31 January 2008
Another excellent fantasy author, Ursula LeGuin, wrote in On Despising Genres,
"Division of fiction into genres is like all classification, useful � useful to readers who like fiction of certain kind or about certain subjects and want to know where to find it in a bookstore or library; and useful to critics and students and Common Readers who have realised that not all fictions are written in the same way with the same aesthetic equipment.
Genre has no use at all as a value category and should never be used as such...
But the concept or category of genre is used to evaluate fiction unread. To sort out the real books � that is, realistic fiction � from the "subliterature" � that is, everything else � every other kind of fiction written in this century. Everything but realism, including the very oldest and most widespread forms of story such as fantasy, gets shoved into a ghetto."
Interesting! What do you all think of Genre?
30 January 2008
In other news, the stories for the Feb 28, 2008 issue have been chosen. Closed round authors should have been notified by now. Accepted authors, please get back to us ASAP.
I added an excellent new link to the Electric Spec Links, the Horror Writers Association. Click it out!
I heard some good news recently. According to the company Simba Information, in 2006 Science fiction/fantasy book sales were $495 million, Mystery novels were $422 million, and Graphic novels were $128 million. I'm not sure where horror fits in there, but it still sounds good to me!
29 January 2008
28 January 2008
Vanna Bonta coined the term and describes it as "...literature that embodies the new physical or quantum universe. It involves the view of reality as a multi-dimensional experience in which reality is subjectively seen and uncertainly known."
Interesting! Has anyone read Bonta or other quantum fiction? Send Electric Spec some quantum fiction stories!
24 January 2008
23 January 2008
- "Lighting Out" Ken MacLeod (disLocations; NewCon Press)
- "Terminal" Chaz Brenchley (disLocations; NewCon Press)
- "The Alchemist and the Merchant's Gate" Ted Chiang ( F&SF, September)
- "The Gift of Joy" Ian Whates (TQR)
- "The Sledge-Maker's Daughter" Alastair Reynolds (Interzone #209)
Congratulations to all the nominees! The awards will be presented on Saturday 22 March 2008 in London.
17 January 2008
What this means is, if you submitted and did not make it to the closed round, Congratulations, competition was fierce! If you did make it to the closed round, we'll be contacting you probably in early February 2008 with the news, good or bad. Again, Congrats to those in the closed round. Then in Feb we will work with authors on editing and we will generally put the issue together.
Check back here for more info as it becomes available. :)
15 January 2008
- "Unique Chicken Goes In Reverse" - Duncan, Andy (Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction And Fantasy, Night Shade Books, Oct07)
- "Titanium Mike Saves the Day" - Levine, David D. (F&SF, Apr07)
- "Captive Girl" - Pelland, Jennifer (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Fall06 Issue #2)
- "Always" - Fowler, Karen Joy (Asimov's, apr/may07)
- "For Solo Cello, op. 12" - Kowal, Mary Robinette (Cosmos, Feb/Mar07)
- "The Padre, the Rabbi, and the Devil His Own Self" - Fletcher, Melanie (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Fall06 Issue #2)
- "The Story of Love" - Nazarian, Vera (Salt of the Air, Prime Books, Sep06)
Have you read these stories? If so, what did you think? If not, some of them are available on the web. Personally, I have some reading to do. Congrats to all the nominees!
Read the nominees in other categories at www.sfwa.org.
14 January 2008
I'd had a fabulous day snowboarding, beyond words, really, but I somehow wanted to catch the essence of what made it so great. One of the best aspects stemmed from a minor annoyance. My boots are too loose and flexible for my skill level. That realization was like when you suddenly get the difference between telling and showing. My boots haven't changed; I have. I'm a better rider. Yea for me.
The second good part was the snow itself. Loose, powdery, and a fresh layer for every run. I wrote a rather poetic (for me) graph about the snow.
Then I sat back and looked at it. Only one line stood out:
In the moment my soul catches up to me, I realize snowboarding in deep powder feels like folding chocolate into whipped cream.
Not the greatest line ever, but it did describe what I was feeling.
