The First 500 Words

From the comic strip “Peanuts” by the late Charles Schulz

Something new happened when I tried to submit a short story to a publisher via the platform Submittable. There was no option to upload my Word file. There was only a field to paste in up to the first 500 words of the story.

I looked at the publisher’s specifications again and they said they’d respond to submissions of the first 500 words in a few days, and then the entire story in a few months.

Of course I submitted the first 500 words (491 actually so I wouldn’t have things cut off in the middle of a sentence) and a day later, got this back:

Thank you for sending us the first 500 words of “XXX.” Your writing caught our attention and we would like to read your entire story. Please upload your full story and complete the requested fields in ‘Step 2’ under the Forms tab that now appears in your Submittable dashboard for this submission. We look forward to reading it in consideration for XXX.

I have since uploaded the file, but I think this illustrates an important point.

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My Interview as Author of “The Recall” at Dark Fringe Radio

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Screen capture of the Dark Fringe Radio promotional image for my interview.

It’s here.

I probably mentioned that I was interviewed by William Martinez at Dark Fringe Radio. We previously discussed my then unpublished short story “The Recall,” which is now featured in the Cloaked Press science fiction anthology Spring into SciFi: 2019 Edition. He said if my wee tale ever saw the light of day, he’d like to interview me for one of his podcasts.

Well, it was published and I was interviewed and now, #60 in DFR’s series is available online. As my four-year-old granddaughter would say, “Ta-Da!”

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Review of “Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut” (1982)

 

blade runner

Promotional image for the film “Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut

Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut (1982) is the only version of this film I’ve seen, so I have no real idea what the original theatrical movie was like. On Amazon, I found this explanation:

When Ridley Scott’s cut of Blade Runner was finally released in 1993, one had to wonder why the studio hadn’t done it right the first time–11 years earlier. This version is so much better, mostly because of what’s been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phony happy ending) rather than what’s been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further “explanation”; he later confessed that he thought if he did it badly they wouldn’t use it. (Moral: Never overestimate the taste of movie executives.) The movie’s spectacular futuristic vision of Los Angeles–a perpetually dark and rainy metropolis that’s the nightmare antithesis of “Sunny Southern California”–is still its most seductive feature, an otherworldly atmosphere in which you can immerse yourself. The movie’s shadowy visual style, along with its classic private-detective/murder-mystery plot line (with Ford on the trail of a murderous android, or “replicant”), makes Blade Runner one of the few science fiction pictures to legitimately claim a place in the film noir tradition. And, as in the best noir, the sleuth discovers a whole lot more (about himself and the people he encounters) than he anticipates…. With Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, and M. Emmet Walsh. –Jim Emerson

I first watched this DVD (the director’s cut, as explained above, was released eleven years after the original) years ago, and found certain sequences so violent, that I haven’t had the nerve to view it since. However with the recent death of actor Rutger Hauer (who was so good in so many different roles) who played replicant Roy Batty, I felt compelled to borrow the disc back from my son.

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Review of Octavia E. Butler’s Novel “Parable of the Sower” (2000)

sower

Cover art for the novel “Parable of the Sower”

“THERE ISN’T A PAGE IN THIS VIVID AND FRIGHTENING STORY THAT FAILS TO GRIP THE READER”.

— SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

GRIPPING…POIGNANT…SUCCEEDS ON MULTIPLE LEVELS

— NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

This highly acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel of hope and terror from award-winning author Octavia E. Butler “pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale” (John Green, New York Times)–now with a new foreword by N. K. Jemisin.

I’ve heard the name Octavia E. Butler for some time now, and have been meaning to read one or more of her books. She has an interesting background and is generally considered one of the most important science fiction authors of her generation, particularly as a woman of color. Sadly, she passed away in 2006, although the cause is attributed either to a stroke or a head injury acquired during a fall.

Here’s more about her:

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Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?

dragon

Image found at DragonCon.org

I’ve tried to steer this blog away from the more controversial and/or political topics I’ve covered in the past, but then I read Richard Paloinelli’s missive Wikipedia or WikiPravda?. Richard and I share some similar viewpoints, but I lack many of the wounds and scars he’s received in the past, such as those attributed to Mike Glyer at the File 770 science fiction fanzine. I think I was contended with there exactly once. It actually impressed me, since relative to Glyer’s readership, I’m pretty much a nobody.

