Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

Strange are the tales told of the Internet.  Of stories presumed rejected that weren’t; of acceptances disguised as things they might not be.  A magical, mystical place it is, of shadows and mysteries.  And here is one such strange telling now.

Let us go first to June 13 2018, and a call for submissions from Old Sins, “a (very) small publishing cooperative.”  Let’s write about conspiracies that have been debunked thoroughly but do so through the lens of Alternate History, where they have actually happened.  Let’s write about the second shooter, chemtrails, the Illuminati, Lizard People, Greys, the Loch Ness Monster, Pope Joan, Templars worshipping Satan, and so many other rumored conspiracies throughout history as if they were real.  So okay, let’s do.  As it happened I had such a tale already, of UFOs on the road to Roswell or, at least, an odd wounded humanoid creature who may have come from a UFO, originally published in BOOK OF DARK WISDOM in Summer 2005, called “The Country Doctor.”*

So off it went, until on October 25 an email came from Editor Joseph Cadotte asking about some possible small editorial changes, and allowing that he had liked the story and was sending it along to his partner.  Okay, so not an acceptance quite, but I sent a reply addressing the suggested changes (most of them having to do with italicization) and so time went on.  But then a new email came on January 27 this year with the subject title “Pending acceptance to FAKE NEWS,” stating in part:  We have a preliminary layout, and, if you are included in this message, you are on it.   So that’s positive mostly, sort of, yes?  Maybe a clearer confirmation (that is, not just “pending”) would be coming soon.

Which brings us to Wednesday afternoon, yesterday, not quite six months later, repeating the January 27 message, and with the same heading, but with an explanation above of how things are being delayed.  The wheels grind slowly, but grind they still do, and concluding:  I will try to send you a contract soonish.

So I’m going to call this an acceptance now of “The Country Doctor” for FAKE NEWS (or a similar title), and if perhaps still not 100 percent sure, we’ll find out together.

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*”The Country Doctor” has also been reprinted in the anthology AMERICA THE HORRIFIC (Bards and Sages, 2011), for which one can see below, October 29, 19 2011, et al.

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The play is part of the Indiana University Arts and Humanities Council celebration, Granfalloon:  A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence (see also below, May 11 2018), “Vonnegut On Stage: War, Technology and Unintended Consequences” presented this afternoon and tomorrow evening by Cardinal Stage at the downtown Bloomington John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium.  Cardinal Stage presents an evening of dramatic adaptations of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories from WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE in partnership with the 2019 Granfalloon Festival presented by the IU Arts & Humanities Council.  Staged readings will include “Epicac” (adapted by Vonnegut) and “Report on the Barnhouse Effect” (adapted by Claris A. Ross for NBC radio), which speak to Vonnegut’s wariness of the military industrial complex and the unintended consequences of technological advancement.  A second performance will be tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 p.m., today’s being a 3 p.m. matinee more convenient, as it happens, for me to get to as well as (Friday being a work day) more likely to have tickets still available when I showed up at the door.

The readings themselves were presented in radio theatre format, the first in fact, according to the blurb above, adapted by the author himself, with performers in chairs stepping up to the mike to speak their parts accompanied by a variety of audio special effects.  I thought it worked well.  The first, “Epicac,” was about a newly invented supercomputer of special interest to the Navy for use in battles, but which, due to a lovesick programmer, became more interested in poetry and love itself, transferring its own affection to the programmer’s fiancee.  Then the second, “Report on the Barnhouse Effect,” from Vonnegut’s first published short story, has to do with a civilian professor developing what we might now call teleportation — an ability to manipulate solid objects with his mind — and his subsequent revolt against the military’s interest in using this in warfare, having become as he puts it himself the world’s “first weapon with a conscience.”

I had reread “Barnhouse Effect” fairly recently and, as I remember it, think the adaption did a good job of presenting the essence of the story.  In any event, I’ve dug out my old copy of WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE and plan to take another look at both stories tonight.

Or at least sometimes their stories do as blogger Carrie Ann Golden points out in “10 Films Based on Short Stories, on A WRITER & HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE, who asks [a]re all movies produced from screenplays only?  Her answer:  Nope. Many have been inspired by novels.  Think Harry Potter and Twilight.  But, did you know that there are a large number inspired by short stories?  She then proceeds to list ten as examples, starting with two that may be obvious, SLEEPY HOLLOW and THE BIRDS, followed by some that might less quickly come to mind like THE CANDYMAN (based on a series of stories by Clive Barker) or DARK WATER, SCREAMERS, and THE THING, with titles that differ from those of the original stories.  If interested one may press here, or simply take heart that there may be more to short story writing than occasional one dollar (or one cent) royalties.

