27 November 2018

from Author Timpf

One of the great stories we're looking forward to is the science fiction tale "Mission on Nemistat" by Lisa Timpf. She says...

One piece of advice often given to writers is to think about stories they have enjoyed in the past. When I think back the books I most enjoyed as a child growing up in the 1960's, Thornton Burgess's stories about the furred and feathered creatures that lived in the Green Forest and the Smiling Pond rank right up there. I credit Burgess's stories with helping me develop empathy for animals and a deep appreciation of the natural world.

As a teenager reader, I started to enjoy science fiction books, particularly those of Andre Norton and Robert A. Heinlein. Norton and Heinlein remain among my favorite science fiction authors, joined more recently by John Scalzi and Kim Stanley Robinson.

I first started writing and sending out fiction stories after I retired from full-time work in 2014. Many, though by no means all, of my stories have leveraged two of my most-enjoyed reading experiences—science fiction tales and animal stories. "Mission on Nemistat" is my seventh published science fiction story with an animal protagonist.

The inspiration for "Mission on Nemistat" came from thinking about the question of faith--specifically, faith in what we devote ourselves to do, whatever that may be. As one of the characters, Ninja, suggests, doubt isn't necessarily a bad thing if it helps us find the way to a more reflective and deeper commitment to the causes, occupations, and organizations to which we devote ourselves.

I think many of us (if not all) have doubts at some point in time, whether those doubts are about the value of our contributions, the merits of the tasks we do in our jobs, or the causes we commit ourselves to. Hopefully, we can find our way from doubt to a degree of certainty, as our protagonist Star manages to do. To do so can be liberating and energizing, though we must also realize that doubt is seldom banished forever. That's just the way it is.

Perhaps you've found, as I have, that sometimes, it's enough to say, "for now, it's all good." May we all find that peace, from time to time, as we go about our daily lives.

Thanks, Lisa! Very Interesting!

20 November 2018

from Author Swed

We're working on the notable November 30, 2018 issue of Electric Spec! One of the stories we're exited to feature is "Ugly Earthlings" by Kate Sheeran Swed. Here's what she has to say about the story:

On Absurdity and Character Journey in "Ugly Earthling"
By Kate Sheeran Swed

"Ugly Earthling" is my love letter to absurdity.

The process of writing short fiction is a joy. Shorts give me the opportunity to strut my weird, and to play with styles that would quickly become wearisome in the writing of a novel--or a reading of it, for that matter. I stand forever in awe of authors like Douglas Adams, whose long form works so effectively embrace absurdity in both style and content. It is not easy to pull off.

Still, the absurdity of "Ugly Earthling" posed a challenge when it came to crafting a satisfactory ending to the piece. As far out as it may be (rather literally, I suppose), my main character, Esmeralda, does have a goal in this story. It's reflected in the very first line. While there’s certainly room for character goals to shift and grow, I couldn’t very well have Esmeralda reacting to the events of the story by seeking out revenge, for example.

The prose style of a story like this might allow for a lot of weirdness, but that doesn't mean a character can randomly make decisions that run contrary to what they hope to achieve. Not unless they've got a convincing reason to do so. This story taught me quite a lot in the writing, quite a bit of which I managed through trial and error.

Squid chefs are one thing. Disappointing character journeys are quite another.

That's great. :) Thanks, Kate.

13 November 2018

from Author Baumann

We're working hard behind the scenes on the notable November 30, 2018 issue of Electric Spec! We're pleased to present "Clinging," a unique fantasy, by Author Joe Baumann. He tells us:

I owe three inspirational shout-outs for this story, two to writers I admire and wish I knew personally and one to an artist about whom I feel the same (who is, sadly, deceased, and thus far less likely to ever see this): first is Julia Elliott, whose sublime short story collection The Wilds features a woman who appears to have tree roots blasting out of her head on its cover. That image stuck with me as I was reading her incredible stories, and led me to the idea of writing about people who grow tree roots.

Second is Ramona Ausubel, whose story "Tributaries," in which people grow extra arms every time they fall in love, inspired the grief part--the "how" of that should be fairly obvious.

Third is a thanks to Pablo Picasso, who--according to the postcard I bought at his museum in Barcelona (the only souvenir I bought on that trip)--once said, "Bad artists borrow. Good artists steal." Without that oomph pushing me along, I probably would have thought I was borrowing too much from Elliott and Ausubel--so I gladly took what was theirs and made it mine (please don't sue, if you see this).

Thanks, Joe! Very interesting!

06 November 2018

tales from the Production meeting

We recently had the Electric Spec Production Meeting. It went well. It was difficult, but we picked five stories and some cover art. This means all authors in hold-for-voting should hear back from us early this week--if they haven't already. We assigned editing tasks. For your information, usually editors pick their favorite stories to edit. So, this means authors get an editor that is very enthusiastic about their work. :)

We will have a story from Editor Nikki in Editor's Corner Fiction. And, in a first, we will interview all the editors in the Editor's Corner Interview section. That should be interesting!

We pondered updating the website, but don't have time right now. We pondered putting together some kind of e-book anthology collection of Electric Spec...and decided to revisit the idea in the future.

We had an interesting discussion about how the zeitgeist of our modern culture affects writers. Do we get more dire, depressing stories these days? Maybe so.
But do we want to read dire, depressing stories these days? Maybe not.
Something to think about...

Hopefully, next time, we'll start hearing from authors!