November 2012 « Reality SkimmingReality Skimming
Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.

30Nov/12Off

Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 22

Goldsouls22
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Del and Amel.
<< Start at Beginning >>

Amel’s attention fixed on the book of verse Dela still held, fast, in both hands. He tilted his head as if to read the title.

"It’s Princess Darleema," Dela confessed, trying to hide the book with her shifting hands. "I find her entertaining. For casual reading, of course. I like Fahandlin best, but —"

"— He is a bit complex in places," Amel finished for her, structuring the 'he' for Fahandlin as if Amel, himself, was a commoner. He frowned. "I'm sorry," he corrected his confusing grammar. "I read Fahandlin first when I was — that is when I thought I was a commoner. You've been told the story?"

Dela nodded. He addressed her rel-to-pol, graciously leaving out the emphasis of a one-step differencing suffix.

"It must have been terrible for you," she said. She meant to accept his offer to be casual by speaking in undifferenced pol-to-rel. But somehow she just couldn't, and left in the differencing suffix.

He looked disappointed. "Parts of it were terrible," he said. "Parts of being Pureblood haven't gone so well, either."

She wished that she could cry out, "Oh, I didn't mean that I don't like you!". But it was too late to drop her suffixes. He might not understand what she meant by doing it after the initial offer to speak casually had been turned down.

Outside the door, the voice of the Dem'Vrellish woman, Sen, said firmly, "No, I do not want refreshments." Amel tensed. "I had better go, Your Highness." He spoke with formal accuracy now, himself.

"You can't!" Dela panicked. "I have to make you marry me to keep Dee in the ruling family!"

Goldsouls22
28Nov/12Off

Why SF #11: Rich Dana

Why SF? Asking kindred spirits in the SF community the story of why they give back and create forward.

Rich Dana"The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY which explores the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture."

1. Can you explain what you mean by DIY culture and "maker" culture?

DIY is an abbreviation of "Do It Yourself" of course. This term is applied to everything from home repair to micro-publishing. Scifi fans have been intimately aware of DIY both as a theme and a lifestyle for nearly a century. Fanzines, fan fiction, Con culture, cosplay– Scifi fans have always created their own culture. The new craft movement, open source everything, hacking of all flavors- they too are all part of DIY culture.

“Maker” is a term that has come into popularity as of late because of the recent rebirth of DIY culture. O'Reilly Publications Make Magazine, Cory Doctorow's novel Makers, “Maker Faires” and websites like Instructables have inspired creative endeavors bridging the arts and the sciences. Projects are undertaken by individuals, but refined by crowdsourcing– freely sharing plans and data to tested, be peer-to-peer reviewed and honed in the virtual laboratory of “Citizen Scientists”- non-professional researchers who work more for passion than profit.

There is a distinctly “techie” side to the maker movement, and at times it can devolve into a geek-out– a sort of science fair free-for-all of homebrewing, catapult building computer game designers, IT professionals and frustrated cubicle dwellers. Still, at it's most innocuous level, it is a wonderful excuse for multi-generational bonding and educational quality time-sharing projects. At a higher level, “Making” has occasionally brought about new and exciting innovations. The open source software movement is the most notable example– The Linux operating system has been developed primarily by a vast network of independent volunteers. The rise of desk-top CNC (Computer Numerical Control) fabrication and 3D printing are more recent examples of crowd-sourced, Maker driven technologies. Now we are even seeing basement gene-hacking and wetware development.

2. What role do you play with Obsolete! Magazine? How did you get involved.

I started OBSOLETE! in 2010 with graphic designer Blair Gauntt. I've been a writer, artist and zine maker since I was a kid in the 70's and Blair and I did our first zine together in 1981 in college. We had done some writing and artwork together on a horror comic book project for Silver Phoenix a few years ago, and it just seemed like it was time to have our own thing. I wanted to do a free newsprint tabloid, a sort of throwback to the underground papers of the 60's and 70's, and Blair was into it. I picked the name as an homage to the Twilight Zone Episode "The Obsolete Man", in which Burgess Meredith plays a librarian who is judged to be "obsolete" in an Orwellian totalitarian future state. The Chancellor was played by the great Fritz Weaver. The idea of the printed word being obsolete was one I was struggling with- as we all are as writers and readers. It seemed like launching a meta-paper to explore that theme, and the wider theme of obsolescence was worth a go.

We launched it on a shoestring and have been doing it ever since, thanks to great contributors, fans and our "Guerilla Distro" network- people across the US, Canada and UK who volunteer to drop copies at their local independently-owned coffee shops, books stores, record shops, infoshops, libraries, etc...

