Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tamaino at SFRevu has reviewed Flash Fiction Online's April 2010 issue available here. Other than taking offense at a New Jersey slam in one of the stories (no, he took it with good wit), he liked FFO's April foolery. By the way, Sam, the editor-in-chief of Flash Fiction Online is a NJ resident.

The April issue had stories by Daniel José Older, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Andrew Gudgel, plus a classic story and Bruce Holland Rogers' Short-Short Sighted column.

Sam also reviewed recent editions of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Apex Magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction, the first issue of Bull Spec, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), Jim Baen's Universe, Kaleidotrope, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Thanks, Sam.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

20th Anniversary of Hubble

The Hubble Telescope had a rocky start, with its budget concerns in Congress and later need for contact lenses, but few regret the project now in view of the outstanding science that was a direct outcome of the space telescope. NASA is now celebrating 20 years of Hubble Telescope science. There, you'll find a small collection of the most outstanding images and videos in the Hubble gallery, along with a Hubble model, "greatest (science) hits," timeline, and a way to send messages to the Hubble team. At the Hubble site, you'll find a much larger collection of Hubble images as well as links to news and their expansive gallery.

If you're interested in the future of NASA science, here is the infrared Webb Telescope site.

Flash Fiction Online SF/Fantasy writers: surely one of the images linked to above will inspire a flash story for us. Get busy!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ranking Literary Magazines

Lincoln Michel, book editor at The Faster Times, has compiled a nice, ranked list of literary magazines. I thought this would be of interest to Flash Fiction Online readers and authors. Our readers occasionally read something of more than 1000 words in length and our writers have been known to accidentally write a 1001-word or longer story and would like to find a home for it.

Mr. Michel warned that his list was not based on his personal taste in literary magazines, but on reputation. He said:

It is based on the reputation of journals as I’ve gleaned them and related factors like distribution, contributors, pay rates and awards (especially Perpetual Folly’s very helpful Pushcart Prize Ranking). What publications would most impress an agent or editor? What magazines routinely crop up in the acknowledgements of new collections?


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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Amazon v. Print Publishers

We've covered the story of Amazon's battle with print publishers over e-Book pricing. The Christian Science Monitor has a concise summary of the strange number game behind this battle. In short, it's all about defining the market, for now, rather than profits. Here is a summary of the players'...shall I call it voodoo economics? Nah, that dredges up too many dead topics. Um, here is a summary of what the players want:

Amazon: dear Sirs and Madams: we'd like to buy your e-Books for $13 and sell them for $9.99. Thank you.

Dear Mr. Bezos: thank you for your concern. However, for your benefit, we prefer that you make a nice 30% fee for selling our e-Books. $18.50 sounds like a much nicer retail price.

Motives: Amazon is willing to lose money for now to set the buyers' expectations for low prices for e-Books and own the market. The publishers cringe at the effect that such a low price for e-Books will have on print book sells. Who's in charge here?

In another related article, I saw another motive: Amazon allegedly wants to take the "middle man" (publishers) out of the equation and deal directly with authors.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Flash Fiction For Sale

Out of curiosity, I did a search for "flash fiction" at a certain Humongous Online Bookstore and was surprised to find 116 titles, many with "Flash Fiction," "Very Short Fiction" or some such in the title. Some were alternate editions--older or e-Book editions--but a substantial number were unique. These included fiction collections and non-fiction (how to write flash fiction) books.

Only towards the very end of the list did I suspect that Humongous Online Bookstore was messing with me and would never declare the search at an end until I bought something. (No, War and Peace is not an extremely long flash story.)

Below are some of the titles. This isn't an endorsement. These appeared in the first page of the search. The first on the list is one of Flash Fiction Online editor Jake Freivald's favorites. (Okay, that sounded a little bit like an endorsement.)

  • The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field by Tara L Masih
  • Flash Fiction Forward: 80 Very Short Stories by Robert Shapard and James Thomas
  • Fifty-One Flash Fiction Stories by Louise Michelle
  • Thieves and Scoundrels: Absolute XPress Flash Fiction Challenge #3 by Pete 'Patch' Alberti, Krista D. Ball, James Beamon, and Jodi Cleghorn
  • Nano-Flash Fiction for (Humongous Online Bookstore's famous e-Book reader) by James Dillingham
  • A Brief History of Fables: From Aesop to Flash Fiction (Brief Histories) by Lee Rourke
  • Oh Baby: Flash Fictions and Prose Poetry by Kim Chinquee
  • Six Sentences by Robert McEvily
  • The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories: Flash Fiction from Contemporary China by Shouhua Qi
  • ....

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Locus Awards Finalists for 2010

The 2010 Locus Awards finalists have been named, not surprisingly, at Locus Magazine. Here are the finalists in a partial list of the categories:

Short Story

  • "The Pelican Bar", Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
  • "An Invocation of Incuriosity", Neil Gaiman (Songs of the Dying Earth)
  • "Spar", Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 10/09)
  • "Going Deep", James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's 6/09)
  • "Useless Things", Maureen F. McHugh (Eclipse Three)

Science Fiction Novel

  • The Empress of Mars, Kage Baker (Subterranean; Tor)
  • Steal Across the Sky, Nancy Kress (Tor)
  • Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • Galileo's Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager; Ballantine Spectra)
  • Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Fantasy Novel

  • The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
  • Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
  • Drood, Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
  • Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
  • Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)

Other categories, including first novel, young-adult novel, novella, novelette, magazine, publisher, anthology, collection, editor, artist, non-fiction/art book, can be found here.

Neil Gaiman continues his string of awards, here with a short story. I've noticed that Nancy Kress is making many awards lists lately, too, here with a SF novel.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Can Video Games Be Art?

No. Sorry.

Well, that's what noted movie reviewer Roger Ebert says. Video games are scripted to have a story with alternate story lines and outcomes, so they have potential to be art, if any literature does. Video games also have visual components, so they have potential to be art, if any visual media does. And they have audio components....bad ones, usually, but they have them.

With all this pent-up potential brewing, why does Roger Ebert think they can never be art.

Here is Mr. Ebert's article, videos games can never be art in his column at his home stomping grounds, the Chicago Sun-Times.

It is not surprising that consideration about this is crippled a bit by the difficulty of defining art...you know it when you see it, but people see differently.

Mr. Ebert invited a thoughtful video designer, Ms. Kellee Santiago, to be the foil for this discussion...in fact, so that it can be a discussion rather than an edict. He provided a link to her 15-minuted video on video games, which was made prior to Ebert's stand on the matter. She provides three examples that she considers artful and compares the maturation of video games to the progression of cave drawings to art.

That's said, Ebert remains firm on the matter: a video game is a game and will never be art, but concedes that never is a long time:

"One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them."

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