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Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Lengthy SF History

Although I'm a newly-published SF author, I have a rather lengthy history with the subject. I've been reading science fiction and fantasy since I learned to read---a lot of comic books, the Mary Poppins books, Doctor Doolittle, etc.. By the early sixties, I was also writing fiction---mostly short stories and fantasy at that time. And I actually won the Creative Writing Award at HS graduation for a non-SF piece.

I've written a lot of non-fiction, too.: college essays and reports as well as a book-length art curriculum guide. But my first love has always been and continues to be sci-fi and fantasy in any form. I started attending SF cons ( conventions ) in March of 1969 in Boston. At first, I found myself a bit out of my element, but I quickly adjusted when I realized that everyone there was an SF fan and proud of it! Some of the famous writers I've met since are among the most intelligent people I've ever met. After that, I don't think it ever really bothered me that most "mundanes" ( SF-speak for mainstream folk, non -fans of SF ) looked down their noses at us, regarding us as "geeks" and nerds"---oh, my!

I recognized the value in my/their interests and dreams---and besides, it was a heck of a lot of fun!

Fandom gave me permission to be myself, to be different, to dream as far as the stars---and encouraged me to live my dreams. If you haven't got involved in SFF fandom yet, give it a try. You might be surprised at what you find!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Resisting Temptation

Some of the best advice I can give young ( and not-so-young ) writers is: don't throw out your work! There's always a temptation to toss the less-than-successful stuff you write. Refrain! Many, many times I've gone back over rough drafts, some of them written years ago, and discovered that I actually had something there. Not a finished product, of course, but the germ of an idea, something I could work with, rewrite, revise, or perhaps incorporate into another piece of writing or even into another form.

I think this rule applies to most art forms, whether painting, sculpting, music, or whatever. I can't tell you how many times I was sorely tempted to toss out every shred of Judgment on Tartarus and just forget it. But I held onto it, revised it, labored over it, until it reached its final form. In its first form it was, of course, unpublishable, and that was mighty discouraging. But looking back on the history of Judgment, I can only think there was a good reason for such a doggone long delay in getting it published. Had it been published when I first sent it off to a publisher, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as good a book as it is now. And I probably would never have written the rest of the trilogy: True Son of Tartarus and Ransom of Tartarus or they simply wouldn't be the books they are developing into today.

All for now,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So the prequel to the Tartarus trilogy is coming along nicely, as I've told you before. This is the story of how Malkis left Tartarus and how he and Hughes met at the Interstellar Space Service Academy in Houston, Texas, USA. when they were youths. I also introduce some of the minor characters who won't appear until Book 3: Ransom of Tartarus---namely Hiro Orion Watenabe ( "Howie" ) and Barad of Eris, a Thrasian like Kalom.

Part of the plot of Malkis of Tartarus involves an evil Nazi-like group who call themselves AFE---Alien-Free Earth! I'm sure you can begin to imagine the problems that crop up when Malkis runs up against them. ( Hughes is no bigot, but as I've related in Judgment on Tartarus, he despised the Tartarian right from the get go.)

My biggest challenge still lies ahead. My daughter Sharyn mentioned she was looking forward to a book about the Gorgonian Wars! The instant I heard that I thought, "Makes sense. Why not?" Now I have to write that one too, God willing!

Oh, dear.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reader Concerns

Promised you I'd discuss a couple of concerns my readers have. For instance, why communications aboard Astrella aren't more advanced ( ala Star Trek or Babylon 5, I suspect. ) Both those TV shows employed personal comm devices attached to either clothing or skin. This was done for dramatic effect, I'm sure. But practicality?

I did consider using some such technology but chose not to use it for some very simple reasons. People value their privacy, especially in close quarters such as a spaceship or spacestation. No one would want to risk an offhand comment like "The Captain's a bleeping bleep-bleep!" being accidentally overheard. Nor would anyone want less than absolute privacy in the bedroom or the head! Comm systems are best left in easily-acessible places where people could choose whether or not to use them, without risk of eavesdroppers.

Also, this story is set in the very early part of the 22nd century--a mere eighty-nine years from now. And the way our space program is going, it's hard to say now how advanced our technology is going to be by that time. I suspect we have much bigger problems than shipboard communication, such as the speed of space-travel and the safety and health of future astronauts.

That said, the latest on Judgment on Tartarus is that I now have three great reviews on ( one is four stars and two are five! ) and at least six other people that I know of are currently reading Judgment. I'm happy that people are enjoying it.

So much for now,