A Parsec nominee I, a thing of shreds and patches…

It’s time for the second annual Parsec Awards for excellence in podcasting, which will be given out at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia (31 August–3 September 2007). Two of my short pieces have been nominated and will be considered by the Parsec steering committee as they choose ten semifinalists and five finalists in each category. Five outside judges, who are not involved with podcasting but are involved with related areas such as literature, science, and communications, will then choose the winners.

My two entries:

  • For “Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form)”: “Distinctive,” from Round 1B of the first Pickle Tales competition.
    The PT judges were rather hard on it (although if they had to trash it, at least they did so gently). I heard from several listeners, however, who were surprised by that and told me they liked the piece. We’ll see what different judges think.
  • For “Best Audio Drama (Short Form including Independents)”: “Monster Story: Scott Sigler’s Infection from the Triangles’ Point of View.”
    When Scott podcast his novel Infection (to be published in hardcover next April, thoroughly revised and improved, as Infected — mark your calendar!), he introduced a segment of phoned-in comments with a bit of audio. Episodes 9, 10, and 13–“post-mortem” featured this trilogy of monologues. I figure this one has already succeeded, in that it caught Scott unawares — the kind of achievement normally reserved for his monsters.

Scheduling conflicts will likely keep me from Atlanta and the awards ceremony, alas. But given the excellence of the other nominees, it’s gratifying to be welcomed onto the playing field.

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Scott Sigler, a Strauss waltz, and Super Bowl XLI

Clerk’s log, MJDate 54262.0: Scott’s gracious comment on a previous article reminded me of something remarkable that happened this past February. Let me tell you about it.

Every so often someone comes along and completely changes your perspective on a subject. I hadn’t thought much of Johann Strauss’s waltz “On the Beautiful Blue Danube,” for example, other than that it was simply “pretty music.” Then came the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, sweeping us from prehistory into that fictional year with a panorama that featured a weapon in orbit, then another, and another, and suddenly that shining carousel of an orbital space station with a ground-based shuttle pirouetting into final approach … all to the accompaniment of “On the Beautiful Blue Danube.”

Wow. I began listening to Strauss’s music with a fascination I’d never had before, because Stanley Kubrick and company had built a bridge for me to this unknown territory.

It happened again on the fourth of February twenty-aught-seven.

THE ROOKIE cover illustrationScott Sigler — King of the Hard-Science Monsters — the man who single-handedly ensured that thousands of listeners would never again look at a pair of poultry shears without a certain shudder — Continue reading

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Why Story is important to life; why SFF is important to theology

Clerk’s log, MJDate 54213.9: In honor of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day (inspired by this discussion), I present the following. No, it’s not fiction. It’s a paper I delivered at the 2005 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. My purpose in it was to introduce science fiction and fantasy to people who were not necessarily familiar with SFF — for that matter, who may not have been familiar with fiction in general — and to show them why they should give it their attention.

I’ll warn you up front: it is not “written for the web” — no bullet points, and some great honking big paragraphs. Nonetheless, I hope you like it.

To Find the Truth, Look to the Lie: Contributions of Science Fiction and Fantasy to Theological Expression

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Posted in SFF: Writings, Theology & SFF | 5 Comments

Podcast novelists in the NEW YORK TIMES

Two worlds have collided, and storytelling may not be the same again.

In case you haven’t yet seen this, the august New York Times (”all the news that’s fit to print”) recently ran an article on podcast fiction, featuring Scott Sigler, J.C. Hutchins, Continue reading

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7th Son Sidebar: The Soul of the Palimpsest

Clerk’s log, MJDate 54103.3: What follows is a companion piece to “The Soul of the 7th Son.”

SPOILER WARNING: Unlike “The Soul of the 7th Son,” which dealt with material appearing in the early chapters of Book One, “Descent,” of J.C. Hutchins’s thriller 7th Son, what follows refers to the later chapters of “Descent” and the first few chapters of Book Two, “Deceit,” currently being podcast (see www.jchutchins.net). If you’re following the story and haven’t completed most of Book One at least, I would strongly advise doing so first.
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Podcasters take on Clement Clark Moore

On the fifth day of Christmas, P. Dilly gave to me …

Actually, this was up on Friday the 22nd as part of the Pickle Tales Holiday Show #2, but, with the proprietors’ permission, I’m posting it here for those of you who haven’t heard it yet. Wesley Clifford of Planet Retcon and Will Ross of Smart Bomb Radio wrote it, Will assembled it — a herculean task if ever one was — and many, many podcasters (plus yr. obt. svt.) contributed lines. “P. Dilly” is Gary Leland, who organized and administers the Podcast Pickle site. Enjoy!

The Update Before Christmas

by Wesley Clifford and Will Ross
Adapted from the Poem “The Night Before Christmas” By Clement Clark Moore
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The Soul of the 7th Son: Gimel

Clerk’s log, MJDate 54091.7: Book One of J.C. Hutchins’s thriller 7th Son, “Descent,” is now complete, and it’s available for download in audio form at http://www.jchutchins.net (book plus extra material) and http://www.podiobooks.com (book only). If you haven’t yet heard it, and don’t mind a bit of strong language and violence, I recommend it. Book Two, “Deceit,” is now in progress, and Father Thomas is still in the game — not to mention his clone brothers and others with “installed” memories — and so the current discussion is alive, well, and germane.

[Continued from Parts Aleph and Beth (the Greek letters were already taken)]

Father Thomas is afraid for one reason. That reason has to do with the question, Where does the human spirit, so often casually called the “soul,” come from?

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Posted in General, Theology, Theology & SFF | 3 Comments

Pickle Tale postscript

The results are in … and I’m out. Not a problem; hey, out of the initial 26 submissions (and you’ll get to hear all of them during the various Pickle Tales podcasts), I was chosen to be one of the 12 competitors, and I’m told that’s an accomplishment.

Here are the winners of Round 1:

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For mine is a Pickle tale …

You — yes, you — can encourage an aspiring podcaster! Namely, me.

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The Soul of the 7th Son: Beth

[Continued from Part Aleph. You can find the podcast thriller 7th Son, read by author J. C. Hutchins, at www.jchutchins.net and Podiobooks.com — and I can assure you that it moves a heckuva lot faster than what you’ll read below. But don’t stop now …]

The first question is obvious: What is a soul, anyway? We can all agree that there is a difference between a living human being and a newly dead corpse, and that this difference is related somehow to intellect, will, and dreaming — but exactly what is it? What do we mean when we use the word soul in connection with Father Thomas and his fellow clones of 7th Son?

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Posted in SFF: Writings, Theology, Theology & SFF | 1 Comment