Tag Archives: Science Fiction

My 2020 YEAR IN REVIEW

I’m pleased to announce that I had several articles published in 2020, all of which you can read for free:

  • Monumental Thinking, which is in the January/February issue of Analog, is my take on suitable replacements for statues being torn down these days.
  • Elections Past, Present, and To Come is a reprint plus update of an article from the March 2016 issue of Analog talking about what it’s like to serve as an election official/poll worker. I’ve done this a bunch of times, including the 2020 Presidential primaries. (Do those ever seem like a lifetime ago!).
  • What I know about writing about dinosaurs was posted on Cath Schaff-Stump’s Fantastic History blog.

My year end retrospective would normally include a list of my fiction that also appeared in print. Alas, 2020 has not been kind to the publishing industry. I was slated to have three science fiction stories make their print and/or on-line appearances. None of them did. Writers: This is why it’s important to make sure your contract addresses rights reversions and provides a kill fee if publication doesn’t happen within a stated time period. Sigh. These stories are all out to other markets once more.

Most Unexpected Pleasure: Serving as a judge for the Endeavour Award. It’s great to have a role in recognizing fine work by my colleagues who don’t make the choice easy!

Best Trip: Philadelphia Flower Show in early March. Have a look at some of my photos from it.

Best Bookstore Book Launch: Docile by K.M. Szpara at One More Page Books in Falls Church. I love listening to authors reading there own work and this one was a particular treat.

Best Educational Opportunities: Smithsonian classes went on line. You don’t even have to be a member (a/k/a Smithsonian Associate) to take them. I loved learning about how birds talk, parent, and think. I also sank into lectures on Paleolithic Cave Art, Santorini, Apollo 13, the Etruscans, Machu Picchu, and the Art of India.

Best Pandemic Antidote: Monthly flower deliveries for Zoom arranging with friends. If you are interested, check out revased.com. Or just have a look at some of my creations on my Flowers page and on Instagram.

Late to the Party: This summer I read and binge watched Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

Most Fun New Series: The Queen’s Gambit. This show reminded me so very much of my own days as a kid and high school student when I threw myself into the world of competitive chess tournaments. While my experiences took place somewhat later in time, the gender disparity had not changed much from the 1960s depicted in the series.

Guilty Pleasure: Tiger King. The less said the better.

Things to Come: What will the weeks and months ahead bring? Watch this space for announcements of:

  • The Next Frontier: my novelette forthcoming in Analog.
  • My first flash fiction (under 1000 words) to be published in a horror anthology.
  • My first blog post on a different site aimed at professional writers.
  • More good things I can’t disclose yet!

THE SKY IS NO LONGER THE LIMIT.

Fifty years ago today I thrilled at the Moon landing, which I watched on a a grainy black-and-white TV with my parents and brother. From that day forth, the kid who was me believed she could, one day, work on the Moon if she wanted to. After all, our later-reviled President, Richard Nixon, told us that “The sky is no longer the limit.” Oh how I could hardly wait to land my own job on the Moon!

Technology has come a long way in fifty years, which is how I was able to sit on the national Mall yesterday evening with thousands of others watching a projection of the Apollo 11 rocket onto the Washington Monument. This was part of a program in which NASA and the Smithsonian commemorated the momentous achievement of all the women and men who poured their passion into making Apollo 11 a reality. And there I sat on the grass remembering my own dream job on the Moon.

Actually, my trip down memory lane began on a rainy night at the ballpark some days earlier. There, I chanced upon a replica of Neil Armstrong’s space suit, which got me to musing about what happened to that kid who thought she could work on the Moon when she grew up. I’ll tell you, dear readers. That kid, who is as much me as she ever was, went on to get a job on the Moon! That is to say, I became a science fiction writer and found out that when I unleash my imagination, the sky is indeed no longer the limit.

Come See Me At Balticon!

Hope you can come see me and other talented writers at Balticon this weekend in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Here’s my schedule. Also, I’ll be reading from “Conservation of Mismatched Shoes,” that just appeared in Amazing Stories.

