Posts Tagged ‘Saturn’

The gravitational assist trajectories at Jupiter were successfully carried out by both Voyagers, and the two spacecraft went on to visit Saturn and its system of moons and rings.  Voyager 1 encountered Saturn in November 1980, with the closest approach on November 12, 1980, when the space probe came within 124,000 kilometers (77,000 mi) of Saturn’s cloud-tops.  The space probe’s cameras detected complex structures in the rings of Saturn, and its remote sensing instruments studied the atmospheres of Saturn and its giant moon Titan.  (Wikipedia, “Voyager 1”)

Two items occurred to me to close out the weekend, the first that there were space probes prior to Cassini (cf. September 17, 11, 7), including Voyagers 1 and 2 which also paid a visit to Saturn.  Launched 16 days apart in 1972, Voyager 1 was actually the second, but was on a trajectory that had it reaching Saturn first, performing flybys of not just Saturn and Titan, but also the moons Tethys, Mimas, Enceladus, Rhea, and Hyperion.  And while Voyager 2 also went on to Uranus and Neptune, on August 12 2012 Voyager 1 became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space.  Also, unlike Cassini, both Voyagers continue to journey outward.

So, why my interest?  Thirteen years after Voyager 1 and Saturn, a story of mine, one marking a breakthrough in my writing in my opinion, appeared in the July 1993 edition of Algys Budrys’s short-lived magazine TOMORROW.  Titled “Moons of Saturn,” it told of a couple watching a detailed series of news items on TV of the Voyager mission as it might have been, bringing in also the mythical origins of the moons’ names.  Added to this are fancied adventures on, e.g., the “jewel mines of Rhea,” these conducted through dreams or, possibly, astral projection, all through which the woman, Phoebe, 518B8qShonL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_named for one of the moons herself, grows progressively weaker as the man (“Enceladus,” as named by Phoebe) attempts to find a cure.  This latter possibly with tones of vampirism. . . .

And the thing is (or, here comes the plug!), while TOMORROW and its electronic successor TOMORROW SF are now long gone, “Moons of Saturn” has been reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  For more information, or possible purchase, just press its picture in the center column.

Then one more item in the life of the writer:  Gehenna and Hinnom Editor/Publisher C.P. Dunphey emailed that the payment for my story in THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see September 13, August 10, May 8) has been sent to Paypal — a thing good to know since Paypal seems no longer to bother to tell people themselves when they’ve received money.  The story in question here is called “Flesh” — and like “Moons of Saturn” may be a little on the surreal side although with a more domestic setting — and also a reprint originally published in Spring 1999 in MAELSTROM SPECULATIVE FICTION.  THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR can be pre-ordered now, by pressing here, in anticipation of a September 30 publication date.

 

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And this is it.  On Friday 15 September, after 20 years in space, 13 of which spent in Saturn’s system, Cassini plunged into the gas giant’s atmosphere.  NASA made this choice to prevented it crashing into and contaminating the moons Titan or Enceladus, which could host alien microbial life.  The end was quick: as described in details in this National Geographic’s article, “the spacecraft’s thrusters failed, overwhelmed by gravity and intense atmospheric friction.  It began to tumble, lost sight of Earth, and went silent forever around 4:55 a.m. PT.  Though scientists couldn’t observe the action, they knew that one or maybe two minutes after Cassini’s signal vanished, Saturn tore the spacecraft apart.  The probe shed flaming pieces into the planet’s atmosphere, streaking through the alien sky like a crumbling meteor.”

This is the start of this morning’s entry on Steph P. Bianchini’s THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, “So Long, Earthians.  Cassini, Over and Out.”  We may recall THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND from about a week and a half ago, referring us to a piece on Cassini on NATURE.COM (see September 7).  So returning the favor in a way, for Bianchini’s own final take (though with several more links there that can be pursued too) those interested are invited to press here.

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The caption on the picture reads:  An image created by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013, when the sun slipped behind Saturn and illuminated the planet in an eclipse, illuminating its magnificent rings all the way out to the faint E ring, which appears as a ghostly blue hue of icy particles.  And so another, extensive salute via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, “Farewell to the Greatest Space Mission of Our Time” by Jay Bennett, for which press here.  In four more days (cf. September 7) Cassini will be gone.  Quoting the article once again:  The Cassini spacecraft spent 13 years orbiting Saturn.  It revealed the planet and its rings in striking detail, found liquid around every corner, and invigorated the idea that alien life not only exists, but could be right on our doorstep.

Two items today, to look for in the near future:  The first is courtesy of Steph P. Bianchini’s blog THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, reminding us that the Cassini space probe will be sending its last signals to Earth just eight days from now.  Or from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, “on September 15, with its fuel tank now almost empty, the probe will make its final dive straight into Saturn, heading for the gas giant’s surface.”  And so, via THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, this sendoff:  “Cassini’s 13 Years of Stunning Saturn Science — In Pictures,” by Alexandra Witze on NATURE.COM.  To read (and see), press here.

For the second, we hark back a couple of months to an email from artist, poet, and sometime blog commentator Marge Simon:  Would you have a couple of vamp poems previously published that you could let Kathy Ptacek use for the HWA October newsletter?  If you’ve got an illo to go with it, great.  Maybe something we did for VAMPS?  The reference is to my poetry collection, VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), hopefully to be coming out in a second edition but for info on which, for now, click on its picture in the center column, and so I sent Kathy three favorite poems plus two of Marge’s illustrations.

So then a few days ago came the reply:  thanks, james! I appreciate you sending these to me!  and that’s great that marge sent the artwork for them!  this is going to be a fun issue, I think!  heh!  The issue in question will be the October Horror Writers Association NEWSLETTER with an extra flourish to celebrate the coming Halloween.  And the poems (with initial publication information):  “Night Child,” TOMORROW SF, Feb. 1998; “La Méduse,” ASYLUMS AND LABYRINTHS (Rain Mountain Press, 1997), with a note that it also serves as sort of a foreword to my THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013); and “Bon Appétit,” GOTHIC.NET, Aug. 2002).

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.

More good news in the world of reprints.  Word came today that a story of mine, “Moons of Saturn,” somewhat subvertly about burgeoning vampirism of a sort (maybe), has been selected to be reprinted in the Romanian anthology THE BIZARRE AGE.  “Moons of Saturn” was originally published in Algis Budrys’s magazine TOMORROW in July 1993 as a dreamlike science fantasy tale woven around the 1980s Voyager space probes’ Saturn flyby, which, while THE BIZARRE AGE is intended to encompass all genres except for erotica according to the guidelines, seemed to me to be a reasonable fit considering the title.  The editors apparently agreed.

Guidelines for THE BIZARRE AGE, plus a poetry anthology to be called SPECTRAL LINES can be found here, though those interested will have to act quickly since both close Saturday, June 23 (in fact, THE BIZARRE AGE was originally set to close June 16 but has had its deadline extended a week).  Neither offers a particularly lucrative deal – up to three copies of the book when printed, but the author has to pay for the shipping – but they do take reprints and, what the heck, there’s a certain amount of prestige to be had in being published in the land of Vlad Tepes, no?

Then on the home front, it took me a while to finally get it, but today’s mail brought my copy of Dark Moon Books’ flash fiction anthology SLICES OF FLESH.  My steak in this stack is “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” originally published in Iguana Press’s 2005 chapbook anthology BONE BALLET (see June 15, et al.), one of 90 (count ‘em!) bits of quick horror made hot and tasty for an evening’s reading with temperatures locally still in the 80s.

Enjoy, enjoy!




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