ramblings, rants, news, ephemera, and stuff

“Do Stand-Up Bots Dream of Electric Hecklers? (And Other Stories)” on Amazon Kindle

My biggest collection to date, Do Stand-Up Bots Dream of Electric Hecklers? (And Other Stories), has been released on Amazon!

It contains 6 of my humorous sci-fi short stories:

  • “Head to Head”: An obnoxious telepath tortures a stranger by never shutting up.
  • “Simon Clash: The Galaxy’s Greatest Hero”: A space hero risks life and limb to save a princess on the planet Desolation, because that’s his thing.
  • “Bad Poets Society”: Kilgore Birch faces death in a world where justice is determined by poetry criticism.
  • “6 Attempts at Winning Jennifer’s Heart”: A shy geek uses his boss’s inventions to woo his co-worker.
  • “The League of Lame Superheroes”: A group of superheroes with extraordinarily average powers try to get respect and save the world.
  • “Do Stand-Up Bots Dream of Electric Hecklers?”: A comedy robot makes life miserable for his no-nonsense owner.

You can buy yourself a copy on Amazon.

If “Batman v Superman” Were Made in 1949

They sure don’t make superhero movies like they used to.

Before actors worked out, before CGI, before color…we had flabby, middle-aged guys in baggy costumes battling weird bad guys, usually with nothing but their fists. It was simple, innocent, and, actually, pretty amazing. Then came the blockbuster movie and things have never been same.

Vulture magazine imagines what a “Batman v Superman” movie would have looked like if it were made in the black-and-white world of 1949. The two-minute clip was created by assembling footage from old Superman and Batman serials, with a bit of animation thrown in. Let’s pray that  Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a better movie. (But don’t count on it.)

Bonus: Ben Affleck wasn’t alive in 1949!

“So You’ve Metamorphosed Into a Giant Insect. Now What?” Published in Unidentified Funny Objects 4

Unidentified Funny Objects 4 is out! The anthology includes my story “So You’ve Metamorphosed into a Giant Insect. Now What?”

The book, which also features stories by Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin, has been getting rave reviews, with many critics calling it the best in the series.

Amazing Stories says my story is “pretty funny stuff.” And Tangent Online says, “For the good of the community, please pick up a copy of Aquilone’s thoughtful and timely guide.”

You can pick up the anthology via Amazon or Kobo.

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • “We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” by Neil Gaiman
  • “The Time-Traveling Ghost Machine of Professor Jaime Peligrosa” by Andrew Kaye
  • “Please Approve the Dissertation Research of Angtor” by Caroline M. Yoachim
  • “Match Game” by Esther Friesner
  • “The Transformation of Prince Humphrey” by Brent C. Smith
  • “In the End, You Get Clarity” by Laura Pearlman
  • “Project Disaster” by Tim Pratt
  • “Hello Hotel” by Piers Anthony
  • “Bob’s No Kill Monster Shelter” by Ian Creasey
  • “Board Meeting Minutes” by Oliver Buckram
  • “Armed for You” by Anaea Lay
  • “The Unfortunate Problem of Grandma’s Head” by Karen Haber
  • “My Mother Loves Her Robot More than Me and I Feel Bad” by Eric Kaplan
  • “The Worm that Turned” by Jody Lynn Nye
  • “Department of Death Predictions, Final Notice” by Tina Gower
  • “Champions of Breakfast” by Zach Shephard
  • “Keeping Ahead” by Mike Resnick
  • “So You’ve Metamorphosed into a Giant Insect. Now What?” by James Aquilone
  • “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” by Michael J. Martinez
  • “Texts from My Mother about an Alien Invasion” by Tina Connolly
  • “Support Your Local Alien” by Gini Koch
  • “Topics to Avoid on a First Date with Yourself” by Jonathan Ems
  • “The Monkey Treatment” by George R. R. Martin

Burning Question #5: Why Can’t You Get Away From a Psycho Killer?

He's Behind YouWhatever you do, they will catch you.

Stay put.

That’s making things too easy. Don’t think Jason could get through your front door? Or leap through your bedroom window?


Under the bed? In the closet? In the basement? You’re only trapping yourself.


Sounds like the best course of action. But inevitably you will take a quick glance behind you. You will fall down. And Michael Myers will be standing right fucking in front of you. There’s a reason you never see psycho killers running after their victims. They don’t have to.



Horror Movie Final Girls Through the Ages

This infographic makes me think we really need some final boys.


“The Grimlorn Under the Mountain” Published in Weirdbook #31

After a 20-year hiatus, the legendary horror magazine Weirdbook has returned — and the first issue features one of my short stories, “The Grimlorn Under the Mountain”!

The revived magazine is being edited by Douglas Draa and published by Wildside Press.

The nearly 200-page first issue boasts a bunch of great authors. Here’s the full table of contents:

  • “Chivaine” by John R. Fultz
  • “Give Me the Daggers” by Adrian Cole
  • “The Music of Bleak Entrainment” by Gary A. Braunbeck
  • “Into the Mountains With Mother Old Growth” by Christian Riley
  • “The Grimlorn Under the Mountain” by James Aquilone
  • “Dolls” by Paul Dale Anderson
  • “Gut Punch” by Jason A. Wyckoff
  • “Educational Upgrade” by Bret McCormick
  • “Boxes of Dead Children” by Darrell Schweitzer
  • “The Forgotten” by D.C. Lozar
  • “Coffee With Dad’s Ghost” by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
  • “Missed It by That Much” by Gregg Chamberlain
  • “A Clockwork Muse” by Erica Ruppert
  • “The Rookery” by Kurt Newton
  • “Wolf of Hunger Wolf of Shame” by J. T. Glover
  • “Zucchini Season” by Janet Harriett
  • “The Jewels That Were Their Eyes” by Llanwyre Laish
  • “The Twins” by Kevin Strange
  • “Princess or Warrior?” by S.W. Lauden

The issue is available via Amazon and Wildside Press.

“A Day to End All Days” Published in Ain’t Superstitious

My humorous horror tale “A Day to End All Days” has been published in Third Flatiron’s Ain’t Superstitious anthology.

Here’s the book’s description:

Let your imagination run away with you for a change.

Since the Age of Enlightenment, it’s become the norm to reject belief in miracles, revelation, magic, or the supernatural. But it’s only human to feel that delicious frisson of fear when things get a little strange. Third Flatiron Anthologies proudly presents “Ain’t Superstitious,” a double issue packed with 26 stories of the weird, wild, and magical.

You can pick up Ain’t Superstitious through Amazon and Smashwords.

Here’s the table of contents:

“Salt and Bone” by Amy Aderman
“Coffee Lake” by Spencer Carvalho
“Confrontation on the Big One Three” by Maureen Bowden
“The Plague Well” by Dennis Mombauer
“Across the Styx of Norway” by Jacob M. Lambert
“The Necromancer” by John Hegenberger
“Pandora’s Pinata” by E. E. King
“A Day to End All Days” by James Aquilone
“Upon a Pale Horse” by Bruce Golden
“Wind Chimes” by Sean O’Dea
“James and the Prince of Darkness” by Kevin Lauderdale
“Spellcasting” by Gerri Leen
“What Is Sacred to Dogs” by A. P. Sessler
“The Apple Falls Upward” by Andrew Kozma
“Sam, Sam, and the Demoness” by K. T. Katzmann
“Ambrose’s Eight-plus-Oneth” by Judith Field
“The Annual Scarecrow Festival” by John Paul Davies
“Nine Ways to Communicate with the Living” by Sarina Dorie
“Schrodinger’s Schrodinger” by Benjamin Jacobson
“A Little Mischief” by Ken Altabef
“Gualicho Days” by Gustavo Bondoni
“Wolf Call” by Adele Gardner
“The Candlestick” by Will Morton
“Dead Men’s Drinks” by Christina Bates
“Pantomimus” by Lyn Godfrey
“O Shades, My Woe” by Eric J. Guignard

5 Things I Learned My First Week of Self-Publishing

I entered the self-publishing game with my first ebook in late August, but I’ve already learned a good deal. One thing I learned is that there’s much more to learn!

Here are five other things I learned my first week of self-publishing on Amazon:

1. Don’t be jealous of your author friends when their book is No. 17 in some sub-category of a sub-category of a sub-category. My ebook sold a whopping four copies in one day and I zoomed up the sales rankings, peaking at 21,000 overall in the Kindle store and in the Top 20 of the science fiction short reads category. For a little while I was the No. 2 Hot New Release. I’m selling the book for 99 cents, so all it took was $3.96 in sales to get me into that position. Amazon doesn’t care about price when it comes to sales ranking, only units sold. (Four sales in a day isn’t bad, though. But you’d have to be consistent and sell four copies a day for a few weeks to make decent money.)

2. If you’re going to publish short books, it’s probably best to put the copyright info in the back. That’s because the “Look Inside” preview feature grabs only the first 10 percent of the book. So with a book that’s only, say, 15 or 20 pages long, it might not show anything but the copyright page. I learned that the hard way and had to re-upload my book, and when you do that, it can takes hours or even days to update.

3. Not everyone has the Kindle app or knows how to buy an ebook on Amazon. It’s a given for regular readers, but for friends and family who are not bibliophiles , buying your ebook may confuse the hell out of them.

4. Don’t expect people to buy your book just because it’s on Amazon. You need to do work. Promote. Develop a readership. Get your name out there. It’s hard enough to get someone to read your stuff when it’s available for free online; getting strangers to plunk down even 99 cents for your words is a huge challenge.

5. Don’t expect to get much writing done. Even publishing a short ebook (mine contains two short stories and runs the equivalent of 17 pages) takes a lot of time. You have to design a cover, format your book, create a copyright page, possibly a table of contents, proofread it all, test it, upload it, write the meta data, reupload it (if you find mistakes), wait for approval, possibly prove you own the copyrights to the text — and when it’s published you have to market it. Like this… Hey, I published an ebook. Please buy it here.

