Tail Call Optimization

Tail Call Optimization appears in the March/April 2021 Issue of Analog

The story continues the Human Way series that has been appearing in Analog over the past few years. It takes place in the Recursion universe around 12 years after the events depicted in the novels.

Other stories in the series include The Region of Jennifer,  Threshold, The Human Way, Trapezium and Trespass

The Silent Woods

Chris Beckett and I have worked together on short stories in the past. This is our first successful collaboration.

The Silent Woods appears in Shoreline of Infinity 19. We were pleased with this story when we wrote it, it has become a lot more topical in the months leading up to publication.

Shoreline of Infinity 19

Midway

Stories about stories and storytelling

Written on the road between the past and the future, a writer explores his relationship with his dying father.

Literature, fantasy and science fiction come together in this unique and very personal piece.

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Ballantyne’s moving, quietly profound stories present flawed human beings confronting the vicissitudes of life with varying degrees of success. Superb.

The Guardian 16/10/2020

‘Sharp, touching, and very original, this collection uses stories of different genres to explore aspects of the same emotional landscape, creating a very personal and very satisfying whole.’

Chris Beckett, winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award

Excerpts from Another Life

I worked as a teacher in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham during the 1990’s. I loved teaching in Dagenham, I was delighted when Pen to Print asked me for a story.

Excerpts from Another Life was one of a collection of stories written during the last months of my fathers life. You can read it by following this link

Milanote

Milanote is a tool for organizing projects into kanban like boards. It’s targeted at creatives, and comes with a variety of templates, not only for writers but for fields as diverse as game design, interior design photography and software development.

You can write notes and todo lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web, which is pretty typical for this sort of software. Where Milanote differs from other products mentioned on this site is the way you can organize things visually.

Crucially, you can export your boards as pdfs or pngs, or export them in doc, md or txt format.

There is a free version available with no time limit. The PRO version is $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans)

Disclosure: Milanote shared a lifetime subscription with me in return for writing this post. I must admit, I’m a plain text sort of guy and always will be, but if you think in pictures and not in words, this may well be the tool for you.

Midway

Midway appears in the January 2019 issue of Lightspeed (issue 104)

Midway is part of the Midway Collection, a number of stories written in response to the death of my father.

Follow this link to read the story or listen to the podcast

Remember, the entire issue is available for purchase for just $3.99, and/or you can subscribe for just $35.88/year.

Six Lessons from Music…

… to think about when you feel that your work as a writer is not receiving the recognition it deserves…

  • Shostakovich wrote during the siege of Leningrad whilst working as a fireman.
  • Messiaen wrote his Quartet for the End of Time in Stalag VIII-A, a prisoner-of-war camp.
  • Mahler was forced to work as a conductor in order to pay the bills. He resented the time lost when he could have been composing.
  • None of Bruckner’s eleven symphonies were commissioned. Two of them received such harsh criticism he retracted them. This is why his last symphony is known as his ninth.
  • Bach was expected to write and perform one cantata a week whilst working in the St Thomas Church in Leipzig.
  • Mozart wrote his last three symphonies without a commission. The last, the 41st is regarded by many critics as among the greatest symphonies in classical music.
  • Finally, remember that Franck “steadily inculcated a disdain for immediate success, and a disregard of the public as a prerequisite for attaining durability in a work of art.”

See Also

Trapezium

Trapezium appears in the September/October 2018 Issue of Analog

Fans of the Recursion series may recognise Craig, Armstrong and Joanna – as well as the Eva Rye – from the beginning of Divergence.

The story follows on from events in The Region of Jennifer,  Threshold and The Human Way

Tagging #3: My Tagging System

The following are some of the tags I’ve evolved to help me organize and retrieve my writing notes.

I rely on two sorts of tags, those relating to GTD or workflows, and those relating to story notes.

The story note tags are quite straightforward, here they are:

5alien, 5atmosphere, 5bio, 5character, 5colour, 5ek, 5place, 5plotlet, 5scene, 5structure, 5tech

In case you’re wondering, an ek is an eyeball kick:

Vivid, telling details that create a kaleidoscopic effect of swarming visual imagery against a baroquely elaborate SF background. One ideal of cyberpunk SF was to create a “crammed prose” full of “eyeball kicks.” (Attr. Rudy Rucker)

I write SF so the alien tag should be no surprise. As my story worlds are all tagged, I can easily search for 5aliens in the 3recursion universe.

Possibly of more interest are my workflow tags.

I started out following GTD, labelling all my notes TODO NEXT or DONE. That worked out pretty well in my daily life, but not in my writing life. Over the years I’ve settled on the following

conceit -> idea -> story -> developing -> next/working -> staged -> published/used -> archived

What’s the difference between a conceit, an idea and a story?

The first two are explained in the Turkey City Lexicon. Here’s my thinking on the process by which a conceit becomes a story.

I get lots of ideas – I think most writers would say the same – however most of them are never used. Looking back through my notes I can see ideas that I’ve not had time to use, ideas that don’t go anywhere, ideas that just don’t seem that interesting now. Some ideas I don’t even remember what I was thinking when I wrote them down. But occasionally I will see an idea that joins with another idea and sparks something. When enough ideas join themselves together they become a story.

What’s the difference between next and working?

This is something I think many writers will experience. A story marked next is something that has to be done to a deadline, that’s why I’ve applied GTD to it. Something tagged as working is something that I’m ermmm… working on. I tend to work on stories over periods of months or even years so this tag indicates something I will keep coming back to. When inspiration fails, or when I’m looking for a next project, or simply because I want to move on, I bring up all the things I’m working on and decide what to concentrate on next.

When a story is completed it will be staged, ready to be submitted.  Hopefully I will someday  be able to tag it as published.

More on Tagging