Friday, August 31, 2007

Episode III

No, not Star Wars, but episode III of the Roadmaker saga has been accepted by Jupiter magazine. It's scheduled for issue #20 in April next year.

Roadmaker appeared in April this year, so I'm hoping that all four sequels will be published in Jupiter's four issues next year.

Friday Flash Fiction: Swarm

Last week I decided to stop numbering my FFF stories to avoid confusion as we all started on different weeks. The 'official' week number is on Gareth L Powell's blog as he started it. Though if he ever goes on holiday that'll confuse us all!

More of a light hearted story this week:

By Gareth D Jones

This story will be appearing in Flash Shots, March 2010.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dark Tales #10 Review

This is my first experience of Dark Tales, a glossy A5 magazine that’s filled, predictably, with stories of a dark slant. It advertises itself as a magazine of fantasy, horror and SF, but disappointingly for me contained little in the way of SF. Still, reviewers can’t be choosers, as the old saying goes.

Read my review at UK SF Review.

Forgotten Worlds #9 Review

As the months passed and no further issues of Forgotten Worlds appeared I began to fear the worst. Then all of a sudden issue #9 arrived in the post, bringing another varied selection of stories that fill this 56 page A5 magazine to capacity.

Read my review at UK SF Review.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Flash Fiction: The Last Adam

A few weeks ago, Jetse De Vries wrote this comment on the Velcro City Tourist Board:
Problem with flash fiction is that it ultimately is so forgettable: it’s *extremely* difficult to write a deep and resounding story at such lengths.

I think generaly that's true, but I'd like to offer the following as a contender. It was first published last June on Static Movement so as a reprint doesn't strictly keep to the spirt of FFF. Let me know what you think.

The Last Adam
By Gareth D Jones

The last man on earth worked in heart-broken silence, carving a name onto a wooden plaque with meticulous care. Once complete he placed it atop the last of a seemingly endless series of graves that had been harder and harder to dig with fewer and fewer people.

He sat down heavily and stared at his handiwork. He was no longer just the last man on earth. He was now the last human too.

The plaque simply read: ‘Eve’.

The End

Magazine News

I'm a week behind noticing this, but issue #3 of Fiction magazine is now out, with good news that they are now going monthly, as they had originaly planned. More ambivalent is the news that they have switched to a downloadable PDF format, until the end of the year at least, with a possibility of returning to print next year. This does mean it's now free, but also looses the excitement for me of getting a real paper copy through the post to read. They've asked for feedback on the decision though, so make your feelings known.

Meanwhile, after a delay of several months, issue #9 of Forgotten Worlds has arrived and I'll be reading it over the weekend. I've also received the latest issues of Midnight Street and Dark Tales, so look out for reviews of all of them over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Absolute Rewrite

The writing of Absolute Zero has been the longest and most difficult of any short story I've yet written. Originaly 3000 words, I decided it was just too dull; there was too much technical jargon and dialogue. I chopped 500 words out, which is unheard of for me. I usually only cut the odd word or sentence here and there. I received a rejection after its first submission saying it was still too dull for the same reasons, so I cut another 500 words. The second rejection said the same.

The story seemed fated to gather dust on an obscure section of the hard drive, and yet I still liked the basic concept. After talking it over I realised that it wasn't really my style of story. I'd tried to write a serious, hard SF tale and it just didn't work.

So, now I've gone through it again, this time adding 200 words to make it into a more light-hearted kind of story that hopefully some friendly editor will like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Other Side of the World

After three near misses with Australian pulp SF mag Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, I've finaly entered the antipodean market with a sale to 'Australia's best selling science magazine' Cosmos.

No, I didn't miss out a word, it's a science magazine, not a science fiction magazine. They publish one story per issue, and others on their website, which is where mine will appear as it's shorter than they want for the print mag.

A Few Good Men is an alternate history story, and will be joining a back catalogue of stories by such notable names as Charles Stross, Gregory Benford, Jay Lake and Paul Di Filipo. This is my first professional sale and as you can imagine, I'm quite thrilled.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More UK Markets

I suddenly noticed that you can sort by country on Duotropes, so I excitedly clicked on UK and discovered several more SF mags that I wasn't aware of, and a couple I had heard of but forgotten about. My new updated list on the side bar now boasts 18 UK SF markets. There are a few other literary mags that accept SF stories too, but I've just listed the markets that are purely speculative fiction.

Hopefully I'll be getting hold of some of these and reviewing them in due course.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Week Off

After a week's rest and relaxation (hence no Flash Fiction on Friday), I logged on again today to find some great comments about Murky Depths in general and my story Looking In, Looking Out in particular.

