A Rambling Wreck, with Hans Schantz

The Catholic Geek: A Rambling Wreck, with Hans Schantz 06/25 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

Hans Schantz joins host Declan Finn to discuss Social Justice in Science, and how it relates to his books ‘The Hidden Truth’ and ‘A Rembling Wreck’ 

Dr. Hans G. Schantz is a physicist, an inventor, and a co-founder and CTO of Q-Track Corporation, a supplier of indoor location systems. He wrote the science fiction thriller, The Hidden Truth, a textbook, The Art and Science of Ultrawideband Antennas, and a short history on The Biographies of John Charles Fremont. Hans will be launching A Rambling Wreck, the sequel to The Hidden Truth, at LibertyCon next weekend. Hans lives in Huntsville, Alabama with his wife, and two sets of twins.

Appearing on Catholic Geek Radio and a Confession

Since this is the 1,000th post at SuperversiveSF, I will combine two posts I intended to post separately into one, so that the whole is worthy of such a milestone.

I was interviewed on the Catholic Geek podcast last week, and the interview can now be listened to over at blogtalkradio. We briefly discuss the sad anniversary of 9/11 before moving on to brighter topics, such as superversive fiction, my own literary journey and output, and the hope and beauty I attempt to convey in my work.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webuiltthatnetwork/2016/09/11/the-catholic-geek-poetry-and-superversive-sf-with-ben-zwycky

There was one topic I deliberately omitted in the interview that I subsequently realised was worth touching on, so I will cover that below.

A Confession and a Motivation

I would like to expand on something I glossed over in my interview on Catholic Geek Radio, but now that I look back on it, played a much larger part in my motivations as a writer than I realized. It concerns how I moved from one university to another. It is not something I am proud of – instead it is something I am grateful for, since reminding myself of it is an effective defence against pride. This post will involve some painful memories, so please bear with me.

Continue reading

Some “God, Robot” News

Big stuff happening! First, author Jonathan Moeller AND the Injustice Gamer have reviewed “God, Robot”. From Moeller:

I rather liked this anthology.

It’s a play on Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics: 1.) A robot can’t injure a human being, 2.) A robot must obey orders, so long as it doesn’t conflict with the First Law, and 3.) A robot must protect itself from harm, so long as this doesn’t conflict the first two laws.

…I definitely enjoyed it – I think my favorite stories were the ones featuring the bumbling scientists who lived in terror of their boss, and the final story, when a woman prepares to unleash a long-prepared genocide, but has doubts at the final moment. The best speculative fiction always asks the “what if” question, and this anthology does a good job of that.

From The Injustice Gamer:

To begin our list of infamous acts, the book is not just science fiction, but advocates throughout for Christianity. Theobots are created to assist in churches, the first problem encountered is the problem of logic versus evidence, and the flaws of building a philosophical Christianity without evidence in the way of testimony…

While this anthology only commits the act of treating Christianity not only as serious, but correct, it does so consistently, and with tales to terrify the heart of the Socially Just. In fact, the writing is so scandalous as to cause me to overlook it’s lack of other crimes against Social Justice, though some if it’s authors are crime enough.

Nine of ten fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Great stuff!

And last but certainly not least, the “God,  Robot” crew will be appearing on the Catholic Geek radio show TONIGHT at 7:00 PM EST!

This includes authors Anthony Marchetta (me), MJ Marzo, Steve Rzasa, John C. Wright, Josh Young, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and – possibly, if he can make it – Vox Day himself! Unfortunately, EJ Shumak can’t make it, but he’s there in spirit.

Check us out here!

Great stuff!

Superversive Blog: Interview with Author Marina Fontain

Finally, a distopia by someone who has actually lived in one!

Chasing Freedom e-book cover3

Today, we have an interview with Marina Fontaine of Liberty Island, author of the new book, Chasing Freedom.

How did you come to write this book?

It all began with a flash fiction contest at Liberty Island, an online fiction magazine. A New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, had written a fictional piece sometime in late 2013 that had future U.S. over-run by zombies because the politicians defunded CDC (or something like that, anyway). Liberty Island challenged its members to “write better.” I had a good chuckle, wished my writer friends good luck and went to bed.

