mabfan: (book-cover)
Last week, Apex Blog posted three of my stories for free on their blog. This week, in my blog post The Utility of Free Fiction, I explain why I allowed them to do this, and in fact, why I encouraged it. Go read it, and let me know what you think.

#SFWApro
As you all know (I presume), I've been a fan of Superman since I was four years old. Last month, I was very excited to see Man of Steel, and I've been thinking about it a lot ever since.

I think I've finally managed to arrange my thoughts about the concerns I have with the film in a coherent form.

See my latest post on the Apex Blog, linked to below.

Apex Blog: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Wayback Machine Archive: Apex Blog: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
In the year 2000, I wrote a scene for the story "Kaddish for the Last Survivor," in which the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor gets a tattoo on her arm to honor her grandfather. The story, which appeared in the November 2000 Analog, was nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula and is probably my best-known story.

Just last week, the New York Times ran an article about people doing this for real.

I've posted my thoughts on this at the Apex blog today.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Three weeks ago, Ray Bradbury died.

I had thought of writing a tribute piece to him, but it seemed that within hours of the news of his death being announced, many other tributes were published by people far more relevant than I. Fortunately, a good friend, Martha Ingols, emailed me and encouraged me to commit my own thoughts about Bradbury and his work to paper (or electrons, I suppose).

And I've been late with my Apex Blog posts, so...

Thanks to Apex for publishing my tribute piece. You can read it by clicking on the article title below.

Ray Bradbury and Me
It's been a while since I had a post up on the Apex Blog, so for those of you who have been waiting patiently, I'm pleased to tell you that there's a new post up.

In honor of Leap Day, I decided to review three of my favorite time travel apps for the iPhone. These three apps won't actually allow you to travel in time, but they'll prepare you for the possibility.

So go read Time Travel? There's an App for That and if you have an iPhone, definitely download the third app I review. You never know when you might need it...

(ETA new link: http://www.apexbookcompany.com/2012/02/time-travel-theres-an-app-for-that/ )
I missed a month of my Apex Blog, but I'm sort of keeping up the time travel theme. Today, I discuss what I discovered when I re-read the Robert A. Heinlein novel Stranger in a Strange Land last week, getting my re-read just under the wire for the book's 50th anniversary.

So does this novel from 1961 hold up in 2011? Click the link for my thoughts:

Stranger in a Strange Land: A Personal Reflection on the Fiftieth Anniversary
I seem to be focusing on time travel a lot lately with my Apex Blog posts. Perhaps there's something in the water?

Anyway, the Apex Blog I posted yesterday, Time Traveling With Lawrence Block, is all about how reading a worthy Grand Master of mysteries can help a writer craft better time travel stories. Go take a look and you'll see what I mean.
Earlier this week, I posted a new Apex Blog post called "Time Traveling With Hurricane Irene" in which I pondered how the loss of power threw us back to an earlier era. (If you haven't read it yet, by all means click the link.)

Today's Boston Globe has an article, Outages force a trip to the past, which is on a related subject. Folks who still don't have power are struggling to deal with it in ways that our forebears probably would find odd. But I think even they would agree that once you have the benefits of electricity, you really don't want to be forced to do without it.

This part resonated with me:


Michelle Marderosian is the mother of a 2-year-old, Cheyanne, who, like any self-respecting toddler, believes it’s her inalienable right to explore with gusto, light or no light. And that can impose hardships for mother and daughter alike.

“I wouldn’t be so upset if I didn’t have a 2-year-old,’’ Marderosian said last night.


When we lost power on Sunday, our biggest issue was concern over how to deal with Muffin and Squeaker. I'll probably go into details on that in a few weeks in our The Brookline Parent column.

The other line I found interesting came from an article in today's New York Times, Days After the Storm, Many Are Still in the Dark:


For many of those without power, the main complaint was a lack of solid information about how long their plight would last. Some said they would rather hear that the electricity would be off for a week than to be left wondering.


That was our position on Sunday. Having no power was frustrating, but what was more frustrating was being told that some customers would be without power for days and not being told if we fell into that category. Consequently, we had to make plans for that contingency, which fortunately for us ended up being moot.

In the end, though, our inconvenience pales compared to the suffering felt by those who lost family or friends in the storm. My heart goes out to them, and I am grateful that we got through it safely.
My monthly Apex Blog post is up today. This is another essay about writing, Finding and Cultivating Your Writing Strengths, in which I offer some writing advice. Go read it to see how I was inspired to write it from reading an essay in Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life by Nick Mamatas.

And comment there on your own writing strengths, and how you found and cultivated them.
Today on the Apex Blog, I have a post titled The Dan Kimmel Film Festival.

Go read it, and discover an opportunity to watch and discuss science fiction films over the next few months.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Today I am using my monthly Apex Blog for what I hope people will think is a cool announcement.

Last August, a German film student named Christian Offner got in touch with me to ask about film rights to the short story "I Remember the Future." I'm pleased to announce that a short film is in fact being made of the story. This is the first time any of my work has been adapted to film.

To learn more about the details, and for links to a really cool trailer and information on supporting the film, check out my Apex Blog post I Remember the Future: The Movie!

If folks have questions, you can ask me those questions over there, or here, or in the usual places on Facebook and Twitter.
mabfan: (book-cover)
I was late with my Apex Blog for February, so it got posted just yesterday. In The Robots of Huckleberry Finn, I discuss my own thoughts about the controversy that came up in January when a publisher chose to bowdlerize Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

Go read and comment over there if you're so moved.
mabfan: (book-cover)
My new Apex Blog post is up:

New-York Historical Society and SFWA: Don't Forget Asimov

This month, I've written an open letter to suggest that Isaac Asimov's centennial in 2020 would be a good time for a museum exhibit to commemorate his influence on the world. I'm not in the museum business, but I suspect that nine years is enough lead time (perhaps too much?) for a museum to mount an exhibit.

Go read and comment over there if you're so moved.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Now is that time of year when many writers have posted links to their works online, reminding their fans – and hoping that their fans are members of Worldcon – that they are eligible to be nominated for the Hugo Award.

I've actually been in this racket a little longer than most. It's a little known fact that I was the first person to suggest to a Worldcon that Hugo-nominated works be posted online. The 1993 Worldcon had provided a CD-ROM of nominated works for sale to its members, but in 1996, when I was nominated for a Hugo for the first time, the Worldcon went one step farther. I contacted the Hugo administrator and told him that I wanted to put my nominated short story, "TeleAbsence," up on my website. I suggested that we get other nominated works up on the web as well, to help the voters track down the nominated stories, and I offered to host works on my own website. As a result, I ended up hosting my own competition, which was fine with me. (And I lost to a story that was hosted elsewhere, anyway.)

Of course, things are a little different today. Many, many more writers are posting their works online, and everyone has a greater opportunity to get their signal lost in the noise. That said, it behooves me to add a signal of my own, so here goes.

If you're planning to nominate in the Hugo Awards this year, as far as I can tell, I'm actually eligible in three categories. Here are the categories and how I'm eligible.

1. Best Short Story: "Hope" by Michael A. Burstein

I'm proud of that short story, which appeared in Destination: Future edited by Z. S. Adani and Eric T. Reynolds and was published by Hadley Rille Books in February 2010. Publishers Weekly called my story "sublimely moving." I'm delighted to announce that Hadley Rille has posted a PDF of the story, along with other stories, at Hadley Rille: Read Stories Online. Or you can click on the story title above and download the PDF directly.

2. Best Fan Writer: Michael A. Burstein

I continue to be eligible for Best Fan Writer not just for my writing here, but also for my writing on Apex Blog and for Argentus, among other places. One of my Apex Blog posts even got picked up by io9, so I must be doing something right. If you want to read some of my Apex Blog posts and even a story of mine, click here for my name on the Apex site. Or you could click here for a tagged list of my personal blog posts pointing toward my Apex Blog posts.

3. Best Related Work: Mabfan's Musings

Yeah, technically, this blog is eligible as a Related Work. I doubt it'll have a chance given all the great related books that were published this year, but I thought I'd mention it.

So there you go. I've tried to do a little more than just promote myself in this post; I've also provided a little fannish history and links to some free fiction and nonfiction. If you're so inclined, please go read and consider my works for nomination.

And, as always, thanks for reading.
My new Apex Blog post is up:

Adapting Narnia

This month, I explain why I felt that the latest Narnia film, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," fell short.

Go read and comment there if you're so moved.
I hope everyone who celebrated the holiday had a good Thanksgiving! Nomi and I were so busy with getting things done, that I didn't have a chance to let people know about my new Apex Blog post, Harry Potter and the Completed Series. I pointed out the problem that future generations of parents might have when it comes to introducing their children to the most popular book series of all time.

And since I'm late letting people know about my post, I thought I might as well combine that pointer with one toward today's The Brookline Parent column over on Brookline Patch. This week's column, written by Nomi, is all about how the kids got the nicknames that we use for them in the column: Regarding Muffin and Squeaker.

Enjoy!
mabfan: (book-cover)
My new Apex Blog post is up:

Death of a Parent, Birth of a Superhero

This month, I look at one of the traditional aspects of a superhero origin story from the personal perspective of someone who has lost his parents. It's particularly poignant for me as I'm observing the twentieth anniversary of my father's passing.

Go read and comment there if you're so moved.

(I should add that all week Apex Publications, who hosts the blog, has been having daily sales on their books as a lead-in to Halloween. Each day a different book is being offered at 40%. If you check out their blog, you can find out more information; today it's The Changed by BJ Burrow being offered on sale.)
A few months ago, my friend Violet Wilson posted her unfinished memoir, Slices, as an ebook for the Kindle. Here's how she blurbed it:


In "Slices," Violet Wilson looks back at her first years away from home, first at college, then after dropping out, as she struggles to make sense of her urges to cut herself. She doesn't offer neatly wrapped-up explanations of her motivations; the vignettes focus on what she thought and how she felt in the moment. The few dispassionate memories of childhood abuse are not served up as "A-ha!" explanations, since that's not how it felt at the time. There is a lot of confusion, a lot of shame, and a lot of failed attempts to connect. But there are also some patient friends, a couple of morbidly comic moments in a mental hospital and at a funeral, and, by the end, a tiny smidgen of hope that Violet will find her way.


The morning she announced the memoir's existence on her blog, I downloaded it, read it, and contemplated it. As a writer who sometimes tackles dark fiction, I found it compelling for many reasons, and not just because she's an incredible writer. Read what I said about her memoir in my latest Apex Blog post, A Slice of Reality. And then go download the memoir and read it for yourself.
mabfan: (book-cover)
My latest Apex Blog post is up! Interestingly enough, despite the title, Alienating Readers is not about turning your readers into aliens. It's about what writers might do that alienates our readers, and whether or not we should.

Check it out and comment over there if you're so moved.

(ETA: Archive link at Alienating Readers.)

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