Saturday, September 29, 2007

Context 20 SF Convention

This weekend I'm enjoying the sights, sounds, and good company at the Context 20 science-fiction convention in Columbus, Ohio. Here's the event's web page:
Context 20

I arrived late Friday evening and only had time to catch some anime (Black Cat) and get a glimpse of Editor Guest of Honor Mike Resnick in the hospitality suite. The programming schedule looks great, even a "Tactics Used in Military SF" panel.

Okay, it's early Saturday morning and Captian Kosmos' crew is howling for breakfast, so look for my followup posts about the convention.

D'os Vadanya

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

365 Tomorrows Stops "Connected Stories"

The good folks at 365 Tomorrows will no longer accept "connected stories" like my Kosmosflot series, even though they are independent, standalone tales. In other words, no recurring "universes" like mine, no recurring characters, aliens, or scenarios. Apparently this isn't a new rule, but is simply one that has lapsed as the site has grown in readership and the number of writers offering submissions. I'm not happy with the policy, but a writer must respectfully bow to the editors' wishes or else move on. I have too many Kosmosflot stories yet to tell, and I will continue writing and submitting them to other venues. And, as I have always done, I will continue to submit non-Kosmosflot flash-fiction stores to 365 Tomorrows.

Here's my Kosmosflot goodbye message that I posted at 365 Tomorrows:

"What are those things, Poppa?"

"They're aliens, son. They're called the Tsoor."

"But why are they here?"

"They used to live in America, but they got kicked out."

"Did they break the rules?"

"I guess so, Serosha. Now they have to find a new place to hang out."

"That one looks sad, Poppa."

"Don't worry. They'll be fine, I'm sure."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Flyby - New Flash Fiction

You can read my latest flash-fiction story FLYBY at

""Any starship could request a flyby. Popik received them all the time from the Customs Patrols and the Space Force when they needed to eyeball our ship. If they wanted a bribe that day, they’d come aboard Popik’s old Mod One. ..."

I hope you enjoy it. Any comments would be welcome!

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Criterion ships Robinson Crusoe on Mars

I received my pre-ordered copy of The Criterion Collection's DVD release of Robinson Crusoe on Mars. And, as I expected, Criterion has done a great job in re-releasing this classic film.

Here's an "Armchair Film Review" that I wrote for our local newspaper, Bloomington's Herald-Times, about the DVD:

If Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was the greatest science-fiction film released in the 1960s, then Byron Haskin's Robinson Crusoe on Mars ranks as Number Two. Don't be deceived by the hokey title. This is a fascinating, intelligent, and moving story about an American astronaut's struggles to survive on the Red Planet after an unexpected and unplanned landing. Though some of the Mars science is now certainly dated, it detracts very little from the film's enjoyment. Actor Paul Mantee, who looks very much like America's first man in space, Alan Shepherd, gives a tour-de-force performance as the stranded spaceman. His ingenuity in solving the survival challenges of air, water, food, and, the worst problem of all, isolation, is all very believable. The second half of the story moves closer to DeFoe's original Robinson Crusoe story, but I won't spoil the plot's surprises here. The DVD extras include the original film trailer, but be warned, it contains lots of spoiler details about the film. And there's a fact-rich commentary from interviews with director Byron Haskin, actors Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, and many others involved in the making of the film. Unfortunately and despite high expectations by everyone involved with the film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars did poorly at the box office in 1964 due to terrible distribution. It's sad to hear the disappointment in Mantee and Lundin's comments as they recall their experiences during and after the film's production. Released during the early, heady days of the space race between America's Mercury and Gemini flights, Robinson Crusoe on Mars brings back the magic and excitement of those first journeys beyond the Earth. This film has long been out of print, and has been long awaited by science-fiction film fans. Criterion's DVD release is outstanding in quality, and the film itself is certainly in the top ten best science-fiction films ever made.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ray Gun Revival - Issue 29

My flash-fiction story "Outer Space Theater" was selected for special mention in Ray Gun Revival Issue 29.

Their site intro says it best:

What is Ray Gun Revival (RGR)? Just the best online source for golden age space opera going! Couple state of the art web technology with the highest standards in literary quality, and you get RGR! The stories are throwback, golden age space opera, which is to say the best melding of fantasy and science fiction with a strong emphasis on character development and adventure.

All the Ray Gun Revival back issues are available for download, too. I love this zine.

Rod Chimpo - Russia's Space Monkey

This is fun. "The most adventurous little monkey Russia ever released. A crazy, funny little animation by Timothy Merks, Gregory James and Christien Clegg."