Review of Mike Resnick’s Short Story “Kirinyaga”

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Cover art for the November 1988 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

I first heard of the late science fiction author Mike Resnick in Louis Antonelli‘s response to Jaym Gates‘s Facebook complaint about him (and later, her twitter rant). I never really got to the core of her animosity toward Resnick and many other major SF/F writers, but I did chronicle my experiences, including her blocking me on the aforementioned social media platforms.

Oddly enough, Gates and her followers were the only ones who seemed to have issues with Resnick. Every other source of information I could find about him, including the File 770 fanzine, spoke quite highly of him.

Anyway, I settled on the Hugo award winning short story Kirinyaga, which he later developed into a novel by the same name.

Resnick originally wrote it as a submission to an anthology that was to be edited by Orson Scott Card, but the anthology never materialized. The theme was to be about stories dealing with developing a utopia. Resnick chose a reconstruction of an African savannah developed on a terraformed planetoid.

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Mike Resnick, Jaym Gates, and Yes, Go Ahead and Block Me

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The late Mike Resnick – photo found at Goodreads

I’ll warn you now that this one is really long (if you include the screenshots), so if you’re a TLDR person, stop now.

Another warning: This is one of my rants about the culture wars that appear to be gaining momentum in the “official” world of science fiction and fantasy. It seems that it’s not enough to write a good story anymore.

I’d never heard of SciFi author Mike Resnick before he died. He’d won Five Hugos and other awards during his career, so that says something. He was heavily eulogized (if you’ll pardon the pun), and also memorialized by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. But he was also criticized.

Let’s get to his death first. From Heavy.com:

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Help “Cloaked Press” Publish Indie Authors!

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Cloaked Press LLC logo

As my regular readers know, two of my short stories were published in Cloaked Press anthologies. “The Recall” was featured in Spring Into SciFi: 2019 Edition, and “The Demon in the Mask” appeared in Fall Into Fantasy, 2019 Edition.

I have another submission into them that I hope will make it into their 2020 science fiction edition, but something else is going on. I just got this email:

I’d just like to say thank you again for being part of the Cloaked Press Family, and if I could ask a small favor, that would be wonderful. I’d like to take Cloaked Press to the next level and begin taking on single author novels, novellas, and collections. To do this, I started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a large bath of ISBNs (100 to start is the goal), as well as purchase cover designs and some marketing ads with Amazon, Facebook, etc. If anyone would be willing to reach out to their followers to see about getting us a boost, that would be wonderful.

So here I am giving a boost.

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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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