Posts Tagged ‘Myth’

The announcement, from Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge, was brief:  All of the Smart Rhino books are currently on sale at Smashwords, most at 50% off.  The sale is until March 11, so grab them while you can.  Just search for the individual titles.  But the finding them may possibly not be quite so simple as it may seem (hint:  for some, you may have to toggle the “adult” switch ON).  For mine, press here, but — remember — then toggle the words “Adult Content” at the top right to be sure it’s on (a check mark is good, circle with a slash through it is bad).  Then scroll down past THE GOOD FIGHT 3:  SIDEKICKS for the ones I’insidiousassassinsm in, and ignore PRESIDENTIAL PULP plus the history one at the very end.  These are all anthologies or magazines with stories by me in them, whether or not they may be on sale, with the Smart Rhino ones being INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS and UNCOMMON ASSASSINS (this latter, I think, toward the very end).  But linger a bit, perhaps there are others that you may like too.  Or  if in a hurry, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS can be found here and INSIDIOUS here (the “Adult” switch pre-set), with my stories in each being “The Wellmasters Daughter” (see August 16 2012, et al.) and “Labyrinth (see January 23 2015, et al.) respectively.

In other news, we had another pleasant, sunny afternoon for this month’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and Boxcar Books.  And for two hours, we had a good crowd as these things go, with about eighteen people (fourteen of who persisted through open mike afterward) for featured readers Eric Rensberger, with a contemplative essay on books and dust; Joan Hawkins, standing in for advertised reader Jenny Kander who couldn’t make it due to illness, with a memoir of 1974 Prague under Soviet occupation; and bestselling “rural noir” fiction writer Bonnie Jo Campbell with two short shorts from her MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS collection, an excerpt from the title story, and the opening paragraph of her novel ONCE UPON A RIVER.  Then after the break (with lovely cookies), mindful of Mardi Gras having been less than a week before, I ended a walk-on session of some five readers with a New Orleans set “Casket Girls” story, “Death and the Vampire,” in which the flavor of Death is found to be, if not the best, at least not bad.

It seemed an interesting fit even if, technically, too long.  The guidelines did say poetry was to be no more than 100 lines, while my “Dreaming Saturn” was more like 170.  It was also a reprint, but that would be okay, having originally been published in White Wolf’s 1994 anthology DARK DESTINY.  And the venue was fascinating:

sat·ur·na·li·a ˌsatərˈnālyə/
    noun
    the ancient Roman festival of Saturn in December, which was a period of general merrymaking and was the predecessor of Christmas.
    an occasion of wild revelry.
    noun: saturnalia; plural noun: saturnalias

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 htlogowith a sweeping romance in space where gods and goddesses serve their creations after a bloody war.  Deadline January 31st, 2017 11:59 EST.

So, caution to the wind and all that, Saturday, December 3 I sent “Dreaming Saturn” in, apologizing for the length but hoping it still could be considered.  Today, six days later, came the reply:  I would be happy to include your poem in the upcoming anthology!  I think it would make a great opening.  Please give me a few weeks to get back to you so I can close out submissions.  I would need your PayPal address and preferred digital format (ePub/mobi/PDF) in the mean time.  I’ll come back with a sample contract for you to review.

And there we are, not just in the show but possibly even the opening act!  For which, a merry pre-holiday to HYPERION AND THEIA Editor Olivia, and the moral:  once in a while it’s worth taking a chance.

Of all the genres, science fiction and fantasy are the ones where humans can tackle their deepest societal problems and thought experiments. Because of this, it’s a natural place for people to explore ideas about religion, faith, and the meaning of life. . .  So begins Leah Schnelbach’s “19 Positive Approaches to Religion in Sci-Fi and Fantasy” on TOR.COM, brought via today’s post-Halloween email.  I thought it would be interesting to look at some examples of books and short stories that have tackled re[SCM]actwin,1352,0,3288,736;Blogger: Adventures of a Grad Student - Edit post - Google Chrome chrome 9/12/2013 , 11:39:59 PMligious questions in respectful and positive ways, she continues and, yes, “The Nine Billion Names of God,” a short story by Arthur C. Clarke is included, as is his “The Star.”  Also there are Roger Zelazny with LORD OF LIGHT, A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller, a couple of shorts by Ray Bradbury. . . .  Well, and many others, some of which I’ve never heard of myself but may now consider looking into.

