A brief, introductory rant...
I grew up reading novels, and have focused on novel writing the past few years, but like most writers I've tried my hand at short stories. Short stories, in my opinion, are more difficult to write than novels (if you ignore the fact that the typical novel is twenty times longer of course!). You don't have the space to screw up anywhere and the whole thing must be focused like a laser beam. On the other hand, short stories are great for experimenting and improving craft without the investment in a novel-length work. You can write one in a few days to a few weeks, then send it off to an ever-changing list of markets and get feedback (i.e., rejections) for years. At one point I had 12-15 stories out and collected nearly a hundred rejections in the course of a year. I also got a few sales, and then I was exposed to the soft white underbelly of science fiction.
first two or three stories I sold never came out. The first "sale" was to an anthology to be marketed on CD-ROM, but that one vanished. I had another two anthology sales to pro markets -- one of which paid me and then did not publish the story because they'd overbought, the other which was "pay on publication" and
they went under before that happened. I had another story that
was a finalist one quarter with the Writer's of the Future contest,
and while even third place gets you publication and an insane
pay rate, 4th place gets you squat (actually it gets you an honorable
mention, but that's like kissing your sister and still ranks
as a rejection). I got 4th place, I was told.
I actually did sell several stories that were published. I got in at the ground floor of Talebones and had stories in their first two issues. They're a class act. I also sold another story to Tales of the Unanticipated that was given an honorable mention in Datlow and Windling's Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series. That was the year I was finishing my PhD and moved to a new job in California which slowed down the whole short story thing for me. I started on my first novel in 1997 and kept at that until it was done and revised half a dozen times. I have written and sold one short story since then for an anthology that is still available.
- "Blood Bone Tendon Stone" appears
in In the Shadow of the Wall (2002) and is reviewed here and here.
- "Pearl" appeared
in Tales of the Unanticipated #17 (1997) and was an honorable mention in Datlow and Windling's Year's Best Fantasy and Horror.
- "Rusted Roots" appeared
in Talebones #2 (1996)
- "Jack in the Box" appeared
in Talebones #1 (1995)
Praise for Mike Brotherton's Star
"Seldom does a storytelling talent come along as potent and fully mature
as Mike Brotherton. His complex characters take you on a voyage that is
both fiercely credible and astonishingly imaginative. This is Science
-- David Brin
"Mike Brotherton, himself a trained astrophysicist, combines the technical
acuity and ingenuity of Robert Forward with the ironic, postmodern stance
and style of M. John Harrison. In this, his debut novel, those twin talents
unite to produce a work that is involving on any number of levels. It's
just about all you could ask for in a hardcore SF adventure."
-- Paul di Fillippo,