“Power Unlimited” is in Daikaijuzine’s Anguirus Issue

Those wonderful, brave, and intelligent folks at Daikaijuzine published my short story, Power Unlimited, today. These are the wonderful, brave, kind, and intelligent folks who published another of my short stories, Cold War, last September.

 
Power Unlimited originally appeared in the April 1992 (and now defunct) ARAASP and my self-published anthology, Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires V1 2016.

Daikaijuzine’s editors and publisher have exquisite taste. Don’t you think?

 
The story behind the story Continue reading ““Power Unlimited” is in Daikaijuzine’s Anguirus Issue”

Ruminations Part 6 – Professionalize this, Buddy

My first rumination can be found at Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”
My second at Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions
Rumination Part 3-1 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1
Rumination Part 3-2 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 2
Rumination Part 3-3 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class
Rumination Part 3-4 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 4 – Is your character POC or POM?
Ruminations Part 4 is Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore
Ruminations Part 5 is Ruminations Part 5 – Joseph Carrabis (was/could be/might have been) (Personal Pronouns in Fun and Earnest)


Long, long ago I read Robert Silverberg’s NightWings and loved it. I reread it in college, again in my thirties, in my fifties, and it’s on my shelf for yet another read as I type this.

 
My latest version has a new introduction by Silverberg and is the genesis of this rumination.

Personal Setbacks
Silverberg mentions some personal losses in his new introduction; his house caught fire and he lost many works in progress (this was in the 1960s. “Backup” was a carbon copy you kept in another room). He sent an editor a rough version of NightWings. Silverberg lived in New York City, the editor’s offices were in New York City, people knew each other in the NYC science fiction/fantasy writing community, and the editor, knowing Silverberg’s situation, offered him LOTS of money for the rough draft.

…it was the sort of favor that one professional would automatically grant another in a time of crisis.

 
Silverberg describes it as “…the sort of favor that one professional would automatically grant another in a time of crisis.”
Continue reading “Ruminations Part 6 – Professionalize this, Buddy”

Ruminations Part 5 – Joseph Carrabis (was/could be/might have been) (Personal Pronouns in Fun and Earnest)

My first rumination can be found at Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”
My second at Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions
Rumination Part 3-1 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1
Rumination Part 3-2 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 2
Rumination Part 3-3 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class
Rumination Part 3-4 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 4 – Is your character POC or POM?
Ruminations Part 4 is Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore


A friend is writing a story with a host of LGBTQPOC (what am i missing? these things are so fluid i must be missing someone. i learned today about hobosexuals. those are people who enter relationships just to have a place to stay) characters. Several of these ruminations stem from my wanting to understand her work.

But I can’t tell one character from the other. Sometimes the name gives it away, sometimes not. One of the major problems for me is that the reader is told a character’s LGBTQPOCism, not shown, and I don’t mean shown via a love or sex scene. Identity markers can be revealed through dialogue, setting, by other characters’ responses and reactions, et cetera (as noted in Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore).

But such character and story issues deal with craft. I’m not invested enough as a reader to care about the characters’ LGBTQPOCness. It hasn’t been demonstrated as a relevant story element so why is it in the story? Nothing I’ve read of my friend’s work so far directly requires LGBTQPOCishness, and as I wrote in Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1, if something can be edited out of a story without affecting the story, get rid of it!

You need better readers
No, you need to write better.

A reader’s inability to care about some story element is a weakness in the writing. People who’d never pick up my The Augmented Man give it high marks and start their reviews with “Military thrillers are not my go-to genre, but…,” hence such weaknesses are in the writing, not the reader. An interesting story told well will capture a reader regardless of that reader’s genre tastes.

I’m X. I’m a gay male.
A fellow I knew introduced himself with “I’m (name). I’m a gay male.”

Stating he was gay was the second piece of information he offered about himself. To him (it seems), his sexual identity was a public identifier.

Somehow I can’t imagine myself saying something like “Go down the hall and look for X, he’s the gay guy.” I can imagine myself saying something like “Look for a guy, mid-thirties, blond beard, glasses, really close cropped hair.” More likely I’d say something ilke “Go down the hall and keep saying ‘Is X here?’ until you find him.” I’d choose the latter method because it’s more efficient.