But also an extra! Scroll down beyond the tenth movie title, beyond the article itself, and one of two links to other blog topics includes an interview, going back all the way to November 14 2016, of . . . me (see also post on the same date, below).  Herewith, for the curious, added to comments on characterization and theme are two questions on a then not-quite-yet-published work in progress, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

Hark us back to March 12, a mere sixteen days ago, and the post titled “Goodreads 384 Best Horror Anthos (First 100) Plus Post Death Review” concerning Goodreads’ LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES listing.  As I said at the time, 384 is a pretty big number, but I did skim through the first one hundred and, the news of the day, I have work in at least three titles, numbers 24, 50, and 97.  More specifically these are THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE VOLUME 1 & 2 OMNIBUS (CD Publications, 1998) with “A Christmas Story,” SLICES OF FLESH (Dark Moon Books, 2012) with “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” and AFTER DEATH (Dark Moon Books, 2013) with “Mall Rats,” the first two of these reprints and the third an original publication.  And that was that.

But that also means there are 284 titles I did not skim through and so, in a moment of relatively idle time earlier this afternoon, I glanced through the next 100 where two more books popped up with stories by me:  in a five-way tie for number 130, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS with “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” and by itself at number 155, THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU with “Dark of the Moon.”  To see for oneself one may press here.  And, as with the first one hundred titles, the entries are “live” in that one can click on them to go to their Goodreads pages, and from there to Amazon and other vendors should one have a desire to.  (In fact, in going through the list myself I came upon several other anthologies, including a tribute to Robert W. Chambers’ “The King in Yellow,” A SEASON IN CARCOSA, that seemed worth ordering for myself.)

Then one mini-oddity, as it happens both of my stories in the second 100 have strong science fiction aspects to them as well as horror, “Dark of the Moon” being, in fact, about a lunar expedition and “The Wellmasters Daughter” a very environmentally based introduction to the Sahara desert.

This just struck me as interesting as an idea for future stories or, rather, an element of future stories:  what attractions might future amusement parks offer that differ from today’s?  Well as it happens, short film maker Till Nowak created such an idea, based on a fictional scientific experiment concerning the effects of thrill rides on human learning, and part of which apparently has been taken by some people to be true.  Hence it migrated to SNOPES.COM with a need for debunking in “Does This Video Show an Extreme Theme Park Thrill Ride?”

To quote the SNOPES article, of Nowak’s film:  [t]he film is narrated by “Dr. Nick Laslowicz” (as portrayed by Leslie Barany), who has picked up on a project to “study the effects of kindergarten rides on the learning curve of 4-year-old children” that has been extended to “building larger, stronger devices to examine the effects also on adults.”

Dr. Laslowicz leads the viewing audience through a succession of increasingly bizarre amusement rides conceived and created to further his study — including one lasting a whopping 14 hours on which, the researcher laments, “some people fell asleep and missed their stops and had another 14 hours, and you can imagine the problems that entailed.”

And the fun thing is, not only is the video in question shown, but the entire 6 minute and 35 second film can be seen for as well by pressing here, then scrolling down to the end of the SNOPES piece and THE CENTRIFUGE BRAIN PROJECT:  A SHORT FILM.  The original video comes about a minute before the end of the film.

Now the next question to ask: in that most of these still rely on gravity for their effects, what modifications can we make for amusement park rides for use in space?

On a light, scenic but wet, snowy afternoon the Bloomington Writers Guild sponsored “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic” (cf. February 3, et al.) met at 1 p.m. instead of its usual 3 p.m. time, at a new location and host-to-be for the now First Wednesday “Spoken Word Series” (see February 22) as well, university area tavern Bear’s Place.  The featured readers were Kalynn Brower with a script from a radio series “The Secret Life of Fungi” on “Mushrooms In Space” and excerpts from her forthcoming ecological science fiction novel MISSION TO BLUE GRANNUS; Shana Ritter with excerpts from a forthcoming (as yet untitled) novel on the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 Spain; and “AppalAsian” writer and poet Lisa Kwong, who we’ve met several times before, with the first part of a draft Keynote speech she will be making at the upcoming 17th annual Vietnamese Interacting As One (VIA-1) Conference, at Indiana University on March 22-24.  For the following open session I was first of four with a rerun of “The Vault” (cf. September 7 2014), a possibly cautionary fable of a vampire and an invalid who share space together.

