— Publisher’s Weekly
“An attempt to harness the magic of mid-century science fiction is mostly fun in Bascomb’s second Far Orbit collection. There are a few gems among the 13 stories, including Julie Frost’s “The Affairs of Dragons,” which is an utterly charming Firefly-esque tale about a space captain and his crew that take on very unusual cargo: a clutch of dragon eggs that must be kept safe at all costs, but when they hatch, the crew find themselves in the middle of a dragon clan war and a wily bunch of tiny, hungry fire-breathers. Another standout is Keven R. Pittsinger’s “Culture Shock” in which an attempted sabotage of a mining rig lands the saboteur in the brig and to an unlikely friendship with his diametrically opposed jailer, and Dominic Dulley’s “Dainty Jane,” about the 17 year old daughter of a bulk hauler that will do anything not to continue her father’s business, but when raiders board their ship, realizes there are much worse fates.”
— Publisher’s Weekly
Up North Stories. Today is the Opening Day of firearm deer season in Michigan, a sacred day for many northerners. Approximately 600,000 deer hunters got up well before dawn, pulled on their blaze orange vestments, and spent the day worshiping at the shrine of St. Antlers. Opening Day is the northern version of Mardi Gras, heralding a two week pilgrimage into the woods and fields. Workmen are as scarce as hen’s teeth during the season and I had to hustle to get my garage door fixed well before the sacred event.
Craft shows and bazaars flourish as deer camp widows make a different kind of pilgrimage. I'm not trying to be sexist, so I'll mention that an increasing number of women are blaze orange acolytes and they too spent time in the woods with firearms.
Local hotels and motels are full as out-of-towners come to share the experience. Restaurants, bars, and party stores see an uptick in business as hunters unwind or pick up a few last-minute items.
For the non-hunter, the Up North world changes significantly during the first week of deer season. The pace is slower as the community feels the absence of so many members. Depending upon your perspective, deer season can a shot of social Novocain or it can be a quiet holiday without all the commercial hype.
For many people, hunting is a solitary endeavor but it’s also about tradition, spending time with family and friends, telling stories, building memories, and enjoying the downtime. For others, deer hunting is an organized travesty and the inconveniences are aggravating.
It really doesn’t matter where you stand on the hunting issue. When you live Up North, hunting season is what it is.
We are now in the sixth week of a 12-week open call for military science fiction short stories. I have responded to all submissions sent before October 18th. If you submitted something before October 18th and you haven’t heard from me, drop me a note.
So far, the average response time has been about seven days with a few stories taking a little longer because they needed a second, third, or fourth read.
As you might expect, I’ve been reading a lot of battle scenes but to make the shortlist, your submission must be a complete story with a beginning, a transition, and a strong ending. A battle vignette, by itself won’t work.
I’ve gotten lots of stories about aliens attacking settlements (aka, aliens at the wall stories), spaceship action, individual and small group action tales, and zombie stories. Don’t be discouraged if you want to submit this type of story. Tightly written, action-packed tales in these categories can still make the short-list.
I’m surprised I haven’t seen stories about sentient BOLOs or spaceships, carrier-based fighter squadrons, cyber warfare/cyber weapons (not to be confused with drones and remotely operated battle bots) and ecological weaponry. I’m also surprised I haven’t received boot camp or survival training tales or stories about the alienation soldiers experience as they return to civilian life.
What do I like? I am particularly drawn to stories that embody the traditional military values of bravery, sacrifice, a sense of duty, and camaraderie.
To protect from all enemies… World Weaver Press is expanding the Far Orbit anthology series with a new a new military science fiction anthology, Last Outpost. Last Outpost will be published in 2016. As the name implies, we’re looking for military adventure stories, page-turners that keep us on the edge of our seats. We’re not looking for mindless mayhem; we want compelling science fiction with a military theme.
Send us stories about grunts, space fleets, espionage, alien invasion (even if we're the aliens), hostage recovery, battle bots, drones and droids, cyber wars, special ops, inciting rebellions, or quelling them. Anything in the military action adventure genera is fair game. We’ll entertain biopunk, cyberpunk, solarpunk and other punkish motifs but the story has to be a rip-roaring adventure. Please stay away from fantasy elements (wizards, magic, gods, etc.). Fan fiction is a definite no-no. Fantasy-like adventures (John Carter of Mars) have to be really special to be included in the anthology. Gore is OK but it has to advance the plot.
