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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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Fiction

Light of a Thousand Suns

Published Jun 3, 2020 · 5,468 words (20 minutes) · 178 views

Fantasy Horror magic sacrifice nuclear war shopping mall

Don't you think that if magic truly existed that there would be more important uses for it than love spells or turning princes into frogs? In our world where the threats are so huge most people can't even recognize them wouldn't the real wizards and magicians, the good ones, be working to save us all? Those are the questions a unremarkable mall cop faces when he visits a trailer at the edge of the parking lot.

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Fiction

Roller Derby Dan

Published May 27, 2020 · 2,923 words (11 minutes) · 2 likes · 210 views

Fantasy friendship cemetery physically challenged wheelchair

Sometimes we are confronted with the inexplicable that will forever remain a mystery: an event that can't be shared, nor forgotten. Sometimes we have to live with memories of the unknown.

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Beautiful statue I've found on a quiet cemetery in the city of Dresden. Rest in peace.

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Fiction

The Long Way Home

Published May 21, 2020 · 5,895 words (22 minutes) · 186 views

Science Fiction space travel nuclear war epic

Mankind's record of achievements is contradictory. On one hand the species reaches for the stars, but on the other it rushes to destroy itself. Which of the two urges will prevail? If we could look at our complete history, which story remains? "The Long Way Home" gives one answer. Gardner Dozois chose it to include in The Year's Best Science Fiction.

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Fiction

The Pair-a-Deuce Comet Casino All-Sol Poker Championship

Published May 13, 2020 · 5,605 words (21 minutes) · 229 views

Science Fiction space Immortality Space Ships poker comet

If you could save yourself over and over, like a video gamer before he steps into a new situation, how would you behave? How would other immortals like yourself treat you? Find out in the high stakes games that take place in the galaxy's most dangerous casino.

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Poker night

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Fiction

The Turkey Raptor

Published Apr 23, 2020 · 5,144 words (19 minutes) · 223 views

Fantasy Horror monster high school dinosaur bullies mountain town

Leon kept his dangerous pet in a shed behind the house. HIs mom didn't know about it, neither did his friends. But it was a small mountain town, and secrets were hard to preserve.

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Notes From the Field

Published Apr 15, 2020 · 5,245 words (20 minutes) · 248 views

Science Fiction Alien sex first contact one night stands

What could be lonelier than being an alien investigator tasked with researching human interaction when you can't communicate with anyone who knows who you really are?

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Fiction

Sacrifice

Published Apr 2, 2020 · 4,075 words (15 minutes) · 191 views

Science Fiction Love generation ship fertility ceremony mutagen

Anthropology is filled with stories of cultures that practiced ritual and sacrifice to anchor their place in the world. There's little to reason to doubt that the far-removed generations of the survivors of a spaceship that crash landed on an empty but livable planet might not develop their own rituals,unrecognizable to their technological ancestors.

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Fiction

Finding Orson

Published Mar 25, 2020 · 6,301 words (23 minutes) · 1 like · 400 views

Fantasy teaching high school Romeo and juliet english class

Patty is a gifted teacher, literally. She sees the emotional aura around her students. All would be well until Orson, a quiet, sullen boy's aura turns startlingly, distressingly black.

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Buddha in Bhutan

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Fiction

The Small Astral Object Genius

Published Mar 19, 2020 · 5,744 words (21 minutes) · 318 views

Science Fiction first contact astronomy family relations

Dustin spends most of his time in his room, sending his Peek-a-boo into space, hoping to catch a good picture of a distant star or planet. At school he'll trade with his friends for the best shots. Is the technology behind the Peek-a-boos real or a scam on credulous children? Will his parents ever be happy? And what if the Peek-a-boo captures something really strange?

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flame and horsehead nebular in Orians belt

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Fiction

High Stakes Test

Published Mar 11, 2020 · 4,667 words (17 minutes) · 1 like · 220 views

Horror Satire education teaching School standardized testing

Teachers are human and kids aren't abstractions. Academic battles are fought by personalities where things get messy. It's also possible that you have to be careful for what you wish for if all you want is higher test scores.

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Times gone by a Back to School scene from the 20th Century. Blackboard and chalk.  The days before technology, when life was more simple, although school life much stricter. No calculators, we had to learn our times tables. This photo makes me feel fascinated.