- Mothership Zeta Magazine 4-Quarter Subscription
- Flash Fiction Online, 12 month subscription
- Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 7: March 2014
- In the Company of Thieves
- Uncanny Magazine – 12 Month Subscription
- Lightspeed Magazine Issue 49 – Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue
- Clarkesworld Magazine: 12-Month Subscription
- Champion of the Scarlet Wolf Book One
- Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 9: July 2014
- New York Review of Science Fiction 12-issue Subscription
- Vintage: A Ghost Story, Steve Berman
- The Mariposa Club, Rigoberto Gonzalez
- The Filly, Mark R. Probst
- Red Caps: New Fairy Tales for Out of the Ordinary Readers, Steve Berman
- The Filly, Mark R. Probst
- A Hundred Little Lies, Jon Wilson
- Takedown: Taming John Wesley Harding, Dale Chase
- Faun, Trebor Healey
- The Mariposa Club, Rigoberto Gonzalez
- Mariposa Gown, Rigoberto Gonzalez
- Mariposa U., Rigoberto Gonzalez
- Normal Miguel, Erik Orrantia
- From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction, eds., Charles Rice-Gonzales & Charlie
- Time travel disasters, including fighting with your double(s). As a kid, Back to the Future completely messed me up.
- Crazy comedies like I’ve been writing since high school (a format editors request rather infrequently).
- The extravagant, amazing language and satire of Gilbert and Sullivan, especially Pirates of Penzance.
I’m very happy to report that Twelfth Planet Press’s anthology Letters to Tiptree is an instabestseller here on Weightless. You can read three of the letters from Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein’s celebration of Alice Sheldon’s 100th birthday (links below) and then you can come here and pick it up for just 99 cents!
Nicola Griffith – read online at LA Review of Books
Gwyneth Jones – read online at Strange Horizons
Brit Mandelo – read online at Tor.com
First, not to bury the lede: We’re celebrating moving to our new webhost, Dreamhost, with a special that will run all month:
Buy any ebook on our lovely DRM-free indie ebookstore WeightlessBooks.com between 12 a.m. February 1 and 11:59 p.m. February 29(!) 2016 and receive a free 4-issue LCRW subscription (worth $9.95!). If you’re already a subscriber, you will receive a 4-issue subscription extension. And if you buy an LCRW subscription, this will basically double it, but this offer applies to any ebook bought from this store this month.
(If you’d rather not receive this bonus, please email us, thank you.) The bonus LCRW subscription will be added to your Library in the first week of March.
Why? We had an awful experience at the end of the year when our previous webhost dropped the site for a whole week. When we asked about back ups, they said the back ups were in the same place as the actual site . . . and could not be reached. Which means they were nonfunctioning backups. Not impressive.
So now we have signed with Dreamhost who promise 99.9% or higher(!) levels of uptime and it is time to celebrate and thank all the readers who choose Weightless!
Here are some recent bestsellers as a place to start:
Hope you will consider backing this if you can!
Twelfth Planet Press have put their anthology Letters to Tiptree (edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein) on sale for just 99 cents. Tiptree was a fascinating writer — Julie Phillips’s James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon is well worth a read – and her impact just keeps growing.
You can get a taste of the book from these 3 letters and pick up the book here.
Today Michael is busy moving the website to a new host so please excuse any bumps in the road.
Once we everything settled we’re going to announce a tiny bonus thing which will be offered to everyone who buys something from the site this month!
Here’s the recent bestsellers if you’d like somewhere to begin:
(Is this gif from Kiki’s Delivery Service related? I don’t know but I like it!)
Today is the anniversary of one of the most famous Scottish exports (no, not whiskey or the Loch Ness monster!), the poet Robert Burns. He did an awful lot of things, good and bad, in his 37 years on this Earth. Somewhere in Ayrshire, where he was born, probably at the Burns Cottage museum but I’m not going to go check because it is Monday morning), they have a window from a pub where, instead of just paying his bar tab, he wrote a poem on the window using his diamond ring. Fancy poet living large!