Overnight, I had a “vision,” if you will, of an American family packing up to move to Canada. Also, they would be transported by a horse-and-buggy arrangement. That was all I knew. Mind you, before this happened, I had never written fiction in my life, but I got curious as to how this setup might happen. Why are they leaving? Why Canada? Why horse and buggy and not a car or bus or plane?

You can probably tell where this is going. I wrote out the full flash fiction piece, and Liberty Island published it along with other entries. But I kept wanting to know more about the world. I started getting more characters, more stories, and it just kept growing until at some point I realized this could be a full novel. And so here I am, much to my surprise, being told I can no longer call myself an “aspiring” author because my book is actually out there.

How did you pick the genre?

Dystopia is a natural fit for me as it happens to be a combination of writing “what you know” and “what you read.” Having grown up in the former Soviet Union, I know first hand how an oppressive society operates—what it does to people, how the system sustains itself, but also the potential weaknesses and cracks that are invisible to the outsiders. I have brought a lot of this understanding into my writing, and it helped make it more grounded and realistic.

I have also read many dystopian novels, both classics and the more recent offerings. There were themes that I have loved, but also points of disagreement with some of the visions out there. I have tried to address some of what I thought were the pitfalls of the genre and create something that was fresh and—hopefully—exciting, even to the readers who might have been over-saturated with the dystopian literature as a whole.

Can you tell us (without too many spoilers) a little about the characters and their journey?

In short, my heroes are ordinary people who rise to the occasion, and my villains are those who do not. A big theme in my novel is individual choices, and how anyone can end up either making the world better or being led into doing evil. Thus, none of the characters are over-the-top cartoons. They are all recognizable and easy to understand.

For example, the main protagonists of my novel start out simply as teenagers posting subversive information on the Internet and end up leading the country-wide Rebellion movement. It comes at a terrible cost, but they chose that path and paid the price even though most in their position would not. There are several other protagonists as well, who mostly just wanted to live their lives, but get forced into picking a side—again, at a price.

On the flip side, the villains are more or less regular people who for various reasons become trapped in positions where they either act in despicable ways or enable others in doing so. The true villain in my novel is the system that destroys people’s souls. It is one of the themes not often addressed when talking of totalitarian societies. We tend to focus on the obvious victims, who get jailed or tortured or killed. But what of the many more who die not in body, but in soul, little by little, and often by their own choice to simply “get along”? That’s a bit of a soapbox for me, and I tried to work it quite a bit into the novel.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Here’s where it gets awkward. I have the least creative day job in the world—an accountant for a real estate company (OK, I can get pretty creative with those expense classifications, but nevertheless…) Aside from that, I am a mother of three and a pet parent to four guinea pigs. In my copious spare time, I read and review books, blog and hang out with my friends on the Internet. And before you ask, shockingly enough, my wonderful husband puts up with all of this. I have been very blessed indeed.

Is this your first book? Do you have others planned?

Chasing Freedom is my first. It is self-contained, although I might over time write a few short stories set in the same world. There is an anthology in the works called (tentatively) Right Turn Only that has accepted my submission of a short story based on the background of one of the characters in the novel.

As for completely new material, I am currently working on an idea that might become a short story or a novelette, depending on how fleshed out it becomes. One thing I’m finding out is that once inspiration strikes, you as a writer have no choice but follow, and I’m excited to discover where it ends up.

Marinapose1x

Chasing Freedom:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019KRCJL6//?tag=superversivesf-20

Personal Blog: Marina’s Musings

http://marinafontaine.blogspot.com/

LIberty Island Creator Forum:

https://www.libertyislandmag.com/creator/mafontaine/home.html

 

Interview with Hugo Nominated Author: Lou Antonelli

on a spiritual plain_small

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

I suggested it myself to Brad Torgersen. I know him because we are both members of SASS – the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling. I noticed last year’s Sad Puppies list didn’t have much short fiction, so I made a mental note to suggest something to Brad for this year. I picked “On a Spiritual Plain” because I also wanted to give Sci-Phi Journal a boost.

