BEAUTY IS IN THE “I” OF THE BEHOLDER
3RD AND STARLIGHT UPDATE: MINUS 2 DAYS and counting -- 85% Funded!
CAPTAIN’S NOTE: Welcome to the last Sunday for our Kickstarter campaign. We’ll keep striving toward our Kickstarter goal (just $357 to go!) and, with your help, we hope to achieve it.
We have a great anthology of stories and accompanying illustrations and one of the best examples of enchanting cover art around. 3RD AND STARLIGHT is a book you’ll love to own and share with others (as long as they wear gloves, so as not to leave smudges). ;)
TODAY: AUTHOR SHOWCASE SCOTT R PARKIN
Our mini-interview and a sneak peek at "In the Heart of the Flesh," the second of his Writers of the Future contest Finalist stories, revised and original to 3RD AND STARLIGHT. Adult-themed, elegant, and thought-provoking, this is a stunning tale that you will long remember.
What is beauty? Where does it lie? In the eye, in the heart, in the soul? Is it the potential within us that others desire for themselves? Or is it accepting one is worthy of love?
ABOUT THE STORY: I’ve always been fascinated by the ways that physical form and individual biochemistry can impact both self-perception and how others treat us. I’m also fascinated by the arbitrary ways that time, place, and culture play into coloring our perceptions of social value.
Pre-Renaissance European art tended to portray feminine beauty as generally short, pale-white, and pudgy, whereas modern concepts focus on taller, thinner, more tanned, and athletic women. In both cases, the basis of beauty seems to center on visible evidence of a social concept of wealth: idle time and the pursuits available to those who are not required to work for their sustenance.
What conditions might cause someone who had always been perceived as ugly to suddenly be seen as beautiful? What impact would that sudden desirability have on her own psyche after a lifetime of being told she was beneath notice? How might that social whiplash further injure her, and what might her responses be?
SCOTT R. PARKIN is an author, publisher, and critic as well as co-host of the Stories for Nerds . Scott has sold more than forty short stories to a wide variety of venues in science fiction, fantasy, literary-academic, romance, slice of life, and other genres. He also records audio books.
Scott remains the most nearly successful, almost prize-winning, author in the Writers of the Future contest history with more than a dozen honorable mentions, nine Semifinalists, and a record-breaking FIVE Finalists in the contest before winning with his experimental short story “Purposes Made for Alien Minds" which appears in WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 31.
You can find a selection of his stories on Amazon.com under the name Scott R. Parkin.
THE MINI-INTERVIEW – SCOTT R. PARKIN
* Looking at your work, what story, character(s), poem, article, artwork stands out as your all-time favorite?
Of my short stories, my two favorites are (1) “Beloved of the Electric Valkyrie” --a paramilitary sf piece I published in the FICTION RIVER anthologies, and (2) “Li Na and the Dragon”--a fantasy short set in ancient China that appeared in the last year's Superstars Writers anthology DRAGONWRITERS.
I've also developed a story universe based around the Planetary Assessment Corporation that I find engaging and expansive. To date, it contains a number of stories, including my Writers of the Future contest prizewinner. It gives me space to explore new worlds and the conflicts inherent in an emerging empire where any corporation sufficiently large is indistinguishable from a government.
* Who are your greatest creative influences?
PHILIP K. DICK, DAVE WOLVERTON, and pretty much the entire NEW WAVE authors of the 1960s and 1970s. As much as I enjoy the Golden Age writers, it was the stuff that had a little bit of a literary edge that really caught my attention and made me want to join in. I think PKD was pretty much the perfect blend of expansive sf thinking, literary chops, and a wonderfully absurd worldview that I go back to on a regular basis.
* What is your favorite book or character or imaginary world in fiction? Or if you were stuck on a deserted island, what one book would you wish to have and why (Other than 50 ways to escape from a deserted island)?
I know it's a cop-out, but I can't pick one favorite. I enjoy Classic Literature as much as SF, so it's entirely possible I would choose either LES MISERABLES (unabridged-- gotta love a 1600+ page novel!) or THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO.
* What are you working on now and what about it excites or challenges you?
I'm currently rewriting a fantasy novel set in ancient China that features dragons, and working the first draft of an sf novel set in my Planetary Assessment Corporation universe, tentatively titled Resident Aliens.
The challenge of my dragon novel is that it doesn't feature a traditional villain so much as a series of both social and conceptual hurdles that my protagonist must overcome before she can see herself as anything but a living mistake and a constant failure. It's a novel of hope, but its core premise is a bit dark.
The fun of Resident Aliens is blending the historical models of the British East India company with speculative science and engineering (e.g. natural temperature superconductors) in addition to the social/political tension in exploring a question of sentience and self-selected evolution.
These questions of self-definition and determination utterly fascinate me and dominate most of what I write, as evidenced in "The Heart of the Flesh" that I'm pleased to have included and illustrated in 3RD AND STARLIGHT.
This is it. Our last push toward the stars. Author Showcase with Writers of the Future contest winner and 2015 Hugo award John Campbell award nominee (and my Galaxy’s Edge magazine story collaborator) the large-hearted infinitely talented KARY ENGLISH,
...and a last singular Reward item. :)