Sunday, February 02, 2020

Upcoming convention

My next convention – and my first one for year – is Anachroncon Feb. 14-16 in Atlanta. Here is my schedule of panels:

Friday 4:00 p.m.  How Much Editing is Enough?

Saturday 12 p.m.  Using the Hero’s Journey to Make Stories Work

Saturday 1 p.m. Alternate Universe Creation

Saturday 4 p.m. Pantsing or Plotting? What Works For You?

Saturday 5 p.m. Hit or Myth? What Makes Good Story?

Sunday 12 p.m. Plot, Plot, Plot! The Importance of Actually Telling a Story

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Problems with the email

We've taken a break at Sirius Science Fiction, with the most recent story published December 28, because of a strange technical problem that arose with the email.

Some of you may recall I recently asked how many of you use Juno for your email. I had a reason. Sirius S-F uses an old Juno email address of mine for its submissions. The email address goes back to the 1990s, but it seemed to work fine, and not being very active I thought it would be a good one to use for the slush pile.

However, a couple of months ago, it developed a strange problem. It would freeze after one action. In other words, if you took any action - open an email, delete emails, go to an inbox - you got only one chance. You couldn't take two actions in a row - the program would freeze. You'd have to go out and in again.

That obviously made working the submission emails very, very difficult, and that's the main reason I took the break. I was pretty much in a quandary about what to do, except migrate submissions to a different email. But then what could I do the submissions I already have on hand?

However, in the past week or so the problem seems to have righted itself, and it seems I can use the email normally now, so we will start reading the slush pile again and publishing original fiction.

Our next story, the first one for 2020, will be "14 Candles" by Michael Murphy. I will post here when it is published.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Sirius Science Fiction is alive and doing well

Since restarting this fall, Sirius Science Fiction has been doing well and has published five original short stories. We published five this spring before taking a hiatus for health reasons (my wife Patricia got real sick in June and took weeks to recover; I also had bouts of illness.)

But since Oct. 4 we have published:

"Cafe Bueno" by Kevin Folliard

"The Drifter and Mr. Cronkite" by F.M. Scott

"The Lung-Ma's Tests" by Susan MacDonald

"Space - A Fishy Tale" by John Taloni

and this week, "Second Time Around" by John Leahy.

Two are alternate - or secret - history, and two more traditional science fition. I don't know how to classify "Second Time Around".

We have been getting submissions from around the world. John Leahy is the first publication from overseas, he lives in Ireland.

Submissions are always open at , and we pay $25 per story.

Here is the link to the page.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Off into history

Alicia Alonso, legendary Cuban ballet dancer, died Thursday, aged 98.

Alonso was one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Her personal reputation foundered in mid-century because of her support of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Revolution.

Alonso suffered most of her life with very poor eyesight, and was essentially blind for many decades. My personal theory is that she is the model for the image of The Blind Ballerina.

Our society has many of these kind of cartoonish folk images - one of the best known is having a man wearing only a barrel to indicate he's lost all his money.

One common image of the stereotyped gypsy, and in fact Michael Swanwick explored the idea of how these kinds of images are created in a story published in 2000, "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy-O".

Years ago, when I was just just starting out, I had a thought - what if you suspect YOU are one of these tropes? This led to my story, "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley", where a rising author attends a reception and meets both Buckley and Alonso.

Buckley is the model for the erudite and cultured reactionary. When someone snaps a photo of the three people together - Buckley, Alsonso and the author - she learns something she probably wishes she didn't know.

Another thing that contributed to the story is that in 1984 I took a date to a performance of The Village Light Opera Group in New York. During the intermission of "The Yeoman of the Guard", I met Isaac Asimov.

While we exchanged pleasantries in the lobby, someone walked up and took our photo.

"Is that a friend of yours?" asked Asimov.

"Never saw her before in my life," I replied.

I wish to hell I knew who took the picture, I would give so much to see it today. I had no idea at the time I would write science fiction - my first pro publication was 21 years in the future.

Well, "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley" was published in 2005 by Bewildering Stories and it is still archived on-line. Here's the link. It's one of my lesser-known works. Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

More Fencon loot

This is my second post about books I brought back from Fencon:

When I was young - like in my 20s - Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories were among my favorites. I really enjoyed them and was disappointed when he was struck down in 1979 and spent the rest of his life in a coma. I wished he had had time to write more.

At Fencon I found FIVE Lord Darcy books. I already have Murder and Magic, and Lord Darcy Investigates. I also bought the two Michael Kurland books, which I knew of, and the 2004 collection edited by Eric Flint, which I had never seen before.

I bought all five for a hefty five bucks! Best deal of the weekend!

NB: Anyone who has ever read my story "The Witch of Waxahachie" that was published in Jim Baen's Universe in 2008 can easily see Garrett's influence.

Dealers Room loot

Fencon was a week ago. Since then I have posted a few times about the people and panels. Now I want to post a bit about Dealers Room loot.

I don't know why it is or why it happens, but I have gone to conventions and not found anything I was interested in (I'm usually looking for books). The number of book sellers seems to have diminished over the years at cons.

Then I have gone to conventions and had great finds with books. Fencon was an example of this. I walked in Friday afternoon and made three different finds in ten minutes.

First, the magazines. I found this copy of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and snapped it up, because I had no idea Earle Stanley Gardner has ever written any s-f. I'll have to read it.

I picked up the copy of the British magazine, Science Fantasy, when I saw the story "The Sound Sweep" by J.G. Ballard. I've never read the story, but I recognize the title. Trevor Horn, one of the founder of the Buggles, said the story was the inspiration for the song "Video Killed the Radio Star".

I'll post later on some of the books I picked up.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fencon panels in the rear view mirror

I had five panels at Fencon, and I have to say all went very well. My first was at 3 p.m. Friday, on "The Futrure Is Now", with M.T. Reiten. Adrian Simmons was also supposed to be on the panel, but he sent word ahead that he was delayed because of bad weather in Oklahoma (he lives in Norman) and couldn't make it. He arrived at the con later.

I've been on panels with M.T. before but it has been a few years and it was good to see him again. There was a large turnout and the audience was engaged. This being a type of futurist-oriented panel, M.T. was much more conversant with the topic that I was, but we both enjoyed it and the audience did, too.

My next panel was at 5 p.m. on "When Good Research Goes Bad". All panelists made it - , Melissa Tatum, Tex Thompson, and Rob Rogers. Again, I have been on panels with Mel Tatum in the past, especially at the late lamented Conestoga in Tulsa (a great convention in its day), and it was good to see her. Again, good turnout and everyone enjoyed it.

My last panel on Friday was the Liars' Panel at 9 p.m. This was the one panel I moderated, and all panelists were there - Selina Rosen, Kathy Turski. Linda Donahue and Ben Gibbs. If you missed it, you missed a wild time indeed. 'Nuff said.

Saturday at noon I joined Rie Sheridan Rose and Kathryn Sullivan for a panel called "All Tales Are Done", about fairy tales and myths. The turnout for this panel was smaller, but everyone enjoyed it, especially because I think the trio of panelists was especially knowledgeable about the subject.

My last panel was Sunday at 2 p.m. on "The Cyber Future Is Now" with Stephen Patrick. A third panelist didn't make it. This panel was a lot like my first, and as with M.T. Reiten, I think I was the weaker link, but I was impressed with the turnout for so late in the convention, and the audience was very engaged.

Upcoming convention

My next convention – and my first one for year – is Anachroncon Feb. 14-16 in Atlanta. Here is my schedule of panels: Friday 4:00 p.m....