And Having Read . . .

Cats BreakfastI have been digesting the other twenty-nine stories in Cat’s Breakfast, one each day for the past month or so.  There was no point in rushing through them since I can’t review the anthology at Amazing Stories due to the obvious conflict of interest (I wrote the lead story in the collection).  Suffice to say that it is the sort of book that I would have featured as a Scide Splitter.

Had I reviewed Cat’s Breakfast, I would have pointed out how wonderful the first story is, thus causing the editor at Amazing to spit out his coffee and ban the article entirely.  My summation would have stated that the anthology is filled with dark satires befitting a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, many of which elicit a good laugh.  I would have also mentioned that my favorite stories included Christopher Mark Rose’s “Emerging Grammars,” Gregg Chamberlain’s “The Pigeon Drop” and James Beamon’s “Command Decision.”  But I am not going to tell you any of those things because it would be inappropriate.

 

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“Spooky Action” Published

No, I am Cats Breakfastnot writing horror.  This is quantum mechanics.  A physics professor accidentally contacts God while conducting experiments in quantum entanglement.  “Spooky Action” is the lead story in Cat’s Breakfast, the Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology released yesterday by Third Flatiron Publishing.  It is available in digital format through Amazon, with the trade paper edition due out in the next few days.

I have not received my copy yet, so I can’t honestly vouch for the rest of the stories.  Never-the-less, I have high hopes for this anthology.  How often do you get a chance to read a professional-level selection of dark humor?  (Not often enough is the answer, in case you were unsure.)  And if there is one thing we need in our current social/political climate, it is a dose of satire.  So, bring on the gallows humor.

Another Story Sold

I sold another short story, this time to Third Flatiron Publishing for their forthcoming Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology, Cat’s Breakfast.  It was also chosen as the lead for the book.  That honor comes with a podcasting of the story as part of the promotion for the anthology.  The book is scheduled to be released in June.

Regular readers of my Scide Splitters blog at Amazing Stories will have noticed that there was no April Scide Splitters.  This is because I am taking a hiatus until September.  My apologies for leaving you without humor reading recommendations for the summer, but other obligations take precedence.  If you can’t wait that long for your humor fix, post a request here in the comments or through the Contact form and I will recommend something (sans lengthy review).  If you include a short list of what you have enjoyed reading, I can better target my suggestions.  And of course, you could pick up a copy of Cat’s Breakfast if your tastes tend toward the dark, Vonnegutesque side.  I hear they have one hell of a lead story.

Waiting for the Sun

Time and SunAs some of you may know, my years as a homeschool teacher are coming to a close.  My youngest daughter graduates at the end of May, and then…  Well, then one of my other daughters gets married in June, so that will be busy, but then…  Daylight?  More time to write?  Is it really possible to have more time available in my schedule?

I’ve gotten so used to having less and less time over the last few decades, it is hard to believe that such a thing is possible.  I imagine that it might be like a prisoner scheduled for release after a twenty-five year sentence.  There is something surreal about it.  Not that I am trying to directly compare responsibilities as a father and teacher to being in prison.  It is just that for decades I have, one by one, had to kill off most of my hobbies and personal interests.  I fear that something will come along, laughing, “Ah, stupid boy, don’t you know that fate forbids such things.  Enjoy the following unexpected screwing!”

Well, anyway, I can at least hope.

In the meantime, I have posted a couple of Scide Splitters since my last post here.  The first was a combination appreciation and short story review for Ed Bryant: Scide Splitters: Bean Bag Cats & Bad German by Ed Bryant.  The second, posted today, is a review of a humorous SF anthology: Scide Splitters: Little Green Men—Attack! – edited by Robin Wayne Bailey & Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Worldcon and a Story

I promised to report on my Worldcon experience “next week” a month ago.  Better late than never.  But first, some writing news…

I sold a story titled “Time and Not Space” to Galaxy’s Edge Magazine.  It will appear in the November issue.  I will post a reminder and a link when the time comes.  Scide Splitters columns continue with the latest being a review of Unidentified Funny Objects 5.

Worldcon!

I’ve been wanting to go to a Worldcon for decades, but time and money have held me back until this year – that and not realizing what I have been missing.  Prior to my experience at MidAmeriConII (that is the name of the 2016 Worldcon held in Kansas City last month), I was concerned that I would be disappointed for two reasons, hype and being an outsider.

The hype concern was due to my having built up decades of anticipation based on all the wonderful stories I have heard about Worldcons past.  How could the real thing live up to the myth fostered in my mind?  The other concern was based on my feeling like something of an alien to my own species.  Yes, I understand that this is not an uncommon feeling among science fiction fans.  We are outcasts.  Even so, I suspected that the SF community would be yet another group where I would not fit in.

I was wrong on both counts.  Worldcon lived up to the hype and I found many kindred spirits.

First, the people, because without them, there is no Worldcon.  The majority of them were friendly and welcoming.  Not that this is unique to SF fandom, but it is a prerequisite to friendship.  Beyond that, I can’t easily explain why I connected so well with so many at the convention.  It was more than just a common interest in science fiction.  Sometimes people connect.  It is a complex thing and I won’t try to analyze it here.

It may have helped that I smoke.  Smokers are the outcasts of outcasts, forced to congregate out of necessity.  It’s kind of like being stuck on an elevator together.  Eventually you will talk to each other, and having nicotine to calm the internal fires, smokers tend to be a friendly bunch when getting their fix.  There is something at Worldcon called BarCon.  People congregate and get to know each other over drinks.  I will call the smoker’s version AshtrayCon.  I don’t know if the word, or something of similar meaning, exists in the lexicon of fandom, but it should.  And when you put BarCon and AshtrayCon together, all the better.

As for other activities, WorldCon has so many appealing things going on at any given time, that you have to set priorities.  I ended up trying to evenly divide my time between my various interests as a writer, a reader, a fan, and a lover of science.  I partook in panels, presentations, kaffeeklatsches, literary beers, book signings, award ceremonies, and wandering the exhibit hall.  But it was always the people that made these events worthwhile.