Thursday, May 31, 2012

Countdown to ApolloCon 2012

The show that spawned a million conventions.
I have my reading list for the last of May, and I'll post it eventually, but today I'm on deadline to finish (a revision of) a story for the ApolloCon 2012 Writers Workshop. I am excited to be able to attend not one but two con workshops this year. I'll be going to both ApolloCon in Huston in June and, attending my home con ArmadilloCon here in Austin in July. I'm looking forward to comparing these workshop experiences. After going to the ArmadilloCon Writer's Workshop last year, I'm hooked! I'll be doing these workshops and going to as many conventions as I can get my hands on for the foreseeable future. Why do I love them so you might ask, here are just a couple reasons:
  • You can't beat the price, compared to most writer's workshops, these workshops are generally well under $100, and that's with 3-day convention badge included.
  • Getting feedback from pros and other writers who are unfamiliar with my themes and quirks (as opposed to feedback from my regular critique group, which is also good but in different ways).
  • Geeking out at the hotel bar with other writers and scifi/fantasy genre types.

Han Solo says, "Enough talk, get back to writing."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Haiku Reviews

Another busy week and I'm trying to wrangle a new story of my own, so my thoughts on this week's stories are in the form of Haikus.

Friday, May 11 - The Homecomming by Mike Resnick in Escape Pod

a boy is transformed
his father's anger falls to
her memory and loss

Saturday, May 12 - Sibling Rivalry by Carine Engelbrecht in Everyday Fiction

unborn twins argue
Egypt's last curse will greet
the firstborn this day

Sunday, May 13 - Steve Herbert by Robert Shearman in One Hundred Stories

a cold hearted doc
falls in love with the patient
and the thing inside

Monday, May 14 - A hole to China by Catherynne M. Valente in Lightspeed

a girl's quest into
a story full of lovely 
creatures, burning hot!

Tuesday, May 15 - Star Maven by Sarah Crysl Akhtar in Flash Fiction Online (a mother's day story)

mom's in hyperspace
she'll keep your ducks in a row
remotely, from home

Wednesday, May 16 - A Marble for the Drowning River by Ann Chatham in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

ghosts in the river  
The living and the dead each
have their own concerns

Thursday, May 17 -The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu in EscapePod (among other places)

this touching story
just won the Nebula prize
and it's worth a look.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Stories

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, "Jeune fille lisant"
I didn't always read short stories like I do now. I used to be all about the novel. I wanted a longer, deeper narrative experience. Having a family cured me of that, at least temporarily. I still love novels, but I don't read them like I used to. Maybe when the girls go off to college. That's okay, because the more I read short stories (and the more I try to write them) the more I appreciate the form. The best short stories aren't just shorter - less - than a novel. The best ones have to contain something bigger then the five thousand word package they come in. Reading a good short story is like unpacking a magical suitcase that contains a whole attic's worth of stuff. Or like stepping into a phone booth and finding yourself inside the Tardis traveling to adventures in lands and times unknown.

Stories this week.

Friday 04: The Cross-Time Accountants Fail to Kill Hitler Because Chuck Berry Does the Twist by C.C. Finlay in this month's Lightspeed Magazine (it will be available online on 5/15. I'll link to it then) - I love the title, the story worked for me on some levels, especially character and the premise. Overall, the character and the plot didn't quite gel for me.

Saturday 05: Wonderwall by Elizabeth Hand in Saffron & Brimstone - This slipstreamy story oozes with nineties nostalgia as seen through the eyes of a desperately poor college drop out.

Sunday 06: Another Word for Map is Faith by Chris Rowe. Click to listen to it on PodCastle - This story's been around for a while and I can see why, it has a fascinating premise. What if post-apolyptic religion concerned itself with reshaping the landscape to match old maps. A kind of geographism...

Monday 07: I listen to This American Life on Mondays and this week featured a story called resurrection - about a boy and his armadillo. It isn't genre, but don't let that stop you. As noted at the end of the story, no armadillo's were harmed in the making of this fiction.

Tuesday 08: The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu in Clarkesworld (you can listen to it here) - More map-making! This story was/is nominated for a Nebula, a Hugo and a Locus award. And I can see why, a very arresting little story (about insects no less) with some big ideas.

Wednesday 09: Al by Carol Emshwiller in Feeling Very Strange - Written by one of the grand dames of Science Fiction. I'm still thinking about this one. It didn't really grab me, but its sticky as in the characters and images keep bouncing around in my head, might have to reread. So, I guess that's a kind of success.

Apropos of nothing

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Reading Those Stories

Indeed May is officially National Short Story month. I had no idea. NPR posted a nice bit about it here. There are even links to their interviews with some great short story authors, all decidedly literary, not genre. Don't hold that against them though!

I have a fair stack of paper and glue short story collections waiting to be read and ima going to get to those, really I am. This week was all about onscreen and earbuds.

First, in case you are wondering where to can find the latest genre short stories in print and online. Here are a couple places to find out about the freshest short stories in the genre.
My reading so far -
The first three are also available as podcasts from their respective sites.

May 1 Monkeys by Ken Liu published in Nature - A nice little flash piece with a couple post docs, some monkeys, and a typewriter. You know Shakespeare is bound to show up.

May 2 Prayer by Robert Reed in Clarkesworld - I really enjoyed this one, religion, insurgency, a girl, and her sentient gun.

May 3 Our Town by Kim Stanley Robinson in Lightspeed - A rare shorter piece by K. S. Robinson. The cloud city with artists made me think of The Cloud Minders the classic Star Trek episode.  I loved the human sculpture idea.

May 4 An Old Acquaintance K.G. Jewell - Another flash piece. Short and sweet, with a likeable bogeyman. (To read this today, sign up to receive their daily emails. You won't regret it! If you don't want to weigh your inbox down just check into their site a week from now when it will be posted.)

Next week I'll try to focus on the pile of books on my nightstand.