The View from the Lake
In this View . . .
Global Climate Change
New Drabble Contests
Drabble #8 Announcement – Contests extended
A Note from the Underground
The Alban Lake Publishing catalog
The Mad Visions of al-Hazred – new Lovecraft Anthology
Spaceports & Spidersilk
eBooks & eStories – special announcement
New Releases and Reminders
Outposts of Beyond
Hello, and welcome to the July 2017 View from the Lake from Alban Lake Publishing. Let’s get started.
Global Climate Change: In light of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accords, maybe it’s time the View had a shout-out for global climate change. If you have read widely, you’re aware that there are divergent opinions regarding GCC, and—depending on who you read—divergent data from which to form an opinion. Let’s take a different approach. Let’s consider some previously-unemphasized aspects of changes in the climate.
The further up [or down] into Earth’s temperate zones you go, the more you become aware that there are such things as seasons—summer, fall, winter, spring. Each is distinct at those latitudes. Put another way, leaves generally do not fall in November in the Cayman Islands or on Tahiti. To be fair, the tropical zones do have seasonal adjustments—monsoons. These include hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, and yes, even tornadoes [in the more temperate zones].
But seasons have characteristics that maybe we don’t fully appreciate. Here’s what I’m getting at. In the fall, [some of] you plant tulip bulbs, to come up the next spring. But sometimes there is a false spring, a warming period in, say, late February, which incites the bulbs to start growing. Maybe in April the tulip leaves come up—and are smitten by an unexpected frost. This pretty much kills them for the year. In normal seasons this mostly does not happen. But as climate changes, it does.
Tulips have adapted over the centuries to certain phases of the seasons. It has been a hard-won adaptation; their ancestors came from Bulgaria. When those phases change—e.g., due to climate change—the bulbs are at risk. This problem applies not only to tulips, but to all sorts of plants.
It also applies to, say, ducks and geese. Over the millennia they have adapted to certain climatic ‘keys’ that tell them when to migrate. If their migratory instincts are faked out by climate change, it could result in not having enough food when they get where they’re going, or maybe their eggs will freeze, or be otherwise unprotected.
What of robins, so dependent on worms that, this year, remain frozen in the ground?
Consider too the plight of the polar bear. Ice is melting in the Arctic. Sure, the polar bears can swim, but not hundreds of miles. Ice provides them with shelter for hibernation; it gives them a platform from which to capture prey. If the ice melts, as it is doing now . . .
Yes, this doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up. A species here, a species there, and pretty soon you’re talking about deserts and jungles and swamps, oh my!
So what can we do? I dunno; I’m not that smart. But the thought does occur that the greatest polluter at the moment is China, and by the Paris Accords China is not required to reduce its polluting activities [China has agreed to reduce them voluntarily, in a decade or so, if it feels like it]. What we need, I suspect, is a Paris Accord with teeth, not gums. Sadly, no matter what we do, we are not going to reconstitute glaciers. We are not going to stop the oceans from rising. Reduction and prevention is fine and dandy, but we also need to make sensible adjustments. And at the present time, sadly, these are not forthcoming.
[In related news, Nomadic Delirium Press is on the verge of releasing Ecotastrophe 2, with stories that deal with everything from climate apocalypses to possible solutions. Watch for it; it’s worth the read].
Drabble Contests: As we announced last month, we’re opening two drabble contests this time. The theme for the regular contest, which is #9, is Adventures in Plumbing. The theme for the special contest is Alien Bedtime Stories. You’ll note in the guidelines for the Special Contest that you are allowed to submit two joined drabbles for the contest—just be sure to make it clear that the two are intended to run in sequence. Guidelines for both contests have been posted on our site.
A Note from the Underground: Not all stories win awards, or even get nominated for them. But there are lots and lots of good, solid, readable stories that merit your attention; that warrant a cup of coffee and a box of Russell Stover chocolates and a couple hours on the sofa. That’s what we publish at Alban Lake. Oh, sure, we have some award-winning stories and award-winning writers. Our works have received hogsheads of nominations. We’re proud of that. But in any category in any year there can be but one winner. Don’t let that deter you from the rest of the lot. You know where our bookstore is. See you there.
The Alban Lake Publishing Catalog: Yes, you read that right. We now have a catalog of our publications available. It’s free; it’s on a pdf format. It’s updated every three months. It contains a couple of indexes—by title, by author. Each title contains a write-up and a specific ordering link, which works when you click on it in the pdf. We’ve already begun to distribute this via e-mail, as an attachment. If you would like a copy of this catalog, please e-mail us at albanlake at yahoo dot com.
The Mad Visions of al-Hazred – new Lovecraft Anthology: The next Lovecraftian anthology from Alban Lake Publishing has closed to submissions.
