Six Science Fiction Novellas

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I learned something a bit startling late last year. I was putting together the reading list for my in-person science fiction mystery class, and I realized that most of the books I wanted my students to read were out of print—and there was no electronic edition. Most of them were anthologies that came out in the mid-2000s (or earlier) and no one apparently saw or understood the reprint possibilities. One—my very favorite—was published by a publishing house that is now gone. The editor has retired, and there were only a few thousand copies in the first place. On the resale market, I could find five copies. Five. My class had fifteen students in person, and another 70 in a study along. Five was not going to cut it.

The realization made me sad. I had some great stories in those anthologies. But it wasn’t just me. Several other writers had amazing stories in them. I was not willing to put the time in to have WMG reprint other people’s anthologies, but the entire experience did get me thinking about discoverability. It was a mental nag, something that reverberated in my mind and in my heart.

Fast forward to that same workshop. The in-person writers were amazing. I suspect you’ll see their work in the science fiction magazines soon, because these pieces were original and very creative. We finished, as we often do, with an invitation to write a novella in a few weeks that I would read. People did take me up on that, and I am reading the last of those novellas now. (Spoiler alert: they’re good.)

But I did not feel creatively satisfied as a writer or as a teacher. I really wanted to teach a novella class in person, and I investigated it for like the 100th time. To teach that class would require me to take two weeks out of my life to work on in-person classes, and the differences between the different novella forms, and all that reading. It would require the students to come to Las Vegas, stay for two weeks (minimum) and work their butts off. It wasn’t tenable. So Dean and I came up with series of novella classes that will spread over 9 weeks. Students study the forms at home, and in the end, write a novella that I will read. (For more information, check this out.)

That niggle hit me again. That discoverability niggle. I wanted folks to read my sf novellas, the ones that haven’t been part of the discussion (if there still is one) for a while now. The Diving novellas that Asimov’s publishes are part of the conversation. People bring them up to me all the time.

But these? The standalones? They seem to be one and done, unless something draws the readers attention to it.

So…I mentioned this, and somehow the entire team got behind a Kickstarter to raise awareness about my sf novellas. We have put six into this Kickstarter.

They are the award-winning Gallery of His Dreams, The Tower, the award-winning Recovering Apollo 8, September at Wall and Broad, the award-winning The End of the World, and the novella that hit two year’s best books in two different genres, G-Men.

Stretch goals, should we hit them, will include many of my sf novelettes, also standalone.

We had to redo covers and reissue some of the paper editions to make them comply with standards of the 2020s. We had to dust them off, in other words, so that they’d be worth reading as you all rediscover them.

They’re not all of my standalone sf novellas, but they cover some good ground.

And as we did this, I looked at all of the other novellas I’ve written—the ones that are not in any series—and realized that yes, indeedie do, I have standalone novellas in romance and mystery and fantasy…

But we’re going to focus on this bunch for the next ten days.

If you want to see what we’re doing, head over to Kickstarter using this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/403649867/six-science-fiction-novellas

As the two weeks progress, I’ll talk about the experiences of writing the novellas. I’ll post six different blogs along the way. Those are always fun to write.

But not quite as much fun as writing novellas…

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