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Monthly Archives: August 2012
Tomorrow, I’m off to Chicago and WorldCon, the largest of the SF cons. I’ve been to one before, in Denver, and I’m happy that this one is in familiar territory, since I grew up near there. I want to wander over to the Art Institute some point to commune with the Marc Chagall windows there and maybe even walk as far as the Shedd Aquarium, scene of so many school trips.
Here’s some photos of the promotional jewelry created using Ice Resin and Near + Far’s interior art by Mark W. Tripp. Gorgeousness!
One of the things that sometimes comes up when talking to new writers is the question, “How do I acquire a mentor?” There’s a glazed and desperate look in the eyes of each querier, and sometimes a bit of professional jealousy, because occasionally we see people in positions where we’re not convinced they really should be, and an easy explanation is that a mentor’s personal pull helped get them there.
Yay! Yesterday the publisher dropped by to bring me the proof version of Near + Far. It is GORGEOUS. Absolutely GORGEOUS, managing to look modern but still have a touch of that retro, Ace Double feel. Here’s some photos of both book and the promotional jewelry. Continue reading
One of the questions that often comes up in the Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction class is: are there markets that should be eliminated due to factors outside of pay, reply time, exposure, and the other usual suspects?
This is something that probably one needs to think about, and my rule is simply this: would you feel pleased and proud to have your work appear there?
Cat’s Worldcon schedule includes panels on teaching writing, body modification, magic realism, and incorporating the personal into fiction. Other events include the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, stints at the BU and SFWA tables in the dealers’ room, and a book launch party for Near + Far!
Back when I was first approached about the Fathomless Abyss, it involved an initial story and a later novella. Sure, I said, and whacked out a story for the first Fathomless Abyss book, TALES FROM THE FATHOMLESS ABYSS. It was “A Querulous Flute of Bone”, which I based on an O.Henry story, and which I think is one of my best stories to date. If you don’t believe me, spring for the 99 cent download and tell me if I’m wrong.
I wanted to talk about something that I often say in class. It’s something Connie Willis told my Clarion West class, and which I repeat, but don’t explain as thoroughly as I should, because it’s so clear in my head.
But words are imprecise things, and so I’m a-gonna do what we used to call “unpacking” back in grad school and even provide some useful examples. What did Connie say? She said, “Good fiction teaches us what it means to be human.” As good f&sf writers, I would argue that we might change “human” to “self-aware being,” but that is picking nits.
What does that mean? It means we’re all faced with this common problem: life. And we want to know what we’re supposed to do, and what we can get away with, and what to do about all that hardcoded primate behavior that keeps popping up from time to time, and stuff like that. Sometimes the message features a universal human, sometimes it is a human shaped by particular circumstances, such as race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, etc. It’s why we like to read fiction. It’s why we like gossip. We want to know what other human beings do.
And here’s why this is important: Sometimes thinking about what a story is trying to say is a good way to complete, rewrite, or sharpen it.