Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Miscellaneous Writing Updatery

With all the things I'm doing for the Shine anthology, my own SF writing gets buried under (much in the same manner as it did when I was still part of the Interzone team).

I do have two new stories ready, but I either run them through the critiquing gamut, or let them age a bit (like wine or cheese), before I send them out. So this update is about reprints.

For one, “Cultural Clashes in Cádiz” – originally in The Amityville House of Pancakes, vol. 1 (officially out of print, although you can snag up a hardcopy [used and even a ‘new’ one] at Amazon US – I notice that the ‘new’ one goes for $36.99 and the used from $6.52 and up – Amazon UK – where one ‘new’ one goes for £8.95 [the other for £51.94, which is insane] and the used for £40.71, what the heck? – Amazon Canada – ‘new’ one for C$62.24, used ones from C$25.95 through C$66.56 , which is also madness – while Clarkesworld Books discounts it to $9.00 [the shop's only temporarily re-opened, and you have to buy for $35 minimum], Shocklines has it for $13.95, and the Genremall has it for $13.35. Finally, an electronic version at Fictionwise) – and now reprinted in A Mosque Among the Stars (hardcopy via ZC Books, kindle edition via Amazon US), is getting some decidedly good reviews:

  • Annie at Annieworld was somewhat confused by it at first, thrown off by the name Leonard, but eventually “So the real reason for the actions of Leonard caught me by surprise and I loved it. It is probably one of the best stories.” (of the anthology);
  • Berrien C Henderson, the self avowed geek, wrote in his LJ review of A Mosque Among the Stars: “My hands-down favorite was the time-travel adventure, “Cultural Clashes in Cadiz,” by Jetse de Vries. He handles multiple settings and points of view quite well and weaves them together for a satisfying conclusion with a bit of a twist I thought I would’ve seen coming and didn’t, so my hat’s off to Jetse for the pleasant surprise.”;
  • And Francesca Forrest – on LJ as Asakiyume Mita – was also very complinetary (while pointing out errors-cum-characteristics: “The language in this one is over the top, sometimes hilariously anachronistic”) in her LJ review: “The story is full of heart. It’s exuberant, hilarious, and underneath it all, moving.”;

However, before my head swells to dangerous proportions, there are also reviews that either don’t mention it (SF Gospel’s Gabriel McKee’s review [maybe it was one of the problematic ones: “There’s a thread running through the anthology, and it’s tough to tell how problematic it is. Many of the stories deal with terrorism, war, and the clash of civilizations.”, however “The important thing, and what the editors have striven for, is that these stories address the questions of terrorism and war without demonizing the innocent along with the guilty. It’s an important message, and this anthology delivers it well. ”], or Susie Hawes at Ghostposts [“The rest of the stories are wonderfully written, with tight plotting, sympathetic characterization and close attention to internal logic. The settings are descriptive. The suspense is chilling.”], or ‘ilm al-insaan’s review [where it was probably one of the problematic ones, as well: “My problems with the volume included a definite sense that readers are still encountering the “Islamic” aspects from the position of outsiders, Western, non-Muslim outsiders. The authors are primarily non-Muslim, and there was a tendency in some of the stories to exoticize the Muslim Other.”), or that don’t like it (I honestly couldn't find one in the A Mosque Among the Stars reviews, although there were a few in the Amityville House of Pancakes, vol 1 reviews).

While “Cultural Clashes in Cádiz” is enjoying its second wind, “Random Acts of Cosmic Whimsy” has just had its third publication, albeit as a translation in the latest issue of Galaxies magazine. The story's first appearance was in DeathGrip: Exit Laughing under the title “The Ultimate Coincidence” (after which Hellbound Books, the publishers, immediately called it a day. The anthology is for sale at Shocklines for $3, though), back in November, 2005.

Then a rewritten and retitled version called “Random Acts of Cosmic Whimsy” appeared in FLURB #6 in September 2008. The translated version of that version has just appeared in Galaxies (according to the Table of Contents it’s French title is “Exemples aléatoires de fantaisie cosmique”, which is something like “Random Examples of Cosmic Imagination”, if Babelfish is on the money). And my name’s on the cover, so I’m quite chuffed.

And there’s another appearance in the works – at least, I hope that’s still the case – on which more if and when it appears.

Finally, “Transcendence Express” is heading for its fourth appearance (first as lead story in HUB #2, the last print version of the magazine: there’s a dangerous pattern appearing here; then as an electronic incarantion in HUB #44 [no direct link yet as content is moved over from the old HUB website]; and Escape Pod podcast EP #122) in The Apex Book of World SF, edited by Lavie Tidhar, and planned for a September 1 2009, but already available as a pre-order.

Also in this case there was a fifth appearance planned, but since it’s been very quiet about that one, I suspect it fell through. Anyway, so far I can’t complain.

(Note: edited to correct that Berrien Henderson is a he, not a she)