Spawn of Mars
Blog of Fictioneer David Skinner
Silence & Starsong Fall 2023 Is Out!
Read My Story in It!
Friday, December 1, 2023 2:40 pm
The latest issue of Silence & Starsong Magazine is here! And it contains a story by me!

Buy it on Amazon (to give the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my story "Lament for a Sister" and be amazed by my creatitude.

Go, now!
Mermaids & Termites
As of September
Wednesday, September 6, 2023 11:28 am
So Motive of Man was rejected by Cirsova. Turns out that its length (twice normal maximum) was disqualifying after all. That's OK. I was presuming on Alex in the first place and he is always on the edge regarding space and budget.

I'm still sad. I like Cirsova and it would have been nice to be published by them for a fifth year. 

Since Motive of Man is unsuitable for most other magazines and most magazines are not expeditious like Cirsova, I'm not going to mire Motive of Man in submission purgatory.

So a little remaking of plans!

I'm going to include Motive of Man in Stellar Stories Vol. 3. And I'm not just channeling my inner Pollyana when I say this will make the volume even better.

Thus I will not be including Motive of Man as a bonus story in the final Hamlin Becker book. I was looking forward to that. I was imagining an Ace Double, as of old!

But making the Becker tale solitary has prompted me to go full novel on it. I don't know if I'll manage that length. It will likely still end up being a novella. Either way, I'm not going to approach it as a "long-short" story.

In general I'm not going to bother submitting stuff in the coming months. If StoryHack revives, sure. But otherwise I'll just concentrate on Becker.

That said, Silence & Starsong has opened for their Fall issue and, somewhat on a lark, I have submitted Lament for a Sister. That one's an odd one. Strictly speaking it has a tragic ending, but the import (I think) is not nihilistic. Silence & Starsong hates nihilism and loves God. Since Lament for a Sister is pro-God, maybe its essence as a lament will not be disqualifying!

Silence & Starsong is not a paying venue yet. Normally I want to be paid, because an author should get paid. But I support Silence & Starsong and publication by them will be nice on my curriculum vitae.

My gaming computer was originally built in 2011, using hardware that had released in 2010. Within the past few years I upgraded modestly with an SSD and a 2019 video card. I was still running Windows 7.

This year, however, I officially dropped below the minimum requirements for all upcoming games, most especially regarding my OS. I've been so indifferent to most new games that I really didn't care, but all of a sudden too many alluring games are out there and, well, time to rebuild!

The rebuild was both exciting — it's neat to finally have an on-board M.2 SSD! — and terrifying — I chose a CPU cooling tower, not just a stock fan, and I had to apply my own thermal paste and construct the tower and it's so easy to wrack my nerves...

Anyhow, it all worked out. I'm on Windows 11 with a current board and CPU, as well as more and faster RAM. I had already future-proofed my PSU (850W), and my original card and case are still good.

My internet speed is still atrocious, however: literally ~1GB an hour. Luckily all the games I want are through Steam and with Steam you can install on one PC and easily transfer to another, so my nephew (his home having proper internet speed) is installing my games on his PC and I'll port them back to my home with a pocket SSD.

So what games prompted my rebuild? Warhammer 40K Boltgun; Shadow Gambit; Remnant II; and... yes, Starfield. I know Starfield will be janky and woke, but honestly, I so enjoy the Skyrim and Fallout games that I'm just taking the plunge. I think I will pretend that I am not exploring a future humanity but some sort of conglomeration of alien and distasteful worlds. I will imagine myself a rogue, an outsider, a curmudgeon, a representative of some forgotten realm. I will ally with no one and steal everyone's stuff. Haha!

I'm also looking forward to getting Space Marine 2 in December and STALKER 2 next spring. I may be too old to play all these games to completion but, hey. Onward I go.

Despite my earlier statement about submitting stuff, and granting my honest disinclination to re-enter the submission grind, I think I might write something for Stupefying Stories #28. They're looking for hard-hard SF. I probably won't get in before they fill up, but I haven't written hard SF in forever, if ever, and it might be an amusing exercise. I'm somehow not ready for the Becker book anyhow, and a quick short story might slot in well with all my vidya these coming weeks.

Mermaids & Termites
As of August
Saturday, August 5, 2023 2:45 pm
Hoorah! I finished the second Hak Iri story Motive of Man and submitted it to Cirsova.

I started it near the start of 2022 and stalled at 1k words. I wrote little more until this past May. I had hoped to keep it to a reasonable length of 10k words, but I ended at 14.5k. Cirsova does publish novelettes, so I haven't disqualified myself. 

I'm very happy with it. I managed to give it a decent love element, even if it's primarily an adventure. There's a touch of my usual discursive philosophy, too. The varied aspects do account for its length!

