Category Archives: Writing

WU! Anthologies: Dimensions of Mystery

A cop killer. A child witness. A soda thief. A female detective. An omniscient sleuth.

All are waiting for you within the pages of Dimensions of Mystery.

Journey through the many dimensions of the mystery genre in this collection of stories from the devious minds of the talented writers of Writers Unite!

Authors:

  • Rylee Black
  • R. R. Brooks
  • Rachel Ford
  • Maggie Foster
  • Caroline Giammanco
  • Brianna Lambert
  • Kenneth Lawson
  • Angela Lovelace
  • Lynn Miclea
  • Susan Staneslow Olesen
  • Otilia Pricope
  • D. A. Ratliff
  • Daniel Craig Roche
  • Megan Russ
  • L. T. Waterson.

Pre-sale date announced soon!

Submissions for our fourth anthology, Dimensions of Science Fiction are underway right now. Details Here

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Stephanie Angelea: The Courage of Lost Souls

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

The Courage of Lost Souls

By Stephanie Angelea

Santa Cruz sat helpless on a park bench of the hospital, wiping the tears from her rosy cheeks. She listened to the sirens still ringing loudly from yesterday’s hurricane warning but she didn’t care. Her feelings were numb to emotion now and life would no longer see her tears. Local authorities had ordered their evacuation but her father was too sick and could not be moved. Refusing to leave, she stayed behind.

George Cruz was the best father a girl could wish for and a big-hearted Cajun man. He was the glue that held everyone together at the Hands of Salvation Ministries, spearheading food and clothing drives for the needy and seeking out shelters for the homeless. She admired his strength for all he did, but it was a strength that failed him in the end when he needed it the most.

Like now, even on his deathbed, he would have used all his strength to prevent her from challenging a deadly storm head on, whose strong winds matted her hair and whose violent sprays off the ocean waves soaked her clothes.

In one hand she held the letters of stories she had written to cheer him up in his hospital room — some being silly poems of seagulls and whales. In the other hand she carried a red, copy-paper box containing everything he owned, which wasn’t much. He was a simple man who treasured her stories the most, holding them tight when he drew his last breath barely an hour ago, before the screams of the hospital staff deafened the stairwells to the basement.

She preferred to ignore them, walking out the front door as glass shattered around her.
Still, in the end, what crushed him harder than the cancer that killed him were the painful words written on a worn postcard from St. Tammany Parish by a woman who abandoned them long ago.

It read, “I am gone. Do not wait for me. I will not return!”

The card felt rough from the dried tears of her father’s sadness. Thinking back, she remembered her cheating mother leaving them penniless on that dreary, winter’s day in January, taking everything they had, sparing them enough money in savings to buy a cheap coffee maker to caffeinate their sorrows in.

Santa, unlike her father, was happy to see her go. The woman slept with every man around and mostly fathers of teens from her school. Not a day went by she didn’t feel embarrassment hearing the whispers and hushed talk when she passed them in the hallway.

The evening darkened and the street lamps buzzed above her, illuminating the frightening weather in front of her.

“Where do I go from here?” she asked herself, choking on the raindrops.

She contemplated climbing the tallest palm tree and falling to her death, letting the waters drown her as it flooded the beaches, or letting the sharks eat her alive as they attacked, camouflaged by the raging waters.

The notion sounded completely rational to her, but then reality set in reminding her how terrified she was of heights and sharks, and that idea was immediately squashed. The climb alone would kill her, but seeing how the trees now bowed to the storm, she could just hop on the tips of them and let it slingshot her to the deepest part of the ocean to be swallowed up by the tentacles of the jellyfish who would then sting her to death. Either way, It didn’t matter anymore.

Balancing the paper box on her knees, she summoned every ounce of courage she had to open it. It was a paper box from the hospital’s front desk. The charge nurse emptied it to fill their copy machines before giving it to her for her father’s things.

The box still smelled of the Office Depot down the road. A store she visited often for her writing supplies, mentioning to them more than once that she WAS an aspiring author and it was her favorite store.

Each side of the box had written words on it from a permanent marker now smudged from the rain. It read: “Cruz — Personal Items.”

There wasn’t much for her to pack. His pocket watch was old and one her grandfather had given to him when he too passed away of prostate cancer. The box protected his wallet of pictures of her and grandma Marie plus ten dollars in ones, the old pocket watch from grandpa Willie, a new handkerchief, and a clipping from Wednesday’s newspaper with a circle around a building’s name, Penelope’s Printing House, downtown near the countryside.

She guessed she would hold onto them as long as she could. They belonged to her father and he was the only person in the world who cared about her. He was gone now and she was alone in a hurricane that was predicted to kill them all.

The rain beat down harder and she took a moment to collect her thoughts. Maybe she’d eat at the local diner later and see what underwater specials they had. Maybe she would just die of shock and never wake up.

“Whichever kills the quickest!” She sighed, thinking again of her father.

The remainder of his newspaper lay on his nightstand along with his reading glasses.

“Did he have a chance to read this?” she wondered, packing it anyway.

She could not deal with this now since the growling in her stomach became an angry roar and meaner than the noisy hurricane.

The winds grew stronger and it became more difficult for her to hold onto her father’s possessions. The lid blew off and the newspaper began to flutter around in the box.

“Blow away, you bastard!” she screamed to the newspaper at the top of her lungs. “I have no one, BLOW AWAY!”

Something dark and fuzzy scurried away from the light of the street lamps growing intensely brighter by the minute. A power surge, perhaps. Adjusting her eyes to its brightness gleaming off the wet sand, she squinted. “What’s under there?” she asked, threatening to beat it with her father’s pocket watch. “Come out!”

Slowly, it appeared out from under the handkerchief — a beautiful quill of a black feather. It spun from the newspaper, startling her, and proceeded to write words in the air of bright colors: purple, green, and gold.

“I’m gone. Do not wait for me! I will not return!”

Tears welled in her eyes and anger filled her heart.

“Why do you write HER words! I do not want to remember her, you stupid feather!” she shouted.

“I’m not writing her words for you. I’m writing her words for us.” The quill continued writing faster. “Your mom left because of sadness, your father died with sadness, and now you stare death in the face longing for more sadness. If you cannot learn to care for yourself and others, then go ahead and kill yourself and sadness will be your murderer — not life or the hurricane!”

“I have NOTHING! Do you understand? I have no job, no money, nowhere to live, AND I’m about to DIE!” Santa sobbed. “Why am I talking to an ink-tipped feather? WHY?”

