Sunday, June 12, 2005

"Pants" Posted by Hello


Probably one of the slowest weeks so far, with virtually nothing - I repeat, nothing - happening on the writing front. No responses from the current sub editors, and very little work done on the pending stories (apart from some work on ‘Symbiosis’ last night).

What does the future hold?
‘Juju’ could be with TTA for at least another two months, with no real guarantee of being accepted.
‘The Midnight Men’. The Farthing submission deadline ended tonight (12 June), but as the editor Wendy Bradley has had computer-crashing issues, there’s no guarantee when responses will be going out.
‘Voices’ has been submitted to Whispers twice now, so I’m hoping to hear something by mid-week at the latest.
And as for ‘The Man Who Ate Planets’, will they keep me waiting the entire three months? Will they decide not to use this story? Who knows.
‘Medea’s Children’. The Writers of the Future judging results response period ended last Thursday (9 June). Allowing an extra week for postage to Britain, I am hoping to get my envelope sometime this week. The suspense is truly hurting me, if not actually killing me.
As far as the WotF contest goes, I’m reaching crunch time regarding the next quarterly submission deadline, which is 30 June. If ‘Medea’s Children’ is not a contender, then I need to be looking at sending in something else for the current quarter. I think the only suitable story I have is ‘Deus ex Machina’, which could be knocked into shape pretty quickly if need be. Let’s hope this week provides some results, preferably positive.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Doctor in the Tardis

Well the first (new) series of Doctor Who is drawing to a close, and appears to be going out with a big bang (this evening's trailer for next week promised a war on the Daleks - always good value). I've enjoyed this series. It's so nice to see good sci-fi, and particularly British sci-fi, on prime-time telly. For so long now we've been inundated with stock US fare (Buffy, Xena, Star Trek in all its various incarnations, Andromeda etc) which have all been very good, but I feel they lack that 'edge' which British-produced stuff has in spades. I think that has a lot to do with the stringent restrictions imposed on US shows by the broadcasters, who don't like anything too challenging to upset the viewing audience. God forbid the audience might be asked to think whilst watching their fave tv show! The last US show which was starting to show promise was Star Trek: Enterprise, which in its later episodes was exploring some edgy themes and new Trek territories - and guess what? They axed it in America! Tsk-tsk!
Anyway, back to the main point. Eccleston as Doctor Who. It was very exciting to hear that an actor of such stature was taking on this role, and I do believe he brought some real gravitas to certain points. He even provided (for me) one of the more touching moments of the series, when, at the end of the episode 'The Doctor Dances' he declared: "Everybody lives! Just this once, everybody lives!" I was so overcome with emotion I almost choked on my spag bol! But I agree that Eccleston should not continue. Yes, when it was announced early on that he would not be returning for a second series I, like many others, felt very disappointed; but now, having seen almost the entire series, I think that in some ways it's right that he steps aside for someone else. I felt that the lighter, more goofy side of the Doctor as written by Russell T Davies, did not sit well with such a distinguished, gritty actor. In certain episodes, the Doctor character came across as a bit of a buffoon, which just didn't work for me. The Doctor should be eccentric, yes. But silly? No, ta.
Still, overall the series was well-written, well-produced, and has raised the bar not just for sci-fi tv shows, but for all tv drama. It's a long time since I've watched anything on telly which has made me laugh, cry (and I mean proper blubbing) and sit enthralled throughout. I look forward to the second series with that David Tennant bloke off Casanova. I wasn't that thrilled when I first heard that he was taking over the role, but then I didn't really know who he was or what he'd done. But the little I have seen has assured me he could definitely fill the Doctor's shoes, if not the size twelves of Mr Eccleston.
My biggest hope is that, apart from seeing more Doctor Who, the success of this series will inspire BBC bods to commission more sci-fi shows. (Remember Blake's 7, The Tripods, and all those other creaky 80's shows?). Imagine what they could do now with modern technology? Let's hope, eh?

