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Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 02:50 pm
Here we are, this fresh new year's Reader poll over at P&E!

Preditors & Editors Reader's Poll

All you voracious readers, all you Hadley Rille authors, everyone go vote!  I know I did.
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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 08:50 am

It seems its been some time since I've posted; here I give you a very old project (still unfinished) of mine wherein I address and attempt to define what we love to write in - genre.

I'm also looking for advice on the skimpy areas and regarding anything that might be outdated now. 

The Classifications


So, as far as Fantasy submission categories go, the following breakdown pretty much applies:



“Fantasy is 'the impossible made probable'.”—Rod Serling


1. High Fantasy/Traditional -- Serious story involving well defined character(s) with a solid conflict to resolve, set in a mythical setting involving mythical creatures and/or magicks. Resolution of conflict often focuses on a greater, rather than individual, good.

2. Sword & Sorcery/Heroic Fantasy -- Character's conflict include resolution by own skills, usually against evil magic/wizard/demon in a gritty, severe mythical setting. Often resolution of conflict benefits the individual more, with any benefit to a greater good being an incidental side-effect. Also, resolution often requires a hefty dose of luck to succeed. 

3. Contemporary/Urban -- Takes place in the author's here-and-now (plus magic). With one caveat -- pre WWII authors who set their stories in THEIR now were not around when the category was invented, and seem to get nudged into high fantasy in spite of a theoretical real world setting. 90% or more of contemporary fantasy is also big city, thus the second name. I think stories where contemporary people get transported into fantasy worlds and stay there for the whole story get shuffled into one of the other Fantasy categories more often than not.

4. Dark Fantasy -- Character is up against a conflict that appears too severe to be overcome, and usually bears the vague feel of a horror story.   Occasionally the character will not overcome the insurmountable odds/evil wizards/evil magic he/she encounters -- a Dark Fantasy often focuses on the conflict rather than the character. Can be in a modern or mythical setting. A psychological suspense element is often beneficial, perhaps essential.

5. Light/Humorous Fantasy -- Humorous. High or Contemporary/Urban, with character conflict including scenes capable of bringing a smile to the lips and a lightness to the heart.

6. Science Fantasy -- Something impossible exists as a statement of fact, but all else is treated with scientific rigor.   With this, the flavor of science fiction is combined with the impossible elements of fantasy, and often takes place on worlds that once were possible but now could never be.

7. Epic Fantasy -- Broad, continuing narratives, usually spanning three or more big books, which feature the struggles of good vs. evil in a highly-detailed fantasy world. Occasionally, these novel runs are divided into individually-numbered sub-series.

8. Magical Realism -- Stories in a contemporary setting, which include a hidden magical world which the author tries to make as plausible as possible. Perhaps plausible is the wrong word. By making magic an accepted part of the backdrop of the book, the magical element seems more plausible. In general, these books are "supposed to" have a more literary style.

9. Mythological Fantasy -- Any fantasy based upon actual recorded mythologies, whether it be Roman, Greek, Norse, Celtic, Native American, etc.

10.  Paranormal Fantasy -- ESP, ghosts, vampires, even werewolves. Not severe as horror, this fantasy involves the abilities of the mind or passive non-aggressive supernatural. 

11. Romantic Fantasy -- A relatively new subgenre (as these things go), romance drives the plot of the book, rather than any classifiable Fantasy theme..


Just bear in mind that all of these sub-genres tend to overlap to a point. Fantasy covers ALL of the above, especially the ones that don't quite work with subcategories.


D&D-in-book-form fantasy is... well, if you think you played it as a role playing game once, or can hear dice rolling, or a group of companions meet at an inn... guess what. This isn't necessarily done by role playing companies, or with a game logo on the cover. I've heard a rumor of books like that that were done well, but it's only a rumor to date.