Then I looked at all that stuff about my boots. It didn't really matter to anyone but me. In fact, it might actually be, gulp, boring. DELETE.
And all the other words around that one line basically repeated the sentiment in less effective ways. DELETE.
Can your six thousand word story be five thousand words? I bet it can, and it'll be leaner and more active without all that extra weight. Kill narrative. Look for conversations that don't further the plot. Describe things with the perfect word, not the perfect ten words. DELETE. And then see if you don't have a better story.
13 January 2008
11 January 2008
and Readings and discussions of the members' unfinished works were the principal purposes of meetings. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, and Williams's All Hallows' Eve were among the novels first read to the Inklings. Tolkien's fictional Notion Club (see Sauron Defeated) was based on the Inklings..
So, The Inklings were a critique group! I would have loved to attend, or even be a fly on the wall, hearing early drafts of The Lord of the Rings and the rest. Wouldn't you? Which brings me to my point. IMHO, authors need a critique group. Maybe your WIP will be the future's The Lord of the Rings--if you get some assistance from your critique group. :)
It is clear to me that some of the authors in our Electric Spec 'closed round'--as Betsy would say--do not have critique groups. A case in point: please do not have random pov switches in your short story. Here's another: do you really need three different timelines in your short story? Probably not.
However, congrats to all the authors that made the closed round! We editors have some tough decisions ahead of us.
10 January 2008
Good spec fic writers always have fully-realized worlds, be they horrible, fantastic, or scientific. Do your research and send Electric Spec your fully-realized stories. :)
In new issue news, stay tuned for an exciting announcement at the end of the month! (It's really exciting!) Also next month we'll have an interview here with the Editor's Corner author! I'll give you a tiny preview: sex robots.
09 January 2008
Actually, I guess this is another consistency issue. :)
Keep sending those consistent stories to Electric Spec!
08 January 2008
Please be internally consistent with the stories you send to Electric Spec. If you say your protagonist has no emotions, please don't have him/her/it sighing, surprised, feeling whatever. If your protagonist is immobile, don't have him/her/it describing various different scenery. I can't speak for my fellow editors, but inconsistency is an automatic rejection for me. :(
Please send us your (consistent) stories for the June 2008 Electric Spec issue. I have a secret hint for blog readers: we are a little more lenient in holding stories over for voting at the beginning of the submission cycle, e.g. now. Good luck!
We editors have our own biases, and it's no secret I like dark stories. That doesn't necessarily mean tragedy, or even spine-chilling horror, but I tend to focus more on the characters. I love those grey characters, the ones I like despite who they are and what they stand for, or the baddies who make the right decision. But it's a delicate dance and difficult to manage in short form. For instance, I just read a story last night in which a "negative" secondary character did a noble thing at the end. Surprising and intriguing. I didn't know much about him, but that was all right, because neither did the main character. However, I passed because I realized by the end I didn't know the main character any better than I did the secondary. He obviously symbolized "youthful optimism" which is all well and good, but a character, especially a main character, should be more than a symbol. He survived his ordeal (though not by any real effort of his own), but I found I didn't care because he wasn't a real person to me.
Our production meeting is scheduled for late January, so if you've been held for voting, you should know if your story is in the issue by Feb 1 or so. Good luck, and to those of you who were rejected, please try us again!
07 January 2008
The more I thought about it though, the more depressing it got: isn't this the exact situation we all live in? We travel through the galaxy on a spaceship called Earth, ruled by rich people who care only about themselves and their wealth? What a relevant book! Send Electric Spec your relevant stories for our June 2008 issue!
Now that we are in production mode for the first 2008 issue, I promise to blog on the Electric Spec issue and submissions in the near future.
05 January 2008
04 January 2008
Did you know the longest-running search for radio signals from alien civilizations is getting a burst of new data from the upgraded Arecibo telescope? Well it is, and that means SETI @ home needs YOU to help analyze data.
What did you glean from it?
02 January 2008
In other news... I was going to blog another 'Writing on Reading' but the book was so bad, I can't think of ANYTHING positive to say about it. So, I'm not going to blog--it would be too cruel. Just know there are some published books out there that suck. :(