An e-zine with an interesting way of doing things is the Red LIne – www,overtheredline.com Each of their issues is concerned with a theme; at the moment, they are inviting submissions on ‘Urban Fiction’. Seven pieces are short-listed, and a selected writers’ group reads through them and selects the one it considers best for first prize. Not only the themes, but the writers’ groups, change from issue to issue.
Their most recent issue was concerned with ‘Power’ and I’m happy to say that the story I sent them, ‘Blue Genes’, has made the short list. Whether it will win or not, I don’t know, but it’s concerned with a serious subject, the use or abuse of genetic engineering and the frightening power which might be available in the future to control what kind of human beings are allowed into the world. Much as I like indulging in comic and maybe even witty fiction from time to time, it’s all too obvious that a lot of what’s happening around us isn’t all that funny, and the kind of decisions we’re going to have to make in the future will need to be thought about. If the power becomes available to genetically exclude everything which is ever likely to kill us, or every kind of disability, or aspects of human character or sexuality we don’t happen to like, who will make the choices, who will give them the right to make the choices, and what will the consequences be for all of us? Blue Genes doesn’t provide any answers – wrapping it all up in a neat little bundle isn’t what I think writers should do – but it does maybe pose a few questions. To go straight to the story, the link is www.overtheredline.com/power-short-list/
As for ‘First Flame’, my collection of award-winning stories now available on the SPM Publications site – www.spmpublications.com , I’d rather think of the coming line as a green one, green for all systems go, because it will very soon be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc. – watch that space! Blue Genes, only just up on the net, isn’t in that collection, but 25 winning stories are, so check it out and see what kind of stuff does well in fiction competitions! An exact link is www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/publications/first-flame