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Analog and Galaxy’s Edge and Alternate Theologies, Oh My!

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alternate-theologiesThis has been an exciting time for me as I gradually work my way up the science fiction writing ladder. This month I have three stories out in three major publications – including my first story in Analog! (Here’s the Table of Contents for the Sept/Oct 2018 issue, now out in newsstands – I’m the “Probability Zero” story, “The Plaything on the Tesseract Wall.” The story is about a 4-D being, a little girl, who plays with a 3-D being (a little boy), and in inadvertently becomes a bully – with a surprise result.

I also have stories in both the current and upcoming issues of Galaxy’s Edge. In the current (July/August) issue I have Satan’s Soul; in the upcoming (Sept/Oct) issue I have “Death, the Devil, and the President’s Ghost.” In the first, Satan is depressed as it’s the night before Armageddon and he knows he’s going to lose – but then a higher-dimensional being shows up, and after some negotiating, Satan sells his soul to it in return for winning the next day! In the second, the president has just died and his ghost is taking the elevator down, accompanied by Satan and Death – with a surprising turn.

Perhaps my favorite recent story just came out in “Alternate Theologies: Parables for a Modern World,” which is an anthology of stories that satirize bad religion. In my story, “An American Christian at the Pearly Gates,” a hypocritical Christian meets a surprising Saint Peter, who does a surprising thing!

Last month I was at “The Never-Ending Odyssey,” a nine-day annual writing workshop for graduates of the Odyssey writing workshop. I had three stories work-shopped there. All three are now rewritten, along with about seven other stories I’ve been working on periodically this year – and all are now making the rounds. I’ve sold 92 short stories, but sales are “tougher” these days as I’m pickier about where I send them – I rarely submit to the non-pro markets anymore. (I’ve sold 26 to SFWA “pro” markets.)

And now I’m deep into research for my new novel, now tentatively called “Election 2050: The Return of George Washington.” I’ve read several bios of Washington and lots of other stuff on his personality and psychology since he’s going to be the main character. I’ve got several great characters planned out to go along with him. I’d initially written 7000 words of the novel, but after a compete rethinking of it, I plan to start from scratch, once I’m done with the research and planning stage. (Originally I had the first ten U.S. presidents in the novel.)  Assuming it eventually sells, it would be my fifth novel.

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Recent Sales, Dot Com, and the Upcoming TNEO Writing Workshop

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalI’ve had four nice sales recently. Feb. 23 was a banner day as I made my first sale to Analog, as well as my 13th to Galaxy’s Edge!

  • Analog: “The Plaything on the Tesseract Wall” (sold on Feb. 23, will be in the Sept/Oct issue))
  • Galaxy’s Edge: “Plop Plop” (sold on Feb. 23)
  • Terror Politico Anthology: “I’ve Been Waiting For You” (sold on Jan. 28)
  • Third Flatiron: “Five Billion Pounds of Soul” (sold on Jan. 14) – available at Amazon

I recently bought the rights to www.larryhodges.com, so my science fiction & fantasy web page is either that or www.larryhodges.org – they are identical.

This July I’ll be attending “The Never-Ending Odyssey,” an annual 9-day writing workshop by graduates of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. (I’m a 2006 graduate of the six-week program.) As part of this we’ll each get to send in three stories or chapters for critique. I just sent in my first one, and now have six that I have to read and critique. I’ve already done two. In addition to critiquing, we also have a number of “Master Level” writing course we teach ourselves. This year’s focus is “Learning from Top Pros.”

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When Parallel Lines Meet (and other stories)

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when-parallel-lines-meet-cover-smWhen Parallel Lines Meet (and other stories)

My fourth science fiction novel comes out on Halloween, Oct. 31 – “When Parallel Lines Meet,” which I co-wrote with Mike Resnick (ever heard of him? Five Hugo awards and 37 nominations) and Lezli Robyn. You can advance order now in all three formats – print, kindle, and audiobook.

Make sure to order your copy! Here’s the book description:

When Keelarah, Lead Interrogator in the Neuropsych subdivision of the Cartheeli Military Caste, first meets the alien, she is prepared to do her duty. He is a trespasser on her planet, has caused the death of someone dear to her, and it is imperative she find out where he’s come from and whether his kind poses a threat to her and her people.

