Posts Tagged ‘Science Fantasy’
This was a first, the Players Pub Spoken Word Series (see January 29), premiered Thursday night from 6 to 9 by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bar and music venue Players Pub in off-downtown Bloomington. This will continue on second Thursdays every month, combining musical interludes with readings of various sorts. This time, for instance, the readings were prose, with the musical guests the group Urban Deer, while next month’s will most likely feature poetry and, from out of town, the group Shakespeare’s Monkey. The name of the series is not necessarily fixed yet either, but a flavor is already being established, more freewheeling and possibly “adult” in nature than, say, the more formal First Sunday Prose and Last Sunday Poetry programs.
That said, the first reading ever for this was by . . . me. The piece read was my story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS, but with a brief introduction from TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (“River Red” being set in the “Tombs” universe, even if not in the latter book) to help set the mood. And also . . . well, maybe . . . as a sort of commercial to push both titles. This was followed by Shayne Laughter, who we’ve met on several occasions before, with a tale called “Incident at Grandmother’s Cottage,” a part of a fiction work in progress; Arbutus Cunningham (a.k.a. Hester), a Saturday morning radio star on local WFHB with four brief and mostly funny (the exception, the third called “After the War,” combining survival and sadness) semi-fictionalized, off-the-wall reflections; and playwright and comedy performance artist Stevie Jay with longer excerpts from a newer work, “Falling Through the Cracks: a homeopathic remedy for the New Millennium in one dose.” The audience totaled some 15 to 18 people (not counting bar personnel), most of whom seemed to stay for the whole nearly three-hour period, and once warmed up seemed quite enthusiastic.
Then another note on new goth kitten Triana, who has momentarily held still and in the light long enough for a new photo portrait, this amongst the jumble and clutter of the printer corner of the computer cave. But the thing is, missing from all other pictures thus far, she has lovely golden-brownish eyes, now seen here for the first time!
So the first answer starts with a citation to “Allan Poe.” That’s Edgar Allan Poe, of course, but what’s in a word — I still stand by the answer. And thus the promised interview by Weldon Burge for Smart Rhino Publications (cf. January 11, 8), in conjunction with a Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 anthology, is now live. A mention is made at the very beginning about my Smart Rhino story appearances, “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, “Labyrinth” in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, and “Golden Age” in the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH volume, but that’s not what the interview is about. Rather, with reference to Poe as well as my Stoker(R) nominated collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, we talk about short story writing in general and why, as a writer, I find short forms more interesting than novels. But then novels come up too with reference to TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (expected in June this year, not really “spring,” but that’s because of a change in schedule after my original biographical notes were in) and what is, exactly, a novel-in-stories, also known as a “mosaic novel”? And, more importantly, why TOMBS is put together in that style.
The Poe citation, incidentally, is to his essay “The Poetic Principle,” which I believe he meant to apply to prose fiction as well. But to read the whole interview, including some things on the challenges and joys of writing, and what to expect once one has written, why not press here?
Just a quick note, that Weldon Burge has announced a Kickstarter campaign for for the upcoming Smart Rhino Publications anthology ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD, scheduled for launch next Tuesday, January 17. In conjunction with this will be his interview with me (cf. January 8, below) with remarks on short stories, novels-in-stories, structure of novels, and TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH: “I’ll be sending out the e-letter once the campaign has started, so you should see your interview posted next week as well!” Also mentioned in the interview are THE TEARS OF ISIS and “The Poetic Principle” by Edgar Allan Poe.
As for ZIPPERED FLESH 3, my part in this is a strangely muted (given the promise of some of its stories) science fiction tale called “Golden Age,” reflecting a future history of worn out, or otherwise damaged body replacements (see September 9), a reprint originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994.
No, this is a different one, not the Smart Rhino interview-to-come noted just below, but one completed in a flurry of activities the week before Christmas with Heidi Angell. This one includes such questions as what director I’d choose were TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH optioned for a movie (my answer suggests three, the third of whom may come as a surprise but whose work has been reviewed on this blog) and what is one great lesson I may have learned through being an author? I might mention, too, that I may have some other posts on Ms. Angell’s blog in the months to come in anticipation of TOMBS’s planned June release, as well as possibly some reviews of books of mine by her. And then later this month as well, perhaps we will see the “other,” Smart Rhino Publications’s interview of me by Weldon Burge.
