... though some were metabolized.
My story "The Mushroom King" is out in M-Brane #12 / Ergosphere.
... though some were metabolized.
My story "The Mushroom King" is out in M-Brane #12 / Ergosphere.
Probably this is old new to everyone interested in the subject but me, but I just discovered an excellent blog post written last year by Juno Books editor Paula Guran on the evolution of term "urban fantasy" & what it now commonly means to publishers/readers. I don't like this limited definition, for what was once a useful term for a broader range of types of stories in a certain fantasy mode -- but it is what it is. Guran's point that the current examples of the genre owe "more to the American hard-boiled detective genre than most may understand" is especially well-taken.
I have thought it strange that the term got attached to series books that so often use horror tropes, such as vampires, demons and werewolves, but, reflecting on it, maybe it does make sense, because those images have long since ceased to invoke the responses horror strives for, and seem to used in these paranormal detective series' for their erotic or romantic appeal.
The danger is when major publishing houses try to cram works that don't fit this very narrow set of ingredients into packaging that seeks to mislead the fans of the stuff into thinking its more of the same. When it isn't, then the fans are justifiably disappointed.
Buried in this B.J. Novak interview from the Onion's A.V. Club is a terrific little nugget about The Office producer/writer Greg Daniels use of a Venn diagram to define his approach to comedy. A simple approach to define what's import to him:
[Novak]: He drew a Venn diagram, and he said, “This is groundbreaking comedy that I really respect.” And he said, “This is what makes people laugh.” And he said, “I am only interested in the shaded part in the middle where they overlap.” And I thought, “Sign me up!” I thought it was humble and honest, but still with the value of quality. I know it’s a simple thing to say, and anyone can say it, but you could also tell that he meant it, and had proven it as he was saying it.
Using WordMonkey I translated Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 into Italian, then the Italian into Greek, the Greek into Chinese (because I got a error message trying to go to Hindi next), then from Chinese to Arabic, Arabic to Albanian, and finally Albanian back to English:
Summer in comparison with the first day
You are more beautiful and soft:
Harsh rocked proud shoots 20 May,
And summer, and rented a very short history:
Sometimes too hot in the light of eyes in the sky,
Often approximate the golden skin,
As well as reasonable and fair reduction in some cases,
By chance, or nature of the changes that have occurred in the course untrimmed:
But the eternal summer fadeless owner
Can not afford to lose thousands of pride,
Or just kill thousands ow'st
In eternal calm wand'rest grow'st
Man and tens of thousands of lines of time to breathe or eyes can view
That a long life, which make life for you.
Here are excerpts from the writer's guidelines of various Zombie-Themed POD anthologies that will be appearing soon:
Our Union Dead:
Genres: Civil War, Alt-History, Horror, Romance, Regency. This is a zombie-themed War Between the States anthology with a difference. I only want to see stories about zombies who are fighting for the North. I WILL look at stories that have some zombies in Confederate gray, but be forewarned, if you choose to submit such a story you will have a very high bar to clear. Payment: 1/16 to 1/8 cent per word. Length: 1500 to 150,000 words. (Works longer than that may be considered only for our online anthology supplement page at the reduced rate of of 1/64 to 1/32 cent per word.) Be bold, be brave, innovate! Why not set your particular tale during, say, a Civil War reenactment? Or even a Civil War computer game -- but a computer game that suddenly gets very very real.)
Above all be historically accurate. I don't want to see any more submissions with zombies carrying Revolutionary War flintlocks, World War II German grease-guns, or stories featuring any variety of horse bridle in only limited use prior to 1864. It's called research, people. Do your job. Besides, at this time, we are overstocked on stories containing anachronistic horse bridles.
Email subs only, to editoriusemiritus[at]thebloodofourfourfatherspress.com. No reprints. Simultaneous submissions will be deleted at once unread. If you do send a simultaneous submission, and I find out about it, you will be banned from submitting to any Blood of Our Four Fathers theme anthology for a period of one year, or the release of our next sixty theme anthologies, whichever comes first. People, there are consequences to behavior in this business.
ResurErection: New GeniTALEias.
Sure you're dead, but you're not DEAD right? This anthology is seeking stories, poems, and Penthouse-style true letters exploring the profound effects of the zombapocalypse on sexual organs. Does a zombie penis become erect? Does a zombie vagina lubricate? Word length: Microfiction: 0 - 200 words. Full-length fiction: 225 -1200 words. Stories between those lengths will be defined as either microfic or macrofic at the sole discretion of the editor.
Payment: ONE (1) story will be selected for the Travis Q. Zither Award of $25. This award is to honor the work of writer and literarateur Travis Q. Zither for his achievements within the zombie erotica sub-genre, and also to get the anthology listed as a paying market on various websites. Payment for the other chosen stories will be Exposure AND 10% off contributor copies (limit of fifteen per contributor). Reprints, while considered, are strongly discouraged and will not be eligible for the Zither Award. Fair warning: Stories written by women or that feature female characters in any way resembling real human beings are always a tough sell with me. When in doubt, query.
Anticipated print run: 125 copies. Send submissions to travisqzither[at]travisqzither.com
PG-13. No gratuitous profanity. No rape, incest, or pedophilia except when essential to the plot. Have some class, people. Simultaneous submissions will be deleted unread. Estimated response time: 62 to 65 months.
Zombie: Dark Utopias
Utopias: the places that are not -- or so it is defined in the nomenclatura of Sire Thomas Morehouse of Great Britannia. But what if an utopia could exist -- and then got taken over by zombies!
(For more information in Sire Thomas Morecoke rent the first two seasons of Showtime's "The Tudors." It's called an education, people!)
