Story Time: Judgment Day

In my old neighborhood there were many tree-shadowed streets, perfect for an evening walk. Besides the health aspect, those walks were really good for letting the mind go free as one does given half a chance. On one particular walk I was considering the theological question of man’s relationship with the infinite (as one does) and found myself wondering, “What if we’ve got everything exactly backwards?” I mean, we’re human. We tend to do that. Thus “Judgment Day.”

It was originally published in Realms of Fantasy back in 2000, and a more knowledgeable friend pointed out that it was a very Gnostic story, and I could see that she was right. This is the sort of thing the writer has pointed out to them after the work is done, usually, if at all. It’s not like we understand what we’re doing at the time, at least most of the time.

Today’s Story Time is “Judgment Day.”



Standard Disclaimer: “Judgment Day” will remain available until next Wednesday, February 7th. As for what replaces it, right now your guess is as good as mine.


Stanley Theater

Vault, Stanley Theater

First Reader and I took a trip on Saturday to an Antique sale being held at the old Stanley Theater in Utica, NY. It was our first time at the Stanley, but probably not the last, since these days it’s a venue for concerts and special events. It started out as one of the grand movie palaces of the earlier days of motion pictures, back in 1928. The first movie ever shown there was a silent picture titled Ramona, starring Delores del Rio, fairly appropriate since the style of the theater itself is described as “Mexican Baroque.” The exterior (which, alas, I didn’t get a shot of) is sort of a cross between the Alamo and a papal palace.

Vault Detail, Stanley Theater

While the theater started as a movie palace, it didn’t stay that way exclusively. Concerts and special appearances started very early on, as it hosted everyone from Jeanette McDonald to Gene Autry. The Stanley narrowly avoided destruction when all the movie palaces in the theater district were bulldozed in urban renewal projects of the 1960’s and 70’s, owing to the fact that it had been built four blocks away. It was later taken over by a local arts group and now serves as host to the Mohawk Valley Ballet and Utica Symphony, among others. Its stage has seen everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to George Carlin, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin and Third Eye Blind.

Photo by Carol Parks

Maybe I was more impressed with the Stanley than I should have been. After all, in the early days of motion pictures nearly every theater was a grand palace. I have vivid memories of the old Temple Theater back in Merdian, MS, which was still showing movies when I was a kid and was designed to resemble an Egyptian palace. It’s still there, I believe, though taken over by the Shriners as a meeting place years ago. It’s just that there are so few of them left, and with modern mutli-plexes and narrow seats it’s hard to remember what an event going to a movie actually was back in the day. It’s good to have these reminders, especially when they serve as arts hubs for entire communities.

Story Time: The Finer Points of Destruction

Today’s Story Time is “The Finer Points of Destruction,” originally published in Fantasy Magazine #1 back in 2005. I think it made five issues before it was combined with its online SF counterpart. As for the story itself, a floundering marriage counselor gets a case he coudln’t have handled on his best day, a Divinity, whose divine wife has ten separate physical and symbolic aspects, each and every one of them mad at him.


Standard Disclaimer: “The Finer Points of Destruction” will be online until Wednesday, January 31st, when it will be replaced. By something.


I’ve been playing a game of “dueling temperatures” with an old friend via email. I moved to New York State from Mississippi. My former home does not handle winter well. That is, when actual winter conditions occur, which is rare. But a lot of the south, from Texas to Georgia has seen significant snowfall, whereas here the temperatures have varied from -17F to +43F. So snow one week and rain the next. Then everything freezes. The difference is, an inch or three of snow down there is a “We’re all gonna die!” situation. They’re not equipped for it because it happens rarely and you don’t spend your budget on snowplows that are (almost) never going to be needed. So how difficult things are is mostly a matter of perspective.

Which applies to almost everything.

Whenever I’m feeling down about how little I’ve accomplished, it’s good to stop and remember that there was a time, writing wise, when I had accomplished exactly nothing, except to write a bunch of beginner stories that no one other than I and much put-upon First Reader were ever going to see. When I had written novels but never sold any, but then graduated to an entire four book series. Now when I’m holding fire on three novel projects, I can remind myself that I can do this, I’ve done it before, and there was a time when none of that was true.

It’s too easy to forget that, no matter what stage you’re at. If you’ve written stories but not sold any (if that’s your goal), at least you’ve written. Same for writing a novel. Maybe you’ll publish, maybe you won’t, but most people who start a novel never finish it, and maybe you did. That’s something, and it’s a whole lot more than nothing.


New Story Time: The Funambulist

Today’s Story Time is another original piece of flash fiction, “The Funambulist.” A few of these I’ve done, like this one, have no fantasy content whatsoever. I’m not sure what that means, other than perhaps it’s harder to fit that into so few words, but then I’ve done flash fantasy and SF as well. What it probably means is that this, for whatever reason, is the story I wrote.

“The Funambulist” will be online until next Wednesday, January 24th, when it will go away and be replaced by, thank you Captain Obvious, something else.