Thursday, April 7, 2011

Speak, Vaccine! Speak! - Tim C. Taylor

You are in the crew of Earth’s first extra-solar colonisation fleet. It has taken generations to reach your destination, and now you are finally there. What if you found someone or something was expecting you?

A science fiction short story from Greyhart Press.

Praise for the original version of this story from the Aphelion Webzine forums

"I've read tons of Science Fiction and I swear I think this is a completely new concept. How very rare."

"The reveal played out sort of like the collapsing of tumblers in a lock, with a well-paced 'ah-ha' factor."

" original concept and delectable metaphor for political and social control!"


Tim C. Taylor is an author of science fiction. He was born in Colchester, England in 1970.

When he first thought of writing a story in the early naughties, he got a bit ahead of himself and searched Amazon for authors sharing his name. To find so many Tim Taylors already published was a crushing blow. Luckily his parents had foreseen this and provided him with a middle name. Now girded with a 'Middle C' the author saw early success published in print and online magazines before concentrating on writing novels. Recently he has been published in the Newcon Press anthologies: 'Shoes, Ships and Cadavers' and 'Further Conflicts'. He was nominated for the BSFA Award for best short story 2010. Unfortunately, he didn't make the shortlist and has been too embarrassed to ask how many nominations he actually received.

In the real world, he is husband, Dad, sometime-brewer, and oftentime-builder of Lego constructs to his son's designs. After twenty years earning a living making software, he is now a full-time author and (though he's still not quite certain how this happened) a publisher with Greyhart Press. So expect to see much more from him soon.

Find out what he's up to on

What will readers like about your book?
Fun, thought-provoking, nicely balanced structure, gives a satisfying read that you can fit into your coffee break. That's what I hope anyway!

Why did you self publish?
To be a part of and, of course, read the kind of quality SF/ Fantasy/ Horror short stories I enjoy. That might sound a little weird for a self-publisher, but I'm not only publishing myself. At present, I've published four of my own SF short stories in order to see how the mechanics of e-publishing work. Next month (May 2011) I will launch an Indie e-Publisher called Greyhart Press that will publish other author's work. In part, that is a response to my frustration at finding the kind of short fiction I enjoy in the professional-level SF magazines. So I rather cheekily wrote the Real Story Manifesto and set out to start a publishing business that would publish stories to fit in with that manifesto.

Oh, and I can't deny... being part of the self-publishing revolution is tremendously exciting!

At present, I am concentrating on publishing shorter-form fiction. That's because, traditionally, once a short story has been published, it languishes in the back issues pile on dealer tables at conventions, or for online zines, it sits in an archive folder. Not quite worthless, but not much loved either. Take my story featured here: Speak, Vaccine! Speak!. Aphelion Webzine published this a few years back. The earlier version of this story (I rewrote it) and the comments on the forum board from readers at the time are still there. But who would look for them now? Publishers don't lose interest in successful novels the moment they get published, but they do with successful short stories.

So here I am trying to put more love into short stories and make them available through retailers like Amazon and Smashwords on the same level as print novels.
What is your writing process?
For the big ideas, I like: paper, a nice pen, and somewhere to sit that isn't at home. I've written lots in local public libraries. On Monday nights, which is a quiet night, I've been a regular at the Swan Pub at Bromham for years, scribbling as the other regulars call it (there might be fine real ales behind the bar too).

My novels tend to be intricately plotted with a lot of worldbuilding detail (though I keep a lot of it just under the surface of the prose). I would be lost without a piece of software called yWriter, provided free by Australian SF writer Simon Haynes (BTW: Simon doesn't push the donate button too hard, but it is there and please donate if you find his software helpful).

If there is one thing I do not like about the self-publishing revolution, it is that a few of the new authors are putting up good stories that are spoiled by being sloppily written with bad grammar, typos and spelling mistakes. There's no excuse for this because it disrupts the reading experience. Frankly, it is disrespectful for such authors to expect readers to put up with substandard work because they can't be bothered to put the effort in to get it right. That said, all authors make the most appalling mistakes that they are too close to the story to spot. I find my Kindle excellent help with that because I can easily get the draft from my wordprocessor into the Kindle, and then get the Kindle to read it to me. Text-to-speech isn't perfect but the Kindle will always try to read what you have actually written; punctuated as you have actually punctuated. An invaluable reviewing tool!

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Varies enormously. I wrote a complete draft of a novelette for in one day, sitting by the river bank one summer's day. It takes me about two years to draft a novel. It does depend on how much I have on elsewhere in my life. Becoming a dad, for example, was the best thing that ever happened to me but did curtail my writing time. 

What inspired you to write this particular story?
Ahh, now that would give too much away! Suffice it to say that I had what I hoped was a fresh approach to an old idea. In the back of the book I give a (brief) explanation of what inspired me to write the story. 
Now I wish I'd kept my suspicions to myself. I'm scared one of my friends will tell them, and I'll have an 'accident' — same as my parents.
Considering that, this could be my last journal entry.
When you know to look, the archives are littered with holes and fabrications. Take Crewman DeSouza, for example. I remember his protest about the restrictions on authoring material for the news channels. Stripping naked at the broadcast for the annual address by the Fleet Council got him noticed all right. It also got him transferred, along with a lot of others, to the Endeavor shortly before all hands were lost when her radiation shielding...

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