Posts Tagged: Adam Callaway

Has Fantasy Forgotten the Consequences of Violence?

It got me to wondering why there aren’t more fantasy (or science fiction) novels that deal with issues outside of violence?

I’m working on an idea for a secondary world urban fantasy about a young man who enters a very opulent city looking to become a master chef. The story follows his journey through various culinary-related careers — farmer, butcher, fisherman, baker, patissier, commis — until he opens his own restaurant and becomes a known quantity within the city. Although it doesn’t even sound like it would need to be set in a fantasy city, I’m still making it a fantasy because I’m comfortable with fantasy and I also want to explore the magic in food. Outside of writing and reading, cooking is a passion of mine.

However, as I’ve been outlining and drafting this novel (working title: Stock), it occurred to me that I was writing a fantasy novel with almost no violence (outside of a fistfight or two). The plot is resolved through hard work and cleverness. It got me to wondering why there aren’t more fantasy (or science fiction) novels that deal with issues outside of violence? Read More »

You Are Reading an Essay: How Metafiction Can Alienate Readers by Adam Callaway

The birth was messy. Sweat, blood, tears, and cerebrospinal fluid slicked the white tile. Dirty forceps, scalpels, and fountain pens were strewn haphazardly. In a pail of ink, a half-formed idea wailed. The thought-doctors could only guess if it would make it.
–From Skull Born, the very first (and thankfully unpublished) Lacuna story

Metafiction, at its most basic, is fiction about fiction. This can take a variety of forms. Everything from John Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse to Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind, can be considered metafiction.

Stories about storytelling have always interested me. An early influence on my writing were Walter Moers’ Zamonia books, specifically The City of Dreaming Books. In it, he imagined a decadent, surreal wonderland of writers, publishers, and booklovers. Books and stories literally came alive and posed serious dangers to the citizens of Bookholm.

The first Lacuna story was more-or-less Bookholmian fan fiction as seen through the eyes of China Mieville. It was very metafictional, with book ideas being torn from the skulls of writers in a bizarre send-off of a birthing ritual. These idea-babies were fed books, poems, emotions; anything to make them more robust. Literary devices manifested as physical deformities on the idea-husk. They would develop into golemic mandrake roots of pulp and story. Once they became large enough, the authors would consume the idea, go into a trance-like state, and write an entire manuscript in one sitting. Read More »

'The Grinders' by Adam CallawayI submitted my first story ever to a contest called Inkspotter on July 2nd, 2008. Two months later, I submitted my second story to Apex Magazine. A day after that, I received my first rejection letter, from Apex Magazine.

In the three years since those first stories, I have collected 192 rejection letters, a handful of fanzine sales, one pro level sale, and one, SFWA-qualifying pro sale. I heard an anecdote that Ray Bradbury had 800 rejections before his first sale, so, by that metric, I’m not doing too bad.

I’m convinced that there are only two things required to become a published author. One is the dedication to write. The other is the ability to take a rejection. If you possess those two qualities, you will be published someday.
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