It’s been rather quiet in this corner of the internet the last few months. That’s not because I wanted it that way. Real Life has kept me busy.
But hopefully (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, throws salt over shoulder) that’s going to change. The first summer session of classes is over, we’re back from vacation, and things should slow down a little bit. I’m not teaching second summer, so even though I’m still supervising the labs, I should have a bit more free time. I won’t be attending Armadillocon unless something changes; I can’t justify the expense. Not with World Fantasy later this year.
I’ll be doing more blogging, although I’m not going to be accepting many review requests. I’ve got too many books I’ve dropped the ball on that I need to read and review. Most reviews will be things I’ve read because I’ve wanted to. There will be some of those within the next few days. Continue reading →
So my plans for the weekend have gone completely off the rails, but in a good way. My son has spent the last week with my parents. I drove over Friday evening to pick him up, and since it’s 3.5 hr drive, I planned on spending the night and returning home yesterday morning. I hadn’t been here five minutes when my wife called and asked what I knew about my brother who lives out of state posting on Faceplant that they were coming to see my folks for the weekend. Uhh…nothing.
Anyway, I’ve stayed over since I don’t often see this brother and his family. What does that have to do with a book? I purchased The Hymn of the Pearl yesterday morning and decided to read it while we were waiting for my brother to arrive. Normally, it would go into the queue to be read when I got around to it. I decided not to wait.
Posts have been few and far between lately. I’m teaching a class during the first summer session that will end next Saturday. Things should pick up somewhat after that. We’ve got a family vacation planned later in the summer, but I think I can work around that. The class I’m teaching isn’t divided into traditional lecture and lab sections. Rather, it’s an inquiry-based format, meaning its hands-on and interactive. Or to put it another way, I have to teach it all rather than letting a TA cover the traditional labs. Rewarding, because I get to know the students better than I do with a large lecture hall; frustrating and tiring because it’s so time consuming.
What little time I’ve had to write has been devoted to trying to get back on a regular schedule for fiction writing. I’m hoping to have some things ready to publish by the end of the summer.
I’ve got a few titles in the queue for review that I”m doing because I’ve been asked to. After that, I’ll probably not do too many for a while, although there will be a few exceptions, mainly for friends. For the most part, any reviews I post going forward will be because I would have read it anyway.
Which begs a question. I’ve been reading a lot more short fiction these days, when I have time to read, that is. I’ve got half a dozen active anthologies going, but I’m not reading any of them straight through. By the time I’m done with one, months could have passed. Details of the first stories have faded. So the question is:
Should I post about individual stories or not? This is a serious question; any thoughts you have would be appreciated.
Most of my reading this past semester that’s been for fun (as opposed to by request) has been older stuff. There’s very little new fantasy or science fiction that appeals to me, especially at novel length, that’s coming out of the big publishing houses. Small publishers and indie press titles being excepted, of course. So look for a lot more pulp related posts and reviews of older titles that have been out for a while, “a while” being defined as a few years to decades. I’ve been REH deficient lately. It’s like a vitamin deficiency, only worse.
I know I should have posted this almost two weeks ago, but I’ve been pretty swamped. I’m teaching a class at the moment that’s taking up most of my time. But since I don’t feel like grading exams on a Friday evening, I’ll blog instead.
This year’s theme was “Howard Detectives: The Ongoing Search for Undiscovered Information”. Since there weren’t any anniversaries this year, things were a little low key compared to recent years. That was fine with me. The attendance was down a little, which was disappointing.
I got in on Thursday afternoon. Like I did two years ago, I stayed at the isolated farmhouse down the hill from the cemetery. There weren’t any creepy things this time, but then I had a better idea of what to expect. There also wasn’t a working air conditioner. I slept with the windows open. At first I thought about going to a hotel, but if Two-Gun Bob could sleep without AC all his life, I could do it for a few nights. Continue reading →
I’d like to thank Cemetery Dance Publications for providing me with the review copy. Told by multiple narrators, none of whom are entirely reliable, this novel chronicles the events in an apartment complex when the complex’s Halloween party is canceled.
Harris is the on-site handyman for the Stillbrook Apartments. He and his wife Lynn have two children, Matt and Amber. Lynn’s job as tech support allows her to stay home. They are a dysfunctional family, with both parents playing favorites with the children (Harris and Matt, Lynn and Amber) while their marriage is slowly unraveling. Most (but not all) of the chapters are from one of their viewpoints. Neither have a good grasp of things going on in their home. Continue reading →
I’ve been kinda busy lately, but I thought I would give a short update.