The quill fought to pull the newspaper clipping from the box.

It read: “Penelope Printing House. It stands empty and is in need of a live-in janitor. Pay is minimum wage, full benefits, and weekends off. Owner has plans to renovate. If interested, please call Judy at 435-4167 between 7 & 3.”

“What does this have to do with me?” Santa shouted. “The damn storm will destroy the building. There is a HURRICANE coming!”

The quill flipped over the clipping to three words written in her dad’s handwriting.
It said: “For you, Santa.”

“Your dad still watches over you even in death.

“Live your life and follow your dream. FIGHT to survive! Do not dishonor his memory by giving up! There will always be pain and sadness.

“You’ve had a lifetime of both, maybe you should give happiness a chance for a while before your bodiless headstone reads: ‘I am gone. Do not wait for me. I will not return.’ Write your own story!” the quill concluded, disappearing into the massive spin of the hurricane walls. The air calmed, and she stood in the center of the eye watching it toy with lifeless bodies and feed on the debris of palm trees.

When the levees broke, the flow of dirty water rose high in the parishes.

Struggling to stay afloat, Santa climbed onto a pink surfboard recently treated with Sex Wax.
For the first time in days, it was quiet and only the gurgling of water splashing against the floating houses could be heard. Then the wails of screaming began and the pain of death floated around her.

“Help me, PLEASE!” shouted a severely injured woman.

“I can’t help you, I’m so sorry!” cried Santa.

A bloody dog whined in the distance gagging to breathe.

She passed a cat who meowed to her, hanging on for dear life atop a plastic hubcap.

“Come here, baby,” she gently pleaded to the cat, noticing she was not hurt. “You can hitch a ride with me.”

The farther down the parish they floated, the more dead bodies they saw, and live ones too. The injured especially could not be saved, and all she could do was manage a prayer or two for their soul to find peace.

Santa and the cat floated and waited for help that would never come. They were on their own.
The screams of the dying quietened, the horror of gunshots fired above her, and hopelessness overwhelmed her.
They would die floating in the streets of her hometown.

“Santa! Santa!” yelled a voice nearby. “I am coming. Wait for me! I will be there soon!”

Santa listened and heard the beautiful sound of a strong voice as she stroked the cat to calm her nerves. They waited for the boat coming to save them. A brave woman rescued them in a small boat, and for the first time in years, she smiled. She smiled seeing the familiar face of a mother she lost long ago.

The End

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Please visit Stephanie on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/tjdsam

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection









Lynn Miclea: First Steps of Recovery

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

First Steps of Recovery

by Lynn Miclea

Danielle grimaced in pain and massaged her right thigh. It was aching again, even more than usual. Both legs ached, but the right one was worse today. She wondered if she would ever stop hurting.

Rage surged through her as her mind drifted back to the accident that had left her crippled. She had been crossing the street and was in the crosswalk when some guy who was high on something came barreling down the road, driving much too fast, and hit her. She had gone flying, and both legs were shattered, along with a fracture and dislocation of a vertebra in her lower back. If only she could take that day back and have walked somewhere else instead. But she couldn’t. It happened. And she didn’t want to lose herself in the depths of anger and self-pity. She needed to move forward and not dwell on the past.

When she had first come to the hospital, the doctors had said that she may never walk again. There was the possibility of being paralyzed from the waist down. But after lumbar spinal fusion surgery, and now with plates and pins in her legs, she was getting feeling and movement in her lower limbs again. She spent many days working through the pain, going to physical therapy, and learning to walk again. It was now time to let anger go and to heal.

And finally, it was time to be discharged. Today was the day. She couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital, but at the same time, she did not feel ready. She felt safe and protected while in the hospital, and her stomach fluttered with nerves at the thought of being on her own. Was she ready to be independent yet? A lump rose in her throat. She had been dreaming of walking on the beach, but that dream now seemed distant.

“Hey, beautiful!” Miles strode into the hospital room, a big smile on his face, his light brown hair hanging over his forehead. “Today’s the day. Ready to go?”

She smiled back at her boyfriend. “I think so. I can’t wait to get out of here. But I’m nervous, Miles.”

“I know, sweetheart.” He placed a light kiss on her lips. “But you’ll be fine. And I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.”

“I know. You’ve really helped me through all of this. I could not have done this without you.”

“Hey, where do you want to go on your first day of freedom?”

Danielle’s smile grew wider. “To the beach.”

“Dani, there’s a storm coming in.” Miles’ face got serious. “The beach is not the best idea today.”

“I don’t care. It’s my first day out of this hospital, and I really want to go to the beach. Even if it’s only for five minutes.”

“Okay, sweetheart. The beach it is.” He ran his fingers through his disheveled hair. “Ready?”

Danielle nodded and pointed to her small bag. “That’s it. I’m ready.”

A young woman in a scrub suit entered the room with a wheelchair. “Okay, dear, we have to take you down in a wheelchair, it’s hospital regulations.”

Danielle checked her back brace, then carefully eased into the chair and sighed. Even sitting in the wheelchair was awkward. How would she walk on the sand? But she was determined. This was all she had thought about for the past week—walking on the beach. Especially on her first day out.

After being wheeled out of the hospital and slowly shimmying into Miles’ car, Danielle licked her lips. “I’m scared, Miles.”

“Do you really still want to go to the beach?” He leaned into the car and pointed. “Look at the weather. The wind is really strong.”

She looked through the windshield at the heavy, dark gray clouds overhead, and spoke softly. “Yes. I still want to go.”

“Okay, the beach it is.” He closed the passenger door, got in on the driver’s side, and started the car. “You doing okay?”

Danielle nodded. “I think so. I really want this.”

Miles reached over and squeezed her hand. “You got it.”

Twenty minutes later, he parked the car in the empty lot next to the desolate beach. The entire area was deserted.

Danielle giggled. “It’s beautiful.”

“What?” Miles’ gaze searched her face. “You can’t be serious. Look at it out there! The storm is crazy! It would be hard to walk out there even if you were in great shape.”

“I know,” she whispered. “It’s fresh and real and raw and exciting. Nothing like the hospital.” She returned Miles’ gaze. “I have to do this.”

She put her hand on the car door and hesitated. What if she couldn’t walk here on the soft sand? She wasn’t sure she had the strength yet. This was probably a bad idea. She bit her lip and gazed out at the storm whipping the waves as whirlwinds of sand blew across the beach.

Miles reached out and touched her cheek. “You don’t have to do this today.”

