Reading the Hugos (2019) A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies

Of the six short story nominees, three have a witch as the main protagonist (or two, depending on how you define “main”) who is also pretty woke. Outside of these Hugo finalists, I don’t think I have read a story with a witch protagonist in years.

Another trend I have noticed these last years is what I call trivial or mundane fantasy. These are stories with characters that have reality-altering powers yet they don’t use them for anything moderately interesting or to help other people (or themselves) even when that’s the point of the story. In fact, most of these characters are surprisingly powerless and victimized through the entire story. Why? Well, there are many reason, but here are a few: these are fantasy stories only superficially, the fantastic elements being clearly tacked on; related to that, they are not proper stories either but allegories, where powers and fantastic elements stand for something else; and, finally, the ideological consensus of these stories demands victimized characters and it naturally frowns on superpowered characters or even assertive ones—hence why many of these stories are such downers and need a quota of woke characters/moments so they don’t feel absolutely nihilistic. You obviously can’t have an oppressed, let’s say, witch, which is a stand-in for women, if she can blow somebody’s head off with a word.

Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2019) A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”

Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense Out Now!

The Spring issue of the All-New Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense is out now!

The big star of the spring issue, of course, is the brand-new Tarzan story Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She, by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Tierney. Based on a fragment […]

via Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense Out Now! — Cirsova

There’s a piece of forgotten literary history there (the Tarzan story) and just the cover of the magazine is probably worth the price, but I also have a story there, “The Elephant Idol,” so you might want to check it out. And by might I mean should. How many times have you read a story with a blind protagonist and not a single visual reference or visual descriptions in the entire text?

For those interested in background, creative work, the initial inspiration for the story was a not-so-subtle scene situation from the video game Thief (Gold,) the map The Song of the Caverns, to be precise, which is about the thieving protagonist getting into an opera house through a cavern (and I was aware that Cirsova’s editor is a great Thief fan, so this was a great way to subconsciously manipulate him into buying it something I guessed he might enjoy.)

I know not exactly from where, although I believe it came as I was thinking about what makes a first-person narration truly tick or not and about the descriptive excesses of some modern writing, but I got the fancy idea of writing a story with a blind protagonist, almost as a challenge. It was a risky and experimental move because I chose to write it in third-person, with a free yet at the same time limited narrator tied to the character’s senses, but I believe it worked well in the end. That’s something for the readers to decide, though.

I honestly had no idea of where the story would lead from there, and at first my idea was to make it somewhat humorous, but as usually happens in my writing, it evolved into horror as everything is thrown into The Warp, which is probably for the better and it also gave me the option to play around with the peculiar situation of a character whose handicap, at least at first, actually helps him because it shields him from what is going on around him.

You can buy the issue on Amazon (and other places as stated in the link above)

Myth: the pulps paid badly (and by badly I mean better than anybody today)

My previous post on the economics of writing short stories has generally been received in a way I was not expecting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always overjoyed when someone reads my posts and comes to the conclusion that what needs to be done is to write MORE! That’s the spirit! But that’s not really what I thought was the most notable conclusion.

Perhaps I was being too timid and afraid of spelling it out, but there’s no need to hide it anymore: don’t try to make a living writing short stories, it’s impossible. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Of the examples I wrote, the only one who managed to get somewhat close to reasonable money was the guy who wrote more than a million words per year, never got distracted, barely ever rewrote or edited anything, and got more than half of his stories into magazine that paid, on average, 4 cents per word. Ah, yeah, and he had to publish between 72 and 110 or so short stories per year, and that just to get the equivalent of minimum wage in some Western countries.

Now, if you read that and you get all hyped up to write, by all means, do it, but don’t expect to make any serious money. Write because you love it or because it gives you a few extra hundred bucks from time to time, but that’s it. You are not going to make a living out of it, in fact, I’m not even sure there are enough pro-rate magazines out there to actually publish all the crap you’ll have to write just to be able to survive.

