Story in Triangulation: Parch –a little more about it

“An anthology of Short Speculative Fiction” from Parsec Ink. I’m thrilled by the literary quality of this tome. A little more about it:

The slick cover I think looks much better in person than the online image suggests.

The theme is dehydration.

Parsec Ink is a paying market.

The editor is Stephen V. Ramey. Here he blogs about Parch. He’s been published in places like Apocrypha and Abstractions, Every Day Fiction, Cease, Cows, Literary Orphans, Glass Eye Chandelier, Gone Lawn, TJ Eckleberg Review, Polluto, JukePop, The Speculative Edge, Connotation Press, and many others.

Some of the other authors are Fruma Klass, Tinatsu Wallace, Chuch Rothman, Jetse DeVries.

The Mask of Sleep is Horror. It begins:

The man inside the mask can no longer see through the eye holes as the mask’s eyes droop into the last increment in the horrible progression of a month toward closure. It sleeps its wood, paint peeling off the edges of the visible world. He hates the darkness encroaching day by day. He hates the movement toward nothingness, the mask-blindness that makes him think continually about what he did to his tribe. He should never have released the strange perpetually thirsty animal from the wooden pen and let it fly. Once in the air, the creature widened, became soft and white, and turned into a cloud that grew larger and larger and ate all the other clouds in the sky. No rain fell for months.

Story in Axolotl Magazine

Secret in the Desert is available online now for your spooky pleasure.

I have so many publications on a regular basis, it’s hard to chose which ones to include in this blog, which is for people wanting to read my work, who aren’t necessarily interested in Literary, Experimental, or that side of the Interstitial styles as much as pure straightforward Genre. Pulp. Speculative. You got it.

This story is Paranormal.

It begins:

In the line to get into Parch, we drove past signs along the pale road which ran through the dried-up lake bed that reminded me of a canvas carried through the dust, spat on by the gods, and wiped off with robes made of thorn. In fact, it was just those gods we were each paying five thousand dollars to see. We hoped they would give us a fashion show some time during that week without water, hoped our very eyes would turn to dust enough that we could blink when the dust storms cleared, and we would see the truth.

I didn’t believe in truth.

One sign said: WHAT IS IN YOUR HEAD IS IN THE GROUND.

The next: OPEN YOUR EYES.

YOUR PUPILS GO STRAIGHT TO YOUR BRAIN.

YOU TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN COMPLETELY WITH YOUR BRAIN.

We knew Parch would turn everything we had ever believed on its head.

Book/Movie about real crime by the CIA

The book, Kill the Messenger, was put out by Nick Shou in 2004. It goes into great detail about brave reporter Gary Webb’s discovery of the shadowy relationship between the CIA, cocaine smuggling, and arms. The African American population in California cities was especially incensed to read Webb’s reports in 1996, as they felt they had found who to blame for their devastating addiction to crack in their communities. The revelations were not so easily accepted by the many privileged people ensconced in the comfortable illusions of living in a country with a just government. The beleaguered Webb went on to write a book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, published in 1998.

Author Nick Shou was also a reporter, who delved into similar material which he shelved out of understandable fear of ending up equally maligned. He got to know Webb personally, being convinced of truth within his San Jose Mercury’s  “Dark Alliance” series which alleged CIA/cocaine traffic connections, winning Webb an award but loosing him his livelihood, family, and life. Webb apparently committed suicide.

The Oct. 2014 Kill the Messenger movie, directed by Michael Cuesta and starring Jeremy Renner takes its cues from those books. The movie is deeply moving, powerful, and inspiring. It deserves a lot of attention, and greater attendance. We see what looks like vintage scenes, and endearing scenes of family life. The audience in the theater cheered, called out enthusiastically throughout the movie, and clapped at the end. I cried many times. I sincerely hope it wins an award.

Considering the Hollywood avoidance of making movies that undercut social engineering, how often do we get to see true stories about the brave people in our culture? This refreshing film is about that type of control.

