October 2020 Newsletter
The Road Not Taken
Although I started reading science fiction in 1956 (The Star Beast, by Robert A. Heinlein), I was watching science fiction as early as 1949, when I was 5. There were several shows on television, notably Captain Video and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. There were also serials in the movie theaters. As incredible as it sounds, back then you could get into the theater on Saturday for a dime and watch like four hours of serials, cartoons, and so forth. In fact, there were even Space Cards, put out by Bowman, rather like baseball cards, on which a visit throughout the Solar System was narrated. (Card #41 was the rarest, as I recall. I had the whole series except that one. I never owned #41, though I did see it one time). In this card series, Venus was depicted as a tropical forest. Little did we know, eh?
But I was talking about early science fiction. In Hollywood, science fiction had been around for decades. One of the more popular shows was Flash Gordon, in Republic Pictures. As it happens, I recently acquired the DVDs of Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe, which fact of course has led to this particular newsletter.
FGCTU was filmed in black & white, and those who reissued DVD had the good sense to keep it that way. The serial features rocket ships that take off horizontally, and rather resemble a blimp with a sparkler in its tailpipe. This is preferable, however, to a rocket ship landing on its tail fins. You can't quite see the strings holding the rocket as it maneuvers through papier-mache mountains. Ming the Merciless could have been more ominous. Flash Gordon (here portrayed by Buster Crabbe) is heroic enough. It's all good camp, good theater. Science fiction--and science, for that matter--has come a long way.
And we still have a long way to go.
One of the chief characteristics of a sentient human is curiosity. It drove us to sail across the Atlantic in the late 15th century. It drove the study of the stars in ancient Mesopotamia, when it was discovered that some stars move more than others, and some stars return to the same point in the sky each March 21 (okay, so they didn't have March back then). It drove us and still drives us to find out what we can about ourselves, our world, and our universe. In that, we are like mongooses, because--to borrow shamelessly from Kipling--the motto of the mongoose is: Go and Find Out.
Look back up at the stars, then, and find out in stories what is possible to us. Because those stories are what we publish.
A reminder that the ONLINE EDITION of the August 2020 SCIFAIKUEST is available for your reading pleasure. It’s free! Here’s the link: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/scifaikuest-online-august-2020
An anthology is still open to submissions: DRABBUN! Here’s what that’s all about: Hiraeth editors Teri Santitoro and Wes Alexander have created a new minimalist poetry/storytelling form called Drabbun. This form combines the qualities of a drabble (which is a story containing exactly, precisely, 100 words) and a haibun, which is a poem that includes a short narrative story punctuated by a relevant haiku. Eh voilà: Drabbun! Please check the guidelines; here’s the link: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/drabbun
We have several new publications available for your enjoyment, pondering, and meditation. These are now listed in our shop. If you will allow me…
ADOPTED CHILD by t.santitoro
Imp, now 13, has awakened from stasis by MA, the ship’s computer, to find that everyone else has been killed by a highly infectious disease. She is alone on the ship. But she is about to have visitors.
The Greentown, a salvage ship, has spotted a derelict and is about to board her for salvage rights. The crew is blissfully unaware of what happened to the people on the derelict. Soon enough they will find out…but will it be too late? And what of the girl who now controls the derelict?
To everyone involved, everything is new…and potentially lethal.
THE JUSTICE LARK by Tyree Campbell
Five hundred years into the future, Pevely Keiser is the capo of the criminal organization called Temmen. Temmen runs itself, for the most part, with only a few nudges from Pevely to keep people in line. Lately she has two things on her mind. She wants to do something good and useful with the funds that accrue to the gang. And she wants a companion or two to help her…and perhaps to share her bed, for she well knows it’s lonely at the top.
While Athena, Pevely’s computer who has taken the form of a young woman, strives to humanize herself, Pevely encounters an enigmatic young man on the run, and agrees to help him. A relationship forms, which ends in murder. Pevely is now bound to seek retribution, and winds up opposing powerful corporate hierarchs in the process—hierarchs with their own power-grabbing agenda that cannot but bode ill for the people of the Confederation. The outcome is unpredictable as Pevely’s companions face certain death if they try to protect her.
ILLUMEN – Autumn 2020
Featured Poet: William R. Ford Jr.
Article: Creating Triptychs by Terrie Leigh Relf
Plus Marge Simon, Deborah Guzzi, Maureen Bowden, Denny Marshall, and many more!
THE MISEDUCATION OF THE ANDROIDS by William Landis
What happens when androids confront concepts inconsistent with their programming? William Landis examines this question by means of flash fiction and haiku that you will find pithy, poignant, and amusing.
William Landis is a science fiction poet from North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, completing both undergraduate, and graduate work in agriculture. He is currently working on a vermicomposting project, and he is an Army reserve engineer officer. He enjoys running, writing, reading, and exploring new places.
And don’t forget our other new titles:
Without further ado, then: browse, read, buy, enjoy. If you have any questions or comments, send them to us at sdpshowcase at yahoo dot com.
See you next month. And please, from all of us at Hiraeth Publishing, stay safe.
Storyteller and Managing Editor