Reading in West Hempstead, Long Island – Wed July 29

July 28, 2015

I will be participating in a multi-author reading on Long Island tomorrow. The details are here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/860479077341308/

If Facebook isn’t your thing, the event will take place at the Creative Corner in West Hempstead, 482 Hempstead Avenue, starting at 7pm on Wednesday, July 29. I will have copies of H. G. Wells on hand (from which I will be reading) as well as my other books.

Other authors participating in this event include Anatoly Belilovsky, Bill Freedman, Michele Lang, and Chris DePhilippis.

#SFWAPro

 

 

 

 

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Cover and TOC reveal: Funny Science Fiction

July 23, 2015

FunnySciFi_cover

Funny Science Fiction is a spin-off anthology from the Unidentified Funny Objects (UFO) annual anthology series of humorous SF/F. While UFO attempts to collect some of the best speculative humor being written today, Funny SF gathers seventeen from among the best funny science fiction stories published in the last decade.

Whereas UFO covers both genres, Funny SF collected science fiction stories specifically. There are tentative plans for a Funny Fantasy reprint anthology to follow in 2016.

Cover art is by the talented Flavio Greco Paglia. Cover design is by UFO’s amazing graphics specialist-in-residence and game designer Emerson Matsuuchi.

I’m indebted to the original publishers of these stories, who have done their share to publish and promote humor in SF/F. Special thanks to the editors and publishers of Crossed Genres and Galaxy’s Edge magazines who allowed me to include stories that are still under contract with them, because I wanted badly to make sure current short fiction is well-represented in this book.

Funny SF will be published on Amazon on September 1, 2015. It will become available on other e-book platforms in 2016.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Alex Shvartsman

“Observation Post” by Mike Resnick (Beyond the Sun, Fairwood Press, 2013)

“Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog” by Shaenon Garrity (Drabblecast, 2013)

“Wikihistory” by Desmond Warzel (Abyss & Apex, 2007)

“Distant Gates of Eden Gleam” by Brian Trent (Crossed Genres, 2015)

“Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug” by Oliver Buckram (F&SF, 2013)

“Hark! Listen to the Animals” by Ken Liu and Lisa Tang Liu (Galaxy’s Edge, 2014)

“Whaliens” by Lavie Tidhar (Analog, 2014)

“See Dangerous Earth-Possibles!” by Tina Connolly (Lightspeed Women Destroy Science Fiction, 2014)

“Kallakak’s Cousins” by Cat Rambo (Asimov’s, 2008)

“Kulturkampf” by Anatoly Belilovsky (Immersion Book of Steampunk, Immersion Press, 2011)

“Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs” by Leonard Richardson (Strange Horizons, 2009)

“Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class” by Dantzel Cherry (Galaxy’s Edge, 2015)

“Pidgin” by Lawrence M. Schoen (Aliens and A.I., Eggplant Literary Productions, 2005)

“Nothing, Ventured” by James Beamon (AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, 2013)

“Last Thursday at Supervillain Supply Depot” by Sarah Pinsker (Daily Science Fiction, 2015)

“Chicka-Chicka-Bow-Wow” by Mike Rimar (Cucurbital 2, Paper Golem Press, 2011)

“Troublesolver” by Tim Pratt (Subterranean Press, 2009)

#SFWAPro

 


The Meta Rejection

July 2, 2012

 

Public submissions for UFO opened 48 hours ago and they’re pouring in. I’ve read and responded to nearly 200 submissions so far (which means another statistics post is just around the corner). I’ve been keeping (marginally) sane by talking about the slush process on Twitter.

Many of my fellow writers hang out there, and one of my Twitter buddies is L. Lambert Lawson of Kazka Press. He does this thing where he posts the rejections on his blog. So when he sent me a story which I had to reject, I knew the rejection letter was going to find its way onto the greater Internet, fast. And since I knew this in advance, I had to make it the most epic rejection letter to ever grace his blog.

Did I succeed? You decide. Read a rejection letter in three codas and a poem. The poem is courtesy of Anatoly Belilovsky. It appeared previously on my blog.

 

 

 


One Sentence Stories

May 28, 2012

You never know what’s going to happen when you hang out with a bunch of crazy writers.

I’m chilling on Twitter last Friday evening while I’m beta-reading a SF story by Anatoly Belilovsky. The story is excellent, but at one point has a run-on sentence that is, literally, 90 words long (I checked in MS Word). So I send the following Tweet to Anatoly:

@loldoc Dude there is a 90-word sentence in your story. I had to go find a snack in the middle so that I could get through it! 🙂

And then I write in the comment field of his document: “This is an enormous run on were-sentence that makes me want to go out and find stakes, and garlic, and whatever else kills were-run-on sentences. ” Followed by a few suggestions about breaking this sentence into three. Anatoly likes my were-sentence comment and Tweets it, and then a discussion begins about long sentences with more and more of our writerly friends chiming in.

I point out that a famous Russian author Victor Pelevin wrote a one-sentence short story that went on for several pages. Anatoly replies that Gogol is known for some page-long sentences, and Jake Kerr chimes in that so is Henry James.

