Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ackerman birthday

BTW, following up my comments from Monday on Forrest Ackerman's birthday, I see on the web that Ray Bradbury organized a birthday party for him at book store in Glendale, California - "Mystery and Imagination" - last Saturday and everyone sent greetings to Mr. Ackerman by camera. Among the people at the bookstore were Ray Harryhausen - amazing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nebula rec

The SFWA on Tuesday posted a list of stories which have received at least one recmmendation for the Nebulas as of November. I was happy to see "The Witch of Waxahachie" on the list. Of course, since I'm not a full-fledged member of the SFWA, I can't recommend any stories myself.

Whoever posted the list made a minor typo in my name, leaving out the first "n", but I posted a short message and they quickly corrected it.

There must be at least 100 stories on the list. There's seven from Baen's (this is just in the short story category).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Forrest Ackerman

Today is Forrest Ackerman's 92nd birthday. A few weeks ago, there were reports that he was at death's door and - after being treated at a local hospital for pneumonia - was sent home to die. In fact, there were premature reports of his death.


The latest word is that all the greetings and kind words have greatly lifted his spirits, and he's frail but fine. Last week sent him a birthday greeting of my own, a little limerick I came up with:

There was a great genius named Forry,
Whose life was one big sci-fi story.
When word one day spread,
He was quite nearly dead,
He growled, “I’m still here boys, dontcha worry!”

Happy 92nd birthday, Mr. Ackerman

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The kind of rejection, the kindest rejection...

"The Way of the Heretic" went off in Thursday's mail. It clocked in just over 6,700 words. It is one of the most personally satisfying stories I've done lately.

Hollered at Brad Sinor on the phone tonight. I'm working on this collaboration, "Blue Tango", and I wanted to check on a few points.

OK, here is what the title of this post refers to: I got back "Rock and Roll's Daughter" from one of the major magazines. The letter, dated Nov. 4, reads as follows:

"Thanks for letting me see "Rock and Roll's Daughter". This story is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed reading it, but I'm afraid it's not right for...(name withheld)". As always I look forward to your next one."

Jeez, these are the kind of rejections that exasperate you. My first reacton is, "hey, maybe if you broadened your story selection, you might enlarge your potential readership base.'

Then again, who am I to tell an editor what they should take for their mix of story selections?

"This story is a lot of fun" is something I get a lot, and shows how a lot of traditional s-f now is mopey and depressing. As I have said before, the cyberpunks had a bad attitde because they were pissed Reagan got elected president. The main lights in s-f for the past eight years have been in a similar funk because of George Bush. Well, now that Obama is elected, maybe they'll snap out of it. I actually got an email today through one of the Yahoo groups I belong to that ended with "Obama be praised!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SFWA Bulletin story

The October-November issue of the SFWA Bulletin is out (according to Locus online) which features my story about Howard Waldrop's "phone-in" reading at Armadillocon in August. I haven't seen the mag yet - the last I saw of the article was the galley proof.

I received my payment from Raygun Revival today for the publication of my story next month of "The Silver Dollar Saucer".

Still tweaking the final draft of "The Way of the Heretic". I'm halfway through the pages.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"The Way of the Heretic"

I always have a large notepad full of story ideas. After completing "Dispatches from The Troubles", I looked it over, and realized that sometimes you just have to be hit by inspiration. For some reason, I didn't feel like I wanted to launch into any one of them. I almost was ready to get back to "Blue Tango", but I felt I needed a little more time.

For some reason, as if my imagination wanted to "clean its palate", a story idea popped into my mind Friday night. I wrote up two pages of notes by way of a story outline Friday evening. I started writing the story Saturday afternoon. I finished this evening. It's 7,000 words and called "The Way of the Heretic". It's a post-apocalyptic story set in West Texas with a couple who left a polygamist sect that was spared a devastating plague because of its isolation.

This is a record for a short story, for me. I wrote it in two days. I've run off a copy and will sit down and proof and edit it Monday night. I like it, too; it has one of the most solid endings I've ever written.

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is amazing

In the course of researching "Video Killed the Radio Star", I found this BLUEGRASS version, done by a GERMAN group of country music fans, Handsome Hank and the Lonesome Boys. I am very, very, impressed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All together now...

Well, to mark the upcoming publication of the story "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Apehelion...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

False alarm, good news

In case you didn't know, all those pessimistic reports about Forrest Ackerman proved to be premature. Although he is very weak, he has not passed away. The reports were so widespread that Locus On-line actually posted an item about his death, and then had to apologize. So far, he is still with us.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Publication date set

The serials editor at Apehelion, McCamy Taylor, sends news that "Video Killed the Radio Star" will be published in December.

Still don't know when a publication date will be set for "The Silver Dollar Saucer" at Ray Gun Revival.

I got back "When Hell's Bill Comes Due" from Andromeda Spaceways. The slush reader said, "Sorry, I liked the idea and it wasn't badly written, it even felt like one of those old-fashioned stories of the SF golden age."

But then the criticisms come in - some of which actually may be helpful. One thing that is baffling about this story is that - and slush reader saw this too - I've had trouble catching typos in this story. I may have to run a copy off and read it out loud to nab them. I used to do a reading of each story to my wife when I was done, but I've skipped that for probably the last three or four years. I may start that again.

Got back "Dispatches from The Troubles" from GVG. I dropped it in the mail to Sheila. She's got a nice fat Tuckerization in the story, anyway. Strangely enough, as the story went along - and you writers know how sometimes the plot and characters take on a life of their own and you the author need to get out of the way - the character plays a small but poignant role towards the end of the story that literally came out of nowhere.

On the subject of "Dispatches from The Troubles", I caught an episode of "The Simpsons" tonight that started with a St. Patrick's Day parade of Catholic Irishmen clashing with a bunch of Protestant marchers in downtown Springfield. It started to get goofy when the green leprechaun began duking it out with the orange leprechaun, but I did a spit take when the Hulk began fighting with the Thing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Video Killed the Radio Star

"Video Killed the Radio Star" will be my 40th publication - not counting a few short stories I self-published in Sentinel science fiction in 2007.

As I said before, it's a monologue, and very much a Texas secret history. The title comes from the fact the story is a flashback to events in 1979. It has what I consider one of my best lines, and a piece of business very much in keeping with the spirit of secret history:

"I bet you didn't know Three Mile Island wasn't the worst nuclear accident in history. Actually, it wasn't even the worst accident in 1979..."

Because of its length, between 8,000 and 9,000 words, it will have to be published as a serial. I think it's the first novelette I've ever had published.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another sale

Just got word via email that Aphelion ezine will take my story "Video Killed the Radio Star". It's a novellette, secret history, set in Texas, and a monologue.

Sound familiar?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sad news

The news is all over the discussion boards and groups that Forest J. Ackerman, the No. 1 s-f fan in history, is suffering from pneumonia and also had a heart attack. Mr. Ackerman is 92, I believe, so this kind of news is hardly unexpected, but still, he remains one of the last links to the golden era. This is the guy who wore a costume modeled from "The Shape of Things to Come" at the first world con in New York in 1939. Wow.

Whatever happened to that old Sunbelt?

By LOU ANTONELLI Managing Editor It’s rained almost daily for the past four months. The ground is saturated; walking across grass is lik...