Posts Tagged ‘Space Opera’

Woo hoo!  We may recall from December 7, et al., that voting was ending for best story in Astounding Outpost’s NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE anthology, in which my story “No Place to Hide” appears.  Results are now in!  0riginally published in the long-dead pro magazine SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW in 1991, “No Place to Hide” has ended up in a hotly contested tie for eighth place.  But wait — there’s more.

As it happens, in addition to first, second, and third places, there was one other award to be given.  Or, to quote from the guidelines:  In addition, one story picked by the editors, not voters, will receive 15 dollars via paypal and a custom T-shirt from the Astounding Outpost.  This is the equivalent of the second voted-on prize in terms of loot received (in more recent anthologies, a print copy will replace the T-shirt, but NEURAL NETS is the last that’s available in Kindle form only) and, as it turns out, it seems there’s a dance in the old dame yet.*  Or, to quote again from the source:   After a very rough editorial battle, we can announce the WINNERS OF Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware.  First place goes to Burner, second goes to Catching Cameron Ellis, third to Never Lonely.  The editors choice goes to No Place to Hide.  Congratulations to the Neural Nets winners.  To check out the site for oneself, press here (then, to find the stories as well, press “Astounding Stories” at the upper right, but be prepared to scroll way, way down since the stories to be in the next anthology are in the process of being added).

One might then add that all stories, including the winners, can be read in the Kindle edition of NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE which may be purchased by clicking here.  (And also all writers receive a royalty on copies sold, so if enough of you . . . well, it does add up.)

*”a dance. . . ,” incidentally, is actually a quote that I couldn’t resist from ARCHY AND MEHITABEL (1927), one of a series of books by Don Marquis.  The specific poem is “The Song of Mehitabel,” the memoir of a somewhat disreputable alley cat (Triana, take note!) as transcribed by her friend, the cockroach Archy, and may be read by pressing here.

tourjours gai tourjours gai


We may recall from last Friday that voting had started for best story in Astounding Outpost’s NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE anthology, in which my story “No Place to Hide” appears (see December 1).  The “prize” for the three top vote-getters is a bit more pay for their stories, but last I looked my story was running in about eighth place.  Well, okay, so in a way it may really be more a popularity contest, at least in part, for Astounding Outpost “regulars” of which I’m not one, but still. . . .

Well, still, votes are nice, and in the words of the immortal Yogi Berra (I think) it ain’t over till it’s over, so herewith be reminded that voting was to be for one week only, making today the LAST DAY.  So, should one have the urge, one may read “No Place to Hide” by pressing here, or, more to the immediate point, the page for voting can be found here.

Also, just below (December 4) I noted that bargain prices for my novel-in-stories TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH were still available on Amazon, both in print and in Kindle (for which *ahem* one may press the book’s picture in the center column).  A quick check today shows that substantial discounts are also to be found from Barnes and Noble, at least in print (though NOOK copies are also available for $8.49, marked down from $8.99), notably one copy for as low as $8.98.  Perhaps your favorite book dealer has discounted copies too.  Or, in any event, to check out B & N’s prices (and check as well for special sales which may apply, one of which that ends December 10 may be good for an additional 25 percent off one item with the code GETGIFTING), though with fewer reviews on their site, one need but press here.

Two items today, the first that the current issue of STAR*LINE arrived Friday afternoon with a three-line mermaid-vampiress poem, “Wet Work,” by me on page 12.  Hidden, where one would not expect her, look for her down in the depths on the right.  STAR*LINE is the publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) which also runs an annual Rhysling competition for speculative poetry.  More information on that and STAR*LINE can be found on their website by pressing here.

Then ASTOUNDING OUTPOST (for more on which see just below, December 1) announces that a Kindle edition of NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE is now up and on sale for 99 cents for a limited time.  They don’t say for how long the sale will last, so to take advantage one should press here now.  Also don’t forget you can vote for my story, “No Place to Hide,” by using the link in the post below and, as a bonus, as it’s third in the contents in the Kindle edition one can read it in its entirety in the sample pages at the Amazon site (much more readable there than in the original web publication, which one can also find linked to at the end of the post just below).

“No Place to Hide,” a tale of interstellar war and the horrifying fates of some who fight it.  Space opera, maybe, but also a tale that fit the bill as described above — or at least so was the decision of the ASTOUNDING OUTPOST editors!  But there was a catch concerning payment, that all dogs in this fight would not be equal.  Or as the acceptance email put it:  “The voting to determine prizes will occur during the first week of December.  Be sure to let your friends and family know so they can vote for your story.”

Such was the post here November 13.  My story, “No Place to Hide,” originally published in SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW dated Summer 1991, had been reprinted in ASTOUNDING OUTPOST’s “Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware” issue.  And now it is time for readers and fans to vote for their favorite story in the issue (e.g., *hint* “No Place to Hide”) because, to quote the publisher: Remember the top three fan favorites win cash and treasure.