SF categories:


Science Fiction

“Science Fiction is 'the improbable made possible'.”—Rod Serling


1. Hard SF -- This is the technical/science style of SF story. In this the science is completely essential to the tale, and without it the story would not work. Setting usually is the future -- whether near, far, or alternate, with character (s) human or otherwise.

2. Soft SF/Sociological SF -- Character-driven SF. The focus in this is character development, with the technology/science not as essential to the integrity of the story as it is with Hard SF.   However, even though the focus is the character and the characters conflict, a SF-al element must be present. If not, then it is not SF. Additionally, Sociological SF adds the effect of the conflict on a society.

3. Space Opera -- Often described as a fantasy or a western with SF trappings.   The SF-al aspects can often be replaced by similar fantasy/western elements (the lightsabre vs. {badly wielded} broadsword, or space station vs. sleepy western town) without affecting the plot. Rarely strives for strict realism. Characters are at their best iconic or larger than life, at their worst, stereotyped. Term is derived off "soap opera" and/or "horse opera".

4. Science Fantasy -- Something impossible exists as a statement of fact, but all else is treated with scientific rigor.   With this, the flavor of science fiction is combined with the impossible elements of fantasy, and often takes place on worlds that once were possible but now could never be.

5. Cyberpunk -- SF that involves society's response to an ever advancing technology that transforms life faster than culture can adjust to it in a time when information has more value than material goods. Cyberpunk traditionally presents a dark view of the future in which technology creates more problems than it cures. Cyberpunk is about technology/science that does not yet exist, but is portrayed in a plausible manner.

6. Steampunk -- Alternate histories of the Victorian era in which modern inventions are pre-invented using the technology of the time (hence, "steam” punk). Also examines the potential effects such advances might have on Victorian society.

7. Alternate History -- SF exploring the "what-if" theory. What if a major situation/decision had been different at some point in the past? How would today be affected if things had happened differently at some point in history?

8. Scientific Romance -- Archaic term that included stories that were heroic, adventurous or mysterious and took place in another time or place than that of the reader. Term used before the phrase "science fiction" came into popular use in the early 20th century.

9. Military SF -- Hard SF usually written with an exercise in strategy and tactics and the fortunes of war as the major focus. Usual setting is Future/Distant Planet.

10. Feminist SF -- SF that examines issues of sex, gender, and sexuality.

11. Adventure SF -- SF where the focus is grand adventure, close escapes, and knock-down, drag-out fight scenes. Setting can be any SF; alternate, future, far future can all host an adventure SF tale. Can (and frequently does) include the SF quest.

12. Parallel Worlds/Other Dimensions -- SF involving places and spaces not our own. Can be similar to Alternate History in that a different historical decision split off a similar, but different, Earth. Can be completely different to the point where even the laws of physics are not the same.

13. Romantic SF -- A relatively new subgenre (as these things go), romance drives the plot of the book, rather than any sci-fi device.






Horror/Dark Fiction:


1. Cutting Edge -- Fiction that usually refuses archetypal, supernatural aspects -- unless those elements are used so originally they become antithetical to traditional horror. Cutting edge can be hard, soft, quiet, psychological, surreal, eerie, avant pop, post-modern, literary, alternative, have erotic, and sexual aspects, etc. The idea is that it is not exactly the same old thing -- even if the departure is only stylistic rather than purely thematic.

2. Psychological -- Based on the disturbed human psyche. Obviously psychos on rampages fall into this category, but it is just as often more subtle. Since the reader's perception is sometimes altered by exposure to an insane viewpoint, psychological horror can also deal with ambiguous reality and seem to be supernatural.

3. Extreme/Splatterpunk -- It's, well, extreme. It goes straight to the blood-and-guts and aims for the gross-out without hesitation. In guidelines you might find terms like "splat," "splatter," or "splatterpunk" and "gore," "grue," and "gross." (Most GLs tell you to AVOID these things.) Splatterpunk, by the way, was just a label made up to describe the "young Turks" bringing a more visceral, gritty edge to horror 10-15 years ago.  Splatterpunk -- Hack & Slash, bloody gore horror.

