Monday, September 27, 2010

Action packed drama in 100 words...

While I procrastinate about finishing a piece of conspiracy theory flash fiction, here's 100 words worth of action packed thrills..

10 minutes before the nuclear bomb at the top of the building goes off.
9 flights of stairs for Trip Hawker to climb.
8 kicks to smash in the door to the room with the bomb.
7 laser-sword wielding, robot-ninjas between Trip and the bomb.
6 shots from Trip’s gun to take out most of the robots.
5 super-fast, kick-ass moves to destroy the last one.
4 fiendish codes to break through to get to the bomb.
3 seconds before the city is destroyed in nuclear fire.
2 possible wires. A whole lot of people to save.
1 little snip...

Did he make it??? What do you think?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inspiration comes from the strangest places....

A frequent question about the US of A is "what the hell is wrong with you people?" - a question very relevant during these mid-term election times. Yesterday the remarkable political rise of Christine O'Donnell came flying past me - I'd seen her come up as a poor man's Sarah Palin, but an article in "The Daily Mash" made me find out a little more. Googling her name I discovered that even such suspect characters as Karl Rove (ex oppo of George W Bush) had serious questions about her funding and qualifications - although O'Donnell said that his allegations were 'unfactual'.

It soon set my twisted mind a twisting...

The inner circle watched the brunette on TV and jaws dropped.
“Did she really say ‘unfactual’?” said Brother Phil.
“And she’s poised to become a state governor?” said Sister Angelina. More heads shook in wonder at the drivel being spouted on the TV. Those humans…
Brother Rod, the Chief Lizard, Grand Poobah of the Illuminati, Supreme Nabob of the Brotherhood of Zion and President of the Model Railways Association, rapped the table and brought the circle to order. “That’s enough,” he said, nodding to Under-Brother Rupert who switched it off.
“Siblings,” he said, “I believe we’ve found the next President.”

Seriously, I'm not sure this is a work of "fiction"....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Foreign Country - a couple of reviews..and a new drabble.

As I slowly make my way through "A Foreign Country" I'll post the odd little review..

Matt Cowens' "No Hidden Costs" is a short but sharp look at the freedom vs responsibility issue that circles environmental issues - is it inevitable that as pollution/ climate change etc threatens humanity more and more, society will have to force people to be responsible, rather than just hoping that we'll change our ways? The  solution in Matt's story would be a powerful way to influence people - and the story brings it out with pitch black humour. A cracking story that brings up a big issue but in an engaging and not preachy way.

JC Hart's "Birth Rights" treads on similar territory - forcing society to act responsibly - and asks the age old question of "who watches the watchmen?" JC's story is almost brutal, but its the characters and the harsh positions they are put it that pull the reader in. Again, short but sharp, making its points with a razor blade rather than a sledgehammer.

More stories to come...

And today's drabble brings us back to Pan, who has clearly escaped from jail and has some big plans....

The possums were arguing with the kangaroos. Pan worried that a gunfight would break out, but she needed the possums’ agility and the roos’ speed for the job.
“They’ll kill each other,” said Carlos the monkey boy, “and probably us too.”
She fired a round into the air. “Listen up,” she shouted, “any of you marsupials kill any of the other marsupials and I will kill all of you. Got it?”
The Roos and the Possums stopped arguing.
“That’s called leadership,” said Pan. Carlos was impressed.
“What about us?” said the Bunyips, aggressively.
Pan growled. The Bunyips, sensibly, shut up.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Drabble a day-ish...

Hmm, a wonderful weekend of skiing (only slightly marred by the mountain being closed and no actual skiing taking place) got in the way of my drabble a day for Spec Fic NZ's blogging week. Plenty of others more than made up for my missing blogs (the link takes you to them), including a couple of very kind words about my story "Miramar is Possum Free" in the "A Foreign Country" anthology.

One of the blogs from the anthology editor, Anna Caro, has a link to an interview she did with Radio New Zealand about "A Foreign Country" which has a reading from my story - click on this link and find "A Foreign Country" in the list to download.

And today's drabble - slightly inspired by Frank Herbert's Dune, but quite a bit shorter...

Helah sat on the dune. His bionic eye spotted the rider long before his organic eye did. He scanned the rider’s bio-signature and lowered his gun.
Dura shouted as she rode up. “The messiah is with us.”
Helah looked back to the oasis. Ten thousand cyborg warriors awaited his command.
“New messiah, guys,” he shouted, “Let’s kick some ass!” There was a thundering of hooves and whine of motors. Within two weeks the heretics had been destroyed. Helah led his people back to the desert.
He sat on the dune. Dura was approaching. Another messiah would be with them soon.

I've been working my way through the anthology - and loving some terrific stories - I'll post some comments on some tomorrow (along with a hundred words of something...)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drabble a day no3 - a bit of filth.

I'm liking this Drabble stuff - the challenge of making the piece hit exactly 100 words means you have to really be sure each word counts - and its a way of just chucking out little ideas that may never be big enough to sustain a longer story - just a wee snapshot of someone's life.