Often ruthless in her techniques, the interrogator uses her telepathic and empathic abilities to assault his mind, to draw out any whisper of information that can give them a better idea of what – who – they are dealing with. But she isn’t prepared for the prisoner to defend himself with comparable talents, to disarm her with equally astute observations. Chief Surveyor Forrest Brown might not be the best example of humanity, but he doesn’t have to be to show Keelarah what it is to be humane.

As they get to know each other, the line between captor and prisoner blur, which begs the question: is having different origins a more important factor, or the ability to find common ground? What if mutual alienation leads to the most profound bond of all?

I also have two short stories coming out. On Oct. 27, my dark fantasy Running with the Dead was published by Astounding Outpost. It’s the story of a dead high school kid – yeah, a zombie – who just wants to go to school and try out for the track team as a miler, and the rejection he faces from everyone, especially the “Mile Mafia,” the high school kids who rule the track team. (It’s basically a civil rights allegory.) Strangely they put my name at the end of the story instead of the start, as is the norm.

I have another short story coming out on Nov. 1 at Galaxy’s Edge, “The Nature of Swords” (in addition to my current story there, “Theater of Death,” which comes down on Nov. 1). “The Nature of Swords” imagines a distant future where all that’s left of mankind are the magical swords he created, which spend their days playfully fencing (they can fly) and reminiscing about the days of man. One of them decides to travel the world in search of man – with tragic results that say more about the nature of man than sword.

I recently self-published another story, “Captain Exasperation Woman Meets President Trump.” This is a satire that mocks Trump as it systematically goes over his countless lies and broken promises. Here’s the story description:

Can Captain Exasperation Woman Save the Planet from Complete Exasperation?
Captain Exasperation Woman, the world’s greatest superhero, has the power to exasperate anyone and anything into utter perplexity by simply telling the truth. Fences, helicopters, secret service agents, and many others will face her wrath. When she goes up against the mighty T-Rump known as President Trump, she will confront him with his countless lies, scams, business and moral failings, and the utter ineptitude of his presidency. But she will find her powers are useless against one who is not fettered by truth or conscience. She must bring out her full bag of tricks, from the Spirits of Presidents Past, Present, and Future, to the Devil himself, and even the Exasperation of the Galaxy itself.

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The Never-Ending Odyssey – 2017

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group-gameofthronesThis year’s session was July 21-29. Wanting to avoid rush hour, I drove up from Maryland the night before (Thursday), leaving at 9PM and arriving in Manchester about 5AM. (I drove non-stop except for a 20-min break in the middle.) Once there, I planned to sleep in my car in the parking lot until they opened, but couldn’t sleep, and so read until 11AM, when I was able to get into my room at Saint Anselm College.

This year there were 17 of us – here’s the official group picture. (Here is the TNEO “Vacation” pictures – 12 pictures where we visited Darth Vader, Hogwarts, the Enterprise, the Moon, Game of Thrones – see above, the Cracks of Doom, and the Titanic, and visit Satan, a T-Rex, a dragon, and Godzilla. Here are more TNEO photos.) Hosting TNEO was Jeanne Cavelos, the director of Odyssey, who also joined the groups as one of the critiquers, with chapters of her novel in progress getting critiqued. Barbara Barnett-Stewart and Samantha Weiss were the Resident Supervisor and Moderator, and they, along with Jeanne, did a super-human job of organizing and running everything. (Actually, their work was beyond super-human, but the English language is just too limited to adequate describe it.)

Before going to TNEO I (like others) we each submitted for critique three stories or chapters. (You could do either short stories or novel chapters, up to 15,000 words in three segments. There is also an Extended Novel Group which submits and critiques more material.) I did 13 critiques of fellow student’s stories or novel chapters. They ranged from about 1000 to 2000 words (2-4 pages single spaced), and covered all aspects of fiction writing.

I tend to do my critiques systematically, using the following sixteen categories: Immediate Reaction, Title, Writing, Beginning, Main Characters, Dialogue, Point of View, Setting, Exposition and Pacing, Theme, Genre and Originality, Plot, Ending, Page Notes, Strongest Aspect of the Story, and Weakest Aspect of the Story and How It Can Improve. For the critique sessions, we’d go around the circle, with each person generally having up to ten minutes to give their critique, and then the one being critiqued had 18 minutes to discuss the story, respond to the critiques, and ask questions.

