Planetary Fiction

What is Planetary Fiction?

Planetary Fiction is an anthology on or about the the planets, and the them associated with them. Thus:

Mercury: journeys and messengers

Venus: love and romance

Mars: conflict and war

Jupiter: power, authority and leadership

Saturn: time, age and endings

Such stories could be science fiction, fantasy, horror or weird fiction. Tales could feature science fiction as diamond hard as the unfiltered light of the stars in space, to flights of fancy. Star-ships that rigidly obey the limits of known physics, to fantastic gravity drives to chariots pulled though the starry ether by swans. It has room for the airless deserts of Mars and the crushing pressures of Venus; and for Warlords of Mars and Princesses of Venus.

If the story fits a planetary concept, and evokes awe and wonder, it could be a good fit for ″Planetary Fiction″…

The first in the series will be ″Mercury″; edited by David Hallquist

Why Mercury? Why tales of a small, barren rock circling the Sun, almost invisible in its glare?

The question might be: why not Mercury?

This oddball world races about in a highly eccentric ellipse, instead of the more proper, nearly circular orbits of other planets. It is tidally locked in a 3:2 resonance with the Sun, with one Mercury day for every two Mercury years. This cratered little world is far more dense than it would seem, and is believed to have a larger iron core than in proportion to other worlds. Then there is the odd phenomenon of a powerful magnetic field on a world that is barely rotating at all. Truly, a strange little world.

Mythic Mercury, or Hermes was the swift messenger of the gods, and famous for his brilliance and trickery. The wand of Hermes, the Caduceus, is still the symbol for medical learning around the world. Speed, brilliance and knowledge are all associated with the messenger.

Mercury the metal, is known as ″quicksilver″ and has been associated with transmutation and arcane processes since the time of the earliest alchemists. Chinese Emperors believes that an amalgam of mercury would bestow immortality. Useful in early photography, industry and scientific studies, the deadly poisonous nature of the metal quickly limited the usefulness of quicksilver.

For all of that, Mercury has been a bit overlooked in Science Fiction. There are notable great stories though the tiny world is often overlooked for the glories of Mars, the majesty of Jupiter or the splendor of Saturn.

These then, are the tales of Mercury: messages about the Messenger.

Superversive SF is now soliciting submissions for ″Planetary Fiction: Mercury″. Submissions should be sent to: planetaryantho@superversivesf.com. Please place the name of the planet and the story title in the subject line. Try to avoid excessive formatting, and do include a author’s contact information and word count, as well as which planet it is connected to at the first paragraph. If you agree to have us publish your story, Superversive SF may elect to publish though Superversive Fiction or other publishers and formats, as deemed appropriate by Superversive SF.

″Venus″ is next in the series, edited by Jagi L. Wright and A.M. Freeman, and is now receiving submissions.

Signal Boost — Chasing Freedom

Chasing Freedom is a lovely tale in the tradition of the old distopias–Brave New World, Animal Farm, We. Unlike nearly every other distopia, Chasing Freedom starts in a world that is practically our own and shows the disintegration of a world in the grips of bureaucratic tyranny and the rise of a new resistance full of hope and willing to bear the terrible price. The story is told in short vignettes, moving back and forth between a number of different characters in different walks of life. As the story continues, you see the effect on later characters of the courage and conviction of the earliest ones.

A chilling yet inspiring tale beautifully told.

Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine

***2016 Dragon Awards Nominee, Best Apocalyptic Novel***

Freedom is lost, but not forgotten.
In 2040s America, civility is prized above truth, conformity above free expression, and “green” living above basic human needs. Most have given up, too busy trying to survive in a country where life is cheap and necessities are scarce. Yet even in the midst of drudgery and despair, unbroken spirits remain.
Julie is a girl who has everything, including a plan to ignite the spark of resistance.
Randy dreams of winning Julie’s love and escaping the emptiness of over-regulated life.
Joseph seeks revenge on the system for a family tragedy.
Daniel is a young artist, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
Chris is an orphan prepared to do the unthinkable to protect his younger sister.
Whether by choice or by accident, each will take a path on a collision course with the oppressive regime. Will they find the freedom they desire? Or will the cost of defiance prove too high to bear?
Marina Fontaine is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. She uses personal experience to craft a novel that takes an intimate look at life in a totalitarian society and the role that individual choices play in advancing the cause of liberty.