The Doctor and Rose Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Revenge of the Crits

I know this is kind of off the beaten track, but I just wanted to put down a few words about George Lucas's latest (and final) Star Wars epic. It seems to me that Revenge of the Sith has received two opposing responses: either it's great, or it's cack. Now I saw it the first weekend it came out and I liked it. I've always liked Star Wars, although I wouldn't regard myself as a die-hard fan (wears Jedi cloak at the weekends; registered as a practicing member of the Jedi 'faith'). I accept Star Wars for what it is, which was first and foremeost a return to the pulp cliff-hanger serials of the 30's-40's. Almost all of the bad crits Sith has received have focused on the "clunky dialogue" and the "wooden" acting. Well, hello! Look at the original three! Look at the script/acting in Return of the Jedi, for crying out loud! And yet they're regarded now as "classics".
I agree that the prequels, despite their vastly-superior technology, have not engaged as well as the originals, but they are still great popcorn movies, and I would dearly love to know what the young kids watching them today think. (I would imagine that if I was an 8 or 10 or 12 year-old going to see these movies, I'd be thinking they were the coolest films ever!) I also think that given time, and finally seen in the context of a six-part story, people will look back at the prequels with a much kinder eye, and I think they will appreciate Lucas's saga a bit more (after all he's trying to entertain people, not harm them). Dare I say that given the growing number of unimaginative retread/remake/rehash movies we're being fed with these days , people in the future might even look back at the Star Wars saga and say, "Gee, they don't make 'em like that anymore!"
Come on you cynical buggers! Lighten up! They're only movies!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Art of Submission

Things are moving very slowly at the moment with regard to the current submissions.
'The Man Who Ate Planets' has been with Andromeda Spaceways since early April (shortlisted stories are kept for two or three months. Should hopefully hear something soon.
'The Midnight Men' is with Wendy Bradley, editor of new spec-fic magazine Farthing (first issue due out in August). Deadline for subs is 12 June.
'Juju', which received an honourable mention in the Aeon Award 2005, has been with The Third Alternative since 19th May. Response time with both TTA and Interzone seems to be around three months.
'Flotsam and Jetsam' has been entered in Flash Me Magazine's Lightning Fiction contest (stories under 250 words).
'Voices': Submitted this to D at Whispers of Wickedness.
'Medea's Children' was entered into the first quarter of Writers of the Future (deadline Mar 31st). Should received judging results any day now.
For aspiring writers, patience is a virtue. Response times are a form of hell.

Still, I've got 'Defence Mechanism' published at Astounding Tales at the moment, and 'The Boy Who Fell' at AlienSkin. Proud of them both.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

"Loneliness" by Romeo Esparrago Posted by Hello

The Story So Far

How does one start a BLOG? (By not speaking in the Queen's English, for starters, matey!)
I've been keeping a written journal since April last year, and I've found it very helpful in recording the incremental successes of this early period in my writing endeavours. (Eh?) I'm not sure what extra benefits an online journal such as this will have, but I'm willing to give it a go. I think the most exciting thing is that the BLOG acts as a kind of webpage which should hopefully tell people a little bit more about me and what I'm doing (or trying to do). If they want to know, that is. So, a quick resume of the story so far...

I was born in 1971, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamsire (no, no, that's too far back.)
I recently turned thirty (that's better, cut out all that boring teenage angst, young adult hooplah), and having reached said milestone, realised I had been writing for twenty years and had never actually sent anything off! Part of the reason (apart from an almost chronic lethargy on my part) was that there had been such a limited market for publishing spec-fic short stories in Britain at that time. So, I tried to put all my efforts into writing novels. Well, after writing several half-finished books over a number of years, I became despondent about the whole thing and pretty much shut up shop, as it were. During this time, however, the internet had blossomed, and online publishing markets had appeared. The very first web-zine I came across was Antipodean SF, who subsequently published my first ever short story, 'Probability and Chaos' (the title of this BLOG), back in September 2004. Since then, I've been lucky enough to place my stories in a number of online spec-fic magazines, and have actually been paid for a few, too. I won't list them all here, but should you be interested, most of the stories are archived at the publications mentioned in the header above.
That's enough for now. Next time, I'll talk about something else apart from me.