This morning I read “Tam O’Shanter” with my kid — nothing like trying to not explain people who are “fou for weeks thegither!” (drunk!) at breakfast. Or the dancing with the devil. But she loves the part about his gray mare, Meg.
Hope you can help celebrate Robert Burns’s 257th birthday by writing a poem, reading a poem, sending a letter, reading a letter, writing a book, reading a book. And, if it’s your thing, have a wee bit whiskey with your oatcakes and haggis th’ night.
In 2014, Lightspeed funded their first special issue, Women Destroy Science Fiction!, which ended up raising more than 1000% of their original goal, and unlocked additional special issues Women Destroy Horror! and Women Destroy Fantasy!
In 2015, they had another successful campaign to fund Queers Destroy Science Fiction! It raised more than 1000% of their goal, and unlocked additional special issues Queers Destroy Horror! and Queers Destroy Fantasy!
So in 2016, with luck (and your help!), they will unlock additional special issues People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror! and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy! Keep on keep on knocking it down and building it up, woohoo: go for it!
There’s a fascinating interview with Mary Rickert in the current issue of Locus where she talks about trying to write novels over the years and what works and does not work for her, writing in general, and her mother’s death.
I love Mary’s writing (we recently published her collection You Have Never Been Here at Small Beer) and am fascinated that she says she does not always know everything about her stories. I think it’s the gaps in the stories that make them so fascinating (or scary) and lifelike to me.
I searched for Martin Luther King Jr. on the site and came up with two interesting looking books, both perhaps not surprisingly from our politically minded friends at PM Press.The first is We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America by Elizabeth Betita Martínez et al. which is directly inspired by the work of King: “Among the historic texts included are rarely-seen writings by antiracist icons such as Anne Braden, Barbara Deming, and Audre Lorde, as well as a dialogue between Dr. King, revolutionary nationalist Robert F. Williams, Dave Dellinger, and Dorothy Day. Never-before-published pieces appear from civil rights and gay rights organizer Bayard Rustin and from celebrated U.S. pacifist supporter of Puerto Rican sovereignty Ruth Reynolds.”
The second book inspired by Dr. King is Waging Peace by David Hartsough and Joyce Hollyday and is filled with “Engaging stories on every page provide a peace activist’s eyewitness account of many of the major historical events of the past 60 years.”
Peace in our time!
Weightless Books interviews Walter Dinjos, author of “The Mama Mmiri” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue 190.
Q: Your story “The Mama Mmiri” revolves around a teenaged boy and a water spirit. Have you ever seen a water spirit or felt like you’ve been in the presence of one?
Dinjos: Nigerians are a superstitious lot. It’s not uncommon to find a good fraction of us professing the existence of water spirits. When you, however, get down to asking what these spirits really are or look like, you begin to realise that our conviction is rooted in nothing but hearsay and blind faith.
Some may tell you that the spirits are the same as the regular mermaids you find in fairy tales, some others may claim they are goddesses, and others may say they are female water apparitions—you know, like ghosts, but more powerful. But you have to wonder which one it really is, and if you are anything like me, you must be practical about this.
It’s rumoured in Nigeria that if you should bend and look behind through your legs in an open market, you would see spirits floating in the midst of the crowd, and you would not survive the sight. I put that rumour to the test once, but here I still am.
So, no, I have not seen a water spirit, or any spirit at all, but I believe I have felt their presence—in my stories, of course.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to write?
Dinjos: I can’t say I knew I wanted to write when I was little, because reading and writing in English didn’t grow on me until 2010. And I’m not a native English speaker (you can understand my apathy as a boy). So, trust me, writing was hard, very hard, for me in the beginning. Now it’s just . . . hard.
Looking back and considering how tedious the journey has been, I find it funny that I embraced writing to raise money. I needed money to record some songs, and I imagined that writing a book was an easy way to it.
So I wrote a book, The Prospect, about illegal diamond mining in DR Congo and the forceful extraction of bone marrow from people immune to the dominant strain of HIV by the antagonist’s doctor in an attempt to cure the antagonist of the virus. It took me three months. Piece of cake, I thought—well, until the rejection letters started flying in. Fortunately, I had fallen in love with writing by then, and I couldn’t stop.
