In case I haven’t done so before, I’d like to issue a hearty recommendation of Philip S. Power’s Damsel series:
You know what a raving beast I am about originality. Well, here’s a giant helping. Hannah de Peyser is an heiress to a great fortune. As with most heiresses, her potential cash value makes her the target of kidnappers. Unfortunately, Hannah’s world is thickly populated with superheroes…and supervillains. This makes her situation rather less pleasant than that of heiresses in our reality.
After the Nth such kidnapping attempt, she decides she’s had enough, and will be “the damsel in distress no more.” She resolves to become better able to fight off those who have targeted her – yea verily, even the super types. The story of her emergence from aimless party hound to a significant hero in her own right is both entertaining and inspiring.
You can read the Damsel books as pure entertainment, which they certainly are, or as a tale of maturation and discovery, which they also are, or as a sermonette on the infinite possibilities open to one who has taken her life into her own hands to make what she can of it. In any case, give them a look.
Two good bits of reading about fiction have recently come my way. Colonel Bunny supplied the first: Why Men Don’t Read Books By Women. The second is a brief Breitbart piece about some observations by Amanda Milius on “dissident” reactions against the politicization of entertainment. Both are worth your time, especially if you’re an indie writer, musician, or visual-media creator.
Sigh. Another giveaway has come and gone, and once again I’m feeling a bit low. The inability to sell my novels is one thing; the inability to give them away is another, and considerably more depressing.
You’d think a free, no-strings download of a book in your favorite genre would elicit the reaction “Why not?” After all, there’s no downside. You can read the book or discard it without having cracked its digital cover. You can even remove it from your “Content and Devices” library, leaving no evidence that it ever passed through your hands. Apparently I’m wrong about this. I’m still trying to figure it out.
I’ve known for a while that my subject matter isn’t in the popular domain. (No space wars, apocalypses, time travel, vampires, werewolves, zombies, or harems.) But such are the stories I write. And so once again, I’ve been asking myself that deadliest of questions: What’s the point?
Apropos of the above: In a last, despairing attempt to stimulate some sales, I’m reducing the prices of The Athene Academy Collection, the “prequel” to the Futanari Saga, and Innocents, the first full-length novel of the Saga, to $0.99, at which they will remain.
These are not tales for persons averse to exploring the consequences of an unpleasant idea. The original premise was supplied me as part of a “challenge.” The three novelettes in The Athene Academy Collection were the first result. After I’d done a lot of research on the international sex trade, Innocents was the next.
If you like F&SF conventions, be aware of BasedCon, a convention for indie fantasy and science fiction writers and fans. It will be held in Norton Shores, Michigan, and will run from September 15 through September 17. Have a few words about the Con’s intent:
Sci-fi cons used to be a lot of fun. They were places where people of all colors and creeds could get together to talk and learn about science fiction and fantasy books, games, movies, and TV shows. Then, starting a few years ago, things changed. Cons became increasingly dominated by a small clique of authoritarian jerks who made them into venues for pushing social justice dogma and, in the name of “inclusiveness,” shut down any opinions that didn’t align with progressive orthodoxy. You may remember the Sad Puppies saga, which culminated in WorldCon voters selecting “No Award” in several categories of the Hugo Awards rather than reward people outside their tribe. Maybe you’re familiar with the Gamergate debacle. You probably heard about Gina Carano being fired from The Mandalorian because she voiced thoughts outside the acceptable range of opinion. Undoubtedly you’ve heard about the push to get Critical Race Theory and other social justice garbage into schools.
Each of these controversies start the same way: a group of progressive malcontents moves into a space, takes it over, molds it to suit the group’s agenda, and then brands anyone who fights back as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. For whatever reason, the problem is particularly bad in the realm of science fiction and fantasy publishing. As a result, a genre that has historically been about the unfettered exploration of ideas has become stagnant and derivative, and the people running the industry are often openly, unapologetically hostile to a significant portion of their audience. And if you’re an openly conservative sci-fi or fantasy author, good luck getting published.
The publishing industry’s hostility to authors who are critical of progressive dogma was the primary impetus behind BasedCon. I wanted to put together an event where non-leftist authors could network and where new and aspiring authors could learn from authors who had already navigated these treacherous seas. When I mentioned the idea on Twitter, someone asked, “Are non-authors welcome?” And I thought, “Why not? A big meetup of sci-fi/fantasy authors and fans sounds like it could be a blast.” BasedCon was born.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? At 850 miles away, I can’t get there by any of the methods of travel still open to me, so if any of my Gentle Readers should attend, I hope you’ll provide a full report!
Finally, Hans G. Schantz, author of the Hidden Truth series, is organizing a multi-writer book sale that will commence on September 15 Midnight Pacific Time and run to September 22 Midnight Pacific Time. He’s timing it to coincide with BasedCon, mentioned above, at which he’ll be a featured guest and panelist. The books included will be priced at $0.99 or free. Books by some fairly well-known writers will be included in the sale, so if your To-Be-Read stack is getting short – mine always is – here’s another reason to mark your calendar.
Hans’s last such group sale is described here, at his website. Some of the names will surely be familiar to you, so don’t miss out!