This year’s topic for the Master Classes was “Creating Powerful Emotion in Your Fiction.” There were eight lectures, most of them with interactive exercises, most ranging from one to one and a half hours long:

  • “My Knees Could Have Been Stirred With A Spoon: Showing Character Emotion,” by Katie Yelinek;
  • “Outer, Inner, Other/Recognition, Fascination, Mystery: Two Approaches to Writing Emotion,” by Gigi Vernon;
  • “Emotion Underlies the Character Arc,” by Gerald Warfield;
  • “You Shall Not Pass,” by Jeanne Cavelos:
  • “Create an Emotional Storyboard,” by Jessica Thomas;
  • “Ogling the Shapely Story: The Science of Shape in Fiction,” by James Hall;
  • “Have Yourself a Hilarious, Terrified Sob Fest: Evoking Emotion in the Reader,” by Travis Heermann;
  • “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Writing Humor?” by Barbara Barnett-Stewart.

Other segments included:

  • Brainstorming Session, hosted by Samantha Weiss;
  • Novel Synopsis and Plot Breakout Sessions;
  • Problem-Solving Session;
  • Salon Fantastique: “Breaking the Rules,” hosted by Gerald Warfield;
  • Salon Fantastique: “The Fantasy in Fantasy and the Science in Science Fiction,” hosted by Travis Heermann and Samantha Weiss;
  • Two Read Aloud Sessions, hosted by Geoffrey Jacoby;
  • Slam Reading at Barnes and Noble (where we each do a five-minute reading);
  • Trip to Old Number Six Book Depot;
  • Daily Writing Hours;
  • Lunch with Jeanne;
  • Several group dinners.

I had three stories critiqued. From the critiques, the main problem is I need to challenge my characters more – they solved their problems too easily, so I’ll be giving them more problems in my rewrites. I also need to follow the three-act structure more closely. My stories were:

  • “Mad Molly and the Nuclear Bomb.” This was a humorous hard SF story featuring Mad Molly, an 80-year-old black autistic retired math professor who solves problems with math – but often for her own reasons. In this story terrorists had sent a nuclear bomb through a tunnel from Paris to DC, while Molly was trying to send an ice cream cake to her sister in Paris, as she did every Tuesday at 5PM – and while her main motivation was get that ice cream cake sent out on time, she has to solve the little problem of the nuclear bomb as well.
  • Confederate Cavalry on a Plane.” This was a humorous romp through parallel universes, featuring a professor and a student on a plane, where the professor believes in the multiverse theory that there is a universe for every possibility. This leads to a bet where the student has to come up some unlikely situation to see if it might occur, and so he bets that Confederate Cavalry will not appear on the plane – which leads, of course, to three very confused Confederates on horses charging down the aisle, including a valid scientific explanation. Also featured is a 12-year-old brat who steals them blind and causes havoc, a really fat chicken, the three Confederate Cavalry and their horses (including Hammer, who solved the Grand Unified Theory of Physics, and sort of steals the show), and a host of other oddball characters, from J.E.B. Stuart to the self-aware alien stasis field Quastika.
  • As a Matter of Fact the Universe Does Revolve Around Me.” This was about a teenage girl who discovers she literally is the center of the universe – and a whole lot more! It’s a fantasy disguised as science fiction as the universe rotates around her every ten minutes, which scientists can’t explain, and which leads to problems in school as she has to hold herself down or she starts to rotate around in the air (or rather, she holds still while the universe rotates around her). It’s also sort of a madcap adventure as she leaves our universe for the multiverse and beyond, as well as a superhero story.

My main volunteer activity was as a pack mule, helping move heavy boxes and other items around. Alas, I hurt my knee doing this on the first day, and limped the rest of TNEO, wearing a knee brace, which ended my pack mule activities.