OK, this one's a bit saucy, well, could be seen as a bit saucy, depends on the reader as always...

“On your knees,” he commanded. She did as she was told.
“You’ve been very bad,” he said. There was no shame in her eyes, only longing.
He slapped her. With every sting of his hand she yelped.
He carried on until her skin was red. It wasn’t enough. He reached for the handcuffs.
She whispered, “No, please.”
“Quiet,” he shouted, “I’m in charge here.
She looked round at him. Dark eyes, under dark lashes beneath dark locks. “I said no.”
He had no choice and manacled her to the bedpost.
He loved her. He was so utterly in her power.

Comments, feedback, outrage etc - please make a comment below.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spec Fic Blogging week - Day 2 - Drabble a day no 2

I managed to read two more stories from "A Foreign Country" - Tim Jones's fascinating, but pessimistic "The Last Good Place on Earth", and JC Hart's thoroughly absorbing and thought-provoking "Birth Rights". It really is a pleasure to get published alongside such good stories - and makes me realise I really need to raise my game.

Anyhoo - today's drabble....I suspect many of you living in Wellington will know where this one's coming from...

It was a furious wind. It bent the trees and sent them hammering into houses; it swirled round the hills and into the gullies. It raced again and again round the wide bowls, thundering over rooftops, shaking the bush and driving hard pellets of rain with it.
And when it had built up enough strength and power, it hurled itself with all its fury at the house on the ridge, slamming into its windows and making branches beat against it in anger.
Inside, I stirred, rolled over and cuddled up to my wife. God bless double-glazing, solid insulation and earplugs.
Also trying to read Iain Banks' "The Wasp Factory" - now there's an imagination....


Monday, September 13, 2010

New Zealand Spec Fic Blogging Week - Day One!

OK - and we're off....having just got to the end of my latest short story (all 13000 words of it - it needs a fair bit of trimming), what have I learnt?
I seem to have to write a whole story to realise what my story is - as in, the re-write will be a lot, lot different, almost a new story altogether, but by working through all 13000 words, I've now got characters, situations, themes and backstory to knock together.

Still, since we're blogging every day for this week (which may be tricky since I'll be away from Thurs to Sat - hoepfully someone else up the mountain will have a laptop and we'll have an internet connection) let's try a do a Drabble a day:

“Mr Barker,” said the Doctor, “you’re pregnant.”
“Sorry?” said Ronald.
“There’s a womb, placenta and viable foetus. Last year, when we examined you, there was none of this.” The Doctor was stunned. “I suggest going home for a rest.”
Ronald did that and the Angel Gabriel arrived that evening.
“Nope,” he said, “not a mistake, we’re infallible. But virgins aren’t easy to find. We had to think outside the box.”
Later, Ronald admitted it had been a stressful time. But little Jamie had been such a good boy, it was all worth it. Pity about that business with the cross.

Ayia!!! The stuff that goes through my head.....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Au Contraire - NZ Sci-Fi convention

Two weeks ago saw the New Zealand Science Fiction convention come to Wellington. I attended mainly for the writing workshops but also to attend the launch of "A Foreign Country - New Zealand Speculative Fiction" which contains my own story "Miramar is Possum Free".

I was very impressed by the writing workshops - particularly Sean Williams' Collaboration workshop where we imagined what Anakin Skywalker's lost twin sister would have been like. Between me and Susan Kornfield (who got 2nd place in the Au Contraire short story comp, and who's excellent story "Dreams of a Salamander Nation" is in the Foreign Country book) dreamed up a fiesty character called Pan.

Pan turned up later during the Flash Fiction session, taken by Riply Patton (who's fascinating story "Fear of the sky" won 1st prize, and is also in the book) - the task was to write a drabble - being a story in exactly 100 words. By this stage, Pan had stopped being a Star Wars character, but was already on her way to prison:

“Go on,” said Pan.
Phil wasn’t sure. It was a long way down and the melon would make a lot of mess when it hit.
“Quick, do it now,” urged Pan, “there’s a cop coming.” She gave him that saucy look; Phil let the melon go.
The cop twisted in mid-air, fired its laser and vapourised the melon. It floated up to Pan and Phil.
“She did it,” shouted Phil.
The cop swivelled. “Vandalism, 5 years,” it grated. It fired a catch-net at Pan and flew off with her cursing and spitting.
Damn, thought Phil, I’ll never get laid now. '

Anyway - count the words - 100 exactly....

Other great writing sessions included World building with NZ author Russell Kirkpatrick, How to get published in New Zealand with Tim Jones, Nicole Murphy on characterisation and Jeena Murphy on finishing that final draft....

All in all, it was a great weekend (including the Saurday evening non-sci-fi diversion of the Beervana NZ Festival).

Now, I am inspired to get my butt in gear, finish my latest short story and send it somewhere to get published - thanks to a couple of great weblinks I discovered at the con.

And that Pan girl - she just won't get out of my head. Could I do, say, 100 drabbles charting her life and times - 100 stories, 100 pages, 10,000 words... how hard could it be?