Friday, May 24

6pm – 6:55pm

What are Literary Awards?

Friday May 24

Room 7029

9pm – 9:55pm

Readings: Burke, Cooley, Smith

St. George Room

Saturday, May 25

6pm – 6:55pm

Gender in Genre

Room 8006

Sunday, May 26 Friday

2pm – 2:55pm

Just How Many People Live in Your Fantasy City, Anyway?

Mount Washington Room

Monday, May 27

1pm – 1:55pm

Writing Interactive Fiction

Pride of Baltimore II Room

IN PRINT AGAIN: AN AMAZING STORY!

   

By which, I am thrilled to announce my debut in issue 3 of the revived Amazing Stories. Kudos to Steve Davidson (the driving force) and Ira Nayman (astute editor) for publishing some fine short stories in the first three new issues of Amazing Stories.

Seeing my story, “Conservation of Mis-Matched Shoes,” in this revitalized magazine feels like an alternate universe. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. You see, the story is about navigating the multiverse. Hope you’ll give it a read!

PAY THE WRITER

Like me, many science fiction writers and readers are getting word today about the passing of Harlan Ellison. Some who knew him will sit down to summon words to commemorate his brilliance as a writer and an anthologist coupled with his larger-than-life personality. I want to take a minute to pay tribute to his eloquent advocacy on behalf of writers everywhere. I can think of no better way to do so than to repeat the three words he put forward: Pay. The. Writer.

In this age of digital piracy, to say nothing of good old-fashioned scams at every turn, Harlan Ellison articulated as well as anyone that the money should flow to the writer, not away. If any of my readers are new to the business of writing (and yes, always treat it as a business as much as a creative endeavor), you would do well to keep this principle in mind when someone tries to talk you into giving them your property (which is exactly what your written words are) for free. They may say something to the effect of, “It’ll be good exposure.” One response is, “People die from exposure.” Here’s how Harlan Ellison put it.

Where to Catch Me at Balticon

Memorial Day Weekend, come hear me read from one of my dinosaur stories and talk about time travel, shopping at Target in Middle Earth, critiquing, writing methods, predatory business practices, anthropomorphism, and who knows what else! Here is my schedule for Balticon:

Friday, May 25

6pm  Anthropomorphism in SFF

Panel Discussion:  Tom Doyle (moderator), Joy Ward, Walt Boyes, Rosemary Claire Smith, Michelle Sonnier

Learn how to tell stories from an animal’s unique perspective without resorting to writing humans in fursuits.

 

Saturday, May 26

11am  Stopping the Clocks: Time Travel in Writing

Panel Discussion: Andy Love (moderator), Brian Groover, Jack Clemons, Rosemary Claire Smith, Ian Randal Strock

In 1888, H.G. Wells wrote his first time travel story, “The Chronic Argonauts.” 130 years later, the concept is as popular as ever , with people still trying new takes on it. Why is time travel so perennial a theme? What are some of the different rules we’ve seen, and how do they make for good storytelling?

1pm You Can’t Shop at Target in Middle Earth

Panel Discussion: Walt Boyes (moderator), Melissa Scott, Denise Clemons, Ada Palmer, Rosemary Claire Smith

In your original fantasy setting, everything the characters own has to come from somewhere. Let’s talk about how to build a believable material culture for your world.

2pm Recognizing Predatory Business Practices

Panel Discussion: D.H. Aire (moderator), James R. Stratton, Neil Clarke, Rosemary Claire Smith, Lawrence Watt-Evans

How to look for signs that you might not be dealing with a legitimate company – including common tactics such as pay-to-play, signing over derivative works, and others.

 

Sunday, May 27

12pm Readings: Sarah Avery, Rosemary Claire Smith, Carl Paolino

Reading

Authors Sarah Avery, Rosemary Claire Smith, and Carl Paolino read from their work.

