Useful Tools for Writers: Book Covers by Jacey Bedford

Self publish or self publicise?

Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published there’s a good chance that you’ll need to shout out about your new book release. It’s only a smallish number of best selling authors that have the might of their publisher’s publicity department behind them. The rest of us might get a few hours of a publicist’s time if we’re lucky. So that means getting your shoulder behind your own book and giving it a shove. To do that it helps if you have some good images.

There’s a website called the Free Online Book Mockup Maker

1 Winterwood 1I’m reasonably good with Photoshop, but this site makes life really easy. Instead of a flat cover you can present your books like this.

Or like this.

1 Rowankind 3

 

You can download your mock up as a .jpg or a .png. A .png file gives you the option of adding a background picture, like this.

Silverwolf sea

There are choices of template, so check it out and enjoy playing with it.

Thanks to Jane Friedman’s Electric Speed email for the link to Derek Murphy’s DIY Book Design

If you’re an indie author (or even if you aren’t) there’s a really interesting lesson on book cover design on Derek Murphy’s DIY Book Covers site . It takes forty-three minutes, but listen – it’s time well spent. I learned a lot, especially about keeping it simple. I’m very lucky, my editor asks for my input of the cover image, so this gives me some information on the kind of thing that works (and doesn’t).

Cover image quote

Remember, it’s not the job of the cover to sell the book, its job is to get the potential reader to pick it up. The sales pitch is the cover copy on the back. All your cover needs to do is to entice a potential reader to pick it up and turn it over.

 

 

 

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How (Not) to Write a Steampunk Novel by Gaie Sebold

I had one of those conversations, you know the way you do, about this idea that might be quite fun, which I hadn’t really thought through in any way at all, and then someone said how about you send us a proposal?

At which point I made that gulping noise, the one cartoon characters make where a big comedy bump sproings up and down their throat, and said, OK sure no problem.  Then I ran away to find a large glass of wine and hide in it.

Because I’d never done a proposal before.  And the writing sort is probably not quite as scary as getting down on one knee before the love of your life with intent to wed, or at least find out if they wouldn’t throw their arms up in horror at the very idea, but from my point of view it was pretty damn close.  I wasn’t committing myself to a life of togetherness but I was committing myself to trying to write down all the ideas that make up an entire novel.  In a few pages and fewer weeks.

Which meant I had to have them first.  And since what I had at the time of the gulp-making conversation was more a sort of tra-la-la airy sketch, not so much an embryo novel as a single lonely spermatozoa swimming around, looking lost, this was a bit of a challenge.

I did eventually come up with something that might look like a proper professional proposal through the wrong end of a telescope, if you squinted a lot.  Amazingly, my publishers went for it.

(I haven’t dared look at it since; I have no idea how much the finished novel ended up resembling that trembling and tear-stained mess – and yes I know emails can’t actually be tear-stained, but its very pixels were, I swear, imbued with trauma).

I read a lot about C19th Shanghai and China and the Opium Wars and re-read Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor and got quite depressed, because there was a lot of thoroughly ghastly behaviour going on and many people were having a very, very bad time.  And the idea of trying to write about this and turn it into anything other than a wail of nihilistic despair – which I was fairly sure wasn’t what the publisher was hoping for – was a teensy bit daunting.

But gradually Eveline Duchen, my heroine, started to come into focus among all the grimness.  A bolshie, determined, spiky young woman who’d survived by the skin of her teeth and developed a snarky sense of humour along the way.  Other interesting characters turned up.  I got to spend a lot of time looking up various outrageous Victorian phraseology and weird inventions and make up a few of my own, and things happened and there was stuff and somewhere in there among the rampant panic and utter conviction that I had no idea what I was doing I started having fun .

And somehow, eventually, I had a book.

And then I fell over for a few days, and then the editing notes came back, and then there was a cover, and there was a launch, and I was signing copies of a steampunk spy adventure story that I seemed to have written, still not entirely sure how all this had happened.
But it’s there, and it has a beautiful cover that I adore so much I’d marry it if it would have me.  And people mostly seem to like it, which is nice.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that it’s a funny business, this writing lark, and if you can find a way of doing it that involves less panic and slightly more certainty about what you’re doing, then you probably should, but sometimes things work out all right even when you are in a total flap about it all.

