End of Thrones

April 28, 2019

Like so many in our community, I’ve been a huge Game of Thrones fan over the years. I started watching the show having not read the books, and made the conscious choice to stay away from the books so they wouldn’t spoil the many great moments for me throughout the show. This, of course, is before such concerns became academic. 🙂

After having finished watching season 1 (and, still, having not read the books and avoided the spoilers) I predicted that, in the end, it’d be Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen who’ll team up, get together, and ultimately win control over the Seven Kingdoms. Over the years, I rather enjoyed patting myself on the back as the prediction seemed to coalesce into a stronger and stronger possibility. But now, with only a handful of episodes remaining and on the eve of the Battle of Winterfell episode which is likely to kill off a number of major characters, I’d like to revise my prediction to something seemingly a lot more far-fetched.

No one will sit on the Iron Throne.

By the end of the series, the Iron Throne will be destroyed. Figuratively, and perhaps even literally.

With the recent revelations on the show (avoiding specifics for those who are an episode or two behind) the long-lasting union between Jon and Daenerys is less likely. They’re focusing more on the bad things Daenerys has done on her path to power, and why Jon might be a better candidate to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Were this a lesser series, one might predict that Jon, the character whose moral compass has remained true throughout, would be the perfect king and his triumph over all enemies and ascension to the throne would be a natural an end-cap to the story. But Game of Thones is not a Tolkien fantasy and it’s aesthetic has never been about clean and easy resolutions.

So what could possibly work as the resolution of the story to both provide a satisfying conclusion to the fans and stay true to its grimdark roots? A dark horse candidate could ascend to the throne: perhaps someone like Gendry Baratheon. They could opt to take a redemption arc further than it needs to go and have Jaime Lannister rule with the council and blessing of the Three-Eyed Raven (which would mirror the opening episode nicely, in its own way.) But I still like my own theory best.

Over eight seasons we’ve seen many examples of how the wars of succession have been the bane of the regular people of Westeros. Not only have many died or suffered in the conflict that is virtually meaningless to them, but these struggles have left the Seven Kingdoms ill-prepared for the zombie invasion from the north. Installing any one person on the Iron Throne would only perpetuate this cycle–even if the ruler is highly effective–as the new succession war might begin anew after their passing.

The destruction of the Iron Throne and perhaps even all of King’s Landing as a seat of power would break the wheel in a more meaningful way than Daenerys meant when she talked about interrupting the cycle of succession struggles with Tyrion a couple of seasons ago. I could see a council of survivors (some good, some bad, most in-between) overseeing the Seven Kingdoms without a single monarch as a more viable long-term solution to Westeros’s problems. In a true GoT fashion, I could see a character people love to hate, like Cersei, even surviving to claim one of the seats. (Though her dying at Jamie’s hand would probably be far more satisfying to most.)

This is how I would end the story but, of course, I’m no Martin. Supposedly he and the showrunners knew exactly how the story would end before they even began filming, and I doubt the fact that the show has outpaces the book series would result in significant changes to that intended ending. Whatever they end up doing, I’m certain there will be plenty of gasp-worthy moments in the remaining episodes and that the finale will not disappoint.

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Pocono Liars Club Writers Workshop

April 14, 2019

I’m back from spending a day at the writer’s workshop in Stroudsburg, PA. This event is a brainchild of Mike Ventrella and is organized by the Pocono Liars Club at the Hughes Library (which, with its two stories, grand event space, and a built-in cafe, is among the finest libraries I’ve visited to date. Kudos!)

Speakers at this event included literary agent Marisa Corvisiero, SF/F author Gregory Frost, romance author Gwen Jones, and me.  Author and anthologist Mike Ventrella hosted. There were roughly 40 attendees (a bit smaller than average, I’m told, as the original event date got snowed out and we rescheduled for April.) Each guest delivered an hour-long talk on various aspects of writing and then selling one’s writing. I talked about editing your manuscript as well as how to benefit from outside feedback by beta readers and critique partners.

