Fantasy Friday – ResAliens Tour Wrap


Seventeen bloggers, thirty posts — all discussing Residential Aliens, editor Lyn Perry, and the various authors and stories put out by this speculative fiction zine.

Enter the Residential Aliens contest to win your copy of Dead or Alive

Two things I neglected to stress. In honor of the tour this month, visitors to Residential Aliens may download for free a recent issue, 4.11. In addition (and here’s my big oversight), you can enter a contest at Goodreads to win a copy of Dead or Alive, An Aston West Collection by T. M. Hunter.

If you’d like to learn more about the prize, check out Fred Warren’s latest post introducing some of the ResAliens writers, including T. M. Hunter, and Bruce Hennigan’s review of “Some Assembly Required,” one of Hunter’s Aston West stories, or new member Dean Hardy’s discussion of the same.

And now, to the important business of selecting the next CSFF Top Tour Blogger, this one for the month of August. Here are the eligible participants and links to their three posts:

You’ll have ten days to peruse the posts, then vote for the blogger you think is most deserving of this month’s honor. Thanks for taking part!

CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 3


Part 1 of Jeff Chapman's story in Residential Aliens

In my last post, I mentioned my plans, in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour of the zine Residential Aliens, to do a review, but left the subject of such, up in the air. For a moment I was tempted to turn the table and review the blog participants! 😀 Now that could have resulted in some interesting discussion, don’t you think?

I also considered doing a review of one of the stories, but Bruce Hennigan, Jeff Chapman, and our newest member, Dean Hardy, among others, gave excellent reviews in their posts.

I considered giving a review of editor extraordinaire Lyn Perry himself, but Fred Warren beat me to that one and did a much better job than I could have, by far.

Well, there’s the obvious — a review Residential Aliens as a whole. Yep, you guessed it: on Monday Sarah Sawyer posted an article taking a critical look at the site.

So here’s what I decided after reading Shannon McDermott‘s post giving a thorough overview of Residential Aliens: I’m going to review the short story. Not a short story — the genre, short story.

Early in my writing career, I read that learning to write the short story was so unique and different from writing a novel that it required its own set of skills. That was enough to scare me off. I had my hands full trying to learn what I needed for my novel.

Then along came a little short story contest held by World Magazine. They wanted stories written from a Christian worldview, and they posted the submissions on line, allowing others to comment or critique.

Well, that was interesting. The upshot was, I decided writing short stories looked like a lot more fun than I’d imagined. And doable.

Not long after, Bethany House editor Dave Long began to hold short story contests which I entered. And I had the bug.

I’m not sure if it was the short story bug or the contest bug (probably the latter), but one thing I discovered — short stories afforded me the opportunity to experiment with voice, point of view, story structure, and whatever else I wanted to play with. In short, I discovered that short stories are a great boon to a writer.

Not only did they help me learn my craft, I actually sold a couple stories and had some modest success in a couple contests. That feedback was encouraging.

Now I’d recommend to any writer starting out to begin with short stories.

But what about for readers? I rarely read short stories these days. And yet, I find myself eighty pages into an anthology of G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, and I love them.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that I don’t shy away from short stories as much as they shy away from me. Magazines don’t carry them any more (even Writer’s Digest which used to publish the winner of their Short, Short Story Competition, now puts it online, not in their magazine). I don’t get a Sunday school paper as I used to — those were always good for a story or two. And I’m no longer subscribed to the one or two magazines that may still carry short stories.

I have to say, I’m not fond of reading stories on the computer. I tend to think of reading as a chance to settle back and enjoy, not sit at a desk. Consequently free ezines hold less appeal to me than novels.

But then I see that Residential Aliens has multiple formats available, and I think, here’s an editor/publisher who understands the transitional world in which we live. One day, I suspect, everyone except the rare book collector will be reading from eReaders of some sort. But today we are in flux, and the more formats offered, the better the chance that readers of one stripe or another will find the stories.

May that be true of those Residential Aliens has published.

CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 2


Illustration from Fred Warren's story "Beatitude"

Science fiction seems to be in short supply if we’re talking about stories written from a Christian worldview. Fantasy isn’t plentiful either, though supernatural suspense and supernatural thriller seems to have a bit stronger representation, thanks in large part to what Realms Fiction, a division of Strang Communications, has produced.

Because of the scarcity of speculative fiction, any number of enterprising authors set out to bring to the Christian market the stories so many desired. Bill Snodgrass founded Double Edge Publishing with its accompanying ezines: Sword Review; Dragons, Knights, and Angels; Ray Gun Revival; Haruah; and eventually MindFlights. Frank Creed started the Lost Genre Guild and the Writers Cafe Press. A handful of authors launched this CSFF Blog Tour and the team blog, Speculative Faith. T.W. Ambrose initiated the zine Digital Dragon; Grace Bridges founded Splashdown Books; and Jeff Gerke established Marcher Lord Press.

Undoubtedly there are a number of other endeavors which I’m not familiar with, and sadly some are no longer in existence. However, Lyn Perry’s zine Residential Aliens which CSFF is featuring this month, is going strong. Launched on July 1, 2007, ResAliens has published speculative stories written by over thirty authors, eight of which happen to be members of CSFF.

It is my privilege to point you to those stories in the hope that you’ll take some time this week (perhaps starting now? 🙂 ) to read at least one of each of our members’ stories put out by ResAliens: Brandon Barr, Fred Warren, Grace Bridges, Jeff Chapman, Jessica Thomas, John Ottinger, Mike Lynch, R. L. Copple.

I trust you’ll also visit the other bloggers who are buzzing about ResAliens. Bruce Hennigan has an excellent introductory post. D. G. Davidson (welcome back!) gave a thumbnail review of four of the stories from the archives. Brandon Barr, Jeff Chapman, and Fred Warren all unashamedly pointed readers to their stories (that’s a good thing — if they didn’t like their stories well enough to tell people about them, what would that say? 🙄 )

Tomorrow I’ll give you my review of … well, you’ll just have to come back and see. 😉

CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 1


Speculative fiction for adults may be the most under represented genre in Christian fiction.

Happily writers continue to write and those who love the genre find ways to bring stories to readers. Author, editor, and publisher (and CSFF member) Lyn Perry is one who has gone out of his way to keep speculative fiction alive. Though not exclusively for the Christian market, his ezine Residential Aliens nevertheless provides a venue for those looking in that direction. From his editor’s page:

Is this a Christian Zine?

In that I am a believer and follower of Christ, yes. The authors and audience, however, may or may not come from a position of faith. But what I think you’ll find here is a collection of quality stories with a moral or spiritual thread that appeals to the broad and varied interests of fans of speculative fiction.

Residential Aliens includes “family friendly” stories “anywhere along the speculative spectrum,” which I assume includes horror, dystopian fiction, space opera, cyberpunk, and perhaps even epic fantasy. Each free online issue, updated bi-monthly, contains five short stories.

A downloadable version is also available for the reasonable price of $2.00. This month, however, in honor of the CSFF tour, this month’s edition is free.

While ResAliens is first an ezine, it is more. Lyn calls it a micropress which releases a quarterly print magazine, themed anthologies, and in the near future, novels.

Lyn has done a good job carving a niche for ResAliens in the social media. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter. These venues seem to have replaced a the once active Forum, though this board remains “live.” The zine blog continues to offer updates for those who prefer receiving news through subscription or at that site.

Residential Aliens‘ current issue 5.5, has more in common with CSFF than this tour, but I’ll discuss that next time. For now, take time to cruise around to other tour participants and see what they are saying about Lyn Perry, his zine, and his micropress.

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