Wednesday, 24 April 2019

British science fiction and fantasy in rude health

It is with a heavy heart that I can announce that I have failed to make the cut for this year’s (or, possibly, last year’s; I’ve been dubious about their titling from the off, but they’ve rather painted themselves into a corner if they want to change it now) Best of British Science Fiction anthology.

Nor have I made it into its cousin, Best of British Fantasy, but that was something of a long shot as I neither like nor read fantasy, thought Lord of the Rings wasn’t worth labouring through just to snicker at “Nobody Tosses a Dwarf”, and have only watched two seasons of Game of Thrones.  That said, I did rather like Stormwarning, my entry for the latter.

On the sci-fi side, to be honest, I thought my entries - Charles Edward Tuckett’s Yuletide Message, New Shoes, and A Second Opinion - were good rather than great.  I therefore have to concede that, had any of them made it, I’d begin to wonder about the threshold for what I would like to see as the high water mark of speculative fiction on this damp and troubled island.  So all I can do is wish the publication and its overseer, Donna Bond, all the best for this year’s - or is it last year’s? - adventure.

Next year - or is it this year? - there’ll be How Did They Get You?, forthcoming in James Gunn's Ad Astra, and The Loimaa Protocol, at the very least, and the following year one of my personal favourites that Abyss and Apex have lined up.  Much stronger entries, much greater chance of mixing it with the greats.  Here's hoping.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

I guess that makes me Eli Wallach...

I thought it was time I gave you an update on the Mexican standoff going on between an SFWA heavyweight, a minnow publisher, and my good self.

And that update is... absolutely nothing.

Since receiving the out-of-the-blue token-payment contract offer in mid-January I've had nothing from the minnow.  Not a chase, not a reminder, nothing.  And on the submission of the self-same story to the SFWA name, three hours before the contract dropped through my electronic doorslot, I let it go the four weeks stated on the submissions page (actually, I let it go six before realising I'd got it wrong) and have chased.  Twice.  Nothing.

I suspect I'm Eli Wallach in all this, but Lee and Clint don't seem to be paying attention.  I'm beginning to wonder how long this can go on for or, more probably, whether the contract with the bottom-feeder would never have been honoured (much like you, Nexxis!) and the submission to the land of milk and honey has long since been rejected.

I'm also beginning to wonder whether this is a minor symptom of a wider malaise.  Not only have I previously signed a contract with Nexxis (which I see from the link above, has just been acquired by another publisher) which nothing (neither payment nor publication) came of, but Eric Fomley's 'Martian' also seems to have gone the way of all flesh after accepting, but not publishing a drabble of mine.  I think I waived payment for that one, so there's no issue there; Eric's published other stuff of mine and I wish him well.

I'm conscious that Ad Astra #7, which has a story of mine slated, should have been out last month but isn't yet, and Wit & Whimsy vol 2, which also has one of mine, seems to have emerged to complete internet silence.  Try googling it without being swept away in a tide of GK Chesterton - see?  I'm also sensing a slowing down of new markets opening up on the Grinder.  Plus we've also said goodbye to stalwarts such as Intergalactic Medicine Show as a place to submit.

Maybe this is one of those proxy indicators of the economy, like skirt length or magazine covers?  God knows writing this stuff is a labour of love; publishing it must be the same writ large.  As we pull in our belts stuff like this is the first to go.

On a happier note, I've stumbled across this review of Chronos Chronicles, which put my story under the ones 'the man known as SKJAM' liked.  Which is nice.