Finding a Genre That Works—It’s Harder Than It Looks

I’ve been writing for a long time. It’s been a journey, a long, hard, miserable journey.

Trying to get something published is a pain in the ass. And not really worth a person’s time anymore, since you’re better off self-publishing.

But honestly, none of that matters if you’re not writing. A lot.

For a long time, I tried doing the High fantasy thing. My role model is J. R. R. Tolkein and I wanted to write a sage as big and memorable as The Lord of the Rings.

Personally, I struggled with this. How do I write a story that’s as wonderful as his, but not come off as a cheap rip off?

And trust me, buddy, there are a lot of Tolkien rip-offs out there. So many, it’s kind of sickening.

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New Story: “Blind”

Blind

New short story alert!  If you like mysterious, sci-fi thrillers, you might like Blind.

Here is a snippet:

“Just shut up and stay in the corner. Don’t move until I tell you to.”
Lena felt the rough hands move over her body. They seemed to be probing rather than groping. In her drug-induced grogginess she wondered if he was actually searching for injuries. She felt the hands attack the ropes at her wrists. They slackened, enough for her to move them freely. The man’s hands held hers for a moment, a clear sign that she was not to lift them. The blindfold he did not remove.
The wall was cold and slick with some kind of moisture. Judging from the smells it was not water. Lena’s back was sore, as was her legs that were folded up under her. By the pain she guessed she had been down there for some time. Reaching back into the recesses of her mind, she pulled at a memory. There was a lot of light and sound, but nothing coherent. Before that the party, the large house abnormally dark and full of strangers. Darkness clouded everything else until now.

Full story: Blind, science fiction story by Adam Casalino.

A book you should be reading: “The Book of the New Sun,” by Gene Wolfe

BlogOkay, technically its four books.  But its a oft’ overlooked tetralogy, so I’m grouping them together.  Any true science fictions/fantasy fan should be aware of the works of Gene Wolfe (if you haven’t, put down your DnD dice and go weep in shame!).  The Book of the New Sun is his masterwork; one of the greatest, most penetrating works of science fantasy ever penned in our time.

The Book of the New Sun
The Book of the New Sun

Set in the far flung future of Earth (called “Urth” by its inhabitants), society has degenerated into a pseudo-medieval system.  Despite advances in technology, most of human wallows in poverty, the victims of oppression.  The world’s resources are stagnant and depleting, due largely to the fading of the Sun–whose pallid light creates neither night nor day.

The story revolves around a young man named Severian, a child raised in the school of torturers.  Trained in the art of execution and interrogation, he is set for a life in the Citadel, when fate throws him in a new direction and he begins a journey into the world.

Sun is a uniquely profound book.  It is also very hard to read.  I’m not going to lie to you, I often spent my time re-reading paragraphs.  Wolfe does not pull any punches in his prose.  He does not water down any descriptions, nor edit his work to appeal to the mass market.  But that is what makes Sun a star among the endless predictable, shallow sci-fi novels written today.  It is a wholly original work, steeped in Wolfe’s own personally inspirations, that will expand you vision of what is possible in literature.  Science fiction and fantasy will never be the same for you.

“Never Trust a Train Ride” – Short Thursdays

Here’s another science fiction story for ya! Go get the pdf version (for all you Kindle types!).

Never Trust a Train Ride

I begrudgingly stepped into the subway car.  It smelled—bad.  A homeless person had spent the night on one of the benches.  Most of the idiots in the car stayed at the other end.  The train lurched forward and I grabbed onto the bar so I wouldn’t fall.

After and eternity of counting stops we neared mine.  First stop in Manhattan was Wall Street, then Fulton.  In the few seconds between Fulton Street and Park Place something happened.  I couldn’t tell—nobody could.  We were underground.  The thunderous booms sounded no different than the usual hysteria of the subway tunnels.  Park Place.  I got off, hauling my too-heavy bag over my shoulder.

It was early.  Only one other person followed me up the escalator and to the station.  The MTA attendant wasn’t in the booth—that was normal, I never knew where they were.  As I rounded the corner leading to the stairs, I noted the unusual amount of daylight streaming into the corridor.  It was as if the Sun was shining directly into the stairwell.  The guy behind me groaned and passed me as I hesitated.  It was that one-second pause that saved my life.
Continue reading ““Never Trust a Train Ride” – Short Thursdays”