Awards Eligibility 2020

I had two short stories published in 2020 that are eligible for upcoming fantasy and science fiction awards if one deems them worthwhile. Both are solidly in the science fiction domain, so nominate accordingly 🙂


Memento Amicum appeared in Issue #3 (September 1, 2020) of Cossmass Infinities.

People, events, practices, and cultural touchstones pass away and slip into the past, kept alive only within the memories of those still around, and only for as long as they care to and can remember. In the future, we may not be the ones doing the remembering, our creations may end up taking on that responsibility–intentionally or not, until they too power down.

“Memento Amicum” by Marc A. Criley is the poignant and touching story of a graveyard populated with AI versions of the deceased.
— Gwen C. Katz, in The Future Fire

(Right now Memento Amicum is only available by purchasing that issue, though the stories are incrementally released online over time. I will add a link here when it becomes available.)

Cossmass Infinities 09-01-20 Cover

He stepped around to the front of the headstone and waited. The mementa screen opaqued, masking the splendidly etched-in-granite rendition of Ellanora Hawks. A moment later her mementa’s well-worn but equally splendid visage resolved on the screen

Be grateful for friends that will remember you.


Glory Whales was published August 23, 2020 in Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores.

An unraveling comet! Doomed spaceship! Explosions! Alien artifacts! WHALES!!

The characters easily held the reader’s attention as they grappled with both engineering challenges and extra-terrestrial mysteries.
— Kevin P Hallett, Tangent Online
Glory Whales lead pic
Illustration Credit: Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores

I squinted past the reflected comet dazzle on her visor. Yep, a smile that outshone Mars, this blazing comet, and the incandescent golden jewel of the sun. A smile that’s taken me from one end of the solar system to the other.

Come for the whales, stay for true love.


Thanks for your time and any consideration for awards you may give to these stories!

About Glory Whales

Glory Whales lead pic
Illustration Credit: Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores

My story Glory Whales is now up at Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores. Here I want to talk for a minute about relationships between main characters, and what I found special about Dominic and Maya’s.

It’s quite common in stories having two or more primary characters that part of the drama in the story arises from friction between those characters. One character has hurt or betrayed another (or is about to in the story), and they’re then forced to find an accommodation so they can together overcome the primary obstacle facing them.

I see this so often–which isn’t surprising since it’s usually pretty effective–but I personally do tire of it. I like teamwork. I like seeing a group of individuals pulling together to achieve success. And not with the caveat that the group members first had to “set aside their egos” and come together. No, there’s no egos to set aside, because they’re good, mutually supportive individuals from the get-go.

This is a big factor in why I like Marko Kloos’ Frontline milSF series. His main character, Andrew Grayson, works well with the others in his unit, and is also quite fond of his wife. Interpersonal friction does happen from time to time, but never seriously amongst that core group closest to him.

THAR SHE BLOWS! SPOILERS AHEAD FOR GLORY WHALES!

The main characters of Glory Whales, Dominic and Maya, are a happily married couple that have been trucking around the solar system for a decade and a half. This idea appeals to me. They’re not crotchety with one another, they’re not sick of the long hauls, the tedium, of each other. They’re not on the verge of going their separate ways–embarking on this trip in a last-ditch effort to salvage their relationship.

No. They’re a “happily married couple that have been trucking around the solar system for a decade and a half.” They chose this life, they enjoy it, because of what it is. They like each other. They respect one another, count on one another, look out for one another. They’re teammates, partners, and lovers. These are the kinds of story protagonists I like to see, at least now and then.

Ol Smoothie
© Root-Beer.org

And when a comet carrying tangible proof that life exists beyond our solar system blows up in their face, they’re dropped into a life-or-death struggle to survive. They have to pull together to do everything they can to keep themselves and what they’ve found alive. It’s not just the big, thrilling, desperate efforts they pursue to save themselves, but also the simple caring for one another, the encouragement and mutual support that is essential. There are critical tasks that require relentless, tireless effort; but quiet breaks to recharge and renew are just as important. Both Maya and Dominic have each other’s backs throughout this ordeal. Their love and joy and perseverance makes me happy.

I’m grateful that Glory Whales found a home at Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores and I hope those who read it find it adds a bit of joy to their life.

2019 Award Eligibility Post

As Fantasy and Science Fiction award nomination season nears, I offer for consideration the short story “The Crystal Zyst: A Eula Banks, State Certified Zeitle Engineer, Story“, published at Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores.

