Jul 31 2009

The List

Enough with the short stories. For a while at least. It’s time to move on to book two.

Not the sequel to the first novel I wrote- though I have a rough start on that and a decent outline, I’m leaving it alone. I like the idea, but it’s putting too many eggs in one basket when I have no offers on book one. So I’m moving on to something completely different.

As for the short’s, well I have thirteen different stories on the send list right now. Six sci-fi, four fantasy, and three horror. I’ll just keep bouncing them from market to market, hoping that one will hit hard enough to stick. Which should happen. Real soon.


Jul 17 2009

It’s in the mail

Recently,  John Scalzi went after the big threes (F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog) no e-subs policy.  Read it here.

He has some good points, and I agree with a lot of them.  In fact I think it’s relatively certain that they will, at some point, change.  But the fact that they haven’t yet doesn’t really bug me.

Mailing in a story is a pain.  You buy your envelopes and stamps and binders, drive in to the post office, pay for that, all so you can wait around for a form letter telling you no thanks.  All annoying.  But the most annoying thing to me about the whole submission process is not the mechanics of sending out the story.  It’s the waiting.

I have stories that have been sitting at markets for over a year.  Other markets, markets that I love, reliably take three months to return a verdict.  I have stories that have been in circulation for two to three years now, and they haven’t actually been to all that many places.  The entire process is glacially slow.

But some markets are fast.  F&SF sends me its rejections usually in ten days.  Fourteen at the longest.  And that’s with the transit time.  Asimov’s and Analog aren’t that fast, but their pretty reliable about getting something back in a month.  They take longer if their mulling it, but that’s not so bad, at least their considering buying the thing and it’s not a six month wait for a simple rejection.  So while I’m not thrilled with doing the whole snail mail thing, F&SF almost always get’s the first crack at my stories.  Cause I know I’ll get my rejection quick, and I can move on.

Of course, some of the online places are starting to do even better.   Clarkesworld and Fantasy magazine are great- they have a slick e-sub system that takes your story, let’s you track where it is in the process, and keeps tabs on what you’ve already sent them.  And they turn stuff around fast.

Which means I’ll be sending to them first, when I have somthing that fits their guidelines.  And my guess is that so will a lot of other people, which will give those markets first crack at the wonderful gems that are buried in the slush pile (The slush is full of gems!  Really!).  And so their quality goes up, and more people will read them.  Which will put pressure on the other markets, including the big three, to set up similar systems.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

Jul 9 2009

Yeah me

One of the editors from Baen’s let me know that ‘Adam, Unwilling’ had gotten reviewed at the Internet Review of Science Fiction. And it’s a good review, which is of course why I’m mentioning it. So yeah me. I’m gonna get myself a cupcake.

For bad reviews, I’ll get a consolation cupcake. Of course.

Jul 2 2009

There’s nothing new here…

An idea of mine has been stolen!  Stolen I say!

One of the previews before Star Trek was for the film Surrogates.  It’s a Bruce Willis movie coming out in September.  Basic plot- no one leaves their homes anymore, instead they use robotic surrogates (that look like prettier versions of themselves, naturally) to go out and experience the big, wild world.  And of course things go horribly wrong, and Bruce will get beat up and then beat other people up and the world will be saved.  It looks like fun.

But robot surrogates?  Why, that’s exactly the idea behind my story ‘The Farthest Born’ which will be in the Writers of the Future.  Okay, that story was set (mostly) on an alien world, but still the surrogates were an important part of it.  I called them golems though, ’cause that’s cooler.  Anyway, they obviously stole my idea.

And not just them. There’s another movie coming out, Sleep Dealer, which I heard about on Science Friday.  Also about people jacking in to run robots in distant locations.  So they stole my idea too.

Except this idea appears in a story that hasn’t been published yet.  And Surrogates is based on a graphic novel that was published in 2005, which is before I wrote the story.  (Which I will now emphatically state that I never read, since I would hate to have someone accuse me of stealing an idea…)  And I’m not sure when they started making Sleep Dealer, but since movies usually take at least year to make, and this one was at Sundance and…  Okay, so maybe, just maybe, they didn’t steal my idea.

And I didn’t steal there’s.  This happens all the time in media.  Because ideas are almost never completely new.  Modern media surrounds us like a vast bloom of informational krill, and we’re all sucking it down like starving whales.  We pull it in, so much at once that most of it is forgotten even as we swallow.  But bits stick, things we want to keep in mind and things that just cling like tarter, and our busy little brains use it to beaver together our ‘new’ ideas.  Which is why variations of the same new idea tend to pop out all over at around the same time.  Just the old stuff, processed, digested and spit back out in another form.

So we can all admire it’s shiny newness.