Please remember that this is a science fiction anthology. The action can take place on far off worlds or on Earth, in the far future or the day after tomorrow. If you can write a military space opera in under 10,000 words, go for it. We’ll be happy to read it.
Here are some submission tips from the series anthologist.
· I’m not a fan of the “everyone dies horribly” ending unless you can really move me.
· I’m looking for subject diversity in the anthology. If you’ve written something different in this genera, I want to read it.
· I love escapist adventures, mind candy, and thoughtful integration of technologies and aliens.
Previously published stories are acceptable but we will not publish stories that have been previously anthologized.
Rights and compensation: Payment: $0.01/word. All contributors will receive a paperback copy of the anthology. For previously unpublished works: Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive rights to publish in print and electronic format for twelve months after publication date after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for a term. For reprints: Seeking non-exclusive right to publish in print and electronic formats for a term. Previously unpublished stories preferred; reprints will be considered. No previously anthologized stories.
Open submission period: September 15 – December 15, 2015.
Length: Under 10,000 words
Submission method: Paste the story into the body of the e-mail message. Include the approximate word count. Subject line: Outpost – [Title]. Send submission to: farorbit [at] worldweaverpress [dot] com.
Simultaneous submissions = OK. Multiple submissions = No.
I had a flight of fancy this evening and I didn't even have to go through Security or pay to check my bags. Anyway, my fantasy involved food, famous chefs, and of course, booze. Lots of booze. Which writers would I invite? All writers would show up in their prime (sharing a table with a dead person isn't part of the fantasy). Who would I choose?
Here's my overachieving week of dinner parties.
Monday Night: Let’s see what happens!
Catered by Iron Chief Bobby Flay (Food Network)
Phillip K. Dick
Tuesday Night: A Comfortably Creative Evening
Catered by Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (Food Network)
Alice B. Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr.)
Wednesday Night: A Perfect Fairy Tale Evening
Catered by Iron Chef Jeffery Zakarian
Thursday Night: Interesting and Varied Conversations
Catered by Iron Chef Michael Symon
Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linebarger)
L. Sprague deCamp
Friday night: Just a hoot!
Catered by Guy Fieri (Food Network, Diners Drive-ins and Dives)
Well, that's my week. Who would you like to hang with for an evening?
I am pleased to show off the FAR ORBIT APOGEE cover. Apogee is the second volume in the Far Orbit anthology series edited by Bascomb James. This well-received series features modern science fiction adventures crafted by a new generation of Grand Tradition SF writers.
If you’re looking for science fiction stories like they used to write, this is the book for you. Apogee takes all of the fun-to-read adventure, ingenuity, and heroism of mid-century pulp fiction and shapes it for a new generation of readers. Join us as we follow the adventures of heroic scientists, lunar detectives, space dragons, robots, interstellar pirates, gunslingers, and other memorable characters who wrestle with adversity beyond the borders of our small blue marble. It’s fun and engaging, pithy and piquant. Set course for Far Orbit Apogee. Engage!
Here’s what you’ll find between the covers…
“To Defend and Keep from Harm” by Anna Salonen
“This Story Will Win a Hugo” by James Van Pelt
“Contamination” by Jay Werkheiser
“A Most Exceptional Scholarship” by Nestor Delfino
“Masks” by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
“Murder at Tranquility Base” by Dave Creek
“The Affairs of Dragons” by Julie Frost
“Culture Shock” by Keven R. Pittsinger
“Lost in Transmutation” by Wendy Sparrow
“N31ghb0rs” by Eric Del Carlo
“Dainty Jane” by Dominic Dulley
“Live by the Ten, Die by the Gun” by Milo James Fowler
“By The Shores of a Martian Sea” by Sam S. Kepfield
Praise for the FAR ORBIT anthology series
“Daring adventure, protagonists who think on their feet, and out of this world excitement! Welcome to FAR ORBIT, a fine collection of stories in the best SF tradition. Strap in and enjoy!”
— Julie E. Czerneda, author of Species Imperative
“Successfully captures the kinds of stories that were the gateway drugs for many of us who have been reading science fiction for a long time. Well done!”
“Spectacular. One anthology no sci-fi library should be without!”
— Night Owl Reviews (Five Stars)
“Need a quick fix of good old-fashioned science fiction? Far Orbit is it!”
— Sporadic Reviews
“Put aside all of your preconceived notions of what ‘sci-fi’ is—whether you think you love it or hate, it doesn’t matter—pick up this book and get to reading!”
