Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Announcing 4 Star Stories Issue 13

Whether you are a newcomer or an old friend, you will find something in this issue of 4 Star Stories to interest and entertain. Join us at

First up is a new twist on the classic boy-meets-dragon story by Edward Ahern − Care and Feeding.

A contemporary tale of “girl saves Earth”, Speaking Up, from Brynn Macnab takes us into the mind of a little girl who just wants to be left alone.

A talented and prolific author from New Zealand, Sean Monaghan weaves a story that bends the concepts of contemporary theoretical physics in Big Catch.

Finally, expatriate Brit Jez Patterson shows us that not since “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” has the Earth been as threatened by a lowly fruit as in Squidge.

Our Bonus Story this issue is Operation Rugido Ratón by D H Richards. A tourist in Cuba is more than he seems. The military installation out in the boonies is more than it seems. Did you think the space race ended in the Sixties? Think again!

Our Guest Art for Issue 13 is an Artist Retrospective featuring the work of Jack Coggins, a space and technology illustrator from the 1950’s. Not as well known as Chesley Bonestell, but familiar to those of us who grew up in that time period, Jack Coggins uses light and shadow to dramatic effect in his depictions of space hardware and a trip to the moon.

As always, a timely Editorial from our Editors rounds out the issue, along with useful information from your humble Webmaster.

Come to visit, stay to enjoy... 4 Star

The Editors


The next issue of 4 Star Stories will fearture my short story "The Grove of Curiosities"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bigfoot Fruit

Regarding my story "Bigfoot Fruit" which is in the current issue of the Common Oddities Speculative Fiction Sideshow - the story hinges on the fact that no native North American animal eats the fruit of the Bois D'Arc tree. Here is a good illustration of the phenomenon. I found a tree a mile from my house with all the fruit piled up around its base (these haven't been gathered up). They're sitting there where they fell, and nobody has touched them.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sci-Phi Journal available for pre-order

The cover of Issue No. 2
Issue No. 2 of Sci-Phi Journal is coming out as of Nov. 1, but you can pre-order it on Amazon. Here is the product description:


Sci Phi is an online science fiction and philosophy magazine. In each issue you will find stories that explore questions of life, the universe and everything and articles that delve into the deep philosophical waters of science fiction universes.

This month we have,

The start of a wonderfully Sci Phi Serial from Ben Zwycky, Beyond the Mist that was also the inspiration for our spectacular cover art. It kicks off with our protagonist falling through the mist of the title and just gets stranger from there.

We also have original Science Fiction stories from
Peter Sean Bradley - Ghosts - A tale of a future wedding gone weird
Emmanuel A. Mateo-Morales - The First Step - Witness the end of a mad dream and the end of a future war
David Hallquist - The Quantum Process - A bid for immortality that doesn't go quite as planned!
Lou Antonelli - On a Spiritual Plain - A chaplain
meets a confused soul on an alien mining colony
Steve Sagarra - Terra in Vista - A crew of explorers meet someone unexpected on a new world

Original Essays by
David Kyle Johnson - On the Moral of Hide and Q - An exploration of the ethics of being Q
John C. Wright - Prophetic & Apotropaic Science Fiction - Does Science Fiction predict the future?
Patrick S. Baker - On the Ethics of Super Soldiers - Is it right to make Super Soldiers and what do we owe them?
Tom Simon - The Making of the Fellowship - A study on the nature of the Good in Middle Earth

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mid-week update

I received back and sent out again two stories. That makes for a total of 17 in various slushpiles. Nothing original started this week so far. I already received my PayPal payment from Sci-Phi Journal, which makes it one of the fastest payers I have ever seen. Lots on integrity there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sci-Phi Journal to publish "On a Spiritual Plain"

Signed my contract this morning for Sci-Phi Journal to publish "On a Spiritual Plain" and emailed it back to editor Jason Rennie. This is the story I started by typing in public at the GalaxyFest convention in Colorado Springs in Feb. 2013.

I did about three-quarters of it there, and finished it when I got back to Texas. I scanned the pages, ran them through optical character recognition software, and made up a Word file. After the usual editing and tweaking, I sent it off to Clarkeswold in March 2013. For some reason, it struck me as a story they would like.

They didn't take it, but it took them three weeks to reject it (if you've ever submitted to Clarkesworld, you know three days is average time for a rejection. That's the only time I received anything other than a standard rejection from them, because they said "your story was close".

So I always thought the story would find a home, and it will be published in Issue No. 2 of Sci-Phi Journal. The name indicates they like a little thoughtfulness and philosophical discussion in conjunction with their stories. Their guidelines state:

"We are looking for science fiction stories that explore a philosophical idea or have a philosophical hook. Stories must include a “food for thought” set of questions for readers along with the manuscript. Please include in your cover letter the philosophical themes explored in the story."

Which I thought would work great for "On a Spiritual Plain". Jason took the story after only a day or two, so I guess I hit the mark. And they look to be a class outfit, paying a nickel a word right from the start.

Highly recommended.

Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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