3. Why does the mission of Obsolete Magazine inspire you?

Well, it allows me to explore a lot of subjects that I'm intrigued by. To explore the connections between art, politics, tech, media... to reexamine and repurpose media. To compare and contrast where we have been, where we are and speculate on where we are headed. We do that by inviting in essayists, fiction writers and poets, photographers, illustrators and cartoonists- all to come together around a different theme for each issue. I like the paper format, and although we make back issues available electronically (I'm not a Luddite, after all), I love the idea that people all over the world can pick it up for free, explore it, share it...I always say if someone uses it to line the catbox, it's been of more value than 90% of the stuff they looked at online today.

4. Tell us more about the magazine and what sort of involvement you are looking for from others.

The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY, and will explore the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture.Short fiction, essays, poetry, illustrations, comics and photography will all be considered. People may submit completed work or pitch a story idea. Some story ideas might include: The history of zines and/or fan fiction, the influence of scifi on technology, the rise of “Cons”, “Citizen Science”, Geek and “Maker “Culture. The Deadline is November 30th, but if people have good ideas, get in touch with me at [email protected], and we might be able to stretch a little. If you have short stories, poems, cartoons or other work already in the can that loosely fit the theme, I'd be happy to take a look. Also, we are always looking for folks to help with the distribution effort. People can find out more about the magazine, about our new micro-press and more at obsolete-press.com

Obsolete! MagazineObsolete! Magazine

Call for Submissions- OBSOLETE! #7

OBSOLETE! Magazine is seeking high quality writing and artwork for the upcoming issue. The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY, and will explore the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture.

Short fiction, essays, poetry, illustrations, comics and photography will all be considered. You may submit completed work or pitch a story idea. Some story ideas might include: The history of zines and/or fan fiction, the influence of scifi on technology, the rise of “Cons”, “Citizen Science”, Geek and “Maker “Culture.

The deadline for submissions is November 30th. OBSOLETE! offers token payment for original content but we also consider previously published material or excerpts from upcoming books. OBSOLETE! is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

For more information, please email Rich at [email protected]

The url for Obsolete is: http://obsolete-press.com/blog/call-for-submissions-obsolete-7/

27Nov/12Off

Campfire: Excerpt from Ghost Hand by Ripley Patton

Ghost-HandRipley Patton lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat, two teenagers, and a man who wants to live on a boat. She won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2009 for Best Short Story and the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror in 2011. Ripley has spent most of her career writing short fiction, but her first novel, a YA paranormal thriller titled Ghost Hand, will be released November 30, 2012, and is the first of a three book series.

My thoughts on optimistic SF:

I have to have hope, in my life and in my fiction. The world as we know it ends every day. I had that epiphany while surviving the 7.1 and 6.3 Canterbury Earthquakes (and the 7,000 aftershocks) that destroyed my home city of Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011 killing 185 people. Even if there isn't hope, I want some, I need some, and I'm damn sure going to make some. That is what writing is about for me, the making of meaning, the creation of order out of chaos, and finding that kernel of hope amidst the chaff of human experience.

Introduction to Excerpt:

Olivia Black is about to discover that her ghost hand, a rare birth defect, can do more than light up a room. It can reach into people and pull things out. Things from the darkest depths of the human psyche never meant to exist in this world. Unfortunately, she is about to find this out in the middle of her sixth period Calculus class.

Excerpt from Chapter One of Ghost Hand:

Ten minutes into my Calc test, my ghost hand started shimmering around the edges. In a panic, I yanked it under the desk, sending my pencil clattering to the floor.

The pencil landed in the aisle and rolled toward New Guy's desk. He put a foot out and kicked it back to me, his glance following its progress as it bumped against the thick sole of my boot. His eyes rose up my multi-buckled calf to my thigh, then to my lap, stopping at the spot where I was doing my best to hide my hand under my desk.

I followed his gaze, looking down at the pool of blue PSS energy, shapeless and pulsing, writhing at the end of my wrist stump. I looked back up, locking eyes with him.

His expression was unreadable. He didn't look surprised, or afraid, or alarmed. He just looked, his eyes fixed on my whacked-out hand, as if curious to see what it would do next.

I gritted my teeth and tried to focus my PSS back into shape. I was not going to be this guy's personal freak show. I could fix this. It was just mind over matter.

