Announcement: Zombie Pirate Writing Week 2020

2020

Image captured from Sam Phillips’ blog

I’m passing this along from Sam Phillips’ blog Big Confusing Words. He’s the co-founder of Zombie Pirate Publishing and they first held this event last year. I sent in an entry last year (it wasn’t selected). Thinking about it again this year, but my schedule is about to undergo a radical change, so I may not have the bandwidth.

If you’re a writer at whatever stage of development, this might be the challenge for you. Here’s part of the text from Sam’s blog:

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COVID-19 Log: WIP for April 23, 2020

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

Editing an over 28,000 word novella takes a long time. I’m actually okay with that, since I’m not (paid) working today, and we don’t have the grandchildren. My wife is going nuts since she’s far more social than I am, and she’s spent long periods of time talking by phone to our daughter and my Mom.

I thought I’d share portions of my current work in progress (WIP), which involves space travel, time travel, espionage, aliens, and real technology. I’m especially proud of the research I did on mid-1960s American spy satellites.

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been working on. Let me know what you think (and remember, this is not the polished form):

“That son of a bitch,” Smirnoff spat out as ear-splitting klaxons and flashing alarm lights on the bay’s walls announced the opening of the primary launch doors over fifty feet above their heads. “What’s he doing? Romanovich knows the first trial flight isn’t scheduled for six weeks, and Cosmonaut Dobrovolsky won’t arrive here until next Tuesday.”

Utkins could smell stale cigars and vodka on his breath. “Well, Lieutenant! Stop that ship. Don’t let it get off the ground!”

She screamed at her troops and they all rushed forward. Smirnoff ranted at nearby technicians to override the launch bay doors as they were vainly pounding keys and gibbering something about the security lockouts being disabled.

The ramp had been fully retracted by the time the Lieutenant’s complement reached the ship. She ordered them to fire their rifles, sparks flaring off the impervious skin.

To the left, from around the edge of the craft, the two men Smirnoff had ordered to check Romanovich’s quarters were accompanying a very recognizable, diminutive figure, spindly legs extending out of oversized boxers. “Fuck you, Volkov,” Smirnoff murmured with satisfaction. “I see Romanovich pulled one over you.” Then he watched as a blast of force exploded outward from the slowly rising spaceship, vaporizing the irritating Lieutenant and seven other “heroes” of the state.

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Excerpt from My Untitled WIP Novella

raptor

Novaraptor – image found at multiple sources

I’ve been doing a lot of writing on my two days off, and as of today, submitted two pieces to different anthologies. My WIP (one of them) right now is a Novella between 20,000 and 40,000 words long. I’m in Heaven, well, sort of. I’m around the 13,600 mark for the first draft and hoping I can tell a story that makes sense. My normal tale is anywhere between 3,000 and 7,500 words in length.

Decided that since I’ve been posting mainly book reviews and self promotional stuff lately, and too little of my actual writing, that I’d share this Novella length WIP, well, a small part of it. Keep in mind, you’re coming in late in the game, so a lot of the character and situational details have already been covered.

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Review: “The Lucky Strike” (1984) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Cover art for the anthology, “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

I’ve been reading the anthology The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century edited by Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg. The edition I have was published in 2001. I checked it out of my local library, and besides a bit of water damage, it seems to be missing the table of contents.

The very first story presented is Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Lucky Strike (1984). The premise is what would have happened if Paul Tibbets and the Enola Gay crashed during a training flight and they weren’t able to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?

In Robinson’s novella, fictional Captain Frank January is the bombardier who joins the replacement team on the B-29 “The Lucky Strike.” It explores the classic trope about how one man wrestles with his conscience over dropping a single bomb that could potentially kill hundreds of thousands of civilians. He thought that dropping “the bomb” on an uninhabited area as a demonstration of America’s nuclear power would have been enough to make the Japanese surrender.

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Review of Brad Linaweaver’s Novella: “Moon of Ice”

Cover art for the anthology, “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

Before it was a novel, Brad Linaweaver’s “Moon of Ice” was a novella that was a Nebula award finalist in 1983.

Almost four months ago, I wrote A Revelation on the Recent Passing of Brad Linaweaver. I had newly “discovered” Linaweaver’s works, thanks to the sometimes controversial File 770, and particularly in their article Brad Linaweaver (1952-2019). It’s a shame to find such a terrific author only after he’s passed.

I went through my local library system, but could only find his “Moon of Ice” novella in a collection called The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century.

Moon of Ice utilizes a very familiar science fiction trope: “What if Nazi Germany had built the bomb first and won World War Two?”

Actually, they only won Europe in the novella. America came up with the Bomb second and still conquered Japan.

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Book Review: Knight Training (The Steam Knight Book 1)

knight

Cover art for Jon Del Arroz’s novella “Knight Training”

Yesterday, I finished reading Jon Del Arroz’s short story Knight Training, a small steampunk piece that’s part of his For Steam and Country universe. I won’t post these first few paragraphs at Amazon, but I feel it necessary, given the criticism I receive every time I mention Mr. Del Arroz on this blog, to say something about him, or at least how some folks perceive him.

About a year ago, another author, Jim C. Hines, wrote a scathing criticism of Del Arroz that he titled Jon Del Arroz’s History of Trolling and Harassing. I was doing some research on Del Arroz via Google and came across the missive (and it’s the only reason I became aware of Mr. Hines and his writing since he otherwise was not on my radar). If all this is true, it makes Del Arroz a pretty terrible person.

On the other hand, Del Arroz’s fellow writer Richard Paolinelli says he’s a pretty good guy. I like Richard and have no reason to doubt his word, but I must admit, I see two sides to a man who calls himself “The Leading Hispanic Voice in Science Fiction.”

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