Posts filed under ‘Fiction’
Joanne Merriam, Upper Rubber Boot Books1
Grammar, Syntax, Usage:
- Is the grammar, punctuation, and spelling correct?
- Does wrong or non-standard syntax serve the purpose of the work?
- Does the diction [ornateness/simplicity] fit the meaning?
- Is there music? Is the music serving the work?
Serving the Reader:
- Is it true?
- Is it ethical?
- Does it go deep enough?
- Is it based on cultures I don’t belong to or don’t have a deep knowledge of? If so, have I run it past people who do belong to those cultures, and/or done extensive research to avoid misrepresentation and mistakes?
- Are there places that would be confusing to an outside reader or where I’ve assumed non-general knowledge or mind-reading?
Serving the Story:
- Is it predictable? Are there clichés in words, images, ideas, or plot? (Strange Horizons lists cliché plots: http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction-common.shtml; Teresa Nielsen Hayden lists dreadful phrases: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007425.html.)
- Can I strengthen the story by changing my world-building assumptions? (Charles Stross’ list: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/01/a-world-building-puzzler.html.)
- Are the transitions serving the work? Is every scene serving the work? Are the ideas and rhetorical gestures in the right order?
- Is it in the right voice [first person/second person/third person]?
- What does it actually say on the page (as opposed to in my mind)? Is it saying what it wants to say? Is it confused?
- Would saying less be stronger?
- Does it follow its own deepest impulses, rather than my initial idea?
- Do I know more than I did when I started writing it? Did I discover anything?
- Do characters follow their own goals and impulses, or have I forced them to act against their own character to fit the plot? Do they talk, act, and think authentically?
- Is there anything that doesn’t belong?
- Do any digressions serve the work?
- Is it self-satisfied/smug?
- Does it allow strangeness? Is the strangeness it allows accessible?
- Should it go out into the world or is it the seed for another story (or poem)?
1 Also includes questions from a talk given by poet Jane Hirshfield at Vanderbilt University, and from a workshop given by poet Sue MacLeod at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. Feel welcome to reproduce or excerpt this list, provided attribution and this notice are included.
21 March 2016
20 September 2015
Billy Sooner made it big. Mickey and Al were left behind. In a bid to recapture the past, they hope to reunite on stage at Madison Square Gardens, before Mickey’s shady past and bingo dauber heroin send them on a trip they can’t come back from.
Flight 505 is bloody, bleak, meditative, funny, and, on one level or another, all about music, musicians, and the glory and damage of their world.
Leslie Bohem was part of the great Los Angeles music scare of the early 1980s. His band, Gleaming Spires, had a cultish hit with their single, “Are You Ready For the Sex Girls” (if you ever saw Revenge of the Nerds, you know) and he was at the same time holding down a day job as the bass player with the band Sparks.
After this burgeoning career in rock and roll stopped burgeoning, he found a job writing screenplays about rock and roll musicians whose careers had stopped burgeoning. But no one makes movies about rock and roll musicians whose careers etc, and so he wrote A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5, The Horror Show and bits and pieces of several other memorable epics. Eventually Twenty Bucks, which he wrote based on a 1935 script by his dad, Endre, was made. The movie earned critical raves and several awards, including an Independent Spirit Award. His other screenwriting credits include Daylight, Dante’s Peak, The Alamo, Kid, Nowhere To Run, The Darkest Hour, and the mini-series Taken which he wrote and executive produced (with Steven Spielberg) and for which he won an Emmy award.
He’s had songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, Freddy Fender, Steve Gillette, Johnette Napolitano (of Concrete Blonde), Alvin (of the Chipmunks), and the awesome Misty Martinez. His short stories have appeared in some rather embarrassing men’s magazines, in several magazines including Sanitarium and The Lost Coast Review, and on Derek Haas’ site, Popcorn Fiction, where two of them, “DMT” and “Honeymoon” have been optioned and will hopefully be coming to a theater near you soon. Right now, he’s developing his series Shut Eye for Hulu. His new album, Moved to Duarte, will be up and out soon.
