Posts Tagged ‘Science Fantasy’

So I’d been invited to be in this reading group discussion that brought up the possible influence of “classical” vampire movies on what a character would know about vampires, given the time the book takes place.  This brought up (on my part) some details about the Universal Pictures sequels to the Bela Lugosi version of DRACULA and how, wandering a bit off topic, I had been introduced to these myself via Saturday night horror movie shows on TV.  But checking some details brought me farther off topic to the shows themselves and their often iconic-in-their-own-right hosts.  Me, I liked “Zacherley” (a.k.a. John Zacherle) after he’d moved from Philadelphia to New York.  And from there I was brought, via LISTVERSE.COM, to “Top 10 TV Horror Hosts” by Dan Lepore, for which press here (and note as well, most come with with clips from the shows themselves, for which be especially sure to scroll down to number 4 to witness Maila Nurmi’s 1954 opening of THE VAMPIRA SHOW).  And not only that, but here’s an extra (more serendipity), Zacherleys 1958 performance of  the song “Dinner With Drac,” for which press here!

Then one more note, having recently pointed out discounts on B & N and Amazon for TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for UK readers in particular (albeit I’m giving US prices here) it’s being offered at 29 percent off its $14.95 list price, at $10.52, on the Book Depository, for which press here.  At least for the time being.

One quick note and one just for fun.  The quickie, as of Sunday a new review is up on Amazon for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, by Andrew Suhrer, a fellow author.  And it’s for five stars too!  In fact, all reviews both here and on B&N (three reviews there) are 5-star reviews, if I may so brag.  (Though to keep myself honest, there are two on Goodreads that aren’t quite as glowing.)  Nevertheless, for the ones on Amazon one may press here.

And then the fun part, fellow poet and Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association member (and one-time editor of the SFPA journal STAR*LINE) Marge Simon posted a challenge a little while back, to compose a poem of twenty lines or less using the words “Vermin,” “Theremin,” “Decision,” and “Vitamin,” for e-publication in SFPA’s newsletter.  The best, also, would get an ice cream prize.  A half dozen or so of us responded and while, no, the prize-winner wasn’t mine, it was one of two that got honorable mentions.

Alas, I don’t think there’s a link to see all the poems if you’re not a member, but for more on the SFPA (see also, March 29, 22, et al.) one may press here.  And to read at least my poem, it’s right below:

MUSICAL SUMMER

Vermin infested the theremin,
roaches by the look of them,
probably the same that invaded the drugstore’ s
vitamin counter
two weeks before.
So now these super bugs
bursting with good health and bad decisions,
operating the instrument from inside,
wailed their hatred of all that was human
out beyond the stars.

 

Enjoy, enjoy!

It’s either going to be a big, big book or a lot of the stories will be rather short, but Gehenna & Hinnom’s upcoming YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR (cf. May 8) looks like it’s going to be exciting reading.  Set for a publication date of September 30, here is the table of contents along with the cover, as released Wednesday evening by Editor C.P. Dunphey.

Table of Contents:

(Note:  We have decided to go by alphabetical order by author for the stories, since there are just so many high quality pieces.)

Foreword by C.P. Dunphey
Introduction by ?????

