Publishing Outside My Blog

By James Wallace Harris, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I’ve had two essays published at SF Signal that normally I would have published here. I don’t know if my regular readers, all seven of you, will miss these stories or not, but I thought I might mention them. They were “64 Classic Science Fiction Books I Want To Hear” that was written for my 64th birthday, and “The Literary Novels of Philip K. Dick.” SF Signal is a website devoted to tracking anything on the net that deals with science fiction and fantasy. It won a Hugo award in 2012, 2013 and 2014. So it’s ego boosting to get published there. And I want to thank it’s editor John DeNardo for linking to this blog in the past, encouraging me to submit, and accepting these essays.

I’ve been writing Auxiliary Memory since 2007, and this is my 993rd essay. I consider blogging piano practice for writing. Now that I’ve been retired for two years I’ve decided to push my writing ability by submitting to other sites. I’ve gotten comfortable with blogging, and I need to dial up the intensity knob, aim higher and push against my limitations. I’m starting by submitting to non-paid sites for a while, to get used to writing for editors. After that I’ll work up to submitting to paid sites. Writing is a fulfilling hobby to have in retirement—and it helps strengthen flabby memory muscles.

I will keep blogging, hopefully at a regular pace, but I need to spend more time on substantial pieces that I’ll send elsewhere. I need to learn what kind of essays are best suited for this blog, and what kind are best sent elsewhere. I’m also hoping that getting published on other sites will attract readers for this site. WordPress says I have 1,500 followers, but I know most of them are just folks promoting their websites (which is cool by the way). Writing something that another person will take ten minutes of their time to read is a challenge. I’m sure there are tens of thousands of new works to read on the internet every day, maybe even in the millions. Competition is fierce for eyeballs. Deciding on a writing topic that is reading worthy is a difficult task. It’s work that pushes my brain to think harder, and since I’m at a stage in life where my brain cells want to kick back and watch TV, it can feel like walking two miles to school everyday, both ways uphill, in the snow,


8 thoughts on “Publishing Outside My Blog”

  1. Congratulations! I’m a regular reader of your blog. Please don’t limit the variety of topics in your blog essays. I enjoy them all and your range of interests has piqued my interests in a number of areas.

  2. Congrats on your publications!
    Maybe you can continue to link to your work published elsewhere so we can see those as well. You could make a separate page on here for it.

  3. Hi James

    I quite enjoyed your post on Dick’s literary novels. I am a big Dick fan but I have not read any of them. I purchased four at a remainder store, TOR released them, so I should give them a try. I really enjoyed Radio Free Albemuth which feels, to me, quite similar to his visionary novels like Valis. I feel they both could easily be considered literary despite the fact that Radio Free Albemuth shares many of the ideas of his “science fictional” works like the Man in the High Castle. Dick is someone who, I think really blurs the line between SF and “mainstream” in his later works. However whether you are considered SF or mainstream seems to be a somewhat artificial category when you consider a writer like Vonnegut. Or books like Brave New World or 1984.

    I do enjoy the range of topics you cover, it is what attracted me to your blog in the first place. I am also really happy you have been successful in publishing outside your blog. I think the work you have published in SF Signal is quite valuable and hopefully it will encourage people to read some books they might otherwise never experience.

    All the best.

    1. Thanks Guy, that’s very encouraging. I agree, PKD does blur the line between SF and mimetic literary writing. By the way, I just finished The Search for Philip K. Dick by Anne R. Dick, Phil’s third wife. It’s a wonderful read if you want to learn about how everyday life got into PKD’s literary and science fiction stories. After PKD died, Anne spent years tracking down everyone that ever knew PKD. I wish she’d publish her full notes and transcripts.

  4. Hi James

    I will take a look for that book, it sounds really interesting. I have read several books about Dick but I am sure she will have a lot of insights. I saw her interviewed for a documentary on youtube called “The Penultimate Truth about Philip K. Dick” which was quite interesting.


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