A note regarding Spaceports & Spidersilk: At Alban Lake we assume that those of you who have children would like them to read science fiction and fantasy now and then. The problem—as you might see it—is that there is scarcely any material for readers of ages, say, 6 through 96. And you’re right—such material is rare. But Alban Lake publishes several kid-safe pieces just for younger readers. FrostFire Worlds comes out quarterly. In our store you’ll find coloring books, novellas, novels . . . In addition, Nomadic Delirium Press, another excellent small indie, publishes a quarterly eBook magazine called Spaceports & Spidersilk that also has kid-safe sf/f. Here’s the link: http://nomadicdeliriumpress.com/spaceports.htm/ Try it out. Each recent issue is $1.00, as are most of the back issues, so order a few downloads. That number once again is: nomadicdeliriumpress.com/spaceports.htm
eBooks & eStories
As I’m sure many of you know, Amazon is no friend of the small independent press or of self-published folks. Amazon makes sure first that they get what’s coming to them [ooo, one can only hope]. Now, in the Alban Lake store, many of our titles have eBook versions that you can ORDER DIRECTLY FROM US! The prices are much the same as Amazon charges, and sometimes even less. But what this means for those authors who are due royalties is that while they still get the same %, it’s % of more dosh. So come support your favorite authors.
Some of you may already be aware that we’re touting a new product line: single sf/f/h e-stories for 99 cents each. Come buy one. Or more.
DISTURBED DIGEST #17, JUNE 2017
Starting our fifth year, this one is a double issue. Stories include Angela Sylvaine’s “The Black Lake Girls,” “Saturday at Midnight” by Derek Muk, “Demon of the Song” by Ville Merilainen, Kendall Evans’ “Continental Drift,” and a whole bunch more. Come celebrate with us.
ILLUMEN #28, SUMMER 2017
More outstanding sf/f/mh poetry from some of the finest poets in the Solar System. Suchlike include Ashley Dioses, Kendall Evans, Deborah Guzzi, Mickey Kulp, Amanda Faye, Bruce Boston, D. B. Heath, and more. Also included is Alan Ira Gordon’s essay, “Why Read Poetry?” Features include “My Favorite Poem.” Even if you don’t [think you] like poetry, come give us a try.
DRABBLE HARVEST #8 – DEAR ASHLEY IN THE 24TH CENTURY
The theme for this issue—Dear Ashley in the 24th Century—was inspired by the Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers columns that frequented newspapers. We got to wondering what social problems would arise three centuries or so from now. The cover is a bit of irony—an android writing with quill and ink. The contents are similar in atmosphere. Come take a few moments out, relax, and peruse.
OUTPOSTS OF BEYOND #17, JULY 2017
This issue starts off our fifth year. Hot stories by hot authors. “Voracious” by A. C. Spahn. “Medicine Man” by Tim McDaniel. “Five Little Piggies: by David C. Kopaska-Merkel. “Sector 3” by Terrie Leigh Relf. A review of Neil Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology.” And yes, much more. [Rings reading bell] Come and get it!
SENTIMENTAL BY TYREE CAMPBELL
It’s a 99-cent story. Alien anthropologist meets French archeologist. One is curious, the other is resigned to solitude. You’ll gain some insights as to why we love. But bring a hanky.
FROSTFIRE WORLDS #16, MAY 2017
This issue completes our fourth year. Featuring a truly ‘frostfire’ cover, with spaceships and mammoths, FFW #16 presents “When You Wish Upon a Mermaid” by Rebecca Linam, “Feline Enemy #1” by Priya Sridhar, and “Carousel Ride” by D. M. Recktenwalt, as well as a humorous advertisement by Kim L. Neidigh, Misty Posey is the featured poet. Come find out what we’re all about…
SCIFAIKUEST #56, MAY 2017
This issue completes our fourteenth year. The featured poet is James W. Weaver III; in addition to the usual lot of minimalist poetry, there’s an article about the political ramifications of scifaiku, AND a cooperative joined poem, “Sandman,” by Vessislava Savova, Maya Lyubenova, and Gergana Yaninska of the Bulgarian Renku Group. You’re not afraid of a little poetry . . . are you?
NYMPH BY SHELLY BRYANT
Nymph marks the second book in the second phase or cycle of a series in which I am exploring the Wuxing, the Five Elements in Chinese cosmology. It is the Water book in the Fire cycle. Within the Wuxing, each element has a direct relationship with every other, and Water is the element that overcomes and destroys Fire.
JOURNEY TO TALAZIA BY SANDY DELUCA
Alicia is familiar with the supernatural. A ghost girl named Glenda, is her best friend. And she was raised by her enigmatic grandmother, Antonietta. The woman taught her magic—instructing her to keep Aloe and Foxglove tucked in her socks, Devil’s Bit in a locket—to utilize powerful spells when in danger.
