If you’re thinking about investing in your writing as a science fiction and fantasy writer, Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in San Diego is a good deal–and your application is due MARCH 1st. Six weeks of time with other writers like you, with six amazing published writers in your field. You and your work are taken seriously there. I encourage you to investigate the options at Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop in San Diego.
I would love to start teaching an afterschool program for teens to write science fiction and fantasy. I have often taught this at a local school library–with snacks–once a week for high school students. If you know of a way to contact or approach Dayton/Vandalia area high schools, or program coordinators at high schools, let me know. I’d love to be able to offer these classes again.
As a science fiction/fantasy writer, I just want to remind folks that we aren’t all alike, and we don’t live in just one bubble. My blog has always been about the experience of being a science fiction/fantasy writer and not just reflecting the genre/writing parts—but about my whole experience of being a Yukoner, of having a faith, of being gay–AND being a science fiction/fantasy writer. So this is part of it.
The Queer Story Archives came up to Whitehorse–Lulu from OnMyPlanet.ca–in July 2013, recording stories of Yukon Queers, and we recorded this right before I was to leave for Dayton, Ohio. I think it’s turning into a positive story so I’m sharing it. Ultimately I’m suggesting that including gay people can save a rapidly diminishing Church population. To do that, I tell my story. Some of you have heard it–either through the Yukon News, or through DNTO. Both sources were good but heavily edited. This is me telling it in less than ten minutes. It feels better in my own words, complete.
We grow from hard times in our lives and this was a good growth for me. Eventually, I’ve come to retain and re-establish many friendships from the first church. I hope my story still helps others. I’m placing this over on Talking Dog too.
From Brian Stavely comes a thoughtful post on depicting the divine in Fantasy over on Tor.com. I’ve included a short beginning here, but read the whole thing at this link to the whole article. Essentially Stavely counts off the ways one can describe a god in epic fantasy fiction–and there are five options. I was thinking through his list, and it’s good, but I think there are at least three more ways to depict a god in epic fantasy, and I humbly offer them up:
Option 6: Use other people’s understanding of the god as description. They might not all be alike, but the confluence, the overlap of them, will give a mosaic feel to your god. It will also create character development for the characters who have seen/or believe in this god, as we tend to see what we desire in our gods. A god’s description in the mouth of one character as a “god of vengeance” is a very different character than someone who calls him “a god of protection.” May be same god.
Option 7: Use tales of the deeds of a god to describe him or her. Actually what a god does says more about him than his/her description. And again, people have tales. If you can gather up the tales of a god, you can capture a character description that readers can fill in as they go. Then if and when the god shows up in your text, it may already have a pretty firm description in the mind of the reader, based on what it has done in the world. God is rarely described in the Bible, but his deeds let you know exactly what kind of God he is.
Option 8: Every culture uses Art to talk about its gods. Can you pull together images of the divine from a culture’s art? That will help form a picture in a reader’s mind through the cultural depictions of the gods, telling you a hell of a lot about the culture, as well as the god. Michaelangelo’s God touching Adam who seems curly headed and benevolent, and other depictions of God as a fiery, anger-filled rage monster.
Depicting the Divine in Epic Fantasy
by Brian Stavely
There’s a striking moment near the end of the twenty-first canto of Dante’s Inferno, one that almost all readers tend to remember, when the demon Barbariccia “avea del cul fatto trombetta.” It’s hard to put it delicately: he turns his ass into a trumpet. Not the kind of thing you expect out of a writer recording the steps his salvation, but the image stays with you.
Likewise, readers of the Divine Comedy remember Ugolino, who, for the sin of eating his sons, is forever frozen to his neck in ice, gnawing on the brains of Archbishop Ruggieri. In fact, Dante has no trouble at all depicting sinners in the various postures of their suffering, and for seven centuries readers have kept turning the pages. Corporal violence sells. Electronic Arts even has an eponymously titled video game in which Dante looks less like a poet and more like a Muay Thai Knight Templar. The EA people are no fools—they understand that there’s a ready market for brain eating and ass trumpets.
When it comes to the celestial realm of heaven, however, Dante runs into trouble.
Thanks, Brian and Tor.com!!
Hopefully these suggestions help YOU when writing about Faith in your Fantasy or Science Fiction. Let me know what you think. And don’t forget, you can write about Faith in Fantasy and Science Fiction for the Tesseracts 18: Wrestling with Gods anthology, open for submissions right now over at http://www.tesseracts18.com!