Ronald Reagan’s regime used the guerrilla Contras, trained by the CIA, to undermine Nicaragua’s elected Sandinistas. Oliver North’s Iran-Contra illegal sale of guns to Iran was one method of funding the coup.  Of course, those of us who were alive and aware at the time Webb’s articles came out already knew the CIA/Contras were funding the sinister attacks against innocent people by drug smuggling; that’s why there were protests on campuses around the United States. The Associated Press was talking about it in 1985. It could have been worse: activists were generally able to continue living their lives — but many were harassed and marginalized as part of social engineering.

News media hid the results of Senator John Kerry’s 1989 report on not only drug smuggling in Nicaragua, but many other countries: Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy. The whole thing was swept under the rug as much as possible in order to manipulate public opinion. But for those who listened and did what they could to make a difference, our role models were the reporters brave enough to show the facts to the country, even though many were not willing to listen. Our culture conditions people not to listen to facts.

When he came on the scene in 1996, Webb was our new hero. What can be more admirable? The reaction of Operation Mockingbird (CIA controlled) press, especially The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, was not to bring that truth to the populace but instead, to smear Webb personally and to try to discredit his information. “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” – William Colby, former CIA Director

This was a perfect example of social engineering, influencing people to follow the lead of mainstream media in how they perceive people who question the dominant illusions.

In spite of tireless, determined educational effort by our living heroes such as Cynthia McKinney, we still see coup after coup using CIA trained insurgents to go after countries with oil, or countries which are going off the US dollar standard, etc.

The Mockingbird press uses ever more effective ploys to convince their true believers that the countries the government wants to subvert are our enemies. The preach that certain countries’ elected leaders are bad, are in need of an ass-kicking to keep them in line. Most people have the built-in psychological propensity to believe what authorities tell them such as that, especially when it’s done using human interest stories, whether they are accurate or not, scare tactics, and diversion.

As mentioned at the end of the Kill the Messenger movie, people didn’t pay much attention when the news came out about the drug smuggling being real, because they were interested instead in Monica Lewinsky.

The Mercury News series focused on Nicaraguan Danilo Blandón cocaine dealer, L.A.’s crack dealer, Ricky Ross, and the supplier Meneses, and their relation to the Bay Area’s drug ring that in turn sold to L.A.’s Crips and Bloods, to fuel the Contras — “Freedom Fighters.” This ruined lives, leading to crack babies, a growing prison population, hundreds of thousands of deaths throughout Central America. This hoodwinked of the US population, which sometimes required silencing of activists.

Nicaragua’s ex-Foreign Minister, Fr. Miguel D’Escoto, explains about Regan’s social engineering in causing the deaths of 50,000 Nicaraguans: “He came to the Presidency of the United States shortly after Samosa, a Dictator that the U.S. has imposed over Nicaragua for practically half a century; had been deposed by Nicaraguan Nationalists under the leadership of the Sandinista Liberation Front. To Reagan Nicaragua had to be re-conquered. He blamed Carter for having lost Nicaragua, as if Nicaragua ever belonged to anyone else other than the Nicaraguan people. That was then the beginning of this war that Reagan invented, and mounted and financed and directed, the Contra War. About which he continually lied to the People. Helping the United States people to be the most ignorant people around the world. I said ignorant, I don’t say not intelligent. But the most ignorant people around the world about what the United States does abroad. People don’t even begin to see — if they did, they would rebel. And so, he lied to the people, as Bush lies to the people today and as they push on, thinking that the United States is above every law, human or divine.”

This is not to imply that everyone in the CIA is involved in this kind of thing. These are individuals involved in the arms/drug trade. There is a wide variety of people within such Agencies, worthy of respect. There are beautiful parts of Webb’s life, and many other activists, and people who question. Many of us have not been persecuted for our beliefs or actions, and have kept careers and education, relationships, and health. Seeing people create intelligent entertainment addressing these topics is encouraging.

The movie is honestly believable, rather than the common style of characters coming in to quickly say their lines to move the story along for a minute, then off to the next bit of information. This is flowing, realistic, not idealized or sensationalized. It doesn’t go for the addictive violence and fear so much as taking us vicariously through a life authentically. Much appreciated to experience that kind of deep compassion thanks to the actors, lighting, the writing. Bravo!