Besides, since then I’ve just about learned how to write a proper proposal.  Sort of.  Well, I had to, since they appear to be a necessary part of being a real grown-up author.   Which I suppose I am, now.  And I’m still not entirely sure how that happened, either…

Shanghai Sparrow
Eveline Duchen is a thief and con-artist, surviving day by day on the streets of London, where the glittering spires of progress rise on the straining backs of the poor and disenfranchised. Where the Folk, the otherworldly children of fairy tales and legends, have all but withdrawn from the smoke of the furnaces and the clamour of iron.

Caught in an act of deception by the implacable Mr Holmforth, Evvie is offered a stark choice: transportation to the colonies, or an education – and utter commitment to Her Majesty’s Service – at Miss Cairngrim’s harsh school for female spies.

But on the decadent streets of Shanghai, where the corruption of the Empire is laid bare, Holmforth is about to make a devil’s bargain, and Eveline’s choices could change the future of two worlds…

 

Gaie SeboldGaie Sebold
Gaie Sebold’s debut novel introduced brothel-owning ex-avatar of sex and war, Babylon Steel (Solaris, 2012); the sequel, Dangerous Gifts, came out in 2013. Shanghai Sparrow, a steampunk fantasy, came out from Solaris in May 2014. 2019 sees a new novella ‘A Hazardous Engagement’ from NewCon Press. She has published short stories and poetry, and had jobs involving archaeology, actors, astronomers, architecture, and art: most of them have also involved proofreading. She now writes, runs writing workshops, grows vegetables, procrastinates to professional standard and occasionally runs around in woods hitting people with latex weapons.
Find out more at http://gaiesebold.com/ 
Follow the latest scandal and tidbits from the world of Babylon Steel at http://scalentine.gaiesebold.com/

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Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations By Ben Jeapes

 

KomarrI read Lois McMaster Bujold’s Barrayar series at various points over the 90s and 00s, out of order and out of sequence, which is easy to do as they weren’t even published in order of internal chronology to start with. Last year I read what is probably the last to be published, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which is a nice coda to the series in general, tying up the story of the hapless, much loved spear carrier Ivan Vorpatril. Much of that story is told from the point of view of a complete stranger to Barrayar, and the narrative drops in shovelfuls of references to events throughout the earlier books. So much so that I decided there was nothing for it but to re-read the whole series, in internal order, starting with Shards of Honor and bracing myself months in advance for the final 500 words of Cryoburn, which it is scientifically impossible to read without welling up. (But that’s another matter.)

And as I read, I thought … hmm.

So, that’s where I got it from.

Okay.

Barrayar was settled by human colonists who were stranded on a hostile, barely terraformed planet when the sole wormhole linking them to the rest of the galaxy closed. That’s all pre-history to the series. Bujold gives us few details but it is clear that considerable social and ethnic upheaval followed until finally the planet was united under one Emperor, which was far from perfect but it stopped people killing each other so who’s complaining? But the Barrayarans clearly kept their memories alive and always knew whence they had come; hence, following their rediscovery by galactic civilisation six centuries later, within one man’s lifetime they go quite plausibly from a semi-feudal Hapsburgesque horse-powered empire to an empire of three planets, and a significant galactic power.

Phoenicia-JeapesWhich is totally unlike the hostile, barely terraformed planet La Nueva Temporada in my novel Phoenicia’s Worlds, which is settled by human colonists who are stranded when the sole wormhole linking them to the rest of the galaxy – well, Earth, there aren’t any other colonies – closes, and considerable social and ethnic upheaval follows.

And as if that wasn’t enough, my journey through the series has just brought me to the end of Komarr. The plot of which kicks off with our hero’s arrival on the titular world to investigate a possible act of sabotage that could stymie the terraforming process and render Komarr forever uninhabitable. Quite unlike the possible act of sabotage that stymies Nueva’s terraforming process and threatens to render the planet forever uninhabitable (to the considerable inconvenience of the 60 million humans inhabiting it at the time). I know for a fact that I last read Komarr in the late 90s, around the time I first began having the thoughts that would manifest themselves one day as Phoenicia’s Worlds …

I had genuinely, honestly forgotten that. I remembered how I was influenced by thoughts of the SOE and Augusto Pinochet; I remembered the broad strokes that helped me paint the picture; but I had forgotten Barrayar.