“Yes, I do.” She quickly wiped a tear that ran down her cheek. “I have to do this.”

“I’m here for you, sweetheart. I believe in you.”

Danielle looked up into his eyes. “Miles, I’m not sure I can.”

“Sure you can. I know you, Dani. Let’s go. Show me. I’ll be with you.”

She took in a deep breath. “You’re right. I have to. If I don’t do this today, I’ll regret it. I don’t care what the weather is. I won’t let anything get in my way—not a hurricane, a tornado, or a downpour. Nothing will stop me. This is my day. My first day of freedom and recovery.”

“I’m here. I will walk beside you no matter what.”

“Okay, here I go.” Danielle opened the car door and swung her legs out. The wind wrenched the door open and she gasped. She slowly stepped out of the car, grabbing for the door. Her hair whipped across her face and up in the air as she slammed the door shut. She squinted against the wind as tears formed in her eyes. It didn’t matter. This was her time.

Miles ran to her side. “Dani, you got this. You will be fine.” His fingers brushed her hair back. “You hear me?”

Danielle nodded, as tears ran down her cheeks.

She stepped off the pavement and took two steps forward in the sand, feeling the gale-force wind buffet her, almost knocking her over. She took a few more steps. A powerful gust of wind threw her off balance, and Miles grabbed her. Two more steps.

Fat drops of rain splattered down from the heavy, dark clouds. Danielle laughed, threw her arms out to the side and spun in a slow circle.

A brilliant flash of lightning split the sky.

Danielle glanced at Miles. “Okay, maybe it’s time to go.”

Miles nodded and helped her back to the car. Once inside, she turned to him. “Thank you. This really meant a lot to me. Even just a few steps.”

He nodded. “I know this was important to you.”

“All those days in the hospital I dreamed of this day. My first day being free. The start of my independence and recovery.” She wiped the raindrops off her face. “I feel on top of the world now. I know I’ll be okay.”

Miles looked at her, his eyes misty. “Dani, you’ll be more than okay. You amaze me. You can do anything.”

“Well, I don’t know about that, but I know I’ll walk again. And I feel great.”

Another flash of lightning lit up the sky, and a powerful crash of thunder immediately followed. Rain pelted and splattered on the windshield in huge drops, making it hard to see.

“Okay,” Danielle said with a laugh. “That was enough. I think it’s time to go home.”

“You got it,” Miles said, driving out of the empty, wet parking lot and back onto the road. “You doing okay?”

Danielle sighed. “Yeah, I’m achy and sore, but I’m glad I did this.” She leaned her head back on the headrest. “And now I’m exhausted and I can’t wait to get home. I need to rest for a while. It’s been a big day.”

Miles nodded. “But you did it.”

“Yeah, I did it. After all I’ve been through, I walked on the beach.” Danielle smiled. “I am no longer a victim. Now my recovery can really begin. I am free.”

Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

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Please also visit Lynn’s blog, like the story there, and follow her at – https://wp.me/p4htbd-ov

Please also visit Lynn’s website for more information on her books – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection









Kelli J. GAvin: Anywhere I Wish

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Anywhere I Wish

By Kelli J Gavin

I watched the waters approach the shore. They seemed to get higher and closer by the hour. I asked when we were leaving at least every fifteen minutes. The answer was always—soon. Soon turned into too late. And too late quickly turned into panic. I was informed we would have to stay and wait out the storm. I felt irritated and inconvenienced before I became sick with fear of our pending fate.

I stood on top of the bed when waters rushed in through our first-floor sliding door that opened up onto a private patio. My husband quickly moved me to the dresser when the mattress became soaked as I felt I would fall into the rising waters. I screamed when the dresser drawers opened from the weight of the current. My husband kept telling me we would be fine, but he sounded more irate with the fact that I was in a panic. He finally agreed to head upstairs to the second floor of the hotel. He picked me up and grabbed our one bag which contained a change of clothing for each of us, his wallet, and my purse. When we got to the hallway, he quickly set off to the right where the closest stairway was located. By the time he had reached the sixth stair, the water sloshed below. He set me down on the stairs and I caught the look in his eyes. He long believed that we would be fine.

A large group of other hotel guests congregated at the top of the stairway. They took my hand and my husband’s hand and acted as if they were pulling us to safety, out of harm’s way. I smiled at the first woman who greeted me. She embraced me tightly, I believe more so to comfort herself. There were twelve of us. We would wait out this storm together on the second floor of The Waterfront Plaza. The waterfront was no longer, as the majority of the sand, ornamental rocks and tall pampas grasses that were seen on the shoreline the night before, had now taken up residence in the first floor of the Plaza.

As we made our way toward the hotel rooms of guests that had their doors open, my husband turned quickly as we all heard screaming coming from the bottom of the staircase. He ran to the top of the stairs and most of us followed quickly behind. A young man who I recognized from the dining room the night before clumsily made his way up the stairs as my husband and another gentleman grabbed his armpits to pull him out of the turbulent waters. He was carrying a large laundry bin over his head trying to avoid dropping the contents in the water. He was greeted and told everyone thank you for helping him. He proceeded to share with us that he had swum from the far side of the hotel where the kitchen was located. He said he grabbed as much food as he could carry. He knew there weren’t very many guests staying at the Plaza as hurricane season was known to hit hard in this region. But he knew most of them were already on the second floor. He was surprised to find that all six couples staying during the week at the Plaza were all present and accounted for. He began to step out of his shoes.

I went to the bin and tried to see if anything needed refrigeration. I pulled all the ham and turkey and chicken and cheese and handed it to waiting hands next to me. I then made an assessment of everything else in the laundry bin. Two loaves of bread, two large packages of cookies, one large box of crackers. Three bags of chips, two bags of hard candies. And in the bottom, I found a sheet pan filled with freshly-cooked fish. I removed the entire contents to get at the fish and handed to pan up to let the other women figure out how to store it. I saw my husband talking with other gentlemen. They were filling bathtubs with water, gathering all of the towels they could find and pulling the drapes on every room that had an open door.

There was no more discussion of leaving the Plaza. Only discussions of safety, food rations, and what we would do when the electricity failed us. All of the lights in the Plaza went dim ten minutes later. Candles and matches and a few lanterns with extra batteries were located in the Housekeeping closet near the top of the stairs. The wind began to howl even louder and we heard the crashing of window panes below us on the first floor. I didn’t want to be anywhere near the glass. My husband and I took shelter on the floor in the hallway along with the ten other guests and the hotel employee. Pillows and blankets were brought out to us and even more pillows were taken from unoccupied rooms. Mattresses were then pulled in the hallway when we realized that is where we would all be the safest.

I wasn’t sure sleep was possible that night. But somehow, exhaustion took hold. I woke with a start when I realized how quiet it had become. My husband snored quietly next to me on the mattress in the hallway. I sat up quickly, rubbing my eyes as I looked around. The young man from the dining room remained silent but waved to me and motioned to me to join him. He smiled and handed me four crackers and a slice of ham. I nodded in thanks but remained silent as not to wake the other guests.

I heard noise from below and walked in between the scattered mattresses and blankets in the hallway. As I looked down the stairway, I saw a man beaming up at me. He was floating with an oar in his hand in the brightest neon green kayak I had ever seen. He hollered at me as if I was hard of hearing. He asked how many people were up there with me. I told him twelve. Well, twelve guests including myself and the young man from the dining room. He informed me that he couldn’t help right away, but would send help in boats in the next few hours to evacuate all of us farther inland. He asked if anyone was hurt, had any medical needs, or if anyone was pregnant. All no, he smiled and promised we will see you soon. I stopped him to ask his name. Jorge. I was so very glad to see Jorge so early that morning.

I decided to let people sleep as long as they could. When people started to rise about a half hour later, the news that we would soon be rescued quickly circulated throughout our group. Rejoicing and hugging all around. Our rejoicing and hugging was short lived when we parted the drapes covering the inland facing windows. Buildings were destroyed, and all of the cars had been either covered by the excessive amount of water or swept away. I could see people in the distance standing on rooftops and waving their arms out of upper-story windows, waiting to be rescued. Devastation continued for as far as my eyes could see.

Being taken to dry land by a fishing boat was bittersweet. I said a silent prayer for those that had lost loved ones and those that still were in need of rescue. I prayed for the local people who would need to rebuild their lives. I shed tears for the families that were separated as the waters destroyed all that they knew and held dear.

We were back in the United States and home in our own beds three days later. My husband was given the chance to retrieve the few belongings that still remained in our waterfront hotel room once the waters had receded a bit. There wasn’t much left. But that was okay. Clothing, trinkets, things could be replaced. Our lives could not.

I am not the same person I was before our Waterfront Plaza stay. Neither is my husband. That is probably a good thing. I now think more about others. I now pray more for others. We won’t return to the Waterfront Plaza. Not because we do not want to, but because the owners have chosen not to rebuild. To rebuild seemed futile, as they had been forced to already do so twice in the last seven years due to the ravishing effects of previous hurricanes and tropical storms. My husband said it had been rumored the owners were thinking about an inland restaurant.

Recently, my husband asked where we should vacation next spring. I knew what I wanted to do. Somewhere surrounded by mountains and snow. Possibly skiing. He smiled as he pulled me closer and said we can go anywhere I wish.

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Please visit Kelli’s blog and follow her: https://kellijgavin.blogspot.com

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection








Paula Shablo: April Showers

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

April Showers

By Paula Shablo

For Shane, there was never a question of if the spring storms would come. They would come; they always came.

The only question was: when?

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. The other question was whether he’d have enough advance notice to batten down the hatches—so to speak.

Year after year, it was the same: Summer, Fall, and Winter devoted to repair and replace; Spring, watch it all be beaten, battered, and destroyed.

Start over.

Every. Single. Year.

It seemed his every penny earned went into putting back together what Spring storms tore apart. Time after time, he’d have to try to explain his thinking to parents, lovers, children.

Why? Why did he stay?

He’d stand on the shoreline, looking at his house, and ask himself that question every year. He’d resolve to repair quickly, sell the place and move inland—far enough from the shores to avoid this annual mess, but still close enough to come to the beach on a regular basis.

But—”Look at that view!” he’d exclaim. The house and deck, by this time intact and looking good again, fairly sparkled in the sun. Autumn, year after year, brought him a sense of accomplishment. The roof looked great, the siding was new, the deck was stained and sealed. Sitting outdoors, with whomever had posed the, “Why not get out now?” question, Shane would look out at the ocean, ever-changing as the water rolled in to meet the white sand, and marvel.

There was nothing to marvel at today, however. You could only repair a house if enough of it was left standing to work with.

Shane stood with his back to the ocean, tears obscured by pelting rain, and stared at the remains of his home—a home that had been through over a decade’s worth of devastating storms, new roofing, new siding, new windows, new decks, sometimes new interior walls, and twice entire new rooms.

Flattened. A bedroom wall here, a bathroom door there; the refrigerator on its side; the stove upside-down on top of what looked to be the remains of the kitchen island. A lone door—perhaps the one to the master bedroom—stood in its frame as if a sentry looking over its fallen comrades.

A search of the beach and surrounding areas would probably turn up beds, televisions and the like. There were no signs of those things here. Shane supposed they might also be buried under wood and aluminum.

Oddly enough, the deck was almost entirely intact. “The mighty oak,” Shane whispered, then snorted a bitter laugh.

Hearing the “slap, slap” of running feet hitting saturated sand, Shane turned and saw his son approaching. “Landon,” he said, his voice rough with grief.

Landon stopped running when he reached his father, bent at the waist to grasp his knees and coughed. “Jesus, Dad,” he choked. “What are you doing still out in this shit?”

Shane sighed deeply, staring at the deck. “Lan,” he said, “I think I’ll buy a motorhome and park it right there along the deck.”

“Dad—!”

“And when the storms are coming, I’ll just drive away…” Shane’s voiced hitched, and he tried to stifle the sob in his throat before his son could tell he was crying.

Landon, who was nothing if not a good son, ignored the obvious. His father had a right to his grief, even if they had all begged and pleaded with him for years to, “Move, for God’s sake, move away!”

He draped an arm around Shane’s shoulder and turned him away. “It’s past time you learned to come in from the rain,” he joked lightly. “Come on, Dad, there’s a hot coffee in the car with your name on it.”

Shane sighed again. “April showers,” he said. “No May flowers this time, I reckon.”

“You’ll get your flowers,” Landon told him. “We’ll put ’em on the deck in soda cans. You can drive them around in your motorhome.”

Shane grunted in surprise. “Really?”

Landon grinned, pushing his father along to the car. “Why not?” he said. “We’d all feel better knowing you could just drive off before the next storm hits. Melissa will love helping you shop for it. And think of the money you’ll save next year when you only have to rebuild a deck.”

“I was kidding,” Shane protested.

