Posts Tagged ‘science-fiction’

So far on Lithicbee I have been reviewing webcomics, searching for e-books from some of my favorite authors, waxing philosophical, and sharing pieces of a rough draft end-of-the-world story. With today’s post I am going to add another topic I am interested in finding more information about: webzine/e-zines. Specifically, science-fiction/fantasy/horror webzines. For all the posts in this series, click here.

As an aspiring writer, I really need to see what other writers are doing to get their name and stories out there, so I am going to make a concerted effort to find new (to me) markets and start reading a lot more short fiction. I have to admit, I am not always fond of short fiction. Perhaps as Stephen King speculates, I have fallen out of love with the short story. Well, this is me trying to rekindle the romance. Just as I search for and talk about webcomics on this blog, I am going to do the same with SF/F/Horror (aka speculative fiction) webzines/e-zines. I will add them to my Links page as I go along, in case anyone else might find a list of genre markets useful as well.

I’ll start with OG’s Speculative Fiction. According to the site, “Our goal is to eventually be considered a professional market by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which means we need a circulation of at least 1,000 and we need to pay 5 cents a word. In the future we might look to add an editorial, book reviews, and author interviews every month. We want to grow!”

I picked up Issue 34 on Amazon for 99 cents. (I guess I could have gotten it for free as a Prime member, but, c’mon, 99 cents!) It included two stories, an Editor’s Letter, and a poem. While the goal might be to pay 5 cents a word, right now they pay $35 per story for one-time and some reprint rights. Stories should be less than 8,000 words, preferably less than 5,000 words. It looks like they have a new issue every two months.

Schlock! Webzine is a weekly zine that just put out its 46th edition. According to the site, “Schlock! is an exciting new weekly webzine dedicated to short stories, flash fiction, serialised novels and novellas within the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror. We publish new and old works of pulp sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, dark fantasy and gothic horror. If you want to read quality works of schlock fantasy, science fiction or horror, Schlock! is the webzine for you!”

Shlock! publishes weekly and include several stories in each issue. Payment is publication of your work. You retain all rights to your work and they are currently accepting submissions. There is also a very comprehensive Webzine Links page that I am sure I will be making use of in the coming months.

The Were-Traveler has four volumes a year on a specific theme. From the site: “The Were-Traveler is an online webzine dedicated to really short fiction. When I say really short fiction, I mean REALLY short. Drabbles and micro-fic mostly, with the occasional flash piece or short story (up to 2000 words) thrown in whenever I have time to read longer pieces. What I’m looking for here is speculative fiction. It’s what I write, it’s what I enjoy reading. Fantasy, science fiction, horror and any combination of the three have a good chance of getting published here.” Drabbles are 100-word stories, for those who don’t know. (I didn’t.)

The next call for submissions is for innovative vampire revenge stories, due by April 30th. Payment is publication of your work.

Ray Gun Revival focuses on space opera stories of no more than 4,000 words. It pays $0.01-$0.05 per word up to 4,000 words, to be paid via PayPal. It asks for “First Rights and specifically First Internet Publication, with an option on First Anthology Rights for 18 months.” It also recommends reading the contract that you agree to when you submit “very carefully.” At first this kind of scared me, but it is actually what one should be doing anyway, so at least they make an effort to point it out.

So, there you have it, the first in a series of my research into webzine SF/F/Horror markets. Just checking these zines out and reading the stories on them really gets me wanting to submit stories again. If you know of a zine you think I should check out, please feel free to drop me a line.

Welcome to The Only City Left. In the far future, the Earth is one giant planet-sized city, and it is falling apart. The majority of the human inhabitants are gone and in their place other, darker creatures are moving in. Allin Arcady is a young man on his own deep in the depths of the city, his one goal to reach the Roof of the World and see the Sun once in his life. But his past, and that of his deceased parents, is coming back to haunt him, and the Sun has never seemed farther away.

TOCL is a first-draft work-in-progress. If you want to jump farther into the story, check out the Table of Contents, which also includes a link to the most current synopsis of the story so far.

The Only City Left: Part One

I was born into darkness, but one day I will find the light. Sunlight. Pure and yellow and hot against your skin like standing near to a furnace, but softer somehow. At least so I’ve heard, first in stories my parents told me, then in whispered rumors as I make my way through the endless levels of the City. The only city left. Earth.

My name is Allin. If I had a last name, I’ve forgotten it. Not much use for formality in the dim, dank, dying city of Earth. In fact, I can barely remember the last time I exchanged names with someone. Mostly us stragglers steer clear of each other unless we’re trading, and then it’s a quick deal and retreat. In a dangerous world, trust is a precious commodity and few of us are willing to share it.

