Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Progress Update

Quick update as July draws to a close -- Andromeda Spaceways has picked up my short The Marachel Job, and I have another shortlisting too, "How Like a God" is in the hold-group at The Overcast, a magazine out of the Cascadia region of the US Pacific Northwest.

Things continue to roll, with new stories putting in an appearance and new markets being plumbed.

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Fragile Humans in a Changing Technoscape

As I’ve commented before, characters have begun to predominate over science fiction concepts in many a magazine’s writing brief – not all, to be sure, there are still those who specify that the concept, the science or the situation must be endemic to the storyline (Analog, for instance, and Compelling), but a majority want characters the reader can identify with – or loathe – readily and comfortably, first and foremost, and then depicted against a speculative background.

I have often wondered if this is symptomatic of the social development of the world – the “reality TV” era, which is devoutly and profoundly the opposite in a repellently glitzed-up package pretending to not be scripted. This preoccupation with “people” in an age which has, in real terms, devalued the individual human being in the most outrageous way, seems patently false and cynical. But there may be far a more functional explanation.

Take the tablet, for instance. When they first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, they were 24th century hardware, but came true in less than 25 years and are now ubiquitous. The underwater camera was fictional when it appeared in the Bond flick Thunderball in 1968, but in the 1970s became a reality. Skype and similar systems have made visual communication a normality, when the dedicated “videophone” was an experiment following its introduction at the 1964 World’s Fair, but which attracted too few subscribers to prove viable. The point is that the gadgetry science fiction can conceive of, technology can – now – reproduce fairly quickly. Mobile phones are the academic example. Computer interfaces change so rapidly one can never be certain what is fictional and what isn’t, and it essentially no longer matters. Holographic displays such as we see in Iron Man and Avatar are tipped to be out there in the future for us, while projection systems, graphics the size of walls or table tops are with us already. One used to be aware that the systems depicted in the Bond films were often fictional, but the kind of graphics and system architectures depicted in later years no longer provoke that reaction, one simply accepts them. Compare the MI6 briefing room display in Quantum of Solace to the Memorex-drum memory, command environment and first-generation graphics seen in 1982’s For Your Eyes Only and the decades of development really do become apparent.

Technology, especially in the form of gadgetry, has become the axiom of the age. We almost all have a smartphone, even the most resistant of us, and who can operate in modern society without a computer? I’m writing on one and will use it to upload to the internet to be read on one, or a phone, or tablet… The line has blurred between lived reality and the fictional worlds science fiction used to depict, and in this is perhaps found the human need to connect with people in stories. Why? Because something of the fascination with the new and strange that SF used to embody has been lost, literally blown away, by the pace of change in the real world. Future shock? What’s that? A concept from half a century ago, when the pace of life was changing. Now the future holds out the promise of both wonders and terrors and we know there’s no avoiding them, no matter how uncomfortable any particular person might be with any particular promise.

As writers, this leaves us with the ironic proposition that, though we strive to be “prophets of the unknown,” we must place people first as surely as literary fiction ever did; there is no longer more than a curiosity role for people reduced to minor figures, hurrying to serve the mega-machines and implacable intelligences set in dehumanised landscape that the disturbed and wary conjectures of the Seventies warned about. The landscape more or less arrived, but it’s often softened with an enhanced knowledge of human needs, and, after all, we place people first now. At least we do if we’re hoping to entertain, if not inform or challenge.

So the only world in which machines dominate is an industrial one, an autocratic one, and the rest of the human race finds itself living into a gadget-rich tomorrow in which, ironically, those ever-fresh gadgets serve purposes that were invented merely because the technology existed to make gadgets to serve – a profitability cycle; while the problems which dogged humankind when science fiction sought so keenly for answers, are still dragging along with us as the 21st century unfolds, and are generally worse than ever. Now there’s a scenario few could have predicted before the Eighties (I’m thinking Judge Dredd comics), and an interesting frame of reference in which to write of the tomorrows baring down on us.

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Royalty-free header image.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Nice Cover!!!

For your pleasure, here’s the cover of Compelling Science Fiction #7, featuring my story Cogito, Ergo Sum. I didn’t post it when the issue went live at the beginning of last month – my bad!

Read the story for free on the site, or buy the issue as a download for your reader device.

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Friday, 14 July 2017

Launching Now – Tales of the Sunrise Lands

This anthology from Guardbridge Books in Scotland is coming off the presses as I post this, and premiering at a UK literary convention this weekend. The international edition will be produced through Lightning Source and purchase links will be posted as soon as possible.

The editor sent the front cover graphic at once for dissemination, and it looks pretty good! Read my tale of late Medieval Japan, Ieyasu and the Shadow, in this volume. I hope to return to 1476 and the closing phase of the Ōnin War for further stories in future!

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Sunday, 9 July 2017

In Print, July 2017 (and Progress)

A number of plusses have come along in the first week of July. My ‘Middle Stars” short story The Alien Way was picked up by the anthology Visions VII: Universe, and will be going to press this month – direct links as soon as they are available. This brings me to six “Middle Stars” stories placed, if I keep on like this one day I’ll be able to talk to a publisher about doing a collection in paperback.

Next up, the new pulp era-tribute magazine Storyhack Action and Adventure has picked up my WWII story Circus to Boulonge for issue #1 (it was held over from Issue #0). No release date yet, but the issue is moving through production and we went to contract today. Links when they come available, as always.

And AndromedaSpaceways have shortlisted my “Middle Stars” story “The Marachel Job,” another actioner on the high frontier, introducing a new character I’ll be returning to .

I just completed another “Middle Stars” piece, “The One that is All,” for submission to the anthology StrangeBeasties from Third Flatiron – it’s a little overlength but they cleared me to submit without doing a severe edit, so here’s hoping they like it!

Also appearing in print this month should be my short story Pelagus in the anthology Ecotastrophe II, from Nomadic Delirium Press (same publisher as The Martian Wave), due for release July 27th, and my Cthulhu Mythos short With Strange Aeons will be in the edition of Lovecraftiana releasing on July 31st.

Releasing the weekend os July 15-16 in the UK is the anthology Tales of the Sunrise Lands – more info in the next post!

In addition, as of the 15th, my short story "Unremembered Dreams" is shortlisted with the magazine New Myths, a turnaround within a few hours!

Circus to Boulonge was my 26th placement. I recently passed the 500 submissions mark, I’m on 504 at this moment, with 66 stories out and more to come. I keep the plates spinning ever single day!

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Promo with Flame Tree

As promotion for the new round of anthology releases, Flame Tree invited authors to respond to some questions with brief passages which could be compiled on the company blog. Two posts went up where you’ll find comments from me about my piece.

There wasn’t room to do all three from each writer, so here’s the third of my passages (dealing with inspirational sources for my story An Echo of Gondwana):

What are your favourite stories from this genre? (can be films/artworks/other mediums too, or authors/film directors/artists)

“Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, of course; and King Kong must be listed; Burroughs’ The Eternal Savage and The Land That Time Forgot. The writings of Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, Carter and others have many evocative passages which bring the “lost worlds” concept into focus.”

I hope to place with Flame Tree in future as their list expands, and if I can then this anthology may be thought back on of as the start of an excellent partnership! The volume is at press at this time and should be available in the weeks ahead.

Cheers, Mike Adamson

* Royalty-free image from Pixabay.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

In Print, June 2017 (and Progress)

Compelling ScienceFiction #7 went live today, you can read my story Cogito, Ergo Sum on the website!

I also placed a story today, one of my “Tales of the Middle Stars,” titled North of 25, with the magazine Uprising Review. This is an angry, mal-contented little piece, set in the aftermath of the Colonial War, short as it’s pithy, and is the fifth “Middle Stars” story to be accepted.

This takes me to 24 placements, with currently about 65 stories out, and 473 submissions to date.


The Alien Way was picked up by the anthology Visions VII: Universe on June 23rd for publication later in the year. This is the sixth "Middle Stars" story to be placed.

R*E*X went live with Syntax and Salt on June 24th -- read free on the site!

Cheers, Mike Adamson

* Royalty-free image from Pixabay.