I’ve heard others making similar statements about themselves; elevating some aspect of themselves to the single most important piece of their identity.

Such behavior fascinates me.

Imagine someone announcing to someone they’ve just met some aspect of themselves as being paramount, the core of their existence, to the exclusion of all other aspects of their being. It’s like some bizarre Twelve-Step meeting; “Hi, I’m Joseph. I love Bach.” “Hi, I’m Joseph. I love mathematics.” “Hi, I’m Joseph. I’m boring and dull.”

Which is why I never succeeded at Twelve-Step meetings except to research them; they make one single aspect of one’s self the thing you most want to be identified by or as. I appreciate the need to do it in specific situations (working Twelve-Step being one, with “working” being operative).
Continue reading “Ruminations Part 5 – Joseph Carrabis (was/could be/might have been) (Personal Pronouns in Fun and Earnest)”

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOSEPH CARRABIS

Elizabeth Chatsworth, kind, gentle, and giving person she is, interviewed me and published our exchange at AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOSEPH CARRABIS.

We talked about

  • My The Augmented Man novel and how the story originated
  • The bizarre path to publication (took 31 years)
  • My sister, Sandra, and her influence on my work
  • My author heros
  • Favorite scenes, favorite characters, and my writing process.

Enjoy!

Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore

(This post originated as “Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 5 – I can’t talk to women anymore”, but I’m tired of the sensitivity reader thread, aren’t you?)

My first rumination can be found at Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”
My second at Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions
Rumination Part 3-1 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1
Rumination Part 3-2 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 2
Rumination Part 3-3 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class
Rumination Part 3-4 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 4 – Is your character POC or POM?


It started long ago, I’m sure. A slow dawning, a creeping awareness.

I’ve thought about it for a while. It started innocuously; a character in one of my works-in-progress knows what other characters think, how they’ll respond, what they’ll do.

Study consciousness and this ability shows up as Theory of Mind. The literature is full of it. While not calling it telepathy or mind-reading or whatever, most people do it automatically because it’s part of how we function in society; we hear something in someone’s voice and know they’re having a bad day. The truth is we’re assuming they’re having a bad day because having a bad day would cause our voices to sound the way theirs does (if you’re ravenously interested in exploring this, read my Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History. It’s rife with this stuff).

This works pretty well as long as you’re in the same cultural group as the other person.

Fails miserably when you’re from different cultural groups, which is why well done First Contact stories are wonderful reads.

The Foreigner, the Other, the Stranger
I mention off and on about the technology Susan and I created (it’s documented in that Reading Virtual Minds book I mention above). Give it a some digital communication – an email, a company organ, a business brief, whatever – and it can determine how psycho-emotively close the author feels to their reader (just one of its many abilities). One thing we discovered quick was lots of business communications authors viewed their audiences adversarially at best and as completely alien at worst (the technology provided suggestions for both tightening and loosening that bond).

The technology broke social distance – the bond between author and audience – into five degrees of separation: Otherness, Strangerness, Difference, Sameness, and Selfness. Phrasically these would be:

  • Selfness – I/me
  • Sameness – We/us
  • Difference – I/we, you/them
  • Strangerness – Us, Not-Us
  • Otherness – I/we/us, WTF?

Most fictional aliens are variants of recognizable earth lifeforms. That’s why most StarTrekTM aliens had two arms, two legs, a head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth… Didn’t matter where the aliens originated, they pretty much had the same bilateral symmetry humans have. Want to indicate the alien was nasty? Make him bilaterally non-symmetric. No Borg (except the Queen Mum and 7of9) had bilateral symmetry. They all had some kind of projection coming out of them somewhere or a huge prosthetic attached somewhere (simply put, they were out-of-balance). The Queen Mum and 7of9 were exceptions because their purpose (scriptwise) was to interact with and/or seduce humans (a different kind of assimilation, if you will).
Continue reading “Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore”