Cover Art: Arthur Haas, Published by Clarkesworld Magazine
Many elements of short stories require a certain level of mastery. Structure is key is to building impactful stories that gel with their respective genres and fluid pacing keeps readers interested while simultaneously balancing conflicts within a shorter narrative scope.
In the short story, ‘Gaze of Robot, Gaze of Bird,’ published in issue #151 of Clarkesworld Magazine, Eric Schwitzgebel employs these elements incredibly well. He does this firstly by structuring his story around vast periods of planetary exploration and biological evolution and, secondly, inventing a story from the POV of an emotionless, artificial intelligence called ‘J11-L’ who experiences it all in a state of timelessness that occurs over 100 million years.
Cover Art: Matt Dixon, Published by Clarkesworld Magazine
There is a wealth of science fiction writers out there who are really trying to experiment with different styles and entertain enlightening concepts. The short story ‘Tick Tock’, published in Issue #152 of Clarkesworld Magazine, first presents itself as a straight forward tale about an unnamed character who interacts and manipulates simulated ‘stories’ which he experiences through a quasi-dream state or digitized-projection of his real self. Yet the further you progress, it becomes more and more of a rabbit hole plunge that delves into the nature of virtual or ‘realised’ realities, deep-dive perceptions that ‘incept’ from dream state to deeper conscious states, and that highest form of creativity: imagination.
Some of the best stories don’t just articulate living characters well or paint a vivid environment: they get you asking questions about the nature of our own reality and the structure of the universe. To read more about the review, head over to SFFWorld: Short Story Review 'Tick Tock.'
“Based on a substantial body of experimental evidence, we can state with a high degree of confidence that real magic exists” – Prof. Dean Radin, Chief Scientist of the Institute of Noetic Sciences
The nature of reality extends beyond the physical world. But what if there’s a greater cosmic truth, what has been alluded to in secret and sacred histories and has been described by many writers such as Jonathan Black – a world of knowledge, practices and extraordinary abilities that have been kept alive through ages by ritualized religion, psychic mediumship and direct mystical experiences?
In Real Magic, Prof. Dean Radin explores magic from an evidence-based scientific perspective. His chief concern is the investigation of psychic phenomena (psi), the study of which comes under the discipline of parapsychology. As Nikola Tesla famously said on the subject: “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
At the heart of all great genre fiction you will find a great premise. Back in 2001, author Philip Reeve created a a marvelously original world set in the far future where our civilization has gone and is replaced with cities which have been rebuilt as massive vehicles that hunt smaller cities and towns. In this world, centuries after a devastating '60-minute war', life has changed and societal structures reset to such a great extent that much of human history, aside from discovered and 'rediscovered' technological innovations, has been largely forgotten. I speak of course of Mortal Engines.
Publishing simultaneously with the release of the Mortal Engines motion picture is the prequel novella, Night Flights, which explores the back story of Anti-traction League Agent and airship pilot, Anna Fang. For the full interview and story feature, please read or download the Scribd Document below.
Philip Reeve's current written project is a sci fi trilogy which follows the adventures of the rebel and thief, Zen Starling, who hails from a backwater industrial town. He travels to other planets to purloin wares via sentient trains which travel on a hyperspace railways that lead through worm-made 'K-gate' portals. But soon his luck begins to change when he finds himself employed by a mysterious figure called Raven.
The trilogy begins with Railhead and is followed by books two and three: Blacklight Express and Station Zero. All books, including those written in the world of Mortal Engines, are currently available in all bookstores.
Sometimes, no matter how great a writer’s talent, a story deflates through emotional turbidity. It wintles short of being elemental. Of being deemed necessary reading by our creative peers.
Yet there is something to be celebrated about Steven J. Dine’s novella: ‘The Harder it Gets the Softer We Sing’, published in Black Static, Issue 63. There is a quiet energy that draws you. Above all the action and alluring mystique we find tend to find in pulp fiction, it enthralls through its use of symbolism and ‘second story.’ Reading it through twice, the words audibly wrangle, signaling to readers that they’re mere guiding marks to the raw crux of the tale being told: a story filled with pain and self abandonment...
For this interview, I reached out to Internationally acclaimed author, Kevin J. Anderson, to talk about his short fiction, how he got started publishing professionally and how he tames the writing monster.
Besides an impressive career, which includes writing in the expansive worlds of the Star Wars EU, X Files and the Dune Series, KJA has helped create many other fictional worlds . He's published around 150 short stories, has worked on comics, graphic novels and anthologies, and has produced his own novel-sized adventures such as his sequel space opera trilogy, The Saga of the Seven Suns.
To discover more, scroll down to read the interview and 'The Dark Between the Stars' Feature. For more fantastic fiction by Kevin J Anderson, you can follow him on Twitter @TheKJA, like the official Facebook Page, Kevin J. Anderson, or contact him through his publishing website wordfire.com
Published by Tor Books; Cover art by Stephen Youll
Art has the ability to influence our perception of story settings, heroes, heroines and villains. Done with earnest passion and creative insight, they often leave a stamp on our minds which we sometimes recall far more vividly than anything else.
John Coulthart is an award-winning fantasy artist who was recently nominated for the Gemmell Award for his work on Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. His art has appeared in many publications including Barnes & Noble, Tor Books, and Angry Robot. Aspiring artists and writers alike can find out more about his impressive contributions by reading the written interview-feature below on Scribr. Or alternatively, click the featured cover art to find out more information about the books.
From the very beginning of Moonshine, we are plunged into an alternate timeline of America’s roaring twenties. Ashland’s Soot City is wreathed in the otherworldly. The atmosphere is all volcanic smog and watercoloured nights. Gas lit alleyways shine light on the clientele spilling out of disreputable establishments at twilight. Jalopies race through the streets. Spells are cast. It’s a veritable breeding ground for cloak and dagger and morbid crimes done in the dark.
What is most impressive about Jasmine Gower’s debut fantasy romance is the magic weaved into every sentence. The imagery lingers and character’s motives keep readers guessing. To read more about this spellbinding novel set in a warped version of Chicago, check out the full interview and feature below.
Jennette Ng's descriptive powers helped to build the mist-wreathed, mysterious land of Arcadia. There are times when the 'real' crosses over into delightful absurdism that reminds readers of the work of Lewis Carol or Hayao Miyazaki. But above all one of the most captivating elements of this book is its novel and alluring premise: Victorian missonairies travel to the Faelands to convert the fae folk to Christianity.
Under the Pendulum Sun is a newly-released Victorian Gothic fantasy, published by Angry Robot. The story follows Catherine Helstone who travels from Yorkshire to Arcadia to find out what happened to her brother, the resident Reverend of Gethsemane castle. Scroll below to read the full author interview and discover more about this unusual tale in the feature article.
Clockwork ghosts and the patterns of departed souls comprise a techno-synergetic society. A microcosm of human habitation flies across the vast loneliness of space. Generations aboard it live and die. So long have the people travelled that to them time and history and people of Earth recede into phantom remembrances. Memories collect in the Library of the Dead – so many. Thousands. Until even the oldest among them fade and are kept alive in a second life – memories of memories.