Q: You’ve published short stories and poetry. How do you decide whether something wants to be a short story or a poem?
Dinjos: It’s actually easy for me, since most of my poems are lyrics from my songs. I can literally sing my poems. If you take a look at my poem “My Maker,” you’d see it’s in song form, with verses and a repeating chorus.
Sometimes, I fear I’m incapable of writing poetry without a melody in my head, seeing as the few times I attempted writing poetry from scratch I ended up with short stories instead. In fact, “The Mama Mmiri” is one of these stories. I started it, along with my poem “The Diamond Fish,” as a prose poem, but it turned out to be longer than I expected.
Q: How do your singing and songwriting affect your other writing?
Dinjos: When writing, I tend to favour lyrical prose, and I think that’s because of my musical side. I can’t begin to tell you how hard I fight the urge to include music in my prose. Sometimes, though, to better understand the emotions my characters feel, I ask myself what kind of song this character would sing when faced with this plight or that plight. If I succeed in writing a song that exudes one character’s emotion at a point in my story, I tend to find that part of the story easier to write. It…just flows.
Q: What kind of challenges do you face in making time for your writing?
Dinjos: My writing and my studies at the Writers Bureau England are in sync, and I love that by writing my assignments I produce short stories, poems, and articles that I can submit to magazines. And since these are assignments, I enjoy the privilege of having my tutor look over them before I start making submissions.
My singing and songwriting are also very helpful. I found that when I’m stuck, singing or writing a song is a nice way to recuperate.
My day job is the only thorn on my writing life. I work from 7am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday in a place riddled with so much noise—the kind of noise that invades your thoughts. That’s what you get when you are into transportation and logistics in Nigeria, and this makes it difficult for me to think about writing at work.
When I finally return home, all I want to do is sleep, and that’s what I do, so that when I wake around 10pm, I’m able to give my writing all the attention it deserves until 2am when I go to sleep again.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on that you can share?
Dinjos: I do. Most of them are short stories, but one is a novel—A Hundred Lifetimes. The story revolves around reincarnation (trust me, it’s not what you think; so don’t take a second look at the title), a form of teleportation that requires a certain natural ray to be possible, and a society where the coalescence of magic and science has led to the cloning of the human soul.
Walter Dinjos is Nigerian, and he enjoys singing and songwriting as much as he does writing. In addition to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, his work has been accepted at Space & Time, Stupefying Stories, Literary Hatchet, and others. He is currently exploring means (both scientific and magical) of attaining immortality. You can find him online at www.walterdinjos.com.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a three-time Hugo Award finalist and World Fantasy Award-winning online magazine publishing the best in literary adventure fantasy, is available DRM-free in single issues and as a 12-month subscription.
Good news for us monster movie fans — and it isn’t just that Ellen Datlow’s The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen is right there waiting for you. This morning I read on twitter about a new monster movie . . . well, I think it’s a monster movie. All we know now is that there’s a movie coming in March called 10 Cloverfield Lane and we’re all supposing it is connected to Cloverfield. Either way, the good news for me is that John Goodman’s in it. I read about it on geek.com and it’s basically everywhere on the internets but if you haven’t yet watched the trailer, go on, here it is:
First: sorry! We’re still waiting for our webhost, A Small Orange, to explain quite what happened but for now, while there will be changes behind the scenes, hey, we’re back!
All the January 1st new magazines are out — Locus, (with an interview I can’t wait to read with Mary Rickert), Lightspeed, Galaxy’s Edge (featuring Leigh Bracket, scriptwriter for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), Flash Fiction Online, Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Nightmare, and Shimmer Magazine — and tomorrow new issues of Uncanny Magazine and The Big Click go out. Yay! Also, phew!
We just added three great Lethe Press Bundles
Four powerful books:
3 fabulous titles:
The biggest of them all!
This month, everyone can get a taste of PM Press‘s wide range of books by receiving a 50% discount on all PM Press orders here on Weightless until December 31st with gift coupon
Weightless Books interviews A.C. Wise, author of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again and over one hundred published short stories.
