $10.44, with condition rated as “Very Good,” and with shipping free.  These can be found by clicking TEARS’ picture or pressing here and, hey, if you like it, perhaps you’ll be moved to send Amazon and/or Goodreads a review.

A very, very quick bit of news. “Flute and Harp,” accepted as a reprint by HELIOS QUARTERLY on June 3 (see below), has now been scheduled for Volume 6, Issue 2, for June 2021.  Yes, that’s two years from now, Volume 5 having already been filled due to a greater than expected response to this year’s call for submissions.  The story itself, originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001) concerns a pair of musicians on a dying world who like each other very much, but also share a fear of ghouls.  The story itself is a favorite of mine and, if I may say so, should be worth the wait, but for those who might be more impatient it also appears in my novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017), for more on which one may press its picture in the center column.

Some editors know what they like and don’t mind saying so very quickly.  To quote the announcement, SPECIAL CALL:  HELIOS QUARTERLY turns 5 in 2020!  Over the years, we’ve published less horror than science fiction & fantasy.  . . .  We want to change that.  For our upcoming call for submissions, we’re especially interested in horror short stories and poetry by Black, Indigenous, and other poets and authors of color.  So late Sunday night (the email auto-acknowledgement is stamped as 10:34 p.m.) I plunked the key that sent my submission of a 5500-word story, “Flute and Harp.”

Then just under twelve hours later, listed as at 10:32 a.m. Monday, the e-reply came:  Congratulations writer!  We would like to publish your submission “Flute and Harp”.  At this time we do not yet know the actual date of publication, but we will continue to keep you notified of what is happening as we move forward.  So while I don’t know if that’s a record, it is pretty swift.

“Flute and Harp” is a reprint, originally published in WHISPERS AND SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), and is a sort of personal favorite of mine.  It tells the tale of two doomed musician-lovers on a far-future dying planet and also appears as a story chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (Elder Signs Press, 2017).  And I might also note that HELIOS QUARTERLY has a very narrow window for submissions (again to quote from their guidelines), from June 1-15 11:59 EST every year.  Or in other words, my two musicians (as might benefit musicians everywhere) had a very fine sense of timing!

But that also means there is at least a short time remaining for others who might have a yen to submit to HELIOS QUARTERLY (which though, in addition to quickness, seems also to be rather picky), for more on which one may press here.

I probably shouldn’t single out any of the stories, because all of them are excellent, but I have to mention that “Aquarium Dreams” by Gary Budgen, “Crow and Rat” by James Dorr, “Rut” by Ian Steadman, “Dewclaw” by Ian Kappos, “Her Audience Shall Stand in Ovation” by Jason Gould are among the best stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  I also greatly enjoyed “Susheela” by Bindia Persaud, because it reads like a fairy tale for adults, and I loved “Ouroboros” by Douglas Thompson, because it’s something mesmerisingly different.  These stories alone make this anthology worth owning and reading.

So begins the conclusion of a review from March 29 in RISING SHADOW, e-pointed out to me by HUMANAGERIE Editor (with Sarah Doyle) Allen Ashley:  Just in case you haven’t seen this on Facebook, we have had another fabulous review, this time by the respected review website RISING SHADOW.  I am attaching a copy for you.  Everybody gets a positive mention.  And positive these mentions are indeed!  Earlier, reviewer Seregil of Rhiminee comments on each item in the contents, saying this of lowest-of-low ne’er-do-wells Crow and Rat (cf. January 13, et al.):

Crow and Rat – James Dorr:

– An excellent story about Crow and Rat who are beggars in the New City.
– The author’s vision of the world where the sun has become hotter is fascinating and satisfyingly dark.
– This is a bit different kind of a love story, because it has a dark and epic feel to it.  It’s almost like a dark and romantic fairy tale for adults.
– I consider James Dorr to be an author to watch, because this story is amazing.  (When I read this story, I said to myself that I must read more stories by the author, because what I’ve just read is something special.)

The New City, I should point out, is one of the settings in my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, although Crow and Rat’s story itself doesn’t appear in it.  But let it not go to these miscreants’ heads, but they seem to be doing quite well enough just from their appearance in HUMANAGERIE.  While as for RISING SHADOW’s review, to read it in full for yourself press here.

This is a British thing that I don’t really know a lot about, but I understand from Editors Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley that HUMANAGERIE (see March 18, et al.) is eligible for nomination for a Saboteur Award for Best Anthology of 2018, as well as Eibonvale Press for Most Innovative Publisher.  As Sarah puts it:  I know there have been some amazing anthologies out in the past year (in which some of you may have appeared), but if you wanted to vote for “Humanagerie” in the Best Anthology category (and/or wanted to share the link with friends/family or via social media), that would be very welcome.  But no worries if not, of course!  As I understand it, the awards are sponsored by SABOTAGE REVIEWS and supported by a “Grant for the Arts” from Arts Council England.

For more information on the awards (with last year’s winners) one can press here while, if so moved, to make nominations press here.

Also today marks the second royalty statement for this month, this for substantially more than the last, actually topping $1.00!  I won’t say by how much nor will I mention the publisher’s name, but in full disclosure, royalties received for short stories in anthologies (that is, sharing the take with all other authors) are generally not going to be very great.  Moreover this particular one is for a series of four books published more than ten years ago, which have continued to produce sales every year from the earliest, in 2001 — and indeed, added up especially in the earliest years, have paid totals which had they been paid all at once would be fairly impressive.  (Of course — even fuller disclosure — these are a particularly bright exception, most anthologies doing well perhaps in their first year, but not having nearly that much staying power).

Many of these stories and poems are metaphors for the human world and how we behave, how we show tolerance (questionable often) and understanding.  There is much to reflect on in this book, to help us begin to understand ourselves.  The poems and stories demonstrate the power of the animal world over the human world.  We are challenged throughout this book to question power and where it lies.  (Wendy French)

Say what?

The above is from a review of the anthology HUMANAGERIE (cf. January 13, October 28, et al.), brought to my attention by co-editor Allen Ashley in yesterday afternoon’s email, and while my TOMBS-set story in it, “Crow and Rat,” is not specifically mentioned, the comments in general strike me as worth reading.  The review itself is in the British poetry magazine LONDON GRIP and may be read in its entirety by pressing here.  And that’s not all.  While it’s not a review as such, HUMANAGERIE is also the featured publication for March in ATRIUM, with five poems quoted as well as a link to HUMANAGERIE publisher’s Eibonvale Press site for more information and possible ordering, all of which may be seen by pressing here.

Then finally, if one wishes to go to the publisher’s site directly, just press here.

And now for something completely different.  Or, well, different at least, a recasting of an interview of . . . *moi* . . . by Rushelle Dillon (cf. October 22 2017) in a video format, or part of it anyway.  The title is “Video Refresh:  James Dorr Interview” by Stuart Conover and it’s on HORRORTREE.COM.  Or, to let the poster speak for himself:  A Sample of our interview with James Dorr by Ruschelle Dillon.  In the interview, he has a lot of fun details on his take on the writing process.  If you delve into the full interview there are a lot of playful details on his life on top of that!  . . .  This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear.  Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

For more, press here (yes, it is kind of fun)!  And there’s also a link if you wish to read the whole interview as it had been originally posted.

Then a quick word on the two Kickstarters we followed earlier this month.  The ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE one (see February 3, January 29) will be over this Thursday, February 21, so there’s not much time left if you’re tempted to participate.  The other for Gehenna and Hinnom Books (see February 1), with as of now a few extra rewards added, will end just past the close of the month, on Saturday March 2.  Links to both can be found in their posts on the dates just noted.




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