Posts Tagged ‘Near-Future Science Fiction’

Just a quick note.  We may recall FORBIDDEN:  TALES OF REPRESSION, RESTRICTION, AND REBELLION had, after a longish delay, finally been published — at least in Kindle form (see December 18, et al.).  Today, via Facebook, fellow contributor Frank Roger notes it’s now available in paperback as well, and in fact has been for awhile.  This is the one where I actually have two stories, both reprints, “Fetuscam” and “The Wind” (and with Frank Roger’s tale as well, “Outnumbered,” about a dystopian society where numbers have been outlawed), and now can be found by pressing here.

A quick note.  Hark us back to December 18 and the re-emergence, in Kindle form, of FORBIDDEN:  TALES OF REPRESSION, RESTRICTION, AND REBELLION from the mire of delayed publication.  My stories in this one (yes, plural — two):  “The Wind,” on one man’s loss of religious faith, and “Fetuscam,” of an anti-abortion effort gone bad.  Well, no one said that these were to be in the best of taste.

Anyhow, to the chase, FORBIDDEN, the paperback edition, is now available on Amazon, dated (as is the Kindle) December 18 and announced as “[a]vailable to ship in 1-2 days.”  For more, press here.

Quoting myself from a year ago August (cf. August 10 2018, et al.):  Subtitled TALES OF REPRESSION, RESTRICTION, AND REBELLION, FORBIDDEN is an anthology “about that which is disallowed, whether it be the law or custom of a society, a particular group, or even just a single individual.  Stories that illustrate the sense or insanity of that which is disallowed, all with an eye on adventure, world-building, and thought-provoking entertainment!”  Or so says Publisher Martin T. Ingham.  And this time by an odd chance of fate, I have two, not one but TWO, tales in this one myself.  Say what?

So, reminding myself, the citation above also includes a list of contents with two reprint stories by me, “Fetuscam” (see also June 9 2018) and “The Wind” (January 13 2018), and therein also lies a funny story.  Again quoting myself from that June, [o]n July 22 last year I sent a tale of loss of faith titled “The Wind” to Martinus Publishing, a reprint submission to an upcoming anthology, FORBIDDEN!  TALES OF REPRESSION, RESTRICTION, AND REBELLION.  Sounds intriguing, yes?  So much so, in fact, that exactly five months later, on December 22, having quite forgotten the first — and with a December 31 deadline fast coming — I sent another, originally published in Spring 1990 in PANDORA (and also reprinted two years later in MinRef Press’s ABORTION STORIES:  FICTION ON FIRE), “Fetuscam.”  And then about three weeks after that, an acceptance came for the original submission (“The Wind,” remember? cf. January 13). Oops!  So, long story short, two submissions wasn’t a no-no and eventually the other one was accepted too. 

Well, FORBIDDEN was shaping up to be quite an interesting anthology indeed in that, after the August 10 last year announcement, it also seemed to have disappeared.  That is, until today’s email from Editor/Publisher Martin T. Ingham:  I know it has been a long time, but the wait is finally over.  At long last, the FORBIDDEN anthology is ready to be released!  Expect it be available on Amazon by next week!

So the moral is that these things happen — we are only human, and life intervenes.  In fact, a quick check on Amazon shows it’s up as a Kindle edition now, for which one can press here, with a print edition presumably to follow for a complete pre-Christmas happy ending!

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.

And here it is, the DAILY SCIENCE FICTION contract for “Steel Slats” (see August 17) arrived and has been signed (or more precisely, my agreement assented) and returned.  As requested I also included an about 150 word biographical note and, as DAILY SCIENCE FICTION will sometimes have, a few remarks concerning the story’s writing — the latter in this case including the words “the devil made me do it.”  “Steel Slats,” that is, is a sort of reaction to troubles at the US southern border, and celebrates the *President’s Dream* of a “beautiful wall” to be paid for by Mexico to solve all problems.  But might it possibly lead to some new ones?

Exactly when we’ll find out I don’t know, DAILY SCIENCE FICTION usually having a robust lead time before stories are published (though not as bad as some recent examples, including the one that won’t appear until 2021).  In this case it should be within a year, though, and possibly sooner than later, exact information to be shared as soon as I find out.