But, hey, so what? To any eyes but mine, that is where the similarity ends. Barrayar isn’t the first reverted human colony in science fiction either, and my Nuevans have one lifeline the Barrayarans didn’t – a slower than light starship, the eponymous Phoenicia, which can carry our hero on the 40-year journey back to Earth whence the wormhole can be re-opened. All the Nuevans have to do is keep alive for 40 years. Simple, surely? And not even the most jaded eye could see the sections of the novel that are set on La Nueva Temporada as speculative fanfic set on Barrayar in the early years of the Time of Isolation.

And even if it were, again I say – cry, even – pish and tush! So what?

In a pleasantly perceptive review – by which I mean, they liked it, and they Got It, and I agree with most of their points – Locus observed that Phoenicia’s Worlds “draws on a wide range of SF conventions, tropes, inventions and machineries … There are space elevators, orbiting pseudo-suns, matter-annihilation starship drives, wormholes that depend on quantum-entangled particle pairs, and so on. But the book seems more interested in those conventions as story enables than as Nifty Ideas in their own right – they are just there, Heinlein-style, as part of the environment the way they might appear to a character”.

Got it! They are indeed just there, and they have been since I was yay high. These are the building blocks of SF that I grew up with. These are our common heritage and we can build them up in any way we like. That is how it should be. I was also amused by the reviewer’s advice to readers, in describing the Nuevan set up, to “think of John Barnes’ Thousand Cultures stories”. Of which I’ve never heard; if anything my attitude towards future human cultures is informed by Cordwainer Smith’s Rediscovery of Man – a belief that we’re all heading towards some kind of homogeneity so ghastly that we will start to invent, or reinvent from the past, exciting cultural differences to break the monotony. But all that means in this case is that I repurposed someone else’s wheel.

Barrayar itself grew out of Bujold’s early Trek fanfic. And I’ll let you into a little secret. orther novels May Contain Spaceships. She too will have taken the building blocks available to us all, and made something new and unexpected and never seen before out of them. I can’t wait.

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, as the man said. It’s the only way to go.

Ben JeapesBen Jeapes
An overdose of TV science fiction as a child doomed Ben Jeapes to life as a science fiction author. He took up writing in the mistaken belief that it would be quite easy (it isn’t) and save him from having to get a real job (it didn’t). Hence, as well as being the author of several novels and short stories, he is also an experienced journal editor, book publisher and technical writer. His novels to date are His Majesty’s Starship, The Xenocide Mission, Time’s Chariot, The New World Order and Phoenicia’s Worlds. His short story collection Jeapes Japes is available form Wizard’s Tower Press.

His ambition is to live to be 101 and 7 months, so as to reach the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the arrival – as family lore has it – of the man responsible for his surname in the British Isles. He is English, and is as quietly proud of the fact as you would expect of the descendant of a Danish mercenary who fought for a bunch of Norsemen living in northern France. He lives in Abingdon-on-Thames and his homepage is at www.benjeapes.com.

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Character self-determination by Jacey Bedford

There’s one of those little graphics floating around Facebookthat says: Main Characters: You do everything you can to raise them right, and as soon as they hit the page they do any damn thing they please.

Yes, fellow writers, we can all grin at that because sometimes our main characters do go off and do something that we hadn’t originally planned for them to do, but if we’ve raised them right, i.e. drawn all aspects of their character well enough to make them a fully functioning, three-dimensional person, then whatever they do should arise from the character we’ve created. Whatever they do will be in character. And if it isn’t then we need to go back to the beginning.

Characters should have not only basic traits but quirks and flaws – consistent ones – and they need vulnerabilities to make them interesting. No one is going to root for a hero who gets it right all the time. A character’s bad decision is often what makes for a good story.

3bookpsitech

In Empire of Dust (DAW, 2014) Cara Carlinni makes a bad decision – possibly the worst of her life – before the book opens, and she spends the rest of the book trying to get out of the mess she’s created. Why did she make that decision? What drove her then and what drives her now?

UnityIt took me a while to sort that one out in my head. I knew Cara as a character, all the many different aspects that make her, for me, a real person, but it took listening to a John Tams song (from his fine album, Unity) to suddenly crystallise a central point. Everything was there in the character I’d already drawn, but I hadn’t joined the dots. When I heard the line I had a lightbulb moment.

