Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Science Fiction, Science Future


- by Sylvia Ney

One of my favorite stops this summer was at the Reuben H. Fleet museum in San Diego, California. I took my daughters to the traveling exhibit "Science Fiction, Science Future".

We spent the day learning about what has led to our current understanding of science, what humans are currently working to develop, and being teased with challenges for the future. Gallery stops included:

- understanding what we know of sound and light
- move this object with your mind challenge
- become invisible
- design your own cyborg
- interact with robots
- and more than I can write about in one post!

Here are just a few of our explorations:

A section honoring the history of science fiction development - its authors, artists, and innovators. Rare books from the Department of Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA), artwork from comic book publisher IDW, and even displays from the Star Trek franchise were available for perusal - including a very special challenge (see pics below).











Created by the renowned Scitech Discovery Centre in Perth, Australia this exhibit is a visually compelling way to share a deeper understanding of how science fiction concepts of today are becoming a reality: including holograms.

Visitors are completely immersed in possibilities for medical technology, communication, and even transportation. This exhibit includes many innovations, inventions, and challenges -  a taste of anything a science lover could be looking for, especially when sharing the concepts with family and friends.

Thanks to this trip, my daughters truly enjoyed a glimpse at the possibilities for themselves and their future. I can't wait to see how they will contribute.

How will you contribute to our science fiction, science future? Will you or someone you know want to compete in the tricorder challenge listed in the above picture?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What would YOU build in your alternate universe?





What Would YOU Build in Your Alternate Universe?


I love alternate universes.  There are so many things we have no control over in our own lives: life, death, taxes, illness, family, nature.  There are of course things we can control, but somewhere along the line, unforeseen circumstances set in and remind us of just how small we are in the scheme of things.  That is what is so great about creating an alternator universe.  Your world can be exactly as you choose it to be.
One of the things that really bother me—and probably you—is the politics and violence that are tearing our country apart.  I firmly believe that it is the inability of our representatives to reach across the table and say, “I don’t agree with you, but I’m willing to meet you halfway,” that keeps our country in total turmoil.  Today’s mentality in congress seems to be my way or the highway.
Why am I mentioning this in a post about alternate universes? Because it was important enough to me to build it into my new world.  In RAINERS, when Harper Reese tumbles into a world different, but similar to her own, she discovers that like the United States there is a President and Vice-President, but unlike her own, one is a liberal and the other a conservative.  It had no specific bearing on my storyline, but something that I wanted in my universe.
What about you?  If you are building an alternate universe, what would you put into it? Unaltered rain forests? Purple dogs? A society that has eliminated hunger and disease?  This world is your oyster, you can build it anyway you want. I’d love to hear what would be important enough to place in yours.

RAINERS:


Tagline: Save his world or save her own.
Blurb: Out hiking, Harper Reese tumbles into a parallel universe where a nightmarish virus has infected the sphere’s pubescent children. While there she encounters bad boy Noah Tanner who’s got problems of his own. Now, they must work together to track down and destroy the source of the disease before it travels to her world and infects her twelve-year-old sister.

Bio: Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Enter the realm of parallel universes!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

Release date: May 3, 2016
$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 218 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Science Fiction/General ( FIC028000) and Fiction/Alternative History (FIC040000 )
Print ISBN 978-1-939844-19-4 eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-20-0
Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or from the publisher
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Trends in Science Fiction

Since the time when science fiction appeared on the scene in the late 1800’s, it has helped those who read it look at the world in a different way.  Science fiction understandably speculated about what the future might look like thanks to science and advancing technologies.  Yet, like every other genre you can think of, it has gone through many trends.

The history of science fiction is often divided into eras.  Though stories of various kinds were published during each of these eras, there is a definite trend in the kinds of stories published during each era.  The pulp era of the 1920’s and 30’s was characterized by cheaply produced magazines that could provide affordable entertainment for working class people.  They featured heroes who had bold adventures on other planets.  The heroes were often dashing and charming and the kind of person people wished they could be.


During the late 1930’s and 1940’s, wartime shortages brought on the decline of the pulp magazines, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction began.  This golden age featured hard sci-fi (sci-fi that features science in a prominent and accurate way).

Later on in the 1960’s and 70’s, the New Wave came as a response to the social issues of the time.  The focus moved from hard to soft science fiction.  Soft sci-fi is less focused on the technology and more focused on the people and how they respond to the world in which they live.  This era also saw a lot of experimentation with writing styles.

Cyberpunk rose to popularity in the 1980’s as the computer became more accessible to everyday people.  The stories took place on Earth and featured people who interacted heavily with technology.  Sometimes the characters plugged in and escaped the dystopian world around them through the more appealing world the technology offered.  Other times the characters interacted with cyborgs that made people question what it means to be human.

The trends we see in various genres don’t spring up in a vacuum.  All of these eras arose in response to the world the authors of these stories lived in.  Writers look at their own world and use their writing to respond to it.  They may also read stories from fellow authors and draw inspiration for their own work.

One of the biggest trends today in science fiction is YA dystopian.  There has been plenty of dystopian fiction over the years, but most of it today seems to be post-apocalyptic.  It features protagonists that have to contend with tyrannical governments that were established after some major disaster destroyed much of the world and killed a majority of humanity.  The cause of the apocalypse is typically environmental in nature, and what remained of humanity had to fight for what little resources were left.  Why is this such a prominent theme today?

The future of our planet is a big concern for many people.  Is global warming a valid concern, and if so, what are the consequences?  Can our growing population be sustained without catastrophe?  People also worry about overbearing governments monitoring their every move, which is a common concern in the world we live in today.  These post-apocalyptic scenarios look at the social impact of living in a world that looks drastically different than the one we live in today, and we get to root for protagonists who are fighting against governments that abuse the people they rule.  We like see people like us triumph against all odds.