Very proud to announce the new Tesseracts 18 is open for Submissions. We’ve built a website for it at Tesseracts18.com Come check out our conversations about faith and science fiction and fantasy. This anthology is open to Canadian citizens, landed immigrants of Canada, longtime residents and, of course, Canadians living abroad. Yukoners, I hope to see you write a story and submit.
Well this is an all new topic for Tesseracts! And possibly a completely new topic for an anthology: a multi-faith, creative faith anthology of science fiction and fantasy. Who would have thought?
Here’s our thoughts on that kind of anthology:
Jacob wrestled with an angel in the night, earning him the name “Israel”, which means “struggles with god.” Buddha wrestled, and the hero of the Mahabarata wrestled too. Wrestling is a part of faith. Having a faith can help immensely with struggles in our lives, but we also must struggle against the rules, the boundaries, and the very doctrine at times. We all wrestle with our cultures and our gods, whether we believe in them or not. Faith is not passive. Human progress has relied on brave souls willing to challenge convention through their beliefs. And faith is not separate from Fantasy and Science Fiction. Fantastic elements are integral to all major faiths–they have their gods, fantastic creatures, miracles, blessings, power and magic. We continue that journey into space, possibly encountering worlds with their faiths. Since our cultures all began with fantasy and struggling with faith, Tesseracts 18 will continue the Science Fiction and Fantasy tradition of wrestling with Faith, without declaring all-out war.
The anthology will include a diverse representation of both real-world religions and faiths of fictional cultures. Instead of looking to pass historical or cultural judgement, it will feature character-driven stories including faith, doubt, miracles, spiritual journeys, and diversity of opinion within a faith. It will avoid blanket stereotypes of faith-based cultures. We’d love to see faith surprise us, and surprise science fiction and fantasy readers.
Some questions we think naturally come from this:
How does Faith inform a culture, change a culture? What does it mean to really believe? What kinds of religions and faiths are out there in the universe? How does faith play out already through established fantasy cultures? How can people keep believing, sometimes with very little evidence? Or is there evidence that is so personal, it is never shown to others? How does faith effect an individual, a family, a city, a society, a race, a conflict, love?
Starting soon, we’ll start posting conversations about how science fiction and fantasy has dealt with faith and religion in the past—just to be able to talk about where we’ve come from, how those representations challenge the genre or challenge readers and writers.
Mostly we just want to create a conversation about faith in fantasy and science fiction–in all its diversity! PLEASE join us. We’ll talk a blue streak with ourselves, but we’d just as soon have as many voices as possible in this conversation.
TO SUBMIT: Borrowed straight from EDGE BOOKS.
- This anthology will include as diverse a representation of both real-world religions and faiths of fictional cultures as possible. Stories should not be looking to pass historical or cultural judgment, instead they should feature character-driven plots that include faith, doubt, miracles, spiritual journeys, and diversity of opinion within a faith. Please avoid blanket stereotypes of faith-based cultures. The editors want to “see faith surprise us”, as well as “surprise science fiction and fantasy readers”.
- The Tesseracts Eighteen anthology will reflect as broad a spectrum of stories as possible; highlighting unique styles and manners.
- Submissions must be speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy, magic realism, slipstream, supernatural horror, weird tales, alternate history, space opera, planetary adventure, surrealism, superheroes, mythic fantasy, etc.
- Submissions may be either short fiction or poetry.
- The maximum length for stories is 5,000 words, with shorter works preferred.
- The Tesseracts anthology series is only open to submissions from Canadians, landed immigrants living in Canada, longtime residents of Canada, and Canadian expatriates living abroad.
- Canadian authors who write in languages other than English are welcome to submit an English translation of their work, provided it otherwise falls within the parameters of this anthology. Translation into English is the sole responsibility of the author. Please supply details of original publication for any submission that originally appeared in a language other than English.
- Deadline: December 31, 2013 (midnight).
- Do not query before submitting.
- Email submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emails MUST contain the word “submission” in the subject line, or they will be deleted automatically by the server. Please also include the story title in the subject line.
- Submissions MUST come in an attachment: only .RTF and/or .DOC formats are acceptable.
- Emails MUST contain a cover letter in the body of the email; for security reasons, email attachments with no cover letter will be deleted unread and unanswered.
- Cover letter: include your name, the title of your story, your full contact information (address, phone, email), and a brief bio. If you do not live in the place where you were born, please also include your place of birth.
- Do not describe or summarize the story.
- If your address is not within Canada, please indicate in the cover letter your status vis-à-vis Canada.
