In conjunction with the Genre Underground’s #ReadInTheDark2013, I will be offering a Black Friday promotion on The Rebel Within ebook at Kindle, discounted to $.99. Tell your friends and neighbors to stock up while they can. Also, as part of the Black Friday experience, I will be featured on Facebook’s “Ask the Author” event from 4-5PM ET (3-4PM CT). Come keep me company.
I would like to invite you to join me at Windycon 40 in Lombard IL on November 8-10, 2013 for our local science fiction and fantasy convention. Membership rates are $60, less for pre-registration and kids.
I’ve been invited to be on a panel on November 8 at 4:00 PM called Small Press & Self-Publication. I will also be doing a reading on Sunday, November 10 at 10:00 AM.
Hope to see you there.
(By Lance Erlick)
I met Hugh Howey at Chicon7 in Chicago in 2012 and again in at Lonestarcon3 in San Antonio this year. Being that I was on the fence between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I was intrigued by his story. He had already published the Molly Fyde series with some success, but found an audience with a short story called Wool. When that story caught reader interest, he expanded the story into a full length novel by the same name and then other stories in the same universe. What began as a self-published story has now been picked up in print form by a major publisher, though Hugh retains the ebook rights. You can catch him at http://www.hughhowey.com/. He agreed to answer a few questions for our audience:
What was the source of the silo idea?
I’m sure it had multiple sources, but the main genesis of the world of Wool came from 24-hour news. I wondered what it does to us to have our view of the world filtered through such a negative lens. Does that impact our degree of optimism and hope? Are those who want to fight for a better world heroes? Or are they dangerous?
What research did you do for the Wool series?
The research came from my life experiences and all my reading, especially non-fiction. I drew from my time as a yacht captain, an engineer, a world traveler, a roofer, an electrician, and a student of history. As in the life I have lived, I probably got more wrong than I got right.
What similar stories do you have planned?
Most of the stories I have planned are vastly different. I want to write across all the genres. I want the process to remain fresh and exciting. I do have another post-apocalyptic series planned, but it takes place in a very distant future and leans a little more toward fantasy.
What is unique about your Molly Fyde stories that make them stand out for you?
I like to think of that series as Pixar in book form. There’s an adventure story for all ages on the surface, but astute readers will catch all the deeper meanings sprinkled throughout. I credit Swift’s GULLIVER’S TRAVELS for inspiring me to view storytelling in this way.
How do you feel about other authors writing in your silo world?
I’m flattered by it. I think it’s wild that I’ve written about a world and others want to join in. I see fan fiction as a form of literary jazz. Someone hears a new beat they like, and they want to riff off of it. They want to jump on stage and join in or perform their own rendition. I completely support this. My hope is that these writers will delight my readership and draw them over to their own works, introduce them to more great stories. I know writers who are making a decent wage from their fan fiction, and as someone who knows how difficult it is to get paid for your art, nothing makes me happier.
Thanks, Hugh, for your thoughts.
(by Lance Erlick)
With 6.6 million men under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail or prison) in the U.S. and 2.7 million less men than women enrolled in college, how do we go about engaging young men to see they have a future? Instead of preparing for jobs and a valued place in our society, young men have turned to drugs, gangs, violence, or checked out in other ways. Why? Because they don’t see a better place for themselves.
Traditional male oriented jobs have either gone overseas, to women, or to immigrants. Fundamentally, the economy has changed and given our desire to improve our standards of living, this was inevitable. Where once, farm related jobs represented 70% of the economy, now they have dropped to 3%. Automation and improved farm technology improved the productivity of farms, improving the standard of living of farmers, but with far fewer individuals involved. The same thing happened in manufacturing. Even without exporting manufacturing jobs, the push for higher incomes has led to more automation and fewer individuals employed in manufacturing the products we use. If all the manufacturing jobs returned to the US, we still would not employ the number of workers we did in the 1960s.
Basically, the world has changed and too many young men have not adapted. So, how do we help them see a better future than drugs, gangs, and extremist causes?
Take a look at my recent interview on Bookgoodies.
(by Lance Erlick)
At a time when jobs that utilize men’s physical prowess are in decline and knowledge jobs are increasingly important, where are the young men?
Almost 60% of all college degrees now go to women, a tribute to their striving to improve themselves in a knowledge-based economy. There are currently 2.7 million more women in college than men. Women graduate from high school at higher rates and go on to college to prepare and improve themselves for knowledge jobs in our new society. They even read more than men.
So, where are the men? An estimated 750,000 are involved in gangs, compared to 30,000 women. Fully 6.3 million more men than women are under correctional supervision. That includes those in jail or prison, on parole, or on probation. Countless others have given up.
Now, what type of society will we have when so many males become discouraged and check out or get involved in gangs, drugs and violence as opposed to seeing the value of engaging with the rest of our society?
(by Lance Erlick)
They come without warning.