The ride back was mostly uneventful except for a few times where my GPS on my phone went crazy. A couple of times it froze up, and so I’d miss exits, which led to an ill-fated 30-minute excursion into New York City. A few times the GPS would say something like, “In a quarter mile…” and then it would cut off for 30 seconds or so. Then, after I’d missed the turn, it would finish the sentence. Worse, for an hour in the middle of the trip it was consistently off by about 20-30 seconds. Sometimes I’d make a turn, and then listen to the GPS spend the next 20 seconds telling me to make the turn I’d already made.

Then came the weirdest GPS thing. I stopped at a rest break while on the New Jersey Turnpike. Nobody had physical access to my phone, which was strapped to my belt. But when I got back on the Turnpike, it told me to take the first exit off, which I knew was wrong – I had another hundred or so miles to go before exiting. So I pulled over and checked the phone – and somehow it was trying to get me to some local address! I have no idea how that happened. So I had to reprogram it to take me home. The drive back took about ten hours.

I’m already looking forward to next year, with three more stories. I’m already planning new ones – half the reason for going to TNEO and other workshops might be the inspiration! So if you are an Odyssey grad, perhaps you should join us next year? And if you are not an Odyssey grad, then why not consider taking a six-week “vacation” next year that will change your life AND dramatically improve your writing and chances of getting published?

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Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions – “What Have We Done?” Inauguration Day Sale

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalCampaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is on sale! But only for a few days. From my publisher (World Weaver Press), “From January 17 to January 24, 2017, we’re running a Kindle Countdown deal for the ebook version of CAMPAIGN 2100: GAME OF SCORPIONS: get it for 99¢ until January 20th, or $2.99 until January 24th.

They’re calling it the “What Have We Done?” Inauguration Day Sale. What’s the connection? The opening line to the novel is, “What have I done?”, the thoughts of regretful campaign director Toby as the guy he put into office is sworn into office as president of Earth (in the year 2100). Four years later he’ll be running for president against the guy he put in office, with an “impossible” third-party moderate challenge! (Did I mention that the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system?)

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Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions Reviewed in Mensa!

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalCampaign 2100: Game of Scorpions just got a nice review in the January, 2017 issue of the Mensa Bulletin! From the column “Page Turners,” by Caroline McCullagh (which includes a picture of the cover), page 23:

If you’re not burned out on politics, another interesting novel is Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions by Larry Hodges. It’s a good read. The book is about the campaign for president of the United States of Earth in the year 2100. It starts out as you might expect, a well-written novel about the twists and turns in a political contest as an erstwhile campaign manager, Toby Platt, decides to make a third-party challenge to the Liberal and Conservative parties. It takes a turn into something completely different with the arrival of a space ship piloted by a single female astronaut named Twenty-two, who claims to be an ambassador from the Galactic Union.

Toby’s main opponent is his previous employer, the sitting president, Corbin DuBois, who is running for re-election. DuBois’s campaign is now being run by Toby’s daughter, Lara, who knows all Toby’s tricks and then some. Toby’s best friend and now campaign manager is Bruce Sims, a ping-pong champion, which is a nice segue into the fact that the author, Larry Hodges, has written a number of other books, most of them about table tennis technique. We sure have a lot of interesting people in Mensa.

It’s also been reviewed in the SF Crow’s Nest and in Abyss & Apex:

SF Crow’s Nest: “There are so many good things in this novel that I’m bursting to share them but that would spoil it for the first time reader.” “Anyway, it’s a marvellous book. Easy reading, fast-paced, lots of surprise plot twists, likeable heroes, a loveable alien and a gripping climax that takes the election right to the wire. Highly recommended.”

Abyss & Apex: “Larry Hodges is a master of irony and slips in enough humor that it’s a great ride.”

It’s also been reviewed ten times at Amazon.com – seven 5-star and three 4-star. It has a perfect 5.0 rating on Goodreads (three ratings). And while I’m at it, here are two blurbs!

“Larry Hodges is an insightful political commentator and a kick-ass science-fiction writer. A dynamite novel full of twists and turns; this futuristic House of Cards is both entertaining and thought-provoking.”
Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo  and Nebula Award-winning author of Quantum Night

“A tense, taut political thriller that rings much truer than you would suspect, given that it won’t be happening for another eight decades.”
Mike Resnick, 5-time Hugo winner, record 37-time nominee, and editor of Galaxy’s Edge

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Sail to Success Science Fiction Writing Workshop Cruise

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Wow. That’s the best way I can describe my experiences at the “Sail to Success” science fiction writing workshop cruise in the Bahamas, Dec. 5-9, 2016, on the Norwegian Sky. I’ve never been on a cruise before, so my comments on that are from a newbie. However, I’ve been to numerous writing workshops, and this reached the rarified airs of the best of them. The cruise was put together by Arc Manor, an award-winning publisher.

What made it so great? The staff! But I’ll let you judge for yourself. The Instructors were (alphabetically):

Dan Dandridge, a best-selling self-publisher, also ran two sessions, though he was officially one of the students. Setting up everything and making sure all ran smoothly were Arc Manor’s Shahid Mahmood and Lezli Robyn. Here were the actual sessions, each roughly one hour, except for the two 3-hour critique sessions. They started each day at 2PM, and typically went to about 10PM.

  1. Publishing Business 101 (Eric Flint, Eleanor Wood)
  2. The Importance of Character Building (Nancy Kress, Jack Skillingstead)
  3. Query Letters and Contracts (Eric Flint, Eleanor Wood)
  4. Developing Property Rights (Jim Minz, Eleanor Wood)
  5. Working with Editors/Publishers/Agents (Jim Minz, Mike Resnick, Eleanor Wood)
  6. Doing It Yourself: Self-Publishing Your Book (Dan Dandridge)
  7. Working with Magazines and Anthologies (Eric Flint, Mike Resnick)
  8. Getting Past the Magazine Slush Reader (Mike Resnick)
  9. Using Modern Tools to Sell Your Own Book (Dan Dandridge)
  10. The Professional Approach to Writing (Eric Flint, Nancy Kress, Jack Skillingstead)
  11. The 1623 Universe: Intro and How to Write for It (Eric Flint)
  12. Jim Minz Manuscript Critique (3 hours)
  13. Tips to Increase Productivity (Mike Resnick, Jack Skillingstead)
  14. Nancy Kress Manuscript Critique (3 hours)
  15. Sharpening Your Prose: An Exercise (Jack Skillingstead)
  16. What Type of Writer Do You Want to Be? (Mike Resnick, Jack Skillingstead)

The cruise started in Miami. Each night, starting about 5PM, they’d leave for the next destination at 22 knots per hour (that’s about 25mph for us landlubbers), and we’d be there by the time we woke up the next morning. We left Miami on Monday night, arriving at Freeport Tuesday morning. On Wednesday we were at Nassau, the capital and largest city of the Bahamas. On Thursday it was Great Stirrup Cay, a small island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, which they turned into a private beach attraction for their passengers

My daily schedule was simple. Get up around 7AM, eat breakfast, visit hot tub, write for one hour, and then excursions to the local Bahamas. I bought about $50 in souvenirs at Freeport, and then restrained myself the rest of the way. At Great Stirrup Cay I spent an hour out in the ocean, with fish swimming about my feet, and then pigged out on the buffet the Norwegian Sky cooks had set up next to the beach. Like all meals on board (with a few exceptions for luxury items), it was included in the cost of the cruise, and so (at that point) free. The food was great, with lots of variety. I mostly had French toast for breakfast, large salads for lunch, and various dishes for dinner.

The classes started at 2PM, and generally went to about 10PM, with a two-hour break for dinner. Then it was off for the Deck 11 gabfests! (More on that below.) There was a TV in my room, but I never turned it on. I did, however, spend some time in the small balcony off my room that overlooked the ocean, where I’d read or go over my work or that of other students.

The two critique sessions were great as Jim Minz and Nancy Kress are incredible at critiquing – analyzing the story, finding its strengths and weaknesses, and finding solutions to problems found. Plus lots of line editing. We went around the table, with the others in the class giving their input on each story while the author took notes. I’ve already done my rewrites based on their critiques, and will be submitting soon.

Throughout the sessions, and often in informal ones outside, numerous pearls of wisdom were dropped on us, like manna in the Bahamas. But the workshop was much, much more.