- Reprints (stories having previously appeared in English in any format, print or electronic, including but not limited to any form of web publication) can be considered but will be a hard sell; reprints must come from a source not easily available in Canada. If your submission is a reprint, please supply full publication history of the story. If your story appeared previously, including but not limited to anywhere on the web, and you do not disclose this information to the editor upon submission, you will be disqualified from consideration.
- Submission format: no strange formatting, colour fonts, changing fonts, borders, backgrounds, etc. Leave italics in italics, NOT underlined. Put your full contact information on the first page (name, address, email address, phone). No headers, no footers, no page numbering. DO NOT leave a blank line between paragraphs. Indent paragraphs. ALWAYS put a # to indicate scene breaks (a blank line is NOT enough).
- ALWAYS include your full contact information (name/address/email/phone number) on the first page of the attached submission.
- Payment for short poetry is $20.00. Payment for short stories is prorated as follows: $50 for stories up to 1,500 words, rising to a maximum of $150 for stories up to 5,000 words (longer stories are paid a slightly higher fee, but in order to exceed the word length limit of 5,000 words, the editors must judge a story to be of surpassing excellence.)
- Rights: for original fiction, first World English publication, with a two-month exclusive from publication date; for all, non-exclusive anthology rights; all other rights remain with the author.
- Spelling: please use Canadian spelling, as per the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.
- Response time: initial responses (no / rewrite request / hold for further consideration) will be prompt, usually within fifteen days. Please query if you’ve not heard back within 30 days. Final responses no later than 15 February 2014.
- Submit only one story or poem. Multiple submissions will not be accepted.
- Simultaneous submissions will not be accepted.
- Publication: Fall 2014 (trade paperback & e-Book).
- Email submissions to: email@example.com
*Image is from a Chihuly glass exhibit in Seattle, WA
A really nice article by Dan Davidson appeared in the Whitehorse Star on Friday, April 19. Alistair Maitland did the photo. I appreciate them both. I think this Festival will be a lot of fun. It’s always good to get to teach Yukon high school students as part of the Young Authors Conference as well.
The Festival starts with a big reading at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre Tuesday night at 7pm. The Young Authors Conference is held the next two days after that in FH Collins Library and then we head off Friday to Haines Junction for a reading.
Organizer Sara Davidson has done a great job at gathering diverse writers together. Yukoner Dennis Allen, as well as Drew Hayden Taylor and Carrie Mac and Beverley Brenna.
If you can, come and enjoy the readings with us.
Really thrilled that Speculating Canada reviewed my short story, “One Nation Under Gods” which appeared in Tesseracts 14. It’s hard to get short fiction reviews and they are so valuable. The SF/F/H community should hold tight and nurture as many reviewers as we can. With a growing market of books, the discerning reader looks to reviews to help choose what to read. And reviewers who choose short fiction, new authors, and anthologies help support beginning writers who are starting their careers, hoping that someone notices. So we can’t fete reviewers enough–we need them, we love them, we should be very kind to them.
I’d say this for any thoughtful reviewer, even if Derek had NOT liked my work. It’s the way he liked my work that makes me happy.
Speculating Canada has a really great aim:
This site has been created in response to the overwhelming number of people who are surprised that Canadian literature includes the fantastic. Canadian SF, fantasy, and horror have been cast into a literary ghetto under the power structure of CanLit, and cast as either inferior literatures, or literatures that are not ‘of here’, i.e. from abroad. Yet, Canadian speculative fiction has a long history in Canada and engages with ideas of Canadian identity, belonging, and concepts of nationhood, place and space (both ‘the final frontier’ type, and the geographical).
Realist fiction is often seen as the only ‘truly’ Canadian fiction, but even realist fiction speculates, postulates and creates a fantastic idea, just one that is based more closely on the normative world around us than most SF authors are inclined to do.
Canadian SF allows for the engagement with ideas such as What is Canada? What does belonging mean? What is the nature of ‘human’? Why are things the way they are? How do we change things? Can things change?
The appeal of Canadian SF is not just regional, but has implications for a wider audience. Canadians, long un/comfortable with our identity as a hybrid of the American and English, Francophones and Anglophones, Aboriginal and settlers, and the multicultural mix that is embedded in our philosophy, means that we are comfortable with questions of identity and the exploration of our place, ideas that naturally lend themselves to science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We live in a world that is unsure of itself, and uncomfortable with ideas of belonging, and Canadian SF plays with ideas of belonging, disrupts the normal (or what has come to be seen as normal) and allows for a new way of experiencing the world.
As for the review–well, I’ll let you read most of it as his site, but here’s a nice chunk: