Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

When you’re in the groove, and the writing is going well, you want to write more. You may not want to write more of anything vitally important, but you still want to write. So you think of a subject to fill four hundred words and you write a blog post. This particular four hundred words is in the form of the newsletter that I’ll probably never start.

What? you say. The writing is going well? What’s up with that? Okay, that will do.

I just finished the second draft of a short story which has been on-and-off for the past few months. I had a first draft, but I knew it had a big hole in the middle even as I finished, so I put the whole thing aside for a few weeks. (I write slowly, so things tend to incubate for a while.) Finally pieces started falling into place and I returned to it, whereupon more pieces fell into place, and now I think it’s about ready for someone to see. (Not you, my reader, you deserve better than a second draft.) I am quite pleased with the alterations I made and expect great things to result.

Speaking of “great things,” The Invisible City has been out from Digital Fiction Publishing for almost a week, and is moving along quite nicely, thank you. I fully expect that, when The Secret City and The Cosmic City come out, fame, fortune, and a Hollywood premiere will quickly follow. Invisible currently available for the debut price of $0.99 (but that won’t last). Think about it: 120,000 words of swashbuckling science fiction adventure for less than a buck. You could buy the whole trilogy for the price of a venti frappuccino. (If you do buy a copy, please consider leaving a review or a rating. It’s crazy helpful.)

But if shorter works are your bag, do not despair. I have an SF story about the importance of family, “Relative Fortune,” coming out in the November Galaxy’s Edge, and a fantasy adventure, “When Gods Fall in Fire,” in the upcoming issue of Cirsova.

And of course, my gorilla-centric unnamed novel is poking along. I still hope to finish it by the end of the year.

So that’s my life in a nutshell, with the emphasis on “nutty.” And it’s almost four hundred words…

#SFWApro

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Now that I’m about to be published by a small press, it’s got me thinking more about the small press world. Specifically, how small presses are perceived in SF as opposed to the other realm about which I know something, mystery writing. I’ve heard from SF writers that small presses do not carry the cachet of major publishers; I’m not talking about money, which is an obvious discrepancy, but the idea that going with a small press in science fiction is seen as less prestigious, whereas in mysteries…not so much. Small press mysteries have much more chance of receiving awards, for example, than have small press SF or fantasy novels.*

Why is this? Why are mystery readers seem more accepting of non-traditionally published novels? I don’t know; I suspect the answer lies far in the past, but not having been part of the mystery scene all that long, I can’t say. (I’ll have to ask; maybe I can give you an answer in a future post.) But that’s not the only discrepancy between the two (publishing-wise), and perhaps the advantages don’t tilt all the way in favor of mysteries. Because you see, where mystery writers may have more opportunities when it comes to novels, SFF writers are far ahead when it comes to short fiction.

I did a little research, and it was surprisingly easy to learn a few facts: There are approximately 192 publishers on the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) site whose novel contracts qualify one for professional membership. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) web site lists about 53.** (Each of these allows more than the markets specifically listed, because of imprints, etc.)

On the other hand, where SFWA has 54 qualifying short story markets, MWA lists only 22. Now, I happen to know that there are dozens more SF short story markets whose acceptances do not count toward qualifying for SFWA, and there are probably equivalent mystery magazines, but I don’t doubt the former easily outnumber the latter.

Again, why is this? Are there more SFF readers than mystery readers? Is it too hard to write short mysteries? Or is it just that there are so many more novel markets out there that fewer bother to write short mystery fiction? Does that make it easier to break into science fiction?

Beats me. It’s a mystery. And maybe trying to raise the reputation of small press books is a fantasy. But I hope in the future it’s possible, because if it’s possible in the future, it becomes science fiction.

And that’s what I write.

 

*Yes, there are and have been exceptions. But they are just that, exceptions.

**I am a member of SFWA. I used to be a (non-professional) member of MWA, but their meetings were too far away.

#SWFApro

 

 

Read Full Post »

To celebrate the end of summer (wait, does anyone ever celebrate the end of summer?), I’ve put all of my Stolen Future and Nemesis books on sale at $.99 each. That means The Invisible City, The Secret City, and The Cosmic City, as well as The Choking Rain, The Scent of Death, and The Killing Scar. Each one $.99! That’s three books for the price of one!