Continue reading “Myth: the pulps paid badly (and by badly I mean better than anybody today)”

November 30 post: To sum up…

this has been a productive blogging month. And I didn’t have to put in that much extra effort, which is interesting. I haven’t made a post every day, and certainly not a flash/short story each day (and I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that anyway) but this will be the 24th post this month, which is quite good. I have written a few short stories, I have started something that may become a larger work, and I wrote a few posts on writing that have become quite popular, at least compared with my usual numbers.

Thanks to all of you who found some of the posts interesting and shared them. I may despise Twitter, but I can’t deny a good chunk of this month’s visitors came from there.

And what’s in store for December? Well, I’ll continue writing small chapters for Project Contact, but perhaps at a slower pace because, honestly, I don’t even have the general layout of the story — I was pretty much improvising as I wrote them. I have a few ideas for other posts about writing too, and I’m going to start a gaming project but that’s something I’m not going to publish here though (not in its entirety anyway.)

I’ll keep myself busy. And if you want to do the same, remember that you don’t have to wait for any magical month, ruleset, or gamified online community to start pounding that keyboard. You can start tomorrow, or right now, if you want.



November 19 post: some notes on possible sci-fi stories.

For some time I have been playing with the idea of writing my own futuristic fantasy stories. This grew from my disappointment in how the stories from a popular sci-fi franchise are written and, in fact, how space operas in general are written. I’d like them to be a bit harderNot necessarily in the sense of rocket science hard, which is what you may be thinking, but with other plot elements, from warfare, exploration, pacing, economy, the spatial and time span of these stories, the fact that in most you don’t even feel like the vastness of space matters, etc.

Continue reading “November 19 post: some notes on possible sci-fi stories.”

November posting forecast

November is the month when writers-bloggers disappear and go radio silent as they set to do a Nanowrimo or similar writing ordeal. I’m going to do something like that but, if all goes well, I won’t go silent.

On I joined a group that put forward the idea of writing a flash story (500-1000 words or so) a day for the entire month. I believe that’s harder than a straightforward writing marathon, not due to the quantity of output but quality, since writing 10 one-thousand-word stories is usually harder than just a single ten-thousand-word story. Still, that’s the goal, or the ideal anyway, and that’s what I’m aiming for.

Before I had jumped into that project, I actually already had another one in mind for this month: posting a writing-related post each day. I had even written down the list, but I doubt I’ll be able to do both things. However, it may be a good filler for those days when, for one reason or another, the stories fail to appear.

So, basically, I’ll write whatever I fell like writing, mostly fiction, but whatever pours forth from the muses. Adventure, horror, parody, the most exciting retelling of watching paint dry… whatever I come up with. I already have a few ideas for some stories, but I’ll mostly improvise. Naturally, that, and time constraints, means quality and themes will be varied. But I’ll try to churn out some quality e-pulp, that’s for sure.

DISUM 30-03-2018: Satanic environmentalists, fetus-snatchers, and a pervert judge.


  1. Ancient Chinese Mega-Dungeon

Hidden For A Thousand Years – China’s ‘Underground Great Wall’ – Ancient Origins, via The Epoch Times 29.03.2018

In ancient Chinese history it is recorded that The Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD) battled for 200 years with the Liao and Jin Dynasties, which at the time were ruled by minority races from China’s Northern Territories, the Khitan and Jurchens respectively. The Northern China Plain was an endless flat ground, with no mountains or rivers that could be used to help defend against the northerners. How then, did the weaker Song Dynasty manage to survive for such a long period of time?

[…] Upon further investigation, experts found that ancient war passages were spread throughout Yongqing County in an area covering approximately 300 square kilometers.

Experts discovered that the Yongqing ancient war passages were widespread. They were in fact a large-scale construction used to house troops during times of war. The structures of the caves were complicated and complete, possessing military facilities such as camouflaged exits, covers, and locking gates.

[…] Experts have dug out similar war passages in Yongqing, Xiong county, and Bazhou. The ancient war passages are about 65 kilometers from east to west, 25 kilometers from north to south, which extend through 1,600 square kilometers.

Continue reading “DISUM 30-03-2018: Satanic environmentalists, fetus-snatchers, and a pervert judge.”