Follow him on instagram @movedtoduarte.
What People Are Saying About Flight 505:
…a no-bullshit and captivating peek false-glam/true-grit world of being a rock musician in LA. Bohem’s amazing and the fact that he is consistently creating is a beautiful thing.
—Heather Drain, Mondo Heather, 5 September 2015
If Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock showed more interest in the new wave scene out of Los Angeles in the late 1970s and early 1980s instead of the French new wave films by Truffaut, they might have been two of the characters in the Les Bohem underground classic Flight 505. If you missed the scene, then this is your chance to get a taste of the noise, the buzz and the nazz, while flying high in the clubs in Chinatown and everywhere else in this God forsaken landscape. If you were there, the unpredictable storytelling will take you by surprise. Fasten your seat belt and take a quick ride to the dark side of town, where the bands played sloppy and loud and the Hollywood girls and boys lived as if there was no tomorrow. Flight 505 is boarding now. All seats are sold out. Stand by is no longer available.
Get your copy before it’s too late.
A generational voice of singular resonance—elevating what in other less skilled hands is simply genre, becomes a minor classic that fully captures a moment in our culture, one that will always look different to those who take the time to read this.
Les Bohem writes a story with the same easy style that people share them in conversation. In Flight 505, he brought me back to the noir and punk rock-informed Los Angeles of my youth, with recognizable characters and situations as though he were describing an actual night we’d been at the same place at the same time. This is no romantic memory; it is, instead, a richer, in-depth portrayal of a scene and late 20th Century American Dream of “making it” in rock n roll. Much more than “rock n roll fiction,” Flight 505 is a cautionary tale about knowing oneself and being able to live to tell.
Flight 505 pays dark homage to the Southern California post-punk music scene. Through the story of three band-mates drawn to Los Angeles during its rock club heyday, Les Bohem skillfully deconstructs the adolescent male’s archetypal dream of rock and roll stardom. Bohem’s prose carries the cautionary weight of his having been there. The problem with most rock and roll fiction is that it invariably falls prey to its own self-importance. Flight 505 begs to differ.
I’m not one for reading rock and roll writing. I find it either terribly clichéd or over-fantasized. Having definitely been there and definitely done that, I was immediately familiar with and felt real affection for Les’ dysfunctional family of characters.
Every dirty club floor, cheap beer and chronic loser truly lives and breathes in this story, and Les’ amazing recollection of and attention to detail are so impeccable if you weren’t in L.A. back in the ’80s, you’ll certainly feel as if you are… and if you weren’t in a band, well, this is what it was like. A great read.
1 September 2015
Written by Argentine author Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría and translated into English by Lawrence Schimel, Memory explores the nature of oppression, genetic engineering, non-binary relationships, and—you guessed it—memory, on a colony on a terraformed Mars.
This novelette was a finalist for the Ignotus (the Spanish national science fiction awards) and originally appeared in the anthology Terra Nova: An Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Science Fiction. It was released in this edition on 27 July 2015.
It has appeared on several of Book Riot‘s lists: 100 Must-Read Latin American Books (25 April 2016), The Re(a)d Planet: 10 Short Stories About Mars (28 May 2016), and 100 Must-Read Works of Speculative Fiction in Translation (22 June 2016).
What People Are Saying About Memory:
I don’t think the value of any story hinges on the moral righteousness of the characters, or even the author, and as a writer I sometimes find the pressure for so-called positive representation to effectively judge all marginalized writing against a politics of respectability; that said, Memory is not merely a feel-good celebration of love and the survivors of abuse should proceed with some caution. Still, the novellette is excellently crafted and beautiful, if painful, to read—and it still is in fact diverse. The very end heightens the motif of desire across a malleable torus of time, and it satisfied and stuck around with me for several days after. Overall, Memory is a sensual sucker-punch of short fabulist science fiction.
