Book release

I haven’t yet received my author’s copies but The Last Outpost and Other Tales is up on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble.

WOOT, I have a book and it’s on sale!

Signal boosting

Novel Spaces interviews Eric T. Reynolds, publisher of Hadley Rille Books. He talks about genre crossovers and the Archeological series he publishes.

The James Gunn online workshop is back. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone who has no time to attend a real live one. And it’s being taught by the Grand Master.

Flash fiction contest at Hadley Rille Books with a beautiful image prompt.

And if you love Heroines of Fantasy, and who doesn’t, mosey over to the new blog of my fellow Hadley Rille Books authors.

Destination Future Honorable Mention

Congratulations to the authors whose Destination Future stories received Honorable Mention in Gardner Dozois’ 2010 Best Science Fiction 28

"When You Visit the Magoebaskloof Hotel Be Certain Not to Miss the

Samango Monkeys" by Elizabeth Bear [info]matociquala

"Games" by Caren Gussoff [info]spitkitten

"Dark Rendezvous" by Simon Petrie [info]punktortoise

Quake in Japan

 

For a few days now every morning I wake up with dread. This tragedy is only the last one in a string of natural disasters that resulted in massive deaths. My heart goes out to the people of Japan. I have already donated to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, but here are a couple of legitimate sites where donations are accepted.
Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
I find it annoying (and callous in the face of this disaster) that various media have been exaggerating the dangers of the nuclear reactors in Japan. The possibility of a total Chernobyl-type meltdown is extremely small. I have this from a friend who knows about nuclear reactors.
I have been also talking with another friend, a geophysicist, who has some concerns about the recent seismic activities on Earth. But that’s for another post.

Destination Future reviewed

By Mary-Grace Ellington xjenavivex

Destination Future was edited by Z.S. Adani [info]alaneer and Eric T. Reynolds [info]ericreynolds and published by Hadley Rille Books.

