Gort & Klatuu


I'm going to be a panelist at DeepSouthCon this coming weekend. Here is my schedule.

Main Programming: Fly Me to the Moon--How Do We Get There, What Do We Do When We're There--
Les Johnson, Wm. Ledbetter (m), G. Patrick Molloy, Stephanie Osborn

Main Programming: Moon v. Mars--Wm. Ledbetter, Travis Taylor, Tony Daniel (m)

Madison: Access to Energy = Access to the Stars—Jim Beall,Les Johnson, William Ledbetter, Travis
Taylor, Tony Daniel (m)
Gort & Klatuu

The Gruff Variations

My story "Bridges Dark and Distant" is now available in a new charity anthology called The Gruff Variations. As implied by the title, the stories are all derived from the old Three Billy Goats Gruff tale. It's edited by Eric James Stone and is packed with charming, amazing and imaginative tales by an all star list of writers, including New York Times best-selling author Shannon Hale, award-winning children's book author Rick Walton, Hugo Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal, Edgar Award finalist Dene Low, and Nebula Award nominees Nancy Fulda and Brad R. Torgersen.

100% of the proceeds from The Gruff Variations will help buy books and school supplies for underprivileged children.

Buy at Amazon | Buy at Smashwords | Buy at Barnes & Noble
Gort & Klatuu

ConDFW schedule

I'll be at ConDFW in two weeks (Feb. 17-19th) and here is my schedule. I'm gonna be one bizzy con rat!


Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
4pm – Life As We Know It: The Astronomy of Class M Planets

Panel Room 1 - Warwick
6pm - The Aspiring Writers Panel

Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
9pm – Yard Dog Press Road Show


Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
10 am – Constant Push: The Race for Constant Propulsion

11 am – Carole Nelson Douglas, William Ledbetter, Michelle Muenzler

Panel Room 2 - Manchester
12pm – Destroying the Universe One Butterfly at a Time: Time Travel and You!

Panel Room 1 – Warwick
2pm – Arming Tribbles - How to Arm Primitives Realistically

Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
4pm – Soaring Ships and Swashbuckling Sentients: Trends in Space Opera


Panel Room 1 – Warwick
10am – Dodging Asteroids: Living in the Solar Belt

Panel Room 1 – Warwick
11am – Fire in Space: Describing Zero G Disasters

Panel Room 1 – Warwick
12pm - The Magic of Science: Trends in Science Fiction

Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
2pm - Self-editing Err0rs

full of stars

A Sale!

I just sold my story "Square One" to Something Wicked. This is the second story of mine they've printed. They're a great publication from South Africa, very slick, awesome artwork, great stories and the editorial staff are real pros.
full of stars

What We Want - Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest

Several writers have recently asked if there are things we see too often or not enough in the entries for the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest, so here are a few observations that might be helpful. But please keep in mind, these are just generalities, if you send an awesome story that floors us and is in the ballpark, we can ignore a lot of the smaller things.

-Plucking a typical love story or revenge story from a Kansas City suburb, and dropping it into a moonbase doesn't make it science fiction. Stories like that start out with a strike against them and usually don't go very far. Your best bet is to make the space/science fiction aspect an integral part of the story. The plotline should collapse without it. (ex. "Dune" w/o the spice, or "Cat's Cradle" w/o Ice9)

-One of the contest sponsors is the National Space Society, who advocate space colonization. NSS members want to see and are working to promote, a large, expanding and permanent human presence in space.  So if you've read the past winning stories, you might notice that most of them tend to have positive or upbeat endings. That doesn't mean we can't have an "unhappy" ending, but you probably wouldn't get very far with a cautionary tale where everyone dies, because human space exploration and technology are shown as evil or unwise.

-Several of the past judges (myself included) have expressed a desire to see more stories that actually take place in space. Not just talking about it on the ground.

-Think outside the box, but not outside the Solar system. A lot of writers hobble their imaginations based on what they see in mass media. Too many think that they need hyperspace drives or aliens to make an exciting space story, but just think of the amazing worlds, strange environments and endless possibilities that abound in our own solar system. There is a thousand years worth of adventure in our own back yard, and many writers just ignore that.