31 May 2010

New Issue Out Today!

Check out the new issue of Electric Spec that came out today! We've got a little bit of everything in our May issue. Phil Emery's "Streetwise" is a dark and edgy SF story. In "A Cold Day in Crisis," Matthew Sandborn Smith presents us with an urban SF/F in a setting that is as far away from "urban" as you can get. As you might surmise from the title, "Lee Harvey's Assistants" by Mark D. West is a time-travel tale that puts an new spin on the Kennedy assassination. In the steam punk arena, a simple monk faces new technology in Greg M. Hall's "Wings More Than Wishes." And for you fantasy buffs, we have "Identity Theft" by Greg M. Hall, a twisty tale of kings, wizards, and gender. Our Editor's Corner features a touching SF tale in which a scientist strives to find a cure for cancer before it's too late-for herself and the world. Finally, we interview up-and-coming urban fantasy author Bernita Harris, who shares insights into her new book and her writing life. Here's wishing all of our readers a great summer of speculative fiction fun!

26 May 2010

SFWA 2010 election results

The 2010 SFWA election results are in. The winners are:
  • President: John Scalzi
  • Vice President: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Secretary: Robert J. Howe
  • Treasurer’s race: Amy Casil Sterling
  • South/Central Regional Director: Lee Martindale
  • Overseas Regional Director: Sean Williams

Congratulations to all the winners!

Read more about SFWA.

25 May 2010


And don't forget your towel today.

21 May 2010

getting critique is tough

We Electric Spec editors have been hard at work on the new issue, so sorry for the dearth of blog posts lately. On the plus side, the new issue looks fabulous! It's not self-serving for me to say that, is it? :)

Anyway as you all know, I strongly recommend writers have critique groups/critique partners. I do want to make that point again, as we start to go through slush again. Something I haven't mentioned here, however, is: getting critique is tough. I fully admit that. It's tough having someone say 'this passage doesn't make sense to me' or 'your protagonist isn't effective here' or whatever. The expression "kill your darlings" didn't arise out of a vacuum. Sometimes an author's favorite bit is the part that doesn't work.

The question an author has to ask is: Does my critique partner want me to succeed as an author? Or does he/she have their own agenda? If your partner doesn't want you to succeed, you should dump him/her. No question. If your partner has your best interests at heart, however, maybe you need to grow a thicker skin. As literary agent Nathan Bransford said this week on his blog Every Writer Gets Rejected. And it's not once, it's dozens and dozens of times!

Being a writer is tough. No doubt about it.
But if you don't keep writing and trying to get better, you can't succeed/continue to succeed, right?
What do you think?

17 May 2010

Nebula Award Winners 2010

As many of you know, the 2010 Nebula Awards were announced this past weekend. And the winners are... drum roll please...
  • Best Novel:
    The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books, Sept. 2009)
  • Best Novella:
    The Women of Nell Gwynne’s - Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, June 2009)
  • Best Novelette:
    “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb. 2009)
  • Best Short Story:
    “Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct. 2009)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Read more about The Nebula Awards.

09 May 2010

What I'm Looking For Lately

*Not necessarily to be confused with what Dave or Lesley is looking for.

After emerging from the cream of our slushpile, I felt a vague disappointment. Not because of the caliber of the stories at all, but because of the genres. I just somehow didn't see what I wanted this time around.

So I started asking, "Self, what kind of stories do you want?"

"I dunno. Something...different."

"I call bullcrap. You don't get to say you're disappointed without knowing why. What are you looking for anyway?"

"How would I know? Grr meta-cognitive bullcrap grumble grumble pain in the--" Though, on second thought, it was a good point I brought up there. What am I looking for?

I'm not a huge reader of those urban fantastical first person kick-ass supernatural slayer novels. I tend to find that no matter how intrigued I am at the start, I tend to lose interest in about 3 chapters. That said, I think it's an oft-neglected genre/POV for short fiction. Some of those kick-ass stories are fun, they just don't seem to carry a whole novel for my taste. So yeah, I'd like to see some Urban Fantastical First Person Kick-Ass Supernatural Slayer stories. I'd like some action, please, easy on the voice. Your snarky just might equal my annoyance.

Some different protagonists. I like hot youngish straight white guys as much as the next girl, but sometimes even they get boring. Gimme your LGBT, your multi-cultural, your cross-dressers and your gangstas, your 50 year old punk rockers, your unlikely assassins and spies, your gods from other countries, your MILFs... you get the picture.

Some decent horror. Scare me. And you know what really scares me? Bad things happening to smart people. Protag walking upstairs in an axe murderer's deserted house during a lightning storm without so much as a Maglight or a shotgun = instant reject.

Mysteries. Yeah, you heard me. I'd love to read mysteries with a supernatural bent. Caveat: I'm pretty well-read in mystery and I've even written a couple, so you'll have to do better than that to keep me guessing.

And, as always, I love me some military SF. Never see enough of that.