Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I finally make good on a promise that I have been making for weeks: we are resuscitating the "Shared World" scheme. As regular readers of this page may be aware, this is a plan to create a fictional milieu which will be open to any writer for the creation of new stories. We will be putting together some sort of special issue of M-Brane of such work eventually.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It seems that no matter how hard status quo-oriented people want the world of the last few decades to carry on forever, it is obvious that the old days are not only ending, but perhaps actually ended a long time ago. Consider these facts:
1) Finance-Capitalism has collapsed. No matter how Republican you want to be, it is, as you have known it, done, down in the ash-can of history, dead forever. Finished as surely Stalinism was. The party’s over, and it probably should have been cancelled long before the food and the band showed up;
2) The planetary climate is undergoing a shift that is currently and will continue to be perceptible within the lifetimes of people living now. The estimates of how long it will take to move radically toward a warmer and much different-looking planet are starting to look way too conservative and, (sorry to my neighbors, the “I-Don’t-Need-Facts-I-Got-Faith” folks of Jesusland) there is no serious scientific doubt anymore that something is happening. None at all. You can argue all day about how and why and what to do about it, but it is happening, and continuing to pollute the hell out of the planet is not going to help;
3) We have created (and by “we” I mean, collectively, the people of countries where people get to sit and type on computers like I am right now) mountains and heaps and rafts and flotillas of—excuse my language—shit. There is shit heaped everywhere, towers of manufactured crap, hordes of cheap and useless consumer goods, monumental barge-loads of human-made garbage as far as the eye can see. There’s a vortex of water bottles, trash bags and other plastic crap the size of Texas out in the Pacific ocean for eff’s sake! This is simply unsustainable in a world where the level of human anguish and the depth of planetary exhaustion and the complete and total fuck-all-this world-pain demand profound change at nearly every level.
End of lecture. But I said all that as a preface to presenting the following: Matt Staggs’ “GreenPunk Manifesto,” published yesterday on his fine blog Enter the Octopus. He proposes to identify and promulgate a sub-genre of fiction centered around this premise:
“GreenPunk: a technophilic spec-fic movement centered on characters using and being affected by the use of DIY renewable resources, recycling and repurposing. GreenPunk would emphasize the ability of the individual – and his or her responsibility – for positive ecological and social change.
“Rejecting steampunk’s romanticism while embracing its focus on approachable, ‘knowable’ technology (as opposed to the ‘black box’ nature of digital tech), GreenPunk envisions a world in which the detritus of consumer culture as propagated by the Elite is appropriated and repurposed by the masses toward the reconstruction of a devastated ecology and the address of social ills.”
Please go to Matt’s page and read more. A lot of people have posted interesting comments suggesting some already-existing literature that may fit under this umbrella or which may presage it. Also, according to recent Twitter updates from Matt, there will soon be a full-blown web resource for GreenPunk (if it hasn’t been launched already), and I will update as appropriate. Finally, I will commit right now to using M-Brane resources, such as they are, at some level with producing an anthology of new GreenPunk fiction should that seem to be demanded by the Movement.
[I’ll note that the website www.io9.com also ran an article about Matt’s post today, but (as is common on that site) somewhat missed the point (at least in user comments) that this is first and foremost a written fiction concept and not just a visual aesthetic. That may come later, but the TV/movie/videogame fanboys who like to dump on book-related ideas are not yet the whole intended audience for this. Also, I swiped that image of a library with trees growing in it from Matt's own post.]
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I'm amazed and delighted at the response that there has already been to Natania Barron's call for a new alliance of LGBT sf/f writers and allies. Dozens of writers and other interested folks have already joined the group, including such great people as Cheryl Morgan and Hal Duncan (relevant posts at both of their sites). [UPDATE: Also check out Cesar Torres' post about this.] Natania has worked with amazing speed and has already established a blog site for the group. It's still skeletal--the Alliance is less than 48 hours old after all. But it should be a fantastic resource. For my part, I am committing to contributing whatever I can as far as supporting and promoting the organization, as well as offering content to the website. I intended to run some profiles of the Things We Are Not writers on the TWAN page anyway, but perhaps I can cross-post some of that to the Outer Alliance page and expand the audience for it a bit.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Here's the front cover and table of contents for M-Brane #8, due out by September 1. I am quite happy with the selection of stories this time. It's fairly heavy on hard science fiction, but has some variety of flavors for readers who may not be in the mood for that.
We have the usual range of frequently published writers, including some Clarion alumni, along with some fairly new writers. Walker, Griffiths and Novy have appeared in M-Brane before, and three of these writers also have stories forthcoming in Things We Are Not (Gaskell, Walker and Griffiths).
The styles and themes range from super-science (Palmgren and Bondoni) to alien-planetary misadventure (Ribas and Keller) to cyberpunk (Beasom) to humorous erotica (Novy) and many other things in between and among.
GUSTAVO BONDONI: Interplanetary Bicycles and the One Back Home
TRISTAN PALMGREN: Outside the Standard Deviation
JAMIE EYBERG: Winter Solstice
STEPHEN GASKELL: Prisoners
DEBORAH WALKER: Forever Sisters
MICHAEL D. GRIFFITHS: Who Are You?