In the recent past, I’ve heard that Wikipedia, Patreon, and YouTube have been accused of attempting to shut out politically and socially conservative creative voices through censorship and defunding. Since I’m merely a consumer of Wikipedia and YouTube and wouldn’t know what to do with Patreon, I’ve had no personal experience, but on the other hand, I have no trouble believing they are all biased left, either.

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“The Deseret War” To Be Published In The Anthology “A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV”

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Promotional Image of this year’s Mormon Steampunk anthology published by “Immortal Works”

Remember (or maybe you don’t) when I said that so far this year, nine of my short stories have been accepted for publication, but I can only talk about eight? Well, I just got permission to talk about the ninth. It’s a very differently themed anthology put out by Immortal Works, a small publishing outfit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The anthology is called “A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV” and stories submitted had two main thematic requirements. First, that it had to be Steampunk. Second, that it had to involve the Mormon Church. Yup, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Normally, I don’t think of those two topics going together, but I managed to make it work.

Here are the specifics at the “Immortal Works” Facebook page. You should be able to read them even if you don’t have Facebook, but I’ll post the info here just in case:

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What the Heck is a “Neffy Award?”

neffy

Screen capture of a portion of Mike Glyer’s online fanzine “File 770”

Having (finally) successfully subscribed to Mike Glyer’s File 770 online SciFi fan newzine, I find that most of what this rather prolific blog puts out doesn’t catch much of my interest. Of course, with WorldCon Dublin coming up next month, a lot of the content is focused there. They also put out a tremendous number of articles about various awards, again, most of which I don’t have an interest in.

However, I did pause to read Neffy Award Ballot Is Out. I’d never heard of the Neffy Awards, so I looked them up.

But before that, I took a look at the ballot, which lists science fiction and fantasy works nominated in a number of categories. They include Best Novel, Best Shorter Work, Best Book Editor, Fanzine, TV Show, Movie, Anime, and so forth. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize any of the names and most of the category entries. Oh, I have heard of “Game of Thrones” and I used to watch “Supergirl,” but that was about it. This reminded me that as a “fan,” I’m probably really lacking in keeping up with what’s current (to find out what I’ve been reading and watching lately, go to my Reviews page).

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The Superversive Press Anthology “Impossible Hope” is Available Now!

hope

Proposed cover for “Impossible Hope” anthology

The Superversive Press anthology “Impossible Hope” is now available, but not at Amazon or any other well-known retailer.

28-year-old Bonnie Oliver was diagnosed with Complex Chiari Malformation, Craniocervical and Atlanto-axial Instability and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome type three in 2018. It has been a long and wearisome road to these answers, and her family has watched her health decline for over a decade, with a marked downturn over the past six years. She can’t leave her home without help from a walker and preferably one or two helping hands, and even with that level of support she cannot be out for long.

In order to help Bonnie and raise funds for research into these terrible disorder, A.M. Freeman organized the “Impossible Hope” project. She asked any author who was willing to donate a short story to the anthology which would be sold to raise such funds. That’s why you can’t find this book on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel. You can only get it by donating on Bonnie’s GoFundMe. Donate to help us reach the goal of $110,000 for her surgery, and then download a digital copy of the book. Couldn’t be simpler.

A.M. Freeman

A.M. Freeman as found on her blog.

I’m actually pretty honored. My first introduction to the idea that it might actually be possible to be published was through Superversive Press (though this is the first of their books in which a story of mine is featured). I finally get to share a table of contents with my teacher L. Jagi Lamplighter and her husband John C. Wright. Others with whom I’m acquainted who have donated of their talents are Dave Higgins, Frank B. Luke, Ben Wheeler, Denton Salle, and particularly Sam M. Phillips from Zombie Pirate Publishing (one of the two indie publishers which first published one of my works).

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Can I Write a Novelette in Seven Days?

proud

Screen capture of the Zombie Pirate Publishing Facebook page.

That’s the challenge from Zombie Pirate Publishing. Actually Adam and Sam have given us less time than that since according to the JavaScript counter on their main page, I’ve got (as of this writing) just a hair over 5 days and 21 hours. So far I’ve hammered out 2,180 words, but the target word count is between 12,500 and 15,000, so I’ve got a bit of work to do, including plotting the story as I go along.

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Freedom Day

new beginnings

– Gabriel Isak

No one thought the Fields of Shantara would be the decisive battle against the tyranny of the Verbeni. For a dozen generations, the invaders of the colony world of Grazoria had ruled the human race with cruel efficiency, and although the resistance fighters were outgunned and out manned, they were courageous. Their harassment of the enemy gave the populace hope, until their exploits became legends for their children and their grandchildren.

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