But why religion?  That is, isn’t science fiction (at least) in some way opposed to that?  Maybe, maybe not, but I would suggest that even if not on the surface, the people in a future — or a fantastic — society will still have some unexplained beliefs, that rely on faith.  Perhaps it’s just custom, the way things are done, but for example (and yes, this is a plug, my novel-in-stories due out next year cf. October 31, et many al., and some stories in my other books as well) in my TOMBS stories there’s an implicit belief in the existence of souls, of some kind of life after death — there’s even some description of the nature of souls, how they themselves are made up of parts, and how souls of lovers might be later reunited.  Or in horror in general, if one accepts vampires or ghosts or other supernatural beings, again a subtext of belief is implied, whether in formal or informal terms.  So call it world building — or adding texture.  But even if not overt in a story, religious assumptions may lurk in the background.

And of course, in some, they may be in the foreground, for more on which (and don’t forget to scroll through the comments too) press here.

Here’s one of those lists where I’m not sure I’ve run across many (or any) of the items on it.  How about you?  But it does seem interesting, “10 Films You Need to See Before You Die . . . Literally! bStarLine39.1smy Howard Gorman on SHOCK TILL YOU DROP, brought to me courtesy of Mike Olson via Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  To check it out for yourself press here.

Meanwhile in today’s physical mail STAR*LINE 39.1 arrived, for Winter 2016, with my mermaid poem in it (cf. January 8, November 28).  This is an untitled three-line, haiku-styled piece about . . . well . . . a mermaid, but one perhaps with a special talent.  STAR*LINE is the official publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

The poem can be found tucked demurely in the lower right corner of page 13, while more on the SFPA can be found by pressing here.

Fairy Tale Fashion is a unique and imaginative exhibition that examines fairy tales through the lens of high fashion.  In versions of numerous fairy tales by authors such as Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, it is evident that dress is often used to symbolize a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege.  The importance of Cinderella’s glass slippers is widely known, for example, yet these shoes represent only a fraction of the many threferences to clothing in fairy tales.

Organized by associate curator Colleen Hill, Fairy Tale Fashion features more than 80 objects placed within dramatic, fantasy-like settings designed by architect Kim Ackert.  Since fairy tales are not often set in a specific time period, Fairy Tale Fashion includes garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present.  There is a particular emphasis on extraordinary 21st-century fashions by designers such as Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, and Walter Van Beirendonck, among others.

Thus says the announcement from The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology for their current display on “Fairy Tale Fashion” through April 16, as brought to my attention via ENCHANTED CONVERSATION:  A FAIRY TALE MAGAZINE, which adds that “[p]acked with clothes and accessories both traditional and at the cutting edge outre fashion, this exhibition looks worth taking in.”  Or as they also say, “Fairy tales inform virtually every aspect of art and culture.”  So it still comes under the aegis of fantasy (light or dark), right?

Should you be in New York City this spring, the place to look is on 7th Avenue at 27th Street, in the Special Exhibitions Gallery.  Or for those who can’t make the event — or those who can! — more information can be found here.

So today brought a proof copy of STAR*LINE 39.1 with my 3-line mermaid shortie (see November 28).  I put “haiku” in quotation marks because it isn’t really, at least in any rigorous sense, but rather an epigram with its title replacing its one-time first line.  But that done, it still works and so the proof was returned tonight with the issue, dated Winter 2016, presumably to be out very soon.

For the poem itself, it’s about a mermaid, but not a very nice one.  One will find it on page 13, nestled in the bottom right-hand corner, appropriately given that its title/first line is “death from below.”  As for STAR*LINE, it’s the official quarterly publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, more about which can be found here.

I don’t usually call them haiku myself, though some euphemize them with genre portmanteaus like “scifiku” or Horrorku” — rather I think of them, in English, as 3-line epigrams that just happen to borrow an approximately 5-7-5 syllable count (which isn’t really exactly what defines the Japanese form either).  As such I generally title them too,

A Mermaid - John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

A Mermaid – John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917)

which purists would not do with real haiku.  But, hey, it’s having fun, no?  And if a title gives it another half-twist (or even not), well, what’s the harm in it.