Destination FutureWhen Sophy Adani offered three ARCs for review, I jumped at the chance. We both belong to a small writing critique group. Even before joining that, she’d been a supportive friend ready with sage advice any time I needed it. It didn’t matter that I seldom select science fiction when searching out something new to read. I wanted to experience an anthology co-edited by her.
First contact, space opera, and adventure are prevalant components. The science is, as expected, a strong factor in the stories. What is also exciting about this group of stories, is that the environments and the characters are just as important. We explore these new worlds through the eyes of characters we come to know and understand. Their needs, desires, and values are laid before us. We feel for them.
There are stories of destruction. Wars have taken a toll on cultures. Cultures have ravaged environments. We explore refugee cultures that relocated ages before.
This anthology doesn’t rely on first contact stories alone. No. We have continued contact stories as well. We see the results of culture clashes where the weaker must find ways to co-exist under a heavy yolk. In contrast, there are stories where multiple cultures are living in peace if not harmony. Respectful acceptance of the other exists in the backdrop. Exploration of new ideas, values, and roles do come across in many of the stories.
There are stories of survival. Leaving a legacy, in many different ways, appears as a common drive. Self-preservation in the face of adversity is explored, costs are weighed. The need to connect and communicate along with the need to understand and be understood is explored at length and to the point it feels like an underlying theme.
In many cases, the stories in this anthology served as a break from my darker reading. They were no less complex, but the editors wove the fabric of the stories together with a sense of wonder and stitches here and there of brilliant, unexpected humor. The last half of the anthology felt a little darker for me and a bit more desperate for the characters. Several stories had my heart racing. More than a few made me rush to the end as fast as I could and some left me wishing for more. I read some of them to my son. There is one in particular in which he has charged me with finding out more. Two stories creeped me out. That is not an easy accomplishment.
Let me also take a moment to discuss the vibrant and absolutely fitting cover art by Edward R. Norden. The cover was striking enough that it often caught my son’s attention. It sparked many discussions about aliens and the contents of the anthology in particular. He pressed me to identify the story the cover directly relates to. I honestly couldn’t. The search was fun though. I’d be reading along and get the urge to consult the cover to see if the character description was a match. I am not generally a cover person and often find that depictions of characters on the front spoil some element for me. This was absolutely not the case here and therefore requires mentioning.
Destination Future is a strong, entertaining 300+ page anthology. It whisks us away as we read, has us fighting for our lives, longing for love and place to belong, communicating with rainbows, and exploring even our own human experience with a different perspective. If you are a fan of hard science fiction, you are well-covered. If you are not, like me, so well versed in science fiction, you will find plenty here to enjoy just the same. It is a beautiful, at times tragic, often thrilling, and even uplifting anthology.
"No Jubjub Birds Tonight" by Sara Genge
This was a strong opening story. I loved the way the friendship between the two main characters develops based on respect earned and learned. The steampunk elements were and the Lewis Carroll references were perfect.
"The Embians" by K.D. Wentworth
This was one of the stories that explored deeper levels of communication. The main character wanted to know more, to understand. It was also a story of self-exploration and the desire to belong. The ending thrilled me.
"Ambassador" by Thoraiya Dyer
This is another story where color plays a role in communication. The interaction of the characters in this story is very interesting. I like how two in particular balance each other. I pondered the drive for a legacy as I read along.
"Edge of the World" by Jonathan Shipley
Imagine encountering someone you were once briefly involved with out in deep space. It proves an awkward moment for an ambitious student who needs to achieve among alien peers that may indeed outmatch him. Does he gain his footing by the end of the story? It is fun finding out.
"Games" by Caren Gussoff [info]spitkitten
This story achieves a slow build while maintaining a sense of cold distance. Chess is a perfect metaphor. The end is sharp.
"The Hangborn" by Fredrick Obermeyer
The momentum and the will to survive propel the reader swinging along through the trees. The unveiling of the full circumstances of the characters is slow, yet timely. It is a love story at heart.
"One Awake in All The World" by Robert T. Jeschonek [info]bob_j
While this story has a romantic subplot, the main story centers on a lone survivor and two escorts that attempt to aid her in finding where she belongs. It moves slowly, but the payoff is grand.
"Alienation" by Katherine Sparrow [info]ktsparrow
In this story, we see Earth life through the eyes of visitors. It isn’t just a slice of life though. The author explores the human body and journeys through its lifespan. The encounter is quietly accomplished and locally contained, which I felt made it all the more personal.
"Dark Rendezvous" by Simon Petrie [info]punktortoise
AI with attitude adds humor to this story with a striking ending.
"Monuments of Flesh and Stone" by Mike Resnick
This is a different approach to the question of legacy. The story involves a sports recruiter, an athlete with great potential, and a place that wants a star by which to navigate.
"Hope" by Michael A. Burstein [info]mabfan
A time traveler in deep space has to convince a captain of his sincerity as he explains the great peril ahead. The reaction of the captain was plausible and I bought right in.
"Watching" by Sandra McDonald [info]sandramcdonald
I could see this story working out on the big screen as I read along. The author put her characters in positions that made you ache for them. They had choices to make and none of them were easy. Can trust orders? Are you getting the full details form those in charge? Should you blindly follow them? What would you be willing to sacrifice either way?
"Encountering Evie" by Sherry D. Ramsey
This was another love story. Love is timeless. It is boundless. Longing for someone meant for you and feeling that sense of belonging are central to this story. I found myself hoping for a reunion.
"Memento Mori" by Sue Blalock [info]seachanges
History and cultures collide. I know a few archeologists that might enjoy this story. It was tender at times and raw in other sections. This story moved very slow for me. Yet, it was powerful.
"The Gingerbread Man" by James Gunn [info]jamesgunn
The ending for this story felt fast and tidy. However, I think that could be just me. When you have a full on epiphany, you often act on it immediately. You don’t stew over it for days, eroding the strength of its message. This story touched on the personal isolation technology can promote, accommodate, and also diminish. It also contrasts technological improvements with the power of one’s sense of self, one’s reason, and one’s emotions. What can be replicated or re-engineered?
"The Angel of Mars" by Michael Barretta
This was an interesting story involving artificial intelligence and how it might evolve on its own. I thought of the Mars rover as I read on. The end is chilling.
"When You Visit The Magoesbaskloof Hotel Be Certain Not to Miss the Samango Monkeys" by Elizabeth Bear [info]matociquala
This story layers a childhood memory in with a situation the rapidly grows precarious for the main character. The added context is wonderful. The framing increases the tension.
"The Light Stones" by Erin E. Stocks
As I admitted above, this was one of the stories that creeped me out just a bit. It was a plus for me and unexpected until encountered.
"Rubber Monkeys" by Kenneth Mark Hoover [info]kmarkhoover
I had no idea where this story was going. I freely admit I didn’t see it coming. It was a good application for the question of respecting a culture apart from your own. It was also a nice display of immediate maneuvering when there is little time to sort through such a question and the ramifications. Beyond that, it was so disturbing. Part of that effect was accomplished by brushing in emotion. 
"Jadeflower" by C.E. Grayson
The author makes it easy to empathize with the characters in this story. The sense of being trapped in an environment that destroys families because this is where the work is and the family must be fed is well conveyed. A caretaker sibling’s emotions ring genuine as well. This was another story where I did not expect the ending.
"Mars Needs Baby Seals" by Lawrence M. Schoen [info]klingonguy
I am a fan of the way this author deals with travel and other futuristic things. He often comes up with concepts that propel me into deep thought. And I often find his fiction humorous. This story was no exception. While there is a quiet environmental message and a sense of urgency, the reader gets to chuckle along the way.

