In the next couple of months, the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group will feature some of our published authors. Phil Giunta is a regular fixture at GLVWG, has shared his advice on Writing the Compelling Short Story at past conferences, and has quite an impressive bibliography of works to his name.
When I use the term “speculative fiction” in my response to the inevitable question, “What do you write?” the common reaction is a blank stare, even from some in the writing community.
When that happens, I take it as my prompt to explain that speculative fiction is an umbrella term that covers science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Once they hear that, the blank stare is washed away and replaced by understanding followed by the inevitable, “Are you published?”
The answer to that question can be found in my bibliography below. At the moment, I’d like to address another question, asked less frequently, yet far more satisfying to discuss—“Why do you write in those genres?”
Simply put, they appeal to me because of the wide breadth of stories that can be told, the infinitely exotic worlds that can be created, the strange, beguiling, or alien characters and situations that allow us to escape into a milieu unlike anything we experience in our daily lives.
Someone once said that science fiction and fantasy are not so much genres, but settings through which any tale can be spun—murder mysteries, police procedurals, medical dramas, coming of age tales, the immoralities of war, racism, sexism, nationalism and the other chauvinisms that plague our society. Writers have always used fiction as parables to address the ills of the world around them.
Speculative fiction also appeals to me because these were the genres and themes I grew up with from the time I watched my first episode of Star Trek in reruns at age six and dreamed about exploring the galaxy. That same year, Star Wars was released—the pure, untainted, perfect version—that fired my young imagination even further. I started watching The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits around that same time.
From then on, I was hooked and began reading science fiction, which led to fantasy, which led to ghost stories and mysteries. From Asimov to Clarke, from Bradbury to Ellison, from Heinlein to LeGuin, from Poe to Lovecraft, and from Doyle to Dumas, I could not get enough. Still can’t. Still reading as yet undiscovered (by me) works by some of these writers and more including Philip Jose Farmer, Larry Niven, Lester Del Rey, Murray Leinster, Ben Bova. The list expands continuously.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I began attending science fiction conventions, hauling along stacks of Star Trek novels and comic books to be autographed by writers who have since become mentors, friends, and yes, colleagues. Little did I realize at the time that by inquiring about writing and publishing and attending their discussion panels, I was also networking with chaps like Steven H. Wilson, Michael Jan Friedman, Howard Weinstein, Peter David, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and many others.
These bestselling and award-winning writers of comic books and media tie-in works also made their own marks with original SF, fantasy, and horror. Over the past twenty-six years, my relationships with some of these writers solidified into writing and publishing opportunities.
Steven H. Wilson’s Firebringer Press published all three of my paranormal mystery novels and a trilogy of speculative fiction anthologies that I created and edited to give voice to emerging writers.
Crazy 8 Press—formed by Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Glenn Hauman, and other august scribes—included two of my whimsical short stories in their ReDeus mythology series a few years back.
As a reader and fan, the speculative fiction genres have always brought me joy and wonder and have enriched my life by introducing me to scores of wonderful people. As a writer, these genres sparked my imagination at an early age and inspired me to pursue and hone my skills as a storyteller.
And now, click Like Mother, Like Daughters-Teaser for a sneak peek at Phil Giunta’s newest story, due out in November 2018.
Phil Giunta’s novels include the paranormal mysteries Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side published by Firebringer Press. His third novel in the same genre, Like Mother, Like Daughters, is slated for release in late 2018.
Phil’s short stories appear in such anthologies as A Plague of Shadows from Smart Rhino Publications, Beach Nights from Cat & Mouse Press, the ReDeus mythology series from Crazy 8 Press, and the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series, which he created and edited for Firebringer Press. His paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters is slated for release in 2018.
As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG), Phil also penned stories and essays for Write Here, Write Now and The Write Connections, two of the group’s annual anthologies. He also served as chairman of the 2015 Write Stuff writers conference in Bethlehem, PA.
Visit Phil’s website: http://www.philgiunta.com
You can listen to Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side for free at Scribl: https://scribl.com/browse?au=1017
Bibliography – Phil Giunta