It Used to Be a Library

AmyBeth Inverness is a local speculative fiction and romance author who has a new collection of short fiction coming out soon. We’re handing over the reins to her to chat about some of her influences.

When my parents moved to Vermont in 1990, they bought a large old house that, although it had its issues and idiosyncrasies, had plenty of space for the grandchildren they would eventually have as well as my father’s model trains and my mother’s doll collection.

And the books. Many, many books.

I grew up swimming in books. Every trip to the used bookstore with my father was a free-for-all. Although I did not grow up in Vermont, my parents’ house was my home base while I was a nanny in Connecticut, and again later after I got married and went back to school.

One large bedroom was referred to as ‘The Library.’ Two full walls were lined from floor to ceiling with built-in-place shelves. It also had a guest bed, a side table, and several free-standing shelves, all covered with books. They weren’t even the only books in the house, as atlases were in the downstairs hall, encyclopedias in the upstairs hall, and my mother’s romance novels were in the living room.

I was spoiled rotten in that I could walk into that room at any time, peruse the titles, and choose something to read. If I recalled some book with a blue cover that I’d read once and wanted to read again, it wasn’t too hard to find. They were fairly well organized, and if I wanted a specific author, I knew where to look.

My parents retired to North Carolina in 2008. Since they weren’t able to sell their house, my husband and I moved into their house with our two kids.

The books are long gone. I have a box that I salvaged of books that I really wanted to keep, and the rest found good homes. The room that used to be a library is now our bedroom. Although we have plenty of books (my youngest used to treat my romance novels like building blocks) it’s nothing compared to my parents’ floor-to-ceiling collection.

I’m now a writer, both of romance and science fiction. Frequently, I remember ‘that novel with the blue cover’ and I can picture exactly where it is on the shelf. While writing, I often want to refer to one of the old classics by Asimov or Heinlein, and I know exactly where all those books used to be. When discussing science fiction on social media, I will either recall some novel I read as a teenager but don’t remember either the author or title, or my friends will suggest some novel that I’m sure is in my father’s collection. But now, when I walk into that room, I don’t find the books I want. I find my bed, an ever-growing to-be-read pile, and the books I’ve read since we moved in. Because we’re doing some fix-up work on the house, most of my book collection is packed very safe and water-resistant in boxes in the basement. The ugly green 1970’s wallpaper that used to be in the library is gone, but only one wall is repainted. The rest are waiting for some electrical work before we repair the walls and finish painting.

I miss the books. But I’ve moved so many times in my life, I’ve come to know paperbacks and hard covers as both a blessing and a curse. Although I lust after printed books, I buy more books in e-format these days. I know that this house is not a permanent home for us, and I shudder to think about either moving or losing my books when we move.

Someday, we will have a house that we will make our own. I will fill it with books. So many books that my future grandchildren will treat them like building blocks before they can read. I will have a library, and when someone asks “Do you remember that book? The one with the blue cover?” I’ll know exactly where to look.

My short story series The Cities of Luna explores what life will be like when humanity establishes permanent residence on the Moon. Cities of Luna: Collection One includes twelve short stories that are at once familiar and futuristic. It can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

In the first single-release story, Moon Dragons, Uncle Dave has always told his nieces and nephews about the dragons that share the caves in which their underground city, Arrakeen, is built. Then one day he begins to wonder if the fairy-tales have a grain of truth after all. Moon Dragons can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

The latest short story, One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor, tells of the challenges two young siblings face when they find themselves outside their home city of Mordor, with no idea how to get back in. One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor, is available at Amazon.

A new story comes out with every full moon. Look for them wherever you buy e-books!

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a creator of Speculative Fiction and Romance.   She can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook and Google Plus. When she’s not writing, she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home.

 

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Eclipse Grange Shorts “Sci-Fi”

Sci-Fi Poster scan

This is seriously cool: the Parish Players of Thetford Vermont are embarking on their 4th episode of their theater series Eclipse Grange Shorts. The theme this time around is adaptations of Science Fiction stories!

Here’s the stories that will be staged:

Isaac Asimov, “The Immortal Bard”
Leslie Stone, “The Invasion of Gola”
Fredric Brown, “Knock”
Ray Bradbury, “The One Who Waits”
Eileen Gunn, “No Place To Raise Kids”

The shorts will be held on September 5th and 6th at 7:30 pm, Septembed 7th at 3:00pm, and September 12th and 13th at 7:30pm. The play will be held at the Eclipse Grange Theater in Thetford. Tickets go for $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. Reservations can be made at 802-785-4344.

What makes this cool is some of the authors involved: Asimov and Bradbury are largely household names, but it’s really exciting to see stories from early SF pioneers such as Leslie Stone, who doesn’t get a lot of press. It’s also really cool to see Frederic Brown and Eileen Gunn make the list. This looks like something that we’ll be heading out to see!

 

 

John Scalzi @ Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga NY

Science Fiction author is coming to the Northshire Bookstore’s Saratoga NY branch later this fall on his tour to promote his upcoming novel, Lock In. He’ll be swinging through on Wednesday, September 17th at 7:00 PM. He’ll be signing copies and will likely do a bit of reading. It’s a bit of a drive for Vermont fans, but it should be worth it.

If you can’t make that date, he’ll be in the near-by-ish area for a couple of other dates:

  • Monday, September 15th, 7:00 PM, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
  • Tuesday, September 16th, 7:00 PM, Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH

I’m reading Lock In right now, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. We’ll provide more information as we get it. In the meantime, read the first five chapters of Lock In here. There’s an accompanying novella, Unlocked, which is worth reading as well.

Vermont Author – M.L. Humphrey

It’s always interesting to come across new names when it comes to Vermont and Science Fiction. Case in point, M.L. Humphrey. He’s published two books this year through Virgo eBooks: The Orphan from Space and A Whisker in Time.

Here’s his bio:

I am a Vermont native, husband, father, grandfather, Navy veteran, retired IBM engineer, retired printer repairman; a graduate of Goddard Jr. College, Vermont Technical College, and Trinity College. Over the years I’ve written technical articles, taught technical classes, and presented at technical conventions. I started reading science fiction in high school, and bought my first books through the TAB (Teen Age Book) club; they were “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” by Jules Verne, and “The Stars Are Ours” by Andre Norton. I’ve been reading science fiction for over 50 years now and have accumulated many great stories; along with a considerable amount of junk ones as well. I’d say by now that I probably have a good idea of what I consider a good story. I hope you enjoy them as well.

Here’s the blurb from Orphan from Space:

Once there was a race of people that had ranged throughout the star ways of our galaxy, they were called the Predecessors. Occasionally space explorers would find one of their abandoned ships; little more than a rusted out hulk, the centuries of disuse leaving little evidence of its former grandeur. But where had they gone? Jasom Kingston is a fifteen-year-old boy on the Kings’ Quest, a small exploring ship sent out to explore a star system further out on the galactic arm from their home world of Evenset. Arial, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the ship’s captain is Jasom’s competition when it comes to explorations, but also the girl he secretly has a crush on. During a training mission Jasom discovers something mysterious hidden amongst the jagged rocks that comprise a belt of cosmic debris between the orbits of the fourth and fifth planets of this yellow star, so far from home. How had it come to be there? As the crew decides to return to Evenset to enlist help, Jasom is allowed to use the ship’s small flyer to retrieve a satellite they had placed in orbit around the third planet. Things escalate when the Queryl, a mysterious and inimical race of beings from an unknown part of the galaxy, attack the King’s Quest. Will Jasom make it back to the ship in time? How will the ship deal with the dangerous Queryl? Beep…beep, Jasom receives a message, it’s not what he expected. He reads… Queryl onslaught imminent. Invoking emergency protocol Q-stat. Your orders are to proceed using protocol R-stat. Love mom. All he could remember about the R-stat protocol were a few words that are new to him: Nashua, Montana, 1952…

Book trailer:

Visit his author page here and you can ‘like’ him on Facebook.

Savoy Theater: SF Offerings

This is rare: Montpelier’s Art House theater, The Savoy, has not one, but two SF films screening, at the same time. Montpelier’s snooty veneer is cracking!

Right now, you can catch Under the Skin in their Upstairs theater, starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien who cruises around England looking to eat men. Downstairs, you can catch Only Lovers Left Alive, starting Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton (what a match that is!) as a pair of vampires.

It’s easy to see just why the Savoy has picked up both films: both have gained a considerable amount of critical buzz, even if the subject matter really isn’t that of what you typically find in your summertime Scifi fare. In a lot of ways, it goes to show just how pervasive science fiction ideas are, especially in this day and age. It’s impossible to deny the influence and impact of technology, and humanity’s relationship to it, and it seems to be bleeding into the types of films that the Savoy typically picks up. Also see Her, which recently screened at the theater, while Jodorowsky’s Dune is coming later this month.

Still, I have a visceral  dislike of a dismissal of modern science fiction films. Movies such as MoonPrimer, Gravity, District 9, Minority Report, Children of Men, and others carry with them real weight as entries in SF film canon, and shouldn’t be dismissed in the same breathe as films such as Transformers. However, even films such as Star Trek, Avatar and Pacific Rim have real qualities that not only make them huge summertime spectacles, but also often with some excellent points to pull out and examine.

Under the Skin is Upstairs at 6:30 & 8:30 each evening and with 1:30 & 4:00 matinees on the weekend.

Only Lovers Left Alive is Downstairs at 6:00 & 8:15 each evening, 1:00 & 3:30 matinees on the weekend, and with a special, 11pm screening tonight.

So, maybe it’s time for us to rethink our feelings on the Savoy. Maybe they’ll be on track to bring in some of the latest, critically acclaimed SF films that theaters such as the Majestic 10 and Essex Cinemas wouldn’t touch. Either way, I’ll likely be getting tickets soon.

June GMS Book Club: Leviathan Wakes

Sci Fi Fantasy Book Club Leviathan

Last night, we held our first SciFi book club at the Pierson Library, where we discussed Andy Weir’s The Martian. We had a good discussion, and now, we’re looking forward to our next meeting, in which we’ll discuss Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey!

The meeting will be on June 5th at 7:00pm. Grab a copy of the book (available at a lot of local bookstores), and come out to chat with us about it. Personally, I can’t recommend this one enough – it’s a fantastic, solid SF read.

Interested? Sign up with the club

RSVP for this meeting here.

Fragmented, Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

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I just got the cover for this the other day: my short story, ‘Fragmented’ will be appearing in the May 2014 issue of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, alongside such authors as Kristine Katheryn Rusch, David Brin, Nancy Kress and Robert Silverberg, among others.

I wrote the story a couple of years ago, and last fall, gave it a real work-over before the inaugural VT SF Writer’s Series event with the Renegade Writer’s Collective. Stay tuned for details on the issue’s release, or subscribe here.

BTV Craigslist Books

Looking to build up your library, or do you need a good book to read? I’ve got Craigslist bookmarked on my phone, particularly the Books section for Vermont. It’s usually a pretty slow section, but every now and then, some interesting SF finds will come up, like this weekend.

Fantasy hardback book set – $25 (Essex Junction)

Set of 11 hardback fantasy books. Includes The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Sword of Shannara trilogy, The Dark Elf trilogy, The Icewind Dale trilogy, and many more. All in excellent condition, no bent spines or torn pages. From a non smoking home.

Orson Scott Card books – $25 (Essex Junction)

Orson Scott Card set. Complete Homecoming series, most of The Tales of Alvin Maker and 7 standalone books. All in great condition, most bindings unbent.
From non smoking home.

Hundreds of Sci Fi Books – $1 (Burlington)

Come check out our great selection of used Sci Fi Books. $1 each. Hundreds of titles available.

Speaking Volumes
377 Pine Street
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 540-0107

Monday-Sat 10 am -5pm
Closed Tuesdays
Sundays 11 am – 3 pm

Harry Potter Complete Boxed Book Collection – $15 (colchester)

Complete boxed set for only $15. All books in excellent condition

Grimms Fairy Tails. special Cover. 1945 edition. rare – $15 (colchester)

Great condition. Hard to find.

 

 

New England Role Players Association Demonstrate the Democracy of Death

Star Wars logo.

Things get grim in this installment of Halfway to Han, the New England Role Players Association’s Star Wars actual play series:

When Twi’Lek Noble Pratari Tara’Cahma is hired by the Sith and Republic to oversee negotiation talks pertaining to the peaceful transition of power on Coruscant…almost everyone dies. Some justly, some unjust. Death is the only truly democratic institution in the universe.