—K. Tait Jarboe, “Memory by Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría,” Strange Horizons, 4 July 2016
This novelette is an exploration of oppression, freedom, love, polyamory, memory, and time itself.
—A.J. O’Connell, “The Re(a)d Planet: 10 Short Stories About Mars,” Book Riot, 28 May 2016
Nostalgic future, which looks like a summer afternoon of the past, from childhood, is well known to every reader of fiction from the work of Ray Bradbury. When the place is Mars, no doubt about conscious desire on the part of the author to connect with precisely this vision of the planet, not one of the more popular lately (as we see in psevdofantastichniya film Ridley Scott’s “Martian”). Romanticize Mars is important for history that deals with desire. . . . Where clear where vague, always strong at its core, each echo is actually a creative act. So neither the first meeting with Mr. Cappadocia and his old Chevy on Mars is not a retelling of a Martian chronicle of Bradbury or revolution against the ground reflects the trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. And the desire of Jedediah not near to desire freedom at Delaney or near-death wish in Tiptri. For the author of “Memory” Memory is the most important thing about identity, just as the memory is something important and meaningful reading good fiction.
—Vladimir Poleganova, “An Unforgettable Mars,” auto-translated by Google, Coven of troubadours [Сборище на трубадури], 10 December 2015
. . .it’s worth your time to read and evaluate for yourself. I found the writing and characterization beautiful. . .
—Karen Burnham, “Although Flawed, MEMORY by Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría Features Beautiful Writing and Revolutionary Ideas,” SF Signal, 6 August 2015
I would recommend this novelette if you are interested in a quick, deep read and, of course, if you like science fiction stories!
—Márcia, “BOOK REVIEWS: MEMORY BY TERESA P. MIRA ECHEVERRÍA,” Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned reader, 29 June 2015
In many ways, Memory reminds me of Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles in terms of the latter’s use of Mars as a kind of exotic backdrop to the human drama that plays itself out. De Echeverría, like Bradbury, is interested less in the science of Mars and more in what it means for humans to colonize and change another planet—what does this do to humans’ perceptions, beliefs, and desires? How does a radically different environment change how we think about what it means to be human?
Most interesting of all, to me, is how much Memory makes me think about a famous novella (Death in Venice) by my favorite author of all time (the German writer Thomas Mann). Mann’s story, too, explores desire and “unconventional” love and its connections to art, memory, and death. Unlike Memory, though, Death in Venice despairs for a world in which love isn’t policed and bounded. De Echeverría’s story, in its lyrical and ultimately positive portrayal of non-binary, expansive love, seems like the answer to Death in Venice‘s question.
—Rachel Cordasco, “MEMORY by Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría is a Mind Expanding Sci-Fi Read,” SF Signal, 27 June 2015
27 July 2015
How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens explores the immigrant experience in a science fiction setting, with exciting fiction and poetry from some of the genre’s best writers. A diverse book, it comprises writers from the US, Canada, Hungary, India, Laos, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ukraine, Switzerland, South Africa, the Philippines and the UK.
In these pages, you’ll find Sturgeon winner Sarah Pinsker’s robot grandmother, James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner Nisi Shawl’s prison planet and Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award winner Ken Liu’s space- and time-spanning story of different kinds of ghosts. You’ll find Bryan Thao Worra’s Cthulhic poetry, and Pinckney Benedict’s sad, whimsical tale of genocide. You’ll travel to Frankfurt, to the moon, to Mars, to the underworld, to unnamed alien planets, under the ocean, through clusters of asteroids. You’ll land on the fourth planet from the star Deneb, and an alternate universe version of Earth, and a world of Jesuses.
This is not a textbook. You will not find here polemics on immigration policy or colonialism. The most compelling fiction articulates the unsaid, the unbearable, and the incomprehensible; these stories say things about the immigration experience that a lecture never could. The purpose of this book is, first and foremost, to entertain the casual and the sophisticated reader, but its genesis is a response to the question: Who do we become when we live with the unfamiliar?
Table of Contents:
- Dean Francis Alfar, “Ohkti”
- Celia Lisset Alvarez, “Malibu Barbie Moves to Mars”
- RJ Astruc, “A Believer’s Guide to Azagarth”
- Lisa Bao, “like father, like daughter”
- Pinckney Benedict, “Zog-19: A Scientific Romance”
- Lisa Bolekaja, “The Saltwater African”
- Mary Buchinger, “Transplanted”
- Zen Cho, “The Four Generations of Chang E”
- Tina Connolly, “Turning the Apples”
- Indrapramit Das, “muo-ka’s Child”
- Tom Doyle, “The Floating Otherworld”
- Peg Duthie, “With Light-Years Come Heaviness”
- Thomas Greene, “Zero Bar”
- Benjamin S. Grossberg, “The Space Traveler’s Husband,” “The Space Traveler and the Promised Planet” and “The Space Traveler and Boston”
- Minal Hajratwala, “The Unicorn at the Racetrack”
- Julie Bloss Kelsey, “tongue lashing” and “the itch of new skin”
- Rose Lemberg, “The Three Immigrations”
- Ken Liu, “Ghost Days”
- Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Found”
- Anil Menon, “Into The Night”
- Joanne Merriam, “Little Ambushes”
- Mary Anne Mohanraj, “Jump Space”
- Daniel José Older, “Phantom Overload”
- Abbey Mei Otis, “Blood, Blood”
- Sarah Pinsker, “The Low Hum of Her”
- Elyss G. Punsalan, “Ashland”
- Benjamin Rosenbaum, “The Guy Who Worked For Money”
- Erica L. Satifka, “Sea Changes”
- Nisi Shawl, “In Colors Everywhere”
- Lewis Shiner, “Primes”
- Marge Simon, “South”
- Sonya Taaffe, “Di Vayse Pave”
- Bogi Takács, “The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook For Visiting Extraterrestrials”
- Bryan Thao Worra, “Dead End In December” and “The Deep Ones”
- Deborah Walker, “Speed of Love”
- Nick Wood, “Azania”
What People Are Saying About How to Live on Other Planets:
Suffice it to say, the stories and poems in this collection are, for the most part, exceptional at addressing a related theme and in exploring the social effects of immigration and alienation. Collected together, they make for a memorable themed anthology.
—Shaun Duke, How to Live on Other Planets edited by Joanne Merriam, Strange Horizons, 27 April 2015
This collection explores the immigrant experience in a science fiction setting, with exciting fiction and poetry from some of the genre’s best writers (including DARK MATTER faves Lisa Bolekaja, Nisi Shawl and Daniel José Older to name just a few). DARK MATTERS was wildly enthused…
—Dark Matters Talks To Joanne Merriam About “How to Live on Other Planets”, Dark Matters, 27 April 2015
All of these stories have previously appeared in major genre magazines or other anthologies, so serious science fiction fans will have encountered at least some of these stories before. However, the book is still worth buying, and the gnomes highly recommend it to both serious fans of the genre and newcomers to science fiction.
Rating: 5 Gnomes out of 5
—Jennifer Mitchell, Review: How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, Gnome Reviews, 15 April 2015
should make you smile
—Cory Doctorow, Links: Immigrant experience science fiction; principal calls FBI over flag-tossing; Sriracha doesn’t want trademarks, Boing Boing, 13 February 2015
Dean Francis Alfar is a fictionist, playwright and the publisher of the Philippine Speculative Fiction annuals, beginning with the first volume in 2005. His fiction has appeared in The Time Traveler’s Almanac, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Strange Horizons, Rabid Transit: Menagerie, The Apex Book of World SF, and the Exotic Gothic anthologies, among others. His books include a novel, Salamanca, and two collections of short fiction, The Kite of Stars and other stories and How to Traverse Terra Incognita.