Best Fantasy Books labeling New Weird as as subset of Fantasy and equating it with Slipstream

I’ve never seen these combined in this way. A very interesting take on it.
What is New Weird Fantasy (aka Slipstream fantasy)?

What do you think? Are New Weird and Slipstream interchangeable in some ways? Do you consider them a kind of Fantasy? In any case, this article describes this style very well.

Quote: It’s a modern, non-linear, magical-realism type of almost experimental fiction, dancing between borders of science fiction, fantasy and mainstream literary fiction.

Annie Neugebauer on The Differences Between Commercial and Literary Fiction

Very clear post.

Quote:

The aim of commercial fiction is entertainment.

The aim of literary fiction is art.

commercial example: Obsidian Butterfly, Laurell K. Hamilton

literary example: Moon Tiger, Penelope Lively

upmarket example: The Passage, Justin Cronin

What is genre fiction?

Genre Fiction refers to the type of narrative the majority of readers enjoy, so much so that they don’t even know what the phrase mean, as they just assume it means fiction. However, thinking back to literature studied in school provides an example of what’s not Genre, but instead, Literary Fiction. It’s more complicated than that really, but to simplify — narratives are divided into either Genre or Literary.

What’s narrative? It’s not essay, vignette, or poetry, but contains a plot with a beginning, middle, and end, in which in modern tradition, a protagonist pursues some kind of project which is thwarted by the antagonist. They encounter each other with tension rising to a climax and resolution.

In Literary Fiction, this can be internal, personal, slow-paced, character-based, language-driven, with attention paid to innovative structures and methods of presenting the work. The goal is to create a beautiful, classic work of art that excites through fresh, surprising use of language, new ways of thinking, subtle moods, pushing the boundaries with experimentation.

Genre Fiction is plot-driven, and most types focus on external events, fast-paced, with tropes which readers expect, so they know if they like that particular genre (such as Speculative, Romance, or Mystery) they have a good chance of enjoying that story. There is some room for individuality and experimentation, but when that happens, it’s generally a hybrid between Literary and Genre.

Literary may be lyrical, elegant, spare and punchy, but the author’s voice is unique, the style distinctive. It is usually realistic, but not always, and many subgenres exist to attempt to categorize syles of non-realism, which are Interstitial Fiction Genres because they have elements of Speculative (SF, Fantasy, and Horror). Magical Realism straddles Fantasy and Literary.

Genre and Literary authors and readers do sometimes embrace each others’ interests, but for the most part, unfortunately both camps tend to look down on the others’ work overall. Literary aficionados see Genre as predictable escapism with uninspired use of language, and Genre lovers see Literary as inaccessible, boring, and pretentious. Genre writers find formulas that work to make bestsellers and follow them, finding a large audience, making money directly from the work. Literary writers focus on great literature that has lasting value, wins awards and critical praise, and are pleased with a small number of readers who really understand the unique insights and cutting-edge innovations. They don’t expect to make a living by selling a lot, but even a small number of sales, along with positive reviews, allows them chances for fellowships, grants, teaching positions, lucrative awards. The goal is to add something of beauty to the world rather than to be a best-seller.

Literary Fiction has a strong focus on short stories in journals, such as those associated with Universities, and whereas Genre readers can enjoy those in a few famous magazines, more weight is given to novels. People read them both for entertainment, but Thrillers and SF take on themes involving the world, whereas Romance and usually Literary are more about what happens in the characters’ lives.

Romance is the most read genre, with Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Crime styles ranking next, and SF (science fiction) comes below those.

Romance gives readers positive role-models for what they want in their lives, and always conclude happily with relationships being solidified. Some subgenres are historical, Regency, contemporary, paranormal, comedy, same sex, and others.

Fantasy provides wish-fulfillment, and rely on magic and are usually about Earth-shaking (or Nonearth-shaking) battles between very good and very bad, with heroes saving the culture, often fulfilling a prophecy. Some subgenres are high, low, urban, epic, steampunk, magical realism, paranormal, supernatural, contemporary.

Suspense fiction keeps the readers in a state of heightened attention, keenly observant about what’s going to happen next. Readers know what the protagonist doesn’t in this moment-to-moment progression. It can be subtle and slower, less overt than Thriller, and the protagonist is not required to fight against the bad guys to save the world during the whole plot, but can find himself in the midst of danger, and not even know it for a while. Some subgenres are romantic, paranormal, hard edged, soft edged, and crime.

Mystery gives readers the pleasure of figuring out puzzles, mentally enjoying the intelligent revelation of what was hidden. It starts with an unexplained murder, with the focus being on solving it, usually by a professional, but sometimes by an amateur. Readers only know what the protagonists know. Location is important, as readers get to know the area and be a part of that world. Subgenres include cozy, forensic, hardboiled, supernatural, police procedural, noir.

Horror scares readers and is macabre, often gleefully so. Most is superatural in nature but sometimes it’s about ordinary murder. It’s campy, creepy, sometimes hauntingly beautiful, sometimes disgusting. Readers consider it a rousing success if it traumatizes them and keeps them awake. Subgenres include psychological, occult, supernatural.

Thrillers make readers anxious, pouring out addictive adrenalin, vicariously living through the fast-paced exploits of protagonists in constant danger as he or she saves “the world” at the last minute, overcoming seemingly impossible odds to defeat a powerful antagonist before he or she does something horrible. Subgenres include conspiracy, crime, eco, political, legal, medical, spy, techno.

Science fiction is futuristic and relies on science, such as technology as the core element, very often making a controversial point about our current world through obfuscation, or commenting on where we’re headed, and speculating about cosmology. Among subgenres we have hard, soft, cyberpunk, space western, alternate history, space opera

Horror scares readers and is macabre, often gleefully so. Most is superatural in nature but sometimes it’s about ordinary murder. It’s campy, creepy, sometimes hauntingly beautiful, sometimes disgusting. Readers consider it a rousing success if it traumatizes them and keeps them awake. Subgenres include psychological, occult, supernatural.

Other genres include Westerns, Historical Fiction, YA (young adult), Christian, Inspirational.

The REAL crime fiction

For the sake of being commercially viable and safe, much crime fiction ignores truths that are controversial, dangerous, pandering instead to a brainwashed populace. Major publishers understandably have to consider what kinds of friends and enemies in high places their book’s messages make them. But some authors do take that chance of rocking the boat, and I’d like to see more people take risks to produce authentic, culturally meaningful Thriller/Suspense/Mystery unafraid of referencing the fictionalized news in our Cover-up Culture. I, myself, like to write crime fiction that brings attention to people destroyed by, or fighting, the system brutalizes innocent people by distorting reality.

Should we ignore the real crimes against the human psyche by corrupt law professionals, the creation of patsies, COINTELPRO style undermining of the lives of activists, manipulation of citizens through disinformation in the news and CounterIntelligence-created cults? Should we turn a blind eye to the military taking over countries for a sneaky agenda, the ruthlessness of hidden interconnectedness including pest control/waste management – food/poison manufacture — evangelists/government — Theosophy/UN — and so on?

I find crime fiction that props up the corrupt paradigm to be boring, predictable, and old hat. I get excited when I read, or watch movies, that rebel against fakery. Most popular authors seem to present the police or Intelligence agents as being always the good guys, or they single out rogue members of a supposedly great agency. However, many readers are hungry for smart revelations and useful information; when narratives get them to think, and point them cautiously in the direction of true societal crime on a large scale, it’s a service instead of distracting entertainment that reinforces demeaning propaganda.

I prefer to write about crimes which are not simply personal but which are common social problems, such as the FBI creating terrorists by suggesting and funding people otherwise not inclined or capable of committing major crimes.

US: Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion Human Rights Watch reports: “Multiple studies have found that nearly 50 percent of the federal counterterrorism convictions since September 11, 2001, resulted from informant-based cases. Almost 30 percent were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.”