Chasing Freedom on Amazon

Science Blast! New Continent Fights for Life!

How often do new (okay, newly defined) land masses fight for their very existence! Another perfect setting for pulp stories: re-emerged Zeelandia.

Earth from space

Lurking beneath New Zealand is a long-hidden continent called Zealandia, geologists say. But since nobody is in charge of officially designating a new continent, individual scientists will ultimately have to judge for themselves.

A team of geologists pitches the scientific case for the new continent in the March/April issue of GSA Today, arguing that Zealandia is a continuous expanse of continental crust covering around 4.9 million square kilometers. That’s about the size of the Indian subcontinent. Unlike the other mostly dry continents, around 94 percent of Zealandia hides beneath the ocean. Only New Zealand, New Caledonia and a few small islands peek above the waves.

“If we could pull the plug on the world’s oceans, it would be quite clear that Zealandia stands out about 3,000 meters above the surrounding ocean crust,” says study coauthor Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand. “If it wasn’t for the ocean level, long ago we’d have recognized Zealandia for what it was — a continent.”

Read more…

A Day in the Life of Joe (Blue State Edition)

NOTE: “A Day in the Life of Joe Republican” is an essay meant to demonstrate the usefulness of Progressive policies and hypocrisy of conservatives who take advantage of them. A shortened version of the original and my “re-write” are presented below.

 

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee.

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. to prepare his morning coffee. Then he remembers that he doesn’t have any real coffee. All the coffee beans are now Free Trade and Organic, so he can’t afford to buy them anymore. He measures out the instant coffee powder into his mug and fills it with water.

 

The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

The water trickles very slowly into the mug because his kitchen is equipped with low-flow faucets, as per the new regulations. After a couple of minutes, the mug is full and he heats the coffee in the microwave.

 

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. It’s not as effective as the one he used to take, but FDA banned the medication that worked for him because it could cause miscarriages. Joe tried to explain to his doctor that he was not in danger of a miscarriage, but there was nothing to be done.

 

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

The medication used to only have a $10 co-pay, but now Joe has to pay $50 because the union negotiated the new insurance plan that covers in-vitro fertilization for female employees, and the cost had to be made up by reducing pharmacy coverage.

 

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.


He prepares his morning breakfast, a bowl of organic oatmeal. He misses his eggs and bacon, but a carton of eggs is $10 at his local supermarket because the eggs came from free range chickens who only eat organic corn. Bacon is illegal in his town because it offends his Muslim neighbors.

 

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. It doesn’t clean his hair very well, but it’s made of bio-degradable vegetable based ingredients that are safe for the local wildlife. He takes care to finish the shower after 2 minutes to comply with the city water restrictions.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. He coughs from inhaling the car exhaust fumes. His street is now much more crowded with cars because one of the two lanes is reserved for bikes. It’s the middle of winter so no one is riding a bike, but the law still applies.

 

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

He walks to the subway station and sticks the Metro Card into the slot. It’s rejected because the fair just went up again and he needs to re-charge the card more often. Luckily, he has plenty of time because the loudspeaker just said something about a delay, and judging by the crowd on the platform, he may not even get into the next train anyway. Joe had to give up his car last year because the new 35% parking tax at the garage. At least he doesn’t have to worry about gas prices going up. The thought energizes him enough to push his way through the crowd and make it inside the train just before the doors slide shut.

 

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

Joe begins his work day. He’s an excellent worker, but only received a 2% increase last year because he reached the top of his pay grade and can now only get inflation adjustments. His usual partner has been on paid leave for the last week to take care of a sick pet. The union fought very hard for that concession, and Joe was happy when they won. Now he’s not very happy because he needs to cover the station on with a less experienced employee, but it’s worth it to have the union benefits for everyone.

 

Joe is home from work… He turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe is home from work. He turns on the evening news. The news anchor keeps saying that conservatives are bad and liberals are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Democrats have passed laws and regulations that caused many of the difficulties and sacrifices Joe faces throughout the day.

 

Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

Joe agrees: “It’s a good thing we don’t have those free-market conservatives in charge! After all, I’m just a regular man who believes the government should make everyone’s lives easier, just like they’ve done for me.”

 

Signal Boost: Mr. Superversive Strikes Again!

Many people feel Tom Simon, Mr. Superversive himself*, is the the best essayist living today. However, he writes fiction, too! Here we have six excellent short works of fantasy by Mr. Simon:

Worm-of-the-Ages_613

The Worm of the Ages on Amazon

Join Tom Simon for a light-hearted excursion through the fields of the imagination, from legends of ancient days to laboratories of a twisted future. This collection of six stories by the author of WRITING DOWN THE DRAGON includes:

The Worm of the Ages
Droll’s audition
Magic’s pawnshop
A case of vengeance
Kundenschmerz

And as a bonus, a new story, ‘The wrongs of the matter’, never before published in any medium.

Buy yours today!
Be the envy of your friends and the puzzlement of your neighbors!

Enjoy!

About the author: (This was so amusing, I felt compelled to share it.): Tom Simon has been writing fantasy for many years, but it was only in 2012, with LORD TALON’S REVENGE, that he began publishing this work. Like most writers, he has had a wide range of peculiar jobs, from sysop of a dialup chat board (before the commercial Internet) to assistant in a Member of Parliament’s constituency office. One of his MP’s constituents was an ardent advocate for the population of elves who lived (so he said) in a patch of wild ground in the midst of the city. Mr. Simon regrets that he was never personally involved in dealing with elf issues. However, he has met the usual assortment of witches, wizards, and one creature who styled himself Archdruid of Canada.

 

  • — Tom Simon is called Mr. Superversive himself because he is the one from whom the rest of us borrowed the word. For years, he has been known as Superversive on LiveJournal.

Signal Boost: The Ironwood Staff

The Ironwood Staff by J. H. Hamilton

This is a Superversive book. The story is like a high fantasy set in Africa with Zen elves, but the progressive ideas of the villains and the way in which evil corrupts and spreads, as well as what the hero must do to fight it, lends a Superversive thread to this simple fantasy.

Tomas the Lame was a scribe, until the goblinish Kchabani invaded his home, sacking the library and enslaving the people. Escaping to the eladi in their forest home, he fought back until he was injured and unable to fight.

When the eladi found he had strange gifts in communicating with animals, he thought he had a new life as a Magus – what he didn’t know was that the invaders were seeking him by dark arts and vile monsters, putting his new friends and new love in danger.

On a desperate mission to the cold, wet south of the world, Tomas joins a party seeking the aid of an eladi king, leader of a people who have hidden themselves from the rest of the world for centuries. Will the southern eladi help? And, will they be in time to save the Sunlands from the kchaban hordes?

Available on Amazon

Holy Godzilla of the Apocalypse: or How to Identify a Superversive Story

Throwback Thursday–early Superversive Blog repost.

So, you want to be Superversive? Eager to join the new movement but not sure how to tell if you have? This post will, God willing, help sort out a bit of the confusion.

So, without further ado: The Benchmarks of the Superversive:

First and foremost, a Superversive story has to have good storytelling.

By which I do not mean that it has to be well-written. Obviously, it would be great if every story was well-written. It is impossible, however, to define a genre or literary movement as “well-written”, as that would instantly remove the possibility of a beginner striving to join.

What I mean by good storytelling is that the story follows the principles of a good story. That, by the end, the good prosper, the bad stumble, that there is action, motion to the plot, and a reasonable about of sense to the overall structure.

Second, the characters must be heroic.

By this, I do not mean that they cannot have weaknesses. Technically, a character without weaknesses could not be heroic, because nothing would require effort upon his part.

Nor do I mean that a character must avoid despair. A hero is not defined by his inability to wander into the Valley of Despair, but by what he does when he finds himself knee deep in its quagmire. Does he throw in the towel and moan about the unfairness of life? Or does he pull his feet out of the mud with both hands and soldier onward?

Nor do I mean that every character has to be heroic, obviously some might not be. But in general, there should be characters with a heroic, positive attitude toward life.

However, many, many stories have good storytelling and heroic characters. Most decent fantasies are like that.

Are all decent fantasies Superversive?

No.

Because one element of Superversive literature is still missing.

Wonder.