“Too late.” Landon opened the car door and gave Shane am encouraging shove. Shane got in, and Landon shut the door.

As promised, there was coffee. Shane grabbed up the cup and sipped the steaming brew.

Landon got into the driver’s seat, shut the door, and started the engine. “Listen, Dad. If you do that—buy a motor home—you’ll still have that same great view.”

True.

Shane smiled gratefully at his son. “Still,” he said, “there’s a lot of work to do.”

“After the storm, Pop.”

And Shane nodded. “Yes. After the April shower.”

_______________________________________________________________________

***For Shane Thompson

People go through a lot for their beautiful views. It’s worth it to them, even if others can’t understand why they do what they do.

I knew a Shane who never gave up his view. I miss that guy. He was a good one.

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Please visit Paula’s blog and follow her! https://pshablo.blogspot.com

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection








Science Fiction Today and Characterizations of the Genre

Science Fiction Today

Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology.”
— Isaac Asimov

From the early days of pulp science fiction, the 1920s and 1930s saw the popularity of science fiction begin in earnest with Philip Francis Nowlan’s first Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419 published in 1928. In 1937, John W. Campbell was named editor of Astounding Science Fiction and thus began what many consider the Golden Age of Science Fiction. There is a debate on how long that Golden Age lasted, some feel into the 1950s, but there is no debate that the novels from that era stand today as classics in the world of science fiction.

Among those classics, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series followed over the years by the dystopian Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human, an exploration of the future evolution of humans, and Robert Heinlein’s military sci-fi novel Starship Troopers.

During this time the first attempt to separate science fiction from fantasy began when Hugo Gernsback, at the time editor of Amazing Stories used the name scientifiction to describe the genre. He defined the term as “…a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision…

Notable authors such as John W. Campbell J, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, and others added their own opinion to Gernsback’s definition over the years. One point all of these authors agreed on was that the basis of science fiction is scientific theory and technology. Robert Heinlein’s term ‘speculative fiction’ written in a 1947 essay has remained the term most used to this day. The attempt to redefine the genre never completely took hold although speculative fiction is still being used.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a new term arose. New Wave Science Fiction was used to describe a more literary and artistic feel to a sci-fi novel. Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris dealt with human limitations. In 1965, Frank Herbert introduced an incredibly complex and intricate future society in the amazing novel, Dune. Phillip K. Dick, whose novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? spawned the film, Blade Runner. These years also saw an explosion of social and feminist science fiction as exemplified by Ursula K. Le Guin.

The last forty years of science fiction has introduced us to a myriad of sub-genres such as steampunk and cyberpunk as seen in Neuromancer, William Gibson’s first novel published in 1984. Themes such as the environment, the Internet, biotechnology, nanotechnology, post-apocalyptic worlds, and the increasing list of sub-genres like steampunk, biopunk, and others have opened the genre to new horizons.

The most recent trends in science fiction discussed at Speculate, the Speculative Writers Festival in 2019 were as follows.

  • Climate Fiction – Dealing with climate change
  • New Space Opera – A grander, more technology-based and character-driven version of the old Space Opera.
  • Generation Ship – Where original colonists and their descendants travel on slower spaceships. A recognition of the vastness of space and that faster-than-light speed is impossible.
  • Gender-Focused – As we see in our society now, the question of gender fluidity is central to the story.

In reviewing the amazing and innovative stories that form the history of science fiction, it is evident that from the beginnings of Buck Rogers to Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, science fiction continues to evolve with compelling stories to tell.

Common Characteristics of Science Fiction

While there are many aspects of science fiction that are shared with other genres, there are some characteristics that are unique to the genre. These identifiers should be present in the story.

1.       Time Frame – This is the one area where there is some flexibility. While most science fiction is set in the future, a sci-fi story can be set in the present or in the past but other identifying characteristics must be present.

2.       Advanced Technology – In the early days of science fiction, advanced technology while imaginative was not as difficult to create. In present day, technology advances at an exponential rate. It is considerably more difficult to imagine technology for advanced civilizations and stay ahead of current tech. Consider the tech, computers, communication, spaceships, ground transports, etc. that you want your characters and those they encounter will have, and be consistent.

3.       Worlds and world-building – Probably the most formidable and most exciting aspect of writing sci-fi is alien world building. Some authors spend weeks building and creating their worlds. When you are presenting a futuristic Earth or an alien world and civilization, pay attention to detail. Think about how your characters will live, eat, breathe, and what kind of clothing and transport they will have. Every detail is important and will add depth and reality to your story.

4.       Characters Creating a cast of characters for your story can be as much fun as world building. As we know from some favorite movies, there is no limit to the imagination. Again, pay attention to detail. How they breathe, ambulate, dress, communicate, and appear.

5.       Plausibility – This is possibly one of the most important characteristics of your writing. Remember that your reader has one frame of reference, the current world they live in. You need to keep your worlds, characters, and technology within a scope that most of your readers can understand. This does not preclude you from being innovative, but always remember to be plausible. Another thing to remember is to allow your characters to live in this world—nothing that you provide them with, from weapons to transport should surprise them. It should be normal. These guidelines apply to all genres except for fantasy where you can suspend belief. Which is a good thing if you are writing science-fiction fantasy.

Writing science fiction is challenging and exciting. Pay attention to these aspects of the genre and have fun!

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We will be covering world building, character development, and plots in upcoming articles.

Resources

Asimov, “How Easy to See the Future!”, Natural History, 1975

Asimov, Isaac (1980). In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954–1978. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. chapter 24. ISBN 978-0-385-15544-1.

Quoted in [1993] in: Stableford, Brian; Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (1993). “Definitions of SF”. In Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter. Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. London: Orbit/Little, Brown and Company. pp. 311–314. ISBN 978-1-85723-124-3.

Roberts, Adam (2000). Science Fiction. New York: Routledge. pp. 85–90. ISBN 978-0-415-19204-0.

Sammon, Paul M. (1996). Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. London: Orion Media. p. 49. ISBN 0-06-105314-7.

