written by David Steffen For another round of story analysis, I wanted to draw attention to the short story “Optimizing the Verified Good” by Effie Seiberg, first published in Analog September/October 2018, and reprinted in audio in Escape Pod. As with the previous run of the Story Analysis, do expect SPOILERS after this paragraph, but … Continue reading STORY ANALYSIS: “Optimizing the Verified Good” by Effie Seiberg
“Flow” by Arlan Andrews Sr. was published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Analog published it free to read online as part of the Hugo season.
Rist and Cruthar live with their people in the Tharn’s Lands where the world exists in unending hazy twilight. They make their living by riding icebergs that break off from the greater ice mass to sell them to warmlanders further south. In this story Rist takes his first berg-riding trip to the south, where the sky is blue and the light burns brightly in the sky. They are only meant to take the iceberg as far as the ice broker, but Rist gets the idea to ride the iceberg further south, and so they go on to the strange lands of the south for an adventure. People from different lands have lived separately long enough to gain differentiating racial features, including extreme farsightedness so that none can see things clearly up close in favor of far vision. The people of the Tharn’s Lands used carved figurines for writing, and Rist keeps a journal of everything he does, and everything he learns to share with his family (both on a philosophical level and things that might have applications in their merchant business).
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra, published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, is nominated for the Hugo Award this year in the novelette category. Analog has posted this story for free for the voting period.
The protagonists of this story are a trio of Exoplanetary Explorers: an earthling, a silver Venusian, and a golden Martian. They get in a bar fight, which puts them on thin ice with their commanding officers. Their punishment is to be assigned to a mission doomed to fail–there is a planet on which they wish to establish a colony, where they have learned that the residents are intelligent but have failed to establish true contact with them. Priam, the Martian, raises the stakes by promising that they can establish contact and offering up their jobs if they fail.
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn, published in Analog, is nominated for this year’s Hugo Award for Best Novelette. Analog has posted this story as a free read as part of the Hugo season.
This is part two of the Journeyman series of stories. I have not read the first part of the story, so I am extrapolating a bit. Teodorq sunna Nagarajan the Ironhand and Sammi o’ th’ Eagles are in the midst of a journey that began in the previous story, where they were sent on a quest by a ghost that resided in a crashed vessel from the sky (presumably an AI residing in a starship) to find particular settlements for the star-men to salvage from the remains. As well as the quest, they are also trying to stay ahead of Kalakaran Vikaram who is looking to avenge his brother that Teodorq killed. As they are trying to cross a territory toward their destination, they stop to examine a stone building and they wonder how it was constructed (the technology level of the setting is mostly like a Medieval level, but with the remains of higher tech scattered about it’s clear that this occurs in the future after a technological collapse of some kind). They, as well as their pursuer, are captured. To continue their quest they must somehow escape their imprisonment.
And the last of the shorter categories for the Hugo this year, covering stories from 17,500 to 40,000 words. The longer categories are often misses for me because I feel they have a lot of word bloat, but when I do like one of them they have so much space to grow.
written by David Steffen
Now that the Hugo packet is finally out, I can finish my reading of the Hugo nominees.
Hugo nominee, Nebula nominee, Campbell nominee, Writers of the Future winner, and Analog regular Brad Torgersen talks with Diabolical Plots about his journey as a writer, the blue chip veterans who mentored him, and his hopes for the Society Advancement of Speculative Storytelling.
img class=”alignleft wp-image-3839″ alt=”Trevor Quachri photo” src=”http://www.diabolicalplots.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Trevor-Quachri-photo-300×300.jpg” width=”180″ height=”180″ />Trevor Quachri recently took over from longstanding Analog editor Stanley Schmidt. Science fiction writers want to know what changes, if any, to expect. They also want to know how, exactly, to sell their stories and how to avoid getting their stories rejected.
Strange Horizons editor Julia Rios, in an interview with SFWA, said of Tom GreeneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Zero Bar,Ã¢â‚¬Â published last year: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It knocked my socks off because it brought up so many things IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d experienced in my own life.Ã¢â‚¬Â Greene recently sold Ã¢â‚¬Å“Another ManÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s TreasureÃ¢â‚¬Â to Analog. Greene has a Bachelor in English, a MFA in creative writing, and a Ph.D. in English literature. But he struggled for thirty years to discover why his stories were being rejected and how to write marketable fiction. In this interview with Diabolical Plots he explains what he learned in the process. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Zero Bar,Ã¢â‚¬Â probably GreeneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best story, was significantly revised at the request of the above mentioned Rios. Greene explains why he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a knee-jerk reaction to these suggestions. He also shares some profound insights into why vampire stories are so popular and why the vampire myth has endured in fiction for so long.
If you’ve kept up with science fiction publications in the last few years, you’ve probably at least heard the name Ken Liu. Dozens of his stories have been published just in the last couple of years in the biggest and best SF publications out there today, including F&SF, Analog, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction… The list goes on and on. He won the Hugo for “Mono No Aware” this year. He won the Hugo and the Nebula for “The Paper Menagerie” last year, one of my personal favorite stories I’ve read in years. I just read a fun story by him on the Drabblecast titled ” Call of the Pancake Factory”, about a representative of a certain supercorporation amusement park happening to cross paths with a cult of Cthulhu–great story. He’s on a roll, and showing no signs of stopping. He’s a great writer and you should check out his work if you ever get a chance to read it.