 

2) What kind of stories do you write normally write? Is your nominated story in that tradition? Or is it a departure for you?

Normally I write alternate history. “On a Spiritual Plain” isn’t like that, it has an outer space setting, so it is a departure for me.

 

 3) When did you start writing?

Seriously for publication in 2002.

 

 4) What do you do in life other than write?

I write every day, I’m a journalist.

 

5) Who do you feel influenced your work? What other authors do you look up to? Who work brought delight to your reading life?

I grew up reading the good old stuff of Heinlein, Asimov and Del Rey. I also always admired Alfred Bester.

 

6) Can you fill in the blank?  “You might enjoy my work if you are a fan of ______.”

Warehouse 13

 

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

I really have no idea, I suppose it springs from some theological speculation and a desire to understand that there might be scientific explanations for metaphysical phenomena.

 

8) Care to share with us any glimpses what you are working on for the futures?

I just finished a retro-futurist alternate history largely set on Mars in 1985 called “Another Girl, Another Planet”.

 

For more about Lou’s Hugo nominated story, see here.

Interview with Hugo Nominee: Arlan Andrews, Sr.!

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

Presumably, because they liked the setting, the characters, and the story of my novella, “Flow.” “Flow” was the sequel to 2013’s “Thaw,” (the cover for which won the Analog Reader’s Award for Best Cover of 2013).  The whole series of stories takes place after the next Ice Age (a politically incorrect supposition in itself), and the protagonist, Rist, is himself quite politically incorrect, though dark-skinned; he is a diminutive, sexist smartass (as are most males in the primitive society in which he was raised) and his mouth gets him literally into deep shit.  The story, actually a vignette, ends in a (literal) cliff-hanger that will be followed by “Fall,” where Rist descends into yet another kind of society existing some 30,000 years from now.  It will likely be called non-PC as well, though I have to remind people that authors are not necessarily the same as their characters.

2) What kind of stories do you write normally write? Is your nominated story in that tradition? Or is it a departure for you?

Of the 50 or so SF stories I’ve had published since 1980, most have been short, near-future tales of the effects of technology on society, either humorous or deadly.  “Flow” is quite a departure from that tradition, a longer story taking place in the far future in rather primitive civilizations.  My two e-books (available for Kindle and Nook), an anthology of mostly previously-published short stories, Other Heads & Other Tales, and a novel, Valley of the Shaman, illustrate both the short and long forms.

3) When did you start writing?

Stimulated by my family’s tradition of telling tall tales, I began writing fiction and poems in elementary school, including a small, self-printed neighborhood “newspaper,” with poetry published in junior high school, and letters to the editors of papers and magazines through my college years.  I had a short humor piece about Isaac Asimov in Bob Vardeman’s fanzine Sandworm in 1971, and began publishing paid non-fiction in 1972, finally selling three SFnal items – to Analog, Asimov’s and Omni — which got me into SFWA in 1980.  Since then, I have published over 500 items of fiction, non-fiction, articles, essays, columns, photos, fannish musical plays, and poems, in more than 100 venues worldwide, including science fiction, space travel, speculative technology, the paranormal, UFOs, ancient technology, politics, humor, filks, a few occult country-western songs, and even some serious stuff.  (You can Google me for all this and much more.)

4) What do you do in life other than write?

My wife, kids, grandkids, family and friends are the most important part of my life, but I do other things, too.  Early on, Heinlein’s stories pushed me toward rockets and engineering, and I worked my way through college as a missile tracker at White Sands Missile Range, kind of a dream job for a teenager.  I earned three degrees in engineering, worked for Bell Labs, Sandia National Labs, and started some companies myself, dealing with everything from rockets to nukes to virtual reality to biotech.  So I have always been an engineer, entrepreneur, SF fan and writer. But SF provided the inspiration for all of it.  I am now living in the future I once only dreamed of, and a lot of it is really great!

While serving as a Fellow at the White House Science Office, I founded SIGMA, the science fiction think tank, comprising 40 SF writers who provide pro bono futurism consulting to the government.    I am now retired except for writing, SIGMA activities, and an occasional consulting task, so my fiction output will be increasing since I no longer have to endure bosses or manage employees.

