24 November 2015

More Coming Attractions

Today I'm going to brag on the final two outstanding stories of the November 30, 2016 issue of Electric Spec.

"Still the Champ" by John Grey is a very intriguing and unusual SF tale. Initially, it's not entirely clear it is a SF story (okay, if you ignore the alien). Let me just say, the ending will definitely surprise you here. I was extremely surprised. And considering I've read many thousands of SF stories that's not easy to do. Check it out on Nov 30!

We also have a lovely fantasy "A Walk Among the Ivy" by Devin Miller. Oops, I guess it made it sound sedate. It's not. It's very dramatic, with phenomenal plotting and empathetic characters. Check it out on Nov 30!
Fun fact: we've published Mr. Miller before. Check out his "Tom the Sheller" from 2009.

Also in the upcoming issue we have a very special Letter from the Editors from Betsy Dornbusch and David E. Hughes. A while back I blogged about Dave's writing: author Dave. I wanted to discuss Betsy's excellent writing as well. We have published quite a bit from her over the years, including short stories such as "Race to Redemption", and "Last of a Caste". Betsy is also a very talented and successful novelist. Check out the excerpt from Archive of Fire here. Check out the excerpt from Exile here. Check out the excerpt from Emissary here. So much yummy fiction!

Less than a week until the new issue! I can't wait!

17 November 2015

Preview of Coming Attractions

We are working hard on the upcoming November 30, 2015 issue of Electric Spec. You heard about one of our excellent upcoming stories last week. This week I'm going to preview two more stories. They are both excellent science fiction tales.

"Stealing a Starship" by Barton Paul Levenson has atypical characters and fully-fleshed out world-building. The characters are not stereotypical SF characters. It also involves stealing a starship--as you may have guessed. But the plot does not go the way you might expect.
Yes, I realize I'm being vague--but I don't want to spoil the story for you! Be sure to check it out on Nov 30!

Fun fact: this is not the first time we've published work by Mr. Levenson. If you're impatient, you can check out his "The Boogie-Woogie, Time-Traveling, Cyborg Blues", or his "Khuminay and the Axe-Wielding Psycho".

"Chasing Frisbees" by Derrick Boden has a particularly powerful and emotional character arc. It has fully-fleshed out world-building. It also has frisbee-chasing--as you may have guessed. But the plot does not go the way you might expect. And the unexpectedness is different from the unexpectedness mentioned above. Furthermore, the 'big picture' of this story is a great metaphor for some other stuff...
Again, sorry for the vagueness, but it's unavoidable. :) Check out the story Nov 30!

Both of these stories are what I like to consider new classic SF. They have great, fun classic ideas--such as starships--but they also have an additional modern power and sensibility.

10 November 2015

from Author DeHaan

We've started working on the Nov 30, 2015 fabulous issue of Electric Spec. One of our featured stories will be "Theater Amorpheus" by Author Laura DeHaan. Here's what she has to say about the story:

          Theater Amorpheus has always been a little slow.
          In the spring of 2011 I went to one of Toronto’s theaters to see a show that billed itself as a live-action ghost story.
          “Cool!” I thought. “I love ghost stories!”
          And it was pretty cool. Kind of hokey, but the sets were neat and I got startled a few times, so overall I was into it. At least I was until the Final Terrifying Plot Twist which At Last Reveals the Monster who has Stalked Our Narrator Throughout the Years… and it turns out this monster is just a dude with mental and physical disabilities.
          This bothered me so much that it took two years to write down exactly why I was upset in a way that people might listen to it and say, “This is what we need to guard against, this is where we are vulnerable.”
          Then it took another two and a half years (and seventeen rejections of varying encouragement) for Theater Amorpheus to sell.
          And understandably so. Even horror publishers tend to frown when you murder children, especially the hypervulnerable ones. It was never brought up in any of the rejections, but I can’t help but think it wasn’t the biggest selling point, either.
          The reviews for the show I went to are still up on the theater’s website. Reactions were mixed, tending on the extremely negative side, but out of the 80+ reviews only two mentioned they were disgusted and outraged at being expected to view, and tacitly accept, the disabled character as a hideous monster.
          Which suggests everyone else thought it was too uncomfortable a subject to bring up, or didn’t see anything wrong with it… or, worse yet, that they thought it was right.
          Can’t say I like any of those options.
          Some of my story ideas come from watching a bad movie and thinking, “I can do better than that.” When I write the story, I don’t want anyone thinking they can do better. Except for Theater Amorpheus. I hope it makes people upset. I hope it makes people do better.

