Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

The first thing she decided was that the 15-foot long, garbage-eating steampunk river cleaner would have a cheesily well-developed sense of humor.

“As soon as I started making snake puns, you had 20 other followers that were making hilarious other snake jokes,” she explains.  “So it became really great that way.”

Stegman continues to infuse Mr. Trash Wheel with her own “nerdom and geekdom,” which has endeared him to fans around the city.  He loves “Star Wars.”  He makes “Lord of the Rings” fan art.  He writes “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels and has spent hours answering questions on Reddit.  Occasionally, he participates in local events.

The “she” is Robyn Stegman, the official voice of Baltimore’s “Mr Trash Wheel,” a fifteen-foot long solar-powered device built to help clean trash out of Baltimore’s Jones Falls River.  And snake puns refer to an incident involving an escaped ball python found, having climbed up its conveyor belt, wrapped around a control box on Mr. Trash Wheel.  Baltimoreans loved it (well, most of them anyway).

It is what it is.  The article’s full title, by Eric March, is “2 Googly Eyes and a Dream:  How Mr. Trash Wheel Went Viral and Conquered Baltimore” and can be found on UPWORTHY.COM.  But what a neat idea!  And a happy story for environmental protection mavens as November ebbs and we enter the season of coming Christmas.

To read it for yourself press here.

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It’s “Our Favorite Fictionalized Scientists, Methematicians, and Inventors in SFF” on TOR.COM by Stubby the Rocket.  It starts like this:  Sci-fi and fantasy writers love populating their stories with towering geniuses.  After all, nothing lends credence to a work of SFF like a brilliant mathematician or an ahead-of-their time scientist.  But as fun as it is to see characters inspired by historical figures, it’s even more fascinating when authors take the real person and reimagine them within the context of SFF.  Recasting mathematicians as demon hunters, analysts as steampunk spies, and even Greek scholars as superheroes. . . .  Hypatia, Mandelbrot, Newton, Tesla. Einstein (sort of).  But what’s neat here is not just the article itself but some of the links, as with my favorite, fifth on the roster, the team up of “crime fighters” Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage.

For all, click here — if you’re anything like me you won’t regret it.  And be sure to scroll down to the very bottom with its link to Kate Beaton’s “Hark! A Vagrant” archives.

It was one of my first professional sales, by SFWA’s rules at the time, a just under 2000-word outer space tale about humans revived to be wired into spaceships called “No Place to Hide” to the now long defunct SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW.  The issue was dated Summer 1991.  And the story was good, it had been reprinted once or twice (notably in FANTASTIC STORIES PRESENTS: SCIENCE FICTION SUPER PACK #1, cf. November 30 2014, et al.), and then the call came from ASTOUNDING OUTPOST:  We live in an amazing time, technology and humans are coexisting in a way we’ve never seen before.  It also can be a terrifying time.  What if humans and technology can’t coexist?  What if the A.I. take over, or the computer viruses jump off of the net and into our biology?  What if we’re just all living in a matrix?  These are just some of the questions and ideas that have shaped science fiction and this call.  Give us your visions of how it all plays out.

Send us your best 7500 word or less story that relates to Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware.  Submission is open until October 28th.

So out it went a week before deadline and yesterday afternoon came the acceptance:  Thank you for your submission.  We enjoyed your story and have selected it for publication.  It will appear on the website during the month of November and also in the anthology that will be released on December.

And so it lies, a first sale for November, to publish some time this month though I don’t know when yet — so watch this space for more news when it comes with appropriate link. Yes, it will be a freebie, a lagniappe if one will. And yes, please read it when the time comes, because payment comes in the form of a contest, readers will be asked to vote for their favorite during the first week of December (at more or less which time the stories will also be published together in an anthology too, I believe to be in Kindle at least and possibly paper), and the high scoring winners get the most money.  So look for an announcement and link on this blog as well when the magic time comes.