Another review

This one is by Jude Marie Green for radio-sf’s second issue.

Destination Future, edited by Z.S. Adani & Eric T. Reynolds

http://hadleyrillebooks.com/ (I prefer not to buy from Amazon right now, so I suggest emailing the publisher if you want a copy.)

Table of Contents:

Introduction by Z.S. Adani and Eric t. Reynolds

* No Jubjub Birds Tonight by Sara Genge

The Embians by K.D. Wentworth

Ambassador by Thoraiya Dyer

Edge of the World by Jonathan Shipley

Games by Caren Gussoff

The Hangborn by Fredrick Obermeyer

One Awake in All The World by Robert T. Jeschonek

* Alienation by Katherine Sparrow

Dark Rendezvous by Simon Petrie

Monuments of Flesh and Stone by Mike Resnick

Hope by Michael A. Burstein

Watching by Sandra McDonald

Encountering Evie by Sherry D. Ramsey

Memento Mori by Sue Blalock

The Gingerbread Man by James Gunn

The Angel of Mars by Michael Barretta

When You Visit The Magoesbaskloof Hotel Be Certain Not to Miss the Samango Monkeys by Elizabeth Bear

The Light Stones by Erin E. Stocks

Rubber Monkeys by Kenneth Mark Hoover

Jadeflower by C.E. Grayson

Mars Needs Baby Seals by Lawrence M. Schoen

My ARC came without an introduction by the editors so let me say aword about them. Z.S. Adani . I don’t know that much about her. Google shows that she’s a member of Carpe Libris and that she was a Writers of the Future finalist in 2007. We haven’t managed to publish her in Abyss&Apex yet but given her talent and science fiction output, we hope to, someday.

Eric T. Reynolds started Hadley Rille Books in 2005. His first anthology was “Golden Age SF,” Tales of a Bygone Future. Since that illustrious and wonderful beginning, Eric has published the Ruins series and the Worlds series, plus single-author collections, and novels. This is one busy small-press publisher!

General Overview:

Destination: Future is a collection of good old-fashioned hard sci-fi (Edge of The World, by Jonathan Shipley) with steampunk (No Jubjub Birds Tonight, by Sara Genge), humor (example), and even sports (Monuments of Flesh and Stone, by Mike Resnick) to flavor the genre. When we pick up a book, no matter who published it or who fills its pages, we experience the tension of expectation. Will this be entertaining? Will it be thought-provoking, story arcs that force us to revisit the ideas and characters and situations presented? Will the stories inside give us the head-scratch and wtf moments of, What the heck were the editors thinking.

Other considerations: are these offerings meant to expand the role ofgenre, push the envelope in some direction, either through style or daring or just idea drift? In 1980 “Neuromancer” was a brilliant fresh look at human-computer interaction; nowadays, that shaft has been mined and the ideas passe. What’s the new fresh thing? And do we see it here? But then, do we have to? Isn’t it enough to just read large offering of great writing, thoughtful stories, stuff that might not make the award list (though in my opinion, at least a few of these should) but will entertain for the balance of its 300-plus pages.

Editors take joy in composing the layout of stories. I could see the work that went into presenting these stories so that some thread connected one to the next. However, I was jarred by the effect. I feel bad about that. But I must wonder if some discontinuity might have lead to palate-cleansing and fresh enjoyment of the subsequent offering. I don’t know; I just know that having to recognize the art of the story-to-story connection pulled me out of each story just enough to mar the fun. Not a major complaint; more a Princess-and-the-Pea kind of thing.