— Good Choice Reading
RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2015
EDITOR: Bascomb James
PUBLISHER: World Weaver Press
LENGTH: 325 printed pages
FORMATS: eBook and Trade Paperback
Where Can I find it?
(US ebook) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013TFTKK8
I just wanted to post an update on the publishing progress for Far Orbit Apogee, the second volume in our Far Orbit science fiction anthology series. Needless to say, I'm very happy with the stories in this volume and how smoothly the pre-production processes are moving.
Back Cover Copy
Modern science fiction adventures crafted by a new generation of Grand Tradition writers.
Looking for science fiction stories like they used to write? Far Orbit Apogee takes all of the fun-to-read adventure, ingenuity, and heroism of mid-century pulp fiction and shapes it for a new generation of readers. Follow the adventures of heroic scientists, lunar detectives, space dragons, robots, interstellar pirates, gun slingers, and other memorable characters as they wrestle with adversity beyond the borders of our small blue marble. Fun, engaging, pithy, and piquant, we’ve got it all!
An alien culture drops 50 softball-sized electrical generators on the grounds of every presidential compound in the world. They also provide plans for making more generators. What would happen? Would it save the world or end it?
What if you could buy a memory or a skill? What if the implantation process had risks? The engrams map to certain areas of the brain. The recipient’s brain is over-written in these areas and the recipient may lose some of their own memories/skills. Who would take the risks and why?
You find a magic marker that allows you to draw a door to any place on earth. Once drawn, the door is permanent and can be used by anyone.
An unusual murder on a world where nearly everyone is a telepath. The investigation is lead by an eccentric detective who has no telepathic ability.
A world where oceanic farmers and ranchers provide food and raw materials for an overpopulated planet.
Friend or Faux? A story about an (alien?) shapeshifter whose chimeric DNA makeup allows it to imitate anyone it touches. A conflict/solution (depending upon POV) arises when it assimilates template DNA from someone with a genetically-based neurodegenerative disease (such as Lou Gehrig's disease). The disease blocks the creature’s ability to shape-shift and it is trapped in a failing shell.
Junker A junk dealer who fixes/recycles broken items acquires a powerful spell writer with a defective spell checker. All hell breaks loose when (s)he tries to fix the infernal contraption.
Cookin’ Skag University researchers create yeast cells that can produce morphine and oxycodone from a simple glucose-based culture media. The organism is smuggled out of the facility on a Band-Aid and grown in sterile Mason jars. This could be a biological “Breaking Bad” scenario coupled with a little terrorist action/human interest as the market for opium poppies crashes. This story could be taken from tomorrow’s headlines. See this story from the University of California at Berkley bit.ly/1EWhwWT
Plug and Play A scientist learns to pull massive amounts of clean energy from another dimension, using inexpensive portable devices. The world’s energy problems are solved until the residents of the tapped dimension send a collection agency to settle the Earth’s delinquent power bill.
Potions A molecular biologist uses his training to create some of the most famous potions in history and sells them via the Internet. The potions work, but buyer beware!
“I can hypnotize a rabbit.”
This statement conjures a host of responses from incredulity, curiosity, and exasperation, to concerns about the sanity of the speaker. But it’s also an example of a narrative hook I once used to get my audience interested in what comes next.
Picture if you will, an extended family dinner with 10 or 12 people at the grownup table and at least that many at the kids’ table. There was the usual level of noise and commotion associated with a large family dinner but there was also an air of curiosity--my nephew had brought his new girlfriend home to meet the family. She was an undergraduate science major and she had been told that I was a research and development scientist. So, as you might expect, she asked me what I did at the R&D center. I really didn’t want to put on my scientist’s hat at the dinner table so I responded that I did a lot of different things.
Undeterred, she said, “Tell us about one of them.”
And yes, I told everyone that I could hypnotize a rabbit.
My second point is that you have to know your audience. I could have talked about gene expression, viral antigen production, protein purification and a host of other things, but my non-science audience would have been bored to tears. Instead, I said something interesting--something unexpected--and after the hooting subsided, I was able tell my story about how I learned this unusual skill and why it was necessary.
Short story writing is much like telling a tale at dinner. You have to quickly engage the audience, keep the narrative brief and lively, and have a satisfying ending. The ending is as important as the hook because storytelling is catch and release fishing. You need to release them in good condition so you can hook 'em again later.