Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

A Frank Lloyd Wright mile-high Chicago tower?  A water-spouting Parisian elephant?  How about a project by Gaudi for lower Manhattan?  These and more can be found in “The 7 Wildest Buildings That Were Never Built” by Tim Newcomb, on POPULARMECHANICS. COM.  A giant Tokyo pyramid?  Food for thought for science fiction scenarios, including some steampunk (the Paris elephant predates the Eiffel Tower — had it been built instead would it have changed history?).  For all these and more, food for thought for one’s own wildest fancies (or maybe just le Quatorze Juillet fun), one need but press here.


This came late yesterday afternoon, actually, but had to wait till I could respond (my music group meets Tuesday evenings), the proof copy from Schreyer Ink Anthologies for my entry, “The Frog Pond,” in their upcoming CHILDREN OF THE SKY (see July 5). Originally published in England in HUB MAGAZINE in 2006, “The Frog Pond” is about the opening of a new planet for exploitation, but with one possible hitch that needed to be checked out first.

CHILDREN OF THE SKY itself is scheduled for publication on August 1, with the corrected proof for this story going back late last night (or, depending on time zone, the wee hours of this morning). And indeed things are moving fast, this having been just received:  The pre-order link is now live on Smashwords. The book will also be available through Smashwords’ extended retailers (Kobo and iBooks) in the next few days. You can find it there by searching. It will be live on Amazon in a day or two . . . [t]here will not be a paperback preorder but the paperback will be available on Amazon on August 1st.

I can’t say that I didn’t sort of anticipate this, or at least hope for it, another email from Pole to Pole Publishing this afternoon:  Thank you for sending “Gas” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s RE-TERRIFY anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “Gas” for inclusion in the anthology.  This is the companion volume to the RE-ENCHANT anthology which accepted my story “Dust” just a few days ago so, adding previous volumes RE-QUEST and RE-LAUNCH, I seem to be four for four so far.  I might also add for fellow writers that like RE- ENCHANT, RE-TERRIFY is open to submissions through August, for more on which see the link in the post just below.

RE-TERRIFY, to quote the original call, will join our previous submission calls (now closed) for RE-LAUNCH and RE-QUEST in the Re-Imagined Series of anthologies. RE-TERRIFY requires dark science fiction, fantasy, or horror reprints on the theme of monsters which terrify.  “Gas,” which was first published in the December 1994-5 issue of EULOGY, involves cutting edge (if not on the entirely up and up) biochemical research and was inspired by the real-life basement of the Indiana University Chemistry Building.

The call was for a series of anthologies from Schreyer Ink Publishing, with the one with the guideline window for May and June titled CHILDREN OF THE SKY.  The description read Science Fiction:  stories of alien invasions, first contact, our first steps on alien worlds.  It didn’t say if reprints would be okay, as they often can be for themed anthologies (that is, the editor can hope for first class stories at “used” story rates — in this case, in fact, payment would be just a royalty share), but it didn’t say they wouldn’t be either.  So off went a story from way, way back, when I was writing much more science fiction, about planetary exploration and alien first contact purposely gone wrong called “The Frog Pond,” published originally in the UK in HUB Magazine, December 2006.  Details on first publication history were included of course.

The reply came yesterday, the Fourth of July, from Editor C. Schreyer.  Thank-you for your submission to Children of the Sky. We are excited to inform you that your story has been accepted for publication.  Please find attached your contract.  A bit more information was asked for and so, this afternoon, all went back, signed contract, formatted copy of story, and bio.  If all goes well, the next step will be receiving a proof copy, more on which will be told here when it happens.  Also, other writers, for more information on Schreyer Ink Publishing and future calls (one of which has just opened for this month and August), one may press here.

Gee, it’s a three-figure check, that is counting both sides of the decimal point!  Well maybe not quite, but mid-year mammoth royalty payments are upon us again, and the first for me is here this last day of June.  Or, well not the payment, but the report which if not huge contains one nice datum:  that the several solo items I have with this publisher all made at least some sales (by contrast to a multi-author item which usually does better, but sold zero copies this time out).  Also, however, has come an announcement that unless what’s owed exceeds a certain level, the publisher (as is my custom, I’ve declined to identify either this or the actual books involved to avoid embarrassment on both sides) says they’ll hold back sending an actual check till the end of the year.  A wise choice, I think, as I settle down to wait six more months for it.

Talk about fast!  Thursday, June 14, I submitted a story to a reprint anthology for short (1500 words or less), dark science fiction, SINS AND OTHER WORLDS.  As it happened I had a story I rather liked at about half that length,”The Cyclops,” about a deformed but hyper intelligent baby first published in DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR in June 2013.  And in fairness, the call for submissions did say responses could come in less than two weeks.

But in only two days?  Sent late yesterday came the reply from Editor Eric Fomley:  Thank you for sending me this.  I would like to use “Cyclops” in the SINS AND OTHER WORLDS anthology.  I’ll keep you in the loop as the project progresses.  So, technically it was three hours and some minutes over two days if one reads the time stamps (assuming, that is, they’re for the same time zone), but that’s still pretty quick!