Celia Lisset Alvarez holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Miami and teaches at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. Her debut collection of poetry, Shapeshifting (Spire Press, 2006), was the recipient of the 2005 Spire Press Poetry Award. A second collection, The Stones (Finishing Line Press, 2006) followed that same year. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies. Born in Madrid of Cuban parents en route to the United States, she grew up in Miami, where she lives with her husband, Cuban-American literary scholar and fellow poet Rafael Miguel Montes.
RJ Astruc lives in New Zealand and has written two novels: Harmonica + Gig and A Festival of Skeletons. RJ’s short stories have appeared in many magazines including Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, ASIM, Aurealis and Midnight Echo, as well as the short story collection Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories (Upper Rubber Boot Books, 2013).
Lisa Bao is Chinese, Canadian, and American to various degrees. She studies linguistics and computer science at Swarthmore College. Her poetry has previously been published in Strange Horizons and Eye to the Telescope.
Pinckney Benedict grew up in rural West Virginia. He has published a novel and three collections of short fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story. Benedict serves as a professor in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Octavia E. Butler Scholar Lisa Bolekaja is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop, an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, and a member of the Carl Brandon Society. She co-hosts a screenwriting podcast called “Hilliard Guess’ Screenwriters Rant Room” and her work has appeared in “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History” (Crossed Genres Publishing), as well as “The WisCon Chronicles: Volume 8” (Aqueduct Press). Her story “Don’t Dig Too Deep” will be in the upcoming Red Volume, an anthology of speculative fiction produced by her Clarion 2012 class with all proceeds going to support the Clarion Foundation.
Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015; shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry and the Perugia Press Prize). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, Fifth Wednesday, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts. You can find her at yellowdogriver.blogspot.com.
Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia, and now lives in London. Her short story collection Spirits Abroad was published in summer 2014. Her short fiction has appeared most recently in anthologies End of the Road from Solaris Books, Love in Penang from Fixi Novo, and The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic. She was a 2013 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Tina Connolly’s stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, Rich Horton’s Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF and URB’s Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days. Her books include the Nebula-nominated fantasy Ironskin (Tor, 2012) and its sequel Copperhead.
Indrapramit Das is a writer and artist from Kolkata, India. His fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s and Apex Magazine, as well as anthologies The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press), Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books) and Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium Publishing). His short story “The Widow and the Xir” is available as an ebook from URB. He is a grateful graduate of the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a recipient of the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Award to attend the former. He completed his MFA at the University of British Columbia.
Tor Books published Tom Doyle’s first novel, American Craftsmen, in 2014. His novelette “While Ireland Holds These Graves” won third place in the Writers of the Future contest, and his novelette The Wizard of Macatawa (Paradox #11) won the WSFA Small Press Award. His stories have also appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Futurismic, and several other magazines. Paper Golem published his short fiction collection, The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories.
Peg Duthie is a Taiwanese Texan resident of Tennessee. She is the author of Measured Extravagance (Upper Rubber Boot, 2012), and there’s more about her at www.NashPanache.com.
Tom Greene was born in Texas, grew up as a biracial Anglo/Latino science nerd, then moved to New England to study British Literature. He works as a full-time English professor and part-time lecturer on vampire literature. Recent publications include short stories in Analog, Polluto and Strange Horizons. He lives in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife and two cats.
Benjamin S. Grossberg is the author of Space Traveler (University of Tampa Press, 2014), Sweet Core Orchard (University of Tampa, 2009, winner of the 2008 Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award), Underwater Lengths in a Single Breath (Ashland Poetry Press, 2007). His poems have appeared in many venues including the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. He teaches creative writing at The University of Hartford.
Minal Hajratwala has inhabited San Francisco, New Zealand, Michigan, Bangalore, and several other earth sites. Her nonfiction epic, Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents, won four literary awards. She is the editor of Out! Stories from the New Queer India and creatrix of a one-woman performance extravaganza, Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium. Her poetry collection Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment is forthcoming in 2014. Educated at Stanford and Columbia, she was a 2010-11 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. She is a writing coach and co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, publishing innovative poetry from India, and can be found at www.minalhajratwala.com.
