Posts Tagged ‘Mythology’

Here’s one I blundered on via Facebook’s ELDER SIGNS PRESS site, dated March 9 and touting a two-week only sale on Amazon.  Today being the 16th, I think that would mean there’s a week to go, ending March 23.  So for a happy Saint Patrick’s Day Eve, check out these deals for DARK HORIZONS (Amazon’s price is 12.95, but individual new copy offers start at $9.67 as of this writing) and STREET MAGICK (Amazon price $9.21) and, as a bonus, give the figure on STREET MAGICK’s cover a green suit and hat, and it could look a little bit like a leprechaun.

To check it all out, press here for the ELDER SIGNS PRESS Facebook site, then scroll down just a tad for the sale

“. . . give the figure a green suit and hat, and it could look a bit like a leprechaun.”

announcement with links to Amazon for both books — just under the listing for early orders for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, in fact, with its own link to Amazon should you wish to indulge while you’re at it!  My dogs in these donnybrooks are “Bottles” for STREET MAGICK, of vampiric doings in the late 1950s Boston area, complete with Cold War paranoia, and “Dark of the Moon” in DARK HORIZONS, of an international expedition to the Moon’s back side, combined with a dollop of H.P. Lovecraft and Russian myth to become dark indeed.  Also (ahem!) while the books haven’t gotten too many reviews on Amazon yet — and let this be a *hint* to readers, if you like a book you do your favorite authors a favor by sending reviews in — one review under each title (cf. “Mr. Vlesco” for the one for STREET MAGICK) singles my stories out for special mention.

THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS (see January 19, 16) is the one about mankind’s relationship with its gods, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour.  Or maybe for our purposes here, most often sour.  My song in this sin fest is a poem this time, a “story in verse” about a dead boy named Little Willie called “Tit for Tat” (originally published in GHOSTS:  REVENGE, 2015).  And now with publication due soon, Adrian Ludens, whose story “Hero Worship” will be in the book as well, has shared its contents list from publisher A Murder of Storytellers, along with this flattering comment about three of its contributors:

Some very talented authors lined up for this anthology.  Especially excited to see Joseph Shelton, John Biggs and James Dorr included.  Never been disappointed by any of their stories.  Can’t wait to read this!

and from the publisher:

Just a few more days.  To tide you over until then, here’s the TOC for THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS.

A Hole in the Head Reveals the Secret Nature of All Things by Joseph Shelton
Sack Race To The River by Chris Kuriata
Holy Fire by Tracy Fahey
The Order of the Night Moose by Jonathan Raab
Hare Hill by Kristin J. Cooperblasphemouswords
The Holy Filth by Tom Breen
Madness by Morrison
Hero Worship by Adrian Ludens
An Adventure in Wootton by Colin Harker
Meant to Be by Kelly Gould
Outer Darkness by Grant Skelton
The Damned by Jake Teeny
Kill Fee by Victor H. Rodriguez
The Blue Ruin of Vicar Junípero, the Throat of Heaven by Rhoads Brazos
Grume by Tim Meyer
The Unearthed Thing by Ben Larned
Tit for Tat by James Dorr
Bust to Dust by Wesley Southard
Hiding from the Rain by Mark L. Groves
The Sign by John Biggs
A Demanding Religion by Darrel Duckworth
The Hunted by Shannon Iwanski
Killing the First Gods by Morgan Crooks
Our Pale Lady Clad In Red by 瓦砾卡夫卡
A Bloody Miracle by Anusha VR
Insiliconation by Eric Reitan
The Annunciation of Josie by Jack Burgos
The Edifice by Lorraine Scheln
Angels are so Beautiful Until They Rust by Jason Howell

. . . the idea of faith is more general in the sense that it covers any devotion to a higher being or spiritual power.  It could be anything, from a religion-based god to alien overlords to the Force.  The point is that you believe in something outside yourself that, in some way, shapes, influences, or even controls the nature of our world.  Yet somehow, regardless of the faith, the path to getting there is always the same:  you have to hear the call, and then yoarrival_movie_posteru have to take conscious steps to overcome that adversity within and without to reach its source, taking you from a non-believer to a believer.

Well, no, I haven’t seen ARRIVAL yet, I tend to wait sometimes for what I think may be important films to be out long enough on DVD to bring the price down to buy for myself, but that’s my problem.  The above, from “Communication and Faith in ARRIVAL”  by Michael Moreci, on TOR.COM a day or two back, piqued my interest however (cf. below, for instance, November 3, August 26 ; September 17 2015):  the question of faith, belief, in science fiction as well as, perhaps to be more expected, in fantasy and horror.  The need for an author — or reader — to know a people’s traditions in order to build their world.

Or that’s how I see it.  Moreci also brings up Joseph Campbell (the hero’s journey), and the movies STAR WARS:  A NEW HOPE and CONTACT; while in my own writings I might note the upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH as well as, at least in part, THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And in any event I may look into ARRIVAL myself sooner than I had expected.  Moreci’s critique, on the other hand, may be read right now here.

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.

Yes, that’s right, the origin of everything with today’s discovery via the internet by Edira Putri, “The Weirdest Creation Myths from Religions Around the World” on RANKER.COM, with bringing-to-my-attention credit going to Gene Stewart.  So getting right to it (to quote Ms. Putri):  Some people turn to scientific efforts to explain why and how the universe is the way it is.  shinto-the-islands-were-created-from-sacred-sexual-intercourse-photo-u1Others prefer transcendental beings, gods, or rituals.  Aside from being spiritual, the cultures that birthed these weird religious creation myths were also highly creative.  Who would have thought butter could form the world?  How did you link the origin of existence with extraterrestrial realms?  How could creation stories link us to monsters, giants, even bugs?