And then this happens:

Ken Liu@kyliu99

@AShvartsman @jakedfw @loldoc This would seem to be a good challenge to take up. Shall we all try to write a one-sentence story?

Challenge accepted, Mr. Liu, challenge accepted.

Before we know it, half a dozen authors want in on this. I hesitate about posting our perfectly good (if short) stories publicly on our blogs, and Matthew Bennardo offers to pay $5 to see each story. He is forced to hastily withdraw this offer as the number of participants snowballs. By the end of the evening we have a Twitter hashtag #1ss (One Sentence Story) and an impressive array of authors (all the way from people who write award-nominated stories like Ken and Jake and to people who read award-nominated stories like me) who all agree to write the longest, most interesting one sentence story they can, no later than Wednesday night.

The following is my one sentence story:

ONE THOUSAND AND FIRST

…this will be the last story I ever tell you, my sultan, and so I humbly beseech you to listen and to delight in it, and to keep your promise of allowing me to finish this very last sentence, uninterrupted, even as the sun is already rising from beyond the Eastern dunes and the executioner sharpens his scimitar; I have told you a thousand stories — tales of flying carpets and bottled jinn, bold sailors and treacherous viziers, magic and wonder and all manner of things beyond the mundane – but this last story is about an ordinary young woman, a woman who caught the eye of her sultan and who managed to survive their wedding night, and a thousand nights afterward, using no weapon and no magic but her imagination alone; the sultan was mesmerized by her wondrous fables at first, always eager for  another, but as the years went by she found it more and more difficult to keep his attention until, finally, he had had enough and wanted to hear no more stories – but being a kind and generous ruler he graciously consented to allow the girl to finish speaking before the guards would take her away (everyone knows that the sultan’s word is his bond) and the poor girl swallowed her tears, drew in a big breath and began her tale thus:

this will be the last story I ever tell you, my sultan, and so I humbly beseech you…

The above story is 243 words, which is a tiny sliver compared to some of the epic sentences composed by others. However, *my* story is an a loop. Which means it is, in fact, infinite words long. That totally means I win, right? Right?

You can read some of the other entries and decide for yourself. Damien Walters Grintalis and Ken Liu both opted to keep their entries off the Internets because they’re awesome writers who can sell their grocery lists to magazines. And if they can sell their grocery lists then surely they can also sell their one sentence stories. Some of the other authors opted to post theirs publicly and I’m going to link all the ones I know about below (and will update the links as more stories are posted, so watch this space!):

“The Bloodline Is Only as Strong as Its Last Generation” by Jake Kerr

“A Vos Souhaits” by M. Bennardo

“Good Thing I Did Not Tell Them About the Dirty Knife” by Anatoly Belilovsky (Anatoly wrote several entries, check his blog!)

“Inevitable” by Carrie Cuinn

Untitled by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

“Mr. Fix-It” by Don Pizarro

“The Ghost and the Machine” by Suzanne Palmer

“Tommy Hopper and The Future” by Spencer Ellsworth

“And Yes” by S. R. Mastrantone

“Glork” By Amanda C. Davis

“Object of My Affection” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

“Dear Kyle” by Brenda Stokes Barron

“Great-Uncle’s Visit” by Michael Haynes

If you wish to play along, post a link to your one-sentence story in the comments or follow us on Twitter under the hashtag #1ss.


Awesome Rejections

March 30, 2012

One of the most important skills to being a writer is the ability to deal with rejection. Understanding that  an editor choosing to pass on your work is not personal, and that you will receive a lot more rejection slips than acceptance letters.

Every publication deals with rejections differently. The most common are form rejections. You get a very generalized note that looks something like this:

Dear Author,

Thank you for sending us “Story Title Here.” Unfortunately have have decided not to publish it. Please feel free to submit more of your work to us in the future.

The Editors.

Or some variation of above. It’s short, impersonal and to the point–but it gets the job done.  Some markets will offer small bits of personalized feedback in order to offer encouragement or–better yet–let the writer know about some specific flaw in their story that contributed to its rejection.

But who says rejections have to be boring? There’s a way to inject humor, originality and outright strangeness into the mix!

Consider the famous Rolling Stones rejection sent by Hunter S. Thompson in 1971 (warning: do not click on this link if you’re easily offended by profanity). Had I been on the receiving end of this I would be framing that thing up on my wall. I should probably do that anyway, and look at it any time I get a rejection of my own. I think it’d make me feel better.

Then there’s this poetic rejection, riffing off W.C. Williams:

This is just to say we have taken some plums

we found in our mailbox.

You were hoping it would be

yours. Forgive us,

others seemed

sweeter

or colder

more bold

or whatever.

Again, this is a “make your day a little brighter” kind of bit, at least when you’re seeing it for the first time.

But my favorite form rejection (and the one that prompted me to write this blog post) is one not being used by any magazine or anthology. It is a hypothetical rejection letter written by a friend and fellow New York SF writer Anatoly Belilovsky.  If I’m ever in position of some editorial authority, I hope to make use of the following, at least once:

Your stories soar like birds,

I wish I could acquire ’em,

but I seek only words

fit for an aquarium.