About ogresan

Richard Parks' stories have have appeared in Asimov's SF, Realms of Fantasy, Fantasy Magazine, Weird Tales, and numerous anthologies, including several Year's Bests. His first story collection, THE OGRE'S WIFE, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. He is the author of the Yamada Monogatari series from Prime Books.

Story Time: The Fourth Apprentice

This week’s Story Time is a piece of original flash fiction, “The Fourth Apprentice.” Probably the less I say about it, the better. I was feeling a bit fey at the time.

 

As Always, “The Fourth Apprentice” will stay online only until next Wednesday, April 25. Then it will, mercifully, go away.

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Present…With an Explanation

All right, I’ll cut right to it–I had planned to have a review of Peter S. Beagle’s In Calabria (Tachyon, February 2017) before now. That the book is over a year old is as good an example as any of how useless I am to anyone as a review blogger, which makes me no never mind since that was never my intention here in the first place. Once I reviewed for magazines with deadlines and everything and I never missed one, but then I was usually getting paid for it. Now I pay for my own books, I review what I want to when I want to, thanks very much, and that’s all there is to it.

Ahem. Slight digression there. Regardless, I’m not ready to review the book because I’m not through reading it. That’s taking a while, and not because it’s a doorstop. It is definitely not. It’s a slim volume beautifully produced by Tachyon Publications, lovely to look at, and at first glance the sort of thing any halfway decent reader could tear through in an afternoon. So could I, if it was a book by almost anyone other than Peter Beagle. So some of you might understand that I am going slowly, savoring, and am in no bloody hurry to finish.

Another reason is that I always–always–approach Beagle’s work with a bit of caution, if not trepidation. Peter Beagle is never a light read, and I never come to it lightly. I understand that I might have my heart ripped out; it’s a risk that comes with anything of emotional depth and utter truth. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to get to his The Innkeeper’s Song, but in my defense I did so, but long after any such review would have served either the author or the publisher’s interest nearly as much as something less reverent but more relevant and–most important–timely might have. I’ll have to give my regrets in advance here, too.

Will I have it next time? Doubtful. But I’ll likely be a chapter or two closer, for what little that may be worth to anyone other than myself.

Sorry (Not a Bit Sorry).

Story Time: Lord Goji’s Wedding

Today’s Story Time is “Lord Goji’s Wedding” and no, not that Goji. It’s a story  within a story, or an alleged zen parable within a story, or two stories being told at the same time, or something of the sort. It first appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #15, back in January of 2005.

As always, “Lord Goji’s Wedding” will remain online until next Wednesday, April 18th, when it will be replaced by another Story Time.

Everything’s Conditional

Weird weather yesterday. First it snowed for fifteen minutes to a half hour, then the sun came out and melted the snow, then the clouds came back and it snowed again. Lather, rinse, repeat all day long. It felt something like being back in MS, getting the remnants of whatever latest hurricane had just pounded the coast. What we got further inland (other than wind) were bands of cloud and rain, one after the other until the storm completely dissipated. Substitute snow for rain and you get the same effect.

Speaking of conditions—other than weather—I’m going to talk a little about writing conditions, as in conditions favorable for getting something, anything, done. It’s a bit Captain Obvious to point out that this varies. Some people can work anywhere, such as a bookstore display window, which Harlan Ellison has famously done. Or in crowded, noisy coffee shops, which is so common as to be a cliché, these days. I’ve never needed an ivory tower myself, which is a darn good thing considering the rent. My only real need, however, I have to express as a negative.

I do not need a television screen anywhere within sight of me.

See, I was a TV baby, one of the generation that grew up after the darn things were ubiquitous. My earliest exposure to f/sf was not Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, or Robert Heinlein. Nope. It was (really dating myself even more now) The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Fireball XL-5 (to this day I can still sing that hokey theme song). Books came later, but at least they did arrive, thank goodness, but I never did completely escape the boob tube’s clutches. To this day, if one is on within sight of me it draws my attention, no matter what crap is on. I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it is. When I was a kid I would often do homework watching the Adam West Batman or Dark Shadows with no problem at all. However, I’ve tried writing in front of a TV and it’s just impossible. The best I ever managed was, while living in a small apartment, writing with my back turned to it where it functioned more like a radio. In that configuration I could turn it into background noise and get on with working. Anywhere in front of me? Forget it about it, and that holds true even today.

There are times when it would be more social and certainly convenient to work in front of one of those things, but it’s just impossible. Which is why I have to keep a library/study room wherever I am with no TV in sight. Computer screen? No problem, even with video streaming available, since it’s not the same thing. A TV?

That would be a “no.”