4. Supernatural/Occult -- The rules of the normal world don't apply; ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, the occult etc. Within this sub genre is an ever-growing list of sub-sub-genres -- most of which deal with vampires.

5. Erotic Horror -- Usually "erotic" means sensual sexual content integral to the story and can be as mild as "romantic suspense." Many editors and writers prefer the term "sexual horror" over erotic, as the sex in horror can be far from nice or arousing. "Erotic" can be stretched to mean graphic, intentionally explicit sex in a story meant for a pornographic market. The code word being "explicit."

6. Dark Fantasy -- A term that could arguably be applied to most horror and sometimes is, but generally it means a fantasy story that can have supernatural elements but is not the supernatural fiction of vampires, werewolves. etc.

7. Victorian -- Endless love, unnaturally close siblings, fanatical and lecherous elders, forced isolation, and lies, lies, lies.

8. English Gothic --Characteristic theme is the stranglehold of the past upon the present or the encroachment of the '"dark'"ages of oppression upon the "enlightened" modern era. Enclosed and haunted settings (castles, crypts, convents, mansions), gloomy images of ruin and decay, episodes of imprisonment, cruelty, and persecution are used to express this.

9. American Gothic -- Psychic breakdown plays a larger role. Although sometimes used as a synonym for "horror," it shouldn't be. Although there is academic debate, gothic can probably be identified by themes of a character being *trapped* -- by location, by family destiny, whatever. Joyce Carol Oates extends this to what she calls "assaults on individual identity and autonomy."  An entirely different meaning arises when Gothic or Goth subculture is referred to in connection with horror fiction. Any attempt to define Goth winds up stereotyping an extremely diverse subculture. It's also wrong and probably stupid and calling fiction "Goth" is just the same. Since the stereotypical goth wears nothing but black, too much eyeliner, and is full of gloom, pretension and angst, then I suppose "goth fiction" is the first form of literature to wear make-up.

10. Vampire Mythos -- Tales of terror featuring the undead.

11. Lovecraftian, Lovecraft Mythos, Cthulhu Mythos, etc. -- Terrifying tales set in and around the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft. As long as you have some idea of who H.P. Lovecraft was and what he wrote, these probably make sense. Lovecraft's fictional premise was that the world was once inhabited by another race of dark powers. Although cast out, they live on somewhere always ready to take the world back. "Lovecraft style" is florid and never stints on adjectives.

12. Noir -- Usually set in an urban underworld of crime and moral ambiguity. Dark, cynical, paranoid themes of corruption, alienation, lust, obsession, violence, revenge and the difficulty of finding "#CC0000"emption in a far from perfect world. An oppressive atmosphere of menace, pessimism, anxiety, suspicion, and dingy realism. You'll also find the term in combinations like neo-noir, future noir or noir sf, tech-noir.

13. Quiet (or Soft) Horror -- Subtle, never visceral or too shocking, with atmosphere and mood providing the miasma of fear rather than graphic description. The opposite of "Extreme."

14. Surreal -- Not really sub-generic, it can be used just to mean unreal; strange or bizarre. Or it can be used to tie a style to the surrealist movement in art and literature that attempted to express the subconscious and move beyond accepted conventions of reality by representing the irrational imagery of dreams and bizarre juxtapositions.

15. Suspense (or Dark Suspense) and Thriller -- No supernatural elements, but a constant sense of threat coming from an outside menace. Add a strong investigative angle and becomes mystery more than horror. Add action and adventure to suspense and you come up with "thriller" -- except you can have "supernatural thrillers."

16. Visceral -- A term, not a sub-genre, that refers to earthier, more reality-based or supernatural fiction with a tendency to be "in-your-face" with descriptions of the bad stuff -- but not as extreme as Extreme.

