Ahoy, Critterfolk!
New entry Nov 01

Critter Notices

Critters is 21!

Yes, 21 years ago Critters was born. Wow! Thanks so much to all of you, who've made it such a resounding success!

Books from Critters!

Check out Books by Critters for books by your fellow Critterfolk, as well as my list of recommended books for writers.

How to Write SF

The Craft of Writing Science Fiction that Sells by Ben Bova, best-selling author and six-time Hugo Award winner for Best Editor. (This is one of the books your ol' Critter Captain learned from himself, and I highly recommend it.) (Also via Amazon)

The Sigil Trilogy

If you're looking for an amazing, WOW! science fiction story, check out THE SIGIL TRILOGY. This is — literally — one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read.

P&E Seeks New Caretaker

Unfortunately, much of the data on the P&E site has become stale and outdated, and needs a new caretaker with the time required to update the site. The listings are being removed until they can be updated by a new caretaker.

Note that the P&E/Critters Annual Readers Poll will run as usual in January.

If you are interested in taking the reins of P&E, and possess what's needed — at least 20hrs/week to volunteer, excellent investigative skills, in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry, ability to detect scams from not-scams, thick skin, good web site skills, good writing ability — please get in touch. Thanks for your interest!


I'm being interviewed live on public radio for Critters 20th birthday. For those who want to listen, it's on the 10am (Mountain time) show on Thursday, 11/19/16, on Colorado Public Radio - has streaming on the site or it's 90.1 FM in the Denver area. [Interview is done, you can listen on the site]

Free Web Sites

Free web sites for authors (and others) are available at

ReAnimus Acquires Advent!

ReAnimus Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of the legendary Advent Publishers! Advent is now a subsidiary of ReAnimus Press, and we will continue to publish Advent's titles under the Advent name. Advent was founded in 1956 by Earl Kemp and others, and has published the likes of James Blish, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and many others. Advent's high quality titles have won and been finalists for several Hugo Awards, such as The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy and Heinlein's Children. Watch this space for ebook and print editions of all of Advent's current titles!

Network speeding up

I'm switching the connection over to a new, shiny 10X faster network because of all the load. There might be bits of downtime as your boxes learn new addresses and things. Should be brief. Let me know of any prolonged outages you see.

Preditors & Editors Changeover

With the very sad passing of Dave Kuzminski, who ran P&E, I've taken over the P&E duties. Lots of what I hope are improvements; check it out at

Critters Server is Dying has been Replaced

See important details here in my blog. Let me know if you find anything that isn't working right. (Manuscripts are now available for this week, FYI.)

Book Recommendation

THE SIGIL TRILOGY: The universe is dying from within... "Great stuff... Really enjoyed it." — SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock

Announcing ReAnimus Press

If you need help making ebooks from manuscripts or print copies—or finding great stuff to read—look no further! An ebook publisher started by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]








Weekly Notes

Notes for 15-Feb-2017...

Helping the Critters Fund Drive this week -- and helping your own
writing -- we have this excellent guide to writing by the founder of
SFWA, the godfather of nearly all SF writing workshops, like Clarion --
and Critters itself -- and himself a SFWA Grand Master:

	CREATING SHORT FICTION by Damon Knight - $5.99

		ReAnimus Press Store:
			(ebook edition; there is a paperback from a Big-5 publisher, but that doesn't benefit the Critters Fund Drive)

	The classic guide to writing short fiction -- Revised & Expanded 3rd ed.

	"What Knight doesn't know about writing the short story cannot be put into expository prose anyway."
	--Algis Budrys

	 Distilled from decades of teaching and practice, Creating Short Fiction offers no-nonsense advice on structure, pacing, dialogue, getting ideas, and much more. It includes examples and exercises that have proved their extraordinary effectiveness in classrooms and workshops everywhere. Creating Short Fiction is a timeless classic that brims with priceless advice for anyone interested in writing short stories.

	"Damon Knight is one of the preeminent teachers of writing in this country. Creating Short Fiction should be considered essential for all beginning writers... not to mention a few others, who've forgotten the invaluable information it contains."
	--Lucius Shepard

	"To those who hunger to be writers I commend this book without reservation."
	--Harlan Ellison

Woohoo!  Congratulations to...

