Posts Tagged ‘Speculative Poetry’

A quick Sunday note that yesterday’s email brought a notice from HUMANAGERIE Co-Editor Allen Ashley (cf. July 24, April 3, March 21, et al) announcing yet another review, from the international poetry news and event website WRITE OUT LOUD (a.k.a. WRITEOUTLOUD.NET).  Word of the anthology does get around!  My part in this is the TOMBS related tale of “Crow and Rat,” a pair of good-for-nothings on a dying, depleted far-future Earth and, while reviewer Neil Leadbeater doesn’t cite it specifically (there is, however, a paragraph on prose in general, as well as the poetry), it does give a nice overview of the book as a whole.  It also ends with a link to the publishers website, for those who might be interested in buying it or just for further information, while the review itself can be seen by pressing here.

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THE BUBBLE is the work of writer/director Arch Oboler, famous for his LIGHTS OUT! radio plays in the 1930s and ’40s.  He’s the same Arch Oboler responsible for the 1952 3-D film BWANA DEVIL, who for the rest of his life was a vocal cheerleader for the artistic and commercial potential of 3-D movies.

Oboler liked communicating his ideas about humanity and our imperfect society using the narrative vehicle of the strange, the bizarre, the unexpected.  THE BUBBLE is this kind of story.  Some have compared the film to an extended episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE or THE OUTER LIMITS, and there’s a ring of truth to that.  The events of THE BUBBLE unfold like a groggy dream, nightmarish not in its intensity but in its unsettling mood and mysterious implications.

Thus begins an Amazon review by David M. Ballew of THE BUBBLE, Friday’s “Not-Quite Midnights” series first fall semester screening at the Indiana University Cinema.  Maybe not madness, exactly, but lovely 1966 schlock with at least a sort of zombie apocalypse.  That is, it’s more a psychological thing, but the people in the mysterious town our heroes find themselves in, a man and his wife and their newborn child along with the pilot who unwittingly landed them there, certainly act like zombies.  The cabdriver asks “do you need a ride” but never drives (the hero ultimately commandeering his taxi), the bartender keeps polishing the same glass pausing only to repeat “how may I serve you?” when addressed directly, the bar’s entertainer does her dance without needing music. . . .  A kind of a bad place to raise a new child.  And, as the Cinema’s program puts it, [t]hen there is an even more terrifying discovery — the zombie inhabitants live under an impenetrable dome, trapped like insects in a jar.  Can Catherine, Mark, and their newborn baby escape THE BUBBLE, or will they become mindless drones trapped in a human zoo?

AND, going back to David M. Ballew on Amazon, the real star of THE BUBBLE is Space-Vision 3-D.  The first truly practical American single-strip 3-D system, Space-Vision delivers strong, deep, beautifully rounded stereoscopic imagery that is nevertheless pleasantly comfortable to view, owing in part to the felicities of the original system design and in part to the remarkable restoration work put forth in this Blu-Ray incarnation by Bob Furmanek and Greg Kintz.  If 3-D were a classic Hollywood film actress, you would say she was never lovelier than she is right here.

In other words (but noting this was a theater version “[r]estored from the 35mm negatives by the 3-D Film Archive,” though it may have led to the Blu-Ray one Ballew cites), an ideal film for the IU Cinema:  entertaining, historically /technically important, even avant-garde in its way, and just a whole lot of fun.

Then a second quick note, in view of the lateness in sending some print copies, the DWARF STARS voting deadline for ultra short poems (see just below, August 30) has been extended until September 15.  SFPA has emailed a new voting link to members and it also appears in the July 7 email that included the link for the PDF edition.

Yes, the two long-time perambulating publications finally reached their destination, my personal mailbox, late Thursday evening. The Summer issue of STAR*LINE (see August 24, July 6, et al.) and, sharing its envelope, this year’s DWARF STARS (see July 7, et al.) are here — and with a whole day to go before voting on DWARF STAR poems closes!  Say, what?  Yes, while STAR*LINE is the official quarterly magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (a.k.a. SFPA, for more on which one can press here), DWARF STARS is an annual compendium of nominees for the past year’s best very short poem, here defined as ten lines or less, for SFPA members to vote on.  And, lucky for me, my choice for first place is easy, a poem called “Never Trust a Vampiress” at the top of page 21, by me, though my second and third choices may be a bit harder.  (For SFPA members who may be reading, that’s right at the top of p.21, and remember to vote.)

“Never Trust a Vampiress” is about, in a way, the fickleness of hemophages and why you shouldn’t take everything they say at face value.  Especially if you’re a vampire hunter.  While STAR*LINE this time has two poems by me, one about another vampiress but this time of the mermaid persuasion, and one about the demise of two iconic dolls.

STAR*LINE 42.3, the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, has been available in PDF form for SFPA members for several weeks, but now the print version has been released too.  This is the Summer issue and, rolling with the season, concentrates a bit more on lighter verse than the average issue according to Editor Vince Gotera.  And with the print issue its web page is up, with a list of poems and information for purchasing for non-SFPA members who might wish to do so.  If interested, one can press here.

I have two poems in the pack myself (see July 26, et al.), both humorous — or, perhaps, better classed as tragicomic.  One, “Enemy Action,” concerns a certain gluttonous mermaid vampiress who we’ve met in STAR*LINE before, while the second is about an iconic young couple, beloved by American girls near and far, and is titled “Roadkill Doll.”