17. Weird -- Can be used in several ways. "Weird fiction" is sometimes used as a synonym for horror. It can also mean only strange, uncanny, supernatural stories or refer to a school of writing popularized by the pulp magazine "Weird Tales" that tended to be Lovecraftian or occult; more "traditional" horror. "Pulp" is also a word used to describe this type of tale, although "pulp" can also mean more action-oriented material.









1. Mystery --

2. Suspense --

3. Classic Whodunit --       

4. Political Thriller --

5. True Crime -- A story based on a factual event. 

6. Crime –

7. Forensic --





Shared/Open/Franchised World -- Can be either fantasy or SF. Pre-developed world/universe, usually popular and well known, that has been opened by original author/estate/publisher for work by other writers. Usually by invitation, but occasionally open to anyone. Examples: Lovecraft's Mythos, Star Wars, Asimov's Foundation, Sadler's Casca, Star Trek, Wildcards, etc.,




Cross Genre:

If you can establish genre lines, then you can cross them. When genres -- horror, fantasy, science, romance, speculative, whatever fiction -- start slipping into one another the Brits call it (appropriately) "slipstream."


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Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 08:34 am
...of HM are posted, and while from the first batch I recognised but one from my FList, in this I see 6 names that I can congratulate!  So, to all of you and the others, congratulations on fine writing, and good luck in future efforts!

John Glover of Virginia
Rob Haines of Wales, United Kingdom
Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon of Michigan
Christine Lucas of the country of Greece
Joyce Reynolds-Ward of Oregon
Wendy Waring of New South Wales, Australia

Write on!
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Thursday, October 1st, 2009 04:14 pm

See, even schools are preparing for it!

Disaster Preparedness

The end is near!
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Friday, September 25th, 2009 08:08 am
4) Dancing with the Stars
No real surprise with the eliminated.  Hamilton clearly lost ground from the lingering effect of his injuries, and Gray just did not have the attitude or flexibility to be outstanding. 

5) Fringe
While the ongoing storyline about the cross-dimensional effects and the hunter are interesting, the mole kid is so old hat that they really could have found a better episode showcase.

6) Hell's Kitchen
My ongoing beef:  Cummon people!  You KNOW what you are in for if you make this show.  You KNOW that this man is gonna be on your ass if you screw up, and that it is all part of the training to run a full, professional kitchen.  It you are thin-skinned, apply to Top Chef or something else.

Tonight there are quite a few shows I hope to check out.  Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Numb3rs, Dollhouse, Smallville...but one, at least, will take a back-seat to re-run season.  Friday is a crowded night for viewing, and we can DVR only so many in a single time slot, and not all channels have realized this to reshow the new stuff at a later time in the evening.
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Friday, September 25th, 2009 08:05 am
....and I see my name on it again!

Cool.  Is yours there too?  Or will we see it on the better lists, to be posted later?

Luck to everyone with subs to the third quarter batch!
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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 08:26 am
1) Heroes
First, anyone else notice the title of the book being read at the beginning?  A bit of cross-media dipping here, I think...

So far, and I do realize it's wayyyy too early to have a real opinion, this season (for me) is starting on a better note than last season closed on.  Claire: I DO hope she discovers a bit of the smarts she apparently left at high school. The dumb blonde thing is a stereotype.  Say it twice, thrice, and believe it.

2) The Forgotten
Pretty nice premise, and if the first pilot episode is an indication, it will be a good show.  The issue I can foresee is that the cases cannot get solved too "easily".  If these "Jane"/"John" Doe cases fall into the hands of the public because the cops can't work them from a lack of time and resourses, then they really need to be difficult for the outside groups to solve, too. 

3)  Dancing w/t Stars
Well, the women were a bit more impressive than the men.  This time I actually remained awake through the routines, whereas I left the men's night at half way from boredom. 

Anyway, that's all for now, folks!  Be back at the end of the week for the rest....
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Friday, September 4th, 2009 02:04 pm

Ok, this is just sad, IMO:

Goodbye, Old Friend

Good for Amazon and Sony, though.
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Friday, August 28th, 2009 10:26 am
For those amongst us here who are on OWW I have three works posted there seeking opinion - and I return any given!  Really!  So, if by chance you are a member there and haven't yet perused my little hardSF offerings, please stop by and jot a little something down.  They are (besides being listed under my member info):

The Good Child
Icebarge Downed (3k words - approximately the first half.)

I'm thick skinned and am really hoping to make these acceptable, so there is no need to sugar-coat, if inclined to. 
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Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 02:01 pm

Hint Fiction

This one is interesting - see the guidelines behind the link.  They are open until 8/31, so dust off that summarizing talent and get cracking!  25 words or less - whoa!

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Sunday, August 9th, 2009 08:26 pm
I go to movies for entertainment and for the effects - as such I have no problem seeing a remake.  I enjoy seeing older films with the newer effects, and that is one thing we get here - non-stop action with sweet effects.  Seamless?  Eh...nearly so but there are a few moments where it wasn't - quite.

I recall just last week that this film wasn't released to the critics for a pre-screening.  I had to wonder, but once I saw it, I noted something that have been a point in this decision.  And here might be spoilers -- was the director or producer also involved with the original "The Mummy"?  There are cameos by three of the main actors from The Mummy.  I won't name them, but they leap out if you are a fan of that flick, like I am.  There might have been others, but if so they didn't stand out.  Thing is, I bet critics would see this...

It was quite good, entertaining, and I'm sure that many will harp on the lack of plot or some other fallacy of the writers.  It seemed for this viewer to be well made, with a moderate story, fine effects, great action, and obvious opening for a sequel.  It was entertaing and non-stop.  As such it fulfilled my expectations, and I can recommend it.
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Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 03:58 pm
...set up Skype.  Just need a test call to se eif it is set up ok.  I can be found on the directory.  Anyone game?
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Saturday, August 1st, 2009 01:57 pm
Finally here, my take on 'The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales"!

This volume, delightfully edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, features 26 good reads, including mostly stories but also a few poems.  These works are based on, include, or based from Tricksters of lore and of those who were fond memories of the authors that could fit the tag of Trickster.  It is the third mythic anthology in this series, which includes "The Green Man" and "The Faery Reel".

First I have to note the attractiveness of the overall package.  This book is sweetly designed, from the layout to the cover & interior decorations by Charles Vess to the blurbs.  Clearly this is a volume deserving to be added to any collection, if not for the quality of the material included then for the pride of owning such a sweet book.

Inside is where I find the only real issue (for me).  I feel that the bio's on the authors with their commentary could have been shaved down.  These take up too much prime room, and while moderately interesting, eat up space that could have been better applied to another work or illustration.  This is really noticeable in the case of the poetry. 

Overall each story and poem in here is good, however,  there are a few tales in the volume that stand out for me.  Some notables are"One Odd Shoe" by Pat Murphy, "Black Rock Blues" Will Shetterly, which (for those keeping track of these things) features an African-American trickster, the only one in prose here, although the really great poem by Jane Yolen is from African lore, "Friday Night at St. Celia's" by Ellen Klagues, "Cat of the World" by Michael Cadnum, and a very thought-provoking story,  "The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change," by Kij Johnson.  Also I was quite taken with "Kwaku Anansi Walks the World's Web" by Jane Yolen, a tight short poem that drew me right in.