Last week my son competed in the state solo and ensemble competition. He didn’t play a solo, but his quartet scored a one. (For those who don’t know, band scores are like golf scores; lower is better.) I went along as a sponsor, and since I rode the bus rather than drove myself, I got some reading done.
I’ll try to post reviews soon, but I’ve been devoting what free time I’ve had to fiction writing. I’ve got three stories in slush piles. With one exception, which got a very nice rejection of the send-me-something-else variety, all the other stories I sent out earlier this year have placed. I need to get some more stuff finished and out the door. I’m hoping things will settle down next week.
Why not this week, you ask. Summer classes started today, so normally I would be into a routine by the end of the week. However, this weekend is my annual pilgrimage to the holy land, also know as Robert E. Howard Days. I’m going down on Thursday afternoon (and in my car since my wife needs hers this weekend. It will be an adventure.)
So look for a writeup on Howard Days next week. If I can squeeze in a review before then, I’ll do it. Otherwise, they’ll hit after I get back.
If I could have one superpower, I think it would be the ability to split myself into multiple bodies. That way, maybe I wouldn’t be so far behind on reading, writing, and review. You know, the important stuff.
Anyway I promised Adrian Simmons, the editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, a review for both the previous and current issues. Both are strong issues. Continue reading →
Rocket’s Red Glare, a space opera anthology from Rough Edges Press and edited by James Reasoner is now available for preorder.
Here’s the jacket copy:
From distant galaxies to the mean streets of Hollywood . . . from the war-torn skies of France in 1918 to the far side of the moon . . . The stories in Rocket’s Red Glare exemplify the adventure, courage, and sense of discovery so vital to the American spirit. Whether daring to cross interstellar space or battling alien conquerors when they come right to our own back yard, the characters in these tales never give up, never stop fighting for their country, their lives, their honor. Featuring all-new stories by Sarah A. Hoyt (part of her USAian series), Brad R. Torgersen, Martin L. Shoemaker, Lou Antonelli, James Reasoner, and more, Rocket’s Red Glare is packed with space opera excitement, dazzling scientific speculation, gritty action, and compelling characters.
Rocket’s Red Glare is only available in electronic format ($6.99) at the moment. the print edition will be out within the next few weeks. This is a stellar lineup, and I’m proud to be part of this anthology.
Manly Wade Wellman was born, this day, May 21, in 1903 in Portuguese West Africa. He was one of the greatest writers of horror and dark fantasy of the 20th Century, although he’s not as well known today as he should be. His best known literary creation was John the Balladeer, and wandering minstrel of the Appalachian mountains. Wellman began writing in the 1920s, and sold a number of stories to Weird Tales. He was still writing in the 1970s and 1980s, and a number of his short stories were published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
In honor of his birthday, I’m going to look at two short stories. Both were published in the pulps in the late 1930s. I read both of them in Sin’s Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances, published by Night Shade Books in 2003. It’s volume 4 of the 5 volume The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman. Continue reading →
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “relevant” as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand” and “having social relevance”. Just so we’re on the same page, relevance is defined as “practical and especially social applicability” and “the ability to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user”.
Anne McCaffrey Photo: Edmond Ross/ Random House
Why, I’m sure you’re asking, am I quoting the dictionary? Well, Monday on the interwebz, one side of a conversation was showing up in my Twitter feed. I’ve been trying to stay off Twitter these days because it’s a time sink, and I don’t have much time to sink. What caught my attention was a quoted tweet from a person in the conversation whom I don’t follow. The statement was “I’d recommend broadening your horizons. Anything written in the last 15 years is more relevant than McCaffery’s entire oeuvre”.
Some context, and no, I’m not going to name the person who said that. My intention is not to engage in personal attacks but to challenge the mindset behind the words because it’s pretty widespread. Seems someone somewhere declared this week Space Opera Week. Tor dot com is posting a number of essays on that theme. There was one post that brought out the old saw about women haven’t traditionally written space opera, and the few that have, well, they wrote it from a man’s perspective, horror of horrors. Brackett and Moore, in other words.
Certain parties responded. Conversations ensued. Anne McCaffrey’s name was brought up. The statement above was made.
Let that sink in. Yes, you heard it right. Someone said that anything written in the last 15 years was more relevant than Anne Freakin’ McCaffrey’s entire oeuvre. Continue reading →