* No Jubjub Birds Tonight by Sara Genge

Two of the stories (well, 3) (okay, maybe 4) from this collection are true stand-outs. This first story is a steampunk scifi stranded alienstory that makes “Avatar” (the blue aliens movie) look, well, stupid.

The Embians by K.D. Wentworth

Color and communication. What if opening communications with the
indigenous species meant opening yourself up and going native, to the
consternation of your fellow humans. A story of exploring self in
relation to the alien and finding the wonders that the alien has to
offer.(originally appeared in May 1999 F&SF)

Ambassador by Thoraiya Dyer

Humans crash land on a planet. Their only hope of survival is the previous human inhabitants, who aren’t human any longer. This story is more about not being alien.

Edge of the World by Jonathan Shipley

How embarrassing to be not-the-best, and how to beat the system. Luke needs to figure out how to fit in among students who are alien and superior to him. A few object lessons and he is swinging his weight. One of my favorite stories here.

Games by Caren Gussoff

Creepy offering of subjugation. When we communicate, we should be careful which lessons we’re teaching.

The Hangborn by Fredrick Obermeyer

A love story set on a planet where people live on lines like spiderwebs.

One Awake in All The World by Robert T. Jeschonek

Raiders with an objective land on a world mysteries and find a lone child. The solution to the mystery makes this story worth slogging through to the end.

* Alienation by Katherine Sparrow

“They grow their babies inside their bodies!”

Perhaps my favorite of the stories, this one is about close encounters of the third kind. But who is encountering whom, here? This is a lovely examination of human biology as a teaching gateway to human experiences. Wonderfully written and realized but the scope is so large that the examination must be rather superficial. No brilliant spotlight shines on any one scene; these are humans in a silvered mirror of someone else’s physiology, and we see the aliens more clearly than the humans they want to discover.

Dark Rendezvous by Simon Petrie

There’s a species of ghost story involving salvaging a derelict ship at sea. This story takes place in space, and I have to admit I’ve wanted to write a derelict salvaging story. This is a bit like WH Hodgson’s story and a bit like good old fashioned scifi. Nice work.

Monuments of Flesh and Stone by Mike Resnick

Sports recruiter dude visits an out-of-the-way planet, drawn by rumors of an amazing (sports) star, the likes of which are only seen once in a century. Is the kid truly any good? Will reality stand up to reputation? And more importantly, what is the right thing to do?

This is a tale of brilliance, generosity, and grandiose gestures, not
to mention monuments to the triumphs of the past. A good read that
gives the reader a warm and satisfied feeling. (first appeared in “Visual Journeys” )

Hope by Michael A. Burstein

A story with an upbeat ending though it starts out as anything but. A generation ship hopelessly trudging towards its destination is boardedby a time traveler. Well thought out gosh-wow story.

Watching by Sandra McDonald

I enjoyed this story, I really did. One current complaint about science fiction is that we’re not making use of actual real-time devices (cell phones, computers); this story does. Suddenly the computers are showing any scene anywhere on Earth the viewer wants to see. The viewers in this case are crew of a US military submarine and the viewer phenomenon is a gift of the aliens who have finally reached out to Earth… because, much like “Hitchhiker’s Guide” and Ford Prefect’s interaction with Arthur Dent, they’re only here because Earth is about to no longer be. This story built up a marvelous tension and drew strong characters making hard choices but ended suddenly without resolution. My main note was a mournful, Where’s the rest of the story?

Encountering Evie by Sherry D. Ramsey

I begin to believe that love stories might be the best way to deliver
scifi stories. What if the alien loves you and wants to rescue you
from the drudgery of every day human life.

Memento Mori by Sue Blalock

I suppose I should know that “Memento Mori” means “Remember, you must die,” and was the phrase whispered into the ears of successful generals during their Triumphs through the streets of Rome. The idea is to keep hubris to a minimum. I suppose I should have known that without googling yet again, but I didn’t. And I’m not sure if it’s all that important to the story.

“Scavengers fighting over dry, cracked bones,” Rei said bitterly.

“This could easily become the incident that touches off an interstellar war.”

In this case, it’s the journey that’s the fun.

