gwox: me2017 (me2017)

CAM Charity Anthology Horror and Science Fiction 1“All of the CAM Charity Anthologies are made up of donated short fiction stories. Some of these tales are written by well-known authors, others by ordinary people who just want to try and make a difference. 100% of the profits from these collections will go to charity as explained below.

“Michael Robb Mathias Jr. aka M. R. Mathias, owner of Mathias Publishing, is producing the C.A.M anthologies in honor of his mother, Carol Ann Mathias, who passed away in 2017 after a grueling five year battle with cancer. The profits of these collections will be divided equally, each year, between three of her favorite charities.

“A collection of Fantasy stories is also available and we hope there are more volumes to come.”

The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 is an anthology of science fiction and horror originally published June 8th, 2017, by Mathias Publishing, with cover art by Jack Hoyle and interior art by Gideon Deschain, and includes my horror short story The Path of Needles. It’s available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon.

While you’re at it, get The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Fantasy #1 as well! More great fiction, more cancer-fighting donations — this one too is available from Amazon.

***

Table of Contents:
“The Uninvited Guest” by Brian Barr
“Giving It Fourteen Percent” by Ani Fox
“Autumn’s Breath” by Michael Robb
“Inbound” by J.T. Arralle
“The Devil & Klaus Kristiansen” by Jeremy Hicks
“The Path of Needles” by Gary W. Olson
“Star Dragon 13” by Michael Ender
“Ozymandias Revisited” by Ani Fox
“They Thought the Brain Would Be the Hardest Part” by Michael Pogach
“Brainwaves” by Ed Faunce
“Upgrade” by J.T. Arralle
“Demons” by J.T. Arralle
“The Bungen-Strausse” by Matt Broadway

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fairly Wicked Tales and The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror and Science Fiction #1. His blog originates here. C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 cover art by Jack Hoyle.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: me2017 (me2017)

WritingLook, I didn’t mean to be gone for so long. I took a wrong turn on the expressway, and next thing I knew, I was in Tijuana, herding llamas and putting worms in those little bottles. You know how it is. I only just now got back.

Well, ok, maybe not. Maybe I just took an ill-advised two-and-a-half-year detour into buying, owning, and then ultimately selling a house someplace I shouldn’t have considered in the first place. Maybe I made a few starts at writing during that time, but couldn’t keep it going because of the constant distractions and pressure. Maybe there were llamas, but they were herding me.

Whatever the case, all those maybes are in the past. I’m in a new place, the lessons are learned, the pressures are lessened, the llamas are on their way to Hollywood, and I’ve carved out a regular block of time when I can just write (or edit, or blog, or whatever). I’m finally back to writing.

I’ve revamped the blog, and this site–added a new picture of my meaty mug, and cut down on the clutter of the sidebars. I also added a mobile theme for people viewing the site on their magic rectangles, figuring it was about time the site joined this decade.

As far as my books go… I regained the rights to my novel Brutal Light at the start of this year, and plan on self-publishing a new edition later this summer. I took down all my self-published short stories at the same time, and am planning on publishing my first collection in the spring of 2018.

Writing-wise, my top goal for the last seven months of this year is to finish my next novel, Redscale: Severance, though I’ll likely do a couple short stories in that time as well.

Finally, I do have a new short story, “The Path of Needles,” that will soon be published, in The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 in a couple days. I’ll ramble on about that in another entry.

It’s good to be back! Watch out for llamas!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fairly Wicked Tales and The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror and Science Fiction #1. His blog originates here.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

The Body in Motion

On an apocalyptic future Earth, the remains of humanity engage in endless virtual reality battles to determine who will get food–and who will become food. One of these remnants, Vel, attracts the attention of All, the A.I. that manages the battles. Reeling from the death of his lover, Vel is drawn into her plans for fulfilling her ancient directive to save humanity… plans he may not survive.

I originally wrote The Body in Motion in 1999, and it was a departure from the science fiction I’d attempted to write at that point. I’d recently read Harlan Ellison’s short fiction collection Deathbird Stories and was in a mood to write something that really pushed my boundaries and skills of the time. It came out of my fingers quick and hot, the way stories for me all too rarely do, and ended up being my third story sale, appearing in Outer Darkness‘s spring 2001 issue.

I put the story through a vigorous re-editing, mainly to improve the prose by curbing my then-tendency to use sentence fragments to excess. And now, it’s the second short story I’ve self-published (the first being Something You Should Know early in 2012). It still stands up, I think, but if your tastes run to horror and science fiction and you’re inclined to take a look, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Here’s an excerpt of the start of the story:

Vel watched through the translucent leaves of the meat-pod, hoping and fearing a glimpse. She had once passed close, but had not stopped to take him. He had known her at once–unlike the others, she was identical to her image in Eden, with decay-green skin, glowing eyes, fanged teeth, and meat to spare on her bones. Small bones were tangled in her wild black hair, and Vel could never escape the thought that one day, one of his would be among them.

He had been unable tell her destination. Possibly she hunted her Bond, or sought to elude a pursuer by taking an unused pod for a new residence. The sloping ground in this sliver of the World was spattered with clumps of them, some waiting with hungry leaves down, others containing moldering remains, a few sustaining life. The miasma caught the scant light provided by the machines far above.

