Posts Tagged ‘2020 Visions’
Jonathon M. Fowler produced this image for the cover of 2020 Visions. I requested a proofed version of the work to protect his interests. The image is based upon Alex Wilson’s story Nervewrecking. We provided the artist with a copy of the story and just let him create.
The image is not so much a scene from the story as it is a collage of concepts used in the story. The picture will wrap around to the back of the book.
Today I sent Chris Fletcher at M-Brane SF the copy-edited stories for the 2020 Visions anthology. Aside from one minor rewrite request, everything is done on my end. Now, we wait while the publisher takes a turn.
Chris is trying to get the book released by November. That’s a pretty aggressive schedule, but hopefully he can do it. Releasing the book in 2010 would be more appropriate than in 2011.
This weekend-Coppercon. Next week, take off the editor hat and put the writer hat back on.
The cover art for the 2020 Visions anthology is in progress right now. The artist we are working with is Jonathon M Fowler. I met Jonathon at the 2010 Phoenix ComiCon and we had a nice long discussion about writing and art, and about the anthology.
Jonathon had with him mainly examples of his fantasy work, my favorite of which is this example. It was this example that told Chris Fletcher and I that he could handle the 2020 Visions cover art, along with this one.
The cover art will be based on Alex Wilson’s story Nervewrecking. Chris and I have both seen the preliminary sketch and his vision–so to speak–for the art is dead on for the story.
So far Jonathon has been very easy to work with and receptive to suggestions. I can’t wait to see (and to show off) the cover.
We round out the 2020 Visions table of contents with a humorous piece by David Gerrold. Time Capsule 2120: Actual Comments from Lunar Tourists is a collection of fictional comments placed into a suggestion box on the moon. Over coffee a few months ago, David explained to me that inspiration hit when he read a similar collection of comments by tourists at the Grand Canyon.
It’s short, and it isn’t a story, but I selected this piece because it’s really the only offering in the anthology with the sole intention of getting the reader to laugh. After more than 95,000 words of prognostication, some of it extremely dark, I wanted to close the anthology with something light-hearted. This piece makes a perfect epilogue.
I’ve known David for several years. We met prior to my attending Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp, and for reasons other than our common thread of writing. For anyone who remembers Star Trek as being the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triune, with a U.S.S. Enterprise that had never been destroyed to further the plot, David Gerrold needs no introduction. For the rest of us, here goes.
David broke into television screenwriting with the Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles. His best known novels include the Man Who folded Himself, the War with the Chtorr series, and the Starwolf series. His largely biographical novelette The Martian Child won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and was adapted to film (with the obligatory Hollywood changes) and released in 2007. The film starred John Cusack.
David is a better person than he is a writer, and he is one hell of a writer. Aside from his adoption of a son and dedication to raising him at the cost of great personal and career sacrifice, much of which is chronicled in The Martian Child, he is extremely active in charity work. I am very privileged to call him a friend, and excited to include his work in one of my projects.
The power position in the 2020 Visions anthology is held by a story called Nervewrecking written by Alex Wilson. Yes, I’m aware there is one piece following this story, but David Gerrold’s work is more of an epilogue than a story, and that’s a discussion for tomorrow’s blog post.
Of all the stories submitted, this is the one that resonated most deeply with me. It’s not that it takes on any kind of personal meaning for me, but I think it does with the author in some ways.
Alex is recovering from a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) caused by an auto accident in December of 2007, and his recovery has been a slog. The injury hampered his productivity as an artist, and affected his life by slowing down what he can do in any given day. Fortunately for all of us, it hasn’t degraded his ability to tell a story a bit.
In Nervewrecking, a man’s brain loses communication with his nervous system through misuse of technology. That has the effect of leaving him numb and insensitive to pain and other sensation. While he uses the condition to his financial advantage, the more human aspects of being isolated from his environment while standing in the middle of it takes a huge toll.
This is a gripping story, and Alex does a remarkable job of pulling the reader through. You will not want to put this one down.
I have known Alex through the Codex online writers group for about five years, but had not read any of his fiction before I started Nervewrecking. I’m so glad I invited him to submit to the anthology, because he gained a fan. When the collection comes out, I think he will gain more.
Alex’s fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and Chiaroscuro. He has a forthcoming appearance in Weird Tales. He is a member of the Clarion class of 2006. Locus Magazine called him a “promising new writer.”
Alethea Kontis is one of those people who knows everyone, goes out and gets fun, and always seems happy–even when she’s not. Although we’ve never met in person, I’ve known Alethea virtually though Codex Writers Group for over five years.
She has worked as a buyer for a major book wholesaler. She still does some copywriting, book reviews and interviews. She holds a degree in chemistry that she doesn’t use professionally, but it gives her writing the foundation of rigor needed to pass the inspection of hard-core SF fans.
