Spawn of Mars
Don't worry. If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.
Elvis Has Left the Twitter
No, I Wasn't Banned (As if I Were That Noticeable)
Friday, January 8, 2021 10:56 am
To the hordes rushing worriedly to this, my blog, upon my disappearance from Twitter, hear that my intent to disengage from the End of America would not be helped by even a limited use of that hellsite. If you're curious what prompted my break, here are my last three tweets:
I supported Trump as a force against the Uniparty. But now at the end, he accepts the frame of the enemy and calls yesterday's turmoil "heinous" without acknowledging its spirit nor those who DIED protesting a stolen election. Just another Republican after all. Yep. I am done.

Though angered by Trump's failure to distinguish between good MAGA folk and the hooligans, I acknowledge he is a man wronged and besieged. Even as I dismiss him in his final weakness, perhaps I should charitably temper my bitterness. He was often on the side of right.

That said, I am done with him and them all. Trust not in Princes, eh? It's time to take the blankpill and mind only my little life, my work, my God, and my family, and trust that the coming troubles will be endured.
I would just be tucking that blankpill in my cheek — failing, that is, to swallow it - if I maintained my Twitter presence. There are too many political and socio-cultural tweets, and too much temptation to bloviate.

I know I have said, "Don't ever trust that I will maintain my internet teetotalling;" but I think, in this case, that I might. This blog has never been especially political, except insofar as I defend reason and sense and Truth. And I barely update it as it is.

So I'll see you here, now and then; and hopefully, especially, in StoryHack, Cirsova, and other venues.
This I Didn't Expect
A Story Is Reprieved
Sunday, December 20, 2020 2:31 pm
My works that I think are worth preserving have been identified and preserved in one book or another. The other works are on the scrap heap. My judgments of worth were made over the past decade or so, and I had thought the judgments were done.

Weirdly, though, yesterday I was reminded of a story that I scrapped long ago. I can't quite reconstruct my judgment against it. It was, of course, repeatedly rejected, but that isn't determinative. It may have gotten swept away by my general disillusionment with juvenile fiction. I think I was annoyed by its "dark turn." I just couldn't write anything without a splash of grim, even a children's storybook.

Anyhow, yesterday I re-read it and — heck, it's pretty good. Good enough to work up into a Kindle freebie. So, for a little while (December 22nd through 26th), you can get The Santa Mantle for free at Amazon.

By the way, that is not the original title. The original title was very lame. I came up with "Santa Mantle" yesterday. Pure inspiration.

P.S. Does this mean my scrap heap hides other unjustly discarded works? Not likely. Although, in this listless and boring period of pandemic and political collapse, maybe I'll take some time to double-check...
Sundry & Motley
As of November & the Collapse of the Republic
Friday, November 6, 2020 12:37 am
Looks like I missed October's update. Sorry. I know no one reads this blog anyhow. If you do, I apologize for doubting your existence.

I sold another story, this one to Cirsova. Not The Impossible Footprint, which, as you may recall, was pre-emptively rejected because of its length. Instead, having decided not to give up on contributing to Cirsova for 2021, I whipped up a 1,200-word short called Dead Neighbor, which Alex the editor bought. So that's nice! 

Still waiting on word from StoryHack about An Uncommon Day at the Lake. Bryce the editor had some 50 submissions, so I won't be impatient. I know I'll hear about it soon enough. Boy, I hope he accepts it. A rejection would pretty much terminate my StoryHack career. Hamlin Becker is my Action-Adventure mode, and his tales are a continuing series.

Meanwhile, Stupefying Stories is resurfacing. I saw an interview with Bruce the editor, and their blog is active again. I know Bruce has had a difficult year, not least personally, but he seems back on track. My two stories Banana Man and Wayward Scarecrow might get published after all. I haven't heard anything yet, however.

Back when music was released on LPs, often an artist would blend one song into the next, creating continuous music through the briefly widened needle-path between tracks. When CDs of such old LPs came out, I was repeatedly disappointed by the harsh discontinuity between tracks, a moment of blank sound where no blankness used to be. I never understood such sloppiness in the CD transfers.