When Alicia’s grandmother dies, she journeys to Antonietta’s second home on Talbot’s Bay—a mysterious city. By chance, she meets Mrs. Davini, an odd old woman who communicates with cats, and tells fortunes. The lady introduces Alicia to Bernard Danser, a numinous person who draws her into the realm of The Mysticals and a bizarre world—Talazia—a place that craves her magic.
Will Antonietta’s olden spells set Alicia free from darkness? Or will become a prisoner within an alternate world–forever?
The oceans have evaporated as the Earth warmed. It is a time of desolation as the remnants of humanity live in small settlements scattered on what once was the ocean floor. Men are paramount, women are breeders. People do what they can to get by.
One breeder dares to say “No!” to all this: Sarrow. Refusing to breed, and more skilled and resourceful than most men, she sets off to seek her identity and her destiny. Along the way she encounters Karthan, a kindred spirit. Like her, he searches for himself. They are equals.
But the elements conspire against them: earthquakes, salt storms, volcanos, flash floods. And there are raiding parties who seek to capture and sell slaves. Where are Sarrow and Karthan to go?
Up, says Sarrow. I believe in you, says Karthan. Thus the perilous journey back to the land begins.
broken bottle of time by John Reinhart
Reinhart burst on the speculative poetry scene fairly recently, and what an explosion of talent! Herein you’ll find a fine mix of sf/f/h and speculative poems. It’s the stuff that makes you squirm or smile or pause to think. His is a mind that takes on all kinds of challenges and serves up some exceptional work such as:
nothing like a tunnel/I do see the light/ it’s flashing
The last section is my favorite, with its uniquely surreal take on time passages. It totally blew me away.
- Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award® winner, Grand Master Poet, SFPA
And here’s the link. Come and get it!
Astropoetry by Christina Sng
“I have always enjoyed Christina’s poetry, but I didn’t know what a delightful trip I’d be taking when I started reading this collection! Many of her poems are tiny SF story capsules, just begging your imagination to take flight. Among these, one of my favorites:
On the cliff walls of Mars,
Inscriptions from the ancients:
Secrets to wormhole travel;
Follow them to a new world.
But there are the darkly mystifying as well:
The dead circle the mountain
An endless loop
Don’t miss the space leviathan, or the dragons of UCF-1.01!
Christina, I want you to write the rest of the stories you have tantalized me with in your fantastically fresh and marvelous collection!”
Marge Simon, SFPA Grand Master, 2015
‘Nuff said. Here’s where you get a copy.
The Best of Both Worlds, Vol 1.
Nomadic Delirium and Alban Lake, both publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and all points in between, have collaborated to bring you the very best of what they published in 2015. The selections within come from The Martian Wave and The Fifth Di…, and from Outposts of Beyond and FrostFire Worlds. Their settings might be an inner planet or a world-that-might-be. Their themes are universal, involving choices we all have to make at one point or another in our lives. This is science fiction and fantasy literature at its finest.
This is the first anthology of its kind; it won’t be the last.
To order, go here: nomadicdeliriumpress.com/blog/product/the-best-of-both-worlds-vol-1/
State of the Art by Lorraine Pinelli Brown
Jack Dugan’s lonely heart has been lightning-struck by a young and beautiful high school teacher, named Christine Day, whose shining, impeccable, loveliness was Heaven sent just for him. From afar, Jack watches and admires her; yearns, burns…for the entire gift of her. A single look, a fleeting glance from his Christine, would give him something to live for. But Jack’s great love never seems to notice him, even on those days when he works his way up close to her, close enough to breathe and savor the freshness of her clean, bouncing hair…the perfume of her lily-white neck. She, however, does not see him. Jack wracks his brain as he pushes his mop each day for good ways to strut and preen before her. But before he actually works up the nerve, he must make himself better somehow…and he turns to technology. Out of the frying pan…
The Scream by K. S. Hardy
K. S. Hardy combines Grimm and Poe and Hitchcock into a spooky and mind-bending darkness where what you see isn’t always what you get. Read this one with all the lights on, and look over your shoulders while you turn the pages.
Abra Cadaver by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
For those who have not yet been introduced to the beyond-the-left-field-fence humor and serious side of Thirdy Lopez, this ku-llection is for you. We’ll keep this simple:
sore and exhausted
pillow swallows me whole
stones rain from heaven
real nightmare begins
when rocks sprout teeth
dead hamster twitches
witch doctor in training
There’s lots more inside . . .
