Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Short Story: The Mission

 It wasn’t every day that you saw a nun on the hover bus to the outermost part of town. Riley was stunned when he got on, and the driver had to remind him to pay. He sat down across from her; it was just them and some old fart snoozing in the back. According to his cube, she was of Korean descent with some Hispanic traits; her oval brown face--a face that said she was in her late-thirties--poked out of the black wimple. She didn’t have any luggage, only a small backpack on her lap.

Live from AE - The Canadian Science Fiction Review, my science fiction story The Mission.

If you do read it, please read the comment I posted below for the actual ending, which makes significantly more sense. I'm not sure how the ending got botched, but my guess: a rushed job. It was literally just the other day when I confirmed the edits. I had wanted to retain part of the original ending, because it matched the theme--and they said okay, we'll put the key lines back. And yes, they sorta did put them back, but not in the right order. So yes, please read the comment, I swear I don't write endings that jumbled up. 
*edit* Disaster averted! It's all fixed now. :)

Other than that, I'm pretty happy with the editing on the story--a story that I never really expected to sell pro, let alone SFWA-pro. Not putting the story down, I think it's a perfectly good, entertaining tale; it just wasn't something I thought the upper markets would be interested in. Maybe because it's not an emotional heart-string puller, maybe because it isn't pretension bullcrap.

The inspiration for this is kind of odd--or more of a realization. I had read The Third Attractor at A&A, and it stuck me how rare it was to see a non-bigotry religious character in a story. I'm not exactly religious myself, but I do feel bad about how much religion, especially Christianity, gets bashed in fiction. 

So I figured I'd write a story involving a nun and it wouldn't even be about religion. And here we are. Not bad for a first SFWA-qualifying sell, huh?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Presenting the ToC for - Oh wait!

You know how every single magazine and anthology has a Table of Contents available online, right? 
Not in this case

Why am I bringing this to your attention? Supposedly I have a review in there of MMORPG The Secret World. But obviously you wouldn't know that unless you bought the magazine issue, had it delivered, and opened it up to see for yourself.  

Outraged? No. Baffled? Yes.

For one, how are potential would-be buyers supposed to judge whether the product is worth their money? From a seller's point of view, this is just dumb.

Once upon a time, I tried to sell Kirby Vacuums (I don't recommend this job. Ever.) You didn't simply show the customer the box and told them that there was more inside. No. You got every damn piece out, showed them how it all works, and even vacuumed their carpet. Because a customer won't be interested unless they know what's inside the box.

People want to know what's in the magazine, not just the highlighted stories.

Another reason is the lack of public recognition toward the contributors. As I said, how would you know that I had a review in there, if you didn't buy it first? That's kind of sad that I have to tell you (and all you have is my word), rather than looking up the ToC.

For writers, public recognition is a important, because that's how writers get their name out into the world. If people recognize your name, they tend to follow your stuff and might even purchase it. So to not include all the contributors in that pathetic little blurb, which would only be acceptable on Facebook or (Twit)ter, is a good way to alienate them. 'Cause you know, it's not like magazines need contributors--oh wait!

Weird thing is, White Cat seems really inconsistent about this. Some of the Sam's Dot issues have a ToC, while others don't. Don't know if this is a decision, or just pure laziness.

Contacted the editor a couple days ago about this... Haven't heard back. Editors: they respond when they feel like it. The editor had promised to put a ToC up on his blog, which as you guessed, didn't happen.

Not sure how to feel about this other than disappointment.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Short Story: By the Stars You Will Know Her

The 6th issue of Plasma Frequency is out, and along with it, my dark fantasy story "By the Stars You Will Know Her"--and to be honest, I'm not a fan of the title, I wrote it when I was on my Lovecraft kick.

El excerpt:
She strode across star-filled waters that knew no distinction from the sky above. Shadows clung to her form, made her enigma.

But he could make out her eyes.

She had the eyes of an ancient: mists and lightning swirling into a maelstrom galaxy, a kind of chaos that would pull you in if you gazed too long.

And yet he stared.

Do I have anything to say about this story?


I had submitted this story to Crowded before Plasma Frequency, where other submitters and the editors could leave comments on your story. I did take some of the advice about cutting the less-than-interesting stuff. However, two of the comments (and sadly, I no longer have them) didn't like the ending, which was funny, because I loved it.

It's the kind of ending I like to see in horrors and dark fiction; that sharp cut off, leaving the reader to fill in the emotions. Obviously not the sort of ending for everyone--but hey, worked for the good folks of Plasma Frequency.

By the way, Plasma Frequency is celebrating their one year anniversary, which is a pretty big accomplishment for a small publisher; the majority of publishers tend to crap out within six months or less.

So to celebrate, they're holding a contest with goody prizes such as $50 Amazon gift cards and paperback anthology. Oh, and another cool thing: you get to vote for your favorite story in each issue, and the winners get to be part of Plasma Frequency's Year One anthology. So you know, if you have a certain favorite story in issue 6... *wink wink*

All of Plasma Frequency's issues are free to download in various formats, including Kindle, Nook and PDF. Check them out! I'd recommend them; they're one of the few publishers who still recognizes that things should happen in a story.   

Monday, June 3, 2013

Half in the Bag review of Star Trek: Into Boredom

Being lazy here, but if someone else does a better review of a movie, especially one that discusses things in details, then why not share that instead? And really, I think this review brings up some excellent points.

"The Problem with the movie is the script...they came up with all these set pieces, or things they wanted to have happen...and then played connect the dots with the story, as opposed to writing a good story."

"The problem with fandom is that they care more about branding than substance."

"If you want to see colorful things, it's a good movie." 

 (The review doesn't get going till about 3:30, so if you want to skip the goofy hipster-poking stuff, completely understandable.)

This is the first time I can honestly say I got bored with the action in an action movie. It's just action scene after action after... well, you get the idea. You barely get a chance to know these characters, before being thrust into the next explosive debacle. And what makes this worse, is that there are no consequences. No discipline and no death.

Why should I care about these characters?! Nothing bad is going to happen to them, anyway.

Does it look good? Yes, of course. But this reminds me of short stories with  these wonderful, beautiful metaphors and similes, and construct vivid imagery... only to not tell a damn story. It's the magician's trick. Distract you with pretty words, in the hopes that you don't realize what a hack the writer is.

And it seems to work, because we keep getting short stories that aren't stories, just like we get these lazily written action films about nothing.

I won't go much about the Khan thing, other than I think they missed a great opportunity to make Khan into an anti-hero; a darker parallel to Kirk, who is willing to go the extreme route to save his crew. But they didn't. They decided to make Khan a villain because he was a villain in the second old Star Trek film. Why? Because fuck you. Fuck the audience. Fuck everyone. 

Seriously, they should've just drawn a giant middle finger on the screen, and made that the movie.

By the way, have you talked to your doctor about Khan's Blood?