Once again a fiction author

My story, “The Ant and the Grasshoppers,” is today’s featurelogo-overd story at Daily Science Fiction. Check it out at this link: http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/time-travel/ian-randal-strock/the-ant-and-the-grasshoppers .

It’s odd: whenever I’m writing non-fiction, I want to be writing fiction. And whenever I’m writing fiction, I want to be writing non-fiction. But there’s something much more satisfying about selling a piece of fiction than non-fiction. So here’s my latest: enjoy!

The frustration of pie

While I was eating dinner, I stumbled across a tv program called For the Love of Pie! and wound up watching it, because… well… I love pie.

I was a bit confused by so much focus on “savory” pies (meat pies; something with strawberries, rosemary, and vinegar; onions and stuff…) because to my mouth, pie means sweet!

But the program brought back to me how much I enjoy baking, and my eternal problem with pies: I can’t taste them as I’m baking them. Sure, I can taste the dough, and I can taste the filling before filling the pie. But once it’s come out of the oven, there’s no way to know if it’s good enough, other than to take a slice. And I can’t do that with a pie I’m going to give away or serve, because it’ll have a slice taken out of it. And baking a small one alongside it wouldn’t really help, because the smaller pan would have to cook for less time. Darn this frustration for not trusting my baking ability!

Oh, and the show is on the Cooking Channel, and they’re rebroadcasting at midnight (eastern) tonight.

Covention Weekend

This weekend, it’s Philcon—the last sf convention I have scheduled for the year—in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As usual, I’ll be at the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room. My programming schedule is fairly light:

Saturday at 1pm in Plaza II: “Meet the Editors” with Ty Drago, Alex Shvarstman, Hildy Silverman, and Diane Weinstein

Saturday at 9pm in Plaza III: “You are Not the One” with James L. Cambias, Vikki Ciaffone, and Anthony Dobranski.

Sunday at 11am in Plaza III: “Professional Practices for Aspiring Authors” with Day Al-Mohamed, Sally Weiner Grotta, and Janny Wurts.

Hope to see some of you there!


Asimov’s likes Time On My Hands

1515400522The November/December 2017 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine includes Peter Heck’s review of Time On My Hands by Daniel M. Kimmel (which Fantastic Books published earlier this year). Peter says, in part, “Kimmel offers an engaging often humorous time-travel story that manages to hit most of the expected themes of the genre while retaining a fresh feeling.… Kimmel offers an engaging often humorous time-travel story that manages to hit most of the expected themes of the genre while retaining a fresh feeling. In addition to the plot, Kimmel mixes in some interesting speculations on the ethics of time travel—for example, the whole question of altering history by deliberately changing some action in the past, or the problem of meeting an earlier (or later) version of yourself during your travels. His solutions are original.… This one’s a fun read, with fresh takes on classic SF material.… You may not find Time on My Hands at a local bookseller, but you can order it directly from the publisher at www.FantasticBooks.biz or from most online booksellers. You won’t regret it.”

Convention weekend

Here comes another convention weekend! This time, it’s Boston Mensa‘s Wicked Good Regional Gathering, in Fitchburg, MA.

My pre-scheduled programming duties include:

Saturday, 10:45-11:45 am in the Gray Wolf Room, I’ll be giving a talk entitled “CSA Wins; Nixon Defeats Kennedy; Leonov First Man on Moon: Rewriting the World with Alternate History”.

Saturday, 1:30-2:30pm in the Foyer: I’ll be taking part in the mass Book Signings session.

Saturday, 2:45-3:45pm in the Red Wolf Room, I’ll be running the “RVC Meet and Greet” session, talking about Mensa business.

Other than those, I’ll be there for the whole weekend, and I’ve already got one one-on-one meeting scheduled with a concerned member. But it’s an RG, and it’s Boston Mensa, so I know I’ll be having a wonderful time! Hope to see all you Mensans there.

Presidential Data Point

41bushSorry I missed posting this one a week and a half ago: As of October 11, 2017, George H.W. Bush has surpassed Ronald Reagan as the second-longest-lived President. Born on June 12, 1924, Bush broke Reagan’s record of 93 years, 120 days (which was the longest any President had lived, until Gerald Ford broke his record in 2006). Bush is poised to become the longest-lived President on November 25, 2017 (currently, that record belongs to Gerald Ford: 93 years, 166 days).

Jimmy Carter—the longest-retired President—is 111 days younger than Bush.

#presidents #georgehwbush #geraldford #ronaldreagan #jimmycarter

“Always Say Yes”

The Melancholy of Lost Opportunities — brought about by going through and throwing out boxes of old letters and papers — has been firming up my new life philosophy:

Embarrassment lasts a moment; regret lasts a lifetime. So take chances, take opportunities; try it, you’ll like it. Still needs a catch phrase. The best I can come up with is “Always Say Yes,” but a lot of those missed opportunities are of the “should have asked,” rather than “should have answered ‘yes’” type.

Yoji Kondo (1933-2017)

strockkondoI’ve just found out that my friend Yoji Kondo died on Monday. We hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, but his wife, Ursula, is still a fixture at Balticon.