  • Private Meetings. One of the features of the workshop was two 30-minute one-on-one sessions with two of the instructors. I got to meet with Super Agent Eleanor Wood and multi-Nebula winner and writing guru Nancy Kress. I went into each meeting with specific questions and some trepidation, and came out smiling, with answers not only to my questions, but to questions I didn’t even know to ask. Their knowledge and professionalism went far beyond expectations. Suffice to say that much of my future, both near- and long-term, are now mapped out, and I now know the exact date of my first Hugo.
  • Late-Night Bull Sessions. Most nights, after classes ended, some of us headed to the 11th deck, where there was a huge outside area with tables and a late-night restaurant. Lots of great stories from Mike and Carol Resnick! We’d talk under a starry sky, with ocean on one side, the late-night cafeteria on the other. (There was also a 12th deck, but it only covered half the ship.) I’d go to bed around 1AM, while Mike, who is a late-night owl writer, would go to work, reading from the slush pile and writing all night. Is it any wonder he has eight books coming out in 2016 (!!!), a number of short stories, while also editing Galaxy’s Edge? (He co-wrote one novel with Lezli and I, “When Parallel Lines Meet,” coming summer of 2016.)
  • Writing Habits. During the “The Professional Approach to Writing” session, Nancy Kress and Eric Flint described their writing habits. Nancy is one of those who writes to find out what she’s going to write about, i.e. doesn’t plan much – just figures it out as she writes, then does extensive rewrites. Eric is more of a planner, and often has trouble getting started. I listened to him describe his various routines to get started, and how he goes about planning his novels, with the mesmerizing realization that it was almost identical to mine. We also explored writing in a number of exercises in the “Sharpening Your Prose: An Exercise” with Jack Skillingstead.
  • Sold a Story. On the first day Mike Resnick told me he’d accepted a new story from me for Galaxy’s Edge. The story, “Death, the Devil, and the President’s Ghost,” was a humorous satire on politics. It was my 8th sale to Galaxy’s Edge, 15th “pro” sale, and 81st altogether. I tried not to jump up and down like the waves surrounding us, but probably failed. Mike has rapidly become one of my favorite authors. Regarding Mike…
  • Mike’s Books. He’s published 86 books in the SF field (novels, short story collections, and how-to books), of which I’ve read 15. I’ve made it my mission to read the other 71 over the next two years, while still reading other novels – alternating between Mike’s and others, such as Probability Moon by Nancy Kress, the first book of a trilogy I’m currently reading. But since Mike keeps putting novels out, it’s going to be hard to catch up. Next up by Mike is Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future, a Nebula nominee, which covers 6000 years of history (past and future) of the tusk of an elephant.
  • Ping-Pong Tournament. On Tuesday they held a cruise ping-pong tournament. Since in the outside world I’m a top player and coach in this Olympic sport, I won rather easily. Not to brag, but in four matches, games to 11, nobody scored more than 2 points – and twice I gave away points at 10-0.
  • Ship Features. The ship had three swimming pools, four hot tubs, basketball and volleyball courts, golf driving nets, two ping-pong tables, jogging track, fitness center and spa, about a dozen restaurants, numerous gift shops, a gambling casino, theater (with comedy, magic, and other shows), the Mark Twain Library (lots of books, not just Twain’s), a daily ship-related crossword (which I did over breakfast each morning), an art show and gallery, and lots more.
  • Norwegian Sky vs. the Titanic. Both ships are huge – but Norwegian Sky is bigger. While Titanic was slightly longer (882 feet to Sky’s 848), Sky is wider (123 feet to Titanic’s 92), heavier (77,000 tons to Titanic’s 46,000), and has more decks (12 to Titanic’s 9). Sorry, Titanic, you are now Petitenic. (They had similar crew sizes, 899 for Sky, 892 for Titanic, while Titanic had a passenger capacity of 2435 – lots of cramped quarters for the 1006 in third class – to Sky’s 2004. Stop and think about that – the Sky had roughly a crew member for every two passengers!)
  • The View. Yes, it was incredible. Imagine a 12-floor building. Now imagine it’s nearly the length of three football fields, and 123 feet wide. Now imagine it’s surrounding by bluish water as far as the eye can see, with waves crashing into the ship. Throw in a few dozen seagulls, a sky full of stars you never see within one hundred miles of a city, and you have the view that would kill.