Whether you’re looking for classic science fiction adventure or two-fisted pulp action from the 1930s, this is your chance to pick up some great reading at a really great price! I mean, would you rather read this or that Shakespeare guy your English teacher assigned?

cover

Read Full Post »

Hello. I’ve been off-page for the past couple of weeks due to circumstances beyond my control, but they appear to have been resolved and now I’m back. Time will tell if this is a good thing. Moving on…

I’ve started a new novel. Not the new novel I was starting the last time I said I was starting a new novel, this is a new new novel. On the other hand, it’s going back to an old idea. So it’s kind of a hybrid, a new novel with old characters. In TV terms, it’s a spin-off.

I’m returning to the world of the Stolen Future trilogy, but this book takes place between the first and second volumes of that series, and the lead character there, Keryl Clee, doesn’t appear at all. (If you’ve read The Invisible City, you know why; otherwise, I don’t believe in spoilers.) This book is about Keryl’s best friend, Timash, who happens to be a gorilla, and therein lies the “new experiment” part of this endeavor.

You see, I’ve never written a book before with a non-human viewpoint character. Timash ┬áis a gorilla from a time when at least some apes have been gifted with human-level intelligence, but he’s still a gorilla, and they’re not common. In fact, most are hidden. So people treat him differently. Those differences haven’t been explored much in the prior books because it wasn’t Timash’s story, but this is.

How is he going to be treated? How will he react to it? Am I going to be able to write a non-human hero who comes across as a non-human? I have no idea the answers to any of these questions. To be honest, I’m only starting to think about them. I do know that Timash has an arc; one of the advantages of working within a prescribed framework established by previous books is that I know where the character is headed.

It’s always a challenge to try to create something new, while preserving enough continuity that you carry your audience with you. And I doubt it will be easy.

But it should be fun, and that’s what counts!

#SFWApro

Read Full Post »

When you’re just a sidekick, useful for making your boss look good and not much else, is it fair that suddenly you’re supposed to save the world?

Read Full Post »

Back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth in steam-powered chariots and Venus was still considered potentially viable off-world real estate, running an SF convention was a relatively simple affair. (Note emphasis on “relatively.” That doesn’t mean it was easy. I helped on two, acting as the chair of the second. I had already decided that I would never do such a thing again long before the current crop of kerfuffles grew up. Now? Now I think you have to be insane to want to run a convention.

When I wanted my con to be forward-thinking, I invented the idea of a gun-free convention. Cosplay with guns (not that “cosplay” had been coined yet) was very popular, although there had been reports of some problems with too-realistic props that made the police nervous. For specific reasons that honestly escape me now, I decided that our convention would sport a “no-weapons” policy. No weapons, no how. We got some vague reports of complaints, but nobody tried to test our resolve by bringing in a contraband toy, and although I was far too busy to notice at the time, the after-action reports said that everyone had a good time.

Of course, that was before the Internet.

Now, anything you do is susceptible to being broadcast world-wide in seconds. Millions of people who would never even consider coming to your convention can comment on (or argue about) your choices. If we tried imposing that policy today, the roof would fly off.

But there are many other, new, considerations that we didn’t have: Codes of conduct (going beyond just not bringing a weapon), anti-harassment policies, safe spaces, accessibility issues (we had a one-story convention space)…and now, the piece de resistance, civil rights lawsuits. An author is suing Worldcon because he says he was banned solely for his political affiliations. It is not my intent to discuss the merits of that case here, merely to point out that we have crossed a line: If you want to put on a convention, your liability insurance now has to include coverage for legal fees. (Even back then we were smart enough to incorporate, but this suit seeks personal liability.)

I don’t know what it costs to put on even a small con these days, let alone a Worldcon, but I do know that every new wrinkle adds to the expense. And legal fees are a very large wrinkle. Not to mention what a lawsuit does to your credit rating and your precious free time.

Maybe this is an anomaly; I hope so. But in our society, I cannot believe it. So what’s going to happen? Fewer conventions? More overseas Worldcons? I’ll tell you what isn’t going to happen: More reasoned dialogue. More unity of purpose on issues that affect us fans. We’re supposed to be looking toward the future, people, and I don’t think this is the future we want.

Ironically, those who support this lawsuit claim they just want to bring “fun” back to science fiction. It may be that there is a valid reason to drag your fellow fans into court, but I can tell you, without fear of contradiction, it won’t be fun.

#SFWApro

Read Full Post »

The premiere issue of Factor Four has bowed, several days before the anticipated April 1 date, which pleases me no end, because my story, “The Deadline,” is the first in the line-up. First story, first issue. Anyone who buys the magazine without previewing the free on-line sample (and who isn’t looking for someone in particular) will read me first.

So I’m the first of the first, before the First.

That’s gotta be a first.

Excuse me, I’ve got to get a drink of water. All this writing is making me firsty.

#SFWApro

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »