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Either that or opt for a straight historical documentary. I was enticed into reading the book by the blurb on the Recorded Books cover, including this intriguing sentence. Nothing of the sort. Although it was a good book, I feel a little cheated by the misleading blurb. Hundreds of cards and letters and e-mails have been pouring in asking me one question.

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Well, maybe dozens. Back then I was in the midst of writing a novel, and I took time out to write this story and submit it for publication to a wonderful anthology, Lower than the Angels. I think I just wanted to see if I could create a truly hopeless situation and figure a way for my protagonist to resolve the problem.


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It contained short stories written by modern authors as tributes to Verne. I decided to write my own, and it was published in Steampunk Tales 5. After all, the power of steam was known to the ancients. The Greek inventor Heron or Hero developed a steam toy in the first century A. This suggested an alternate history story.

Gypsy Shadow Publishing put this story out in e-book form. One tale held that Alexander the Great descended under water in a glass-windowed barrel. I found tantalizing references to the Chinese having developed a submarine around the year B. I figured that left me free to write the story as I wished.

Publication: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July-August 2012

Eternal Press published my story. Who knows where your next story idea will originate?


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After all, your creative mind works differently from that of—. Houghton, and bought a copy of his book, A Curse on the Cygnus. A murder occurs onboard, and the protagonists become involved in the investigation. The novel gives the reader a good feel of being in an airship, conveying a sense of being confined.

Lady Victoria Dallas is a strong character, well able to defend herself. The author does a fine job of making clear the motivations of all the major characters so their actions are believable. Tension builds nicely through the story to a dramatic conclusion. Moreover, the book is short and written in an easy-to-read style.

However, most of the characters seemed rather stock steampunk characters to me. I would have liked Ian and Victoria to each have an endearing character flaw to make them seem more human and compelling. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but the author did a pretty good job of giving the reader little reminding clues to keep them straight. I was confused by the Point of View throughout. Third person POV is most common these days, but this novel seemed to either employ third person POV that flipped frequently within scenes and once within a paragraph , or else employed omniscient POV.

I was never quite sure whose head I was in. A large number of grammatical and editorial errors also detracted from my reading enjoyment. Using my seahorse rating system , I give this novel three seahorses. If you enjoy steampunk and like a good murder mystery with a touch of the supernatural, then I recommend you read A Curse on the Cygnus.

If you do so, and come away with a different impression, please leave a comment for—. I define MajWB as the state of being unable to start writing a new work, and of long duration. On the other hand, minWB is a short-term state of being stuck while in the midst of a work. MajWB can last for years or even be a career-ender. But minWB is almost always temporary, lasting a few hours or days. I have yet to experience MajWB, but get the minor version often. In either case, the symptoms are pretty much the same. In it, he states that the condition of not writing is only a symptom, not the problem itself.

He makes the case that only when you know the problem can you begin to solve it, and that the problem itself points to the solution. Again, identifying which real problem is present can point toward the solution. The stress caused by any of the problems above can really inhibit the normal creative process. In other words, the focus shifts from the areas devoted to attention, consciousness, language, memory, and thought to the basic, instinctual fight-or-flight area we inherited from the dinosaurs.

C.C. Finlay : The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Extended periods of stress damages brain cells, weakens memory, and causes depression. All of that is bad news for writers. Writing expert Dr. Unlike performance artists such as singers or stand-up comedians, writers do not have their audience physically present, but they often imagine how readers will react to their work.

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Elbow considers the pressure of this unseen audience can disrupt the flow of words, and suggests writers disregard the audience as they write their first drafts. The writing will be more natural and genuine. As a non-writing example, look at this picture of world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma in performance. Metaphorically, we should all write that way, too, at least in our first drafts. Getting unblocked will have to be the subject of a future blog post by—.

Boy, do I feel smarter! I know Harrison has pretty much disowned Centauri Device, and complains online whenever it gets reprinted. Dying Inside is fucking awesome.

The ultimate Jewish-male-with-fading-potency novel see P. Roth, S. Yes Light is awesome - been a while since I read it though so can't be more specific. Really great writer, who I wish I had read more of - get's a little bit forgotten I think. I enjoyed Centauri Device myself, but if you didn't don't let it put you off as I think he matured into one of the best prose stylists SF has to offer. Dying Inside - I enjoyed this as well but I read it like 6 years ago. I remember thinking that some of the drug stuff in it felt dated, perhaps inevitably, and I think it had a bit of that of-its-time psychoanalytical type stuff that ledge complained about in Gateway.

That was just my lingering impression and I might be way off beam though. And then sadly, in the late s and onwards, he became a writer of professional, competent and ultra-dull stuff. I must disagree I liked a lot of the things you did not like - the convincing and fully realised characters for one thing, and the confusing and mysterious nature of the alien technology for another. It turned up on our shelves recently and it was Verrrrrry interesting. The Wind-Up Girl - yes I read this about 2 months ago. Very, very good debut.