Thanks, Laura!

03 November 2015

tales from the production meeting

Once upon a time, on a dark and non-stormy night, three intrepid editors met to select stories. It was crucial said stories not be bore-ies. (Sorry!) We considered tales of sci-fi and dead guys, of fantasy and things from the sea. We looked at tales of macabre and one of heartthrob. And though it was difficult, in the end we did exult, for we came up with five --which readers get to test-drive. As of November 30, 2015!

And now you know why we don't publish poetry. :)
But seriously, we are in the process of contacting authors in hold-for-voting with the good or bad news. Good news does get a contract with it. Watch your inbox.
By now, you should have received at least one email from us if you successfully submitted your story. If you haven't heard anything from us, something probably went awry. But, please do not query us about the status of your story. We get hundreds of submissions and don't have the resources to answer queries about stories.

As usual, it was tough selecting amongst the excellent stories. As usual, issue balance was a factor. (For some reason we got a lot of time-travel pieces this time. What's up with that?) As usual, if you made it into hold-for-voting, pat yourself on the back. You are publishable! You rock!

Actually, at the meeting, we were a bit nostalgic. It's the end of our tenth year of publication, and it's been an amazing ride. We sincerely appreciate all you readers! We sincerely appreciate all you writers! We wouldn't exist without you. Thank you very much for your support. You rock!

Hopefully, the next ten years will be as successful as the past ten years. :)

27 October 2015

more spookiness

We have such a lovely treasure trove of spooky stories I couldn't resist sharing more...
  • In "Frazee" by Patricia Russo, we see two extremes: how far people are willing to go in the name of magic power, and how far they are willing to go to save the ones they love.
  • For those of you are looking for more chill than the winter weather can provide, "Her Pale Smile" by Simon Kewin will leave you with just the right kind of tingles.
  • "Stiltskin" by Samantha Boyette is a tale that explores just how far a father will go to preserve his family in a bleak future.
  • Another thriller for sci-fi readers is Joe Ollinger's "10,000 Bones", an extraterrestrial noir tale that will shake you to your . . . er, bones.
  • Jennifer Crow's "Strange Notes from Underground" will send chills up your spine that probably originated from deep below your feet.
  • In "A Page of Skulls," Tony Peak tells a dark tale of a dark and magnificently strange world.
Happy Halloween!

20 October 2015

spooky stories

In honor of the spookiest month of the year, today I'm sharing some macabre tales from the Electric Spec archives:
  • "Tom the Sheller" by Devin Miller gives us a dark glimpse into a world where a man can rip thoughts from another's mind-at a devastating price.
  • "In The Land Of The Deaf" by Ferrett Steinmetz is a dark tale about a new kind of virus that makes H1N1 seem like a case of the sniffles.
  • Phil Emery's "Streetwise" is a dark and edgy SF story.
  • Miranda Suri's "The New Arrival" is a macabre story that will leave you satisfyingly chilled.
  • "The Untold Story of an Executioner" by Dawn Lloyd is a chilling tale about maybe the worst job ever.
  • "End User" by A.L. Sirois is a horrific story with a character that definitely does not follow Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

13 October 2015

yet more tips

We are going through our mountain of slush. Thanks for sending us your stories. :) Since we can't critique stories, here are some gleanings from the slush pile...
  • Length. If your story is 7,000-words, or almost 7,000 words, we are going to be less enthusiastic about it. It's more work to edit such a long story. If your story is less than 1,000-words it's tough to tell a whole story in that length. If you can write effective flash, however, we want to see it!
  • Sensory details. We do enjoy stories that make use of all the senses: sound, sight, touch, smell and taste. Life makes use of all these senses and good fiction makes us experience life in a new way.
  • Character. If you can make the reader think your protagonist is a real person: huzzah for you! Good characters seem real. They are multi-dimensional with good and bad qualities and unique perspectives. One way to create this is to be very specific, and to be very subjective. Your character should have unique thoughts, reactions and opinions on everything. Show us. You can never be too subjective in fiction.
  • Plot. The bare bones of plot are:
    1. problem
    2. effort
    3. resolution
    As an editor, I don't care what any of these are, but they should all be there. Usually, the effort is related to solving the problem. The resolution is just letting the reader know if the problem was solved or not.
Don't forget the submission deadline for the last issue of 2015 is this week: October 15, 2015!