A Review for “Super Action Excite Team Go!”

Hello out there in Sheanland!

When last we spoke, I was headed to Lunacon 2017, facing the prospect of a reading and sitting on 9 panels, most of them about science-related topics.

I’m thrilled to report that Lunacon was a success!  At least, as far as I could tell.  My reading was one of 8 in a block of authors in my writing group, the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers.  We had a strong showing at the ‘con, with members sitting on multiple panels throughout the weekend.  And the reading was no different.  Marcy Arlin read her short “Brooklyn Fantasia” (forthcoming to Diabolical Plots next year), and Sam Schreiber read from his Analog story, “Facebook Screamed and Screamed and Then I Ate It.”  Fred Stesney, Brad Parks, Rob Cameron, Elliotte Rusty Harold, and Connor Drexler all read fantastic stories or excerpts, both published and unpublished.  I read an excerpt from “Super Action Excite Team Go!”  The fiction-starved crowd seemed to appreciate our humble offerings, and was sated.

I met some lovely authors, scientists and fans throughout the weekend, and received heartwarming feedback on my panel performance.  Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to do it again.

But that’s not why I’m writing to you today.  Today, we’re turning our gaze out to the web fanzine “Tangent Online,” which just reviewed Intergalactic Medicine Show Issue #56, which, if you’ve been paying attention, has my story “Super Action Excite Team Go!”

Reviewer Rebecca DeVendra had this to say:

Super Action Excite Team Go!” by Matthew Shean is about regrowth, literally and figuratively. A middle school student deals with family tensions while helping his brother re-grow an arm; the scenes of the limb process drawing strong parallels to the memorable scene in the movie Deadpool. The characters are heartfelt, but do not resonate as much as middle-school dramas like Stand By Me or Stranger Things. It does, however, leave the reader with the warm-fuzzies at the end as there’s sweetness indicative of such coming of age tales.

Now, it never pays to respond to reviewers, and I don’t plan to start here.  All I’ll say is that you can do a lot worse than have your 5000-word short story compared to an amazing Rob Reiner movie based on a Stephen King masterpiece.  And I will gladly take “…leave the reader with the warm-fuzzies at the end as there’s sweetness indicative of such coming of age tales.”  Gladly!

Now, apparently, my story has strong parallels to parts of Deadpool.  Watching that’s been on my ‘to do’ list for a while now.  I guess I’d better get on that!

Here I Go…

Matt

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Super Action Excite Team Go!

Joyous day to you all out there in Shean-land!!!

If you recall, a few weeks ago I told you all about the sale of my story, Super Action Excite Team Go!, to the magazine InterGalactic Medicine Show.

Well, today is the day the issue with my story went live!

It’s a gorgeous issue, with lovely stories by E. Catherine Tobler, Shweta Sundararajan, Brian Trent, Steven R. Stewart, Daniel Rosen, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  Please go check it out.

And while you are there, share with me for a moment in marveling at the gorgeous illustration M Wayne Miller did for my story.  It is remarkably beautiful, and perfectly captures both the subject matter and the feel of the story.  I can feel Sam’s desolate longing to be outside, the immature pride and exuberance of the Excite Team, and the menace of those were-crabs.  Oh my word, the were crabs!  And don’t forget the looming presence of the flying giant robots above them all!  This is perfection.  I can tell exactly which of those two guys is Kip and which is Tad, and the expression on Kira’s face, sitting on the motorcycle, breaks my heart.  She knows they’re fighting over her, despite it all.  I love it!

So please, Go on and look at M Wayne’s gorgeous artwork, read the story, and just go ahead and read the whole issue!  I know I am.

Here I Go…

Matt

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Come See Me at Lunacon!

Please come out to see me at my next public reading at the Winchester Marriot in Tarrytown, NY this weekend!

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I’ll be at Lunacon, the science fiction convention hosted annually by the Lunarian Society, this coming weekend. The panels are heavy on the science this year, and the organizers have seen fit to put me on a slew of science-related panels throughout the weekend. And–as mentioned–I’ll be doing a reading on Friday night, as part of a block of readings given by the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers, my writing group.

My schedule for the con is:

Friday, April 7th

8pm – Reading: Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers (in Duchess)

Saturday, April 8th

10am – Possible Futures? (Grand Ballroom B)
12pm – Confronting the Monster (Grand Ballroom G)
2pm – Random Knowledge (Grand Ballroom B)
6pm – How Do We Help the Public Love Science? (Grand Ballroom B)
8pm – Our Stories of Change (Grand Ballroom B)
9pm – Real Bio-Apocalyptica (Grand Ballroom B)

Sunday, April 9th

11am – Exploring the Biology of the Anthropocene (Grand Ballroom B)
1pm – First Contact and Public Health (Grand Ballroom B)
2:30pm – Writers Groups, Degrees, Programs Oh My! (Hudson)

Again, the con is at the Westchester Marriot in Tarrytown, NY, this weekend, April 7-9, 2017.

