“The Storyteller” Picked Up by Rampant Loon!

My latest short story, The Storyteller, has been bought by Rampant Loon Press! I’ve been working on this one on-and-off for about five years now. It’s gone through several periods of mothball status and at least two rounds of workshop critique from my writer group — so by no means an easy road to the finish. Ringing in at around 5700 words (pared down from over 7000), it’s also one my longest short stories.

The Storyteller is a response to a couple of converging thought threads that I’ve had in recent years. Firstly, I wondered if it was possible to envision a scenario in which humanity unites around something besides a common external threat. I wanted to attempt the kind of  “optimistic” scifi that also doesn’t avoid meaningful conflict, which it seems many people are looking for but can’t quite find these days.

Secondly, I have been itching for a long time to write something a little more “out there” than the near-future, hard-scifi of Red Soil Through Our Fingers. This story is a step in the direction of the more fantastic and mind-bending science fiction that I enjoy reading, but still falls short of my ideal. Still, I think it at least better reflects who I am as a writer today, more so than the other works of mine that are currently available.

Finally, it’s also just a relief to get something new out there at all. For various reasons, my writing really bogged down following the publication of Red Soil Through Our Fingers, and it’s been over two and a half years since I’ve been able to publish anything new. I’m hoping that this gives me a motivation spurt to get my writing back on track, and get my finished story portfolio caught up a bit with the idea queue in my head.

Now that The Storyteller has been purchased, I have hopes it will appear in a forthcoming issue of Stupefying Stories magazine. I’ll be sure to blog and toot when it is released!

Review of “The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1)The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved it. Fantastic, mind-blowing ideas and many-layered cultural setting, social systems, and characters. My only complaints are 1) the dialogue comes off as stiff and overly-constructed (which I assume I can attribute to the difficulty of translating from Chinese), and 2) the exposition and plot advancement (especially as we begin to learn more about the Trisolarans) often feels very heavy-handed.

Let’s see how it scores on the Nalin Scale of SciFi Elements that really hook me:

  • Ideas: Excellent
  • Wonder and Awe: Excellent
  • Identity: Excellent
  • Myth/Ritual/Infinity: Very Good (and I suspect the sequels will push even further)

Some of the best science fiction I’ve read in awhile. Will definitely read the sequels.

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