FRED OLLINGER: The Brightest Spark
COREY BEASOM: Obsolete
ROBERT E. KELLER: The Gates of Plutonis
NEIL COLQUHOUN: Machine
TOM RIBAS: The Probe from Outer Space
LESLIE LUPIEN: Wotan
RICK NOVY: Cex in the Sity
While this news is a big deal in my little world, I hate to distract from today's earlier post about Barron's plan to form a LGBT writer's alliance, so continue reading down the page and catch that as well.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
You may be of the aware of the recent online discussions over the recent Mammoth Book Mindblowing SF, which has attracted some unfavorable attention over how it has managed to be a collection of stuff entirely by male writers. A good intro to the matter is can be found here at the Tor site, and one can turn up plenty more discussion of it in other places, such as Tempest Bradford's site. Brandon Bell this week offered a pair of posts acknowledging the controversy (one about some mindblowing books not necessarily all by white dudes, and another set of reading recs for great stuff by female authors).
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Last night J and I watched Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope (Special Edition) and had much fun digging out his collection of action figures (in their Darth Vader carrying case, of course), taking pictures of them and tweeting those images with appropriate quotations from the film as we watched it. When we reached the Death Star battle sequence, J decided that we should take the accompanying picture. It captures the exact instant when fighter pilot Porkins, an early fatality in the fight, was doomed. For some reason, this rather minor event in the movie, has always been for both of us disproportionately memorable. And far funnier than it really should be. We think it may trip the same silly-giggle switch as all the other blatant prejudices that permeate Star Wars: the kinda-fat dude is named Porkins and is one of the first to get blown up; Jawas, a sentient race, are, in the estimation of a droid, "disgusting creatures"; a Wookie, also sentient, is "that thing" and "a walking carpet"; the Imperials evidently employ no "aliens" at all (but they have a monster in a trash compactor on a space station for some reason), and so on.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Get over to the Things We Are Not page right away to read the details on the cover art election/contest for the anthology! We're going to use both covers, but we're still having a contest with a fantastic prize anyway. It's also a good alternate way to micro-donate to the Cause. Check it out.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The upcoming M-Brane “queer anthology” will henceforth be called by its newly official title Things We Are Not, which is also the title of Brandon Bell’s contribution to it. While the title means one thing in the context of Brandon’s story, I strongly felt that it could apply appropriately to the entire contents of the book. In four syllables, it seems to catch a bit of the rebellion and transgression that infuses the entire collection. As this project’s editor, I will concede that I may be unduly enthusiastic about it, but I am convinced that this collection is not what anyone is expecting. It is better.
I am not ready to show the cover art yet, but I will list below the authors and their story titles. This table of contents is provisional pending completion of contracts with the writers (yes, writers, I will be sending you those shortly, I promise), and the order in which stories are listed does not necessarily indicate their order in the final publication. The cover art has been created by Mari Kurisato and will be shown soon. The catch, however, is that we have two covers from Mari and there will be a contest to determine which one ends up being the final one. Details will follow within a few days. [UPDATE: the cover art is previewed now on a new page devoted to this anthology.]
Alex Wilson “Outgoing”
Derek J. Goodman “As Wide as the Sky, and Twice as Explosive”
Alex Jeffers “Composition With Barbarian and Animal”
C.B. Calsing “Seeker”
Trent Roman “Confessions of a Call Herm”
Mari Kurisato “Connected”
Larissa Gail “Diplomatic Relations”
Eden Robins “Switch”
Deborah Walker “The Meerprashi Solution”
Jay Kozzi “Pos-psi-bilities”
Abby “Merc” Rustad “Queen for a Day”
Therese Arkenberg “Reila’s Machine”
Christopher Fletcher “The Robbie”
Stephen Gaskell “The Offside Trap”
Michael D. Griffiths “Transitions”
Lisa Shapter “The World in His Throat”
Brandon Bell “Things We Are Not…”
[Notes: Wilson’s story appeared previously in Asimov’s (February 2007); Jeffers’ story appeared in slightly different form in Universe 3 (1994, Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber, editors). Goodman, Walker, Arkenberg, Griffiths, Rustad, Kozzi and Bell have appeared with other stories in the pages of M-Brane SF. Gaskell has a story upcoming in M-Brane #8; Robins and Kurisato both have stories upcoming in M-Brane #9.]
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
This is the week that I swore that I would start some new work on the Shared World project. Since it's Wednesday and I've done nothing on it yet, it's a great thing that Brandon Bell has had some inspiration and focus and offered this great post on his site. I think he's on target as far as identifying some general time frames of events in the World and suggesting a historical progression from one to the next. Also, after reading his remarks, I'd agree that we don't need to have quite as much detail worked out in advance as I thought might be needed. What we're working on is really more general guidelines, broad-stroke type stuff. So...I am, as always, welcoming new comments and ideas from anyone who has participated in this discussion before or who would like to get in on it. The whole run of Shared World-related posts can be called up using the Shared World label below (and one of those contains a link to download a document summarizing most of what has been discussed in those posts and their many comments).
The April 2010 issue will be the final issue of Jim Baen's Universe, according to a recent message from editor Eric Flint on their site. This is highly disappointing to me not just because it amounts to the business failure of a professional sf magazine, but also because this one was the big example to which I often pointed as the possible future of short fiction periodicals. People who have read my remarks on this in the past know well that I am convinced that there needs to be a business model for fiction mags where the readers pay something for content. I have based the existence of M-Brane on this conviction.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009