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|This week in SHOWCASE|
|A Turning Point by Michael D. Turner|
|Waste Not by Rhonda Parrish|
|Full Disclosure by S. R. Mastrantone|
|The Lost Chapter from Stranger in a Strange Land by Sean Thomas|
Mark Niemann-Ross on
writing “The Music Teacher”
|Badger & Vole Review:|
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This Week in SHOWCASE #4
by Bruce Bethke
Editor, Stupefying Stories
Welcome to Issue #4 of SHOWCASE, the free (almost) weekly webzine companion to STUPEFYING STORIES magazine and the STUPEFYING STORIES PRESENTS anthology series. Each week (usually) in SHOWCASE we’ll offer up previews of coming attractions, samples of what we’re working on, reviews and comments, and of course, new stories by some of our favorite writers—who we hope will soon become some of your favorite writers, too.
We decided to skip the planned July 5 issue of SHOWCASE because of last-minute technical problems with the release of the July issue of STUPEFYING STORIES magazine, compounded by the mid-week holiday, and we'll have more to say on that subject in a minute. But first, let’s talk about the stories in this week’s SHOWCASE —
“A Turning Point” by Michael D. Turner
The loft over the garage loft was hot, and smelled faintly of gasoline, motor oil, and dust. Less dust today, after yesterday’s clean-up. It had been a long-delayed cleaning; the loft was so full of boxes, trunks, and junk that Jimmy’s grandfather couldn’t get into it very easily. Instead he’d handed up the old Kirby vacuum with its hose already attached, for ten-year-old Jimmy to finally get at least some of the accumulated dirt and dust off everything. The only things Jimmy had ever seen removed from the loft were the two large boxes of Christmas decorations kept right at the top of the heavy swing-down ladder.
Today was payment for yesterday’s work. Somewhere up here, amid the photo albums and old clothes of long-dead relatives, underneath collections of disused fishing poles; somewhere was an old locker that might, just maybe, have some old comic books...
The sun peeked over the horizon, sending its golden light out over the land. The beams danced on the water in the creek and flowed over the green field of corn. Even through the dirty hayloft window it was a beautiful sight, a lovely moment. Then he had to go and spoil it.
“You still in bed? Useless as yer pa! Git up. Those pigs won't feed ‘emselves.” Grandpa’s voice, slurred already, drowned out the morning birdsong.
I rolled out of bed and got dressed, then wandered into the kitchen-area. He could scream all he wanted, I wasn’t going to run for him. If he was in such a hurry for the pigs to get fed he could do it his own damned self for a change.
He sat at the scarred table that I’m told had been in the family for generations. All’s I know for sure is that it’s heavy as sin. Damned thing was a bitch to get into the hayloft when we moved out of the house to get off the ground level. I glanced in his direction and confirmed, as if there was any doubt, that he was drunk. It was there, in his liquid posture and glassy eyes. He’d always been a drunk, but it got worse after the ghouls came...
“Full Disclosure” by S. R. Mastrantone
Unlike some, Sophie Black had never been afraid of visiting the dentist. As she sat in the fish-tank blue hue of the waiting room, studying the nervous faces of the other patients, she felt something like excitement stirring in her belly. Has it been that long since I spoke to someone who wasn’t Robert?
Later, when the prodding and scraping was done, the dentist smiled and asked Sophie to stop in at the nurse’s office. “It’s something new the government are making us do...”
“The Lost Chapter from Stranger in a Strange Land” by Sean Thomas
“Because it’s fun!’ Jubal expounded.
Mike had not yet grokked the concept of fun. He was bewildered at the amount of effort that this race devoted to entertainment. As a nestling his sole concern was surviving the harsh Martian landscape. Once he was admitted into the nest, what free time he had after doing the Old One’s bidding and cleaning the nest of his water brother’s excretions was spent grokking the fullness of the universe. The idea of a fair baffled him, as Martians had no such events.
“Oh Mike,” Jill squealed, “it’s a wonderful place full of rides and games and sweet cotton candy!”
Mike digested Jill’s comment and did not grok sweetness. When he ate his first shirt whose primary material was cotton the primary sensation was not one of sweetness...
On writing “The Music Teacher” by Mark Niemann-RossThis is something entirely new for SHOWCASE: a new feature, which we’re calling Author’s Spotlight. This week in Spotlight author Mark Niemann-Ross talks about his story, “The Music Teacher,” which is one of the featured novelettes in the July issue of STUPEFYING STORIES magazine. We happen to think this makes really interesting reading, but tell us what you think. Would you like to see more features of this sort in SHOWCASE? Don’t be shy. Let us know!
Of course, the big news is...
We’re back! After a planned three-month hiatus that accidentally stretched out into six, STUPEFYING STORIES returns—retooled, reworked, and better than ever! With more and bigger stories by more outstanding authors, STUPEFYING STORIES MK.II is tanned, rested, and ready to rock! The new July issue includes:
- "All the Beautiful Lights of Heaven" by Russ Colson
- "Showing Faeries for Fun and Profit" by Julie Frost
- "Indigene" by Lawrence Buentello
- "Cottage Industry" by Evan Dicken
- "The Robot Agenda" by Samantha Boyette
- "The Wrong Dog" by Kyle Aisteach
- "The Music Teacher" by Mark Niemann-Ross
- "The Last Unit" by Judith Field
Not to mention our exciting cover story, the unabashedly old-school alien world sci-fi pulp adventure, "For the Love of a Grenitschee" by Mark Wolf.
STUPEFYING STORIES: It's the SF/F reading you've been looking for!
Now available at these links.
For Amazon Kindle:
U.S. - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DR11UI0
U.K. - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DR11UI0
Germany - https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00DR11UI0
France - https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00DR11UI0
Spain - https://www.amazon.es/dp/B00DR11UI0
Italy - https://www.amazon.it/dp/B00DR11UI0
Japan - http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00DR11UI0
India - https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00DR11UI0
Canada (English) - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00DR11UI0
Canada (French) - unnecessarily complex URL
Brazil - https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00DR11UI0
For Barnes & Noble Nook:
All regions - unnecessarily complex URL
(Barnes & Noble has what is nominally a U.K. site, but the actual link loops back to the above page, so we’ll just save you some time and go straight to the point-of-download.)
In the Apple iTunes Store:
All regions - unnecessarily complex URL
(Likewise, Apple has iTunes sites in 50 countries, but again the actual download links all loop back to the above page. If you want 50 individual URLs, I suppose we can put that in the catalog. It will look impressive.)
And now, a little grumbling about the aforementioned technical difficulties...
This time out the upload to the Kindle store worked flawlessly, as it usually does, but the Nook and iTunes uploads were problematic. We eventually solved the problems with the iTunes upload not by fiddling with and re-generating the book file—which is what we tried first, and several times, based on the rather cryptic error messages we were receiving from Apple—but by uninstalling Apple iTunes Producer 2.9.1 and reinstalling Producer 2.8. Problem solved. The issue wasn’t with the book files we were generating but with the tool we had to use to upload it. Crippled by Update; it's an old and sad story, but one that shows no sign of ever going away.
As Release Week wore on, though, the Nook issues became downright maddening. Eventually B&N sent us a little note stating that they’d cut over from their old upload portal, PubIt!, to their new portal, Nook Press, on July 1, and that while PubIt! might still appear to be working, it really wasn’t, and the supposedly automatic transition from one portal to the other had had “some issues.” When their support staff finally returned from the four-day holiday weekend the issues were addressed, and on Thursday of this week, the Nook links finally went live—again, with our book file as originally uploaded, and not all the variant files we’d generated in response to what turned out to be a series of spurious error messages.
There. That’s done. Now on to the next project.