Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tuesday Meeting 23rd August 2016

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Last night several of us once again endured high temperatures to attend the Tuesday meeting. No doubt the sunshine contributed to the slight reduction in our usual numbers! Also, a warm welcome to Melissa, who attended her first meeting last night. We look forward to reading her fiction soon!

On with the critiques:

 

mars

“Matt…Damon!”

 

Kate presented the first chapter of an untitled YA sci-fi novel set on Mars.

Everybody liked the great detailed descriptions and the Martian setting (seriously, who doesn’t like Mars?) There was praise for the funny moments in the story and the character of “Magic”, the cut-price Martian tour operator. However, some felt that the secondary characters of Minty and Sapphire were introduced too early. Also, the protagonist’s brother is yet to come across as a character in his own right. But people liked the murder mystery plot and the double (!) cliffhanger ending of this first chapter.

 

funny-redneck-spaceship

 

Peter submitted a short story titled “Mid-Space”.

People praised the nice writing of this piece. The protagonist’s conversation with his incompetent ship’s A.I. was generally thought to be very funny. Some logic questions: exactly how fast is light speed? Would Apple computers exist in the far future? Would a futuristic A.I. really be that incompetent? Some calls to raise the stakes and to turn the “down ending” into an “up ending”. But there was universal praise for the theme and that by the end of the story Duncan just wants to be friends with his A.I. Awww.

 

zombies

 

Rob submitted the first chapter of his fantasy novel, “Necropolis”.

Everybody liked this piece. There was universal praise for the idea of mixing zombies with fantasy. Defoe and Romanitas were alluded to. Some minor anachronisms were pointed out. People also had mixed emotions toward the protagonist. Some felt she was too mean and unsympathetic. Others felt that she was interesting enough and that she will (hopefully) grow as the story continues. Some also liked the reversal of gender expectations. There was a little less enthusiasm for Heimel, who was felt to be a much weaker character. Everyone praised the horrible, bleak setting. Although maybe being based in Manchester had something to do with that!

 

Finally, Eric submitted three short flash fiction pieces.

People thought the “Eyes of Hera” was funny, but the punchline was a bit too convoluted and difficult to grasp. Some difference of opinion over felt the one-sided conversation of the narrator. Some suggested the writer go full-on Tweedpunk.  More people liked “Little Green Men” and the really mean last line ! Finally, “How the Ghost of You Clings” got the most praise, although some wanted more backstory for the protagonist, and there were calls to drop the line “Inconceivable” with its callbacks to The Princess Bride. Fair enough.

 

inconceivable

 

Afterwards we all went to Common, which was unusually quiet (until we got there) and talked about Literary Festivals, Finland, fistfights and, of course, our upcoming anthology!

Next meeting: Wednesday 14th September. So, thanks to the quirkiness of our calendar, there’s plenty of time to get your subs in!

 

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Wednesday Meeting: 10th August

A Bit of a quiet one this Wednesday with only seven people in attendance. What we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality.

Tammy

Tammy presented a story called Procession.

Lots of nice comments about the dreamlike strangeness in this piece and I think everyone enjoyed the 1st person voice. There were some calls for an ending that is less told and more subtle, perhaps by playing up to the dreamlike strangeness more. Some members wanted to see the plot expanded while some felt that the story could maintain the same length if the author went with a ‘make your own mind up’ ending. As always members found the descriptions fantastic and the prose slick.

Eric:

Eric presented the 13th chapter from his horror novel ‘Hellbound’.

Lots of positive comments about this chapter. Most enjoyed the metamorphosis scene. Some felt that Kim might come across as a bit of a stereotypical Hollywood starlet, but that this was tempered when her past is revealed. Many felt that contrary to her outward behaviour, there was a lot of depth to Kim as a character. Some members are still finding there to be too many characters in the plot and would like to see a more direct approach to advancing the story. Perhaps a case of kill your darlings?

Chris:

Chris presented a comedy short story called Call of C’schoolu.

Everyone enjoyed the humour in this piece and there were lots of nice comments about the blending of Lovecraft with high school drama. The voice of the protagonist was a particular highlight for some, although there some comments that it could at times be a little more sophisticated than the tone of the piece or the protagonists age suited. Some of the more Lovecraft literate members pointed out a conflation of certain mythos elements. Lots of praise for the feel-good ending. Who knew Cthulhu could be so paternal?

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We nipped across to Common afterwards for a few jars of grog. The main topics of conversation ranged from how violent cartoons used to be and the submissions for our Second Anthology: Revolutions 2.

Next meeting is Tuesday the 23rd of August. See you all there!

Luke

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REVOLUTIONS 2!

Following the success of REVOLUTIONS, the speculative fiction anthology produced by the Manchester Speculative Fiction Group, we have decided to produce a sequel, titled (you guessed it) REVOLUTIONS 2!

We want your sci-fi, horror and fantasy stories! Payment rates have also gone up, so see the guidelines below and get submitting!

 

REVOLUTIONS!

 

REVOLUTIONS 2

Call for Submissions:

The theme will be the same as for the first anthology, which is that all stories must be speculative fiction and be linked to Manchester, England in some way.