Alethea is the author of two well-received childrens books, Alpha-Oops: The Day Z Went First (2006, Candlewick), and Alpha-Oops: H is for Halloween (2010, Candlewick). She co-edited Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology (2006, Tor), a volume containing a story by 2020 Visions TOC-mate David Gerrold. Her short fiction has appeared in venues such as Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and Realms of Fantasy.
Alethea’s contribution to 2020 Visions is called Pocket Full of Posey. Any significant discussion of this story will of necessity contain spoilers. Of all the stories in this volume, this is probably the story best read without any previous hints, so I won’t give any away. I’ll just say that many people will enjoy living vicariously through this protagonist, and I know for certain Alethea had a blast writing this one.
Although we are both members of the Codex writers group, I know Gareth L. Powell mainly by reputation. In addition to being a fiction writer, he is a freelance copywriter and PR consultant, and is a former software marketer. His fiction has appeared in Interzone and in the Shine anthology from Solaris (2010). His story Ack-Ack Macaque won the 2007 Interzone Reader’s poll for best short story. Gareth also has a regular interview and review gig with a music magazine out of the UK called Acoustic.
While I can say this about everything in the 2020 Visions anthology, Gareth’s story is a bit different from the other titles in the collection. His submission came in during my open call for optimistic fiction, and it is optimistic, but that isn’t what sets it apart.
His story is different in the sense that at first I had a bit of trouble suspending disbelief. After reading it once, I set the story aside and came back to it later. Upon reading it a second time, I decided that the story doesn’t necessarily need to be taken at face value, and that the ending was meant to be more symbolic than an account of actual events. With that perspective, the whole story became something greater than perhaps even Gareth intended.
Gareth is from the United Kingdom. His story takes place in the United Kingdom, and it uses British English conventions like spelling and phrasing. When I asked him how he would feel about changing the story to Americanize it, he was open to the idea. However, after giving it some thought, I decided to leave the story as submitted. The story is written by a Brit and takes place in Britain, so why change an author’s natural language? Besides, I rather like British English.
Another reason I decided to leave the story in that style is that I originally wanted something of an international and inter-cultural flavor to the anthology. I managed to get a little bit of that, but not as much as I had hoped. (As a side note, I did have the opportunity for a story by Charles Tan of the Philippines, but the only story he had available would have been a reprint and I wanted all original material.)
So Gareth’s story, The Bigger the Star, the Faster it Burns, is the only story written British style, but that only helps to expand the diversity of the fiction between these covers. The story itself has to do with the discovery of alien artifacts, but like almost all the stories in the collection, it is really a story about people. It’s a fun story and a welcome respite from some of the darker fiction that appears in the anthology. Read it with an open mind and soak up the deeper meanings of this story.
I met Spencer Ellsworth in 2005 when we were classmates at Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. His fiction is gripping and compelling.
Spencer is the winner of the 2009 PARSEC contest. He worked for a literary agent long enough to know he did not want to become one. He pens a monthly column called “Miracle Pictographs” that appears in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.
Spencer’s story for 2020 Visions is the longest in the collection. This novelette called The Black Plague of our Generation takes up the topic of medicating as a solution to problems–something that is already happening in some public schools today. Spencer mixes this idea with the very human aspect of a broken family to produce a story that is both heart-warming and disturbing.
With a story that can easily be taken as symbolic of some events in today’s world, David Boop represents the #11 spot in the table of contents of 2020 Visions with a story called Organ Cloning While You Wait.
I have known David for a number of years, mainly just impromptu chats in the hallway at conventions. In addition to short fiction published in several anthologies, he has also seen one of his stage plays produced and a short screenplay filmed. His novel, She Murdered Me With Science was released in 2008 by Flying Pen Press.
David grew up in the home of non-denominational ministers, and considers himself a man of great faith, yet he shies away from organized religion. David Boop is his real name, and he uses his experiences of being the target of jokes in his youth to help teach his son how to let the little things go.
I interviewed David while I was still producing the Novy MIRror video podcast. We chatted during the 2009 Westercon in Tempe, Arizona. You can watch that interview here.
Jack Mangan is mainly known for his Deadpan podcast, a regular show composed of humor, fiction, and music. Give the show a try, it’s a lot of fun.
I’ve known Jack for a number of years and he lives local to me. Of the writers appearing in 2020 Visions, he is probably the one I know the best. We met shortly after he and I both had a story appear in the penultimate issue of Neometropolis online magazine. We have been friends ever since.
His story, Dead Rookies, is one of the darkest stories in the collection. It posits that the economic conditions of 2010 continue to deteriorate, while corporate power continues to escalate. He carries this to the extreme, where people are willing to kill for the few available job openings and the wealthy need money only as a way of keeping score amongst themselves.