There's even a complete poem (one that uses the rhyme scheme I learned from Pushkin's Eugene Onegin). Including the poem may have been a terrible self-indulgence, but the narrator is ostensibly a poet, so hey. It serves the love story in a hefty way, I think.

Fear not. There are mecha-men with blastors, too.

As I've mentioned before, whether or not Cirsova accepts it, Motive of Man will find its final publication paired with the sixth and ultimate Hamlin Becker tale, in a sort of postscript book to the Stellar Stories trilogy.

My first Hak Iri story was, of course, The Impossible Footprint, published by Cirsova and re-published in my Stellar Stories Vol. 2. When I first thought to continue Nictzin Dyalhis's Venhez stories (see here), I didn't know how far I'd get. Two is more than zero and maybe a third will happen.

I've had fun developing the mythology (the Lords & Ladies stuff is mine, not Dyalhis's) and I've especially enjoyed fleshing out the characters.

The precedent of Dyalhis's purple prose has also allowed me to employ a rather purple style of my own. It's a shame I need the excuse of "precedence," though. Purple is pleasing. But I guess I'll be more restrained in other stories, haha!

While I have an idea for a third Hak Iri story, of course my priority is the sixth Hamlin Becker story. Since that already has the weight of at least a novella, I'm going to write it a little differently.

Thus far the Becker stories have been rather from Becker's POV. There is some divergence from this, but not a lot. In the new story, while I won't be doing explicit POV changes, I will be narrating things that Becker is not a part of. It will mostly be a step up to 3rd-person omniscient, I guess.

I need to do this because so many threads are coming together and situating Becker in every thread would be impossible.

Now I just have to get over my postpartum lassitude from Motive of Man...

From the get-go I've wanted to use different artists for the covers of Stellar Stories. For a while I had a hard time finding the right artist for Volume 3. This week I got lucky. The Fiverr search presented an artist I hadn't seen before. He took the gig and the art is done!

When I got the final art for Volume 2, I didn't have to contain my excitement for very long. I was able to share the art right away, since Volume 2 came out right away. The release of Volume 3 is, for various reasons, months away. You'll have to wait! But trust me: You'll like it.

If you're here you've probably already bought Volume 2 of Stellar Stories. If not, why don't you grab it now? It's really good! Go here...

Stellar Stories Vol.2 Is Out
Read It Now!
Friday, March 24, 2023 11:55 am
The second volume of my collected science fiction & wonder stories has been released! Some stories are new. Some have been previously published in, for example, StoryHack and Cirsova.

Available in different formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu. Synopses, samples, and links are here.

P.S. Hey, buy the ebook and the paperback. They're not expensive, as these things go. Buy, read, and be amazed by my masterfulosity!
Sidearm & Sorcery Vol.2 Is Out
Read My Story in It!
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 6:26 pm
The second volume of Sidearm & Sorcery is here! And it contains a story by me!

Buy it to give me and the publisher money. Review it to increase its rank. Read my story "The Baron of Nevada & His Branded Broads" and be amazed by my greatillousness.

Go, now!
Cirsova Spring 2023 Is Out
Read My Story in It!
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 1:34 pm
The latest issue of Cirsova Magazine is here! And it contains a story by me!

Buy it on Amazon (to give the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my story "The Unshrouded Stars" and be amazed by my brilliatanitude.

Go, now!
Mermaids & Termites
As of January
Saturday, January 28, 2023 6:13 pm
Issues and holidays have kept me from proper productivity. There is so little to report.

My submission to Sidearm & Sorcery Vol. 2 has been accepted. I think I mentioned that it is called "The Baron of Nevada & His Branded Broads." I got that title from the cover of a men's magazine from 1962. Surely the original article or story was the usual soft-core adventure. While my story is not soft-core, I did try to present some earnest sexiness. The anthology should come out in the first half of the year, perhaps even the first quarter.

I have worked with an artist to create a cover illustration for Stellar Stories Vol. 2. The illo has turned out really good. I've got the contents formatted and proofread, and much of the promotional stuff staged. I'm targeting publication for the second half of March.

With The Unshrouded Stars coming out in Cirsova this March, early 2023 will be a wee public for me. But that's likely it for the year. Nothing else is in the pipe.

I've done no writing since I submitted Baron. Four months! Typical. But perhaps I'll get on it and be writing stuff soon, not least the final Hamlin Becker tale. I need to write around 20K words to flesh out Stellar Stories Vol. 3. That is, whatever I write in 2023 will have to go directly to Vol. 3, since any intervening magazine publications would push Vol. 3 out to 2025 and I want it published no later than a year from now.

At least it has finally snowed. There was a brief bit of snowfall around Christmas but Michigan has been otherwise miserably dark and gray. Even on a sunless day the snow brightens! So my mood's been OK. Just need to rev up the writing now...
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