STORIES:
“SLOBBER” by Shaun Avery
“ERUPTION” by Charlotte Baker
“DEVIL’S TEARS” by Shadrick Beechem
“AN ANGEL AMONG US” by David Beers
“HUMAN-KINGS” by Austin Biela
“WRIGGLERS” by Chantal Boudreau*
“LITTLE MONSTERS” by Ed Burkley
“TOM’S THUMB” by K.M. Campbell
“FAMILY DINNER” by A. Collingwood
“THE ITCH” by Stuart Conover
“THE BLIND ASSASSIN” by Damien Donnelly
“FLESH” by James Dorr*
“A NORMAL SON” by Spinster Eskie
“GAS MASK BABY” by Santiago Eximeno
“HUMAN BODY” by Balázs Farkas*
“FRESH FACE” by Tarquin Ford
“MEET THE WIFE” by Kenneth C. Goldman*
“MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER” by James Harper
“MANTIS” by Kourtnea Hogan
“CICADA” by Carl R. Jennings
“TETANUS” by Christopher Vander Kaay
“GRUB” by Alexander Lloyd King
“MY LOVE BURNS WITH A GREEN FLAME” by Thomas C. Mavroudis
“THE FACE IN THE MIRROR” by Sean McCoy
“PORPHYRIA” by John S. McFarland
“THINGS” by Rick McQuiston
“THE FLESH GARDENER” by Jeremy Megargee
“EAR WAX” by G.A. Miller
“THE FACE” by Kurt Newton*
“BATTLEGROUND” by Drew Nicks
“WHIZZ-BANG ATTACK” by Sergio Palumbo
“THE ALWAYS WATCHING EYE” by Gary Power
“HOT FLASHES” by Jenya Joy Preece
“THE IMPLOSION OF A GASTROCRAT” by Frank Roger*
“NO STRINGS” by Josh Shiben*
“BABEL” by Ian Steadman
“A POUND OF FLESH” by Edmund Stone
“CONDITIONED APOCALYPSE” by Aric Sundquist
“LENGTH” by David Turton
“NATURAL GROWTH” by Mijat Vujačić*
“UTTER NO EVIL” by Joseph Watson
“DOWN WHERE HER NIGHTMARES DWELL” by Sheldon Woodbury

* means reprint

And in an ongoing news note, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are back to offering pretty deep print copy discounts for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, with the B&N price at $11.28 (compared to a full price of $14.95) and Amazon at $10.65, 25 and 29 percent off, respectively.  (For electronic prices, B&N’s Nook is at $8.49, Amazon’s Kindle $8.99.)  I don’t know if this is an August thing, or if it will even last through the month — or extend beyond.  However, if interested, Barnes & Noble can be checked out here and Amazon here.

On both sites there may be individual sellers as well with copies at even lower prices.  But if you find the bargain you want, and like the book too, please consider posting a review of TOMBS at both locations.

Two things, and both of them lists.  The first, “25 Reasons That Writers Are Bug-Fuck Nuts” (WARNING:  may contain adult language) by Chuck Wendig on TERRIBLEMINDS.COM (courtesy of Scott M. Goriscak via THE HORROR SOCIETY), is sort of self-explanatory — and fun!  It can be checked out here and, yes, Number 14 does involve a $7.53 royalty (for which I would be jealous, but the one I got from Elder Signs Press just the other week, cf. July 23, landscape-1501510359-scifi-comics-leadwas actually for more than that).

But then the other, more serious maybe but also fun in its own different way, is “The 25 Best Sci-Fi Comics” on POPULARMECHANICS.COM, by Tiffany Kelly and Darren Orf.  From ASTRO BOY (#12) to PUNK ROCK JESUS (#21), this one covers a fair bit of ground with stops in between, e.g. for movie buffs like me, #24 TANK GIRL, #6 VALERIAN AND LAURELINE, #14 THE GHOST IN THE SHELL, and others as well.  And potentially perhaps the most interesting of all, #3 INCAL by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius (Jean Giraud).  Or make your own choices by pressing here.

Today?  Yesterday?  The start of the month?  These types of changes sneak up on one, but this afternoon’s traipse of the internet has revealed that TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH can now be obtained in both Kindle and Nook for electronic readers.  The cost on Amazon is $8.99 as can be discovered (and should one wish, ordered) here while its Nook equivalent can be found for only $8.49 on B&N’s site here (though you then have to press the “See All Formats & Editions” button).  Of other statistics, TOMBS is listed by Amazon in both formats as having been published on June 1, though as we know that was actually the print version only.  Also, one may have noticed the new Nook version comes in at fifty cents less than Amazon’s Kindle, convenient for electronic bargain seekers, but while B&N charges the full list price of $14.95 for its print edition, Amazon cuts that by a whacking two cents to come to a mere $14.93.  (Needless to say, the days of pre-order and later-in-June deep discounts are past, but several reviewers on both the sites seem to indicate the book’s worth its full price.)

