Reviews and Recommendations

Interesting Stuff from Me to You

My Fiction Writing

I started writing Science Fiction and Fantasy as a kid, mostly for my own enjoyment. In the early 90’s, I decided to try to write professionally and sold a number of short works. I ended up ‘retiring’ from fiction writing partly due to lack of time and partly because computers were much more lucrative. I was an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and did a lot of work for them, including run the Nebula Awards for about a decade. These days, I keep thinking about starting it up again, but every time I do, there are too few hours in the day to make it worth it. Maybe some day.

In my writing, I really enjoyed exploring the boundaries between SF and Fantasy, and screwing around with that mythical “fourth wall” between the story and the reader. These are tough to do right, easy to do badly, and I’d like to think I more or less succeeded most of the time. I also tended to write off into left field — my first sold work, for the SF anthology Alternate Kennedys, was actually a horror story, not remotely SF. My favorite writing involved a continuing character I was working with, a computer consultant who kept getting involved with fantastic beings (those are Good Intentions and Birds of a Feather) — that series was an attempt to write a hard-SF series about a subject that quickly becomes boring to many readers (stories about working with computers, as opposed to stories with computers in them as gilt and props) — but at the same time, involving purely fantastic and mythological beings.

Here’s a list of the fiction I’ve published. Where I can make it available online, I’ve done so and linked to it for your amusement.

  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part: (Alternate Kennedys, Tor, July 1992, Mike Resnick, Editor). A horror/dark fantasy story involving Marilyn Monroe coming back as a succubus to make Jack Kennedy’s life interesting. (what’s left of it). This book is seriously out of print.
  • Princess and the Dragon: (Pulphouse Magazine, never published). This is your typical soft fantasy with a dragon, a kidnapped princess, and a worthy knight off to rescue here. Except it’s not, well, typical.
  • Going Straight: (co-written with Laurie Sefton, Further Adventures of the Batman, Featuring the Penguin, Bantam, 1992; edited by Martin Harry Greenberg; reprinted in other DC anthologies). The Batman story, the one I wrote in collaboration with Laurie, has it’s own strange story about its creation. We initially submitted an outline for the story to DC that caused mass horror among the editors (it involved the Penguin going back to a high school reunion to get even with all of his peers that made fun of him as a young boy, killing them off in nasty, gruesome and very melodramatic ways — when we had him chop the head off of the teacher-nun with a sharpened metal ruler, the DC people evidently lost it) — but we were given about 24 hours to come up with an alternate story, write and and submit it as an alternate — which was accepted without a single request for modification (go figure). Since we couldn’t kill the nun, we ripped off the church instead, having the Penguin use computer crime to embezzle all of the money from the arch-diocese (a Cardinal, to keep the bird theme alive). it is, we believe, the first time someone was murdered with a Macintosh to the skull…. Somewhere around here we have the original (rejected) outline, which is a real screamer. If I can find it, I’ll post it.
  • Good Intentions: (Deals with the Devil, Daw, 1993, edited by Mike Resnick). A computer consultant gets hired by God to hack Hell’s databases to save souls. Except it ain’t that easy. This was the first appearance of my computer consultant character who keeps getting hired by fantasy beings. The entire premise of the series was to write straight them as straight science fiction pieces, but with key characters that are pure fantasy — but written as if they’re real.
  • Fnord and Gord go to the Zoo: (Xanadu 3, edited by Jane Yolen, Tor Books, January 1995) A Fafhrd and Grey Mouser pastiche, sort of. This is a story where I not only blow up the fourth wall between author and audience, I dance the macarena on the remains — and invariably, people either love it for the humor or hate it for the humor — and in a few cases, both at the same time. Writing stories where the characters overtly know they’re characters and mug for the audience is exceptionally tough, and I think I pulled it off fairly well overall. Probably my favorite piece of published fiction.
  • Birds of a Feather: (WitchFantastic!, Daw books, January, 1995, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin Harry Greenberg). A Science Fiction story using Macintoshes in witchcraft. Co-stars Morgan the cockatoo in a supporting role. Another of my computer consultant stories.
  • Downtime. It’s set in the same universe as Good Intentions and Birds of a Feather, only this time, it’s Christmas Eve, and Santa has a problem…. Personally, I find the prose in this a bit clunky, but I love the premise. I decided to stop actively writing before polishing it to my preferences.