5) Who do you feel influenced your work? What other authors do you look up to? Whose work brought delight to your reading life?

My earliest SF reading was Heinlein, H.G. Wells, Verne, Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke.  John W. Campbell’s editorials and articles in Astounding were very influential in my thinking, but it was Robert A. Heinlein whose style, outlook and political attitudes shaped my own as no one else did.  I named one of my sons Anson, after him.  And I am proud to say that just last week I finally ordered my own set of Heinlein’s complete works, The Virginia Edition.

Writers whose body of work I respect and who come to mind right off, include Murray Leinster, Clifford Simak, R. A. Lafferty, Greg Benford, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Walter Jon Williams, Catherine Asaro, Steven Gould, Geoff Landis, Chuck Gannon, Michael F. Flynn, Paul Levinson – too many more to list, and I am sorry to leave out so many.  Lately I would also add frequent Analog contributors Brad Torgersen, Ron Collins, Jay Werkheiser, Martin L. Shoemaker, Dave Creek, Ed Lerner, Sarah Frost, and others.

For delightful mind candy, I enjoy alternate history, and the hands-down Master there is Harry Turtledove.  I once complimented Harry that his writing style reminded me of the fiction of Gore Vidal, a writer whose works I greatly admire while detesting his politics.  (There could be an object lesson in there for some critics of Sad Puppies nominations.)

6) Can you fill in the blank?  “You might enjoy my work if you are a fan of ______.”

The kinds of science fiction that John W. Campbell, Jr., long-time editor of Astounding/Analog, used to ask his writers to create – stories set in the future, but stories that those people would be reading then, about their own time.  I call it “contemporary futurism.”

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

The entire story – “Thaw,” “Flow,” “Fall,” and others yet to come – originated in a waking vision I had 20 or 30 years ago, of strange people observing the ruins of a present-day building emerging from a melting glacier.  I made a note of it but I never took time to develop the story further.  Then in 2012 when I was visiting Peru and pondering some of the massive stoneworks there that had apparently undergone some kind of cataclysmic events many thousands of years before, the story began to coalesce. I wondered what far-future people would think of us, based on just the artifacts that survived, and what kinds of societies they would develop, and in general, what all would be going on when our own era was nothing more than legend and myth.   Just as we look back on long-forgotten prehistory.

I wrote much of the first novella, “Thaw,” in the airport lounge in Lima, Peru, during an eight-hour layover between flights in April 2012, while many of my impressions were very fresh.  I have absolutely no idea where the small emu-riding characters or their society came from, or what they will do, in any detail.  I just watch them and report.  I wish I could go directly from mind-video to digital video, but that will probably take another decade or two.

Quite frankly, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to dismiss all of the current hysteria about global warming, by setting the stories after the next Ice Age begins to thaw.  And the miles-thick glaciers will return, as they always have, at least every 100,000 years — SUVs, farting cows, and Al Gore notwithstanding.

8) Care to share with us any glimpses what you are working on for the future?

I am currently working on at least one non-fiction book that will reveal some previously unknown facts about archaeoastronomy.  Learning the 3D modeling software to do this is lots of fun.

Concurrently, I will continue the post-Ice Age stories to see for myself what my characters will be doing.  There at least three more individual tales in the story arc, with some events on a settled Moon and a colonized Mars.

I am also developing a novel about nanotech drugs and weapons gone awry, another one about time travel in the Yucatan, and yet another about a one-legged Confederate civilian detective during the Civil War.

And I have many more sketch-notes on short stories and articles than I will probably live long enough to write.  Trouble is, they keep popping in every day, so the stack of notes never gets smaller.

But as I have said elsewhere, “Science fiction is my life.”  And it is (mostly, until lately) a lot of fun.

 

“Flow”, Arlan’s Hugo nominated novella, is available for free from Analog here.

Read Arlan’s other work:

VALLEY OF THE SHAMAN (novel):

OTHER HEADS & OTHER TALES (short story collection):

Also available at BarnesandNoble.com for Nook