Yoji was born in Japan in 1933, emigrated to the US and earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked at several NASA centers as a project manager and in various other positions. He also taught at a number of universities. He took us on a wonderful private tour of the Goddard Space Flight Center when he was the Director of the NASA International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite observatory.

He wrote science fiction as Eric Kotani, including a half-dozen novels (mostly co-authorships) and a bunch of short fiction. He also wrote non-fiction for science fictional publications, including SF Age and Analog. And I had the pleasure of publishing one of his pieces, “You Can See Forever from the Moon,” in the second issue of Artemis Magazine. Actually, that one piece has the distinction of having the greatest number of co-authors of anything I published in that magazine: he co-wrote the article with Ronald J. Oliversen, Wendell W. Mendell, Peter Chen, and Yervant Terzian.

In addition to his intellectual pursuits, he was a teacher of judo and aikido, with sixth-degree black belts in both.

He is survived by his wife, Ursula, their three daughters, and three grandchildren.

(The attached picture is a not-very-good shot of me accepting Stanley Schmidt’s Robert A. Heinlein Award from Yoji in 2012.)

SFWA obituary: http://www.sfwa.org/2017/10/memoriam-dr-yoji-kondo-k-eric-kotani/

Locus obituary: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/10/yoji-kondo-aka-eric-kotani-1933-2017/

Yoji’s isfdb bibliography: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?670

{Edited October 14th to add:} Link to his full obituary (read it; he was truly a fascinating man): https://obittree.com/obituary/us/maryland/glen-burnie/simplicity-cremation–funeral-services-thomas-allen-pa/yoji-kondo/3210082/

Sceince Fiction for the (Electronic) Throne

A press release from Fantastic Books:

1515410250In July of this year, Fantastic Books was thrilled to publish Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads, an anthology edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. The anthology was borne of what I can only assume was a joke, which turned into an idea, and then a project, and finally a book. It is filled with fantastic science fiction stories, from some of the biggest names in the field, as well as from some of the newest rising stars.

Since the book’s release this summer, Andrew Andrews at True Review said “I thoroughly enjoyed this premise: supershort stories you can enjoy while taking care of very personal business.” Ira Nayman at Amazing Stories said “The stories are expertly crafted, highly entertaining and perfect for the stated purpose…. Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads is not a book to try and read in one sitting (as I largely did). It is what I sometimes refer to as ‘a dipping book:’ for maximum effect, you should read a story or two here, a story or two there, a story or two somewhere else.”

Now Fantastic Books is excited to announce that Science Fiction for the Throne is available in a variety of electronic formats from your favorite ebook retailers. Same great content, different format, still (as Tom Easton said) “Just remember—one sitting, one read! Others are waiting!”

Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads
edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial
ebook: $7.99
trade paperback: $14.99 (ISBN: 978-1-5154-1025-6)

The authors in this book have earned a combined 10 Nebula Awards (from 60 nominations) and 10 Hugo Awards (from 118 nominations). Stories by: Gregory Benford, Lloyd Biggle, David Brin, Michael A. Burstein, James L. Cambias, Brenda Cooper, Dave Creek, Robert Dawson, Paul Di Filippo, S.B. Divya, Brendan DuBois, Marianne Dyson, Michael F. Flynn, Jeff Hecht, Liam Hogan, Daniel M. Kimmel, Nancy Kress, Edward M. Lerner, Paul Levinson, J. D. MacDonald & Debra Doyle, Leslie Starr O’Hara, Steven Popkes, Cat Rambo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Don Sakers, James Sallis, Stanley Schmidt, Holly Schofield, H. Paul Shuch, Alex Shvartsman, Steven H Silver, Bud Sparhawk, Douglas Van Belle, James Van Pelt, Jo Walton, Gerald Warfield, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Lee Weinstein & Darrell Schweitzer, Jay Werkheiser, and Fran Wilde.

Convention weekend

This weekend, it’s Capclave, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which I always enjoy. As usual, you’ll be able to find me much of the weekend at the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room (scheduled to be open Friday from 4 to 7pm, Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 2pm). And I’ll be on programming. At the moment, I’m scheduled for five panels (as always, things may change between now and the convention, so check there for the latest updates):

Friday, 6pm in Salon A: “How Not To Get Published” with Neil Clarke, Mike McPhail, Hildy Silverman, and Michael A. Ventrella.

Saturday, 10am in Frederick: “Does Hard Science Fiction Have to be Opaque to Non-Techies?” with John G. Hemry, Mike McPhail, Nalin A. Ratnayake, and David Walton.

Saturday, 12n in Rockville/ Potomac: “Small Press Publishing in 2018” with Neil Clarke, Shahid Mahmud, Joshua Palmatier, Lezli Robyn, and Sean Wallace.

Saturday, 11pm in Bethesda: “Eye of Argon” with Hildy Silverman, Michael A. Ventrella, and perhaps a special mystery guest. Also, a brand new feature sure to delight even those who’ve suffered through “The Eye of Argon” before.

Sunday, 10am in Rockville/ Potomac: “Abusing Authors” with Sarah Avery, Scott Edelman, Will McIntosh, Lawrence M. Schoen, and Michael A. Ventrella.

Hope to see a bunch of you there.