Third, Superversive literature must have an element of wonder

But not ordinary wonder. (Take a moment to parse that out. Go ahead. I’ll still be here. )

Unknown Object

Specifically, the kind of wonder that comes from suddenly realizing that there is something greater than yourself in the universe, that the world is a grander place than you had previously envisioned. The kind of wonder that comes from a sudden hint of a Higher Power, a more solid truth.

There might be another word for that kind of wonder: awe.

Specifically, the awe that comes when you are pulled out of your ordinary life by being made aware of the structure of the moral order of the universe.

That kind of awe.

To be Superversive, a story needs that moment when you are going along at a good clip and you suddenly draw back, because you have been lifted outside of yourself by the realization that there is something Bigger.

(And I don’t mean bigger like Godzilla. Just the God part. No zilla. Unless this Godzilla works for God. Godzilla, Holy Monster of the Apocalypse, or something.)

On this blog, I will often talk about Christian Superversive stories. Stories that have that moment, when the greater truths of the Creator of the Universe are suddenly glimpsed by the reader and/or the characters in the story.

If the Superversive Movement is about storming the moral high ground—bringing a moral order into our stories, adding the power of a greater truth. Then, the most effective stories are likely to be the ones that reflect the author’s highest sense of truth. For me, that means the truths of Christianity, as I understand it.

However, I want to make it clear, right from the beginning, that Superversive literature does not have to be Christian. You can write Jewish Superversive or Buddhist Superversive. It does, however, require a moral order and a glimpse of the awareness of this order in the story.

My favorite movie of all time is Winter’s Tale, the movie made from Mark Halprin’s novel. Winter’s Tale is Jewish Superversive.

What makes it so good is these moments I refer to above, moments that take you out of yourself and make you realize that something Bigger is going on. (Again, not Godzilla…except for Holy Godzilla, who most likely lives in a Pokaball on Batman’s belt…so Robin can shout out: Holy Godzilla, Batman! And Batman can shout, “Holy Godzilla, I choose you!” and Holy Godzilla can appear and stomp on the Joker (and probably half of New York, too, but…ah well.)

My favorite TV show, Chinese Paladin Three, is Taoist Superversive. You are going along, minding your own business, enjoying this pure fantasy romp, and suddenly, toward the last third, there is this section where the villain tries to convince the Taoist priest of the futility of the human condition.

The story line suddenly becomes so deep and so touching, so insightful and so unexpected. The depth of the moral questions being presented to the priest character and the horror of what he suffers adds a whole vertical dimension to what had previously been a lighthearted adventure.

It brings a sense of awe.

Two questions come to mind:

1) Can you write Wicca or Pagan Superversive?

Possibly, but it would be difficult. Why? Because fantasy…gods, myths, etc…is the matter of Pagans. If the story starts out about such things, adding more of the same is not superversive.

However, if the story were about, say wizards or nymphs and fauns, or any other worldly matter, and the gods made brief unexpected appearances in which they put across moral ideas that lifted the story to a higher level, that might possibly be superversive. (Gene Wolfe’s Solder In The Mist comes to mind.)

2) Can  Christian Fiction (or Jewish Fiction, or Taoist Fiction) be superversive?

Probably not. It certainly could be inspirational, if done well. But if something starts out already being about these matters, then it is not superversive to introduce them. It is just part of the tale. Such a story could be written in a way that would make it enjoyable to those who love superversive stories, but it would not be superversive in and of itself.

An Example:

I don’t want to give too much away about Winter’s Tale, part of the wonder of the story is that everything is so unexpected. But I think I can describe this scene without ruining too much of the joy.

Crime boss Pearly Soames approaches another man in 1915 New York, reminding the second man that he owes Pearly a favor. He asks for help in his plan to kill Beverly Penn. The second man wants nothing to do with it, but Pearly calls the debt and insists.

Then, suddenly, in the midst of this intrigue scene, Pearly says:

I’ve been wondering.

With all these trying to go up…and you come down.

Was it worth it, becoming human?  Or was it an impulse buy?

You must miss the wings, right?

Oh, come on. You must.

And in that instant, you suddenly realize that something very different is going on that you first thought, and it opens a glimpse into some greater working of the universe, a glimpse that makes you pause and think…about heaven and fallen angels and what it means to be human and whether it is a good thing or no.

And that, my friends, is Superversive.