A furtive creature with wide eyes and a skeletal torso skittered into view. The human’s nostrils flared, and Vel realized it was tracking a life. It glistened with desperation. He considered his own body, starved despite the pod’s nutrient-feed, and wondered if he would behave in this way if he once more won a day of Downtime.

His heart did not pound; his blood did not race. The pod regulated his spindly body, keeping him just alive and just sane, giving him air and water while removing his wastes and toxins with uncaring efficiency. He could not break free, though he well knew the leaves could be ripped open from the outside.

The human moved on, disappearing in the tangle of pods beyond the periphery of his sight. Minutes were left in the Downtime, scant time before his day of fear would end. He thought of Lana, and how her flesh would be his if he won the next combat and she did not. He contemplated the reverse. She was somewhere near, perhaps only a pod or two distant. Their dance was almost–

The green-skinned woman appeared again, scarlet distorting her face and chest, her body the sated predator. She stopped before his pod, sixty meters away, visible between two dead-bearing pods, and tilted her head. He was prevented from panicking. Only minutes to go.

(continued…)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. The Body in Motion cover art: feoris/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

WritingSo, I was tagged for this Next Big Theme writer meme going around. Twice in fact, by Bernie Mojzes and then by Lee Mather. And finally, I slouch into action and answer!

Essentially, this meme is ten questions about one of one’s work-in-progresses. I’ve got two at the moment: a mad science novel tentatively titled This Island Monstrous and a biopunk novella I’m just starting on second-drafting, The Morpheist. TIM will take a long time to finish, never mind find a publisher for, while I’m hoping to get The Morpheist to a good home sometime early next year. So I’ll make The Morpheist the subject of this here thing.

1. What is the title of your book?

The Morpheist.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the late nineties, when I was making my first stabs at writing short stories, I wrote a short called The Morpheist, set in a vaguely cyberpunkish future, wherein my protagonist and a techno-dream-eater entered a relationship for reasons that were especially sketchy for the techno-dream-eater. It was not a good story, exactly, but there was the kernel of a good story there, rooted in ruminations I’d had at the time about the nature and value of dreams.

So, casting about for something to write last year (after Brutal Light was published and my idea for Entering Cadence went to pot), I looked it over and decided there was Something I Could Do with it. I decided to recast the future it was set in as more of a biopunk-esque setting, as so much of what I read of future science these days points to a convergence of the technological and the biological. I didn’t want to expand the short story, though, so I came up with a new situation and set of protagonists, with the protagonist from the old story showing up as another character (which also allowed me to break up and include the old story, rewritten heavily, in interludes).

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The only one I have a clear idea for is my main protagonist, Cal. As I was writing it, I thought increasingly of a youngish version of Adrian Brody. It wasn’t until I saw Skyfall, though, that I realized Ben Whishaw (Q) was close to ideal.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

“In a world dreams and the technology to make them real have all but merged, Cal Silen seeks to rid himself of his ability to dream by hiring a rogue dream-eater with a tragic past, a hidden agenda, and enemies determined to expand their hold on millions of minds.”

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Of course these are the only two possible options, aren’t they? Pffft.

Being as it’s a novella, I don’t see this as something to shop to an agent. I’m also not keen on self-publishing, given my low visibility as an author right now. So, I’ll look for a small publisher for which this kind of material will be a good fit.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 2-3 months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I’m sure there are comparables, but I’m drawing a blank right now as to what they would be. The world it’s neither dystopian nor utopian, exactly, but rather a sort of collision of a number of dystopian and utopian trends. The story itself is about the place and function of dreams, and what might be lost if the ability to dream is given up.

As far as influences go, there are several, starting of course with Paul di Filipo’s Ribofunk, which both started the biopunk subgenre and attempted without success to give it a less derivative name. William Gibson’s Neuromancer is up there, particularly as regards the ‘original’ short story. Probably also a few volumes from Philip K. Dick.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As is usual with me, it’s a confluence of things. I follow futurist news with great interest, and find myself caught up in speculation about how trends in nanotechnology, biotechnology, virtual reality, social interaction, body modification, and climate change might play out. I’ve long had an interest in dreams, lucid dreaming, and nightmares, and their value in our lives, beyond being a purge of subconscious detrius.

10. What else might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite the subtext of dreams and their meaning, it’s not weighted down with metaphysical speculation (unlike, say, Brutal Light). It is science fiction, and while I’m only a layperson in my understanding of the science I delve into, I do try to be true to it as I can. I also embrace, as much as I can, how effing weird and perverse I think the future is going to be.

So… now it’s my turn to tag some hella-talented writer folks whose next big things are things I would love to hear more about. There’s some what I know have already posted their answers, or at least been tagged to do so, so I’ll try not to be duplicative. I hereby tag Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Eric A. Burns-White, Greg Fishbone, Su Halfwerk, and Emmy Jackson. (Which in no way obligates, as I didn’t ask beforehand, and even if I did, it still doesn’t obligate, so I don’t know why I even brought it up.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

August 2017

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