The Gingerbread Man by James Gunn

Fun creepy story from a Grand Master of Science Fiction, this is the tin woodsman’s tale told sideways. (first appeared in March 1995 Analog)

The Angel of Mars by Michael Barretta

Will it be safe to visit Mars? We won’t know until we go. I’m not a big fan of short stories that span huge amounts time as they seldom manage to develop characters enough for me to care. In this story, I care more about the situation. Is it safe? Is it?

When You Visit The Magoesbaskloof Hotel Be Certain Not to Miss the Samango Monkeys by Elizabeth Bear

This short and very personal tale discusses grave robbery and aliens and survival. Another emotionally rich story

“I saw my first samamgo monkey in 1999. By the time I left Earth, they were extinct, another victim of the Shift.”(first appeared in Nov/Dec 2004 Interzone)

* The Light Stones by Erin E. Stocks

The disgusting, hidden aliens have something the traders want. And it’s worth using up limited life regenerations to get those stones. I’m reminded of early American history when settlers did stuff in the backwoods to the natural fauna and people and no one asked questions. Good strong scifi story, one of my favorites here.

Rubber Monkeys by Kenneth Mark Hoover

The fleet ship needs some repairs and the aliens who run the port want to trade for their services. They don’t want much, just human germ plasm. And we go from there to interstellar war and political gamesmanship. This story made me dizzy and I loved every moment of it.

Jadeflower by C.E. Grayson

Homesteading always has its downside: high mortality rates and then there’s the pesky natives. Can we learn to live with the aliens? Can they learn to live with us? Nice work here imagining a homestead society.

Mars Needs Baby Seals by Lawrence M. Schoen

“In Mars’ pitifully underfunded Department of Temporal Solutions, located in a too-small facility 100 metres beneath the bottom of the rehydrated Mare Sirenum – just down the hall from the Martian Department of Tax Relief and Prosthetic Enhancements – history was about to be made.”

Despite this florid opening sentence and some interesting names for the characters, this romp was an easy read and plenty of fun. Did you know that February 27 was International Polar Bear Day? Neither did I! Going back in time and space to Earth and stealing seals seems a bit “Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home,” but trust me, this doesn’t take itself quite that seriously. Hey Lawrence, are you doing more stories in this setting?

All in all, good to great stories, not a bad one in the lot, professional values and good reading, this is the kind of work we strive to produce when we write

Destination Future review

 

Cat Rambo’s [info]catrambo  review of Destination Future for Rise Reviews.

Hadley Rille has put out some solid publications since its inception in 2005, and Destination: Future, edited by Z.S. Adani and Eric T. Reynolds,  is no exception.

The anthology starts out with a flurry of terrific stories, starting with Sara Genge’s “No Jub Jub Birds Tonight,” which manages to incorporate gentle Lewis Carroll references in a surprising tale that twists and turns, full of nifty concepts and cultural conventions. Genge packs so much into the story that you don’t know if she’ll manage to pull off the assemblage in the end, but she does it with applomb.

“No Jub Jub Birds Tonight” is a fabulous story of the friendship between an alien and human. It’s followed by “The Embians,” by K.D. Wentworth, in which a human romance is played out against a first contact story that is lyrical and immersive. Keeping the level of excellence high, Thoraiya Dyer’s “Ambassador” shifts in a cascade of meanings that lead up to a surprising, poignant and uncanny moment of alien and human interaction.  Caren Gussof’s “Games” also details alien and human interaction – as the narrator teaches her alien friend human games, the boundary and shape of their relationship is mapped out, beautifully and movingly.

My favorite story of the anthology is Katherine Sparrow’s “Alienation.” Sparrow’s prose sometimes reminds me of Emshwiller at her best, combining humor and emotion in language that unsettles and delights at the same time. “Alienation” is one of those moments. Most of the stories detail the intersection of alien and human, sometimes a beneficial partnership, other times not, as in Kenneth Mark Hoover’s horrifying “Rubber Monkeys,” which has some truly creepy concept. Erin E. Stocks’ “The Light Stones,” moves in fantasy-ish direction, slightly flavored with Vance or Leiber-like overtones. Like so many of the other stories, it delights and provokes thought.

There’s a shift to slighter, and sometime more stilted stories in the second half of the book, and I could have done without about half of the rest, sometimes inclined to tell rather than show. Many of the stories hold genuine pathos; others reach for it less successfully. Overall, though, the strength of its good stories make Destination: Future well worth picking up, and one of the stronger of recent anthologies.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.