Crystal Zyst lead pic

The Crystal Zyst is the story of two working class sisters who own a business clearing out zeitles, i.e. exponentially slowed time bubbles.

On a run-of-the-mill remediation job they encounter a rare form of zeitle, leading to a life-and-death situation of CO² poisoning and trapped children. Mounting a rescue requires 450 HP semi-truck engines, silvery fuzzy suits, a team of zeitle engineers, and time–lots and lots of time.

Thanks for reading and for your consideration.

 

SFWA Membership Approved!

My membership application to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America was approved.

While I’ve been avidly reading fantasy and science fiction for forty-five or so years, I only decided to try my hand at writing it about four years ago. It took a couple years to get my first semi-pro sale, and then the first pro one came along a few months later.

I’m not a prolific writer–there’s a lot of other demands on my time–but I do keep plugging away at things and eventually a handful more pro sales came along, enough to qualify me for SFWA anyway. So that’s another milestone on my writing journey marked off.

The best part of it all is of course the people that I’ve come to know along the way. From Critters, to #WriterTwitter, to Codex, and now with the SFWA.

It’s the people and the stories we share that makes this all worth it. Here are mine.

“The Crystal Zyst…” Published!

My blue collar story of sisterhood, dealing with exponentially slowed time (and responsibly addressing the fact that air molecules are just as impenetrable as solids when time comes to a near standstill), flatbed mounted semi-truck engines and generators, and shiny diving suits was published this week at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores.

Crystal Zyst lead pic
Illustration by Fran Eisenmann

Check out “The Crystal Zyst: A Eula Banks, State Certified Zeitle Engineer, Story“!

2018 Awards Eligibility Post

Tap-tap-tap… Is this thing on?

So…this is my FIRST(!) EVER(!) Awards Eligibility Post™ for the fantasy and science fiction short stories of mine that were published this year. (Or in any year, for that matter.) This is a whole, brand new world to me.

ohwow

Nomination season for fantasy and science fiction has opened up!

I hope you’ll take a look through these offerings and if, per chance, one catches your eye and your mind as award worthy, please slip it onto your nominating ballot. If not, I hope these stories at least give you a few minutes of reading pleasure.

(The story titles in the larger font I feel are especially worth a good, hard look.)

Time cracks and uhrbuchs rustle. I look up from a half-penciled illustration.

 

  • Shattered Hand, Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #258, 16 August 2018. Fantasy, 4600 words

Long shadows skittered before us, cast by a newly risen sun. Kayta and I loped across burnt desert; tracked the wind-eroded dusty treads of uncounted pilgrims, Covenant youth, warriors. Evaded what few sentries patrolled the perimeter. Empty sky, empty land, no one, nothing to see. A banned land. Minimally guarded—uncovenanted entry is death.

 

  • Requires Replenishment, Martian, the Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles, 20 August 2018. Science Fiction | 100 words

Hot tires buzzing.

Backseat child whimpering.

Dead alien in trunk.

 

I crack time. Part the seam, step into gray-green gloom. I wait as eyes adjust, hear the seam flutter closed. Bookshelves line the corridor, extend into the past. Shelves crammed with books, spines to the wall, smelling of ozone and rose water. Hardcovers, paperbacks, trades, loose leaf. The past as hardcopy, minutes pressed against minutes, fossilizing through time.

 

Where are you? I trace ringing photons, syncopated cosmic ray beats, attenuated quaverings of taut space-time chords. Entangled atoms vibrating in quantum indecision sustain my faith. I range across light-years, plow gigaparsecs of quantum foam, dark matter tides, neutrino cacophonies. 

 

Keep reading! And if you’re a writer, keep writing!

IMG_20180107_125027

Tammy and I say Bless all y’all!

Marc A. Criley, A Writer of Some Sort

It seems like a good idea to have a central site where people who may be interested in my writing can learn a little bit about me, or find some links to my writing.

So, this is the place.

Look at “About Me” for a little background on myself, and the “Bibliography” for stories I’ve written that have or will be published. And if you want to confer, feel free to use the “Contact” form.

"Somehow, I Don't Feel Comfortable", Momoyo Torimitsu (2000)
“Somehow, I Don’t Feel Comfortable”, Momoyo Torimitsu (2000)

Thanks!