Mostly I find everything I need, scavenging from rotting apartments, factories, shopping districts, gleaning what I can from the detritus of a once-great civilization. Lights, and the juice to power them, are the greatest finds for any straggler. While power plants still run somewhere in the city, connections are corroded and there are not enough plants to keep the entire city running at any given time. When you consider that the city is as big as a planet, it only makes sense that powering it would be a colossal feat. Least, that’s what my dad said. I was never clear on the whole “planet” concept, but I would always nod like I understood, and he would smile and tousle my hair. Bottom line: the city is a big place and there isn’t enough power to keep it all running anymore, so you never know as you make your way around whether or not the lighting will suddenly die out, leaving you stranded in an impenetrable black void, leaving you prey to the things that live in the darkness.

Happy thoughts like that plague my dreams, so I didn’t realize at first that my sense of wrongness was more than just my latest nightmare. I woke up with a start from my half-sleep, perched high in a web of girders twenty or so stories above the floor of what used to be a mega-mall. Something had jerked me out of my guarded slumber, so I lay still and took stock. I was still secure in my cocoon, which hugged the top of one great iron beam, and when I slowly unzipped it and peeked my head out, I saw that the dim off-hours lighting in the mall was still working. It probably helped that this mall didn’t have any on-hours anymore, so there was never a strain on the system.

Around me I could hear the usual creaks and groans of the city, which never seems at rest but is instead always settling into itself. The sounds used to scare me as a kid; they sounded like the moans of the dead, coming to get me. I got over that as my parents taught me what to really fear and how to avoid it. Anyway, the dead don’t usually announce themselves like that.

I listened beyond the usual sounds of the city, listened so hard I could almost picture in my mind’s eye what I was hearing. And what I heard/saw was: a cacophony of precise, metallic clacking. Tiny feet skittering on iron beams, close, too close. Tacmites, I decided. Damn. I had to act fast.

Tacmites are a sort of cleaning system gone wrong. Originally they were supposed to find and process waste, keeping the corridors and boulevards of the city clean and debris-free. But they had been hacked or just gone rogue a long time ago, and now anything was fair game. Like me. They “processed” waste by tearing it shreds, ingesting the pieces, and atomizing those smaller pieces inside themselves. Where they took the resultant dust I had no idea, but I had seen more than one poor jerk fall victim to tacmites; it was not a quick or painless process.

Zzzziiippp. I opened the cocoon the rest of the way and crouched down beside it, scanning to the left, right, and above me. The beams around me were swarming with the lethal janitors. Below me was empty space surrounded by the balconied levels of the mall, and almost invisible all the way down, an overrun garden on the unlit bottom floor. I didn’t worry about falling; my boots were made of the same cling-tight material as the cocoon, so it wasn’t a concern. Anyway, down was the only way to go at this point. Acting fast, I pulled out two items from the foot of my cocoon and then pressed three buttons along the seam. With a soft whirr the cocoon retracted into its backpack form and loosened its grip on the beam. As quietly as possible, I slipped it on, and then stood up.

The tacmites were nearly on me now, little mechanical creepy-crawlies about the size of my hand, bristling with tiny metal legs which propelled them along at speed. Beneath the clacking of their movement, I could also hear the sound of their tiny, blade-like teeth scissoring up and down against each other.

Determined not to end up as tacmite dust, I affixed an empod onto the girder before me. The empod was just one of the many devices I had cobbled together over the years from all the spare parts lying around the city. I have to say with a bit of pride that it was devices like these that kept me alive where others perished.

I pressed the empod, stood up, and stepped off the beam into empty air, just as the empod triggered above me. There was a loud crack and sizzle as the electro-magnetic pulse from the empod fried the circuits of all the tacmites that had been ready to devour me.

I hadn’t really thought how it would also fry all the lights in the area, too.

I plunged into darkness.

Click here for Part Two.

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This post is an update to my 8/30/11 post about which C.J. Cherryh e-books are available.

Since that time, books 1 and 10 of the Foreigner series have been added to the Kindle Store on Amazon.com, while books 2-6 are still MIA. Also, Alternate Realities is also available for the Kindle now, and is a great deal at only $7.99 for the three-book collection. (Most of the books available are priced at $7.99, which is nice.)

Despite the books that are on Amazon or on the author’s own Closed Circle website, there remains a gaping hole in Cherryh’s bibliography for those of us hoping to port our physical book collection into the digital world.

I e-mailed Ms. Cherryh to ask about these “missing” books and her thoughts on e-books in general. She kindly replied and here is what I learned.

There are indeed plans to release more of her books, both on Amazon (and other such websites), and the Closed Circle site. Per Ms. Cherryh: “I had some rights to part of Foreigner; DAW and I conferred, traded, and now you’ll be seeing more DAW e-books on Amazon et al., and some of my earlier non-series works on Closed Circle.” She describes the process of converting her physical books into e-books as “practically a comma by comma revision process into CSS” and not just a matter of scanning pages. This gives me some comfort because there is nothing worse than buying an e-book and realizing it is a scan-and-sell job (although when this has happened to me, Amazon has been excellent about giving me a refund).