Julie Bloss Kelsey started writing scifaiku in 2009, after the birth of her third child. Her short science fiction poems have since appeared in Scifaikuest, Seven by Twenty, microcosms, Eye to the Telescope, and other publications. She won the Dwarf Stars Award in 2011 for her poem Comet. Julie lives in Maryland with her husband, kids, and an ever-changing assortment of pets. Connect with her on Twitter (@MamaJoules).
Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia before immigrating to Israel with her family in 1990. She moved countries again in 2001, this time to the US, for graduate school. She officially became an immigrant in 2010, after living in the US for 9 years as a nonresident alien. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, and other venues. For more information, visit roselemberg.net.
An author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer, Ken Liu is a winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards. His fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts. His debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a fantasy series, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s new genre fiction imprint in 2015, along with a collection of short stories. He’s online at http://kenliu.name.
Alex Dally MacFarlane is a writer, editor and historian. When not researching narrative maps in the legendary traditions of Alexander III of Macedon, she writes stories, found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction and other anthologies. She is the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books, 2013) and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women (Constable & Robinson, 2014).
Anil Menon’s short stories have appeared in Albedo One, Chiaroscuro, Interzone, Interfictions, LCRW, Sybil’s Garage, Strange Horizons, among other publications. His debut novel The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, India) was nominated for the 2010 Parallax Prize and the Vodafone-Crossword award. Along with Vandana Singh, he co-edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books, 2012), an anthology of speculative short fiction inspired by the Ramayana.
Editor Joanne Merriam is a Nova Scotian writer living in Nashville, Tennessee, and runs Upper Rubber Boot Books. Her writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Escape Pod, On Spec, Pank, Per Contra, Strange Horizons, and The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Her poetry collection, The Glaze from Breaking, was published by Stride Books in 2005 and was re-issued by URB in 2011. She is also the co-editor, with H. L. Nelson, of Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good.
Mary Anne Mohanraj wrote Bodies in Motion (a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards and translated into six languages) and nine other titles, most recently The Stars Change (Circlet Press, 2013). Mohanraj received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, and has also won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Mohanraj is Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction and literature and Associate Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois. She serves as Executive Director of DesiLit.
Daniel José Older is the author of the upcoming Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015) and the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, which begins in January 2015 with Half-Resurrection Blues from Penguin’s Roc imprint. Publishers Weekly hailed him as a “rising star of the genre” after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and guest-edited the music issue of Crossed Genres. His short stories and essays have appeared in Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. Daniel’s band Ghost Star gigs regularly around New York and he facilitates workshops on storytelling from an anti-oppressive power analysis. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar.net and @djolder on Twitter.
Abbey Mei Otis likes people and art forms on the margins. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. She has taught poetry in the DC public schools with the DC Creative Writing Workshop, and is now a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.
Sarah Pinsker is a writer and musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her fiction has been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the Long Hidden anthology, among others. Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” was nominated for the Nebula and won the 2014 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.
Manila-based Elyss G. Punsalan runs her own video production company. Some of her fiction can be found in the anthologies Philippine Speculative Fiction (Volumes 3, 6, and 9), Philippine Genre Stories, A Time for Dragons, HORROR: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults, and the webzine Bewildering Stories. At one point in her life, she produced and hosted the monthly Filipino audio fiction site Pakinggan Pilipinas (pakingganpilipinas.blogspot.com).
Benjamin Rosenbaum lives near Basel, Switzerland with his wife and children. His stories have been published in Nature, Harper’s, F&SF, Asimov’s, McSweeney’s, and Strange Horizons, translated into 23 languages, and nominated for Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon Awards. He has collaborated with artist Ethan Ham on several art/literary hybrids. Find out more at www.benjaminrosenbaum.com.
Erica L. Satifka’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Ideomancer, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and the Greek magazine supplement εννέα. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at www.ericasatifka.com.