5pm  How to Incorporate Critique

Panel Discussion:  Joshua Bilmes (moderator), Day Al-Mohamed, John Appel, Leah Cypess, Rosemary Claire Smith

What do you do when you have two readers giving you different or even contradictory feedback? How much are you willing to let the feedback change your work?

Monday, May 28

10am  Outlining vs. Pantsing

Panel Discussion: Paul E. Cooley, Devin Jackson Randall, Rosemary Claire Smith, Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Some storytellers require a detailed outline to start fleshing out their story, but others prefer to write by the seat of the pants. What are some techniques to help you get better at one when you prefer the other? Authors and gamemasters welcome!

Hope to see lots of you there!

See You at the Baltimore Book Festival!

This weekend, I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival (Inner Harbor), in the SFWA tent, talking about human adaptations, science fiction and dinosaurs! Hope you’ll drop by if you’re local and have a listen. Come find out about my forthcoming project: an interactive game featuring dinosaurs and you. Plus there are so many other great panels at this 3-day event (Fri.-Sun.). It’s free!

Here’s my schedule:

Saturday

11 AM Humans, Adapt!: How Humans and Cultures Adapt in Fiction
From the zombie apocalypse to invasive government to zero gravity to uploaded consciousness, our panel discusses humanity’s ability to adapt to new environments in fantasy and science fiction, and the resilience of the body and spirit.
Authors: Carrie DiRisio, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Erin Roberts, Christopher Mark Rose, Rosemary Claire Smith

12 Noon Dinosaurs, Diseases, and Dwarf Stars: Actual Science in Science Fiction
From eclipses to eoraptors, we’ll talk about great science in fiction. May the facts be with you!
Authors: Gwendolyn Clare, Jack Clemons, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Vivian Shaw, Rosemary Claire Smith

Check out the full schedule.

Save

Save

Save

ANALOG STORY BACK IN PRINT

“Birch Glow,” my first story to be published in Analog, is back in print! You can get it as part of Celestial Beans, a hot new anthology by the marvelous folks at Digital Fiction Publishing. And the good news keeps on coming: For a limited time, the whole anthology is on sale for 99 cents. Check it out!

I’M EATING THE FANTASTIC WITH PODCASTER SCOTT EDELMAN

I was interviewed on today’s episode of the Scott Edelman’s podcast, Eating the Fantastic! That in itself is pretty fantastic. In case you don’t know, Scott’s a writer, editor, foodie, and the driving force behind the podcast, Eating the Fantastic. Over scrumptious meals (and you ALWAYS want to go to restaurants he picks out), Scott interviews science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers, as well as editors and other creative types about how they got their start, what they’re working on now, and whatever else comes up. I’ve been enjoying his interviews for well over a year.

Now it was my turn to be interviewed over lunch at Momofuku. This relatively new restaurant in downtown D.C. has made a big splash. I get what the fuss is about. We’d both highly recommend it. Such fond memories of these pork buns:

But anyway, I hope you’ll listen to the podcast as it was my chance to talk about attending Clarion and Taos Toolbox, writing for Analog, doing readings, and other topics before unveiling my major new writing project involving dinosaurs. I hope you’ll listen. I’ll blog more about my latest project in a few days. Until then, Scott has the exclusive.

Save

Save

Save

BEST of MIDAMERICON 2–PART 2

FullSizeRender(2)

Hey look–Stan Schmidt (former Analog editor and author), Trevor Quachri (current Analog editor), Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog author) and me at MidAmeriCon 2. Stan, Alec and I read stories from our stories in recent and forthcoming issues of Analog. Also participating but eluding the cameras was long-time Analog writer James Van Pelt. My thanks go to Trevor for moderating the panel and to my fellow writers for such entertaining readings.

I have to say that I was a bit dubious when I saw that those in charge of convention programming had organized several of the author readings by the various magazines in which their stories had been published. Well, I sure changed my mind in this case. The room was packed and people had some interesting questions.

Save

%d bloggers like this: