Friday, June 21, 2024

New Story from Michael F. Flynn

 Greetings All. 

 



Mike (Dad) has a new story in the July/August edition of Analog. I know Analog is available on Kindle store and Analog themselves also sell digital editions. It may also be available at your local bookseller. Check it out!  It's a story called "Mandarins," an idea he and Harry Turtledove were bouncing around some years (decades?) ago between themselves. Their joint work never came to fruition, but before he died, Dad worked on it himself and sent it in and now Dad's left you all with this little amuse bouche.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Gloria Estefan Was Wrong

 

It's not the rhythm that's going to get you. 

It's the bots. 

I've turned comment moderation on for The TOF Spot because it was overrun with spam comments. I just don't have the time or the energy to be on here daily like Dad was (lol or weekly or...) and I guess since the blog isn't really maintained anymore, the bots are just throwing up trash comments on his more popular posts. I've just spent time deleting them all, and there's still more to go through. 

It's offensive to me personally that they're posting on his death announcement, even though I know it's a bot and not necessarily malicious in that sense. They were also all over that Ptolemaic Smackdown post, which I know was a more popular one of his.

Anyway, I set it up to notify if there's a new comment so ... let's see how terrible this is. If I get a ton of notifications of spambots then ah well. But maybe the closed comments will turn the bots away in search of a recipe blog instead.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

In The Belly of the Whale: Publisher's Weekly Review & Pre-Order Links

 Hello Fans of Michael Flynn.

In the Belly of the Whale
I am pleased to let you know that Dad's novel In the Belly of the Whale will be released by CAEZIK on July 16, 2024. It has received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, which you can read here. Publisher's Weekly calls it "thought-provoking" and "an impressive and original epic."

If you're wondering where and how you can get your hands on it, no worries! Several retailers already have pre-order links available for you.Of course folks outside of the US know your booksellers better than I do - I just went with what I could find.

US Retailers

Amazon Pre-Order

Barnes & Noble Pre-Order

Powell's Pre-Order 

Books-A-Million Pre-Order 

Oblong Books in Upstate NY Pre-Order 

 Canadian Retailers

Indigo Books Pre-Order

Australian Retailers

Mighty Ape Pre-Order 

UK Retailers

WH Smith Pre-Order 

Swedish (I think) Retailer

Science Fiction Bookhandeln 

German Retailer

Lehmann's Pre-Order

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Wonder and Anticipation, the Likes of Which We Have Never Seen

 

Hello family, friends and fans of Michael F. Flynn.  

It is with sorrow and regret that I inform you that my father passed away yesterday, Sept 30, 2023. 

He was sleeping peacefully in the home that he loved. His father built the home 70 years ago and my dad had an outsized attachment to it. Many happy memories of his childhood and of his parents, and his brothers, especially Dennis, were contained herein.  

If you met or corresponded or conversed with Dad then you know that he was interested in a great many things in the world. If he asked you a question about something, it was because he really wanted to know, he wasn't just being polite.  He liked to take the "devil's advocate" position in debates and arguments, especially political ones, much to the annoyance of my mother and probably many others. Dad was looking for a robust exercise in intellectual and rhetorical swordplay; he just didn't always see that sometimes people just want to have a conversation without being en garde.

He had the ultimate dad sense of humor, and had an endless supply of terrible jokes, puns, and groaners, even when he was in the hospital in July. In "real life," he was a very easy going person. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have heard my dad yell or curse.

At his death, he had a lot of tabs open on his browser, on a variety topics. He always sought to learn about different things. Some of it was for his writing, some for the extensive family research he has always done, and some of it was just because he wanted to learn more about the universe, the planet we live on, and the people around him. 

So if you take anything away from your time reading his works, his blog, interacting with him on social media or elsewhere, forget the politics and social commentary and the devil's advocacy, but take away that he was someone who just wanted to learn and engage with others, and keep that piece with you in your lives. 

- His Daughter.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

A gratuitous commen

 

from editor, Cat Rambo, in re In the Belly of the Whale. 
 
"I absolutely loved this rollicking, expansive generation-ship world and the voice in which it’s told, a folksy but expansive epic full of wordplay and wonder. So much fun, and such a great cast of characters. While sometimes it felt like an awful lot of characters, they all manage to be distinctive and interesting, with dips in and out of their consciousnesses that showcase how powerful omniscient point of view can be."
 
 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Scrivening Part 7: Show and Tell

 

Showing/Telling

Since the rise of movies followed by television, the common imagination has shifted from words to images, from logos to ikon. Narration is in disfavor. Show, we are told, don't tell. But we ought to be judicious about it. There are a variety of ways to show things.
1. Use evidence to support your claim. Compare...
Betsy was worried.
versus
Betsy fiddled with the bottles on the sideboard, casting glances over her shoulder at the door. Once, hearing footsteps in the hallway, she muffled the clinking of the bottles and held her breath until the footsteps continued on their way.
Don't tell us Betsy is worried, show her being worried. Make the Reader worry
also. As you can see, this may use a lot more word count; so...
1a. You don't have to show us everything.
Telling is useful for passing time or informing the Reader without belaboring the point. Showing is best for emotions, opinions and sensations. 
Telling is best done by having one of the characters think it.
Adam watched Betsy fuss with the bottles. The way she kept glancing toward the door, Adam thought she was worried about something. Should he be worried, too?
2. Replace abstract with concrete, and vague descriptions with specific sensory details   
Compare
Fanghsi said anxiously, “No Officer, you; so how you fly with birdies?” Her explanation did nothing to reassure him.  

versus
 
Fanghsi broke the silence. “No Officer, you; so how you fly with birdies?” Anxiety oozed from him like juice squeezed from a melon. Her explanation that the bodyguards were a gift from her “particular friend” did nothing to reassure him, and he muttered something about waving bright colors at bees.
-- In the Belly of the Whale (Flynn)
 
3. Avoid too much body language.
Mary opened her eyes and looked at the clock. Her heart nearly leapt out of her chest. The baby had slept nearly eight hours. But little Jane never slept more than four hours at a time. Something must be wrong. 
Not again. Her stomach rolled over when she remembered the last time a child of hers had slept too long.
That's very showy, but with the leaping hearts and rolling stomachs, it is as if the whole universe were contained in Mary's body. Compare that to...
Mary opened her eyes and squinted in the sunshine streaming in through the open window. She stretched, feeling more relaxed than she had since... 
She sat up and looked at the clock. It was after eight. Little Jane had slept through the night. For the first time. 
Just like Billy. 
Mary flipped the covers back and stood. She snatched her robe from the back of the chair and slipped it on. She wouldn't think about Billy. The doctor said it wouldn't happen again. The odds against it were astronomical. 
Billy had been nearly six weeks old. Jane was almost two months. It was different this time. It had to be.
 -- Diane Callahan, Quotidian Writer, citing editor Robin Patchen
Thoughts cause emotions which cause actions, as any good Aristotelian would know. Show the thought and show the act, let the Reader deduce the emotion from these. 
4. Show emotion through dialogue

In the following excerpt, the harper and the scarred man are discussing a point in a story the latter has been telling her. As usual, I see things I would have done differently today, but the dialogue does show the clash of personalities

"...But, come, drink!”  He raises his uisce bowl on high.  “Drink to the quest!”
The harper disagrees.  “The quest itself means nothing.  The heart of the matter is Jason – and Medea – not the Fleece.  The Argonauts could have sought anything, and their fates would have been the same.”
The scarred man strikes the table top with his flat, and the bowls and the tableware, and a few nearby drinkers, jump a little.  “No!  What you seek determines how you fail.  Had Jason sought a Tin Whistle or an Aluminum Coffee Pot instead of a Golden Fleece, the failure would have run quite differently.”  

“More musically in the first case,” the harper allows, “and with greater alertness in the second.  But, must it always end in failure?"

“Always.”  

“Your cynicism extracts a price.  You can never know the thing in itself, because you always look past it for a hidden reality.  I would think all failures alike.  Coffee Pot or Golden Fleece, failure means you haven’t obtained what you sought.” 
“No,” the scarred man mocks her.  “Each failure is inevitably, enormously different from all the others.  Each man who seeks does so for a different reason, and so can fail in a different way.  Hercules failed in the quest for the Fleece; but his failure was of a different sort than Jason.”  

“Jason secured the fleece,” the harper points out.

“That was his failure.”

--  Flynn, The January Dancer

 

 A second reason for the ascendancy of pictures over words is that not only has the imagination of Western readers become primarily visual -- some pages of graphic "novels" may contain no words at all -- but also because much of what once needed description no longer does. Nineteenth century novels featured lush descriptions of places because their readers had likely never sen them. Nowadays, most have seen them on TV or movies that little telling is needed to evoke the place. 

The old word-oriuented media required time. Reading wants silence and logical skills. But the visual iconic media employs brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings. Compare older movies or even TV show with newer ones, and note hoe scenes have become quicker and sometimes exist only to deliver a couple of lines of snappy dialogue. The writer today faces the challenge of imitating the 'shows' without sacrificing the logic.

 


Friday, May 12, 2023

Teo

 Teodorq sunna Nagarajan has joined an expedition tasked with evaluating the"serving tray" as a suitable observation post for the Nooby Empire. The bulk of the party consists of a squad of rangers, who ride the borderlands tracking down outlaws, bandits and other malefactors. In this scene, Sharn Nickle is a part-time deputy marshal who drives the chow wagon. He is a settler, whose ancestors had once fled the Empire.

 

The stormwind howled and fanned the rain horizontal. It lifted cloaks and punchos as if it deeply resented the oilcloth keeping their wearers dry. The canvas cover on the chow wagon whipped free of its bows and snapped maniacally,

And the rangers began to sing.

It was hard to make out the words, or even the tune, as the wind scattered them like so much detritus, but Teo paused while helping Sharn secure his cover and tried to make it out.

We’ll track through the night

Or by sunlight so hot,

For we are the Rangers

And you poor sods are not.

We’ll turn our face toward snow and ice,

Toward wind, rain, dust, or heat (yes, sizzling heat)

For we are the Rangers

And never know defeat.

“Catchy tune,” said Teo as the wind died off and the rain softened to a steady cascade. “Too bad they didn’t catch it.”

Sharn yanked a stay-rope tight, glanced up the column, then back to the task at hand. “Imperials are full of themselves.”

Teo shrugged. “Long as there’s enough self to fill ‘em. Or are they all song and no stunt?”

“And it’s not even true,” Sharn complained. “Rangers know defeat. At the siege of Fall River during the Civil War, an entire troop was wiped out to the last man.”

 “Ain’t that generally what ‘wiped out’ means?" He thought Sharn unlearned on the nature of defeat.

New Story from Michael F. Flynn

 Greetings All.    Mike (Dad) has a new story in the July/August edition of Analog . I know Analog is available on Kindle store and Analog ...