The event was free, with an optional $20 fee that got you into private sessions with the guests, whereas they would also read and critique a writing sample. That’s a bargain’ a professional level critique on a 5000 word writing sample would normally cost far more than $20, and that’s without a private session. And on top of that, Marisa requested several synopses and even a couple of fulls from the people in her group, so they might find representation, too!

There’s tremendous value in these sorts of workshops for the newer writers. I highly recommend that you sign up and attend the 2020 workshop next April if you’re in that geographical area.

Next month, me and Ian Randall Strock of Fantastic Books will lead workshops for high school students at a book festival in Maspeth, NY. That’s another free event and while the workshop is limited to high-schoolers, there will be panels and author tables open to everyone.

See more photos from the Pocono Writer’s Workshop here.

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Heliosphere 2019 Schedule

April 4, 2019

I’ll be at Heliosphere in Tarrytown, NY this weekend. Here’s where to find me:

Friday, April 5

5pm-6:15pm – Ballroom 1 – SF/Fantasy/Horror on TV
10pm-11:15pm – Ballroom 4 – Two Stupid Ideas Make a Story

Saturday, April 6

2:30pm-3:45pm – Ballroom 6 – Books N Brews (Kaffeeklatch)
5:30pm-6:45pm – Ballroom 4 – Reading (with Lorraine Schein, C. S. E. Cooney, Barbara Krasnoff)

Sunday, April 7

10am-11:15am – Ballroom 5 – Crowdfunding 101
1pm-2:15pm – Ballroom 2 – Magic = Metaphysics of the Author

Schedule on the Heliosphere website, along with panel descriptions.

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Future SF issue 2 cover and TOC reveal

March 11, 2019

Future Science Fiction Digest volume 2 releases March 15.

Table of contents:

“Tideline Treasures, or Growing Up Along the Mile-High Dyke” by Tais Teng and Jaap Boekestein

“The Roost of Ash and Fire” by David Walton

“The Lord of Rivers” by Wanxiang Fengnian (translated by Nathan Faries)

“No Body Enough” by Dantzel Cherry

“An Actual Fish” by Natalia Theodoridou

“The Peculiar Gravity of Home” by Beth Cato

“The Zest for Life” by N. R. M. Roshak

“The Token” by Mike Resnick

“To Save a Human” by Svyatoslav Loginov (translated by Max Hrabrov)

This issue will be live at www.future-sf.com on March 15, 2019.

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Publication: “Whom He May Devour” podcast at StarShipSofa

March 8, 2019

This story was originally published in Nautil.us and was a 2017 nominee for the Canopus Award. Listen to it at StarShipSofa or read it at Nautilus.
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Publication: “The Gilga-Mess” in IGMS

February 22, 2019

I’m incredibly honored to have my story be the lead story of an IGMS issue for the second time. (Which means it gets full color artwork!) Like last time, the art is by the amazing M. Wayne Miller. So cool! The story is called “The Gilga-Mess” and is the third installment in the Coffee Corps series (though it reads just fine as a standalone.)

My joy is mixed with an equal dose of sadness as IGMS will be closing its virtual doors after two more issues. It has been a wonderful presence on the SF scene and I’m indebted to its staff and especially its editors, Scott M. Roberts and Edmund Schubert before him, for publishing some of the best stories I’ve written.

You can preview the story by clicking here.

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“The Rule of Three” by Lawrence M. Schoen is a Nebula Finalist!

February 20, 2019

I’m very excited to share that “The Rule of Three” by Lawrence M. Schoen which I edited and published in issue 1 of Future SF this past December is a Nebula Award finalist! This is an excellent first contact story, but reminiscent of golden age SF and modern in its sensibilities. If you haven’t read or listened to it yet, please do so! It’s available online for free in both formats:

Read “The Rule of Three” online
Listen to “The Rule of Three” narrated by Wulf Moon

At this point the entire first issue has been unlocked and is free to read online, and I’m hard at work putting together issue 2, which will launch on March 15.

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