A busy Saturday!  First there was my writing group’s monthly critique session; then a Bloomington Writers Guild meeting.  If that weren’t enough, the Goth Cat Triana reminds us that August 17 is “Black Cat Appreciation Day” (so, she’s mostly black).  But added to all that is one thing more.

Saturday’s email brought a new story acceptance and not just by any market either, but DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, a story-a-day free website with professional rates for tales of less than 1500 words, plus an amount of prestige.  Not to mention a pretty wide circulation to boot.  And it’s been a while, though I have been in DSF before (cf. April 21 2015, et al.), five times in fact including two starring our New Orleanian vampiress acquaintances, Aimée et les filles à les caissettes, one of which being their “origin story” (for which see also April 17 2014, et al.).  Today’s new, non-vampiric story is called “Steel Slats” and the really neat thing is I hadn’t had overly high hopes for it, it having been written originally for a satirical near-future anthology which, it turned out, decided it could get along with apocalypses that did not include walking dead, and, well, some of the background may be just a tiny bit politically tinged.  That is, in the case of high-circulation magazines, with a possible risk of irritating some of the readers.

As for what exactly “Steel Slats” is about, perhaps I’ll say more in a future post, but for now there may be some hints in such things as the “Tags” above.  And as for why it was accepted despite my misgivings, I’d like to think it’s because it’s a good story.

This one’s been predicted often enough, actually, that it seems more like a joke than news — and as for the news part it’s really not actually being planned . . . yet.  But the power of advertising is great and, as a background detail when, say, those romantic sexbots of the previous post gaze out of their window to see the moon, well light pollution could also be a factor and who’s to say smog won’t obscure it all?  As for the joke part, this did come to my attention courtesy of Michael Parisi on Facebook’s FANTASY/SCIENCE/FICTION NEWS AND HUMOR site.  The article itself, by Anthony Cuthbertson on WWW.INDEPENDENT.CO.UK, is titled “Pepsi Considers Space Billboards to Project Logo Across Night Sky Using Satellites” and can be seen by pressing here.

But then as the article itself states:  It is not the first time extra terrestrial advertising has been proposed, with one Japanese startup aiming to place billboards on the surface of the moon by 2020.  Tokyo-based Ispace raised $90 million in 2017 to kickstart what it calls the “lunar economy”, which involves – at least in part – setting up small advertising hoards on the moon that can be viewed from Earth.

Well, some of us writers and other artists are introspective or introverted, maybe not always socialized to the highest degree, but let us not think only of ourselves.  Or perhaps not at all about ourselves, but of all humanity in a possibly frighteningly near future.  As Bernard Marr has it on LINKEDIN.COM:  While some might not protest smart sex toys and what adults choose to do behind closed doors, there’s a bit more controversy and consideration when contemplating if humanoid anatomically correct sexbots are good or bad for society.  That doesn’t stop nearly half of Americans from believing that having sex with robots will be a common practice within 50 years.  Bots such as Realbotix’s Harmony and Synthea Amatus’s Samantha are quite realistic and are adaptable because one robot can assume several different characters and personalities.  They can talk, show expression and respond to touch and pleasure in a similar way humans do.  Since they are learning machines, sexbots are also very attentive to their partner as they listen to learn and become better in conversation.

The article is “How Robots, IoT And Artificial Intelligence Are Changing How Humans Have Sex” and may portend a future trend that will need to be dealt with, at least as background, in our own fiction.  Smart sex toys, sex bots, virtual reality porn, to reference three sub-heads in Marr’s report, but what of government regulations?  There has been at least some discussion in Congress.  Or simply regulation in general — or possibly threats.  Japan may be a leader in humanoid anatomically correct robots, but also is a nation where the birth rate is declining.  Links in Barr’s article lead to a number of interesting side topics, both pro and con — all of which may be checked out (you know you want to!) by pressing here.

This comes courtesy of author Frank Roger, via Facebook, who also has a thumb on this particular scale.  While an exact release date has not yet been set, Martinus Publishing has released a table of contents, including individual story blurbs, for its upcoming FORBIDDEN anthology (cf. June 16, 10, 9, et al.).  Subtitled TALES OF REPRESSION, RESTRICTION, AND REBELLION, FORBIDDEN is an anthology about that which is disallowed, whether it be the law or custom of a society, a particular group, or even just a single individual.  Stories that illustrate the sense or insanity of that which is disallowed, all with an eye on adventure, world-building, and thought-provoking entertainment!  Or so says Publisher Martin T. Ingham.  And this time by an odd chance of fate, I have two, not one but TWO, tales in this one myself.