But it didn't work. If anything, the more I tried, the worse it got, expanding and losing even more definition. The burning sensation grew so intense I squeezed my eyes shut against it. All around me, I could hear the scrape and shuffle of students getting up and handing in their tests. I bent over my desk, trying to block my hand from view. For a moment, I thought about getting up and running out of class, but someone would see it for sure if I did that. Maybe if I took a deep breath, and calmed down, it would go back to normal on its own.

As if in response to that thought, the pain suddenly eased off.

I opened my eyes.

New Guy was leaning over the edge of his desk, and there seemed to be something wrong with his neck. He kept jerking his head toward Passion Wainwright, the girl who sat in front of me. What did he want? An introduction? If so, his timing was utter crap.

"Leave me alone," I mouthed past clenched lips.

He shook his head and gave an exaggerated nod toward Passion again, rolling his eyes in her direction.

This time, I turned and looked.

Something was crawling up Passion's back.

Ghost Hand Groping Passion's Back

Not just one something. Five somethings. Five elongated, wisp-thin tendrils, winding their way up Passion's chair, climbing her back, fluttering at the strands of hair that had escaped from her ponytail, making a moving, barely-perceptible pattern of bluish light on the back of her white turtleneck so faint I could almost convince myself it was an optical illusion.

But it wasn't.

It was my hand, my five fingers stretching impossibly and rising from under the front of my desk, groping the back of Passion Wainwright.

26Nov/12Off

ORU Artifact #20: Gathering Storm announced on Edge

The Okal Rel Universe has inspired many beautiful, curious, fun and touching moments, objects and re-mixes or interpretations over the years. This page celebrates them one by one. Found one that should be here? Tell us about it for the finder's reward of the month. Send your discovery to [email protected]

Gathering Storm announced on Edge

Edge Healer Sword

November 2012 heralded the arrival of Part 8: Gathering Storm of the Okal Rel Saga. The art by Michelle Milburn features Amel's new romantic interest, Samanda O'Pearl, from the parochial Demish planet of Clara's World. Sam's in charge of getting Amel married off respectably, a goal in which she is challenged by shenanigans at Erien and Ranar's first Culture Exchange: a sort of intergalactic fair to improve communications and mutual understanding which is crashed by the Nesaks in the worst possible way.

Edge website

http://www.edgewebsite.com/

Edge catalog entry for Gathering Storm

http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/gatheringstorm/gstorm-catalog.html

EDGE Online catalog - Gathering Storm by Lynda Williams

EDGE Online catalog - Gathering Storm by Lynda Williams

23Nov/12Off

Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 21

Dela is upset by pressure to woo Amel.
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Ril and Ronan argue about Dela's duty to woo Amel.
<< Start at Beginning >>

Ronan rushed over to Dela the moment Vretla was gone. ""Go to Amel, to plead your case for marriage!" he urged her. “We will keep his people occupied."

"You cannot ask this of her," Lady Ril protested. "It will kill her! Remember the Sacrifice!"

Ronan pulled Ril away from Dela's side. "Aunt, this is our only hope," he told her. To Dela’s horror, Ril failed to resist when he seated her on a couch relatively free of glass. She refused to meet Dela’s eyes. She sat staring forward, looking defeated and smaller than she used seem to Dela.

Ronan took Dela’s arm and marched her briskly across the glass-strew floor. He halted at the door of the withdrawing room and knocked.

"Yes?" Amel's voice was muffled by the intervening door but he didn't sound as if he wanted visitors.

Ronan opened the door. "For Dee," he urged Dela, and pushed her through. Behind her, the door closed with a familiar sound that had always meant she was safely closed up in her own world. Until now.

Amel was sitting with one leg up on her divan. He had been crying. His face was as lovely as the porcelain dolls Dela loved to collect when she was a little girl, each one hand-painted with loving attention to detail, their cheeks kissed with mild colors. His were a fading rose.

"This is your room?" Amel asked her, quietly.

Dela nodded.

Amel got to his feet. "It is pretty," he said, looking around. She waited.

Dela is upset by pressure to woo Amel.

Dela is upset by pressure to woo Amel.

21Nov/12Off

ORU Artifact #19: A Banner by Michelle Milburn

The Okal Rel Universe has inspired many beautiful, curious, fun and touching moments, objects and re-mixes or interpretations over the years. This page celebrates them one by one. Found one that should be here? Tell us about it for the finder's reward of the month. Send your discovery to [email protected]

MilburnBanner

This beautiful banner art for a new version of the Okal Rel website was created in Nov 2011 by artist Michelle Milburn. It features the characters from the covers of Part 5: Far Arena, Part 6: Avim's Oath and Part 7: Healer's Sword. Erien Lor'Vrel, Vretla Vrel and Ilse Marin, respectively.

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