Can you believe it’s already the end of August? Man the summer sure flew past!
Over at Abandoned Towers things have been flying pretty fast too. We’ve had all sorts of cool stuff come in during August. New cartoons, new stories, new poems, new odd reviews and new… everything.
The big news now, of course, is that issue #4 is right around the corner. And since we only publish 3 issues a year, guess what that means? We’ve been in business for a year! Issue 4 goes live on Nov. 1, and to give you a taste of what’ll be in it, here’s an excerpt from Timothy McDaniel’s science fiction story “Everyone’s a Critic”
Melton was unsure of what had awakened him. He was still very sleepy; perhaps a truck had rumbled by on the road outside his apartment window. It was 10:42 according to the bedside clock; sunlight was pushing through his window blinds.
Well, he was awake now, and he might as well get that manuscript to the post office. Every moment of delay would be another moment in which he was denied the fame that publication would surely bring.
He threw off his blankets. The room was a bit chilly, and he was in his underwear, so he snagged his fuzzy robe off the floor and pulled it around him. He'd get a quick shower, then off to the post office, and then have a snack before going back to sleep.
Melton was tying his robe as he left his bedroom. He glanced right just before he entered the bathroom, and found that he was not alone in the apartment.
A man sat at his computer, a floppy disk in his hand. He looked up, and seemed as startled as Melton, his eyes wide and his mouth open. He was youngish, tall and thin, no more than twenty or so, with cropped brown hair and a black sweater and jeans.
The man seemed unarmed, and more than that, he seemed scared. This gave Melton a certain measure of bravado. "Who are you?" he croaked -- well, maybe the trace of bravado hadn't quite made it to his voice. He began casting his gaze about the apartment, looking for a possible weapon. The only thing that looked at all useful was the floor lamp, and he began edging that way.
The man stood up, his hands outspread in supplication -- and now Melton saw "Revenge" magic-markered on the label on the floppy the man was holding -- the disk with his latest story!
Given confidence by this surrender, but his throat still dry, his heart still hammering, Melton repeated his question. "Well? Who are you, and what are you doing here?" He seized the floor lamp. Could he cross the room, and get to the phone in the kitchen? He wasn't sure.
The man seemed to search for words, and then said, "Excuse me. I'm a thief." His voice was strangely accented, like he usually spoke German or Japanese or something.
Melton saw the man's eyes flicker towards something on the coffee table -- a small plastic device that looked like a remote control, except that it had little blinking blue lights on it.
The man saw Melton's look, and lunged for the device, but as he snatched it up Melton got a good hold of the floor lamp and swung it like a hockey stick. It connected with the man's hand, sending the device hurtling against a wall where it cracked open, spilling electronic innards onto the carpet.
Melton brought the lamp back up and waved it threateningly at the stranger, but the man, unimpressed, simply stared at the remains of his device. Then he slumped in the chair, cradling his hand.
"Who are you?" said Melton.
The man looked up. "My name is Reginald Jordan," he said.
Jordan -- that was in Syria, Melton thought. Middle Eastern, anyway, though the guy didn't really look it. Probably a terrorist of some kind.
"Who the heck are you?"
Just then there was a cracking noise as the wood around a lock splintered, and the front door flew open. A tall woman strode into the room like an avenging fury. Melton squawked and scrambled away, trying to keep equally distant from each of the strangers. He clutched the lamp close in front of him. The cord popped out of the outlet with a jerk.
The new arrival looked to be about the same age, equally thin, but was much shorter, and with orange -- not red -- hair. In her left hand was a device like the one Melton had demolished.
She threw a string of nonsense syllables at the man, and he responded similarly.
"Hey, hey, English!" said Melton, raising the lamp threateningly. Then he lowered it again. It was heavy. "Who, I mean what, are you? What's going on?" The woman just looked at him. "You'd better talk!" said Melton, raising the lamp again, breathing hard. A cold sweat plastered the sleep-frizzed combover against his forehead.
"We might as well," said the man, in English. "You don't know what a man of his sensibilities might do with that pole. Besides, who'd ever believe him?"
The woman nodded, reluctantly. "I guess you're right."
Melton lowered the lamp again. "So? Who are you?"
"I am Literary Agent Susan Trout." The woman gestured to the man. "Agent Reginald Jordan."
"You are a writer, Mr. Welch," said Agent Jordan.
"Why, yes!" Melton smiled, putting down the lamp. "But I haven't been published yet. If you're an agent, maybe.."
"We know. You've been sending out manuscripts, and they come back with form rejections, or are lost in the mail."
"How could you know that? I don't know you people. Are you from the magazines? You hardly needed to break in here, just to see my work..." Melton's voice trailed off. It had occurred to him that these people were trying to steal his work, not publish it.
"No, Mr. Welch. We are not from the magazines. We're from the year 2434, actually. We're with an organization called the Futurians."
"Well, it sounds better in our language."
"It's some local fan club, right? You probably want me to give a talk to your group? But busting in my door…”
"No, Mr. Welch. We're from the future. We've come back in time to make sure that you never get published."
In other news, the Writer’s of the Future and Illustrator’s of the Future awards for 2009 were just held. The Writer’s of the Future contest has been held for 25 years as of this year, and most of the big name science fiction authors were involved in it some way. This year was glittering, and web cast to a global audience. They are important contests, not only because the winners are handed fairly large cash prizes, but because they’re incredibly good stepping stones toward a serious writing career. Here at Abandoned Towers we’re doubly pleased. One of our favorite authors, Jordan Lapp, and one of our artists, A.R., Stone were both winners this year.
If you haven’t heard of Writer’s of the Future, you should really check ‘em out. And get a copy of this year’s anthology too.
That’s all for now. Until next time, have a nice day.