I look forward to seeing any and all of you there!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go prepare to make a fool of myself in front of scores of potential fans.

Here I Go. . .
Matt

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Changes Are Afoot!

Hello hello hello, it’s three posts in 2 days coming out of SheanHQ. This time with 2 big news items!

Big News Item the First

Last week, when I announced I had a second story coming out, I mentioned that my career was taking another turn coming up soon. It’s time to fill you in!

After years of toiling away in molecular biology labs doing bench science, I quit that life two and a half years ago to write full time. Since then, I’ve have some success with my writing. Some publications, some encouraging rejections, public appearances, and a remarkable turn at a prestigious writing workshop. But as I said in that earlier post, the first rule everyone says about writing is don’t quit your day job.

Well, I did quit the day job, but apparently the day job hasn’t quit me. I stumbled across a job opening recently that sounded too good to pass up. And with practically no commute at that. So, I applied for the job, and miracle of miracles, I got it!

So, as of this past week, I am working at a prestigious private scientific research laboratory here on Long Island. I’m not doing bench science (thank goodness!), but I am combining my science background with my passion for writing. And that’s amazing to me. I’m working in the laboratory’s library division as a science writer/science historian/science history researcher. The job’s a bit of a hodge-podge, which is great because it means constant new things and no boredom. And the co-workers so far have been amazing. I’m still getting settled in, but things are feeling great.

But what does this all mean for Matthew Shean, author, you ask? I’m still writing. It’s still my passion, and it’s still what drives me day in and day out. But now it’s been relegated to those times outside of 9a.m. to 5p.m. weekdays. So, my output will be slower. It’s already moving at a snail’s pace, and now it’s likely to me more akin to a snail trying to get through a streak of peanut butter. But forward progress, no matter how slow, is still progress. And I am still writing. That’s the key here. And I’m happy with my choice to go back to a position of external employment.

Big News Item the Second

SheanHQ is moving!

Alas, it remains in Long Island and not nestled on the side of an imposing volcanic rock face on a deserted Pacific island or sheltered among the faceless tracts of evergreens of the Pacific Northwest, obscured by low-lying cloud cover and a persistent, foggy drizzle. No, we remain among the overcrowded LIRR-bound throngs, just this time transposed about 15 miles in an East-Northeast direction

We are, however, moving into a much more fitting lair. A lair with views of geese and a pond. And a writing loft. Not only is SheanHQ moving in the xy direction, but it is also climbing in the z-direction, up from its basement depths to an above ground, above-garage loft. Di and the kidlets will be much less cramped than previously, we’ll have the kitchen we finally deserve, and the kidlets will have access to amazing opportunities in the new school system. All major plusses.

So rejoice, for things are going very well here! Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s getting late on a Sunday night, and I need to be up early in the morning to head to work. So I need to get to bed.

Here I Go…

Matt

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I wasn’t ready for my close-up yet, Mr. Demille!

More news from SheanHQ, nestled firmly in the desolate wiles of Long Island.  This time, I’m a YouTube star*!I come with more news, and this time, I’m a YouTube star*!

*for varying definitions of ‘star.’  Your mileage may vary.  Offer not valid in AK and HI.

This year’s crop of students from Odyssey Writing Workshop feature in a video just released on YouTube discussing the merits of Odyssey, the amazing quality of the workshop, Jeanne Cavelos’ encyclopaedic knowledge, and the strong bond developed between the students.  I get a fair amount of screen time, but I believe my classmates were far more eloquent and I implore you to listen to what they have to say.  Watch the video, below:

I can’t stress enough how pivotal Odyssey has been in my developmental as a writer.  Hands down applying to go was the best decision of my writing career.  I highly recommend that any of you readers who are currently writers, or are considering becoming a genre writers, owe it to yourselves to try to attend.  Or at the very least to take one of Jeanne Cavelos’ online writing courses.  I’m thinking in particular of two of you (*cough* *cough* Jessica and Chris *cough* cough*).

I knew this video was coming, but watching it, what I was not expecting was the flood of overwhelming emotion I was hit with seeing my friends again for the first time since last summer.  Though we keep in touch in various forms of social media, tics and body language, vocal inflections and odd turns of phrase are more powerful than any tweets or status updates.  Everything came flooding back to me in an instant, and I felt thrust back into New Hampshire as if not a day had gone by.  Every one of them put a smile on my face as they came on, one after the other.  These people are a second family to me, and the intensity of Odyssey brought us together in a way I’ve rarely experienced before.I miss my friends, and I can’t wait until I get a chance to see them again in real life.  (Jeremy and Wendy – I am so sorry I wasn’t able to get away to meet up with you two in the city last week!)

