Welcome to Night Vale (produced by Commonplace Books) is a fiction podcast, but quite different from any of the other fiction podcasts I listen. Most of the others publish short stories by different authors, where each new story has nothing to do with the others and is written by a different author. The easiest way I can describe the podcast is that it is a community radio show ala Prairie Home Companion, but one which takes place in a mysterious sleepy little town ala Stephen King or HP Lovecraft. If that sounds like something you’d like, you probably will! If you’re not sure what to think about it, download a few episodes for free and give it a try.
Archive | Editorial
I’ve been following the Hugos closely for several years, trying to read and review as many of the nominated works as I can digest between the announcement of the ballot and the final deadline. I also follow the Nebulas, and I glance at the results from other SF genre awards, but for me the Hugos take up most of my attention come award season. With this eventful Hugo year, it crossed my mind to wonder why the Hugos specifically, and whether I might perhaps be better off devoting more of my attention to awards that don’t collect controversy the way the Hugo Awards always seem to do, and in escalating fashion these last few years.
For anyone who hasn’t been following along, Diabolical Plots was open for fiction submissions for the first time in December 2014 to pick 12 stories to publish one per month for a year as our first fiction offerings. This is my first time editing fiction or handling a slushpile of my own (as opposed to being a slushreader for a magazine run by someone else).
And now the gratuitous award eligibility post–feel free to skip over it if you’re not interested, but figured there might be someone out there who might want to see it. This post covers works by Diabolical Plots and by me personally.
From time to time people ask me if they can nominate the Submission Grinder. In the past, I thought the answer was “no” because most of the awards seemed to be very publisher focused–so the best way I thought to try to recognize the Submission Grinder would be to nominate Diabolical Plots. But there ARE a couple categories the Submission Grinder qualifies for in some awards, so I’ve listed those two first.
And just to be clear, no I don’t really think we have a shot at anything, but I see no reason why I can’t mention what we’re eligible for.
Usually, when you post a link on Facebook you get a nice little preview image from the page you’re linking to along with a sample of text from the page. Except when you don’t. Sometimes it just shows the URL and nothing else–and you know that people aren’t going to click through if it’s just a URL.
When I was about nine years old I was out at a story with my older brother who would’ve been about eighteen years old at the time. I think it was around Christmastime and there were a few inches of snow and ice on the ground. As we were walking out of the store, minds casting ahead to what we were going to do at home. Before we got to the car, a woman walking alone ahead of us slipped and fell on the ice, ending up flat on her back ahead of us.
If anyone had asked, I would’ve considered myself a compassionate person. But my kneejerk reaction was that we would keep on walking. But, to my surprise, my brother stopped and made sure she was okay. She was capable of responding and had no apparent injury. We helped her up to her feet. Some other people came over to check she was okay and then we were on our way. She was okay and no harm done, but of course I didn’t know that at the time.
One of the most important traits to lasting as a writer is persistence even in the face of long odds. I’m nothing if not persistent–I’ve sent more than 1500 submissions since I started submitting 6 and a half years ago.
Thinking back on my childhood, there may have been some early signs that I was (perhaps unreasonably) persistent. One particular story happened in 1991 with the release of Super NES game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I’d grown up playing the first two Zelda games on my brother’s NES.
What superpower would you choose? Ã‚Â Most classical superpowers are awesome for combat, but not all that practical in day-to-day activities. Ã‚Â Super strength? Ã‚Â Guess who’s going to get asked to help everyone move. Ã‚Â Fireballs–handy in limited context, maybe, but modern life doesn’t require a lot of fire-lighting on a day to day basis. Ã‚Â MetalÃ‚Â claws–wouldn’t need to hold pocket knives but you could never get through airport security.
For my everyday life, I would definitely pick the power of Jamie Madsen, aka Multiple Man. Ã‚Â Jamie has the ability to create perfect duplicates of himself, each of which is intelligent and has free will. Ã‚Â There’s some limit to the amount of how much he can split, but the limit is quite high–something like 50 when he was in X-Factor and more as he masters his power.
I don’t approve, though, of the 10,000 word limit. Presumably there was a specific reason–but what is that reason? It seems to me that this is a strategy specifically designed to keep flash fiction from counting toward membership. I don’t know if this is another one of those conversations where some older members of the organization think that SFWA membership should be kept only to those who have writing as their only job. Could you do that? Sure. But the organization would be small and much more irrelevant, and would explicitly exclude a whole ton of award winning authors like Ken Liu who have day jobs. Who does that benefit exactly?
“Searching for the heart of a nation… in the throat of its people.” Thus is the mission of Extruding America, the brainchild of podcaster Gerard Armbruster. His mission: to deliver a nice slice of Americana straight to your ears with a generous dollop of profundity on top. Such as Stetson Tudd who lives in the state of Washington and has delivered periodic Postcards from Battersea, and… Well, admittedly, Gerard has only one correspondent. But don’t tell Stetson that.