Recently, for some reason, I was motivated to buy Animals by Pink Floyd, which I never got on CD and haven't heard in decades. Much to my surprise, there are no discontinuities. Nor on Wish You Were Here, which I also just re-acquired. It's a beautiful thing. Did they finally figure out how to digitally execute the artist's original blending? Or did they just stop being sloppy?

By the way, Animals is really, really good. I'm not a huge prog-rock fan, but I like this album even more than I once did. Definitely Pink Floyd's best.

In my continuing struggle with Twitter, I have resolved to disengage. From Twitter, YouTube, and all blogs. The proximate cause is the election. I don't care what happens anymore. I don't want to know. This Republic is truly done. Life is too short to care. I'll leave it to others.

Obviously I have not left the internet; but my own blogging is a solipsistic affair. And while I will keep my Twitter account open as a sort of RSS feed for this blog, as well as to signal-boost publishing announcements from myself, Cirsova, StoryHack, and Stupefying Stories, I will do so delicately, with blinders on. With luck I'll never learn who the President is. Ha.

Speaking of Twitter, here's a couple of tweets of mine that I thought were worth rescuing.

  • "Convergent" evolution: The admission that evolution relies not on random mutation but on a set of paradigmatic responses to potential turns of events. The mutations are, as it were, built in.

  • What prevents the Woke from writing good entertainment is that good entertainment accords with the natural order. We are entertained when we sense right and wrong, male and female, God and joy. Those are things the Woke hate. Thus, the Woke cannot entertain us.

    One of the best days of the year is when, in October, I go to the apple orchard with my brother's family, to gather apples and to overload on donuts and cider. In recent years I have later made an apple pie for myself. I'm not much of a cook, but I am a decent baker. Here's a couple of pictures of my Dutch Apple Pie for 2020.

    It was quite delicious!
  • Sundry & Motley
    As of September
    Sunday, September 6, 2020 6:59 pm
    So I finished the fourth Hamlin Becker story, that epilogue of sorts to An Uncommon Day at the Lake. I had hoped to make it a succinct 4K words. As it is, it's 5.3K. That's still shorter than the last two (which are ~10K each) and below the pulp standard of 6K (which I regularly exceed). I think it is also fairly succinct in any event. It is entitled His Own Ends.

    This means I might have two stories in StoryHack in 2021. Assuming there are enough issues planned. And that the editor likes them both. Which he will. Because they're great.

    What annoys me about my writing "process," such as it is, are the numerous, unproductive periods. 

    I finished Uncommon Day at the end of April. I found it impossible to make headway on His Own until July. Then, somehow, I started writing; but even then, I didn't finish until August was gone. Two months down; two months up. Four months to get out 5K words.

    The horrible thing is, the down times seem necessary. They are, at least, inevitable. No, I am not "recuperating" or "recharging." I'm just lounging. And my will is empty. Until it's not. And then... not suddenly, but with a certain useful steadiness, I manage to write a complete tale.

    So now, having finished His Own Ends, do I have months of nothing ahead? Probably.

    Since Cirsova is apparently not an option for 2021, and I've already got two possibilities for StoryHack, and Stupefying Stories seems to be dying (and my two stories, already accepted by them, may revert to me unpublished), I don't precisely have any successful markets to target in the short term. Not having to write for specific markets, I am going to let my next story be rather... whatever I want. Just some idyllic SF. No pulp, no action, no thrills, no nothing but what pleases me. This is a kind of freedom, to be sure. I'm looking forward to it.

    The drag of it is, I still have to do some planning and such. I really would like to free-form it and just write. But I decided decades ago that, whatever stream of thought I might indulge, there still has to be a story of some sort. A plot. Or at least a point. Hence the tedious preliminaries...

    It should be cool, though. It's about a man who decides to produce some good, like maple syrup, except not that. His community resides above the surface of a neutron star. The inhabitants of the star, akin to spirits, maintain the livable fragments above. The story is a kind of journal, about his not-maple-syrup endeavors and his benign clashes with his neighbors and local government. It's idyllic. A summer in the life of his family.

    I don't expect to sell it to anyone. I just want to write it.