Whether you are into classic mythology, folklore, or just love reading modern fantasy, you will find a good read in thus.  I'll give it 4.5 Loki Chips out of a possible 5.
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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 09:05 am
So, in looking at genre labels, Wiki sez that Superhero is a subgenre of Fiction; so I have to feel that it is classed as its own genre, much like SF, Fantasy Horror, etc.  So my breakdown in classifying it would be much like this:

   a) Mutation/Genetic
   b) Artifical Enhancements
        1) Temporary
        2) Permanent
   c) Alien/Extraterrestrial
   d) Villian

Any additional suggestions/comments/enhancements?
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 04:28 pm
Being a catagorizer who takes comfort in lables, where would Superhero Fiction fit into the SF/Fantasy catagories?  Would it be slipstream/alternate histoy?  Urban Fantasy?  Or is it in it's own catagory, and if this is the case would it fit under SF or Fantasy? 
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Saturday, July 25th, 2009 11:37 am
Ok.  Maybe this has been an issue in the past, but now it is brought to the attention of the new management.  For me, personally, the only issue I have with the cover design is the blocky font.  It has been brought up as the the demographic of the primary readers of the magazine.  As such why now a smoother font, set to frame the cover instead of blocking into it?  The illustration is fine, and to me, indeed does reflect my conception of a mermaid.  Of course the eys can be more to the sides, but...

Going back to the history of the mag.  Who does not realize that this magazine has been around for a long time?  In this time has it not been under the same management?  And yet there are some who are second thinking their subscription because of - history?  Gimme a break.  This is new, (and from what I've read) open-minded management.  If they don't live up to things after the first subscript time runs out then drop them then.  Don't just judge becasue of the past.  That's a bit narrow minded, IMO.

And the business of the mag.  Selling magazines is a business.  If you can't make the sales you don't make the bills, and can't afford to keep it going.  As such, you, as the business, seeks to draw in new readers. If the strategy in the past was trying to draw in a younger male demographic with chainmail bikini clad white babes, then forget it.  They would grab the mag, rifle through it for more pictures, then toss it back seeing mostly ads and fantasy junk.  It would be just the same as having chainmail semi-clad Asian chicks with tommy guns on a Harley on the cover. 

However - recently I saw a post listing a recent top 10 selling books.  Fully half of these were fantasy, and 4 of these 5 were the Twilight series.  Now a question - how many ladies have teen age daughters and has read a story that makes them want to pass the mag to the child?  Thinking this way adds a readership boost possibility to all this.  Cover: Illustration to a story involving vampire romance taking place in a teen-angst circunstance, with a fanged vampire having a swooning teen girl head on shoulder.  Here you may just get new readers into the genre earlier.

Now am I dissing the current trend?  Nope.  What I'm saying in all this is to Ride The Wave.  Go with the current big things.  That will be a much better strategy, I'd think. 

And for other readers here - the cover thing?  Old news from old management.  Let it rest for a year, then blast it again if all this went in one ear and out the other.
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Monday, July 20th, 2009 09:12 am
What's the story with VoIP and Skype?  Finally scraped together enough moola to buy a new laptop to tide until the current situation is resolved, and it came with webcam and Skype.  Is this worth the salt of it's existance?  And if it is, how do I do it, anyway? 
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Thursday, July 9th, 2009 09:26 am
I have to back out of organizing a Fall 2009 session.  Pressure in the real world has me in a position where I cannot commit to any lengthy project, and has left my household computer-less.  I haven't the means to get a new laptop at this time, and using the job's electronics for other than a quick message or email is out of the question.  So, the options are: 1) Anyone on the waiting list interested in taking the workshop and willing to wait for spring can stay on the list.  Just post here or email me.  2) Someone can take over the task of orgainizing a fall workshop.  At this point there is about a month until the general starting time - the Fall usually begins appr. mid-August.  Plenty time still to get a group of 7-9 people going...

Anyway, my apologies.  And not having a computer sucks, btw.
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Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 01:00 pm

The ever-fantastic Flea King again demonstrates his awe-inspiring expertise working the innards of the Web!  Please check out his newest client's site - www.JAPitts.net as an illustration of his talent!

If this is something you are missing in self-promotion, then talk to him!  He is open for freelance work, and can be contacted here:


Been to Jay Lake's site?  That is another of Jeremy's fantastic projects completed to the satisfaction of the client!