Be bold, be edgy. We're starting to notice a lot of new zombie books, novels, anthologies, collections, movies, DVD's, and BluRays appearing on the horizonistical landscape, as it were. It is no longer enough to write your Utopian zombie parable as if you were the only writer in the universal pantheon.
THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER'S UTOPIAN ZOMBIE ANTHOLOGY, PEOPLE!
Genres: sf/f/ss (both slipstream and sword & sorcery) alt history, alt future history, western, mystery (no cozies -- and-- fair warning-- cat-based whodunits are usually a tough sell with us). Urban fantasy, suburban fantasy, neo-weird, nouveau-weird, weird, and not-weird, all encouraged. No horror. No introspection: send that poop to The New Yorker or someplace, we just want to be entertained, you stupid navel-gazer. And no vampires, they are so played out.
Submissions should be in standard ms. format. Let me explain what this means: submissions should not be in non-standard ms. format. I know a lot of other markets accept submissions in non-standard formats, but you should know that this market and only this market accepts submissions only in the standard format, and you should consider that before you submit a manuscript to us in non-standard format.
Let's talk a little about our submissions process. We employ the industry-normative structure of fourteen rounds of readings. In the first round we will determine whether your manuscript conforms to standard manuscript format. The second round will consist of a different set of readers who will consider whether the first set of readers were correct in their assessment of the manuscript's format. After all, we want to be fair about this.
After the second round, if it is determined a manuscript does NOT meet the requirements of passing the first two rounds, the manuscript will be returned to its author for reformatting. (Or, in the case of a female-sounding byline, discarded.) Once the author has reformatted his manuscript correctly and resubmitted it, the manuscript will go to round three (assuming it can this time pass rounds one and two.)
Round three with determine whether or not your name is Neil Gaiman. If so, your manuscript will skip rounds four through six, AND round twelve. (Note: After the original version of these guidelines appeared, we received several manuscripts with bylines such as: "by Yeah-Like-Neil-Gaiman's-Gonna-Send-A-Story-To-Your-Lame-A**." Look people, we are working with a very tight window here, I don't appreciate what is so obviously NOT Neil Gaiman's real byline appearing in the slush.
Updated response time: I know that we originally estimated our response time as between "Anon and St Alban's Day, 2008" but due to the extraordinary volume of manuscripts we have received (six) none of which have cleared the seventh round of the submission process yet, we are behind. I feel I myself bear some of the responsibility for this, as I have not yet had time to decide what goes on in round seven, or in any of the other rounds not specifically described here. When I do that, I will post updated guidelines. You are potential writers and purchasers of contributor copies -- you deserve to know. And I will defend to the death my right to say that. Current response time is approximately four months from whatever-your-watch-says-right-this-moment to never. Please do not query before that time.
Payment: Advance: $0 against a standard royalty contract: 0.04% on a 75/25 split paid quarterly beginning -- ah, why kid yourself? -- there's no such thing as a royalty.
I don't usually read two books in one 24 hr period, but these 200-pager Block reissues are like pizza slices, if you're already at the counter might as well get two because you know you will be back. Block's career followed a relatively common trajectory for commercial/genre writers of his generation: semi-hard porn, then paperback originals under several names, and then a series or two (or three) that could grow an audience over a career. This is not meant to sound dismissive. It seems to me an ingenious-enough way of nature to contrive expert storytellers. I guess the closest thing we have today would be the Hollywood model: start out writing sitcom or animation scripts on other people's shows, develop your own, move on to ambitious original single stories. Most writers on either path fall by the wayside somewhere or other, but a talented, lucky (both essential ingredients) few end up having work filmed by independent, acclaimed, story-valuing directors, or become one themselves.
So if you're twenty-two, don't spend a lot of time scanning last year's Witer's Digest at the library for markets that read unsolicited novel manuscripts. The day of the one-draft, three-carbon fast-cash sale is gone, obviously, but what may be slightly less obvious is that online e-book erotica "publishers" that pay a percentage of sales on a $0 advance are NOT their substitutes. Sell off your collected manga, games, DVD's and corresponding players, and move your ass to L.A. (If you grew up in L.A. sell that stuff, buy a VW and drive to Tierra del Fuego, or take Greyhound to Nova Scotia, or contrive to do something else your career-focused, loan-swamped peers would never ever dream of doing, and them come back to L.A. with experiences undreamed of in their high-concept, franchise-brokering life plans.)
All of which has something to do with A Diet of Treacle. This one finds Block on more familiar territory than Killing Castro. We're back home with him in Greenwich Village. It's a downtown novel of sex, drugs, the yearning for art (if only in the disguise of 35¢ paperbacks), of danger, death-wish boys, and girls in tight sweaters, a novel of those things that tempted certain hungry souls to travel south of Fourteenth Street from the end of WWII until times recent. (I don't know where the boho kids go now, but I think it has to do more with web cams and the YouTubes than geography.) I don't want to oversell this book. It isn't Junky, or Hubert Selby Jr. But it has its charm, an appeal that lies in its innocence more than its darkness. If you wish Mad Men would find a way to tell more stories about Don Draper's season one artist mistress, if Val Lewton's The Seventh Victim and Scorsese's After Hours are repeat rentals for you, if you can’t wait for Pia Zadora and Ric Ocasek to show up in Hairspray, it'll do you fine.
Reading Walden via the excellent email reading service DailyLit, I googled cronching which yielded 1160 hits, mostly misspellings, nicknames, and discussions of this very neologism, so Thoreau's invention which didn't catch on. Still, is there a more perfect word for the sound of snow packing underfoot by a winter hiker's approach? Thoreau's a wondeful writer.
(One interesting hit came up to the Chicago Manual of Style Online, which uses this sentence from Walden as an example of how to use the term "sic.")