One question that often comes up with trends is this: does the market become too saturated with similar stories?  Do readers get sick of reading the same themes over and over again?  If you’re a writer, should you write a story that fits within the prevailing trend of the time, or should you try to write something else?  Does a story that falls outside of what is currently considered popular even have a chance?


There are no easy answers to these questions.  Some readers will reach a point of burn out, while others will continue to scoop up all the books they can because they love what these kinds of stories have to offer.  As a writer, I know we can’t please everyone with what we have to offer.  That’s just not possible.  If you have the inspiration to write a story and you’re passionate about it, but you fear that the market has too many stories with similar themes, I’d recommend you try writing it anyway.  Try to give it a twist or look at events from an angle that you haven’t seen yet.  Create the strongest characters you can.  If you give the story everything you have, you have a shot at finding readers for your work.

If your story is something that doesn’t fit within the current trend at all, I’d also recommend giving it a chance.  The most important thing is to tell a compelling story.

Remember, stories that fit within the current trend do so because they are compelling to a lot of people, but someone also had to start writing many of those stories before the trend existed.  Someone had to start that trend in the first place.  That’s why I try not to worry too much about whether a story idea seems trendy or not.  If the idea speaks to me, I try to make it happen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

FUTURE PLANS

Hey, friends, yes the book is out, the reviews are coming in, and we thank you for your kindness in posting them. If you any of you are still interested in a review copy, please let us know.

We apologize for the long silence, the A to Z knocked a few of us out, but we've come up with a blogging schedule we hope you'll support. I've listed it below. We'll post a for sure once a month article on the 4th Wednesday of each month. A day you can count on, but also, look for blog hops, contests, and giveaways!

If you'd like to be a guest, or know of someone who would please send them our way, we'd love to feature other speculative fiction authors! Just send an email to any of us, or to yolandarenee@hotmail.com

Look for our first 4th Wednesday post next week, with L. G. Keltner, author of Felix Was Here!

Thanks for your patience and support!

L G Keltner – June 22
Sandra Cox – July 27
Sylvia Ney – August 24
Michael Abayomi – September 28
Crystal Collier – October 26
Yolanda Renee – November 23
Cherie Reich – December 28
Hart Johnson – January 25
Tamara Narayan - February 22
Melanie Schulz -   March  22


We're Ready!



If you have a suggestion or question, please let us know!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

PARALLELS IS HERE!

TODAY IS BOOK RELEASE DAY!

But first
Winners of the Parallels
A to Z Drawing are:


Won via Sylvia Ney's posts - Lynn @ Lynn Proctor
Won via Hart Johnson's posts – Heather @ HMGardner

PARALLELS: FELIX WAS HERE!

Enter the realm of parallel universes!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L.G. KeltnerCrystal CollierHart JohnsonCherie ReichSandra CoxYolanda RenéeMelanie SchulzSylvia NeyMichael Abayomiand Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!


Print

Ebook
 Kobo


Release date: May 3, 2016
$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 218 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Science Fiction/General ( FIC028000) and Fiction/Alternative History (FIC040000)
Print ISBN 978-1-939844-19-4 eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-20-0
Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or from the publisher
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

“Pensive and manifold views into parallel earth not without a glimmer of hope.”
- Edi’s Book Lighthouse


Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, two Facebook groups, and a monthly newsletter.

 

Freedom Fox PressA division of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 383, Pikeville, NC 27863-0383
inquiries@dancinglemurpressllc.com
www.dancinglemurpress.comwww.dancinglemurpress.com



Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z=Zenith


Here we are at the end of the A to Z Challenge.  We started this month with the hope of launching the IWSG anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here into the stratosphere, and only time will tell if we succeeded.  Who knows where the anthology will be when it reaches its zenith?  We, the ten authors who’ve contributed to this book, can only hope that those who do read it find an enjoyable and thought provoking experience within its pages.

Dive into worlds where memories may be sacrificed for the sake of utopia, where drug trials are unregulated, where cures for diseases may bring about even worse consequences, and people are sorted into groups, inevitably leaving a few who don’t fit nicely within any one box to fend for themselves.  Experience the horrors of looking into the eyes of a serial killer every day and exploring the memories of the dead.  See a society where all but a few people are interconnected by a worldwide network, or another where the internet can be explored through a virtual reality interface.  Experience the magic of creatures folded from paper coming to life and the unsettling feeling of being haunted by that which never was.

There’s a wide variety of stories to read, and odds are that you’ll find something that will entice and intrigue you.

The release date is fast approaching!  May 3rd is just around the corner.  It's this coming Tuesday, in fact!  Are you excited?  I know we are!



Don’t forget!


Every comment gives you a chance to win one of ten copies of Parallels: Felix Was Here!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for . . .

Image Source: WikipediaTsukioka Yoshitoshi, The Heavy Basket, 1892. From the Thirty-six Ghosts series. 9.25" x 14.25". The print depicts a number of monsters attacking an old woman. 

Yūrei, or figures in Japanese folklore analogous to Western ghosts. After death, the soul, or reikon, leaves the body and enters purgatory while the proper funeral rites are observed. If all goes well, the reikon becomes a protector of the living and returns each August to receive thanks at the Obon Festival.

If the person dies in a sudden or violent way such as murder or suicide, the reikon can transform into a yūrei, which will return to the physical world. (Wikipedia)

Successful horror films based on yūrei include Ju-On (The Grudge), Ringu (The Ring), Pulse, and Dark Water.

I’ve only seen The Ring. How about you?