Enjoying Scifi Blog

August 19, 2014

A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories

Filed under: Humor, Stories, Writing — Tags: , , , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 9:27 pm

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A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of putting out minianthologies – collections of five to ten stories – on Kindle as a way to use up some of my stories and to let people know I exist.  Well, I have just put out my latest minianthology – “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories.” It contains five stories set upon the moon.  The blurb I have for it is as follows:

Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, create farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five short stories set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there. 

 I hope you’ll check it out, and if it strikes your fancy you can download it for only $0.99.  I hope you’ll enjoy.

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The story behind this minianthology is somewhat long.  Part of the idea behind my minianthologies is to show people a sampling of my writing, but I also like to group similar stories.  When I realized I had several stories set on the moon, it was natural to put them together.  A couple of these were published before – I’ve revised them for this – but I also wanted a couple new stories.  I had one story that involved time travel, and I haven’t figured out how to make it work.  So I would start working on this collection, only to get stuck on this story, set it aside to let my creative juices flow, only to then get caught up in some other project.  It was probably almost two years ago that I started this project, but I didn’t really get anywhere with it until about four months ago.

About four months ago was when I learned my story “The Reluctant Host” would appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What? which would be published now.  (See my post on another blog.)  You know what would be good, I thought?  If I had a Kindle book come out at the same time to get some of that chicken soup splashover

Of my dozen or so projects, “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” was the closest to being finished, so I set out to finish it.  One problem was this time travel story I couldn’t make work.  Fortunately, I had recently come up with a new story idea also set upon the moon, “Putting Down Roots.” Since I could finish that story, and since the other stories in the collection were more grounded scifi (no warp drive or aliens) the time travel story kind of stood out.  So I swapped the stories and set to work finishing it.

I was making steady progress, when in early July I smacked my forehead because I had missed something.  July 20 marked the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.  What better time to put out a collection of stories set on the moon?  I debated for a bit if I should change my publication plans, but I couldn’t finish it in time.

As it turns out, this later publication date may actually be better.  One thing am really passionate about is setting up a permanent human presence in space, such as at a moon base.  If I had published this a month ago, it probably would have been lost in all the hoopla for Apollo 11, which I believe all faded into obscurity on July 21st.  But with this ebook coming out a month later, it can help advance my goal of moon bases in my lifetime by showing people the moon isn’t just something to get excited about on big anniversaries. 

At least, that’s what I tell myself to keep from smashing my forehead for missing such an obvious connection.

March 4, 2013

Writing pet peeve, “What are we doing here?”

Filed under: Stories, Writing — Tags: , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 2:56 am

This is something I’ve seen several times in short stories or novels over the years.  I recently saw this in a short story by a famous author, which prompted this rant.

Basically, what happens is a group of people set out on an expedition, either to another planet or back in time.  It takes months or years of work to outfit the ship and/or fly to the other planet.  Shortly after they arrive, one of the crew raises their hand and asks, “What are we doing here?” Now, I’m not talking about military expeditions where – for secrecy – they have to get to the place before they open their orders, I understand that.  What I’m talking about is usually corporate missions to find some new resource or a general science expedition.  Every time I see it I can’t help but wonder, Did they miss the memo?  I mean, how can they spend months or years working on a project without once asking, What’s the point?

I think the reason many authors do this is because it’s the best way they can think of to disguise an info dump.  Seriously, what would you rather read about, characters discussing what they are going to do with a planet looming in their viewscreen, or characters sitting around a drab conference table on Earth as some schmuck reads through the bullet points on a power point presentation?  “As you can see, here are our synergetic objectives once we arrive at Brindenbaugh Alpha-7.”

I understand that on one hand there is the realistic – usually boring – way things are done in the real world, while on the other hand there is the far more entertaining way things are done in fiction.  I also understand that part of enjoying fiction is getting lost in that world, momentarily forgetting that it’s fiction.  So when I read about a character who spent months in a spaceship flying to some distant planet, apparently without once asking why they’ve spent months in a spaceship flying to some distant planet, the fact that these characters are not real people become abundantly clear.

March 28, 2012

Upcoming story madness

Filed under: Stories, Writing — Stephen L. Thompson @ 5:14 am

Four years ago, I had the crazy idea of trying to see if I could write thirty stories in thirty days.  What’s even crazier, is that I set out to write thirty stories in thirty days and I succeeded.  What’s even crazier than that is that I’ve tried every year since.  For the first three years, I succeeded in writing thirty stories, but last year – while in the process of moving – I only managed to write nineteen.  So why do I bring this up?  Well, beginning next Sunday (and it’s not an April Fool’s joke) I’ll be beginning my Fifth Annual 30 Stories in 30 Days Challenge.  You can check that link for a complete listing of my rules and a more detailed description of the origin.  Originally, I posted the stories on that webpage, but last year I posted them to my writing blog because it was easier and people could comment on them, and I’ll be doing the same this year.  So why don’t you check it out.  Most of the stories probably won’t be science fiction, but a few will.  And some of them – by law of averages – should be good.  In addition, and you can watch a writer go insane.  Cheers.

February 27, 2011

Interview with Walt Trizna, author of New Moon Rising

Filed under: Writing — Stephen L. Thompson @ 7:52 pm

As the King of Prussia Writing Examiner on Examiner.com, I recently interviewed my friend Walt Trizna about the publication of his first novel, New Moon RisingCheck out the interview, and see if it’s something you might enjoy.

February 22, 2011

Visions of the Future

Filed under: Odds, Stories, Writing — Stephen L. Thompson @ 10:00 pm

If you enjoy scifi art, you’ll probably enjoy this five part series on scifi art from the Second Golden Age.  Here’s Part 1:

 

Another cool aspect of these videos is inspiration if you’re a writer.  Several years ago, I went to a used book store and found a book of scifi paintings.  I had the idea of writing a story for each painting, but the book cost $50 I didn’t have.  After a couple of weeks of thinking about it, I told myself I had to buy it regardless.  But when I went back, someone had beaten me to it.  I only remember one of the paintings – involving astronauts on the moon – but after six or seven years, I still haven’t thought of a story for it.

A couple of years ago I was thinking of this and decided I should write a story about a writer who was inspired to write a story based on a painting.  But that seemed rather boring, so I spiced it up a bit.  Here is “Amongst Us.”

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