The line is: ‘I must be getting easier to leave.’

Of course! That was what drove Cara. Her parents had split up when she was a child. She’d shuttled between them until her father died suddenly and she was dropped back in her mother’s lap. Her mother has had a series of new projects and new men, each one more important to her than the little girl who was always being left behind. Cara grows up and gets a job which sends her scuttling off for long periods (to the other side of the Galaxy, but the character motivation isn’t dependent on the SF setting) and in one traumatic incident she loses a lover, i.e. is left again. So when she’s offered something that looks like stability she grabs it. She puts her trust in the wrong person.

It’s the wrong decision, but getting out is not an option until it becomes the only option. What happens in the rest of the book follows on naturally from that.

Jacey-new hairJacey Bedford is a British writer of science fiction and fantasy, published by DAW in the USA. She has six novels out. In another life she was a singer with vocal harmony trio, Artisan, and once sang live on BBC Radio4 accompanied by the Doctor (Who?) playing spoons.

Empire of Dust is the first volume in the Psi-Tech trilogy, available from DAW. Crossways, and Nimbus are the second and third parts. She also has a historical fantasy trilogy out now, Winterwood, Silverwolf, and Rowankind, also published by DAW.

Blog: https://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/
Website http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacey.bedford.writer
Twitter: @jaceybedford

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How I Crit by Sue Thomason

The first thing I do is read through a piece “for fun”, as a story-reader. If I finish reading and think “Wow! How interesting! (and for an unfinished piece) “What happens next?” then I am happy to say that the story is successful in its current form. Yay! Not everything needs fixing…

Reader 07

If I am kicked out of the story by boredom, bafflement, irritation etc. then I try to note where this happens, and why it has happened: “I was finding the description of the spaceship launch really exciting until I got bogged down in the 4-paragraph description of the acceleration couches.” Sometimes at that point I can climb back on the narrative horse and continue the story-journey; sometimes I can’t, and have to continue in Second-Read mode. All stories will in any case get a Second Read.

In fun-read mode I’m hoping to be your Target Audience. In Second-Read mode I am trying to be your worst, pickiest critic, concentrating on looking at the trees rather than the forest. That phrase sounds awkward. Too many “s” sounds. That paragraph contains three sentences starting with “unfortunately”. Would anybody really say “By the way, Conrad, I wouldn’t mention Randall’s indiscretions to Captain Langford”? You don’t need those italics. Hang on, Randall is now bareheaded; wasn’t he wearing a hat on page 2? When did it fall off? Maybe during the fight on page 4; does that need mentioning or am I being too picky here? I need a better description of these aliens. Who is Arnulf? I didn’t notice the gun over the mantelpiece, you maybe need to paint it red, but that heavy hint about the Portal of Doom felt like having a brick dropped on my foot, couldn’t you just have it open with a menacing creak? All that stuff about the acceleration couches doesn’t really interest me, even if you’ve just spent 3 months designing them.

Reader 09

And then, after I’ve spent a while getting bogged down in the details, I read the story again. This time I’m thinking “Why is this story interesting/important/worth telling?” And, because I’m working on a personal theory that interesting stories don’t need Conflict, but they do need Causation and/or Transformation and/or Discovery, I try to identify actions that have consequences, causes that have effects, and I also try to identify what has changed or transformed in this story, and I ask myself what I have learned, what have I seen that’s new? Does this story raise some expectations in me as a reader, and then satisfy them? If I’m not satisfied, why is that? Is the story a pleasing shape? Where is my attention being directed? Do I like looking at this? And so on.

I have a fairly limited reading-comfort-zone, and I have failings as a reader. There are genres I never read for fun (horror, misery-memoirs), and story elements I struggle to enjoy (characters I don’t like or can’t engage with, for example). I dislike feeling that I’m being indoctrinated, condescended to, or manipulated. And sometimes I’m just stupid or ignorant; I miss the point, I misunderstand, I don’t get it. But sometimes reactions from someone who is not your Target Audience can be useful to a writer. No story can please everyone. I would like your story to work for me, but maybe it won’t. Maybe it can’t. Sometimes you should ignore everything I say about your story.

May I read it now, please?