But see for yourself.  To quote again, [f]rom the distant past to the far future, explore 17 stories of individuals inventing, partaking in, or resisting that which is Forbidden!

Red Raven –by Karl G. Rich
A tale of ancient spirits and forbidden love.

The Enemy Within –by KA Masters
At the fall of Troy, a goddess uses forbidden power to give a dead soldier a second chance to serve…

Duty –by William Rade
Trade on the high seas can cost a fortune, whether in taxes or blood.

Ultra Red –by Sam Kepfield
A murderer is killing young women during the Nixon era, and a forbidden government program may be responsible.

A Devil of a Deal –By Stephen A. Fox
A lawyer is asked to sue Satan, yet how does one trick the ultimate trickster?

The Wind –By James Dorr
His daughter’s death was due to an “act of God.”  But didn’t that mean God was to blame?

The Violation –by Charles Joseph Albert
Technologically, it’s not that hard for an Earth physicist to transcend space-time… the trick is to get past the 7th Council.

Progress –by G. Lloyd Helm
When paper becomes exceedingly rare, books become forbidden relics.

Fetuscam –by James Dorr
In a not-distant future, abortion has finally been made a crime equivalent to murder, and the police even have a special unit to entrap offenders.

Suicide Job –by Wendy Dranfield
It may be illegal to take your own life, but not if the Government helps you.

Radical Normal –by Ira Nayman
In a post-singular world where anything is possible, being normal may be the most radical act of all.

Outnumbered –by Frank Roger
In a world where numbers are forbidden, terror comes in the form of numerical grafitti.

Zack’s Rescue –by Kevin Stadt
Long after the fall of civilization, a man who can’t die struggles to give himself permission to live.

Haven –by Anthony Engebretson
In a society where loudness is prohibited, silence can be deafening.

Border Skirmish –by Dave D’Alessio
When the Hhoozbk fleet reached Terran space, they were told they could not enter it armed… it was forbidden.  The Hhoozbk took that as a challenge…

Neither Do They Spin –by William RD Wood
In some dark corners of the universe, even our very lives are Forbidden!

The Patriot Awakened –By Martin T. Ingham
In a primitive future where knowledge and literature are forbidden, Noah is content to be a loyal serf to his feudal masters… until Sergeant Davis shows him the spirit of rebellion.

If tempted, pre-orders are now being taken on the Martinus site, including free shipping for US orders, for more on which, press here.

A funny story:  On July 22 last year I sent a tale of loss of faith titled “The Wind” to Martinus Publishing, a reprint submission to an upcoming anthology, FORBIDDEN!  TALES OF REPRESSION, RESTRICTION, AND REBELLION.  Sounds intriguing, yes?  So much so, in fact, that exactly five months later, on December 22, having quite forgotten the first — and with a December 31 deadline fast coming — I sent another, originally published in Spring 1990 in PANDORA (and also reprinted two years later in MinRef Press’s ABORTION STORIES:  FICTION ON FIRE), “Fetuscam.”  And then about three weeks after that, an acceptance came for the original submission (“The Wind,” remember?  cf. January 13).  Oops!

Well, not to worry, the guidelines in fact allowed multiple submissions as long as sent separately.  And so it goes.  But then, today, from Editor/Publisher Martin T. Ingham:  Thank you for sending Fetuscam to the FORBIDDEN anthology.  It is a good story, and I thank you for offering it as a reprint in this collection.  I believe it will be a good fit.  I’ve attached the publishing agreement that you can send back when you have the chance.

Some may recall I am not a stranger to Martinus Publishing, having appeared in prior anthologies LIFE OF THE DEAD and ALTERED AMERICA, with stories titled “Girls Gone Dead” and “Avoid Seeing a Mouse,” respectively (see July 31 2016, January 20 2015, et al.), all reprints too.  Martinus is a nice outfit to work with — and not only that but ALTERED AMERICA is still earning royalties (tiny by now, but the first, especially, was quite handsome for an anthology with other authors to divide the goods among).  So now it looks like, with their latest, I’ll have not one but two dips into the pot if sales go well, even if somewhat by mistake.

But, harkening to the guidelines again, it isn’t forbidden.




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