August 7, 2018
“Copy Cat,” a collaboration between K. A. Teryna and me, is now live at Strange Horizons. You can read the text or listen to the podcast.
I have previously translated several stories by K. A. Teryna from Russian (you can read two of them at Apex) but this one is a collaboration, with K. A. writing in Russian and me writing in English, then translating her text and both of us working on smoothing out the language. It was a really fun story to work on, and I hope you will enjoy reading it nearly as much!
August 2, 2018
The Old Spice brand has recently introduced The Gentleman character class for the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game. The Gentleman is tailor-crafted to confidently gallivant about the fantasy landscape, promoting male grooming products to a demographic that could really use them (according to the gamer stereotypes the ad agency researchers read about on the internet.)
This unsolicited intrusion may prove to be pure marketing gold, and other brands will race to stake their claims by inserting mascots into beloved game franchises. Here’s a preview of potential forthcoming collaborations.
- Hamburglar stars as the anti-hero of the next Grand Theft Auto installment. The young miscreant will roam the urban jungle, hijacking cars and knocking over fast-food joints. His predisposition for the Golden Arches will have players primed to answer in the affirmative when asked, “Would you like fries with that?” Vice City PD will also want to put an APB out for his known associate and white-gloved stooge, Hamburglar Helper.
- Mystery board game Clue replaces Mr. Green with Mr. Clean. What’s the enigmatic mascot hiding behind that smirk? The answer to that might be “Mr. Clean with the mop,” pretty much in any room of the house. They could all use some tidying up.
- Players will begin the game of Life as the Gerber Baby and enjoy a worry-free adolescence as Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman, but eventually grow up and get a job as the Maytag Repairman. The marriage to Mrs. Butterworth will be rocked by an affair with the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl, but eventually they’ll work things out and have a Big Boy of their own. Only the winning player will be able to lay claim to the title of The Most Interesting Man Alive.
- Halo’s Master Chief will be replaced with Colonel Sanders, who will need all eleven of his herbs and spices to defeat wave after wave of GEICO Geckos on some hellish alien planet.
- The Charmin Bears may only need a few sheets to get clean, but they’ll discard plenty of toilet paper to clog up the warp pipes and finally let Mario and Luigi utilize their plumbing skills in the next Super Mario Bros. side-scroller.
- Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and the Trix rabbit are few of the characters to appear in the next expansion of Pokémon trading cards. The cutthroat breakfast cereal business has prepared them for the life of savage gladiatorial combat against other cute pets.
- Hollywood won’t be far behind, casting the Michelin Man in Fast and the Furious, Cap’n Crunch in Battleship II, and Uncle Ben in the Spider-man prequel.
This trend shall continue ad infinitum, until all of us feel like the Coca-Cola Polar Bears, trapped on the ever-shrinking icebergs of pastimes and media not yet co-opted by clever marketing firms.
This tiny story is free. If you enjoyed it, please consider buying my books or supporting my current Kickstarter campaign.
July 24, 2018
Unidentified Funny Objects 7 cover by Tomasz Marosnki
Unidentified Funny Objects 7 will be published in October/November 2018 time frame and include 20 humorous short stories:
“The Dragon, the Drudge, and the Drone” by Esther Friesner
“Dethroning the Champeen” (a Lucifer Jones tale) by Mike Resnick
“The Vampire’s Apprentice” by Gini Koch
“Falling’s Free, Gravity Costs” by Seanan McGuire
“The Sit Down” by Laura Resnick
“Chad vs. the Rebel Alliance” by Shane Halbach
“Old School: An Oral History of Captain Dick Chase” by Val Nolan
“Quick Cash in the Old Kingdom” by Elin Korund
“The Fermi Loneliness Problem” by Beth Goder
“The Secret Destiny of Heroes” by Matthew Bailey
“Spear Carrier’s Union #109” by Jamie Kress
“The Day After Halloween” by Greg Sisco
“Key Fang and Klaw” by Fred Stesney
“The Assassination of 2063” by David Vaughan
“Bimple Bimple Bop Bop” by Richard Anderson
“The Ebony Egg” by David Vierling
“Take Meme to Your Leader” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
“Mission Log Nuptuals” by Langley Hyde
“Contractual Obligations” by C. Flynt
“Three Ways to Leave Hawaii” by Zach Shephard
It will also include nine original interior illustrations by Barry Munden.
Barry’s illustration for Jennifer Lee Rossman’s “Take Meme to Your Leader”
I’ve launched the Kickstarter campaign for this book which will run through August 30. It features a number of unique rewards as well as the chance to order UFO7 and other UFO Publishing books. Although I normally launch the Kickstarter in March followed by the open submission window in April, I was unable to do so this year due to a variety of health-related issues and deadlines for both writing-related projects and my day job. So I’m doing this very late in the game, but hope everyone’s enthusiasm for the project will not have been lessened by this delay!
Click here to view the Kickstarter campaign.
July 18, 2018
The Analog blog features a brief write-up by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and me about driverless cars, our story “The People v. Craig Morrison,” and a famous Fred Pohl quote.
I’m also extremely pleased to have had another story accepted by Analog this week. “Repairs at the Beijing West Space Elevator” will appear in the magazine sometime in the not-so-distant future, probably in early 2019.
July 12, 2018
I’ll be attending Readercon for the next three days and participating on their program. Here’s where to find me:
Friday, 6:00 PM - Blue Hills - Scouting Global Speculative Stories - Anatoly Belilovsky, Neil Clarke, Liz Gorinsky, Mimi Mondal, Alex Shvartsman,
Francesco Verso - Magazine and book editors will discuss how they scout and promote authors from outside the U.S. and U.K., sharing their expertise
and best practices. How can writers and editors make the best use of resources such as Lavie Tidhar's WorldSF Blog and Rachel Cordasco's SF in Translation
site? What would make it easier to find, publish, and publicize world speculative fiction?
Saturday, 3:00 PM - Blue Hills - The Possibilities and Perils of Comedy - Martin Cahill, James Morrow, Eric Schaller, Alex Shvartsman, Chandler Klang Smith,
Torger Vedeler - Even the saddest and scariest fiction can contain elements of comedy or humor. It must be handled well, no matter the seriousness or
frivolity of the work, or it can destroy the story. What does humor bring to the reader's experience of a work? How can a dash of humor add to or detract
from otherwise non-comedic works? Comedy is hard; is it worth the effort?
Sunday, 1:00 PM - Salon B - Reading
June 27, 2018
A story I co-wrote with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro is live in the July/August 2018 issue of Analog. While self-driving cars are around the corner, in this story we imagine the social and civil dilemmas that will come up when regulators decide it’s time to get the imperfect, error-prone human drivers off the roads.
You can subscribe to Analog here or pick up a single issue. It’s out as of June 14.
May 24, 2018
I’ll be at Balticon as usual this Memorial Day weekend. I will spend much of the time in the dealers room where you can find me under the enormous UFO banner. 🙂 Here is the list of my scheduled events:
Friday, 8pm – Room 9029 – Microfiction and Micropoetry panel
Saturday, 2pm – St. George – Reading (with Cerece Rennie Murphy and John L. French)
Saturday, 3pm – Room 8029 – Kaffeeklatch
Saturday, 6pm – Mount Washington – Religion and Spirituality in SF panel
Sunday, 11am – Guilford – Jews in Space panel
Sunday, 1pm – Club Lounge – The Golem of Deneb Seven and Future SF launch event
Monday, 12pm – Room 7029 – Writing for Themed Anthologies panel