Nisi Shawl’s collection Filter House was a 2009 James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner; her stories have been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and both volumes of the Dark Matter series. She was the 2011 Guest of Honor at the feminist SF convention WisCon and a 2014 co-Guest of Honor for the Science Fiction Research Association. She co-authored the renowned Writing the Other: A Practical Approach with Cynthia Ward, and co-edited the nonfiction anthology Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler. Shawl’s Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair is forthcoming in 2015 from Tor Books. Her website is www.nisishawl.com.
Lewis Shiner’s latest novel is Dark Tangos (Subterranean Press, 2011). Previous novels include Frontera and Deserted Cities of the Heart, both Nebula Award finalists, and the World Fantasy Award-winning Glimpses. He’s also published four short story collections, journalism, and comics. Virtually all of his work is available for free download at www.fictionliberationfront.net.
Marge Simon’s works appear in Strange Horizons, Niteblade, DailySF Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, Dreams & Nightmares and other places. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She has won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, the Bram Stoker Award(2008, 2012 & 2013), the Rhysling Award and the Dwarf Stars Award. Collections: Like Birds in the Rain, Unearthly Delights, The Mad Hattery, Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls, and Dangerous Dreams. Find her at www.margesimon.com.
Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), and in anthologies including Aliens: Recent Encounters, Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.
Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish author, a psycholinguist and a popular-science journalist. E writes both speculative fiction and poetry, and eir works have been published or are forthcoming in a variety of venues like Strange Horizons, Apex and GigaNotoSaurus, among others. E is online at www.prezzey.net.
Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in England, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two young children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration or on her blog: deborahwalkersbibliography.blogspot.com. Her stories have appeared in Nature’s Futures, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction and The Year’s Best SF 18.
A South African clinical psychologist, Nick Wood has short stories in AfroSF, Interzone, Infinity Plus, PostScripts, Redstone Science Fiction and the Newcon Press anthology, Subterfuge, amongst other publications. His YA speculative novel, The stone chameleon, was published in South Africa. Nick has completed an MA in Creative Writing (SF & Fantasy) through Middlesex University, London and is currently training clinical psychologists in Hertfordshire, England. He can be found: @nick45wood or nickwood.frogwrite.co.nz.
Bryan Thao Worra is an award-winning Lao-American writer. An NEA Fellow in literature, he is a professional member of the Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. His work appears internationally, including in Innsmouth Free Press, Tales of the Unanticipated, Illumen, Astropoetica, Outsiders Within, Dark Wisdom, and Mad Poets of Terra. He is the author of the books of speculative poetry On the Other Side of the Eye, Barrow, and Demonstra. Visit him online at thaoworra.blogspot.com.
Stories and poems from the book available online:
- RJ Astruc, “A Believer’s Guide to Azagarth” (Third Order Magazine)
- Pinckney Benedict, “Zog-19: A Scientific Romance” (Zoetrope All-Story)
- Tina Connolly, “Turning the Apples” (Strange Horizons)
- Thomas Greene, “Zero Bar” (Strange Horizons)
- Minal Hajratwala, “The Unicorn at the Racetrack” (Stone Telling)
- Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Found” (Clarksworld Magazine)
- Mary Anne Mohanraj, “Jump Space” (Thoughtcrime Experiments)
- Bryan Thao Worra, “Dead End In December” (Innsmouth Free Press)
16 March 2015
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity in science fiction, with a flurry recently (at least on my Facebook wall) of people reacting to K. Tempest Bradford’s I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year. I’m not particularly interested in entirely cutting out any group from my reading (and in any case that would be impossible since I’m not going to change my open submissions policy and submissions are about half of my reading—though we’re closed to submissions at the moment and won’t reopen until autumn), but I think Bradford is talking about something really important here.
