What’s Desmond Reading?
Trader To The Stars/i> by Poul Anderson.
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The benignly-neglected online home of writer Desmond Warzel
Over at the website of Digital Fiction Publishing, the folks responsible for the Digital Science Fiction, Digital Fantasy Fiction, and Digital Horror Fiction projects, there’s a feature called Quickfic which features very short pieces in all three genres–from 250 to 3500 words. Clicking on “Quickfic” will take you to several pages of great short stories, but I’d like to call your attention in particular to my story “Habemus Papam,” which has actually been there since March 20th.
“Habemus Papam” is a brief horror tale that takes place during a papal election. It first appeared in the anthology Night Terrors II (Blood Bound Books, 2012), but is now free for the reading at Quickfic.
(I believe the fiction from this Quickfic project is eventually to be collected in an inexpensive Kindle anthology as well, so keep an eye out for that.)
N.B.: Hopefully, nobody takes my approach to the papal election as disrespectful; for the record, I consider the cardinals in this story to be legitimate heroes.
The origin story is an integral part of the superhero genre. While some of them are weak (most villains, for instance, seem to gain their powers from laboratory or industrial accidents–see Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Electro, Mr. Freeze, et. al.), some are downright iconic. Who could forget this image from Superman:
[Iconic only goes so far, of course. Spider-Man’s next cinematic incarnation, taking place in the Avengers universe, is due in 2017. Happily, a bit of dialogue in last year’s Ant-Man hinted that this version of Spider-Man was already active as a hero at that time, and this was just confirmed in the latest Captain America: Civil War trailer; thus we’ve apparently been spared our third Spider-Man origin story in fifteen years. We don’t need it; everybody knows how Spider-Man got his powers. You know; I know; your grandmother knows; remote mountain tribes in Cambodia know.]
All of which is in service of saying that my own humble foray into superhero fiction, a short story called “The Dilettante and Leonard,” was just published over at SFReader, a great site that features well over a thousand fantasy, science fiction, and horror book reviews, and that also publishes some great fiction as well. Check it out if you like, and find out why some origin stories aren’t what they seem. Register and leave a comment if you wish; I’m sure the SFReader folks appreciate feedback.
Additionally, writers and aspiring writers might want to bookmark SFReader‘s fiction contest page in anticipation of its opening to entries once more this December. This is a contest that I don’t think gets nearly enough love…
I got a package in the mail the other day, and what should I find inside except the newly-minted print edition of Funny Science Fiction from UFO Publishing.
Eagle-eyed and sharp-minded readers will recall that this anthology was released as an ebook back in August. I’m reliably informed by the publisher that it’s done well enough to warrant a physical existence.
I must say this pleases me. Despite the fact that the particular story of mine that’s reprinted therein (must I even mention which one?) gained its original popularity by being widely shared via the web, and despite the fact that I owe ninety-nine percent of my tiny measure of notability to the viral nature of that story, I’ve never been able to shake the idea that stories etched on bound slivers of processed dead trees are somehow more satisfying. It’s an irrational opinion–obviously tangibility rarely has any bearing on the quality of the story–but I hold it.
All of which is in the service of pointing out that if you were holding out for a paperback edition of Funny Science Fiction (whether because you’re an obsessed Mike Resnick fan who simply must acquire every occurrence of his work in print, or because you’re a devotee of UFO Publishing and wish to own all of their fine products), the universal forces have aligned in your favor.
Stuff I read in 2015, presented without comment or apology.
I’ve had my work performed on several SF/fantasy podcasts over the past few years; once on Escape Pod, three times on Cast of Wonders, and three times on The Drabblecast. I’ve always enjoyed it. Now Rish Outfield and Big Anklevich, the proprietors of The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, attempt the impossible: an audio adaptation of my first published story, “Wikihistory,” which appeared in Abyss & Apex in 2007. The story takes the form of postings on an Internet message board; how will this translate to audio? There’s only one way to find out, of course; have a listen. (For the record, I thought they did a fantastic job.)
Some fiction podcasters just read the story and sign off. The Dunesteef crew doesn’t do fiction drive-bys. Stay tuned for nearly an hour of discussion from Big and Rish on various topics related and unrelated to the story. They always go above and beyond. And if you’re new to their work and liked this show, going back and listening to the previous 176 episodes would be a fine use of your copious spare time…
Coven: Masterful Tales of Fantasy is finally out today from Purple Sun Press. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it’s only out in ebook form, with a paperback to come at an unspecified near-future date. But if you were going to get the electronic edition anyway, you could do worse than to snag it and give us a boost. They’re going fast!
Better yet, if you’re reading this today, September 29th, the publisher is hosting an event on Facebook all day. Talk to the authors, win stuff, etc. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be there at 7:30. Go here, if you like, and click that you’re attending. They’d like to get those numbers up.
Now out for the Kindle: Funny Science Fiction, drawing together seventeen modern classics of humorous science fiction. You wouldn’t want to be accused of not having a sense of humor, would you?
The publisher invites one and all to a virtual release party on September 29th, right here on the Facebook. Some of the contributors will be hanging around, and there’ll be free books to a lucky few (reason enough to drop by, in my opinion). Hence the early notice; you can’t say you weren’t warned.
If you don’t snag a free copy, I recommend picking it up at your earliest convenience anyway. I haven’t read it, but there are some pretty big names involved, and I know the editor has put a great deal of effort into making it the best anthology it can be.
Here’s the lineup:
Updates possibly to come as the date approaches.
While I’m feeling ambitious, why not announce an upcoming project?
Funny Science Fiction, edited by Alex Shvartsman, is due out September 1 from UFO Publishing. This is going to be an inexpensive ebook of humorous science fiction stories whose primary function will be to serve as an advertisement and “appetite-whetter” for UFO Publishing’s signature series of Unidentified Funny Objects anthologies. This will be yet another airing for “Wikihistory,” my first-ever story from back in 2007, and it finds itself in fine company. There are some really big names in this one. The table of contents was just announced:
Look forward to a reminder announcement when it comes out.
This is the first substantive post of the new Jobless Insomniacs Motorcycle Club, which supersedes the original Livejournal version. Since I rarely blog–generally only when I have a recent or upcoming fiction publication to announce–it made more sense to incorporate that activity into a site like this, which allows me to have everything pertinent (bibliography, contact info, etc.) in one easily-accessible place. I can promise you that this site won’t be updated on anything approaching a daily basis (heaven knows there are plenty of writers who do blog every day, and they’re easy to find). In fact, barring unforeseen circumstances, even monthly updates are unlikely (though anything’s possible, and a string of good news in rapid succession isn’t unprecedented). And what is here will probably be more informative than entertaining; I can’t bring myself to expend my limited creativity on posts which I have no idea if anyone will ever read.
(Those of you who are, in fact, reading this, thank you very much; I appreciate your support. Sorry there isn’t more here.)