Spivack, Charlotte (1984). Ursula K. Le Guin (1st ed.). Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8057-7393-4.,pp=44–50

http://www.dirkstrasser.com/dirks-blog/current-trends-in-science-fiction

E.C. Fisher: On Reflection

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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On Reflection

By: E.C. Fisher

On the surface, I reflect the calm still waters

I glide across the surface with poise and dignity

My exterior glistens brightly as the reflected sun

On the surface, I present you with a lie

Underneath the stillness of the water, my feet are rapidly kicking

Struggling to keep my body afloat as I slowly move forward against the raging currents

The storm blows through me, the crashing waves beating against my will

In the inside, a clash of forces unseen rages, unbeknownst to all

On the surface, the skies have darkened, yet I remain vigil in my presentation

I lower my head against the violent winds and torrential rains

My exterior reflects the agony of my plight, but ‘I am fine’

On the surface, I present you with a lie

Underneath the cresting waves, I fight against the current that pulls me under

My body is heavy and exhaustion overtakes me as the black merciless sea embraces me

My will is broken; I give in and let myself go to it

Underneath the Deep Sea of Depression; I should have spoken

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Write the Story: March 2019 Collection








Caroline Giammanco: Paradise Ends

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Paradise Ends

By Caroline Giammanco

My life is the crashing waves, the howling wind, and the pelting sand of Hurricane Ana. Her fury mirrors the turmoil within my heart and soul, and in this moment I refuse to think about the devastation and the aftermath. I will worry about that later. I should hide, I suppose, but I am drawn to the view outside my window. I feel comfortable for the first time in weeks because this world makes sense to me.

Ana’s early this season. Spring breakers frolicked along this beach less than a month ago. June hasn’t arrived, but Ana is here in all her glory. She proves that nothing stops the kind of destruction that strikes when we least expect it. Just as my own life appeared perfect for a time, the tranquil beaches now under storm-surge warnings are in chaos. Their placid days in the sun are a memory within the onslaught. Neither they nor I will ever be the same. Perhaps we will rebuild, but we will know we are different. Ana’s early arrival reminds me of the premature end to my hopes and dreams.

Chad and I chose this time of year and place to marry and honeymoon because rates are cheap and the weather is traditionally good in May. The rates are not as cheap as his promises. My life has spun out of control, just like Ana. The only difference between us is that she has power. I have none. I am the fury, but I am also the crumbled ruin that will remain when the gentle tides return to lap these tortured beaches.

The lies were obvious for longer than I care to admit. The time spent trapped in this hotel room gives me the chance to reflect on my ruination—and on the role I played in it. I knew in my mind that Chad’s charm, his stability, was too good to be true. Things didn’t add up. The late-night calls, the sudden cash, the unexplained receipts in his car all pointed to a life he led that didn’t include me. He is to blame for his lies and manipulations. I am to blame for being a willing participant in the fairy tale. I wanted a Prince Charming. I wanted the happily-ever-after. I didn’t want to believe the nagging doubts that stabbed at my happiness. I can’t blame Chad for my own gullibility. He’s guilty for his sins. I’m guilty for mine.

Why travel here after the wedding and my make-believe life disappeared? The easy answer, the one I fall back on, is that the trip is already paid for. That’s the excuse I give others because it’s easier than breaking down the truth. The more difficult answer is that I want a few more weeks to hide from what awaits me back in Houston. I don’t want to read the headlines or to be hounded by reporters. I don’t want to be asked questions I have yet to answer myself. What do you do when your life falls apart in the flashing red and blue of police lights? How do you look your friends and family in the eye when you are duped and the world knows it? I have so much to figure out in the next two weeks, and the winds of Ana keep me at a safe distance from anyone who could get in the way of me reconciling my losses.

The hotel is deserted except for a few employees and myself. Occasionally I hear the clang of a tray or the ring of a telephone. There are fewer than one hundred people left on this side of the island. The last thing on my mind when I flew here was watching a weather report. I’ve developed a knack for being blindsided. Sitting in the path of a Category 5 hurricane may seem foolhardy, but if Chad can’t kill me, I don’t think Ana can either. I’m going to live in this moment. It makes more sense to me than the past two years do.

I watch the hurricane ravage the once-serene beach outside my hotel, and a strange peace envelopes my soul. I understand Ana and her wrath. I understand the weary piers. I feel the loss of the palms and the pain of the boardwalk. This is what it feels like when paradise ends.

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Write the Story: March 2019 Collection







The Genre of Science Fiction: The Beginning

The Beginnings of Science Fiction

Merriam-Webster defines the genre of science fiction as fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.

This is a prime example of a technically correct definition but does not represent the scope and excitement of the science fiction genre. There is so much more to this fantastic genre, and the many directions science fiction stories can take.

The term is relatively modern. An article by H. Bruce Franklin on the Rutgers University website states that the word scientist was not used until 1840, and the term science fiction first appeared in 1841 in “A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject” written by William Wilson. Wilson writes: “Science-Fiction, in which the revealed truths of Science may be given interwoven with a pleasing story which may itself be poetical and true.”  A more lyrical definition of science fiction.

Often intertwined with the fantasy which is often called impossible, science fiction falls into the possible or probable realm. Although a modern genre, travel to far-off worlds (granted far off in the Mediterranean) was depicted in Greek writings, but it was not until Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” that science fiction began to emerge. As the dime novels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century became popular, the genre became hugely popular and the genre took on a less-than-desirable label as “vulgar and puerile.” 

Fortunately, as we know, the science fiction genre has evolved into a respected and popular genre. In coming articles, we will look at other aspects of the genre from world building to character development.

Attached is a list of the numerous sub-genres of science fiction. As science-fiction writing grew in popularity, authors began to incorporate other genres into the realm of science fiction. The advent of self-publishing added additional opportunities to break out of the traditional publishing guidelines for the genre and create unique works.

The Sub-genres of Science Fiction

The world of science fiction is literally epic and incredibly complex. The genre can be divided into dozens of subgenres, each with their own unique themes and attributes. Any one science fiction story can cross the boundaries of several of these subgenres, or even break off into its own cult category. Charting the entire universe of sci-fi subgenres would therefore be impossible, but here are some of its most heavily populated worlds.

HARD SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction in which science and technology take center stage, or in which scientific concepts are explained in detail. hard SF is typically concept heavy, and attempts to provide scientific realism, often at the expense of character development and plot.

SOFT SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction in which science and technology take a back seat to character-driven plots. In soft SF, the how is much less important than the why.

MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction with a distinctly military theme. Characters are usually members of a military organization, and the plot will generally revolve around a war and/or military conflict. Duty, honor, heroism and other military clichés are par for the course.

ROBOT FICTION

Fiction in which the science of robotics is a central theme, typically relating to work of Isaac Asimov and the ideas advanced in his Robot series.

SOCIAL SCIENCE FICTION

Fiction in which future societies are extrapolated, explained and often criticized, usually for the purpose of social satire. The social sciences are the over-riding theme in this type of fiction; however, science and technology will usually play a central role in the structure of the extrapolated society.

