TREASURE CHEST: Selected Short Stories is Available Now!

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Promotional image for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “Treasure Chest.”

Treasure Chest is Zombie Pirate Publishing‘s first “best of” anthology, a collection of short stories they’ve previously published in other works.

Founded in 2017, Adam Bennett and Sam Phillips have produced a plethora of anthologies, giving indie authors like me, the opportunity to have our tales see the light of day and become available to readers.

My short story Joey, originally published in the SciFi anthology World War Four (please readers, post more reviews), is featured in the “Treasure Chest.” It’s one of my strongest missives emotionally, and I’m glad it was selected.

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“I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” or How to Succeed in Both Offending and Encouraging Readers

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Cover image for issue 160 of Clarkesworld Magazine – Zarrio by Edwardo Garcia

UPDATE – January 18-2020: Fortunately someone archived the original story, so it is preserved, even though Clarkesworld it offline.

UPDATE – January 16, 2020: This story has been pulled from publication by the magazine, and the rationale can be found here!

On twitter, I happened across a tweet by Cora Buhlert. It was referencing a story written by Isabel Fall for Clarkesworld Magazine called I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter. Actually, I saw that Buhlert was referencing a twitter conversation of someone called The 1000 Year Plan (actually a Marxist blogger named “Gary” who announces personal pronouns as “he/him”) commenting on Fall’s story.

As you can guess, he didn’t like it.

What got my attention first is that Gary tweeted:

All of the comments are absurdly over-the-top praise that appeared almost immediately after the story was published. There are way more of these than is normal for a Clarkesworld story.

I looked at the story and couldn’t see any comments anywhere. Slightly earlier, Gary tweeted:

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Book Review: “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century”

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

Note that I’ve previously reviewed individual stories presented in this anthology, such as Brad Linaweaver’s novella Moon of Ice, Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Lucky Strike, and Susan Shwartz’s Suppose They Gave a Peace. This review applies to the entire book.

The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century is a 2002 anthology edited by Harry Turtledove with Martin H. Greenberg. As the title suggests, it’s an eclectic collection of short stories and novellas crafted by various science fiction luminaries over a span of nearly fifty years.

As with all anthologies, it is pretty uneven.

Ward Moore’s “Bring the Jubilee” was the toughest to slog through. It’s depressing and seems to be overly long, including details that may not have been necessary to tell the core story. Also, it’s hard to believe that the Confederate Army could have won the Civil War based on a single engagement, one that our hero managed to change by sheer ineptitude.

Both “The Lucky Strike” by Kim Stanley Robinson and “Suppose They Gave a Peace” by Susan Shwartz were anti-war stories, the former being Robinson’s wish fulfillment of a world with no nuclear weapons, and the latter, an alternate history that bore little difference from the actual one, as told through the eyes of one family.

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The Colony Trees

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Photo credit: Sarolta Bán

Sonia watched the last of the trees lift up and fly away. It had been her fantasy ever since she was five and first heard that Mars hadn’t always been able to support life.

She had joined the junior Arbor Society when she was eight, became a regional counselor at twenty, and now at thirty-five, she was the assistant manager for the entire Martian Forestation project.

In her right hand was her husband Andrew’s left, while on her other side, five-year-old Billy, and his nine-year-old sister Charlotte were huddled against her.

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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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Movie Review: Meg (2018)

Promotional image for the 2018 movie “The Meg”

Right about when the 2018 film The Meg was being watched in theaters, I was reviewing the book it was based on.

Last night, I rented the DVD of said-movie and watched it.

The movie stars action actor Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor, a former rescue diver who, five years before, had encountered a Meg while trying to save the crew of a sunken nuclear submarine. He sacrificed two of his own people in an attempt to save eleven more. Accused of panicking and cowardliness, he retreated into booze and Thailand.

Bingbing Li stars as Suyin, an oceanographer and daughter to Dr. Minway Zhang (Winston Chao), innovative scientist of the underwater research facility Mana One.

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Included in “TREASURE CHEST: Selected Short Stories”

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Promotional image for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “Treasure Chest.”

This was a nice (almost) surprise. Zombie Pirate Publishing, which has been in existence since 2017, has featured some of my stories in their anthologies, and is producing a “round up” anthology of their favorite tales in Treasure Chest: Selected Short Stories. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now, to be downloaded to your Kindle device December 1, 2019 (a terrific Christmas gift, by the way).

My classic SciFi tale Joey is featured in its pages.

Joey was first published in the ZPP anthology World War Four back in March of this year, along with many other fascinating tales, including best selling science fiction author Neal Asher‘s novelette “Monitor Logan.”

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of “Joey”:

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Book Review of “Hyperion”

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Cover art for Dan Simmons’ 1989 novel “Hyperion”

I have to admit that I’d never heard of Dan Simmons or his award winning 1989 novel Hyperion until both were mentioned on Mike Glyer’s File 770. Actually, it was specifically the mention that he dared to insult the much vaunted teenage climate change icon Greta Thunberg. I agree that Simmons went kind of overboard on his twitter commentary, but attacking a teenager aside, criticizing Thunberg for any reason has become pretty much the worst thing you can do besides being a “denier.”

Anyway, I became interested in him and his novel, so I checked it out of my local public library and started reading. It wasn’t what I expected, but then again, I didn’t know what to expect.

Hyperion has been loosely compared to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories about seemingly unrelated people. I can kind of see that. Simmons, a former teacher, spared no effort in shoving tons and tons of literary references, many of them aimed right at Keats, into his stories. I’m sure many of them sailed way over my head. I don’t think they added much to the novel.

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Another Mysterious Announcement

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Image found at compellingreads.co.uk – no attribution given

This morning, I received another bit of good news, but I’m sworn to secrecy, at least for the next 24 hours or so, until it becomes official. All I can say is that the email made my day, especially since I was up at a quarter til four in the morning because I couldn’t sleep.

Actually, it gave me time to do the research on a short story submission due in about ten days or so. I’ve been struggling with this one until inspiration seized me, as it usually does, when I’m trying to get some rest.

I spent the early morning working Google into the ground, collecting links, beginning to create characters, and I was starting to outline the plot when the clock told me I only had an hour left before I had to leave for my day job.

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The Next Book I’m Reading

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Cover image for Dan Simmons’ novel “Hyperion”

After Dan Simmons lambasted teenage climate change darling Greta Thunberg on twitter, and came on the radar of Mike Glyer’s File 770 (which must still be experiencing technical difficulties, since I haven’t received any email notifications of new posts in quite a while), AND finding out that his signature novel Hyperion is a Hugo Award winner, I’ve been dying to read the book and learn more about him.

Yes, I think he went too far in his insults of a little teenage girl who is clearly being manipulated by adults, but he also stood up to the more leftist powers that be in social media and the science fiction creators and fandom community, and occasionally, they need to be stood up to. So I put a hold on it at my local public library and today it became available.

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