Sue ThomasonSue Thomason lives in rural North Yorkshire, near the sea, with an ex-GP and up to 5 cats. Varied involvement with written SF has included a handful of published short stories, reviewing for both VECTOR and FOUNDATION, co-editing an anthology of locally-based SF/F stories, and being Chair of Milford.  She writes fiction mostly for her own entertainment and to find out what happens (often this surprises her). Her other interests include outdoor pursuits, gardening, classical/early/folk music, and collecting interesting or unusual paper clips.

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Self-Publishing: A Tiny Saga by Dr. Tiffani Angus

First posted posted on Tiffani Angus Blog in 2016

Because I am a lecturer in publishing and I teach creative writing, self-publishing often comes up in conversation in class. My only knowledge of it was from friends–their successes and failures–and from what I see on Twitter (that is, the constant spam from some writers). So I decided to try it out for myself, to get an idea of the steps required to go from manuscript to “book”. I didn’t do it with the idea of making any money; some things are done for the experience, not the results.

First up, I needed something to publish:

Hill WitchI’ve had some short stories floating around, pieces I’ve gotten good feedback on, but pieces without secure homes because they’re just odd and hard to place. I chose two: “Hill Witch” and “Litter.” They don’t share a genre (one is dark fantasy the other post-apocalyptic science fiction), but they share a theme: the consequences of accepting help from others. I also believe in the idea that things you like go together because they’re yours, like odd soft furnishings. So these are my throw-pillow stories!

Then, I needed to decide which platform to use:

There are dozens out there, but I decided to go with the big guns (you know, the one that starts with A and ends with mazon). Their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform walks you through the whole process.

Next, I had to set up my account and deal with the tax thing:

Easy enough.

Of utmost importance, I had to get a cover made:

There are people out there who make covers for self-publishing writers; they are easy enough to find on the internet. But I wanted to give work (and money) to a creative person I know, or someone I could get to know. Luckily, a friend of a friend is an artist and designs covers, so I sent him the stories and my ideas, along with a list of themes and images in the stories. He sent back this awesome cover. The contrast is especially striking and looks great even when the cover is a thumbnail–something to keep in mind when self-pubbing!

Then I just had to follow the steps:

The site talked me through the businessy stuff (titles, subtitles, categories, descriptions, keywords, and–very important–royalties). It also allows the user to see what the book will look like on a Kindle. This is a vital step because it’s where you see all the boo-boos. I fixed and re-loaded the file half a dozen times before I thought it was right. (And even then I was wrong! Please, don’t be like me and do this late at night and in a hurry because you promised to discuss it with your students the next day!)

Finally, you click “publish”:

And then the next night, as you are listening to a publishing-industry professional explain the ebook business to your students, it dawns on you that you’re a total idiot and used the word “Bibliography” instead of “Biography” on the last page of your manuscript. (Because you’re an academic and used to the last page of nearly everything containing a list of works cited!) So then you go home, click “unpublish,” fix the damn thing, “click “publish” again, and then turn your attention to PR. And that’s where things get…uncomfortable.

Doing PR Without a Buffer

What happens after you click “publish”:

Selling the stories. To the public. Those people out there: the ones with money.

Following a set of physical steps to go from A to B is easy. It’s the mental work that’s difficult. Every other time I’ve sold fiction, I’ve done so in an anthology or magazine market. That means that someone in a position of authority decided my work was good enough to pay me money. The fiction had been deemed good enough to send out into the world with their brand on it. Plugging that work was easy. I mean, it was still weird–asking people to buy what you’re selling always is, and likely always will be–but those stories had a patina of respectability.

Asking people to pay for something you’ve decided on your own is some level of “good enough” is embarrassing, to put it bluntly. I’m not only asking people to trust my writing; I’m asking them to trust me. This is difficult in the writing world, especially in the SFF world, and especially if you’re a woman in this world.

In the past few years, a lot of women including women of colour have been winning SFF awards, which makes the news each time. I’m sure it is driving many of the RPs and SPs a bit daffy (which is a GOOD thing),  but it’s the fact that it’s news that women sweep awards that is important; too often SFF is still seen as a white guy’s game, regardless of evidence to the contrary. People are often surprised when I mention what I write, especially in some academic circles. Add in the attitude toward self-publishing, and you can see how doing my own PR for my own work that no one else gave me permission to sell can be difficult. Is difficult.