Some writers of social science fiction choose to label their work as ‘speculative fiction’, perhaps to avoid the stigma attached to science fiction, and especially when science and technology are not central to the plot (see ‘Speculative Fiction’).

SPACE OPERA

Space opera is one of the more confusing and ill-defined terms that the genre has to offer. It typically refers to long-running science fiction series with continuing story arcs. These are usually set in space (or involve travel between two or more planets), have a large number of recurring characters and focus on large-scale (or “epic”) fictional events, such as galactic wars.

Recurring themes in space opera include politics, imperialism, colonialism, war, space exploration, heroism and rebellion.

STEAMPUNK

Steampunk merges the science fiction genre with alternate history and the design aesthetic of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. It is a literary genre, a style of dress and an artistic movement all rolled into one.

The basic idea behind steampunk is the introduction of modern (or futuristic) concepts and technologies into an earlier setting, or vice versa. It focuses largely on ‘the age of steam’ and the perceived inventiveness of industrial engineers. In a steampunk timeline, for example, computers may have been invented several centuries earlier and used alongside, or even powered by, steam engines.

Since the 1980s steampunk has grown beyond a simple literary genre and expanded into a large-scale artistic and cultural movement. Central to this movement is the belief that 19th Century literature (the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells in particular), technology and fashion was more aesthetically appealing, and ultimately more durable than those produced by today’s ‘throw-away’ culture.

CYBERPUNK

Fiction relating to the science of cybernetics, which views nature as a series of interconnecting mechanical systems. Specifically, cyberpunk deals with the link between biology and computer technology and explores humanity’s changing relationship with computer systems. Virtual reality, prosthetics, cyborgs, and internet fraud are all part of the cyberpunk niche, and usually go hand-in-hand with social decline.

BIOPUNK

Biopunk is similar to cyberpunk, except that it focuses on the use of bio-technology and genetic engineering rather than computer technology. Genetic manipulation, body modification and eugenics are all common themes in biopunk literature, as are social decline and political repression.

NANOPUNK

Nanopunk is closely related to cyberpunk and biopunk but focuses mainly on the use of microscopic machinery (or nanotechnology).

SUPERHERO FICTION

Opinion varies on whether or not stories about superheroes belong to the science fiction or fantasy genres. Personally, I’ve always felt that this type of literature (and media) belongs in a genre of its own, having its own set of rules, themes and characteristics. The level of scientific realism employed by such a work can affect the degree to which it is ‘accepted’ into the genre. Generally speaking, however, superhero fiction is thought to be a sci-fi subgenre, whether we like it or not.

VOYAGES EXTRAORDINAIRES

Jules Verne used this term to categorize his works, long before the term ‘science fiction’ was coined. It means “extraordinary voyages” and says as much about the exploratory format of his stories as it does about the fantastical ideas they contained. Today, the term may be attached to works that are directly inspired by Verne, or which follow the same format and imbue the same spirit of adventure.

SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE

This label was widely used before the term ‘science fiction’ was coined. It generally refers to the works of early British sci-fi writers, such as H.G. Wells.

GOTHIC SCIENCE FICTION

A blurring of the line between science fiction and gothic fiction. Gothic science fiction often takes conventional gothic concepts (mythology, magic, monsters, etc.) and attempts to explain them scientifically. A good example of this would be vampirism explained as a rare blood disease.

MUNDANE SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction using only currently available or ‘achievable’ technology. This usually discounts faster-than-light travel. The aim is to create realism and explore science fiction ideas that are a little closer to home, such as the colonization of worlds in our own solar system.

Mundane science fiction is as much a movement as it is a genre and recognizes the huge impact that science fiction has on our society. It aims to promote a more realistic view of our universe to avoid future disillusionment. It is hoped that this will lead to a greater appreciation of the natural wonders and abundant resources that exist on our own world, and those close by.

SCI-FI/HORROR

Works that bridge the boundaries of both the science fiction and horror genres.

SCI-FI/COMEDY

Science fiction that is humorous in nature.

SCI-FI/FANTASY (OR ‘SCIENCE FANTASY’)

Works that bridge the boundaries of both the science fiction and fantasy genres. Concepts traditionally belonging to science fiction (space travel, robots, etc.) appear alongside those usually associated with fantasy (magic, mythology, etc.)

APOCALYPTIC SCIENCE FICTION

Fiction concerning a cataclysmic event, typically ending in the decline of the human race, human extinction, societal upheaval, or the total destruction of the Earth itself.

POST-APOCALYPTIC FICTION

Fiction set in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event, in which the world, and human civilization, has been radically altered. Post-apocalyptic landscapes are typically grim, with survivors facing multiple dangers, such as violence, starvation, radiation, extreme weather, and even mutants.

ZOMBIE FICTION

While zombie fiction is also claimed by the horror and fantasy genres, it is sometimes considered to be science fiction at its core. An individual zombie story may fall into any one or more of these categories, depending on its content and theme. However, most zombie fiction falls under the ‘post-apocalyptic’ heading (taking place during or after a ‘zombie apocalypse’) and can therefore be categorized as sci-fi (if not sci-fi-horror).

ALIEN INVASION

Fiction in which aliens attempt to invade the Earth, either through military conquest, political subversion, or a campaign of mass extermination.

ALIEN CONSPIRACY

Fiction in which the existence of alien life, or a government’s interaction with alien intelligences, has been hidden from public knowledge.

TIME TRAVEL

Science fiction in which the character/characters travel into the past or future. This often merges with the ‘alternate history’ and ‘parallel worlds’ subgenres.

ALTERNATE HISTORY

Although not strictly sci-fi, this is a branch of the speculative fiction tree that frequently converges with the ‘social science fiction’, ‘time travel’ and ‘parallel worlds’ subgenres of science fiction. Alternate history stories are set in a world in which history has taken a different course. Often, a single event is identified as the beginning of this change; the assassination of Hitler, for example.

PARALLEL WORLDS

Fiction concerning travel to parallel universes, in which the world is slightly different from our own. The theory of parallel universes states that there are an infinite number of these alternate worlds. The traditional way to visit them is via a wormhole (or ‘Einstein-Rosen bridge’).

LOST WORLDS

Essentially a continuation of Jules Verne’s ‘voyage extraordinaires’, this is more a story-telling format than it is a genre. It concerns voyages to forgotten lands (islands, lost continents, isolated jungles, etc.) and the discovery therein of scientific wonders (living dinosaurs, ancient technology, the secret of Atlantis, etc.).

