Posts Tagged ‘SF/F’

Two Days Away….

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

My magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies launches in less than two days. Holy crap. It’ll be awesome once it’s finally up and I can then get some sleep!

Still Here!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Sorry about the paucity of updates over the last month. I’m still here, slogging away. In the last month I’ve received three rejections from head editors at pro mags and written over 200 for my own magazine. I’ve rewritten one story of my own and sent about ten rewrite requests. My new fantasy mag Beneath Ceaseless Skies launches nine days from today, so in addition to all the regular slush reading, there’s the big final push to get tons of things ready.  So Issue #1 may be my next update for a while–look for it Thursday-week, Oct. 9.

Teaching SF Writers Some Science

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

It may seem odd for someone who is a fantasy writer, but I’m also a scientist. I have a PhD in biophsyical chemistry, I did eight years of laboratory research as a grad student and post-doc, and I teach college chemistry.

People who hear that then usually ask “Why don’t you write (or read) much SF?” The reason is that I’m a very hard sell when it comes to fictional science. Most of the biology I see in SF is so impossibly speculative or fundamentally flawed that my suspension of disbelief is shot and I can’t enjoy the fiction.

As a science teacher, which I’ve been for over twenty years, I’m always interested in efforts to teach people science. Its basic principles govern the entire world around us, including such common things as cooking and the weather. Yet science education seems to be a low priority for many schools, teachers, and students.

Hugo-winning author David D. Levine (who has a fantasy story forthcoming in my magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies) recently blogged on about a workshop called Launch Pad where a dozen SF writers attended lectures by astonomers. The overall effort was aimed at spreading science education through popular fiction, which I wholeheartedly support, but I also think it will result in more accurate science in SF. For a difficult-to-please reader like me, that can only boost the entertainment value as well.

I was also struck by something from David’s account of the lecture on public misperceptions of astronomy. The wrong explanation of why the moon has phases (“it’s the shadow of the Earth falling on the moon”) is a sore spot with me because I once got that incorrect argument from a SF/F editor in remarks about a story of mine. In their defense, they said they got it from a geologist, but that makes it even worse. :)

I hope this Launch Pad workshop continues. I often give advice on biological sciences to my writing friends, and I would happily lecture at any Launch Pad-analog focused on those areas. I’m also in favor of including SF/F editors in something like this. If they’re going to evaluate or criticize objective facts in manuscripts, they should at least have some idea what they’re talking about. Another way that science education would make the world a better place!

Happily Swamped In Slush

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

I’ve been insanely busy these last three weeks, reading subs for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I got 50 subs the first day, and it’s tailed down to 20 or so per day since then, but that’s still over 125 subs in the magazine’s Inbox. But some of them have been really good, so I’m really enjoying it. Now, off to read some more!