Another sale, this one by DriveThru Fiction according to Untreed Reads Publishing’s Jay Hartman:  If you’re getting this email, it’s because one or more of your titles have been included in DriveThruFiction.com’s special Halloween sale.  They’re going to be offering 31% ImDreamingoff all horror/ghost titles through the end of October.  And two of the titles offered are my short story Christmas horror chapbook I’M DREAMING OF A . . . and the Untreed Reads New Year’s Eve anthology YEAR’S END with its lead story by me, “Appointment in Time,” as well as my non-horror dystopian science fiction (and hence not part of the sale, but still cheap at only $1.50) novelette PEDS.  For more, press here, where you’ll find seventeen titles from various publishers (mainly anthologies with stories by me in them) concerning me, plus two, PRESIDENTIAL PULP and THE ADVENTURE MEGAPACK, that have nothing to do with me whatsoever.  Whereas for Untreed Read titles on sale only, including ones mostly not by me, one can press here.

Who knows what Friday the Thirteenth will bring, but yesterday, Thursday the twelfth, was rather nice despite a gloomy, Octobery day.  The highlight, a first poetry acceptance for me by STAR*LINE new editor Vince Gotera, for a “horrorku” titled “Wet Work.”  Horrorku?  Well, it’s sort of supposed to be horror plus haiku though it’s really more just a three line poem with a vaguely 5-7-5 syllable count (mine is 5-7-4) on a horror subject, which in my case would more likely be epigrammatic, although not always.  But to the point, even if lacking walruses (cf. October 1) “Wet Work” does have a mermaid.

Then Thursday night brought the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. June 8, et al.) with, this time, a special reading performance of PREMIUM TAFT, a two-act play by Tom Trent, with musical interludes by Jason Fickel.  PREMIUM TAFT is, to read from the Facebook description, “[a] fictional time-traveling comedy about William Howard Taft’s whistle-stop presidential campaign appearance at the Mitchell Opera House in 1908 . . .  or maybe 1958?”  Or science fiction meets farce, in this case with an Indiana small-town ambience with grifters, politicos, greed, and rock ‘n’ roll.  And lots of fun.

This was followed by “open mic” presentations of which mine came in fourth of six, to an audience of about 15 people.  Noting that it had been a gloomy, Octobery day, ideal as a precursor for Halloween, I read four poems from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “Night Child,” “La Méduse,” “Moonlight Swimming,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.”

It is here!  ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (see September 26, et al.) arrived this evening, all 371 pages of it, and a handsome book it is too.  Or, to quote three opinions from the back cover:   In Zippered Flesh 3, Editor Weldon Burge has done a masterful job of combining work from well-known masters like Jack Ketchum and Graham Masterton with newer writers.  But it is the original work by newcomers like L.L. Soares and Meghan Acuri that stands out for me. …  Highly recommended. — Gene O’Neill, author of The Hitchhiking Effect:  A Retrospective Collection

“Closer” by Charles Colyott is a wonderfully poignant and romantic story. …  “Going Green” by Christine Morgan is so original, timely, and well-written it deserves special mention. …  Kudos to Burge for putting together another fine anthology of cutting-edge fiction. — Paul Dale Anderson, author of The Instruments of Death series

Hardcore horror that ranges from the socially relevant to the scatologically repulsive — the shock here is like “The Scream’ made flesh.” — Mort Castle, editor of On Writing Horror:  A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association

Mine in fact is one of the gentler pieces, “Golden Age,” a reflective science fiction tale originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994, one of seven reprints by authors such as Billie Sue Mosiman and William Nolan out of a total of nineteen stories, to end the collection.  But see for yourself — if you dare — by checking it out on Amazon here.

A disturbing film isn’t one that gleefully stands with its arms outstretched to embrace buckets of blood.  A disturbing film is something else, something more — an experience that’s undeniably unsettling whilst it plays out, but even more powerful in the lingering sting it leaves behind.  A truly disturbing movie doesn’t slap you around in your seat on first viewing — instead, it burrows its way into your brain and replays in your thoughts for weeks at a time afterwards.

There are plenty of lists out there that attempt to gather the most disconcerting films of all time in one place, but here at We Got This Covered we’re gonna evade your textbook entries on this occasion — A SERBIAN FILM, HUMAN CENTIPEDE, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST etc. — and go for a slightly different flavor.  These movies don’t simply disgust by serving as commendable pieces of exploitation cinema, but work in a rather different and more complex way to deeply, deeply disturb.  Watching them once will be more than enough. . .