DYSTOPIAN FICTION

Dystopian fiction deals with political repression and police states. A dystopian society is one in which freedoms are limited and conventional morality has been in some way perverted. This is the opposite of a utopian society. The flagship work in this subgenre is undoubtedly George Orwell’s 1984.

SPACE WESTERN

Science fiction in which a future space-borne society portrayed as being like that of the American West. The comparison may be literal, with astronauts wearing cowboy hats and sporting Colt revolvers; or figurative, depicting a lawless society of traders and pioneers.

RETRO FUTURISM

Retro futurism does for 1950s American pulp science fiction what Steampunk does for the works of Verne and Wells. It is an attempt to recapture the spirit of (or parody) ‘the golden age of science fiction.’

RECURSIVE SCIENCE FICTION

In the words of author Mike Resnick, this is “science fiction about science fiction.” More precisely, it is science fiction in which there are multiple references to other sci-fi works, or which attempts to examine, parody, or pay homage to existing science fiction works (or the genre itself).

SPECULATIVE FICTION

Speculative fiction is an umbrella term, encompassing the larger genres of science fiction, fantasy, supernatural fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, alternate history, and horror. Writers of social science fiction often refer to their work as speculative fiction, perhaps to avoid the stigma attached to science fiction.

SLIPSTREAM

A post-modern crossover, where elements of science fiction, speculative fiction and/or fantasy merge with contemporary and mainstream literature. This is a highly dubious genre, which may or may not fall under the greater science fiction umbrella. Sometimes defined as the indefinable it may or may not exist, according to some critics, who see it as a kind of homeless shelter for those works that cannot be easily classified. Slipstream’s tendency toward the absurd is sometimes seen to be at odds with mainstream science fiction.

Please note, this list of science fiction subgenres are from a blog called Sci-fi Ideas. It is the most contemporary list that I could find, but remember genres are mergeable, but to classify as science fiction, keep sci-fi to the forefront.

Resources

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science%20fiction

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~hbf/sfhist.html

http://www.scifiideas.com/writing-2/writing-advice/a-guide-to-science-fiction-subgenres/

Please note: the images used are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Writers Unite! Anthologies: Dimensions of Science Fiction

Welcome to Writers Unite!’s fourth anthology volume.  We invite all writers of science fiction or any writers interested in the science fiction genre to submit a story to our Dimensions of Science Fiction anthology.

If you are interested in submission, you must be a member of Writers Unite! on Facebook.  If you have questions, please email writersunite16@gmail.com.

Submission information:  

  • Submissions open on April 1, 2019, at Noon EDT
  • Submissions close on June 30, 2019, at 11: 59 pm EDT
  • All stories must be emailed to the Publisher at writersunite16@gmail.com
  • Please type “Sci-Fi Submission” plus your name and the story title in the subject line. Each story submission must be in a separate email.

Writers Unite! Science Fiction Anthology Guidelines:

Genre:  Science Fiction (all subgenres)     

Rating: G, GP, R (no excessive gore or erotica)

General:

Word count:

  • 5000 maximum. (Please no less than 500 for stories, 25 words for poetry).
  • You may submit shorter stories and poems (max word count 3000)
  • Only authors of stories of min 3000 + words receive cover credit. Shorter stories will be included as space allows and authors given credit in the index of authors.

Submission Count:

  • Each author may submit up to five total stories.
  • Each author is only allowed one 3K-5K word story (These stories take precedence in publishing)
  • Up to four flash fiction and/or poetry pieces (max 1000 words each) are acceptable from one author in addition to the 3K-5K story. (These stories and poems will be selected on quality and space needs in the anthology.

Editing and Proofreading:

  • Submitted manuscripts MUST be WELL-EDITED for consideration. Manuscripts not meeting the requirement will be rejected by the Writers Unite! Administrative team and not forwarded to the PUBLISHER.
  • Formatting requirements are listed at the end of this document.
  • PUBLISHER shall make no changes in, or to the manuscript without AUTHOR’S consent. In order to obtain such consent PUBLISHER shall submit the copy-edited manuscript to AUTHOR for approval. AUTHOR agrees to return such proof to PUBLISHER within ten (10) days of delivery of copy-edited manuscript.

Publication and Compensation:

  • AUTHORS will retain sole copyright ownership of their individual respective works.
  • AUTHORS  may submit work for publication under a pseudonym but must provide true name for purposes of royalty payments.
  • AUTHORS’ compensation will be based on a pro rata royalty share of 50% of net proceeds to be divided among all AUTHORS whose writing appears in WORK.
  • CONTRIBUTOR’S *** MUST *** have a Valid PayPal ID will be required for royalty payouts to AUTHORS.  If an individual AUTHORS refuses to provide PayPal ID they will not be eligible for compensation and their content will not be included in WORK. PUBLISHER will provide Authors with one electronic file of the finished product at no charge. If additional author copies are required, they will be provided as follows:  AUTHORS may each purchase up to five (5) copies at PUBLISHER’s discounted rate of 30% off the distributor’s retail price. No royalties will be paid by PUBLISHER for copies purchased using Publisher/vendor discount.
  • Selling Price:​ PUBLISHER will set the retail price (“cover price”) of the WORK, based on length, comparable works, and format. PUBLISHER reserves the right to raise or reduce the price as needed to stimulate sales.
  • PUBLISHER at its sole discretion will make WORK available through distribution and/or vending companies in one or more of the following formats:  
    • Readable (text) digital format (electronic download, disk, CD/CD-ROM, E-Book reader or similar media of presentation, excluding motion picture/television/video/DVD rights) whether now known or hereafter invented or developed
    • Print on demand (POD) trade paperback
    • Traditional print run mass market paperback
    • Audiobook

_______________________________________________________________

Formatting the Manuscript:

  • Font: 12-point Times New Roman or Courier
  • Visual: Black text on white background
  • Margins: One-inch margins, and on half-inch first-line indents.
  • Paragraphs: Set to double-spaced, O lines before/after.
  • Spacing: Left justified with consistent one-space spacing between sentences.
  • Name/Word Count: Single spaced true identity and word count in top right of first page. (
  • Title: Centered title, about one-third down first page.
  • Byline: Centered one double-space after title.
  • Main Text: Begin text two double spaces below byline.
  • Header: Name / Title / Pg.# on pages 2 and above.
  • Dialog: Must be enclosed in quotation marks.
  • End of Text: Place <end> after last line.