Also according to Editor Fomley there should be a crowdfunding campaign in the near future, for which expect news here as soon as it’s known.  More money raised, after all, means more money in authors’ pockets (the project will be called off, in fact, if we can’t be paid at least an advance of $0.01 a word).  Also they’re still open for new submissions, to close only when the anthology’s full — but at this rate of speed that might not be too long.  So if interested in submitting yourself, details can be found here.

And here it is, as promised (June 3), UK writer and blogger Jacky Dahlhaus’s Wednesday MEET THE AUTHOR with the interviewee for the start of June, me.  Find out the answers:  What do I like to do in my free time (excepting reading)?  Favorite authors, and how they’ve influenced me?  Pen or typewriter or computer?  My favorite genre (well, you probably know that) but also why?  Pseudonyms, writing styles, the moral of TOMBS?  And more on both TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH and THE TEARS OF ISIS — for these and more, along with a “thank you” to Jacky from me, press here!

Mileage may definitely vary on this one.  Some find “found footage” movies realistic and scary, others complain about headaches induced by shaky hand-held camerawork, while I’m probably somewhere in the middle.  THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, granted an excellent pre-release public relations buildup, ultimately suffered from (in my opinion) a danger inherent in the sub-genre:  a genuinely, promisingly scary buildup dissipated by the end “reveal” — or lack thereof.  Was that all it was?  In the case of THE BLAIR WITCH . . . well, I shouldn’t reveal it, but it was disappointing to me.  Or in the wonderfully, terrifyingly built-up Spanish film [REC], well what was it after all — could anyone actually see?  Or is that just me?

Then there are ones where there’s just too much waiting (realistic, I suppose in fairness) for, again to me, too little payoff even in the buildup.  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY anyone? — spooky to some perhaps, but to me, well, I have a cat.  Bang!  Too many “special effects” just found a, to me, too easily found possible explanation.  But also there are ones that I think work well.  CLOVERFIELD for instance starts perhaps too slowly, but when it gets going it becomes genuinely scary and, granted one does have to suspend disbelief, it’s fast enough that the ending packs a genuine punch!  And for one that both packs a genuine punch, and builds up horrifyingly along the way — and is all too believable (especially if one is into conspiracy theories) — may I suggest THE BAY?  Granted there may be a little cheating, the film presumably composed and edited “after the fact,” but I recommend it as possibly the best of the genre so far.*  And also, in this case maybe a sort of “hybrid,” but partially “found footage,” Norway’s TROLL HUNTER is funny as well, though perhaps more fantasy than actual horror.

So that’s my opinion.  Others may differ.  But for a rundown on these and five more, to decide for oneself, please to peruse “11 Seriously Scary Found Footage Horror Movies ” by THE-LINE-UP.COM staff by pressing here.


*Reviewed here, I might add, on these very pages, see June 8 2015.

Comes June and with it a bright sunny afternoon, breezy and in the lower 80s and, with that, the start of the Summer Reading Season.  What better way to celebrate, then, than with a new interview of . . . me, this one by UK author and blogger Jacky Dahlhaus, tentatively to go live Wednesday morning?  So three days from now be prepared for more dish on TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, a mention or two (it mustn’t feel left out!) of THE TEARS OF ISIS, the importance of (*ahem*) reviews to all authors, plus details on the inspiration and influence of Poe and Bradbury (with mentions here of Ginsberg and Brecht), whether I start writing with a pen or on the computer . . . well, you may have seen interviews by me before, but maybe this one will have new stuff to say too.  You can’t really tell until you read it, coming up Wednesday.

And a quick second note, Ms. Dahlhaus is looking for a few more interviewees for the summer, if any other writers out there might be interested in some free publicity.  But there are a few qualifications in terms of work already published, more on which can be found at her website by pressing here.

Though it was originally intended for biomedical research, the Mütter Museum is a funhouse for those with a morbid sense of curiosity, explains Jessica Ferri on THE-LINE-UP.COM.  She also suggests:  The next time you find yourself in Philadelphia, you may want to consider paying a visit to the infamous Mütter Museum.  It was founded in 1863, after Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter donated his collection of medical anomalies, wax models, diseased specimens, and medical equipment to The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  Today, the museum boasts a collection of over 20,000 specimens, with about 15 percent on view to the public.  Believe us, that small percentage is plenty for nightmares to last a lifetime, and adds this warning, be sure to skip lunch before your visit, lest you want to lose your meal.

And so, the wonders one might find there include objects removed from people’s lungs, anthropodermic books (that is, bound in human skin), “wet specimens” (don’t ask), the Hyrtl Collection of 139 human skulls, a two-headed baby, the “Eye Wall” . . . well, you get the drift.  All these and more which you can read about yourself in “The 12 Creepiest Exhibits at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum of Medical Oddities” by pressing here.

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