The Salt Man by Keith Gordon
Mister Salt has fallen on hard times. Business is bad. His scams are sour. His best days are long behind him, but at least he still has his pride. As far as he’s concerned, he’s still worth his salt. But all that changes when Nephram Taine, a lost-long friend, yanks him from the bottom of a bottle and sets him on a collision course with his buried past. Taine has no other choice—there’s no one else in the Free Isles who can help him, no one else who can unlock the secrets of an impossibly ancient artifact with a trail of death cluttering its wake.
Petrolea by Daniel M. Bensen
Victor Toledo went to Titan for its oil reserves. Doctor Feroza Merchant has made it her mission to stop him. The wild robots of the petroleum jungle want to strip the flesh from their bones.
Stranded in the mechanical jungle, the engineer and the biologist must cooperate not only to survive, but to understand the alien ecosystem around them. Where did these self-replicating robots come from? Who created their ancestors, and why? What they discover could open space to humanity, or it could destroy our civilization.
The Night Café, edited by Tyree Campbell & Sylvan Bree Baker
Van Gogh thought of “The Night Café” in this manner: “I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad, or commit a crime.” We treated “The Night Café” not only as a depiction of Van Gogh’s mood, but also as an allegory and a metaphor. For this reason, you will find some work in here that does not occur, or only briefly occurs, in a café. Don’t let that stop you from reading . . . and feeling . . . and “seeing” what Vincent Van Gogh “saw.”
Among the stories in The Night Café you’ll find “Vincent and Paul in the Yellow House” by Alan
Ira Gordon; “After Midnight at the Night Café” by Kendall Evans; “Cravings” by Priya Sridhar; “In Your Absence” by Rhonda Eikamp; a novelette, “The Starlight Club” by Christian Auger. Plus interior atmospheric and mood art by Marge Simon, and “Circus Troupe” by noted English writer Claire Smith.
Come spend a few nights in The Night Café.
Polyxena, Princess of Troy by Ailsa Zheng
Nine years into the Trojan War, fifteen-year-old Polyxena catches the attention of Achilles when he kills the brother standing next to her, Hector.
They meet three times in secret. A romance begins to bloom, but Polyxena is cautious. She despises her brother Paris for starting the war by choosing love over his family, and wants to be nothing like him.
Eventually, Polyxena finds out her brother Paris has laid out a trap. Armed with a secret that can bring Achilles down, Polyxena must choose a side who will live: the brother she does not love, or the enemy she does.
OUTPOSTS OF BEYOND
We still continue to need more GOOD science fiction, including Space Opera. Check out our guidelines, and write something already. Entendu?
And we expect to be adding more each month.
The Brigstowe Dragons by Eamonn Murphy. It’s dragons. It’s in Brigstowe. There will be a quiz. Probably September.
Time Off by John Shoberg. A science fiction novel with all the good stuff: conspiracy, crime, bad guys, a plot [always a critical item], and a quality of writing that takes you right into each scene. Looking at September.
Art by Sandy DeLuca. A collection of the artist’s work, including side notes about each piece. No release date set as yet.
Neo-Mecca Mayhem by Priya Sridhar. A novel by the author of Carousel [which you should read]. Looking at August for this one.
A Danger to Self and Others by Tyree Campbell. His first, and probably last and only, poetry collection. Includes the 3rd place Rhysling from 2003, “Not One of Us.” Summer.
Sisterhood of the Blood Moon by Terrie Leigh Relf. It’s dark fantasy, and we hope to have it ouy by November 2017.
Can You See Me? by Marvin Williamson. This one is a ghost story for the whole family. A little girl has been waiting for decades for her parents to come home. The house she inhabits/haunts is sold to a family, whose children and dog can see her. She needs help to cross over. But how? Scheduled for September.
At the present time we publish seven print magazines. Four are quarterlies, three of which publish short stories, poems, articles, and art. Outposts of Beyond features science fiction and fantasy. FrostFire Worlds presents science fiction and fantasy for younger readers. Disturbed, or Disturbed Digest, caters to the darker side with dark fantasy and horror, as well as paranormal. Scifaikuest, also quarterly, publishes scifaiku [haiku with a science fiction or fantasy, sometimes horror or humor, twist] and other minimalist poetry forms. Bloodbond is a semi-annual magazine of stories, poems, art, and articles about vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters; a science fiction twist to the material is preferred, but not mandatory. Illumen is a quarterly digest of science fiction and fantasy poetry, including articles and art. Lastly–so far–Trysts of Fate is a semi-annual digest of paranormal romance.
A word here about horror and dark fiction in general. We’re not into gore, splatter, gouts, gushes, fountains, and so forth. It’s not really scary, just icky. Our horror is spooky. We’d rather rattle your nerves than make you retch. That’s about enough said on that topic.
So, let’s see some submissions and some subscriptions!
And please be sure to stop back in August, if not sooner.