The Kaleidocast is an audio fiction anthology podcast where fantasy, horror, sci-fi and the just plain weird come together in a Brooklyn fractured into multiple speculative storyscapes. Produced by the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers, the Kaleidocast interweaves short stories from New York City authors with the best and brightest talents in the genre. All of it is bound together in a frame story that takes place in a metafictional Brooklyn.
Why should you subscribe to the Kaleidocast?
Over the years, many great speculative fiction markets have come and gone. Now there are fewer places for authors to have their work heard and get paid for their effort. But after two successful seasons, the Kaleidocast listenership for single episodes jumped from around 100 to over 1,500. People like what they hear.
For as little as two dollars a month -the cost of one cup of coffee- you can help give speculative fiction writers a place to get published and be compensated.
And even if you don’t become a patreon, become a listener. It won’t cost you anything.
Look at old science fiction and you’re guaranteed to find glaring instances of where the creator gets the future glaringly, laughably wrong. Some categories of error:
Underestimated technology. Like a citizen in the year 2035 looking up a number in the phone book and dialing that number on a payphone.
Overestimated technology. In the 1970s, a moon base in the year 1999 seemed plausible.
Cultural Shifts. You know you’re reading 1950s science fiction when men named Wilson and McNamara have a cigarette break aboard a space ship, a scene that projected the office jobs of that era into the future.
Doomsaying. The population bomb didn’t explode. Neither did any nuclear arsenals. Now the climate crisis is the hot ticket to extinction.
Misanticipation of consumer demand. In the 21st century, moving sidewalks are confined to airports, and no one wants their dinner to pop ready-made out of a machine.
So what’s a science fiction writer to do? How to write a story set ten, twenty, a hundred years in the future and get it right?
The answer is you can’t. Envisioning the future is the exact same thing as envisioning the future wrong. The good news is that no one really expects science fiction to get it right. We still read Philip K. Dick, but not for his predictive abilities.
The good news is that an interesting future will stand the test of time, even if the details are wrong. It’s more about finding something in human nature, or a troubling aspect of current society, and amping it to the extreme.
Like typing the letter e, rejection is going to happen to a writer a lot before their career (maybe) takes off. The good news for speculative fiction writers is that there’s an active short story market, allowing new authors to start collecting rejections within days of finishing their first piece.
Three Ways to No.
Most rejections are form rejections opening with a cheery “Thank you for submitting,” closely followed by a sad “unfortunately,” and ending with a wish of “good luck” that the author can read in a sarcastic tone, if they wish.
One step up from that is the personal rejection that takes the time to tell you your work is of no value to the publication while encouraging you to send more. One step down is the personal rejection informing you of how bad or unsuitable your piece is for publication, with no encouragement to keep trying.
And then there’s the near miss, the note informing you that you were this close to getting published, but didn’t make the final cut. You might even feel good about brushing your fingertips against the brass ring, but collect 100 near misses and you’re just as unpublished as someone with 100 form rejections.
No, No, a Thousand Times, No.
I’ve heard stories of famous writers who papered their walls with their rejections. How is this motivating? It’s like hanging up photos of everyone who ever dumped you and thinking, “Wow, the wall’s almost full. I’m really getting somewhere!”
The most positive spin is that rejections are proof that you’re writing and getting your work out there. Someone with three half-finished stories in a drawer has zero chance of getting published, while someone with a pile of rejections has been making spaghetti and throwing it against the wall. Something, some day, might stick. And the spaghetti is probably getting better.
Getting Past No.
It all comes down to commitment. If you can take the rejection and keep writing, then you’re a writer. Make that the goal, and success is all up to you.
Announcing the opening of Don Stok Vo Kart, an online shop where the world can buy my unique and handmade models and dioramas of menacing monsters, silvery spaceships, vacated vehicles and weird war machines. Each creation takes time and care, and I’ll update the inventory as finishing touches are made.
Re-issues of the Aurora monster model kits of the 1960s continue. Now a company called Atlantis owns the molds (or some of them). After 56 years of use, this kit’s mold is pretty worn out. That was evident with the amount of flash – the plastic the seeps out between the two halves of the mold – the sprues had on them. A little extra cutting and sanding fixed that.
The figure was built and painted right out of the box. For the base, I used some extras to make the surfaces mossy and rusty. Wasn’t sure how to do the lettering on the base until I thought of using a paint marker.
I created an Etsy shop to sell some of my models. The shop name is Don Stok VoKart and you can find it here.