I was flipping through the recent issue of the SFWA Bulletin and an article caught my eye. Normally, as one might expect from a publication put out by the SFWA, it’s chock full of marketing and technique articles and trade info that SF writers (and other writers too, I suspect) would find of benefit in the biz. But also, because science is often of interest to science fiction writers, there are occasional non-writerly blurbs touching upon a wide range of things scientific.
This one, titled “Chemical Accumulation in Polar Bears Raise Concerns,” is about how flame retardant chemicals–polybrominated diphenyls (PBDEs) and Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDs)–carried to the Arctic by wind and tide are affecting polar bears via the whole apex predator, concentration of toxins in fatty tissue thing. Apparently, they’re suffering some serious health effects like hermaphroditism, weakened immune systems, higher cub mortality rates, decreased brain functions, and altered bone strength.
I’m always concerned about wildlife (and animals in general), and I’ve got a special place in my heart for polar bears, as most people do. I mean, how can you not love something as cute, fluffy, and deadly as a polar bear? They’re fuzzy dichotomies. Their plight is very sad, and quite a worrisome measure of the state of pollution on the planet.
But my first mental image was of flame retardant polar bears swatting aside guys with flame throwers.
Apex Digest is having a subscription push. As Jason Sizemore sez in his blog:
“IF I can get 50 new Apex subscribers by March 16th (my birthday), I will increase the writer pay rate to 1.5 cents per word. This includes renewals to current expiring subscriptions.”
With five days left to go, they still need eighteen. So if you were thinking about subscribing to this fine publication, now would be an excellent time. Not only would you get four issues a year of this fantastic ‘zine full of superb fiction from the likes of jenwrites, reudaly, and myself, as well as articles and interviews, but you’d be helping to put more money into the pockets of future contributors. And, if that wasn’t incentive enough, there’s only five more copies of issue #4 with my story “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” in stock. Subscribe already!
And while you’re at it, think about buying something pretty from the Apex Art Store, and by “pretty,” I mean scary-freaky:
2000 on “A Thread of Silk.” This should actually be 2.5K but I chopped out 500 words when I realized a dialogue scene was all exposition and info dump. Replaced it with a big exploding magic scene. Much nicer.
Yep, my original estimate is blown tail-over-nose out of the water. “What happened?” you may ask. What happened is I realized I needed a transition scene before I could get the protag off after the bad guy by herself, ’cause otherwise her motivation was pretty spurious, reeking of plot device. Also I saw that my “speculative” hadn’t made a proper appearance and I needed to get it rolling.
Then there were horses.
Bumping my word estimate by another 3K. And I wonder if that should be another 4K, or more . . . My bitty I’ll-just-rattle-this-off-in-3000-words Japanese historical/heroic fantasy is turning into an epic. Must. Regain. Control.
4,500 / 7,500