Let us recall January 16, not so long ago.  This had been the call:  Dramatic, large-scale stories of the distant future, focused on optimism and inclusion and blowing things up.  Weird mashups.  Actual arias.  Fat ladies singing on funeral pyres. . . .  The market in question, SPACE OPERA LIBRETTI, a mostly new-story clearly somewhat light-hearted anthology but accepting perhaps a few reprints, including my own, “The Needle-Heat Gun,” originally published in NIGHT LIGHTS (Geminid Press, 2016).  And now a complete 8cd923202896b58b34cd050eb84ab30d_originallist of authors has been released, or, according to co-editor Brian McNett:  Brian here.  Jennifer has asked me to do this announcement.  She’s swamped with life, and adulting, and the cat’s dental care.  We’ve been waiting on the final dotting of “I”s and crossing of “T”s and the signings on the lines which are dotted.

Now that all that important documentation is out of the way, I get to announce the list of contributors to “Space Opera Libretti.”

<insert the roaring of a stadium full of fanatical supporters here>

Our contributors are, in no specific order:

Ingrid Garcia
K.G. Anderson
Jean Graham
Julia Huni
Tom Barlow
Harry Turtledove
EDE Bell
James Dorr
Larry Hodges
Cait Gordon
Dave D’Alessio
Minerva Cerridwen
Bruce Taylor
Alex Kropf
Dawn Vogel
Lizz Donnelly
Dean Brink
Spruce Wells
Jennifer Lee Rossman
Brian McNett

And with a bit of a compliment after:  Jennifer and I are editing furiously, but to be honest, our contributors have shown themselves to be real professionals, even the beginners.  Our edits will only be to the end of making their perfect darlings even better.

More news when it comes.

Better late than never, eh?  Let us hark back to October last year and an announcement that SINS AND OTHER WORLDS (cf. October 14, August 11, et al.) was due for release in “a couple of weeks” — possibly even by Halloween!  Well, as we know sometimes these things get delayed.  But at last today the email came from Editor Eric Fomely that [t]he eBook edition of SINS AND OTHER WORLDS is now available on Amazon.  . . .  The PoD edition is under review and I expect Amazon to publish within a day or two.  And why should we care?  To quote the blurb from a few months back:  SINS AND OTHER WORLDS is a dark Science Fiction short story anthology comprised of reprint stories from 28 talented authors.  The stories range from deep space, alien planets, alternate realities and beyond.  Most stories within are flash fiction interspersed with several longer works from both emerging authors and titans in the field.  The anthology collects some of the best dark sci-fi in recent memory.

My part in this is a tale called “The Cyclops,” originally published in DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR in June 2013, concerning a very young man with a problem, but possibly advanced intelligence as a sort of compensation.  But can he be accepted by others — including his own family?  More can now be found by pressing here.

As the final part of our “Lovecraft in Film” series, we will be exploring 25 films that, while not direct adaptations, are inspired either partially or greatly by Lovecraft’s fiction.  Prepare for madness as we embark into the unknown.  These films are in NO PARTICULAR ORDER.  This is not a ranked list.  Thus the fourth and last segment of C.P. Dunphey’s “Top 100 Films & Television Series You Didn’t Know Were Lovecraftian” is now available on the GEHENNA & HINNOM site (cf. January 29, 28, 24).  Again with varying degrees of connection with the Lovecraft mythos, some close, some obscure, the final selections include such titles as THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN, CLOVERFIELD, THE CORRIDOR, THE POSSESSION, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, KAIRO (PULSE), BIRD BOX. . . .  For more, press here.

Wasting no time, C.P. Dunphey has added Part 3 on GEHENNA & HINNOM of the “Top 100 Films & Television Series You Didn’t Know Were Lovecraftian” (cf. January 28, 24).  As in Parts 1 and 2, we will be exploring 25 films that, while not direct adaptations, are inspired either partially or greatly by Lovecraft’s fiction and, as before, Dunphey stresses that the order in which the films are listed is not important.  Examples again include some where the Lovecraft connection is clear, others where it may be more obscure, with highlights including BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, WICKED CITY, SUSPIRIA, BANSHEE CHAPTER. . . .  As before, all may be perused by pressing here.




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