Q: The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again is a tender presentation of the well-dressed personalities behind some really effective ass-kicking. The sexual orientation of the team members is on a wide spectrum. Why did you choose to tell the story with sexual identity at the forefront?
Wise: Part of it is the way the stories turned out, who the characters revealed themselves to be as they made it to the page. The other part is the idea that you should write the kind of stories you would want to read. Basically, I want to see stories that reflect the best parts of the world as it is, and that includes the whole spectrum of gender, sexuality, race, background, and so on. There’s a tendency in a lot of mainstream media to focus on a very narrow part of that spectrum as if it represents the entirety of human experience. There are so many stories out there, and I did my best to tell a few of them.
Q: In a fight against giant squids from outer space, who from the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron would lead the charge?
Wise: Well, the fight would definitely have to be a team effort, but Bunny would lead the charge. She is the team leader after all, and she does have experience fighting tentacled beasts, though of the underwater variety. The basic idea is the same though, right? Dodge the tentacles and aim for the squishy bits.
Q: You’ve published over 100 short stories since 2004. What’s changed about your writing or your interests since you started writing?
Wise: Hopefully my writing has improved since I started off in 2004. I look back on my older stuff, and some of it makes me cringe. Some, I still think is okay. I tend to notice the things that have stayed the same more than what’s changed – it’s hard to see that kind of thing from the inside. But there are certain themes that recur throughout my work over the years. Birds tend to turn up a lot, as do foxes, witches, tattoos, and water. Just at my publication history with Shimmer, four of the five stories feature water in a very prominent role.
Q: How did your Cthulhu mythos story, “Chasing Sunset,” come to be included in editor Ellen Datlow’s recently-published collection The Monstrous?
Wise: “Chasing Sunset” was originally written for Whispers from the Abyss, a Lovecraftian anthology from 01 Publishing. In writing the story, I wanted to play with different kinds of monsters, human versus inhuman, and I liked the idea of two horrific mythologies battling it out to see who is the biggest bad of the big bads. When Ellen put out a call to authors she’d previously worked with asking for reprint stories that weren’t the typical depiction of monsters, but were still monstrous, I sent it off hoping it would be a good fit. Luckily, it was!
Q: How does reading affect your writing?
Wise: Bits of inspiration are constantly creeping in from the things I read. A stray bit of imagery here, a throw-away line there. Sometimes they spark an immediate idea I can twist around into something new, and sometimes they linger for months or years until I unexpectedly find them in the middle of something I’m writing. In a more direct way, fairy tales and Lovecraftian fiction have provided inspiration for several re-tellings and tales that play with the mythos.
Q: What are you working on now?
Wise: I’ve always got a handful of stories on the go in various stages of completion – writing, editing, or just floating around in my head as ideas. (There may be some more Glitter Squadron stories in that last category.) On the editorial side, at Unlikely Story, we’re getting ready to release our first print anthology. Up until now, we’ve been online only. Now we’re dipping a toe into the print world with an anthology of flash fiction about clowns in all their various forms titled Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia remix. We were lucky enough to get some really wonderful stories from some fantastic authors, and we can’t wait to share them with the world!
A.C. Wise’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Shimmer, Apex, and The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2015, among other places. Her debut collection, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again was published by Lethe Press in 2015 and is available DRM-free on Weightless Books. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, and contributes a monthly Women to Read column to SF Signal. Find her online at www.acwise.net.
Andrea Pawley interviews Bill Powell for Weightless Books. Powell’s play “The Punctuality Machine, Or, A Steampunk Libretto” appears in Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue 173.
Powell: This is one of those extremely improbable projects where you break down and just write about the weird stuff you know you’ll love yourself, even though there’s no way it’ll actually get published. For this story, those loves include:
As far as I know, Gilbert and Sullivan never happened to write about time machines and alien invasions — a most regrettable omission. But I had tons of fun trying to tackle these ideas as if I were one of their (much less skillful) contemporaries.
Q: What’s the first play you remember wanting to write?
Powell: Alas, I hesitate to inflict any of my juvenilia on the unsuspecting reader, even in summary form. :) But my first big audience for one of my comedy skits was a gym packed for my high school talent show.
