Monday, January 24, 2011

Short Stories

What with one thing and another, I seem to have forgotten to mention that I've started putting some of my short fiction up for sale, along with the ebooks. I've always had a few of them up on my website, and people do seem to read them. But this is the first time I've put them in format for the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.—and I'm adding a bunch of other stories that haven't appeared anywhere since their first publication. I don't really write a lot of short stories, but you could say that these represent a brief history of my career. My first few publications were short stories, and I've written a new one every once in a blue moon since switching largely to novels.

For starters, I've put three stories up: "Shapeshifter Finals," "Reality School: In the Entropy Zone," and "What Gods Are These?" No, they're not in chronological order according to when I wrote them, though that might have been clever, too. Here's a bit of background on them.

Shapeshifter Finals — One day some years ago I got a call from Roger Zelazny, who was practically a god to me. He said he was editing an anthology of SF stories involving martial arts. He'd heard somewhere that I'd been a wrestler in school, and would I like to submit an SF story about wrestling? I stuttered something about how if I could come up with an idea, I'd send it to him. But I didn't really expect to. But then...I got an idea about a high school wrestler facing a shapeshifter. Not by accident, but because Earth was hosting the 57,463rd Games of IIMAWL, the IntraGalactic Interworld Multicultural Amateur Wrestling League, and one Hog Donovan was competing at 138 pounds. He knew he’d be facing tough, alien competition. But wrestling a shapeshifter? With Earth’s honor at stake and his mother screaming from the stands, what’s the young wrestler to do? “Shapeshifter Finals” originally appeared in the anthology Warriors of Blood and Dream, edited by Roger Zelazny.  Kindle | Nook | All-format

Reality School: In the Entropy Zone — This story had its own weird origin. I wasn't really thinking about writing a short piece, but one day I was thumbing through the newspaper and I saw a small ad I first read it, Reality School. I blinked and read it again. The ad was for realty school.  But the thought stuck with me. As it happened, I had an earlier, unfinished story involving the world being swallowed up by a creeping zone of entropy. I put the two together, and decided that the reality school must be a place where kids—with their elastic minds and incredible imaginations—would have their talents harnessed to defend the integrity of reality and the world itself against encroaching, and potentially devastating, entropy. "Reality School" first appeared in the magazine Science Fiction Age.   Kindle | Nook | All-format

What Gods Are These? — To be honest, I don't remember where this story came from. I know it emerged from a time when my view of life was rather dark. At least, it's definitely a darker story than I usually write, and all I can say for sure is that there was something dark inside me that wanted to be let out. Earth has been conquered by invading aliens—not because they want our water, or our mineral resources, or to eat us, or to use us as batteries—but because they see it as their mission to save us from our self-destructive character. All of Humanity but for a lone holdout has been killed or transported to a place of enforced peace and good behavior. And that holdout, holed up in a ruined space station, knows they're coming for him. Can his human spirit survive in the face of the Saviors' overwhelming force? Writing "What Gods Are These?" was a good catharsis. It first appeared in Galileo SF magazine. Kindle | Nook | All-format

More are coming. About half of them exist only on paper, so they need to be scanned or typed in. Fortunately, my daughters offered to pitch in—so stay tuned!

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