The wheels of time progress.  Today’s email brought a PDF proof copy of STAR*LINE 42.3, for Summer 2019, with two poems by me in it (cf. May 7, 1).  The poems, “Enemy Action” and “Roadkill Doll,” located at the upper right corners of pages 14 and 18 appeared to be okay, my name spelled correctly there and in the contents as well as in a “Congratulations” box for STAR*LINE poets in the upcoming DWARF STARS contest anthology (cf. May 29), so about an hour ago I sent an “all’s fine” email back.  STAR*LINE as we may recall is the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, currently edited by Vince Gotera, while the two poems cited are about a mermaid vampiress (who we along with readers of STAR*LINE have met before) and about the cruel fates of two iconic American toys.

The DWARF STARS anthology is a selection of the best speculative poems of ten lines or fewer (100 words or fewer for prose poems) from the previous year, nominated by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association membership and chosen for publication by the editors.  From this anthology, SFPA members vote for the best poem.  The winner receives the Dwarf Stars Award, which is analogous to the SFPA ds19Rhysling Awards given annually for poems of any length.

Thus the announcement today with a link to obtain a PDF copy that voting officially has begun for 2018’s best ultra short speculative poem.  And I do have, myself, a dog in the hunt or at least a sort of canine companion, the 6-line “Never Trust a Vampiress” (cf. May 29), initially printed in the Summer 2018 STAR*LINE, the SFPA’s own poetry magazine.  Voting continues until August 31 2019 for SFPA members.  The moral therefore, should you be a SFPA member yourself, the untrustworthy bloodsucker could use a little love!

Or, for more information about the Dwarf Stars Award as well a list of this year’s contenders, plus ordering DWARF STARS if one so desires, one may press here.

The email from John Mannone started off modestly enough.  Congratulations!  The following has been nominated for the 2019 Dwarf Stars Anthology:  Never Trust a Vampiress.  The poem, “Never Trust a Vampiress,” had been published in Spring 2018 in STAR*LINE (cf. May 16 2018, et al.), the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, and John Mannone is the Editor/Curator of the Dwarf stars Award and associated anthology recognizing the best ultra short (1 to 10 lines) speculative poem published the previous year.  Unlike similar awards, however, the poets themselves send suggested work to the contest/anthology in the same way that one might offer work to a normal publication, and those the editor himself selects become thus the official nominees.

Confused?  Well, maybe, but here it runs parallel to the better known Rhysling Competition in that the resulting DWARF STARS ANTHOLOGY is then sent to all SFPA members, whereupon they vote and one of the poems is selected the winner.  Though probably not mine, the untrustworthy vampiress of the title preferring to keep a low profile unlife, beneath the attention of vampire hunters.  Indeed her poem is just six lines long.  Nevertheless, her fur coat around her in case it’s cold, she’ll skulk with the others and we’ll see who wins.

More on DWARF STARS and the competition (and SFPA) can be found here, while the sneaky vampiress can still be discovered in STAR*LINE for last spring, modestly situated on the right and toward the bottom of page 10.

Well, in its category anyway, and according to co-editor Bob Brown of B Cubed Press there’s a sort of funny story about it.  In his own words:  Alternative Theologies just hit the #1 Best Seller in its category.  (Amazon anyway)

This came about when someone raided my booth at MisCon and took about 15 copies.

I kind of wrote it off and posted about it.

That post went a bit viral and sales responded.

The book’s full title is ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES:  PARABLES FOR A MODERN WORLD and my own part in it is rather modest, a humorous poem called “Tit for Tat” (cf. August 14, August 11, et al.) — and a reprint at that, originally published in GHOSTS:  REVENGE (James Ward Kirk Publications, 2015).  But there’s lots of other stuff in there with it and reviews I’ve seen are extremely positive so, if you haven’t looked into ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES yet yourself, more information can be found by pressing here.

Or to quote from the start of the Amazon blurb:  Henry Frederic Amiel stated that “Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us.  Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”  And while this book explores theology and beliefs, it is written to be kind as well as thoughtful, and at times funny.  It will give you belly laughs, but it will also give understanding of the notion of believing. It will remind you that no matter what you believe, we make this journey together.

Just saying. . . .

Another step, this on the road for poetry, to resolve some questions involving commas in “Roadkill Doll,” one of two poems being set up for STAR*LINE (cf. May 1) from Editor Vince Gotera.  The trick with poetry is oftentimes not the just the words themselves, but how they’re presented and why they’re presented so.  And so, too, the importance of punctuation — and whether a poem is something that’s to be seen on a page, or if it’s to be sometimes read aloud:  that is, grammar versus flow.

So it’s complicated, but questions answered, reasons given, and just sent back, with “Roadkill Doll” (and companion poem “Enemy Action”) now that much closer to publication in a future STAR*LINE.

Two pieces of news to start a new month, the first from STAR*LINE editor Vince Gotera:  Sorry for the long delay.  I’m behind but catching up.  I’d like to accept “Enemy Action” and “Roadkill Doll.”  Could you please let me know if those are still available?  STAR*LINE is the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and has been noted on these pages before, while “Enemy Action,” I might also note, adds to a series of three-line haiku-ish poems about a mermaid vampiress and her various acts of gluttony, several of which have also appeared in previous issues of STAR*LINE.  (“Roadkill Doll,” on the other hand, is a stand-alone celebration of two iconic American not-quite people and, more to the point, yes, both poems were still available.)

Also, it being the first day of May, the spring mammoth royalty season has begun, bringing. . . .  Well, surprise, surprise, right off the bat a fully two-figure payment to PayPal, not the first ever (see, e.g., January 25 2018, et al.) but easily enough to buy a nourishing if modest dinner,* and that’s something worthy of celebrating.  In this case the payment is for book sales over several months, but a book that’s been on the market for some years so it’s not exactly in the midst of an advertising blitz.  And it all adds up, yes?

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*That is to say, no cocktails beforehand, but maybe enough for a small dessert after.




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