	- Joel E. Roosa, who sold his (Critter'd) short story, "9/10ths"
	to Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores. {9/10ths was Crittered twice.

	Just to advocate for the power of perseverance, 9/10ths has been
	around in one form or another for the better part of forty years.
	Once I got it into serious shape for submitting it took seventeen
	tries until acceptance, the last three to Cosmic Roots and
	Eldritch Shores.  They liked it enough to invite me to resubmit
	it twice with rewrites.

	Joel E. Roosa }

	- Brad Preslar, who sold his (Critter'd) short story, "To Hell
	with Kessler" to Ares Magazine. {This went through as "Laughing
	at Kessler" back in July of 2015. Thinking it will be in Issue
	#6 late this year. Thanks for all the help and critiques.}

Please report your Woohoo!s via the web page.


This week's Most Productive Critter award, for 4 critiques (at time
of judging), averaging almost 400 words each, goes to...

	Davis Tyner

To redeem an MPC, visit:

Congratulations!  To everyone else -- Crit early and often!

(For an explanation of the MPC award, see the page.)


Recommended Reading...
One of the best writing books - Secrets from the 6-time Best Editor
Critters Workshop

This week we have... [get from ]...
     Title                      	Author
Week of 15-Feb-2017 (Crits due 22-Feb-2017):
 SF  Seeing the Lights                  Russell Adams -#26567
 SF  Compost Traumatic Stress, part 3/3  Brian Koukol -#26568
 F   A Song to Break Your Heart         [@] Matt Dovey -#26569
 F   A Drum in the Deep, part 2         Adaleen Martin -#26570
 SF  A Titanic and Stellar Pitch        Davis Tyner -#26571
 SF  Our Rights                         Lori Nishimoto -#26572
 SF  Starborn, Chapter 1                Pamela Najar-Simpson -#26573
 SF  Single Family Home In Alternate Dimension. No Pets.  Christopher Mowder -#26574
 SF  The Amazing Mind of Samantha Wake  Janis Zelcans -#26575
 F   Where They Darken the Sky          Tim Mudie -#26576
 SF  The Darkness Within Us             Shannon Brooks -#26577
 SF  Puking Day                         Nick King -#26578

Recommended books on writing:

	ReAnimus Press Store:


STAYIN' ALIVE - A WRITER'S GUIDE by three-time SFWA President Norman Spinrad
	How things really work in the art and commerce of publishing |

	(A 99cent essay on SF and writing) |
Because you might enjoy it... THE EXILES TRILOGY by BEN BOVA
The best scientists on Earth are exiled to a space station... but they have other plans
Pieces up for critique in other workshops...

In the lit workshop - :
 L   Feeble Thunder                     Jacob Ginsberg -#26511

In the mystery workshop - :
 M   The Murder of Professor Bright     Donya Ture -#26565

In the nonfiction workshop - :
 NG  Plugged Into God, Preface          Rick Weber -#25313

In the script workshop - :
 SC  Bounty Hunters                     Avant Hall -#23842

In the kids workshop - :
 YL  The Red Eyed Rabbit _Chapter 1_    Allison Davis -#26566

In the comics workshop - :
 CG  Metropolise, Chapter 1             Carina Mchardy -#26473

In the western workshop - :
 W   A Message to Santa Fe, Chap 1-3    Frank Coombs -#25375

In the romance workshop - :
 R   To Treasure All These Things - RFDF  Christine Lebednik -#26313

In the video workshop - :
 VS  The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp     Jay DeTalente -#21424

In the music workshop - :
 MP  The Shade Riders and Nocturnal Ned song  Beth Zurkowski -#21675

In the photo workshop - :
 PH  Dry Mud and Cinder Cone            Bill Wight -#19627

In the art workshop - :
 AI  The Dark Jester in an Archway      Joy Landa -#25620

In the website workshop - :
 WW  Powerscript Website                Ronald Hurst -#22230

In the critters workshop - :
 SF  Seeing the Lights                  Russell Adams -#26567
 SF  Compost Traumatic Stress, part 3/3  Brian Koukol -#26568
 F   A Song to Break Your Heart         [@] Matt Dovey -#26569
 F   A Drum in the Deep, part 2         Adaleen Martin -#26570
 SF  A Titanic and Stellar Pitch        Davis Tyner -#26571
 SF  Our Rights                         Lori Nishimoto -#26572
 SF  Starborn, Chapter 1                Pamela Najar-Simpson -#26573
 SF  Single Family Home In Alternate Dimension. No Pets.  Christopher Mowder -#26574
 SF  The Amazing Mind of Samantha Wake  Janis Zelcans -#26575
 F   Where They Darken the Sky          Tim Mudie -#26576
 SF  The Darkness Within Us             Shannon Brooks -#26577
 SF  Puking Day                         Nick King -#26578

A basilisk, a dragon, weirdragons, and a theft gone bad...

Standard notes:

If you need help with anything, see -- there
are FAQs and a form to ask questions.

Critters is donation funded & volunteer run, so if you'd like to
help out with our current fund drive or otherwise, please visit -- Thanks!!

Remember to send the critiques directly to me,, so
I can forward them to the authors _and_ give you credit for your effort.
Please send only one critique per mail message (makes it easier to
archive).  Please make sure the "#" symbol and manuscript number are in
the email Subject: line, like Subject: #1234.  (Conversely, if you want
ol' Aburt to personally read the message, i.e., it's _not_ a critique,
don't put a "#" in the subject or I won't see it.  Also -- put my current
anti-spam code word in there: see .)

You may also send your critiques via .

Note that all critiques will be available to everyone to read the next Saturday.

Remember, authors and critiquers, we're all friends here.  Be polite.  Be
considerate.  Be tactful.  You can say you thought a story was drivel in a
courteous way.  Try to point out the good and the bad; offer alternatives
if you can.  Never, ever, attack the author -- only the story.  Authors:
Remember that some reviewers may lack tact.  Try to be understanding,
but if you get any that you feel are just plain mean-spirited, too short
to be of any use, or too "feel good," let me know and I'll withhold the
reviewer's "credit" for that story and/or cajole them into something
more insightful.  See for more...

If you want to send a short critique that you know is too short for
credit (200 words or less of your own meaningful content) please put
"NC#" in the Subject (NC=No Credit, like Subject: NC#1234) -and- say
something like "not for credit" inside your critique.  (Remember also that
for MPC purposes, a critique must be 300 words or more.)

Comments -other- than critiques (such as discussion of the critiques,
or Woohoo! announcements, or chit chat) should be posted to one of the
official Critters discussion forums (See the
web page for full info, guidelines, etc.)  Don't post stories or critiques
(mail those to

Please pare the ms. down if critiquing in-line (don't quote the whole ms.!).
Other format rules are at .

Past reviews are on the web page.  The current week's manuscripts are
also there, as are prior mss. and even some rewrites.  There's a Master
Page Index (site map) with tons of links to common items.

Authors for this week -- if you aren't getting email'd critiques from
me (as they come in) within a couple days -- ask me and we can verify
I'm sending them to the correct address.  (Send me a phone# in case I
can't get email to you.)  Check the format of your story ASAP to make sure
it's all there and readable.

If you want to change your email address or preferences (# mss. emailed,
SF/F/H type, or whether you get the huge critique batches at week's end),
point your browser to .  Please don't
ask me to do this by hand, it's quite a chore!  (E.g., if you're going
on vacation and want to suspend mail from me -- do this before/after
your trip.)

If you're unable to reach to get manuscripts, I've set up
an emergency backup site at where you can get the
week's manuscripts (but not much of anything else :-).  Speaking of backups --
don't forget to back up your own manuscripts so you don't lose them!

If you want to quit or go inactive, drop by .

Critters is funded by donations, so visit
if you'd like to help out.

Because you might enjoy it... THE WORLD AND THORINN by DAMON KNIGHT
Thorinn is thrown into a well by his father to appease the rumbling gods... and down he goes!

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