This must have been Election Year 1996, because the title of my skit was “Waiting for Perot,” which perhaps suggests the obscure quality of much of the humor. As I mounted the stage, I had no idea whether this heartless horde in the shadows would get most of the jokes. Comedy is wonderfully and brutally testable – people either laugh, or they most emphatically do not. You face ecstasy or evisceration. In public.
The first few jokes got modest laughs, but then came a weird, complicated joke . . . and silence.
A seething silence – I could feel hundreds of people all straining their mental muscles in concert. The question hung high above us all, like the long, long arc of a desperate three-point shot. Would they get it? Would they?
Then came the explosion. Whoosh!
They got it. And they got me – I’ve never recovered from the high of making an audience laugh as one. It’s an altered state for us all.
Q: I understand in college you turned in philosophy essays in the form of plays when your classmates were taking more traditional approaches. Are you the first person in history to do this and get away with it?
Powell: Ha! Definitely not. The honor of “first play-writing philosophy student” goes to that chap Plato. The Socratic dialogues really are dialogues, sometimes with a whole dinner table of argumentative characters.
Personally, I stumbled early on into this rich tradition of disputation masquerading as drama, from the zany, high-spirited philosophical “novels” of G. K. Chesterton that I devoured in high school all the way back not only to Plato, at least, but also the delectable satire of his contemporary Aristophanes.
In fact, I think my first college success at handing in a play instead of a paper was in a class where we’d read an Aristophanes comedy. I simply asked if I could write a modern retelling.
This was for my “Great Books” seminar, a wonderful experience across all four years where everyone could actually talk about Plato, Homer, and all those names we’d always heard but never read. I suppose the course was already so offbeat that the teacher was comfortable letting me try something cool.
Best of all, my class did a reading.
After that, I hustled to write comedies instead of papers whenever I could. Professors, it turned out, were also human beings, at least part-time, and almost all appeared to be even more bored reading normal papers than I was writing them…up to and including my philosophy thesis advisor.
Besides, comedy isn’t just a blast – it’s a most sensible way to discuss philosophy. People loved seeing these crazy philosophical positions come to life as even crazier characters. It’s one thing to read Descartes nattering on for chapters about how he might not exist; it’s quite another to watch Bob the Cartesian really try to get through his day.
Q: If you could debate any living or dead comedian, philosopher, or playwright who would it be?
Powell: Wow! Are you kidding? All of them! I’d put everyone in a huge school cafeteria and lock the doors until they’d figured everything out.
Things might get dicey once the grape juice started to ferment.
Q: You’re a graduate of the the Odyssey Writing Workshop. How has your experience at Odyssey influenced your writing?
Powell: Every possible good way! I can’t even list them all.
Odyssey is like you’ve spent your whole life trying to build custom dollhouses, and you think you’re pretty good at it, maybe, and then Jeanne Cavelos walks in and:
1) Turns your workshop light on (whoa!),
2) Explains how to use hundreds of specialized carpentry tools, as opposed to your current toolset of a rubber mallet and a crowbar,
3) Gently deconstructs your current attempts in microscopic, systematic, eviscerating and yet loving detail, illuminating every minute opportunity for improvement,
4) Teaches you how to analyze and learn from other people’s dollhouses at this same incredible level, and
5) Introduces you to a network of master carpenters, all of whom are delighted to meet you (even years later) simply because Jeanne chose you as a student.
Apply to Odyssey. Everything will change.
Powell: Sure! I’m writing a comedy novel about a hapless college student who gets trapped in a small, rural Virginia town where everyone is delightfully crazy. This town bears no resemblance whatsoever to the small, rural Virginia town where I happen to live.
Bill Powell lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he eats and breathes regularly. He writes fantasy, science fiction, metaphysically problematic author bios, and character-driven stories about driverless cars. His website is http://billpowell.org, and you know what’s awesome? Mutual funds. Seriously! You can retire with a million bucks! How is that not science fiction?
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a three-time Hugo Award finalist and World Fantasy Award-winning online magazine publishing the best in literary adventure fantasy, is available for DRM-free purchase from Weightless Books.