What does that mean [to continue the quote]?  If you’re a fan pick your favorite story.  IF YOU’RE AN AUTHOR LET YOUR FANS KNOW ABOUT THE POLL.  Share it on social media, harass your neighbors, and beg your family to vote for your story.  We’re all family here, aren’t we?  But do not tarry, voting is only open for one week, ending next Thursday December 7.

So to vote for “No Place to Hide,” one need but press here, scroll down until you find the title, and vote, vote, vote (actually I don’t know what happens if someone tries to vote more than once, so why take a chance, ask your friends to vote too instead).  Remember . . . sufficient votes mean “cash and treasure,” pour moi!  (Not a lot of cash and treasure, maybe, but easily outstripping the average mammoth royalty individual stories of mine in other publications tend to receive.  And anyway every bit counts.)

Also, if you haven’t yet, to read “No Place to Hide” yourself press here.

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. . . .

Such was the call (cf. November 2) and my response was to send them a rather short story, “No Place to Hide,” a tale of interstellar war and the horrifying fates of some who fight it.  Space opera, maybe, but also a tale that fit the bill as described above — or at least so was the decision of the ASTOUNDING OUTPOST editors!  But there was a catch concerning payment, that all dogs in this fight would not be equal.  Or as the acceptance email put it:  The voting to determine prizes will occur during the first week of December.  Be sure to let your friends and family know so they can vote for your story.

That’s right:  Vox populi est vox pecuniae.  Or, the tale with the most votes will get the most cash.  And now “No Place to Hide” has been published, and may be read by pressing here!

(So the moral is:  Read and enjoy.  Then on December 1 and for six days after please read it again and vote, vote vote!  Heck, this is America, have your friends vote too for “No Place to Hide.”  Your parents, your children.  Significant others.  Family pets. . . !

(And in the meantime, if you enjoy it scroll down to the end and please also consider leaving a comment.)

Thus was the call:  Welcome to Digital Science Fiction.  We are excited to announce our first open call for reprint short stories in the science fiction genre.  These stories will be published as stand-alone short stories and as part of an anthology of ten short stories under the Digital Science Fiction imprint, by the publisher, Digital Fiction Publishing Corp.  The announcement went on to specify that stories needed to be from 3500 to 7500 words long, “have appeared in professional or semi-professional books, magazines, collections, or anthologies,” and not be available for free on the internet.  And for which one would be paid, well, a bit, but reprints are reprints and money is money.  And so, why not?

As it happened, in fact, I had a 7000ish-word story published in the “Space Opera” section of NIGHT LIGHTS by Geminid Press in 2016 (see April 1 2016, et al.), a bit tongue-in-cheekish, having fun with the genre, you know, and ready to trot.  And so why not indeed?  Off it went just nine days ago and today the word came back from Michael Wills of Digital Fiction:  Thank you for sending us ‘The Needle-Heat Gun’.  We think it is a great fit and would like to publish it.  We will be in touch shortly with a formal contract and details for your review.

There it was in the mailbox yesterday afternoon, a mystery package from CreateSpace.  With trembling fingers, one tore the box open and . . . yes . . . there it was!  From an original acceptance in November 2014, a little delayed, from one of three anthologies now combined into one, my science fiction story, “The Needle-Heat Gun” (see February 22 2016; November 6, 7 2014).  The anthology, to give its full title, NIGHT LIGHTS, AN ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT GeminidPressNightLightsFICTION:  FIRST CONTACT, CONSPIRACY, AND SPACE OPERA from Geminid Press, more on which can be found by clicking here.

My story is in the “Space Opera” section for reasons apparent, I think, when one reads it, a tale no more serious than it needs to be. And it’s second from last in the anthology proper,  the last spot usually good to be in since it’s one the readers will remember but in this case taken by a shorter story that had to be there — one with greater-than-natural implications — and thus nicely positioned in its own right.

Then the second item, the edited proof  from Clifford Garstang of Press 53 for “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in November 1991, along with the contract.  The book for this one, to give its full title, EVERYWHERE STORIES VOLUME II:  MORE SHORT FICTION FROM A SMALL PLANET (cf. February 29, below), scheduled to be published in November this year.

Well, on second look perhaps not so much a literal giant in length — the total story count, after all, is just twenty-one — but, Geminid Press’s just-announced NIGHT LIGHTS:  AN ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT FICTION (FIRST CONTACT, CONSPIRACY, AND SPACE OPERA) is, as the extended title suggests, a combining of what were initially planned as three separate books.  Such was the impression.  The pay offered was good, and paid in advance, for tales of 1000 to 7500 words and when I bit with a 7000-word original GeminidPressNightLightstongue-in-cheek space adventure, “The Needle-Heat Gun,” for their “space opera anthology, Title Pending” (the other two themes of Conspiracy and First Contact being covered by separate anthology calls) an acceptance came back, followed by a contract, in breathtakingly rapid time (cf. November 7, 6 2014).