Finally, I asked Ms. Cherryh about her feelings toward e-books in general and whether she sees the conversion of her books as a positive thing. She replied, “Change is [positive]. It was bound to happen. Piracy is a problem–but it’s a funny thing: people who understand the point of my books and like what I write are not thieves and do not have the mindset of thieves, and when they’ve gotten a pirated copy not knowing there was a problem, they’ve kindly come to Closed Circle and dropped a donation in the bucket.”

So, more C.J. Cherryh books are on the way, and Book 13 in the Foreigner series is set to be released on 3/6/12 (which should give me time to re-read the last few books to get back into the atevi-human mindset). Good news for fans of Ms. Cherryh’s works!

4/1/12 update: Per Ms. Cherryh’s website, she is close to adding Chernevog and Yvgenie to the Closed Circle site, with major changes made to Yvgenie.

If you are a C.J. Cherryh fan and want to read her books on your Kindle, nook, iPad or other e-reader, the pickings are slim. On Amazon, there is little rhyme or reason as to what is available. On the science-fiction side, books 7,8,9, 11, and 12 of her Foreigner series are up, with book 13 available for pre-order, but 1-6 and 10 are not there, so hold on to your hard copies. (It looks like book 10, Conspirator, should be available, but it is not showing up for me.) The two books of the Hanan Rebellion, Brothers of Earth and Hunter of Worlds, are available in one volume, At the Edge of Space. Hammerfall and Forge of Heaven, the two books of the Gene Wars, are also available.

On the fantasy side, all five books of her Fortress series are available.

It is nice that these books are available on Amazon, but it does leave a gaping hole in Cherryh’s bibliography as far as e-books go.

A few more e-books are available on the Closed Circle, which is the online presence for authors Lynn Abbey, C.J. Cherryh, and Jane Fancher. It appears to be intermittently updated but it is still alive, with the most current post being from 8/15/11, just about two weeks ago.

On Closed Circle, you can find: Heavy Time and Hellburner @ $5.00 each, Faery Moon and Rusalka @$9.95 each, and three volumes of The Writing Life: A Writer’s Journal, which is “an edited-for-legibility version of the online journal [she] kept for several years.” The first volume is free, so give it a try. Volumes two and three are $5.00 each.

You can find the stand-alone fantasy novel The Paladin on webscription.net, along with the shared world fantasy omnibus The Sword of Knowledge, although per Wikipedia, Cherryh did not actually write any of the included books.

If you have a nook or Sony Reader, you can also purchase Alternate Realities, which includes Port Eternity, Wave Without a Shore, and Voyager in Night, at Sony’s ReaderStore, or Barnes and Noble, but Kindle users are out of luck on this one.

Those are all the books I could find that are available (legitimately) as e-books. Hopefully one day we will also get the first six Foreigner books, the Chanur series, the rest of the Alliance-Union books, or even, dare I dream, the Merovingen Nights shared universe series. If you find anything else, please let me know and I will update the list.

Note: There is newer C.J. Cherryh ebook news here.

I have been searching on and off for a) science-fiction and fantasy e-books other than those that can be found on Amazon, and b) science-fiction and fantasy writing markets. I have collected many links for both searches; there is no dearth of sites out there. What I have not been able to find is one site that collects all the links in one area. Or if I have, it is usually outdated.

I will use this site to add links and then check on them periodically to make sure that they are still live. If you have suggestions for either area, please share them.

Also, don’t get me wrong about looking for e-books other than Amazon. I love Amazon, it is a great resource, but some of the authors I enjoy reading do not have their books for sale there.

I ordered the 2012 Writer’s Market the other day, even though I have memories of it being a poor resource for Science Fiction and Fantasy markets. Still, I had not bought one of these books in years because, well, I haven’t been writing that much in years, so I thought I would give it another chance.

Alas, the SF&F section is woefully thin, at 11 entries. This includes Asimov’s Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Now, I don’t know about you, but as an unpublished writer, I would probably not bother with these bigger magazines to start with. Long story short, I found four markets I could try to send a short story to.

This is not to say the 2012 Writer’s Market is not worth the asking price; I still have the how-to articles to browse, and I bought the Deluxe edition, so I can check the online database for more markets, but it is a bit disappointing that so few SF&F markets were included in the book.

I searched on Google for “science fiction ezine” and “science fiction writing markets” and received plenty of good leads, so many that it will take me a while to sift through them all. Now that’s more like it.

Some examples, with the links going straight to their submission area: Lightspeedmagazine.com, Electric Spec, and this nice list of markets (which I have yet to delve into in depth).

I will explore and post about these magazines over time. Bottom line: Do not rely on Writer’s Market to find markets for you, as they do not appear to have tried to publish a very full listing.