It wasn’t to be a big convention, even by NASFiC standards – I was told there were 400-some paid attendees, but actual crowds seemed considerably less.  But I hadn’t gone for a big convention necessarily, though part of it was the new novel-in-stories, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and a chance to show copies of it to fans in the hope word might spread.  In fact the convention could sort of be considered cozy, though part of the reason I really went was for the adventure.  The North American Science Fiction Convention, held for us home folks in years when the World SF Convention is going to be overseas, was itself overseas for 2017 — if only a little.  Farther than Cuba, though, or Haiti, in San Juan Puerto Rico.

So, yes, that’s still the United States, no problems with passports, but a lot of people speak Spanish too (which I myself don’t), and some don’t speak much English.  The money’s the same, which is helpful too, though some foods tended to be more salty, and others sweeter than I would prefer.

But in the hotel things were more familiar, including an unfortunately sparse con suite (most missed: morning coffee, heated things being forbidden, the staff explained, for “liability reasons”).  So, okay, make that a pioneer adventure.  Nor was there an autograph session, but there were a small number of readings scheduled, of which one was mine!  And there were panels, for the most part well attended.

My Part of the Show

I had two panels Friday, the first on “Genre Blending” which, in my introduction, allowed me to point out TOMBS as an example, keyworded by Amazon as Horror and Dystopic Science Fiction and on this blog as Science Fantasy and Dark Romance.  Discussion included the reason for genres — originally to know which shelf to go to in the library or bookstore — and whether “literary” fictioneers look down on us (but with one advantage of ghettoization, we have our own festivals such as NASFiC, and another as I pointed out of coming to know a small number of writers well enough to allow

San Cristobal

a sort of apprentice system).  But for the future with more and more book sales via the internet the old shelf labels are being replaced by keywords, allowing cross genres for readers to narrow their searches farther.  Then following that, “The Critical Eye” (with me moderating) included discussions of writers’ groups and mutual critiques prior to publication, editors’ comments and suggestions and why and how to sometimes decline these, and finally post publication reviews, even if not all necessarily “five star” — and why fans do authors a real favor by writing reviews, even if only one or two lines, and sending them to Amazon, et al.

Saturday gave me another panel, “World Building as More than Background,” again offering an opportunity to present TOMBS as an example (“It starts by finding the rivers,” I answered to the moderator’s opening question – rivers move commerce, and commerce brings cities, and cities begin to define civilization).  Other questions:  If you like a world, do you expand the book into a series? Can you get mired in research, and how to get out of it (my answer there referenced my story “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” which I built from leftover research about deserts, and which became my first ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE sale*)?  What do you do if your world is so popular readers want to write fan fiction in it?  And, as an example of a “built” world, this was immediately preceded by my reading (in fact, I came into the panel a minute or two late) in which I followed the back cover blurb and section II part of the Ghoul Poet’s story in TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for orientation of a sort, with the story-chapter of “The Last Dance” to a rather large audience as readings go at conventions I’ve been to.  In fact, it was almost as though there were a cadre of readings groupies, other readings that I dipped into drawing relatively large audiences too, for which kudos to NASFiC and/or I hope it’s the beginning of a trend.

Then Sunday morning brought “Zombies Over Time and Space,” a more relaxed free-wheeling affair with an audience that didn’t mind our straying into vampires for part of the session (I had pointed out that functionally post-Romero zombies are really vampires, just after solid food rather than liquid, and that he himself had said NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was meant in part as a homage to Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND).  Also touched on were Vodoun and Haitian zombies (the “zombies of folklore”), attempts at scientific explanation including various poisons (e.g. Wade Davis’s THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, the “zombies of science”), the Nineteenth Century New England vampire epidemic, and semi-salacious gossip involving Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelly, and other companions.

What I Wasn’t On

There were other panels, including one I had been assigned to at first but then removed from in later schedules, “Writing Diverse Characters of Impact” on Saturday morning, that I still attended.  Others included “Alternate Histories Outside the West,” “Imagining the Impossible” (this primarily about visual art, but of interest to me as having to do with creativity), and “How to Make Religions in Fantasy/SF Stories Real” (also in its own way relating to TOMBS).  In addition, the Opening Ceremonies Thursday night were followed by an “Ice Cream Social” (and as we know, cf. July 7, my being caught in a sudden rain on my way back to the hotel I was staying at), Friday night offered an Artists’ Reception, and Saturday brought an “Alien Abduction Masquerade Party” including food and a live slide show and reading performance of 1976’s “The Capture,” by Robert Aspirin with art by Phil Foglio, depicting an SF convention hijacked by aliens.