Substantial numbers of newscasters are paid by the CIA or bribed and backmailed to create the fiction warmongers want people to believe, such as Udo Ulfkotte bravely admits. I like fiction that doesn’t shy away from revealing the lies beneath the brainwashing of our society.

I suspect the majority of Literary readers/writers are not particularly passionate or educated about true crime topics. They would be required to question what authorities paid by CounterIntelligence present the masses for the purpose of creating divisiveness. They have other things on their minds, and that’s fine. But that’s one reason I love Genre, which has the potential to reach more readers with hard-hitting message. It’s often written by insiders, and people with extensive experience outside academia, who don’t need to avoid upsetting university superiors.

Authors who take the time to pull away layers of the deceits created by governments don’t find the same fan-base for those controversial topics in Literary Fiction as they do in Genre. There are few Literary magazines to even submit such stories to for consideration. But Political Thrillers and SF readers are more amenable to authors who take an interest in solid facts and world issues. The readers tend to be more action-based, interested in what corporations do, political intrigue, conspiracies, the direction advanced technology is taking our society, murder and mayhem, legalities, mysteries, danger. SF has the option of writing about topics that might otherwise cause the authors problems by using the future and alternate worlds as metaphors to address sensitive issues.

The real crime fiction is that created by bankers, governments, the military, and corporations, using “news” to create a false sense of reality that the majority of people are hoodwinked by. When fiction writers echo that illusion, they are — willing, or unwilling — co-conspirators in dumbing down our culture. When authors are brave enough to look beyond the naivite of the two party system, and write about what’s behind the machinations of the propaganda machine — hats off!

Some brave Thrillers:

The Deal (movie)

Lexicon by Max Barry

Dime Bomb by J. Arthur

Dark Alliance by Gary Web — movie Kill the Messenger

Some insightful SF:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Culture by Iain M. Banks

Iron Heel by Jack London

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

Mind Control busting YA:

Control Group by Patrick Jones

Candor by Pam Bachorz

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Crime Fiction

The mystery of the shining children by Cale Carlson

Morning, Come Quickly by Wanda Karriker

List of fiction about ritual abuse

YA fiction about mind control

WordPress vitual party

Hi, everyone,

Want to introduce yourselves in the comments, with your blog urls, and something about you, as if you were at a fun party getting to know people because you enjoy it?

Ask questions of each other, reply to each others’ comments, tell us wacky things that you saw in the real world today, what you dreamed last night, your favorite anecdote from your childhood, the funniest thing you want to do some day, whatever you like.

Let’s get the good times rollin’!

Advanced Technology good for knowing about our world, and writing SF

Amazing, yes? I used these topics in my SF novel manuscript, Unside: A Book of Closed Time-like Curves. If these things interest you, sign up for the email list so you’ll know when it’s available.
How do you feel about these advancements?What do you think DARPA is not sharing with us?

10 PAYING markets: submit cross-genre short fiction

I posted earlier with paying and non-paying short fiction cross-genre markets, ranked by pay rates, with word counts, and descriptions, but my next blog post ate it. So, I did it all over again for you, but just the paying ones, and adding new venues as well. 10 paying cross-genre places took a lot of hours to discover, so may this list serve you well.

Ruthless Peoples Ruthless Peoples Magazine (RPM) is a cross-genre fiction magazine. RPM subscribes to no genre. Capture something of the human condition in a story of ghosts or femme fatales or dusty electricians or rivalries at work, if you like–or in the brass dials of a spy satellite, the wink of an elephant’s greasy nostril, a collapsing circus tent.

With that said, the preference is for character over caricature, drama over hysteria, plot over passivity, fresh observation over cliche. Juvenile or pretentious work is revolting, so bring a sense of a character reaching for the maximum understanding of what lies in front of them, and acting on it. Choice-making ruthlessness needs to be at the heart of every RPM story. The ruthlessness does not have to be brash or brutal–it could be as simple and hurtful as closing a door, or saying goodbye. To 1,000 words. PAYS 100 dollars.

Pulp Literature: genre and cross-genre stories. The quarterly digest-size magazine features short stories, novellas, and standalone excerpts from novels in popular literary genres: sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, history, thriller, and chiller. Up to 75 pages. PAYS 7 cents a word.

