Posts Tagged ‘Space Opera’

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.

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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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