The Castillos

Weather for the most part was good, despite brief bouts of rain the first three days. Sunday it was supposed to be rainy in the afternoon, which was to be my free time for exploring the old

El Morro

part of the city and the “San Juan National Historic Site,” but Weather Channel forecasts aside it turned out to be sunny.  Lovely.  So this was the main “adventure” part, including a glance into the huge Cementerio Maria Magdelena de Pazzis outside the city wall to the north, the Cathedral of San Juan, the Plaza Colon (a very nice park, of which there are several, in this case with a statue of Columbus at the top of a pillar but up too high for my camera to reach to), and to the south a walk down the Paseo de la Princesa along San Juan Bay and entering the city through its original main gate.

But the main attractions were the two castillos, that of San Cristobal to the east, dating back to the Seventeenth Century, and a century before that El Morro guarding the bay on the western tip of the city, begun in 1539.  Both fortifications continued to be added onto over the centuries, El Morro ultimately having six separate levels (of which I explored five but skipped the “water battery” at the very bottom, my knees beginning to give out by then), including a lighthouse at the top built (I think) in the early Twentieth Century — and still in use.

And then, Monday morning, I chickened out on taking the city bus (I had come in on the bus, however, through – someone has to say it, yes? – picturesque narrow streets) and hailed a taxi to the airport.  Time to go home.  But, having changed my seat to the left of the airplane the evening before, I did have a brief final look through the window at a tiny Morro Castle to start the trip back to the mainland.
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*”The Wellmaster’s Daughter” can also be found in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (for which, click its picture in the center column).

Speaking of cats, the Goth Cat Triana is napping happily next to the keyboard, joyful that I have returned home to her.  More of what I did at NASFiC to come, but for now there are items to be caught up on.  And so this first popped up in today’s email from PHOBOS magazine (cf. February 24, et al.):  Good news!  The print edition of “Deep Black Sea” is now up for sale on Amazon!

Apologies for the delay, but I feel confident in saying this is our strongest issue yet, which of course is a result of the high quality stories by everyone present.  Thank you all for being a part of it.  Our next step will be putting out a Kindle version and making it available at select local bookstores. 

In the meantime, feel free to direct anyone interested to the Amazon site — and have them drop a review about how great your story is!  Reviews go a long way, even if it’s not five stars.

So . . . my story in this is a Lovecraftian romp, “The Dark Call of the Sea,” of a summer vacation at Innsmouth gone wrong.  For more, press here — and as quoted above, if you enjoy the issue, or just my story, please give the Amazon folk a review!

Then for a second item, my copy of CAT’S BREAKFAST: KURT VONNEGUT TRIBUTE (cf. June 15, et al.) arrived from Third Flatiron Publishing while I was gone, in a print edition at a (for Third Flatiron) whopping 270-some pages long.  My story in this is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013, see April 24 2013, et al.), about girls both alive and dead . . . and bears.  More on it can be found here and, should you enjoy, it can be reviewed too.

By the time the first three reviews appeared, I was in the middle of TOMBS.  Later, re-read them and frankly can do no better, as they all appreciated this excellent novel-in-story format.  So begins the fourth review on Amazon just up today, by Margaret B. Boston, on TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  Fortunately, she adds that she will try, continuing on with her own much-appreciated assessment.  She also gives it five stars out of five, as do the other three reviews as well.  To see for yourself (and, perhaps, to buy?) press here.*

Then one other note, as NASFIC approaches the first long-range weather reports for San Juan have been posted.  Highs in the eighties — warm, but not sweltering — and most days with clouds but only Thursday listed as threatening afternoon rain (and that still just a 30 percent chance).  And best of all, no hurricanes in sight.  So, so far so good (though another site warns I’d do well to bring mosquito repellent).
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*To keep myself absolutely honest, not all reviews everywhere have been five-star.  There is one on Goodreads that’s kind of crummy, though all that may mean is not everybody’s tastes are the same (and if you want to see it, no fool I, you’ll have to look up the site for yourself 😉 ).