These weird creation myths around the world, promoted by religions, may be easier to pass on and to learn than scientific theories, and only seem truly bizarre when held in relief against modern scientific knowledge.  Basically, we think we know better now.  But do we?

There are fourteen myths recounted in all, some ancient, some more modern, which can be seen here (I’m partial to number 3 myself).  Which one is your favorite?

Another list but this one’s a nice one — with even a couple of lady vampires!  For  “The Scariest Monsters and Demons from Celtic Mythology” by Jane Walsh, carroll-borland-as-spidra-in-mark-of-the-vampire-1365795084_orgcourtesy of Scott M. Goriscak on THE HORROR SOCIETY,  please to peruse IRISHCENTRAL.COM here.

Then a bit of business to round out the day, yesterday brought a proof copy of 2016’s RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, the collection of finalists for this year’s Science Fiction Poetry Association long and short poetry competition.  My entry here is about a different monster, King Kong, and why his tragic romance with Fay Wray was doomed to failure, originally published in August in GRIEVOUS ANGEL (cf. February 7 2016, September 5 2015, et al.).  Happily I have just reported back that I found no errors.

Another short Sunday note with a huge thank you goes to writer and artist William Cook whose very favorable review of THE TEARS OF ISIS is now up on Goodreads.  I highly recommend it (ahem!), but here’s a link to have a look and decide for yourself.

Talk about fast work! Yesterday I received the acceptance for “The Needle-Heat Gun” for Geminid Press’s not-yet-titled Space Opera anthology, as related just below; today the contract arrived from Editor Phillip Garver.  So part of this afternoon’s activity has been reading through it and, a few hours ago, sending it back with electronic signature affixed.  Also just a few days before I received and sent back the final proof sheets for my story, “The Labyrinth,” to be published in the Smart Rhino Publications anthology INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (for details on which see September 9).  Such is the writer’s life, in part.  “The Labyrinth,” a fantasy/mystery set in modern Crete but with intimations of ancient Greek myth, is hoped to be out in early 2015; “The Needle-Heat Gun” in the mid-to-latter part of next year.

Who could forget PROSPECTIVE:  A JOURNAL OF SPECULATION and its CTHULHU:  A LOVE STORY theme issue (if you have, cf. January 10 2013 and September 21 2012)?  So last evening brought word I’ve had two more poems accepted by PROSPECTIVE, this time for their upcoming WHEN SIRENS CALL issue.  But what kind of Sirens?  Editor Lauren Stone offered this answer:  “You can use any part of the title.  Sirens as the mythical creature or sirens like an ambulance or nuclear bomb warning.  Or thematically it can be about control or love or lust, something indicative of the mythology.  Or it could be about the ocean.  Or it could just be a piece that you love and don’t think really fits the theme, because it may be perfect when viewed through a different lens.”

So, what the heck, I went with the women of Classical nature and so came the reply:  “I am pleased to inform you that we have selected ‘Medusa’s Daughter’ and ‘Terpsichore’s Daughter’ for publication in ‘When Sirens Call.’”  And there we have it.  “Medusa’s Daughter” has, herself, been around a bit, having first been published in the US in STAR*LINE for May-June 1997 and in the UK in MEDUSA (Hilltop Press, 2005), as well as my own STRANGE MISTRESSES collection.  “Terpsichore’s Daughter,” on the other hand, has remained up to now, um, untouched.

Then in other news, proof sheets have come for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s SO IT GOES Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology (see January 3, 25), as well as a call for the authors to provide personal essays on Vonnegut — personal encounters, feelings about his work, etc. — to go on a website that should be up by next week.  My own canine in this karass is a story about family values, more or less, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” but possibly you know about that already (and if not, fear not, you’ll learn 🙂 ).

It was another one of those last minute things.  I realized in late August , less than a week before I was due to leave for Chicago, that Chamberton Publishing had one anthology that was still open, for young adult fiction, but it would close on September 1.  I had dealt with Chamberton before, selling them a reprint story, “Scavenger,” for their upcoming LIMELIGHT science fiction anthology (see August 15, June 19) — and moreover they’d paid me on acceptance — so why not give a shot to this one as well?  I had one or two fantasies that I thought might be appropriate, a young protagonist and a lesson learned that could apply to the real world as well, so I chose one that had originally been published in THE SHORT STORY DIGEST for Winter 1991-92 called “Poludnitsa,” based on a figure in Slavic mythology.  And that was that.

It was taking a chance, sort of.  I hadn’t written “Poludnitsa” as a YA story, though I think it’s one that young adults would like.  And possibly it was a little far out, but still in my opinion a good story.

Today the gamble has paid off — although in a sort of weird way.  The email brought an acceptance, but for a new series  of fantasy books that Chamberton is planning that to my knowledge doesn’t even have guidelines announced yet.  As Editor T. K. Richardson put it, “I know you submitted Poludnitsa for the YA anthology, however we really feel this story would fit perfectly in the new series.  Would you still be interested?”

You bet I was.  The pay is the same, and not bad for a fairly short previously published tale, and moreover a followup email suggests I’ll be on the list for consideration for farther future projects as well, so — nothing ventured, nothing gained! — it looks like my choice to take a chance at the end of August has paid off nicely.




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