For this one, however, on Heidi Angell’s late Monday MEET THE AUTHOR feature, please to press here.
Another interview lurks in our future. Completed just now, this one was rather a quickie as well, the contact coming from Smart Rhino Publications Editor Weldon Burge just last week: James, would you be open to a short interview for the January Smart Rhino newsletter? It would only be three or four questions, short and sweet. But I’d need a pretty fast turnaround, if possible. Please let me know. Thanks! My connection here is having stories in two Smart Rhino anthologies thus far, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, and in a third to be coming out soon, ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. September 9, et al.). So, “sure,” I sent back, and we set things up to be done this weekend.
More, such as a tentative date, will be noted here when it is known, but I will say now that, while short, it’s one of the heavier ones I’ve done in terms of writing and writing theory, even including a quote from Poe from his essay “The Poetic Principle.” Why that essay? Because I think Poe intended it to apply to fiction in prose as well, perhaps then explaining his own predilection for the short story form, and hence, by extension, mine. This is for a question having to do with my own short story collection, THE TEARS OF ISIS. But then, from there, a question on TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH brings up a discussion of form, in addition to content, and novels-in-stories or “mosiac” novels (see also, October 20), and why that form might be chosen over traditional narrative for telling certain kinds of stories. And also, why the mosiac form might answer Poe’s dictum that effective “poetic” writing be kept short.
Aha! It has come to pass! Click on the center column’s picture of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. December 1, et al.), scroll down to the author’s mini-biography and find these words: Indiana writer James Dorr‘s The Tears of Isis was a 2014 Bram Stoker Award® nominee for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. Other books include Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance, Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, and his all-poetry Vamps (A Restrospective). An Active Member of HWA and SFWA with nearly 400 individual appearances from Airships & Automatons and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Xenophilia and Yellow Bat Review, Dorr invites readers to visit his blog. Who’s he, you may wonder? “He,” here, is . . . me!
Yes, no more of the wilds of Pennsylvania, the arcane titles of works actually written by one James C. Simpson. Just weeping goddesses and wonder and mystery, but, hey, it’s all mine! And note while we’re there my sneaky product placement of AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS, also published (with TOMBS) by Elder Signs Press. (And, seriously, also my thanks to the publisher for getting the error corrected quickly.)
Then finally, remember that TOMBS is available for pre-order — just press its picture in the center column (or if you’d rather, click here) and take it from there. The official publication date, so says Amazon, will be June 1 2017, but why not slip in now ahead of the crowd, eh?
So it would still be a while before delivery since the Amazon “publication date” is June 1 2017, but there it is. To see for yourself, press here. TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now listed on Amazon in a print edition with a “pre-order price guarantee” of $14.95. And the listing has its little quirks too, namely that the author’s biography, as in the anthology DARK HORIZONS, is for James C. Simpson, not me (see also November 14). But I wrote it. Honest!
Still, isn’t that neat, for a quick little late-Thanksgiving surprise? A special thing to be thankful for, that the novel-in-stories is that much nearer, including with a slightly updated cover. Hopefully, eventually, with the right biography too, but there’s still time for that — and, maybe especially in that I ran across it quite serendipitously, with Thanksgiving and all, I thought this worth sharing.
Or, as some may wonder these latter Election Week days, could they do any worse? Or even, could they do any better? But what about robots in general, even the ones on, say, an auto assembly line. Should they have the right to form their own unions (or have human trade unions lost so much power that the question is moot)? And, if corporations have “personhood” (or would a Trump Supreme Court roll that “right” back?), should not robots have it too, whatever “it” really is?
As it happens none of these questions are actually asked, at least not in those words exactly (well, one sort of is), in “10 Human Rights That Robots Deserve” by Stubby the Rocket on this week’s TOR.COM, but maybe they’re just being asked in the wrong way. For instance, before asking about rights to vote, should we not first define a general right to self-determination? But still, what might happen to our own rights if those of non-humans — especially ones we may have built ourselves — come into the mix?