I, and I’m sure everyone else involved, would like to thank the entire staff for the great job they did, and Arc Manor’s Shahid and Lezli for the great job they did in setting this up, as well as for all the free “goodies” they gave out – Galaxy’s Edge carry bags, copies of Galaxy’s Edge, a copy of Locus, fancy magnetic metal nametags, and of course the small rubber ducky that only Sail to Success grads will ever truly understand.

[NOTE – a photo album should be going up soon. When it does, I’ll link to it.]

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Lunacon2016-autograph-session-smI’ll be at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention on Friday and Saturday. I’m on three panels, two author signings, a reading, plus I’m one of the nine finalists for the Washington SF Association’s annual Small Press Award for Short Fiction. As you can see, I’m going to have a very busy Saturday. Hope to see all of you there! (Picture on right is from my author signing in March at the Lunacon SF Convention in Rye Brook, NY.)

FRIDAY
6:30 pm: Reading, Seneca Room
Larry Hodges Reading (Ends at 6:55 pm)

SATURDAY
1:00 pm: Humor in Science Fiction & Fantasy, Salon A
When is it good to have a laugh? An exploration of not only humorous books, but putting humorous elements in a dramatic story. Panelists: Doc Coleman (M), William Freedman, Larry Hodges, Alex Shvartsman, Jean Marie Ward

2:00 pm: The Care and Feeding of Critique Groups, Bethesda Room
Participating in a critique group can be a great way to improve your writing. Not all such groups work out well, though. The panel will discuss ways to keep a critique group helpful, vibrant, and long-lived. Panelists: Jeanne Adams, Deidre Dykes, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Larry Hodges, Gayle Surrette (M)

4:00 pm: Politics in Science Fiction & Fantasy, Rockville/ Potomac Room
If you have a civilization, you have politics. A discussion on the types of politics used in science fiction and fantasy, looking at why certain types seem to appear in certain genres. Panelists: Anthony Dobranski, Larry Hodges, Karen Wester Newton (M), Ian Randal Strock, David Walton

5:00 pm: Author Table, Author Hallway Table
Larry Hodges (Ends at 5:25 pm)

7:30 pm: Mass Autograph Session, Salon A
Saturday evening mass autographing session. (Ends at 8:25 pm)

8:30 pm: WSFA Small Press Award, Salon A
The WSFA Small Press Award winner will be announced. The Guest of Honor Gifts will also be presented. (Ends at 9:55 pm). Presenter: Steve Stiles

 

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Galaxy’s Edge and New Myths

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalI have two new stories that just went online on Sept. 1:

Manbat and Robin” at Galaxy’s Edge. This is the story of a bat that thinks it’s a superhero. It was inspired by an actual bat that flew in my window during a writing workshop!

A Snowball’s Chance” at New Myths. This is the story of a time-looping good witch who is out to stop a bad witch – armed with nothing but a snowball and a mind-boggling secret.

This morning I sold another story to Galaxy’s Edge, “The Electrifying Aftermath of a Demon Thrice Summoned,” the story of two presidential candidates (one of them the president) who keep summoning a demon to cause havoc on the opposing campaign, and the “electrifying” aftermath when he is summoned the third time. (The poor demon just wants peace and quiet so he can read a little Dante and Faulkner!) This is my 7th sale to Galaxy’s Edge, my 14th “pro” sale, and 70th short story sale overall. (A lot of 7s there!)

One other piece of news – my story “Leashing the Muse” is a finalist at the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award. The winner will be announced at Capclave on Oct. 8 – I’ll be there! (I’m a panelist, and will have both reading and signing sessions.)

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Review of Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, and Balticon

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalHere’s a great review from the SF Crow’s Nest on Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions. He gave a nice rundown, then wrote, “There are so many good things in this novel that I’m bursting to share them but that would spoil it for the first time reader.” Here’s how he finishes the review:

“Anyway, it’s a marvellous book. Easy reading, fast-paced, lots of surprise plot twists, likeable heroes, a loveable alien and a gripping climax that takes the election right to the wire. Highly recommended.”

It’s available in paperback and ebook – did I mention that through this Friday (May 27) there’s a $1.99 special on the ebook version?

This weekend I’ll be at the Balticon SF Convention where I’ll be hobnobbing with George R.R. Martin (alas, I’m not on any panels with him) and others.

 

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