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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy fiction’

Author copies and annotations

My author copies of Galaxy’s Edge #39 have arrived!

Galaxys Edge 39

Here they are next to my “brag shelf” of Analog issues for size comparison. Normally I keep one copy on the brag shelf and one with my overall collection of SF magazines, but Galaxy’s Edge is too tall to fit on that shelf, so I have to keep them both here.

The Melody Lingers

And here’s the opening page, on paper and everything! It’s great to have a short story in a print magazine again, my first one other than Analog (and Esli for the Russian reprints of the first two Hub stories from Analog).

Right now (July 2019), you can read the entire issue on the Galaxy’s Edge site. But that’ll only be until the next issue comes out in September. If you want something you can keep, or if you read this after September, you can buy the issue in print from:

And digitally from:

In other news, the annotations to “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” are now up, and can be accessed (for now) from either the Original Short Fiction page or the (newly renamed) Only Superhuman/Troubleshooters page, though the latter will be the long-term “home” for Troubleshooter story discussion.

I also decided to move the book-cover slide show on my front page down below my author bio so it wouldn’t obscure the drop-down menus so much. It still covers up the last couple of items on the Star Trek drop-down menu, but they can still be seen clearly from any other page on the site. I also rearranged the Trek menu to put the Short Fiction page at the top, since the second-level drop-down links for short-story annotations were getting hard to reach that low on the page. I also put the other Trek links into a somewhat more logical order on the menu, instead of the sort of reverse-chronological thing I was somewhat using before (which I guess evolved because I was putting the newest stuff on top for easy access).

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“The Melody Lingers” is out!

At long last, my first fantasy story, “The Melody Lingers,” is finally available to read. Issue #39 of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine is now on sale:

Now, Galaxy’s Edge publishes a number of the stories from each issue on their website, and as it happens, “The Melody Lingers” is one of the stories they’ve put online this month, so you can read it right now for free at:

http://www.galaxysedge.com/

Although that’s only until the next issue comes out in September, so I certainly hope you’ll also buy the magazine and read all the other stories. Ordering links are on the website below the stories, or right here:

Paperback:

Digital:

As you can see from the cover, I’m sharing the issue with some really big names, which is humbling. Remarkably, it’s the second time in the past year that I’ve shared a magazine with the legendary Gregory Benford, the first being the Sept/Oct 2018 Analog in which “…And He Built a Crooked Hub” appeared. And it’s my second time appearing in the same publication with Robert Jeschonek (after Star Trek: Voyager — Distant Shores). And Kevin J. Anderson provided a nice cover blurb quote for Only Superhuman, if that counts for anything.

And I just realized — this isn’t just my first fantasy story to get published, but my first story to be published in a print magazine other than Analog (unless you count the late, lamented Alternative Coordinates, which had a printable PDF version available). So that’s doubly cool.

“The Melody Lingers” in July!

It was last July that I announced selling my first fantasy story, “The Melody Lingers,” to Mike Resnick’s Galaxy’s Edge Magazine. It’s been so long that I was wondering what had happened to it, but Mike just informed me that it’s slated for the next issue, Galaxy’s Edge #39, dated July 2019. I think that means it may be out sometime in June, but I’m not sure.

“The Melody Lingers” is a short story about magic harnessed through music, using the distinct system of magic I developed for the world the story is set in, which I call Thayara. I came up with it back in the ’90s, but readers may note some broad similarities to the magic system from Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence.

Galaxy’s Edge is available in multiple electronic formats and in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and select stories from the current issue are available for free on its homepage at http://www.galaxysedge.com/, with ordering and subscription links for the full magazine further down on the page. I don’t yet know whether “The Melody Lingers” will be one of the free stories for the July issue — we’ll see.

I’ve sold my first fantasy story!

In my last post, I mentioned waking up Saturday morning at Shore Leave to find good news in my e-mail. The good news is that I’ve finally sold my first-ever short story in the fantasy genre rather than science fiction. It’s a fairly short piece called “The Melody Lingers,” a tale of magic harnessed through music, and I’ve been trying to sell it for years, honing it through various rejections. I’d pretty much run out of markets for it until I learned that Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, edited by fellow Cincinnatian Mike Resnick, was opening to general submissions. It was too long for Mike as written, but he said he’d take another look if I trimmed it down considerably — which is ironic, because the version I submitted was expanded from the first draft. I ended up going pretty much back to the story’s original structure, although incorporating enough of the improvements I’d made along the way to make it work. It was on Saturday morning that I got the acceptance and the contract, and fortunately they accepted an electronically signed contract, so I could send it right back without needing to wait until I could get it printed out and find a post office (or, well, I guess hotels can mail things for their guests). I just got the check today, which is very fast service.

“The Melody Lingers” is set in a fantasy world called Thayara that I’ve been developing since the ’90s (probably inspired by my college friends who were heavily into fantasy) and have made occasional attempts on and off to write stories in. This particular story focuses only on one limited part of that larger world, and it isn’t the tale I’d imagined as being the introduction to Thayara, but hey, it’s a start. I can finally say I’ve written fantasy professionally. And now that I’ve sold this one, it might inspire me to put renewed effort into writing more stories in this setting — sooner or later, once more pressing responsibilities are past.

I don’t yet know the publication date, but I’ll post it once I do.

My streak is broken

Well, it had to happen.  I just got a story rejected, the first of the two fantasy stories I’ve written in recent months.  Oh, well.  It’s only my first try; I’ve still got other markets I can send it to.  Still, this is the first original story I’ve written in the past year and a half or so that I haven’t sold on the first try.  Well, it’ll keep me humble.

Making maps

Well, knowing that I’ll soon have to begin concentrating on a new paying gig has given me the incentive to finish up my current creative project.  The fantasy world that’s the setting for the past couple of stories I’ve written is basically an alternate Earth whose evolution and history went differently due to the presence of a magical force (though that isn’t explicitly stated in either story).  So I was thinking it would be helpful to make a rough map of the planet and the territories of the various sapient species that inhabit it.  So I tried to find some suitable maps online — public-domain maps without labels or national borders.  I downloaded several candidates, some of the whole world, some of particular regions, and did some dabbling with one of them, a map of the Mediterranean region (the capital of the leading human nation in the stories is located where our Istanbul is), but then decided it didn’t show enough of Africa or Asia Minor to suit my needs.  (I’m trying to avoid a Eurocentric fantasy world, while still basing the species’ territories on a plausible alternate evolutionary history.  Human territory encompasses over 2/3 of Africa, Asia Minor, and Europe south of the Danube.)

So this morning — was it just this morning? — I decided to start over with one of the full-world maps, the smaller one, in fact.  I was a bit concerned about the scale, but it was big enough to let me show the nations and territories and the few major cities I’ve named so far.  It was tricky transferring the country outlines I’d drawn on the smaller map to the larger one, since the projections weren’t quite the same.  I had the same problem trying to figure out where to put the rivers I wanted to use as borders.  I did some copying and pasting of rivers from other downloaded maps onto this one (which doesn’t have them) so I’d know where to draw the borders, but I had to reposition and fudge things to get them to fit.  No matter; it’s an alternate Earth, so maybe the rivers follow slightly different courses anyway.  Later on, I just stopped worrying about precise river positions and eyeballed it from various maps in my atlas and history texts.

I set it aside in the afternoon, thinking I’d get back to it tomorrow, but I ended up basically finishing it this evening.  It’s still pretty rough; only the human territory is broken down into nations, and the rest of the world is just by species.  But planning the map has helped me figure out a few things, such as adding a couple of sapient species I hadn’t planned on using before.  And I made up a few new place names for the map so I wouldn’t have blank countries (though most are a bit large for countries, more like empires).  So it’ll be a helpful reference for future stories.

Tiring work, though.

What I’ve been writing: followup

I fixed that awkward scene in my fantasy story — found a way not only to make it less awkward but to add a whole new level of creepiness (which in context is a good thing).  I’m not quite ready to submit it yet, since the scene before that bit is maybe a little too talky and I’m going to see if I can improve its flow.

I got to wondering something about the universe of “The Hub of the Matter,” my recent Analog story.  Namely, why do they risk sending live Hub scouts to test new vectors, a job that’s tedious and potentially lethal, rather than using robot probes?  I’ve thought of a couple of amusing answers, and I’ll try to work at least one of them into the next Hub story I write.

I reread “No Dominion” and concluded that it wouldn’t be too hard to rework the Default-verse history to incorporate it — but I just decided this morning that I don’t want to.  As I said, it has ramifications that would have rather sweeping impact on the Default-verse and limit my storytelling in some ways.  Also, on reflection, I think it maybe exaggerates the degree to which certain new technologies would spread through society, which works in the context of a single story exploring the possible ramifications of those technologies, but isn’t necessarily likely or inevitable in a larger future-historical context.  Part of my reason for wondering if I should incorporate “No Dominion” into the Default-verse was that I asked myself, “Why wouldn’t these technologies be adopted there too?”  And I realize now that, while they probably would be to some degree, I doubt they’d be as ubiquitous.  I may incorporate the ideas into the Default-verse to a degree that’s appropriate, but the story itself would still stand apart.  I’m a little concerned that if the same ideas show up in the Default-verse, readers might get confused about whether or not “No Dominion” is part of it.  But then, that’s what my website annotations are for.

What got me started thinking about this was reading the TV Tropes page about “The Moorcock Effect,” defined as “the tendency of long-lived genre authors to, at what is usually a later point in their career, combine two or more distinct series they’ve created into a single continuity.”  Like what Asimov did later in life by combining his Foundation, Empire, and Robot universes into one (and even hinting at connections to The End of Eternity and possibly Nemesis).  Or what Larry Niven did much earlier in his career to create the Known Space universe.  Or the way Poul Anderson combined his Flandry and van Rijn tales into a single future history.  What I always wanted was to have a big, unified continuity from the get-go, to plan it out in advance and keep it all cohesive, rather than start out with separate pieces and later mash them up, possibly creating continuity problems in doing so.

But what I’ve lately ended up doing instead is creating a bunch of different universes that can’t possibly fit together because their histories and physical laws are too contradictory.  It was easy enough for Niven, Asimov, Anderson, etc. to combine their various series that took place at different points in the future and reused similar physics and technologies.  I don’t have that option with most of my universes.  And that’s cool.  I enjoy the prospect of exploring several wholly different approaches to FTL travel, to the prospects of posthuman evolution, and so on.  It’s more creatively liberating than sticking with a single set of assumptions.

Still, the temptation to construct a grand unified theory tying it all together is there, even though it’s pretty much impossible.  That’s why I was tempted to fold “No Dominion” into the Default-verse — because it’s the one other “written world” I currently have that’s similar enough in its physics and broad history that it could potentially be folded in if certain storytelling adjustments were made.  But there’s no point restricting the storytelling of the whole universe for the sake of consistency with a single story.