    I haven't done a very good job avoiding Twitter. It's not so much that I want something to read (however piecemeal), although there is that; it's more that I am so bored. If nothing else, Twitter provides stimulus. Still, I've been cold turkey for a day. Ha! I may avoid it for a time...

    Sundry & Motley
    As of August
    Friday, August 7, 2020 1:40 pm
    I wrote to Alex, the editor of Cirsova, and confirmed that Cirsova's plans and budget for 2021 leave no room for my story The Impossible Footprint. I wouldn't have asked Alex so pointedly, except he had tweeted that he was only going to invite contributors — no open submissions, that is — and I needed to know my chances. What a shame! I still think it's perfect for Cirsova.

    So now I am going to send it through the rejection mill. Maybe Cirsova will take it for 2022. Or maybe it will be a little masterpiece kept in a drawer. 

    Submissions for StoryHack will likely open, as I expected, in the fall. I've got An Uncommon Day at the Lake, the third Hamlin Becker tale, ready to go. It's funny how much I am presuming my story will be accepted. I don't usually operate with such hope. But having had two Becker tales published in StoryHack, my hope is not unwarranted.

    As I have mentioned, my productivity of late has been contemptible. In the past couple of weeks I have finally started writing again. It's another Becker tale, but pithier. I am targeting no more than 4,000 words, in four tight chapters. One thrilling fight and out. The sisters Day are not even in it, except as troubles in Becker's thoughts. It's a kind of epilogue to Uncommon Day and a transition to another, perhaps too ambitious, Becker novella — or novel, should I dare!

    Anyhow, this new short, as yet untitled, might be finished before StoryHack's fall submissions close. That is, maybe I can get two Becker tales published in 2021.

    It's true what they say. Reading Twitter agitates and depresses the reader. At first I was getting that nice flow of thoughts that even busy blogs can't match. But the times are far too infuriating. I have been mourning the Republic and my people for years, but now I am certain we are truly finished. We are passing through the greatest history. And I don't need Twitter to remind me of the coming end.

    I'm retaining my Twitter account but, like many people, I am stepping away. I'll use it for announcements only (and maybe to carefully track Cirsova and StoryHack).

    One frustrating aspect of my (now ended) recourse to the Twitter Timeline was that I just wanted something to read. Gads, it has been hard to find good fiction. I've been enjoying the pulp magazines well enough, but stories are hit and miss, even in good mags like Cirsova and StoryHack. Besides, I really wanted a book.

    I have a lot of samples on my Kindle. The other night I brutally started reading through them. If I didn't like a thing right away, I erased it (from device and cloud). In some ways that's unfair. I never forget that I was initially bored by Crime and Punishment and had to give it another, later attempt. But then I was young. Wow me now, because I will be dead soon!

    Anyhow, I found something that may be really good. We'll see. If nothing else, a nice read surely helps with my mood. Even my will to write is increased.

    Cirsova Summer Special 2020 Is Out!
    Read My Story in It!
    Thursday, May 14, 2020 3:53 pm
    The annual Summer Special of Cirsova Magazine is here!

    Buy it on Amazon (to give the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my story The Fourth Gift and be amazed by my wonderfullestness. Go, now!

    P.S. From Twitter, here's a gratifying review of my story.
    Rarely does one come across a story both intellectually brilliant and artistically beautiful. The Fourth Gift by DAVID SKINNER is absolutely one of that. A meditation on immortality, humanity, science, and struggle, it’s both a dense read and one utterly worthwhile.
    StoryHack #6 Is Out
    Read My Story in It!
    Wednesday, April 1, 2020 1:53 pm
    The latest issue of StoryHack is here! And it contains the second Hamlin Becker tale!

    Buy it on Amazon (to give the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my story Due a Hanging and be amazed by my excellentivity. Go, now!

    P.S. Canada speaks! A reader from Canada, in reviewing this issue of StoryHack, has this to say about my offering:
    David Skinner wrote a punchy and brilliant story in Due a Hanging. Giving the reader just enough information to tug them along and explain his world, you get a strong feeling for the web of revenge closing in, and the tension of the events. A terrific example of show don't tell.
    Thanks, Canada!
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    StoryHack #7
    Stupefying Stories #23
    Cirsova: Fall 2021
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