Thus it happens that I e-sent five of these 3-liners to STAR*LINE a little while back.  And then, today, only four returned, the first retained by Editor Jeannie Bergmann, but with this proviso:  “I like the first poem quite a lot, but would you consider replacing the first line with the title?  I’m not crazy about titled haiku, and not attached to the 5-7-5 form either.  . . .  Let me know if that works.”  Or, in a sense, make it a little more like an actual haiku (though not with a seasonal tag or a sharp descriptive image), a least in form.

Well, in this case, okay so I sent back my nod.   The missing line gave an opening description of sorts but one implied by the rest of the poem, the titleless form fits with STAR*LINE style . . . so what’s the harm in it, eh?  Other than that, all I will say is, as noted above, it has to do with a mermaid or mermaids.

Also, being a horror poem, its conclusion is not nice.

Fantasy writers, has the Green Man of British folklore been unmasked?  This Sunday’s email brought a rather interesting piece rosslyn_chapelby Frank Cottrell Boyce in the British newspaper NEW STATESMAN, “English Magic:  How Folklore Haunts the British Landscape,” a review of Carolyne Larrington’s THE LAND OF THE GREEN MAN.  Kudos on this one go to Robert Dunbar and RJ Cavender who provided the link via LITERARY DARKNESS on Facebook, and which you may also partake of right here.

Kicking off the last remnants of summer, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has announced a 20 percent off Labor Day sale to last through the entire holidisis-ecover-194x300ay weekend.  Key in the code phrase WORKUNTILYOUDIE at checkout for 20 percent off the order total.

Needless to say, THE TEARS OF ISIS is one of the books on sale, for which one can conveniently press here.  From there one can also check out other titles in the Perpetual Motion Machine store or, if one must, press here (on which page press “Anthologies and Collections,” then scroll down, to find THE TEARS OF ISIS on the right).  Or subsidiary publisher Dark Moon Books which is also offering back issues of DARK ECLIPSE and DARK MOON DIGEST (of which I have a tiny bit of skin in the game in the form of stories in DARK MOON DIGEST 6 and 7, for January and April 2012), for which one may press here.

A very pleasant early May outing began with the month’s Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading” (see April 6, February 1, et al.), co-sponsored by Boxcar Books.  Featured readers were Alyce Miller, award-winning author and Indiana University Graduate MFA program teacher and Director of Admissions, reading humorous essays on death in California and, having moved from there to here, the difficulties of becoming a “Hoosier”; poet, essayist, and MFA graduate Doug Paul Case with a series of “little prose poem micro-essay things,” humorous and ironic; and incoming THE INDIANA REVIEW Editor-in-Chief Peter Kispert with a first person story-essay on failed aspiring actors and reconstructed Netflix FATAL ATTRACTIONS episodes “where exotic animal owners are victimized by their pets.”  Although running late, the audience stayed for five open mike presentations that followed, of which mine, third in the lineup, was a recent as yet unsold story, “Medusa Steps Out,” about . . . well . . . an exotic animal owner of sorts who is also victimized by her pets (although, unlike the onlookers in this case, survives).

This was also the last “First Sunday” reading of the 2014-2015 season, the series now going on summer hiatus until August 2.  Other presentations will also be winding down as the month continues, but even now plans are also developing for 20111holst6, including a possible multi-disciplinary joining with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra for a concert next February.  Along these lines, Writers Guild members had also been offered comp tickets for a production this evening of Gustav Holst’s THE PLANETS, Op. 32, by the Symphony Orchestra (joined at the haunting end of the final movement, “Neptune, the Mystic,” by the Bloomington Chamber Singers Women’s Chorus).  This, too, was a mixed media performance, accompanied by a slide show of the planets with NASA and ESA images put together and introduced by Indiana University Astronomy Professors Gabriel Lubell and Richard Durisen, thus perhaps to help us, the writers, stretch out imaginative wings.

In any event, it was a great show.




  • My Books

    (Click on image for more information)
  • Chapbooks

  • Poetry

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 992 other followers