So starts Gaz Lloyd’s “10 Deeply Disturbing Movies That You Need To Watch, But Only Once,” brought to us by WEGOTTHISCOVERED.COM.  To cut to the chase, to see the list for yourself press here (noting that a few of these specify the original movie, not the remake).  For myself, I think I’ve seen four of the ten, but will need to check further when I’m at home (I’m writing this at a library computer right now) to see if I still have two of the titles.  And, tonight, maybe watch AUDITION again?

Nah, maybe not.

“Now comrades, I am finally convinced that a dream of mine — space travel — for which I have given the theoretical foundations, will be realized.  I believe that many of you will be witnesses of the first journey beyond the atmosphere.  In the Soviet Union we have many young pilots. . . (and) I place my most daring hopes in them.  They will help to actualize my discoveries and will prepare the gifted builders of the first space vehicle.  Heroes and men of courage will inaugurate the first airways:  Earth to Moon orbit, Earth to Mars orbit, and still farther; Moscow to the Moon, Kaluga to Mars!”

The square erupted in cheers, led by none other than the country’s leader Joseph Stalin.

Twenty-two years later, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite into space aboard the R-7 rocket.  After its flight into space on October 4, 1957 — 60 years ago today — Sputnik-1 quickly entered into legend, and struck fear in the United States about falling behind in the space race.  But such a momentous launch likely couldn’t have happened without Tsiolkovsky, a mathematician, founding father of modern rocketry, and a science-fiction visionary that even inspired Arthur C. Clarke.

Thus starts today’s anniversary internet gleaning, “How a Russian Scientist’s Sci-Fi Genius Made Sputnik Possible” by Matt Blitz on POPULAR MECHANICS.COM, on the Russian visionary Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, rocket pioneer and, yes, science fiction author, remembering the October 4 1957 launch of the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik.  Some of us are so old we remember that day, even now when we’ve just celebrated a few weeks ago a space probe’s demise in crashing on the planet Saturn.  And some of us so young that we might live to see the first colony on Mars.  And some of us who became science fiction fans, or even scientists — or even writers — may share in a tip of the hat to those times, though Tsiolkovsky himself, born just over a hundred years before in September 1857, had died twenty-two years before the launch, on September 19 1935.

For more, one may press here.  And for even more than that, for the rocketry details also from POPULARMECHANICS.COM, please to peruse “The Rocket that Launched Sputnik and Started the Space Race” by Anatoly Zak by pressing here.

So, okay, this is another teeny horror/dark humor poem I read at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry” last week (cf. September 24), but this being the afternoon of October’s “First Sunday Prose” (more on which later this p.m. or Monday morning), why not?  Actually it came up while perusing “Bloodizabeth’s Meat & Greet Dinner Party” on SLASHERMONSTER.COM and seeing one comment mentioning The Beatlles and “I Am the Walrus.”  So having this variant, as it were, in the quiver, why not shoot it into the “Comments” section as a comment upon the comment?  (And thus here, as an “extra,” for you.)

I AM A WALRUS

i have a walrus mustache,
& am hot for mermaids

This is the time for second quarter royalties to (as it were) come home, and the first report was received this week.  One may recall that royalties for individual short stories in an anthology, for instance, or possibly as stand-alone chapbooks are rarely large, and it’s been my custom to avoid embarrassment on both sides by declining to identify either the publisher or the exact amount.  So let it suffice just to say a significant recipient this time around will be the US Postal Service for selling the stamp to send the check to me.

Then, continuing on the topic of matters postal, I stopped by the post office this afternoon needing to buy stamps for myself, and, having been tipped off, asked for two sheets (in this case of twenty stamps each) of the one honoring last month’s solar eclipse (cf. August 22).  The tip?  If you press your thumb on the stamp’s picture of the occluded sun, rolling it a bit perhaps to assure that all has been warmed by its touch, and then remove it — voila!  The picture you’ll see is now one of the moon!




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