It’s a sort of deep subject, with no easy answers, at least not given, but to read more about it press here.
Speaking of fast work, Tuesday, while skipping some of the slow, slow reports of election results, I was finishing up questions for a new interview by Carrie Ann Golden. No ducks walking into bars or early crushes in this one (cf. October 24), but good writerly questions still, seven in all, including a few on my upcoming novel-in-stories, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH. And even a comment on THE TEARS OF ISIS. But here’s the thing: We were looking toward a publication date prior to Thanksgiving, just a couple of weeks down the pike, but when I sent my copy in Wednesday early afternoon, Carrie was back to me by that evening. “These [the answers] are wonderful . . . am planning to post your interview on Monday, November 14.”
But wait. That’s this Monday, the one coming up. Four days from today, today being Thursday. Talk about quick work! So anyway, just around the (as it were) calendar corner, I’ll be there on Carrie Golden’s A WRITER & HER ADOLESCENT MUSE blog, more on which, with link, we will see here on the 14th.
But let us start Thursday with something I was not in, but attended. Thursday night offered an, as it were, otherworldly start to the Halloween weekend with a 100-year commemoration of Cabaret Voltaire. Say what? In the sponsors’ words: On 5 February 1916, in the back room of a small bar in Zurich, a group of artists launched a nightclub which changed the course of modern art. Cabaret Voltaire was the home of Dada, a movement that revolutionized European culture and led to seismic global shifts in art, literature, music, film. Like Punk, Dada survives as an attitude, a rejection of aesthetic convention and authority. A hundred years later, The Burroughs Century Ltd. and the Wounded Galaxies Festival are creating a one-night-only homage: a feast of the senseless. This was at a local Bloomington nightclub and included, yes, movies as a sort of background/ accompaniment, some old, some just filmed, but all experimental. Added were musical and spoken word performances, as well as costumes — some quite creative — worn by onlookers (mine, less creative, was of a Zurich bourgeois who has come for an evening of entertainment). Odd and fun, the event was also a fundraiser for Wounded Galaxies Festival to help with more presentations in the future.
Then Friday came the reading performance of Act I of D. L. Mabbott’s play THE UNFINISHED (cf. October 19), with two readers who also performed the night before, Joan Hawkins and Anthony Brewer, and two who didn’t, Shayne Laughter and me. Or, quoting Shayne, [f]ree, tonight, at The Back Door! I’m reading with Joan Hawkins — we are two lovely ladies in the organ harvesting biz, Tony Brewer is the burglar who sees too much, and James Dorr is the Inspector who . . . well. We could call this a 21st-century “Arsenic and Old Lace,” with more sex and stabbing. This also was at a local nightclub, sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild, and while underattended (in this case perhaps because it was early, before many patrons had arrived, but more to the point before we’d be displaced by the night’s headlined band*), quite a bit of fun.
Then, Saturday having been a day off of sorts, Sunday night brought back the Ryder Film Festival (see October 27, 24, 17), this time with two films at local tavern Bear’s Place, 1958’s Hammer production HORROR OF DRACULA and new Korean ghost movie THE WAILING (the latter also screened last Sunday at the Buskirk-Chumley theatre), including my rescheduled reading of “Raising the Dead.” As originally planned for last week, it preceded THE WAILING, scheduled at 7:30 but, because that’s the way things seem to work, actually starting about ten minutes late. Like Friday’s play-reading the “crowd” was sparse (maybe the big kids were out trick-or-treating too) although at all times it outnumbered the players (me), even picking up a bit about half-way through. Such is the way of the oral presenter. “Raising the Dead,” billed by the Ryder as a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love, is a story/chapter to be included in my forthcoming novel TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, due out from Elder Signs Press in spring-summer next year, and concerns an attempt to reunite a deceased man’s soul to his body by raising the latter up into the air, where souls congregate, during an impending storm.
But of course, if things all worked as planned, it wouldn’t very well be horror, would it?
* The walk over, in fact, included fording a river of Halloween-costumed children and parents.