Wendy wakes. By grayish light from her bedroom window, she sees she’s surrounded by ants. Their sting is beyond annoying. They cover her arms and legs, over and under her sheets, on the walls, and even the ceiling. She brushes ants from her arms and her face, but they keep coming. She looks longingly at her bedroom door. It, too, is covered. She realizes the grayness is from trails of ants crossing her window, blocking the new day. Carefully, she reaches for her trusty landline and dials 911. She waits seven rings.
A soft, sugary Voice answers: What is the nature of your Emergency?
Wendy: I’m surrounded by ants. They’re stinging me all over.
Voice: I need your name, ma’am.
Wendy: Can’t you just send someone over. Please, hurry.
Voice: Your name, ma’am.
Wendy: Wendy Williams. Now hurry.
Voice: I need your social security number, ma’am.
Wendy: You don’t need a social security number to send help. Now hurry.
Voice: Getting upset won’t bring help, ma’am. Your social security number, please.
Wendy: Why do you need a social security number to send help?
Voice: The volume of calls, ma’am. We need to verify that you are who you say you are. This will only take a minute.
Wendy: I don’t think I have that long.
Voice: Then please provide your social security number.
Wendy: I want to speak with your supervisor.
There is a click and a tinny voice answers: Your name, ma’am.
Wendy: I already gave that. Wendy Williams.
Voice 2: Your social security number, ma’am.
Feeling desperate, Wendy gives it. Now can you send someone?
Voice: Please verify your address, ma’am.
Wendy: Don’t you have that from the phone records?
Voice: Ma’am, do you want help?
Wendy provides the address. Now how will you send help? They’re swarming me and outside my window.
Voice: We’ll move as quickly as we can, ma’am.
Wendy: Please hurry.
The phone goes dead. Ants continue to bite as Wendy tries to find a safe haven. She tip-toes across her bedroom, opens the door and finds ants covering every surface in the hallway.
# # #
The call center is quiet. Three operators on the floor covered with ants have stopped thrashing. A phone buzzes. After seven rings, a sweet Voice answers: What is the nature of your Emergency?
The caller sounds desperate: Please hurry.
Lights from the automated system blink on autopilot.
My apologies to readers of my post on Frederik Pohl. I in no way intended to take anything away from C. M. Kornbluth who co-wrote The Space Merchants with Frederik Pohl.
I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of Frederik Pohl, one of the great American writers of science fiction. He grew up in the field along with other almost legendary figures like Isaac Asimov, probably one of the most prolific of the 20th century science fiction writers. Mr. Pohl gave us classics like Gateway, which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and The Space Merchants. He was also there for the first World Science Fiction Convention 74 years ago with such notables as Isaac Asimov, John W. Campbell, and Ray Bradbury. He was also a fellow Chicagoan. Mr. Pohl will be sorely missed.
(by Lance Erlick)
Just returned from Lonestarcon3 in San Antonio. This is our second.
Another great cast of panelists included David Brin, Ben Bova, Connie Willis, Greg Benford, Harry Turtledove, Joe Haldeman, John Scalzi (who won the Hugo this year), Kim Stanley Robinson, and many more. Newer faces included Paolo Bacigalupi and the epub sensation, Hugh Howey. It was a fun packed 4 days. While it was 100 degrees outside, inside the heat came from the fun, ideas, and discussions.
I also enjoyed catching up with members I met at last year’s convention in Chicago. Well worth the time and travel to get there.
(by Lance Erlick)
Q: Annabelle, now that you’ve survived this ordeal, where would you most like to go for a vacation getaway, anywhere in the world?
A: Is that on or off the record?
Q: Okay, off the record. No strings attached.
A: If you could grant me any wish of a place to go with no consequences, I would choose a prison.
Q: After what you’ve been through, why in the world would you choose that?
A: That’s where they sent my birth mother when I was three. I can’t give you a specific prison or city, because they won’t tell me where they sent her.
Q: I’m afraid I can’t grant that.
A: I didn’t think so. Well, then I’ve never been to the Great Smoky Mountains even though they’re only 25 miles away. They’re in the forbidden Outlands. I know it carries a lot of personal risk, but I would really like to experience the untamed beauty of the lands.
Q: So you would put yourself in harm’s way to experience what is essentially a national park?
A: It’s much more than that. It represents all that’s forbidden in my society: boys, the ability to go places without being watched, and to experience things that are forbidden.
Q: They’re forbidden for your own good.
A: Shouldn’t I be able to decide for myself.
Q: So, with the opportunity to go anywhere in the world, you would only venture some 25 miles east into the woods.
A: Right now, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than home in Knoxville with my family surrounded by beautiful hills and the river.
Footnote: Few may know that Knoxville was caught in middle of the first American Civil War. The city supported the South, while the surrounding areas supported the North. It makes the perfect backdrop for a Second Civil War.