My novelette THE LONG FALL is going to appear in the September edition of the Grantville Gazette. If you haven't heard, The Gazette has added a new section called "Universe Annex" for stories that aren't related to Eric Flint's 1632 universe. It sort of picks up where Jim Baen's Universe left off. It works the same way The Gazette does, all submissions go through the slush forum for comments and critique, then the editors pluck the publishable stories from there. Fellow Baen's Barfly Robert Ortega has a nice story called SUMMERLAND RENTALS up there now. Check it out.

For those of you who remember my short story JOHNNY PLAYS 'ROUND SATURN'S RINGS, which appeared in Jim Baen's Universe, THE LONG FALL is another story featuring the character Mi. In fact, it's essentially her origin story.

I just got my copy of Andromeda Spaceways Issue #42, which includes my short story "Inside Job". I have to admit, I've never held a physical copy of the magazine before. That's because I'm way too cheap to pay for shipping paper half way around the world. I buy the PDFs instead. That turns out to be a shame, because the magazine is nicely put together. It's perfect bound, with a mid-weight cover stock (40# maybe?) that's gloss-finshed on the outside, but matte on the inside. It makes for a handsome publication.

I'll start by saying this: Moon is a science fiction film. It's not an action-adventure movie, a horror flick, or an edge-of-your-seat thriller dressed up in science fiction trappings, as almost everything that gets called science fiction in Hollywood these days is. Don't get me wrong, some of those SF and whatever films are outstanding, but that's not the point. Structurally and aesthetically, they still tend to be the other genre first. This one isn't. It's a science fiction film, beginning, middle, and end.

The quick synopsis, quick because it's already out there in a zillion real reviews, is that Sam Bell (played outstandingly by Sam Rockwell) is the sole operator of a mostly-automated Helium-3 strip mine on the far side of the moon. He's working a three-year contract and is nearing the end. He's been isolated even further by the failure of a communication sattelite. He has no direct, two-way communications, and can only converse with others by what is essentially video mail. His only companion is the computer system, Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), which has a strong resemblance to both 2001's HAL and the three little bots (Huey, Dewie, and Louie) from Silent Running. The trouble begins when Sam Bell starts seeing people--people that can't possibly be there. Yes, there's a twist to the plot, but it's not the point of the film. It's a bend in the road along the way. It's revealed early enough that the audience isn't sitting there begging for the director to just "get on with it."

I understand that director Duncan Jones intended to evoke the feel of films like 2001 and Silent Running. He succeeded, and did so in a way that is clearly homage, not rip-off. The similarities are lovingly rendered, then bent askew, making sure the viewers know this is not just a rehash of something they've seen before. The set design is reminiscent of 2001, but an alternate 2001 where messy things are messy and dirty things leave tracks. The hardware feels practical and real, like things we'll all be using in a few years.

Overall, Moon is entertaining and well-worth seeing. I would have preferred a little more depth in the ultimate antagonist of the film and a little more exploration of the story's implications, though. As it is, the contrast is a little too stark. I'm not sure where the blame for that lies. It could be what was intended or it could be what was neccessary to get it through the system and onto the screen. Either way, Moon is still a really good movie. I just think it could have been a great film.

Satirica in Hand

I finally have a copy of Satirica in my hand. The cover art looks even better in real life than it does on the screen. I need to give one more shoutout to Cac for the excellent art work. Of course, you folks know what I'm talking about, because you already bought yours, right? Hmm?

By the way, it turns out that at least four of the authors are in the NYC area. We're looking into doing some kind of reading/signing/appearance in the area. If you're interested in attending something like that, let me know.

Electric Spec

I almost forgot to mention that Electric Spec has puchased my short story "The Quantiversal Coefficient of Fate" for their next issue. The publication date is slated for October 31st. No, it's not a pro market, but they do pay, and it's a nice publication that has a taste for the darker stuff that so many markets shy away from. Check it out, it's well worth reading.

Cacodaemonia's final cover art for the Satirica anthology is just fantastic. There was a long collaborative process involved in choosing the artist and general direction for the book jacket, but in the end, it rides on Cac's talent. As far as I know, we're still looking at an availability date somewhere around late August to early September.

I've read most of the stories and virtually know many of the writers in the TOC. Here's the full line-up from the Cowboy Logic release:


    1. ImagineThe collection opens with a sublime alternate history by Edward Morris, in which we learn what our world would be like if Ronald Reagan had been assassinated by a disgruntled rock musician whose career he had destroyed.
      Previously published in Interzone.
    2. Some Things Never ChangeTomas L. Martin takes us on a surprising journey into an alternate present, in which a young English soldier yearns for a glimpse of true sorcery in the war in Iraq; if he can survive the experience.
    3. Perfection (convenient, chewable, indispensable)In the first of two stories, David Thorpe offers up a disturbing and surreal satire filled with social commentary on multiple levels, far beyond its surface theme concerning designer drugs.
  1. Aliens Attack!RJ Astruc provides us with a thought provoking examination of the senselessness of war, in which tiny green aliens fall like snow from the skies. But are their intentions peaceful or malevolent?
  2. Thank You, Death RobotA soldier returning from war abroad encounters and befriends a death robot. What happens when he discovers that it is responsible for his fiancee’s murder? Victor Giannini provides us with the startling answers in the first of his stories.
    Previously published in Silverthought: Ignition, Silverthought Press.
  3. The Babies at Nae-longJohn Parke Davis offers up a dark examination of child soldiers in an Africa in which the Globalista forces have retreated from whence they came. But do those who remain any longer know what they are fighting for?
  4. Another Man’s TerroristTwo young freedom fighters seeking refuge behind the lines arrive upon a space station now in enemy hands. In a true satire for our times, Bill Housley describes a brother and sister’s struggle to escape from the shadow of their terrorist past.
  5. All For OneIn a quirky satire filled with social commentary, Steven J. Dines takes us on a journey through the future of road rage, and government efforts to quash it...sort of.
    Previously appeared in Darker Matter.
  6. Miss Gohrman’s TripJoshua Allen examines Miss Gohrman’s fate when the representatives of a newly formed police state knock upon her door. But are they any match for a little old lady whose favorite cat has just been killed?
  7. The Book of New ManIn his first story, Dudgeon examines a world in which a young gang member struggles to understand the unfortunate truth, that religion truly is an "opiate for the masses."
    Previously published by silverthought on-line.
  8. Printed MatterIn a tale of psychological horror, Gary Cuba examines the unusual life of a bibliophile who is prevented from reading by an extreme form of dyslexia, and the lengths to which he is willing to go to create a book of his own.
  9. In Your BoxMike Philbin relates the story of a loner’s transformation into a pet fetishist, as he searches for meaning in a world where humans have become "a grid of drug-softened pulp being squeezed out of a factory’s rectum like societal spaghetti."
  10. Kubla KhanIn a fascinating satire of the future of gaming, Kevin Spiess takes us on a surreal journey through designer drugs and virtual reality, in which the line between game and reality blurs to gray.
  11. VisitationIn a captivating story filled with vivid imagery, Roger Haller examines the nature of crime and punishment in an alien society, where one’s rehabilitation may take more than one lifetime.
    Originally published by silverthought on-line.
  12. Strings AttachedWhat happens when you awaken with blood on your hands? Jason K. Chapman provides the answers in this dark examination of a new form of cybernetic prostitution, in which a "Mario" struggles for his life and freedom.
  13. Brain Takes A Sick DaySometimes taking a day off can be the best career move you can possibly make. Dan Kopcow explains in a delightfully funny satire of the corporate world, which is laced with so much irony and coincidence that a more detailed review could not do it justice.
  14. Doc Chaos: The Last LaughDavid Thorpe’s second story provides us with a dark and cautionary tale of nuclear apocalypse resulting from the "peaceful" uses of atomic energy. But who will survive to tell the tale?
  15. The Ambassador of HateIn this dark satire concerning the psychology of interplanetary travel, and the politics of social control through drugs, Paul Mannering examines the nature of both madness, and revenge.
  16. Human TransferIn a chilling examination of the effects of desperation on society, Lawrence R. Dagstine takes us to a dark future in which population control measures have become so extreme that they can turn family against family.
    Previously published in Escape Velocity.
  17. The Shark Engine EnigmaA surfer dude’s untimely demise is just the beginning. Victor Giannini’s second story takes us beyond fear, suffering and superstition, in search of the ultimate truth concerning the enigmas of life and death.
  18. A War Beyond War, and I Am the Only SoldierIn a brilliant satire of Christian mythology, we journey with Anden Sharp to 13th century France, where a young monk is called upon "for a work even more important than Our Lord’s." But this is just the beginning in the eyes of those around him.
  19. ForayWho will survive a trip clinging to the world cliff, looking down upon the madness of Hades below? In this dark tale of Social Darwinism, Dan Marcus provides the answers, and they are not what you expect.
  20. Return to OzRoger Haller’s second story is a delightful little satire with a twist: the tale of Earthers’ return to their slowly recovering, ecologically devastated planet of origin in the far future. But do they deserve a second chance?
    Previously appeared in silverthought on-line.
  21. The Pembina Valley Mushroom MassacreFinally, a young man who embarks upon an unconventional vision quest gets more than he bargained for in Dudgeon’s second tale. We join him as he struggles to come to terms with the shocking truth concerning humanity’s future...and his own.

The online edition, hosted at HappyHacker.org, has down for quite a while, and the e-mails have been pouring in. Problem solved! The online edition is now being hosted right here. As an extra added bonus, the viewing script has been tweaked for a better reading experience. And, as always, you can read it absolutely free.

Read the new online edition of THE HERETIC. The new layout maintains the page form better and copes well with adjusted font sizes. Overall, it should make for a much easier reading experience.

Meanwhile, we have new downloadable e-book versions in the works. First up will be an edition for the Sony Reader. If you haven't checked it out, you should. Check back to see when the new formats will be released.