Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Spacesuits & Penny Dreadfuls

For more than a year now, Jasper Nicolaisen, Simon Weinert and me have held a monthly reading of out short fiction in the pub tristeza in Berlin. Now, the first collection of short stories from these readings has been published: Raumanzüge & Räuberpistolen (Spacesuits & Penny Dreadfuls) features 9 stories by Jasper, Simon and me.

Jasper's stories are about a little princess who discovers that she has bear's ears and thereupon decides to join the robbers in the woods; about the question why the Jewel of Zaggoth hasn't been stolen after all and what the invention of radio waves, which are something like railroad, only without the rails, has to do with that; and about two boys in a magical boarding school who find out that they share a very interesting hobby, namely masturbation, and that their expertise in this hobby might be the only thing that can save them from certain death in the maws of a zombie ogre. The last one is especially touching, as genuine a teenage love story as they come. I keep comparing Jasper Nicolaisen to Kelly Link (also, his writing brings to mind some of the most brilliant stories by Joe Hill like "Pop Art"), and there's no hyperbole involved of that, but a lot of envy.

Simon has written about a lonely girl waiting for her last remaining friend who has to fight his way through her troll- and goblin-infested dungeon to fix her plumbing, about Death, who has lost his sting and caught a cold, and about a man trying to help the humiliated and offended peoples of this world by sending them expired pharmaceuticals. Simon Weinert is probably kind of notorious for being the least accesible writer among the three of us, but his stories carry a hefty punch once you get into them. Also, he does wonderfully weird things to language, making it cry out in exquisite pain.

My stories are about the commercial exploitation of a species of giant calamari in the 19th century, as chronicled in the letter of English Gentleman Robert Melvin to his dearly beloved. Melvin falls into the hands of pirates who aim to free the calamari from their brutal fate, but their goals may not be as humanistic as it might seem ... The second one is a science fiction love story about two space travellers of different species with inverted metabolical compatibility undertaking a journey in joined spacesuits which allow them to feed of each others excrements. The last one is a fairy tale about a woman living in a haunted mill, where she learns the secret of gunpowder from the devil.

If you happen to read German, you can order Raumanzüge & Räuberpistolen via the publisher Shayol.

Hinterland - 20 sf Stories, inspired by Bowie

In October 2010, Hinterland was released, an anthology of 20 science fiction stories inspired by songs by David Bowie, edited by Karla Schmidt (who, as opposed to Michael Schmidt, actually is a relative of mine). It features short fiction by well-known German writers like Dietmar Dath, Dirk C. Fleck, Siegfried Langer, Markolf Hoffmann and Karsten Kruschel and also by lesser known, but no less impressive authors like Nadine Boos, Jasper Nicolaisen and the editor Karla Schmidt herself.
And, of course, by me. The featured story "The Aggrieved Ray Gun" has been inspired by Bowie's song "Running Gun Blues" from the early album "The Man Who Sold the World". It's a pulp story about Zarkova, a villainous (or possibly heroic) revolutionary, narrated from the perspective of an intelligent and rather squeamish ray gun that she has stolen from Eko Galaxy, Champion of Justice. It's also a story about forbidden love between an AI with a highly sophisticated conscience, a women who thinks that the ends justify the means and a man who believes in other ends, which justify different means.

Of course, the whole book is in German, but on the official website, the publishers will release excerpts in English translation. The first one, from Markolf Hoffmann's extraordinary art-crime-story "Tryptichon", is already online. Also, I'm told that all of the stories have been translated by now and the book might actually be published in English some time next year.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Short Update

Reading: Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel Delany. Hard work, but worthwile.
Also Reading: Wenn das der Führer wusste (translated into English as The Twilight Men), depressing and hilarious.

Published: Short Story "Die betrübte Strahlenkanone" ("The Aggrieved Ray Gun") in Hinterland, an anthology of 20 fantasy/sf stories inspired by David Bowie. More about that project soon - there's a German/English website with extracts in English.

Also published: Raumanzüge & Räuberpistolen (Spacesuits & Penny Dreadfuls), an anthology of nine fantasy/sf stories by me, Jasper Nicolaisen and Simon Weinert, all from our monthly reading at the lovely pub tristeza in Berlin, Neukölln. More soon.

Also published: "Im Himmel" ("In Heaven"), a Lovecraftian (or maybe Barronian, if there is such a word) short story, in Zwielicht 2, the second Horror anthology edited by Michael Schmidt. (despite having the same surname, we're not related.) More soon.

And soon to be published: A Hungarian translation of my short story "Auslese" ("Selection") at sfmag.hu. The first time one of my stories gets translated into another language! more (including a link) in January.

Yay - I wrote a blog post!