Then, however, things slowed down.  Publication was being looked for in lateish 2015, but one knows how that goes.  Move up to Sunday though, yesterday evening, and, ever so quietly, the word was slipped in by Co-Publishers Paul and Phil Garver:  “Your short stories are finally out!  The anthology of short fiction has been published as a Kindle eBook, and the paperback will arrive next month.”  The message went on to discuss things like authors’ copies — thus far, Geminid Press is proving to be a nice outfit to work with! — and a note that, while the regular Kindle price for NIGHT LIGHTS is $4.99, “please note that it will be on sale for FREE on February 26-28.”  Presumably that will be for everybody (there wasn’t some special code, for instance, that authors might use just to get theirs for free) which can be a good way to get word out fast on what could be a classic science fiction anthology.  I would suggest for readers who take advantage of it and like what they get, that in return they thank Geminid Press by considering posting a review.

Below is a list of NIGHT LIGHTS stories and authors arranged by sections (I’m in the third), while if, appetite whetted, you’d like to order it, Amazon’s page can be found here.

Conspiracy Hour – Freak us out with the most awesome conspiracy and cover-up tales you dare to divulge.  Raise our suspicions and make us question reality!
•    Brian Leopold – Only a Matter of Time
•    Suanne Schafer – Suite for the Lady in Red
•    Dennis Mombauer – The Garbage Mandala
•    Nick Nafpliotis – Destructive Theories
•    Dean H. Wild – The Harvest Consortium
•    Jamie D. Wahls – Maestro

Take Me to Your Leader – An alien visitor to Earth speaks his first words, which are, essentially, “Take me to your leader.”
•    Russell Nichols – Tie Goes to the Runner
•    David Boop – Ragnarök-n-Roll – A Story of Pre-cod-nition
•    Daniel P. Douglas – Well, Haruki, Looks Like It’s Just You and Me, Kid
•    Chris Doty – The Windfall
•    Kurt Bachard – The Singular Martian Invasion
•    Robert Bagnall – Shooting the Messenger

Space Opera – Rock us with cool short stories that have laser beams, spaceships, heroes — both male and female — and far out faraway places.  No singing required.
•    Frances Pauli – User Error
•    Julian Drury – Noctis Mons
•    James Dorr – The Needle-Heat Gun
•    Rebecca A. Demarest – Pit Stop
•    Richard W. Black – Space Partners
•    J.B. Rockwell – Three Penny Raven
•    Michael McGlade – Fortune Awaits You on Mars
•    Milo James Fowler – Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Devious Powers of Persuasion
•    Tracy Canfield – Lift Up Your Cores, O Ye Ships

Talk about fast work! Yesterday I received the acceptance for “The Needle-Heat Gun” for Geminid Press’s not-yet-titled Space Opera anthology, as related just below; today the contract arrived from Editor Phillip Garver.  So part of this afternoon’s activity has been reading through it and, a few hours ago, sending it back with electronic signature affixed.  Also just a few days before I received and sent back the final proof sheets for my story, “The Labyrinth,” to be published in the Smart Rhino Publications anthology INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (for details on which see September 9).  Such is the writer’s life, in part.  “The Labyrinth,” a fantasy/mystery set in modern Crete but with intimations of ancient Greek myth, is hoped to be out in early 2015; “The Needle-Heat Gun” in the mid-to-latter part of next year.

Yes, I do write science fiction sometimes — in fact I had started off with science fiction before I finally settled for mostly working in horror.  And while I don’t do very much SF now, every once in awhile the opportunity will come around. . . .

Besides, this story features a few standard horror tropes as well.

Thus the call went out from Geminid Press for an as yet untitled “Space Opera” anthology.  “Rock us with cool short stories that have laser beams, spaceships, heroes — both male and female — and far out faraway places.”  I had just happened to have wriSpace_Opera_Low_Restten a space opera parody of sorts, called “The Needle-Heat Gun,” which could fit the bill.  Moreover they were offering five cents a word, until recently a professional rate by SFWA standards and, I believe, still so for HWA.  It would have been wrong for me to desist.

They wanted a “tagline” in the cover letter so I also sent them this.  “’The Needle-Heat Gun’ is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek 7000-word story about how interstellar space hero Sledge Baxter saves the day, fights off at least three kinds of alien monsters, rescues the girl who then falls in love with him, ending up rich and beloved by all except by his sidekick who did all the actual work — but who has come to hate him for a completely different reason.”  What reason, you ask?

The good news came today from Editor Phillip Garver:  “Thank you for sending us ‘The Needle-Heat Gun.’  We loved it and would like to publish it in our upcoming anthology.”  Currently they’re looking toward a mid-to-late 2015 release, so you can find out then.  And as for what the book’s final title will be, etc., more information will be posted here as it becomes revealed.

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