REVOLUTIONS 2 will be available in e-book and print formats later this year.

Submissions are open to anyone who is aged over 18 from anywhere in the world.

Deadline now extended to November 15th.

Please read ALL of the guidelines BEFORE you submit.

 

GUIDELINES

What We Want

Stories must contain speculative fiction elements. This includes: science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, urban/contemporary fantasy, and dark fantasy.

Stories must be between 1,500 and 6,000 words in length.

All stories must be associated with Manchester or the Greater Manchester area in some meaningful way. For example, a story set aboard an orbiting space station that just happens to be called Manchester in the Alpha Proxima star system will probably be rejected. Having said that, we are flexible on this. The editors all have different tastes in fiction. If in doubt, submit!

Be creative. We want stories that are fresh, smart, entertaining, and emotionally satisfying. We want stories that surprise us, horrify us or offer us a glimpse of something we never imagined. You can be ultra-realistic or far removed from reality. The only thing is that your story must be set in Manchester or its suburbs.

You can find out about Manchester right here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester

Stories should be attached to an email and sent to: msfantho[at]gmail.com

In the subject line of your email write: “Submission [STORY TITLE] – [YOUR NAME]”

Please also give us a few lines of biographical information about yourself.

Stories should be in Times New Roman or Courier font, 12 point, double spaced. The following file formats are acceptable: rtf, .doc, .docx

Submissions must be in English.

What We Don’t Want

We do NOT want novels, pictures books, illustrations, non-fiction articles or photographs. We only publish short fiction.

We will NOT publish anything that depicts child abuse or bestiality.

NO multiple submissions. This means you can submit only one story until you receive a decision from us. You may then submit another story and so on.

For a taste of the kind of things we like, it would certainly be an advantage to read the first REVOLUTIONS anthology, available here: http://amzn.to/2aPakpq

Feel free to ask any questions to our self-aware Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/revolutionsanthology

Did we mention it has to have some connection to Manchester?

What We Give You:

REVOLUTIONS 2 is a paying market.

We pay each author that we publish a single payment of £15 Sterling.

What We Ask For:

First Print and Electronic Publishing Rights, exclusive for 12 months. After that, you are free to publish your material elsewhere.

Bear in mind that most publications will not publish pieces that have been published in print, eBooks, or on the web, so for all intents and purposes after your work is published by us it can only be marketed as a reprint, which severely limits the number of markets that will accept it, and drastically reduces the pay rate it can receive. It is up to you to decide if publishing your work in print and eBook formats and on the web, giving up your First Publishing Right for the above token payment, is really what you want to do.

We also reserve the right to place short (1 page or less) excerpts of stories online indefinitely for advertising purposes.

 That’s it!

Tentative publication date early 2018.

We look forward to reading your work!

The Editors.

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Meeting: Tuesday 26th July

Another top meeting last week with 9 members in attendance. To the crits:

Arthur presented the first chapter of Wendigo Water, a novelization of his radio play of the same name. A lot of members were well up for some wendigo madness. Praise here for good character interaction, an interesting opening and the last line cliff-hanger. There were some questions raised about the accuracy of the portrayal of the US legal system, and whether some of the characters/infodumps could be cut. Also, is the tone right for horror? Some members felt there was a comedic lilt to the righting. Calls for more showing, less telling… and more wendigo!

Eliza presented the second part to her short story, ‘More than one zodiac in school’. A lot of praise here for the elegant writing, with some members enjoying this more than the first part. Universal praise for the fantastic mother character and the conflict of bringing a friend round for tea for the first time. Members also enjoyed the twist with Tegan, though wondered about what her motives might be for her actions. Also, where the hell are Tegan’s parents? Finally, is the solution to Tegan’s problems a bit too easy? Lots of questions from members about what the message is with feeding your spirit/zodiac animal. Calls, also, for a bit more insight into Tegan’s scar (is this a product of her ‘separation’), and for some more on the powers the other spirit animals possess.

James presented the first part of a piece, working title: ‘the Grand Buffet’. Praise here for the great interaction between the mother and Alex, the dramatic conflict throughout and the general characterization of Alex. Some members found the piece reminiscent of Dexter (the serial killer, not the guy with the lab!) and Donnie Darko. Questions over what is going on with the personification of the tumour. Also, is there actually such a thing as 100-year-old malt? Calls to cut the names in dialogue, give a bit more characterisation for Alex’s sister, and perhaps hint more towards the overall narrative of the piece.

Last, but by no means least, Kate presented the second part of her hard-boiled noir ‘The Sad Bird’. A few members found this reminiscent of Raymond Chandler, with a lot of praise for the great writing, horror imagery (phantom beaks are, frankly, terrifying!), and Dave’s eventual comeuppance. There were quite a few questions raised over the final scenes: does the protagonist get away with things a little too easily?  There were calls to develop Dave’s character more and for harpy’s sake let us see the action scene!

That’s all for now. I should close by saying that this will be Arthur’s last session for a little while. I’m sure we’d all like to thank him for some great pieces and critiques and wish him the best of luck in Preston.

Till next time!

Next meeting Wednesday 10th.

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