Co-editor Matt Wallace had this to say:
This glaring low-res snapshot doesn't come close to doing "Looking In, Looking Out" by Gareth D. Jones justice. This was one of the very first stories I pushed for the issue. Inventive, funny, poignant. But that layout just takes it to another level. *** gorgeous beyond all reason, man. It's easily my favorite presentation of any piece in the 'zine. Any piece in any 'zine, in fact. First big house I buy, I'm having Terry blow this one up to ridiculous scale so I can hang it on my wall.

There were also nice words from Neil Benyon, Anne Stringer and Jonathan C Gillespie, who called it 'interesting' a 'standout' and 'runaway hit'.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flash Fiction #3: Delayed Reaction

Three others have already posted their contributions: Martin McGrath, Paul Raven and Gareth L Powell. All three have a certain mystic quality about them, as does mine by strange coincidence. It's a drabble again this week.

Delayed Reaction
By Gareth D Jones

This story now appears in the Illuminations anthology.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Darker Matter Review

Darker Matter is a UK based webzine that promises to be ‘the high quality online science fiction magazine so many worlds have been waiting for’. It provides artwork with each story and also has a continuously-updated list of the top-ten ranked stories so far. The font on the main page is not the easiest on the eye, but the stories are laid out nicely.

Read my review of issue #5, which sadly is to be the last, on SF UK Review.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Fourth Road

This week I've begun work on the fourth episode in the Roadmaker Saga. I'm about halfway through at the moment and, as with the others, enjoying it immensely. Several characters from earlier stories put in an appearance, along with a few new ones, and the Roadmaker world heads in a new drection.

Roadmaker was described as 'gorgeous' and Roadwalker as 'beautiful'. I'm looking for another superlative this time!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Sometimes the things you don't mean to write are just brilliant. While proof-reading one of my stories I discovered that instead of 'a lone wild dog with a limp' I'd written the much more entertaining sentence 'a lone wild dog with a limo'. The image is still making me chuckle now. :o)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Flash Fictioneers

The Friday Flash Fiction concept is obviously quite popular as my hit rate has tripled over the past two weekends. Shaun C Green is also joining in, making six I think, which ruined my idea for a post title of The Five Fictioneers. Maybe I'll make that into a story instead!

Gareth L Powell has calculated that a year from now we'll have written ~80,000 words of flash fiction between us. Now all we need is an enterprising publisher to realise the potential and sign us up for a flash fiction collection. Any takers?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Flash Fiction #2: Launch

This week's story is another 100 word drabble:

By Gareth D Jones

This story is now forthcoming from Flashshots.

I got the inspiration for this from Bob Shaw's The Ragged Astronauts and Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. This is slightly more daft than either of them though.

Confirmed Dates

Official word has been posted about 2 of my upcoming stories:

  • The Jupiter magazine blog confirms that Roadwalker is booked for the January issue.

  • The Hub magazine schedule has Inside Every Successfull Man... booked for November 16th.
  • Thursday, August 02, 2007

    Looking In, Looking Out

    Issue #1 of Murky Depths has arrived, and what a sumptuous feast of art and words it is! Editor Terry Martin says he wanted to create a work of art and he certainly has succeeded. The presentation is fabulous, and my story Looking In, Looking Out looks brilliant, even before you read it. It must be the best quality inaugural issue in the history of SF magazines. Go and buy it (and not just for my story!).

    Turning Over a New Leaf

    My second Mare Inebrium story is on line in this month's Aphelion. It's also a sequel to one of my earliest published stories Fluctuations that received this excellent review in Bewildering Stories.

    So go and read Turning Over a New Leaf.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Coming in August...

    This month should see the Portuguese translation of A Word in the Right Place in Phantastes magazine. When the original English version appeared in Scifantastic #4 it was my first story in print. Now it will also be my first story in print in 2 languages.

    I've also had word from Terry Martin, editor of Murky Depths, that issue #1 is due back from the printers today. That means I'll be able to get my hands on Looking In, Looking Out ahead of schedule. Most of my stories are fairly light hearted and are sprinked with irony and dry humour, but this story is actually quite emotionaly involved, probably the only such story I have written. I'll be interested to see what kind of feedback I get on it.

    I'm currently reading the new edition of Darker Matter, so there'll be a review of that in due course, and there'll be more flash fiction posted here on Friday.

    I submitted Roadrider today, to continue the Roadmaker Saga, and I'm still playing round with ideas for the fourth installment, which I'll hopefully write this month.

    That should be enough to keep me going.