No, the Goth cat Triana’s kibble was on time and eaten; rather the headline refers to Third Flatiron Publishing’s Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology CAT’S BREAKFAST (see May 17, April 27), also served up on Kindle this morning. That’s Kindle, not kibble, for which via Amazon one may press here, with a paperback edition expected from Createspace in the near future.  To quote from the blurb:  While satire and humor have long been standard tools of the trade for fiction writers, the authors have channeled the uniquely Vonnegutian attitude into all-original stories that probe and instruct us on themes such as free will, mental illness, social cruelty, loneliness, and family.  The book [also] contains a flash humor section.  (This from the publisher’s own site, with this next from Amazon)  The new “Cat’s Breakfast” anthology from Third Flatiron pays tribute to the imagination and inspiration of the late author Kurt Vonnegut. Emulating Vonnegut’s famous “gallows humor” and skeptical view, these all-original satirical stories are a delightful antidote for the malaise and division plaguing contemporary society.

What more can one ask for?  My puss in the purée is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s 2013 tribute anthology (cf. April 24 2013, et al.), a modern morality tale of sorts of a thoroughly up-to-date young lady, a science fair, and . . . bears.

Then in other news, a third review of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now up on the Amazon site.  This is the one from THE GEHENNA POST (cf. June 3), an extremely good description in my opinion, and can be seen in situ by pressing here (where one may note also that Amazon is still offering a substantial discount, but not quite as big as it had once been, so perhaps one might buy now lest the price go up further 😉 ).

I’ve been missing out on conventions of late, partly because of the StokerCon split from World Horror Convention (but still in the space of about a month, making it difficult to schedule both), partly for costs, but now with a new book, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, just out I will be going to NASFiC next month.  This is the North American Science Fiction Convention, held in years when WorldCon will be overseas, and not a convention I’m entirely a stranger to having attended the one in Detroit in 2014 (cf. July 23 et al. that year).  This year’s will be in a possibly more exotic setting, San Juan Puerto Rico (well, yes, that’s a little bit “over sea” too, but it’s still in the US), Thursday through Sunday July 6-9, and late Saturday I received a list of panels I’m scheduled to be on.  So for those who’ll be there too, or are just interested, here’s the scoop:

Thursday – 7 p.m. – Bahia 1 – Reading from TOMBS
Friday – 10 a.m. – San Geronimo – Genre Blending
Friday – 4 p.m. – San Geronimo – The Critical Eye (moderating)
Saturday – 11 a.m. – San Cristobal – Writing Diverse Characters of Impact
Saturday – 3 p.m. – San Cristobal – World Building as More than Background
Sunday – 11 a.m. – San Cristobal – Zombies Over Time and Space

As it happens, most of these have a specific relevance to TOMBS — the idea for me is I hope to have a good time too, but technically I am to be there on business, to help put the word out.  TOMBS is a multi-genre work (Horror, Dystopian SF, Dark Romance); individual chapters include female and/or LGBTQ characters in prominent positions; world building suffuses the whole work.  (Though zombies, on the other hand, are only mentioned in passing in one of the story-chapters, and in a subsidiary role.)  Also, slightly related as of today all three reviews received thus far are up on Barnes & Noble and Goodreads, and two on Amazon, so it’s spreading.  If any out there are reviewers as well, and would be interested in a look yourself, please get in touch with me (a comment below with info on how to get back to you would work fine).  Or, if interested in getting to NASFiC yourself (I understand convention rates for hotel rooms end this weekend, but there are other hotels in the area too), for information press here.

Also received Saturday:  an email from Cin Ferguson of Scary Dairy Press that MOTHER’S REVENGE:  A DARK AND BIZARRE ANTHOLOGY OF GLOBAL PROPORTIONS, to give it its full title, has finally seen publication.  This was the “eco-anthology” originally planned to be out on Earth Day this year, April 22, but delayed (see April 24, 11, et al.).  My story in this is a reprint called “Swarms,” first published in Lone Wolf’s CD ROM anthology, BLOODTYPE, in 2001 as well as my 2007 print collection DARKER LOVES.  For information/ordering MOTHER’S REVENGE in paperback press here, with a Kindle edition also expected to be out in the next few days.




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