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James Van Pelt

An interviewer asked the author if he wanted to be the next Stephen King: he said, "No, I want to be the first James Van Pelt."

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James Van Pelt fell in love with Zenna Henderson, Ray Bradbury, Ursula le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey and a host of others when he started reading. In elementary school, he told his mom he wanted to grow up to be a Ray Bradbury, like Bradbury was a job instead of a person. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld and many other venues. Stories have been reprinted in Year's Best anthologies and gathered in five of his collections. He has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Sturgeon Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He recently retired from teaching high school English (37 years), to write full time.

Fiction · Posts · Books

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Titan Descansos

Published Jan 9, 2021 · 2,085 words (8 minutes) · 76 views

Science Fiction siblings near future first contact space flight

Have you ever seen little crosses or bunches of flowers by the side of the road and recognized the tragedy commemorated there? This is a way to recognize the dead, to mark the spot of their unexpected passing. It seems a very human thing to do. And so, when we go deeper and deeper into space, what parts of our humanity will we take with us. Will we recognize it when we find it?

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Fiction

Neoteric Urban Archaeology

Published Dec 28, 2020 · 1,232 words (5 minutes) · 90 views

Science Fiction first contact Urban science fiction

Part of the joy of archaeology is that every artifact tells a story, but not all archaeology requires an ancient site where the scientist carefully brushes dirt away from a fragile find from the deep past. People leave artifacts and other physical remains wherever they go. Even an abandoned house in a crummy part of the city can contain story treasures.

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I love lisbon. This is the city I’m going back in my best memories.
I love that this city is so varied. You can find beautiful and old buildings but also you can see places like this. Abandoned and showing that city is alive.

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Fiction

Echoing

Published Dec 10, 2020 · 4,602 words (17 minutes) · 120 views

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A long-haul truck driver in a snowstorm, a desperate teenager at a holiday house party, and a starship captain lost in the universe meet on Christmas Eve. It's amazing how quickly technology dates a story. You have to remember the once ubiquitous Windows 3.1 starfield screensaver to picture a key image in this tale.

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Fiction

Christmas Stalking

Published Dec 5, 2020 · 1,834 words (7 minutes) · 173 views

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No one thinks about Santa's economic impact, but you can be sure that some people, some very bad people, aren't happy that he gives all those toys away for free.

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Fiction

The Road's End

Published Nov 10, 2020 · 3,116 words (12 minutes) · 168 views

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Carrie Vaughn wrote a beautiful story called "Strife Lingers in Memory." It appeared in Realms of Fantasy, as this story did. Carrie looked at epic fantasy, like Lord of the Rings, and asked what happens to the heroes after the battles are done? I loved the question, so I wrote my answer to the question. "The Road's End" is also in a conversation with Tennyson's poem, "Ulysses." How can an old man put aside his adventures when his entire life is based on the idea of "not to yield"?

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We went to Germany for one day to explore some famous instagram photo spots. The first stop was Burg Eltz during sunrise. With no tourists there yet and this amazing fog covering the castle it was like a fairytale.

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Fiction

The Children's Collection

Published Oct 29, 2020 · 3,878 words (15 minutes) · 85 views

Fantasy Horror cthulhu library librarian

A young librarian makes his way to a backwoods, New England town to take his first job. His clientele, though, is . . . odd. What kind of books do they want? How is he to serve?

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Vintage lamp and books

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Ghost Ship

Published Oct 21, 2020 · 4,223 words (16 minutes) · 1 like · 154 views

Fantasy pirates haunting pirate ship

Perfect for Halloween! A haunted ghost ship, pirates, and a little girl who just wants to go home.

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Sparrow

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Fiction

Rock House

Published Oct 16, 2020 · 7,429 words (28 minutes) · 225 views

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An old college buddy contacts Allan to visit the “strange edifice of my rock house home,” as he put it, and to “salve my maladies and afflictions.” Intrigued and troubled, Allan takes up the invitation. What happens after is a deep dive into literature, obsession, and a desire for permanence.

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Writing Advice

Published Oct 7, 2020 · 1,202 words (5 minutes) · 1 like · 200 views

Science Fiction metafiction apocalypse Writing advice

Writers hear much advice at conventions. Everyone has an opinion on how to walk the writing tightrope, but sometimes the advice just sounds wrong. I was listening to a panel of editors when one weighed in with what she pronounced as an inviolable rule, "Never start with the weather," which gave me, of course, the first sentence of this story.

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Mountain paradise

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Fiction

Mambo No. M51

Published Sep 23, 2020 · 3,535 words (13 minutes) · 1 like · 172 views

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Someone once described "obsession" as a form of mental disease, like OCD. Everyone needs to have interests, but when those interests overwhelm balance in a person's life, they become a problem. But doesn't that mean that if you have any interests at all that you are on the road to being overwhelmed by them? Doesn't that mean we all are, just a little, mentally diseased? What we desire and how we behave towards those desires are a part of "Mambo No. M51."

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Stars Galaxy Rocky Mountain