The new format of Sci Phi Journal is about to begin, with the first article due within the next hour or two. I have an article that will appear in January, but to get access to all the top-quality content (and some other benefits), you’ll need to be a subscriber. Details can be found over at the Sci Phi Journal site
I have been somewhat snowed under with work, so haven’t written a new year’s poem this year. I would like to take this opportunity to look back on the past solar cycle.
This year has seen a lot of changes in my writing career, though it still feels like it’s just the beginning. In this year alone, the number of books I’m listed as an author of at amazon has tripled from 3 to 9 (though seven of that total are Sci Phi Journal instalments of Beyond the Mist), I’m now officially an editor of the journal and a regular contributor to superversivesf, which has put me in contact with a number of highly talented writers who treat me as a peer, which still feels odd to me. I’ve released a poetry collection and am well on the way to preparing another (though I think it still needs a few more poems, so that will probably be ready around the end of March), and have had a poem published by the society of Classical poets (we’ll see how I did in their contest at the end of January).
Looking forward, Sci Phi Journal is transitioning to its new format on the 4th of January, where I have an article appearing in January as well as continuing as an editor and Beyond the Mist is about to be released as a standalone novel, with a foreword by the ever awesome John C. Wright. The scheduled release date for that is the 7th of January.
Beyond that, who knows what lies in store?
The Kindle ebook version of Sci Phi Journal Issue 8, the last issue of the journal in its current format, has just gone on sale at amazon
The reasons for the format change, as well as what to look forward to in this fine issue are given in the message from the editor, which can be read (together with the first three pieces of flash fiction) through Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature at the above link.
Chapter 14 and 15 of Beyond the Mist appear in this issue, and a number of entertaining stories and fascinating articles, so flex your mighty index finger muscles and click on that link, or visit Sci Phi Journal’s patreon page to become a subscriber and exchange your hard-earned dollars, pounds, crowns, Ugandan shillings or Exoxanthian Freknars (I hear the exchange rate is very good right now) for some prime reading material now and into the future!
Issue 8 of Sci Phi Journal, which will be the last issue of the journal in its current format, will feature chapters 14 and 15 of Beyond the Mist. The last two installments will continue in the new sustainable format, which will mean I’ll start get paid for the editing work I’ve been doing on the journal as well as for my contributions, though the initial rates may be lower until subscriptions pick up, details on the new setup can be found here.
Cat Leonard’s second illustration, depicting the protagonist’s first look at the wilderness valley as he emerges from the trees, will appear in Issue 8, and looks like this:
The other two illustrations will be done, and will appear in the final standalone publication of Beyond the Mist, which will be available both in ebook and paperback form after the last two installments have been made available to Sci Phi Journal subscribers in due course.
As promised, here are my article picks for each issue of Sci Phi Journal (again, this is not to say that the other articles in each issue were bad, many of them were very strong, just these are the ones that stood out to me):
“ “I am Groot”: An Aristotelian Reflection on Space Aliens and Substance by Daniel Vecchio
An look at what Aristotle would have made of Rocket Racoon and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and the questions of identity that they raise.
“The Making of the Fellowship: Concepts of the Good in the Lord of the Rings” by Tom Simon
A breathtaking survey of what the various “Speaking peoples” in Middle Earth regarded as the highest good.
“The Tyrant’s Headache” by Eric Schwitzgebel
A fun critique of a functionalist philosophy of pain
Now this is a really tough pick, as all of the articles are very good, but I’m going to go for “The Confluence Between Scientific and Literary Imagination” By Arlan Andrews, which looks at the common source of both literary and scientific creativity, and how one often inspires the other (especially when it comes to sci-fi).
“On Emotion Drugs” by Jeff Corkern
A fresh perspective on the question of whether recreational ‘emotion’ drugs should be legalised not in terms of personal liberty or their unintended side-effects, but through looking at the core purpose of the drugs themselves.
“General Directive 18: Self-Defensive Genocide in the Starfire Universe” by Patrick S. Baker
Is genocide ‘in self-defence’ ever justified?
I have to be honest, I didn’t think the articles in Issue 7 were as strong as in other issues – they were all decent and interesting without any one article particularly grabbing me.
Jeff Corkern’s “On the Influence of Emotion Drugs on History” looks at the factors that may have retarded the development of the pre-Spanish American civilizations that were so quickly wiped out, and Jeff Racho’s “Mad Max:Fury Road – Surrounded by Political Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing”, which is more of a film review than an article, looks at whether this film’s controversial hype of being a ‘feminist’ film actually stands up to scrutiny.
The Sci Phi Journal, which is publishing Beyond the Mist, is in need of additional readers to remain sustainable, and if the readership does not grow sufficiently, it might have to fold before completing the scheduled serialization. I would encourage anyone who is undecided about whether to buy an issue, anyone who likes the sound of stories and articles that truly engage your brain, to take a chance and try it, there are many excellent reads to choose from. If you have already bought some issues, tell your friends about it or write an amazon review. The highlights among the stories for me are as follows (this is not to say that the stories I do not mention are poor, and some of you may disagree with my personal picks, but these are the ones that stood out to me): Continue reading
Issue 8, containing Chapters 14 and 15 of Beyond the Mist is about to enter its final proofreading stage, and a sneak preview of its cover art by Cat Leonard has been released. Looking very good, in my opinion. What say you, fine perusers of my ramblings?
Sci Phi Journal’s chief editor Jason Rennie suggested that people take pictures of themselves holding up the latest issue (Issue 7). I thought that would be a little bit boring, so I did this instead:
Ben Zwycky has a serial novel, called Beyond the Mist, set to conclude soon with the release of the seventh issue, which has an odd premise and a mystery element. I’ve only just started it, but in its beginnings, at least, it reads like a science fictional Pilgrim’s Progress. Though containing a few heavy-handed moments, it’s polished, and it’s intriguing.
to be singled out for praise alongside multiple Hugo-nominated authors Lou Antonelli and John C. Wright, not to mention be compared with a beloved classic, makes me do a happy dance. Beyond the Mist doesn’t conclude with the installment in Issue 7, though a major phase of the story is concluded there, there will be another three installments in all. After that, the story will continue in other books as soon as I can write them, hopefully I will be able to make some good progress on those by that time.
Chapters 12 and 13 of Beyond the Mist, introducing the winning name from the contest and lots of other revelations, appear in Sci Phi Journal Issue 7
The rest of the issue contains a lot of high-quality stories, including the start of a second serial by Michael F. Flynn
You can now also subscribe to Sci Phi Journal via patreon and get better prices on both kindle ebook, epub ebook and paperback issues of the journal, including back issues you may have missed. This cuts out the middleman, giving you a better price and the journal’s editor more income per sale, so it’s a win-win!