When I grow up, I still want to be Connie Willis or Walter Jon Williams or John Kessel or Michael Swanwick (who took this photo of Marianne Porter and the rest of us). You see, I’m still learning from the smart, funny, insightful and elegant works of some of my great friends who were at MidAmeriCon 2 this year. Wish I’d gotten more photos of some of the rest, but here are a couple more. And if any of these names are unfamiliar to you or if you haven’t read their marvelous stuff, are you ever in for a treat.
Scott Edelman is one of the very few writers of zombie stories that I’ll read. Yes, some of his tales terrify me, but they are so memorable and never run-of-the-mill horror.
My friend Dave Axler introduced me to the incomparable Pat Cadigan, who MC’d the Hugo ceremony on Saturday evening with her trademark wit and candor, giving us so many laughs. I still remember being blown away by Synners and Mindplayers when she wrote some fabulous cyberpunk stuff back in the 80ies.
Hey, my zombie story is in a new 99 cent anthology of 44 short-shorts. These short-shorts (no, not the ones women wear) are just the thing to read while standing in line or sitting in a waiting room or taking public transportation. Hope you’ll try ’em on … er … give them a read. The folks who put out the Quickfic 1 Anthology stuffed it with terrific SF, fantasy, and horror.
Can limbo dancing save you from the zombie apocalypse? Find out for free by reading my short story, The Zombie Limbo Master. It’s available at Digital Fiction Pub. There are a lot of other neat horror, fantasy and SF stories put out by this new publisher. Give ’em a shot.
I’ve returned from Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention thinking about the fact that in two of the three short fiction categories, no Hugos were awarded this year. Nor were Hugos given out to editors of long or short works. While there are reasons for this turn of events, which are discussed at great length elsewhere, I find that there is another troublesome development, even setting aside the political and social divisions running through the science fiction community. Namely, even in more tranquil years, short stories, novelettes, and novellas do not get the love—meaning readers, publicity, and money—that they merit. As a writer of short fiction, I’ve even had intelligent people who love good books out-and-out say with a sniff that they don’t read short stories. While I do share their love of sinking into a wondrous novel, it saddens me that these readers are missing out on so much.
They are missing out on two wonderful things. First, a writer can take risks in short fiction that might crash and burn at novel length. Some fascinating ideas and set-ups are perfectly-suited, even stunning when embodied in short stories but couldn’t be sustained at novel length. (Naturally, the trick for the writer is to discern which ones are which.) The ideas that coalesced into my second-person account of limbo dancing during the zombie apocalypse would have collapsed at a longer length.
The second reason to read short fiction is to discover some terrific new writers whose imagination, attitudes, and unique voices will bring you pleasure for years before these writers get their first novel published. With a minimal investment of time and money, you can try out new writers and unfamiliar magazines. What with so many people bemoaning their lack of time for reading, I want to point out that you can download and read short stories on your smart phone while standing in line at the grocery store or the DMV or while commuting via mass transit. It’s never been easier.
Oh and while you’re at it, make a note of the shorter works that bowled you over with their goodness. Anybody can take part in the selection of the Locus awards, Anlab ballot, and a number of other awards. If you have some selections already picked out, doing so will be a breeze.
The Zombie Limbo Master is online at http://www.bastionmag.com/
Check out my take on our feared nemesis. And while you’re there, have a look at the second issue of this fine, new science fiction magazine. Lastly, my special thanks go to all the D&D’ers of George’s World (and George), for making these zombies inevitable.
Hey folks, remember when I talked about reading my zombie story to a live audience? So, the good news is that soon you’ll all be able to read that zombie story. It’ll be published in the May edition of Bastion Science Fiction. This is such a promising new electronic magazine. Do check it out. http://www.bastionmag.com/
Also, I gotta say that when I wrote it, I really had my doubts as to whether there would be a market for it. Good thing that didn’t deter me from finishing it. You just never know. Sometimes you gotta write what moves you and not let your assumptions about marketability hold you back.