Crossed Genres It’s the mission of Crossed Genres Publications to give a voice to people often ignored or marginalized in SFF, which has led us to publish titles focused on older women, overweight women, immigration, skilled laborers, QUILTBAG families, and people marginalized throughout history. Each month CG Magazine has a new genre or theme. Short story submissions must combine elements of either Science Fiction and/or Fantasy with the current theme. – SFWA Market. 1000 to 6000 words. PAYS 6 cents a word.

Three-Lobed Burning Eye We are looking for quality speculative fiction, in the vein of horror and dark fantasy, what you might call magical realism, slipstream, cross genre, or weird fiction. We will consider the occasional science fiction, suspense, or western story, though we prefer that it contain some speculative element. Sword & sorcery, hard SF, space opera, and extreme horror are hard sells. We like voices both literary and pulpy, with unique and flowing but not experimental styles. All labels aside, we want stories that expand genre, that value originality in character, narrative, and plot.  500 – 1000 words. PAYS 3 cents a word.  

Lakeside Circus We want speculative fiction, particularly science fiction (hard, soft, near-future, etc), urban fantasy, magic realism, mad science, and apocalypse tales. Whether prose or poetry, we’re looking for the same kind of almost-weird fiction we publish in our anthologies. We like fiction with layers of meaning; stories that are odd or different without being too strange to understand.  We enjoy interstitial,  genre-bending, and “literary SF/F” writing. Your work has to encapsulate a complete moment; more than a vignette, each submission must have a beginning, middle, and end. Something has to change along the way, but parts of the story can happen off stage. As always, we want beautiful, dark, unusual, and meaningful. 1000 – 2500 words. PAYS 2 cents a word.

Betwixt Betwixt publishes speculative fiction of all sorts—fantasy, science fiction, horror, slipstream, weird fiction, npunk, you name it. We particularly like stories that smash genre boundaries to smithereens, but we also love fresh takes on established genres and in-depth explorations of ultraspecific niches. Experiments in form and style are welcomed enthusiastically—but a straightforward narrative with tight, crisp language is just as beautiful. When it comes down to it, we want stories that will amaze us, astound us, provoke our thoughts, and boggle our minds. 1000 – 30,000 words. PAYS 2 cents a word.

Kaleidotrope Kaleidotrope tends heavily towards the speculative — towards science fiction, fantasy, and horror — but we like an eclectic mix and are therefore always eager to read interesting work that falls outside those categories. In the end, what we want is interesting, sometimes unconventional work, well-written stories and poems that surprise and amuse us, shock and disturb us, that tell us things we didn’t know or reveal old truths in brand new ways. We want strange visions of distant shores, of imaginary countries and ordinary people, and work that doesn’t lose sight of entertainment and the joy of good writing. 250 to10,000 words. PAYS 1 cent a word.

Tales of the Talisman. We welcome cross-genre stories, but they must have some element of science fiction or fantasy. 6000 words. PAYS 10 dollars.

Premonitions Annual print magazine, Original, high-quality SF/fantasy. Horror must have a science fiction element and be psychological or scary, rather than simply gory. No supernatural fantasy-horror, or traditional swords ‘n’ sorcery quest sagas. We are interested in publishing highly imaginative prose on a wide variety of genre themes. Cutting-edge SF and experimental writing styles (cross-genre scenarios, slipstream, etc) are always welcome. 500 – 6000 words. PAYS £5 per 1000 word + contributor’s copy

Mythologue We publish all genres as well as cross-genre work. We’re interested in story-telling, regardless of theme or setting. What we look for is universality of theme – something that adds to the tradition of story – the stories we have been telling since the beginning. A common misconception: this is not a magazine that particularly specializes in fairy stories, though we do publish them. We’re interested in stories – Whether dark, bright, erotic, mysterious, adventurous, dystopian, folkloric, or fantastic. 500 – 1000 words – PAYS 5 dollars.

Interested in my cross-genre SF novel, Unside: A Book of Closed Time-Like Curves? You can sign up to find out when it’s available HERE.