Shine anthology contributors interviewed

Paul Raven @ 09-04-2010

The SF Signal gang have turned over the microphone (er, keyboard) to Charles Tan to publish a set of interviews with the authors whose stories appear in the Shine anthology of optimistic science fiction, mentioned here many times previously. Shine features a decent number of Futurismic fiction alumni, and hence regular readers may be interested to see the interviews with Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Jason Stoddard which have already appeared.

I’ll be reviewing Shine here at Futurismic just as soon as my life circumstances have handed me sufficient time to read it and bash out some words in response (things are still a little fraught, in case you were wonderin’). In the meantime, have any of you lot bought a copy of Shine and, if so, what did you think? And if you’re not interested in buying a copy (for any reason other than not having the money spare), why is that?


Quicklinkage: writers on writing, Godin on slush

Paul Raven @ 22-03-2010

Some quick links collected in a spare segment of a manic Monday, in lieu of our usual fare (i.e. me waffling on about stuff): here are some science fiction writers going all meta on our arses and writing about writing:

And to close up with a topic for discussion, here’s Seth Godin’s take on the oft-reported death of the slush pile:

If you have something good, really good, what’s it doing in the slush pile?

Bring it to the world directly, make your own video, write your own ebook, post your own blog, record your own music.

Or find an agent, a great agent, a selective agent, one that’s almost impossible to get through to, one that commands respect and acts as a filter because after all, that’s what you’re seeking, a filtered, amplified way to spread your idea.

But slush?

Good riddance.

What do you think: is this a case of Godin just not understanding the way fiction publishing works, and hence applying an inappropriate business model to it? Or is he prophesying the unavoidable future of fiction publishing? Your thoughts and opinions would be appreciated.


NEW FICTION: WHITE SWAN by Jason Stoddard

Paul Raven @ 04-01-2010

It’s a new year, and we have new fiction at Futurismic once again, courtesy of a familiar face. We’ve published more stories by Jason Stoddard than any one other author, and if you can read White Swan and still wonder why that is… well, I don’t know what to tell you!

“White Swan” sees Jason taking on a different style and voice, and very successfully. It’s a tale of small bright hopes in a dark and difficult future, and a shining example of why optimistic sf doesn’t have to be unrealistic, trite or panglossian. Read and enjoy. 🙂

White Swan

by Jason Stoddard

The tiny room stinks of kid-sweat and puke, and greasy Portland rain, endless, rattles the thin plastic window. Little Beny thrashes in his narrow bed, clawing unseen monsters.

This is the hardest time, Lili Antila thinks.

Hardest because she knows Beny’s cries are echoing through the thin walls to reach his mother and father, who drip exhausted tears on screens bright with electronic hope. Hardest because this is when she always thinks, What if it doesn’t work this time? Hardest because it brings back gauze-wrapped memories of bright-lit hospital rooms and hard-faced doctors and soft sheets rough like sandpaper on her own changing skin–

Lili blinks back tears and turns to the wall, which is playing one of her favorite movies on a window not much bigger than her hand: Bad Girl. A black-and-white James Dunn is waxing on about his dream of owning a radio store. Lili knows what a radio store is. A physical location to house goods for sale, electronics so hopelessly primitive that they were not even interactive. She also knows it is a sad and impossible dream in the First Depression. The screen is smart enough to know this, and it displays the movie with no floaters, no contextual hints.

There is a scuffle of feet at the door. A polite noise. Lili waits for Freya to walk up behind her. She can feel Freya’s body heat in the chill room. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: WHITE SWAN by Jason Stoddard”


Unplugged: the Web’s Best SF/F anthology now available!

Paul Raven @ 14-12-2009

Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy 2008Almost exactly a year ago I had the pleasure of announcing that a story originally published here at FuturismicJason Stoddard’s “Willpower”, to be precise – had been selected by Rich Horton for reprinting in his inaugural Unplugged: The Web’s Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy anthology.

And now I have the pleasure of announcing that copies of said anthology are now available from Wyrm Publishing (the people who bring you the excellent Clarkesworld online magazine, and much more); US$14.95 nets you fourteen stories from newcomers and luminaries of the genre fiction scene alike, which strikes me as pretty decent value… not to mention a great way to support the writers who contribute to online publications just like this one.

A recent Publisher’s Weekly review of Unplugged suggested that “[a]fter reading this 14-story compilation, online publishing naysayers may rethink their position.” I suspect we have a way to go before that happens, but anthologies like this are certain to help things along… not to mention reminding us web publishers that we’re doing something worthwhile!

So why not go buy a copy of Unplugged, and show some support for the writers (and publishers) who’ve provided you with great stories that you could read for free?


Jason Stoddard gets hardback publication deal on two Creative Commons novels

Paul Raven @ 12-05-2009

Jason Stoddard's Winning Mars (Creative Commons edition cover art)Well, this is the sort of announcement that makes the hard work of running a webzine worthwhile! Jason Stoddard, a regular fixture in Futurismic‘s fiction section (and a genuinely super guy to boot) has sold two novels to genre fiction small press Prime Books, an outfit that publishes novels by fine writers such as Nick Mamatas and Ekaterina Sedia and anthologies by editors including Rich Horton and John Joseph Adams.

That would be worthy of celebration as it stands, but there’s an extra angle that makes Stoddard’s deal unusual – both novels have already been released for free under Creative Commons licenses. Let’s let Jason explain:

In a phrase, completely unexpectedly. Sean contacted me to see if Winning Mars and Eternal Franchise were available. I did a quick google of Sean’s name and company, saw that he was an established small press that worked with solid authors, and sent a quick email back saying yes, the books were available, but that both had been released into the wild. I fully expected the typical publisher reaction: you killed them there books, son, when you released ’em. But no. Sean has to go and restore my faith in humanity and the publishing industry.

On behalf of Futurismic, I’d like to roundly congratulate Jason on this great news, and Sean Wallace for taking this unusual step; it’s a vindication of Creative Commons licensing, and it’s a publisher picking up a writer in whom I have great faith. I’m proud that Futurismic got to be part of Jason’s journey to publication – Chris and I have seen many writers whose stories we’ve published here go on to bigger and better things, and I hope there will be more to come in the future.

Which means the final thank-you goes to you, the readers – it’s your attention and love of good fiction that brings great writers to our door. Keep reading – together, we can find more of them. 🙂

If you’ve not read any of Jason’s work before (or if you simply feel the need to reacquaint yourself with it), all his Futurismic publications are tagged with his name. Enjoy!


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