• Recommendatons

    Things Worth Reading: Samantha Mills

    This edition of Things Worth Reading is actually a Someone Worth Reading, short story writer Samantha Mills. I first encountered Samantha Mills on Twitter. She would say something witty and I would like it. Then one day she announced that she had a story in Strange Horizons so I had to check it out. I cried. Then I accidentally ran across another of her stories in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I cried again. I was wary when I found out she had another story online on Diabolical Plots but I decided I loved her style and creative stories so much I’d read it anyway. This time I didn’t cry but I…

  • Recommendatons

    Things Worth Reading: The Apothecary’s Curse

    I was fortunate enough to meet Barbara Barnett at Capricorn 39 this past February. She was on a panel called Indistinguishable from Magic where they discussed the blurred line between some science fiction and fantasy stories. As part of the discussion she described her book and I knew I had to read it. She said she couldn’t firmly put it into any one category and she’s never even dreamed of trying. It has magic, science, history, and a touch of horror. How could I resist? I must say, it didn’t disappoint. While I have no problem firmly placing this book under fantasy, I can see where she was coming from.…

  • Stories

    To Swim Among Stars

    Originally published in Mundelein Writes: Nature, by the Mundelein Arts Commission, Mundelein, Illinois, 2018 Astrid Ventas sat in the jungle and looked out the window into the sea. She hated it here. Not just the jungle, though that was bad enough. It was humid, smelled of decay, and was full of insects with an alarming degree of self-awareness. She hated the whole dome system though; the desert and the arctic and the beautiful meadow. All of it. She hated being trapped in a web of glass bubbles meters deep in the ocean. But the jungle served as a refuge. All the others, the ones who believed in their purpose, felt…

  • Writing Prompts,  Writing Tips

    Imagining the Future: Tips and Prompts for Writing Science Fiction

    One of the most common settings for science fiction novels and short stories is the future. Who doesn't want to imagine what the future will be like? As a writer you have the power to make the future a bright happy place where the problems of today are only a distant memory. Or you can make a dark future where everything has compounded into apocalyptic proportions. But where do you start?

  • Writing Prompts

    How to Write a Technology-Based Sci-Fi Novel

    Many science fiction novels revolve around a new device, gadget, program, or other technology. These are often plot-driven novels full of excitement and action. They are fun to write and fun to read, but can also contain a message about society. If done correctly, these types of books engage the reader in an intriguing story while subtly conveying the ideal the author wishes to express. Here are some question to help you come up with the framework for such a story. You will have to insert the character arcs and any subplots necessary to give the framework meaning, but these will get you started. 1) Let’s star by coming up…

  • Recommendatons

    Best Authors for World Building

    It’s a great feeling to get lost in a book. To be so thoroughly transported to a new world that you can imagine exactly what it would be like to live there. Fantasy and Science Fiction books give the reader something other genres don’t and that’s the ability to experience something completely new. There are many experiences on Earth, historical or contemporary, that we will never experience personally, but the thrill of alien worlds and magic-wielding heroes is satisfying in a way that real-life experiences, no matter how compelling, just can’t compete with. Here are a few of my favorite authors to read just for the world building. They do,…