Burning Questions #4: How Did We Lose the Vietnam War?

Stallone, Schwarzenegger. NorrisOur silver-screen Vietnam vets were kicking ass in the 1980s. Sylvester Stallone was taking on entire towns armed with a sneer, Arnold Schwarzenegger was cracking necks with his bare hands, and Chuck Norris was doing, uh…(actually I’ve never seen any of those Missing in Action movies, but I’m sure Chuck was doing the exact same thing as Stallone). As John Rambo, John Matrix, Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, and James Braddock, our celluloid heroes were one-man armies; no one could stop them, not even invisible Rasta aliens.

So, how in the heck, dear readers, did we lose the Vietnam war with such badasses on our side?

My answer: We didn’t lose Vietnam. It was a tie. (Extra points if you know what movie that quote comes from.)

“No Place for a Hero” on Amazon Kindle

I self-pubbed! I self-pubbed!

Gosh, it’s fun creating ebooks.

After much fussing, “No Place for a Hero” went live on Amazon this week. The story was originally published last year in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine and later reprinted in The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014 and podcasted at StarShipSofa.

Also included is my short short story “6 Attempts at Winning Jennifer’s Heart.”

Yes, all this can be yours for the low, low price of 99 cents.

All you have to do is click over to Amazon.

How about that cover too?

What’s Been Going On?

I haven’t posted in a while and there hasn’t been much by the way of publications in the past few months, but that’s about to change. A bunch of stories are coming out in the next few weeks.

“A Day to End All Days” will be published in Third Flatiron’s fall anthology “Ain’t Superstitious” on September 1. There’s already a pre-order page up on Amazon.

I’m very excited about this: “So You’ve Metamorphosed Into a Giant Insect. Now What?” will be in the Unidentified Funny Objects 4 anthology, edited by Alex Shvartsman. What’s so exciting — beyond being in the kick-ass UFO series — is that I’ll be sharing a table of contents with George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman! In fact, there are only four stories between me and GRRM! The book should be out in either September or October. Check back for more details.

“The Grimlorn Under the Mountain,” which is one of my few (so far) non-funny stories, will be in the first issue of the revived Weirdbook Magazine, edited by Douglas Draa. That should be out in October.

“The Great Work” — I hope — will be published in the eight volume of Spark: A Creative Anthology. No confirmation on a publication date yet. This, too, is a straight-up horror story.

In other publishing news, I’m putting the finishing touches on my first self-published reprint. That should be out this week. I’ll have an update on that soon.

“Simon Clash: The Galaxy’s Greatest Hero” Published in Nature’s Futures

Nature's FuturesMy space opera tale about a hero and his robot sidekick who specialize in saving princesses has been published in Nature’s Futures.

Here’s the opening to “Simon Clash: The Galaxy’s Greatest Hero”:

A brzzt-brzzt-brzzt came stuttering through the air as we sped over the black sands of Desolation. Something hit the repulsor-cycle’s rear fin, sending it into a vicious spin. Ja-bot was immediately thrown. I fought to regain control, and had nearly stopped the ever-widening gyre, but the cycle caught the edge of a dune and pitched me into the burning sand.

You can read the entire story at the Futures website.

You can read about what inspired the story here.

“No Place for a Hero” on StarShipSofa Podcast

StarShipSofaThe fine folks at StarShipSofa featured my superhero story “No Place for a Hero” on their podcast last month.

You can listen to it here.

The story was originally published in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine and reprinted in “The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014” anthology.

“Do Stand-Up Bots Dream of Electric Hecklers?” Published in Perihelion SF

perihelion_logoMy story about a stand-up comedian robot has been published in Perihelion Science Fiction.

Here’s the opening to “Do Stand-Up Bots Dream of Electric Hecklers?”:

Harold was sitting toilet, reading the holo-paper, when the stand-up bot began an impromptu set. Harold had come to hate the metallic hack with the ferocity he usually reserved for people who dog-eared old print books or got those ridiculous data-streaming bionic eyes.

You can read the entire story at Perihelion SF.

“6 Attempts at Winning Jennifer’s Heart” & “No Place for a Hero” Reprinted

I love me reprints.

Getting paid once for a story is nice, but getting paid twice? Now that’s sweet!

I had two big reprints in the past few months.

The first was “No Place for a Hero,” which was originally published in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine in November 2014. In December it made its way into “The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014 ” anthology, along with stories by Larry Niven, Mercedes Lackey, and Ken Liu.

You can pick it up at Amazon as a paperback or ebook.

If reading isn’t your thing, “No Place for a Hero” will be podcast on StarShipSofa on February 18th. So look for that too. This little story sure has been making the rounds since it was published only a few months ago!

In January “6 Attempts at Winning Jennifer’s Heart” was reprinted in the “Flash Fiction Online 2014 Anthology,” the publication’s first annual anthology. It was originally published in Flash Fiction Online in August 2014. The anthology also includes stories by Caroline M. Yoachim, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, and Stewart C. Baker.

It’s available at Amazon as an ebook.