So there you have it – high praise for Odyssey from those that know it best, and a little moment in the spotlight for yours truly.  What do you think, can we make this baby go viral?  You should all go watch it, I know I’m about to queue it up again.

Here I Go…

Matt

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Lunacon and another Public Reading

Greetings in Sheanland!

Much to report from SheanHQ today and tomorrow, so expect two or three posts from me this weekend.

First off – I’ll be attending Lunacon 2017 in Tarrytown, NY in two weeks (April 7-9).  I’m not typically much of a con-goer, but the BSFW (Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers, my writing group) is putting forth a concerted effort to maintain a high profile presence at local cons, and being a loyal member I am thrilled to be a part of their efforts.

This will be my first time going to Lunacon, and I am looking forward to it with great excitement.  If for no other reason than as a show of appreciation to the Lunarian Society, who host the con every year, for their generosity in awarding me a scholarship to attend Odyssey Writing Workshop this past summer.

In addition to meeting great new people at the con, and hopefully making some new friends, I am thrilled to announce that I will be doing a reading at the con, along with several other BSFW members.  The schedule is not yet announced, but a little birdie has told me that the BSFW crew will be reading on Friday evening starting at 8.  I’ll pass along more info when I have it.

But wait – there’s more!

I am also excited to announce that I’ll be a panelist on a handful of science-related panels.  It’s my first time paneling, and I’ve wrapped the warm, cozy quilt of Imposter Syndrome tight around my person.  It looks like on one of the panels I’ll be featured squarely in the shadow of con Guest of Honor, science fiction luminary Ben Bova.  This is a man who has written over 100 books, was editor of Analog for something close to 30 years, and has learned, forgotten, relearned, and reforgotten more about science fiction than I could ever dream.  And I’ll be on a panel with him, discussing how science fiction can and does shape the future of society.  No pressure, Matt.

So, if you’re interested, register for the con, come on out to Tarrytown and say ‘Hello!’  Come for the reading, stay for my mortal shame and embarrassment as I insert both of my feet firmly into my speaking organ on several occasions!

Here I Go…

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Another Sale! Salamanders! Door-Amputations!

I’ve been sitting on the details of this news since December 2nd – but I can finally announce that I’ve sold a second story!

The story, coming out next month in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, is titled “Super Action Excite Team Go!”  It’s a heartwarming story about limb regeneration and a boy who might just be having the worst summer ever.  This story is very close to my heart, and my history.

My career has had a long and winding path (with another turn coming up this week – news post to come!)  But in many ways, I was set on my path at 18 months old, when my right pinky finger was partially amputated in a slamming door.

Thanks to some quick thinking and fast driving on the part of my parents, ER doctors were able to reattach the finger.  But the incident never truly left my mind.  Especially growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, when ABC’s Six Millions Dollar Man was all the rage.  For years, my mother referred to my bionic finger.

In college, I majored in BioEngineering, thinking that the highest calling in the world would be to design and develop prosthetic limbs that could respond to the brain’s signals, and feed back sensory input as well – true bionic limbs. My days (and many stress-filled nights) were crammed with courses on Materials Strength, Human Physiology, Applied Physics,Biomechanics, and 4 semesters of P-Chem (the horror!).  But that all changed when I took my first college Biology course not given by the School of Engineering, and I saw this image in my textbook:

LimbRegenTimeLapse

It’s a time lapse series of a newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) regenerating limbs.

From that day on, I realized I didn’t want to bother with man-made artificial limbs that could only imitate the body’s natural processes, and that badly.  No, my truest aim was to find out how newts and salamanders went about regenerating their limbs – and why we mammals didn’t – and then bridge the gap.  If I could figure out how to get humans to regenerate lost limbs, then all would be right with the world.

Readers of Here I Go… will no doubt realize that things didn’t quite go according to that plan.  But the passion has never left me, nor the interest in regeneration as a topic. So in hindsight, it was really no surprise to me that one of the first stories I wrote when I turned my primary attention to writing was one where a little boy lost a limb, and went about getting it regenerated.  In many ways, it’s a story I’ve been writing my whole life.  I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide if there’s more of me in Jesse, the boy growing back his arm, or in Dr. Look, the slightly crazy scientist talking about ‘arm seeds’ and ‘super secret special sauce.’  I’m not certain even I know for sure…

I hope you’ll purchase a subscription to InterGalactic Medicine Show, I hope you’ll read my story, and I hope you’ll think of me and enjoy.*

Here I Go,

Matt

*This post would end much more poignantly is I could embed a jpeg of the Polaroid my mother took of the 2 year old me, hand bandaged up to the elbow, standing in the foyer of our New Jersey home.  It would be the perfect capper.  But, alas, I have no scan of the photo and not the faintest idea where the original lies.  So you’ll just have to content yourself with my assurances that I was–truly–very cute.

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