At this point, I’m not 100% sure what to do about it, other than possibly re-read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking and remind myself of the question I used to ask myself five or six years ago when I doubted and wondered why me: why NOT me?

Self-publishing has evened out the playing field and made the publishing industry a bit more democratic, giving everyone the opportunity to ask themselves Why Not Me. But it’s that last word—me—that is most important, because you go from being just the author to being the editor, project manager, typesetter, seller, and PR machine. But it can be an eye-opening way of seeing what you’re ready for and what you’re made of.

If I wait around for someone else to give me permission to try to be awesome, I will wait forever.

Tiffani Angus teaches writing and publishing at undergraduate and post-graduate levels at Anglia Ruskin University. Her background in publishing includes several years working as an editor for an educational materials developer in the US; as a freelance writer/editor/proof-reader for educational, corporate, and private clients; and as a newspaper copy editor.

Tiffani is the author of short stories in several genres, mainly historical fantasy, and her debut novel about a “haunted” garden will be published in April 2020. A graduate of Clarion 2009, Tiffani is involved in genre fandom as a guest and panellist at SFF conventions.

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Five Kinds of Aliens by Sue Thomason

Originally posted on the Milford blog on 18th July 2017.

I think there are 5 kinds of aliens.

explosion-123690_640The first kind are The Enemy. Their aim is to destroy our way of life. They come over here, they don’t speak our language, they look funny, they take our jobs, they use super-advanced weapons of mass destruction on us. They are malign and scary – but we don’t have to get too scared, because in the end we know they cannot win. If they don’t end up being defeated by the superior strength, virtue and/or intelligence of a Chosen Few, they will undoubtedly be vanquished by the common cold, an inability to use stairs, or as a last resort they will explode with incomprehension when confronted with our sense of humour. I can’t help feeling that these aliens are a product of colonial guilt. We’re scared that They are going to do to Us what We did to Them. We maybe have not yet learned to distrust stairs. This kind of story may help us to confront our fear of Others without having to project that fear onto real individual human beings.

alien-1534979_640The second kind of aliens are benign superbeings who attempt to sort out some or all of our major problems. They are usually either humanoid (tall, pale, thin, bigheaded, bald) or bodiless “more advanced” quasi-spirit-beings (tech version of angels). Their efforts at uplift often fail, or have unforeseen unfortunate results. These aliens may also be a colonial if-only; Noble Administrators who want to improve the lot of lesser races species – what we would like to have been. The Noble Administrators tend to show up our imaginative deficiencies, in that we can’t work out for real how to be SuperNice, or how to solve our current problems. This kind of story runs the risk of encouraging inertia, either through complacency (“I don’t have to worry about this; the Superbeings will fix it”) or through despair (“Not even Superbeings can fix this; there’s no point in me trying”). We seem to be not very good at imagining people who are better than Us.

The third kind of aliens are cute-but-fierce pets: Chewbacca, the Kzin. They tend to demonstrate at least some of the dog/Boy Scout virtues; they also tend to be not quite as good as Us at something important to the plot. They like us (give or take a few wars in the past). These aliens are the lesser races species we were hoping to find out there, so that we could be nice to them, and they could be grateful to us. This kind of story is probably most helpful for people with allergies to dogs/cats/etc.

alien-1535082_640

The fourth kind of aliens are Weird Biology. Intelligent sea cucumbers. Intelligent hive-mind quasi-insect colonies. Intelligent vacuum-dwellers. Intelligent rocks. They come from a combination of human astonishment at the variety of known life, and the human tendency to personify everything. As beings they combine fascinating scientific puzzles (“What’s their metabolism? How do they communicate?”) with delightful exercises in empathy (“What does it feel like to be an intelligent rock?). The best of these stories are truly engaging and thought-provoking; the less good read like animated textbooks.

The fifth kind of aliens are Us.

Sue ThomasonSue Thomason lives in rural North Yorkshire, near the sea, with an ex-GP and up to 5 cats. Varied involvement with written SF has included a handful of published short stories, reviewing for both VECTOR and FOUNDATION, co-editing an anthology of locally-based SF/F stories, and being Chair of Milford.  She writes fiction mostly for her own entertainment and to find out what happens (often this surprises her). Her other interests include outdoor pursuits, gardening, classical/early/folk music, and collecting interesting or unusual paper clips.

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