January 2024

Happy New Year! We're back from visiting Kristin's mother in Nova Scotia, and open to submissions until the end of January. As of Thursday evening, we had 62 stories submitted.

Unwelcome visitors to Kristin's mother's backyard

Our current featured story is Jonathan Edward McDonald's "Twelfth Night". And we have some great stories coming out over the first half of 2024!

This Monday (January 8th), we'll be publishing Patrick Hurley's "Thomas the Doubter": a short, humorous fantasy about an internet troll who's the only one standing in the way of Hell's conquest of Earth. Two weeks later (January 22nd), Ralph Mack's "Soulman" tells the story of an android who believes he has a soul, in a world that doesn't allow for the possibility. (Remember, we publish two stories rather than one in January and July!) Then, in February, we have another science fiction tale by returning Mysterion author Andy Dibble. In "Deymons", an avid gamer who wonders if the Bible might hold the key to his last unwinnable boss fight finds both more and less than he had hoped for.


Kristin and Donald both expect to be at local science fiction convention Arisia over the January long weekend (January 12th-15th). Here's where to catch us on panels:


Saturday, 7:00 pm (Faneuil) Invertebrates and Entomology in SFF  Entomophobia is so pervasive that speculative fiction writers frequently turn to the insect world for inspiration when they create monsters or antagonists. More infrequently, insectlike beings are the heroes (or antiheroes) of the story. What is so compelling about insects that keeps writers turning to them to get their creative (open circulatory system) juices flowing?

Sunday, 11:30 am (Marina 4) Scientists, Mathematicians, and Engineers in SFF  Scientists, engineers, and mathematicians make their appearance as characters in speculative fiction--naturally! Share your thoughts about superb, and awful, examples, as well as your suggestions for representing these professionals with greater realism, diversity, and empathy.

Sunday, 5:30 pm (Marina 3) Not Quite Utopia  Dystopian fiction is seemingly everywhere. Utopian fiction--real, false, or even just approaching the ideals of a near perfect world--is much harder to find. Panelists will explore why Utopian fiction is less prevalent, from publisher and reader interest to challenges with writing works that occur in a perfect society.

Sunday, 8:00 pm (Faneuil) Embracing the Alien: Writing Believable ETs  Although a classic element of SF stories, many speculative works contain depictions of non-human intelligences. What registers to the human mind as "alien" without trailing into incomprehensibility? What are some common pitfalls and crutches that writers should avoid in creating an alien species? Sifting through the vast body of work on famous aliens, panelists will offer suggestions for creating truly alien perspectives in fiction without resorting to tired tropes and cliches.

Monday, 11:30 am (Faneuil) Combining Fantasy and Science Fiction  From the off-handed mentions of astronomy and real world physics in fantasy series, to the grand and relatively limitless speculations in Peter S. Hamilton's space operas, how do writers incorporate fantasy in science fiction and vice versa? Concentrating on the 'how' rather than the "why," writers will describe works and techniques that blend the best aspects of these two genres.


Saturday, 5:30 pm (Bulfinch) Techies of Arisia Meetup Techies of Arisia! Come hang out and discuss science, technology, and making. Talk about your projects and share ideas and tips and tricks!


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No one ended up playing Escape Room: Feline Edition while we were away over Christmas week, but Maxwell seems to have separation anxiety right now: following Kristin around constantly, meowing incessantly outside her office when she tries to work in there, etc. It probably doesn't help that Donald is traveling for work again. 

It also doesn't help that Kristin let both cats into the unfinished attic (which is accessed through her office) a few days ago to see if they could help her find a rotting mouse that escaped one of her traps before expiring (we have a fairly serious rodent problem--this was the 9th mouse caught in one of the attic traps this season alone). 

The cats were no help at all finding the mouse, which seems to have crawled through gaps in the floorboards and burrowed into the insulation under the floor (it's a 100-year-old house). But they loved exploring the attic! Maxwell especially is desperate to get back up there, so it's hard to tell, when he's meowing outside the door to Kristin's office, whether he's more upset about that, or about Kristin not being where he can keep an eye on her.

We'd be less concerned about Maxwell's feelings if he didn't have an ongoing medical condition exacerbated by stress. Kristin has been giving him gabapentin (prescribed by his vet) to help calm him down, and working downstairs on her laptop instead of in her office when he gets too upset. On Friday, she was able to get through her entire weightlifting routine without being serenaded by sad meows from the other side of the door. Progress!

Could there be a better cat bed than used hand towels drying out over a steam radiator cover?

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