February 26, 2014
Abyss & Apex magazine has decided this year to drop its subscription firewall and make all of its archived fiction available for free. That’s a whole lot of excellent stories you can now sample without charge. A couple Abyss & Apex pieces I’ve recommended in the past are “Deutoroi” by Samantha Henderson and “The Coldest Room in the House” by Lon Prater, but there’s plenty more good stuff to be found there.
This also means my story “Random Fire” is now publicly available. I’m very happy about this, because that particular story was deliberately written for publication on the Web, so I’m glad to have it accessible there for free. The story does not work quite right in other formats. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean. It’s my most gimmicky story so far, and my only attempt at time travel, but I’m still rather fond of it.
February 25, 2014
At InterGalactic Medicine Show‘s editorial blog, Side-Show Freaks, IGMS has been posting authors’ notes about the stories in the new issue. Here is my post about “Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest.”
February 20, 2014
My story “Butcher’s Hook” has sold to Electric Spec magazine. I wrote “Butcher’s Hook” in 24 hours at the Writers of the Future workshop, something I absolutely did not think I could do, until I did it.
Electric Spec is a small fiction webzine, which has published a lot of top-notch stories, for instance this one I recommended recently at the Fantastic Reviews Blog. “Butcher’s Hook” is scheduled to appear in the March issue.
January 23, 2014
Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show has posted its January 2014 issue, which includes my story “Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” (illustration by Nick Greenwood). The January issue also has stories by such excellent authors as my fellow WOTF winner Marina Lostetter, Alex Shvartsman, Catherine Wells, and others
IGMS charges a $15 subscription fee, but for that you get everything they publish this year, plus access to all their archives. You can start with a couple I’ve recommended in the past: “Write What You Want” by Eric James Stone and “The Hanged Poet” by Jeffrey Lyman.
“Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” is a contemporary fantasy, set on Mercer Island, Washington in the late 1970’s, where I grew up. The story begins:
Unreal Forest, under the silver fog of a winter dawn. That’s where we waited for the school bus in junior high.
We could hear the bus coming four to five minutes before it arrived, its ancient engine growling like an irritable dragon. We lived on the absurdly winding road tracing the perimeter of Mercer Island, back before you had to be filthy rich to live there, when the houses were fewer and smaller, tucked under a dense canopy of trees. On a sunny day, we’d spot the bus on the next curve over, before it dove back into the bend. But we didn’t get many sunny days in the Pacific Northwest. Come mid-October, mornings were too dark to see the next curve.
And most days, a feathery fog descended until you felt yourself floating in a cloud bank. We wouldn’t see the bus until it parted the mists less than fifty feet away. Within seconds, the door opened in front of us, the bald-headed driver glaring and urging in a monotone, “Hurry up please it’s time.”
How I hated that spot, until I learned it wasn’t real.
If you happen to get a chance to read “Seven Tips,” I’d love to hear what you think!
October 17, 2013
I just got word that my story “Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” has sold to Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show!
I’m hugely excited about this for several reasons. First, I was working on another long, discouraging streak of rejections. Second, IGMS is one of the best markets in the field. Just in the past year, it has published work by such top-notch writers as Eric James Stone, Ken Liu, Nancy Fulda, Matthew Rotundo, Rahul Kanakia, Beth Cato, and many many others. It’s great to be in company like that. Third, I really believe in this story, but it’s not heavy on genre elements, so I wasn’t sure it would sell even though it’s gotten a lot of positive feedback. I’m very happy editor Edmund Schubert was willing to take a chance on it.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, IGMS is a SFWA-qualified market. This is my third sale to a qualifying market, which means I am eligible to join the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. By rule, the real writers have to let me in the clubhouse!
Incidentally, “Seven Tips” is the story I will be reading at MileHiCon this weekend, and I’m bringing cookies, so if you’re in town come check it out.
October 16, 2013
I will be at Mile Hi Con 45 here in Denver all this weekend, October 18-20, 2013. In addition to wannabes like me, there will be amazing people like Paolo Bacigalupi, Seanan McGuire, and Catherynne M. Valente. Here is my schedule:
Friday, 8:00 p.m. If I Had the Franchise, The Reboot I’d Make. Tim Anderson (M), Tonee Bagley, Karen Bjorn, Van Aaron Hughes, Alan L. Lickiss
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. Top 10 Fantasy Films. Jesse Bullington, Van Aaron Hughes (M), Chaz Kemp, Carrie Vaughn, Connie Willis
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. Patent-ly Ridiculous. Arlen Feldman (M), Van Aaron Hughes, Thea Hutcheson, Stace Johnson, Rebecca Lickiss
Sunday, 3:00 p.m. Author Reading. Aaron M. Ritchey & Van Aaron Hughes
Yes, you read that right. I personally will be moderating a panel with folks like Connie Willis, Carrie Vaughn and Jess Bullington. Do I get some coolness by association?
Hope to see you there!
Apologies for not posting anything here in recent months. I even neglected to mention a very nice review of my story “The Long View” by Mark Watson at Best SF. Mark reviewed all the stories in the March/April 2013 issue of F&SF. Discussing my piece “The Long View,” he called it “Excellent SF” and praised the story’s viewpoint and characterization. His review of the issue concluded:
Wowza, an issue bulging with 10 stories, with pretty much something for everyone. Van Aaron Hughes and Albert E. Cowdrey being my picks.
Thanks for that, Mark!
April 21, 2013
I neglected to mention over here that Bracket #5 of the Fantastic Reviews Battle of the Books was won by Keith Brooke’s Harmony (published in the UK under the title alt.human). Congratulations to Keith Brooke, who becomes our fifth winner, joining Elizabeth Bear, James Renner, Ian Tregillis, and Paolo Bacigalupi.
Also, my full review of Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear, the winner of the very first Battle of the Books, is up at Fantastic Reviews. New Fantastic Reviewer Patty has also posted a review of God’s War by Kameron Hurley.
Finally, at the Fantastic Reviews Blog, I have made a Story Recommendation of the Week for “The Visited” by Anaea Lay, while Patty was kind enough to post a Story Recommendation of the Week for my story “The Long View.”
A lot of cool stuff to check out!
April 3, 2013
The Book of the Week from my collection is the first American paperback edition of The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. This is the Ace “pirated” edition. Read more about it, and about why so much of this book is omitted from the animated Lord of the Rings films, at the Fantastic Reviews Blog.
February 26, 2013
Reviews for the March/April 2013 issue of F&SF are starting to come in, and Chuck Rothman at Tangent Online was exceedingly kind in discussing my story “The Long View,” concluding:
Van Aaron Hughes has written a powerful work of tragedy with an ending whose sadness stayed with me.
Thanks, Chuck! Lois Tilton was not quite so kind over at Locus Online (“Unfortunately, the story is all recitation and never comes to life.”), but she has been tough on a lot of terrific writers, so I can certainly live with that.