I read to learn, to connect, and to escape—sometimes all three at once. I want to read books from other countries and cultures and backgrounds than mine so I can have a more complete picture of humanity. I want to read widely and wildly. To that end, I want to read authors from other countries, other races, other sexual orientations, than my own. So, to share the joy, here’s are a few of the diverse books I’ve enjoyed recently.
|Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince puts us in a futuristic matriarchal Brazil, where men compete to become the Kings that die at the end of every glorious year and the Aunties are the ones who are really in charge. It’s about creative stagnation and what’s important in art as much as it’s about a revolution against a calcifying state, and I can’t stop recommending it to all my friends.|
|Samuel R Delaney’s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand was first published in 1984, but I first read it last year. I wasn’t particularly jazzed about the love story (which reduced love to eroticism) but was super excited about everything else: the sprawling space epicness of the protagonist’s diplomatic travel from world to world, the slow gorgeously-told reveals, the play with gender and race, and the essential danger of knowledge causing societies to melt down.|
|Chan Koonchung’s The Fat Years is a near-future (except in the past, since it was published in 2009) story set in post-global-economic-meltdown China where China has entered a golden age of prosperity, and everybody is tremendously happy for some pretty dodgy reasons. It is banned in China for talking openly about the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 and the Falun Gong suppression. I listened to it as an audiobook on a long drive, and was riveted.|
|The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj is a far-future fast-paced novel with alternating viewpoints characters in a race against time to stop a bomb from destroying a populous area of a large city (and potentially also destroying the goodwill that allows interspecies cooperation on the planet). It’s also a love story and a story about the power of large families. I raced through it and found it tons of fun.|
|Report from Planet Midnight isn’t Jamaican-Canadian Nalo Hopkinson’s best book, but it’s the one I’ve read most recently and I thought it was pretty great, and it’s very short, so a good introduction to her Afro-Caribbean short stories. My favourite was “Message in a Bottle,” about an artist discovering how much his work comes to mean to the future.|
|Roadside Picnic by Russian authors Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky is a 1972 novel that I only found out about after it was re-issued in 2012. Aliens leave behind some garbage that makes the local area wildly unsafe (gravity sinks, hell slime, etc.) and our protagonist risks his life to steal an alien artifact from that area, and better his lower middle class existence. Solidly fun and surreal Soviet classic.|
|Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 was celebrated widely when it came out so you probably already know about it, but it’s so excellent I couldn’t leave it off this list. A young woman enters a parallel dimension very similar to ours, and meets there a childhood friend who is ghostwriting a book by a dyslexic teenager who has a vision of another alternate reality. It starts slow (lovingly-described meal assembly can take paragraphs), but stick with it. Gorgeously-written, marvelous fantasy novel.|
And, finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention:
|Upper Rubber Boot Books’ forthcoming anthology of science fiction on the immigrant experience, How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, is more than half writers of color, and also includes many non-American and immigrant writers:|
- Dean Francis Alfar & Elyss G. Punsalan (both Philippines)
- Nick Wood & Alex Dally MacFarlane & Deborah Walker (all three in the UK)
- Benjamin Rosenbaum (Switzerland)
- Bogi Takács (Hungary)
- RJ Astruc (New Zealand, and whose steampunk short story collection Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories we published as an ebook last year).
- Zen Cho (Malaysian living in London)
- Indrapramit Das (Indian living in Canada)
- Rose Lemberg (Ukrainian living in the USA)
- me (Canadian living in the USA)
Through a typo (I put 2/16/15 instead of 3/16/15) that Amazon refuses to fix, the book is available now in paperback on Amazon, in advance of the 16 March release date when it will be available everywhere.
That’s just dipping your toe in… my to-read list also includes Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin, the Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin, A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias, The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna, Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel by Daniel José Older, and Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho.
27 February 2015
Announcing an open call for reprint submissions for our upcoming anthology of fiction, Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good, edited by H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam, to be published in 2015 by Upper Rubber Boot Books. Authors must identify as female, and stories must feature female protagonists up to no good.
- Word/page count: Up to 5,000 words/story.
- Payment: Pro-rated share of 35% royalty for ebook sales and 10% royalty of print book sales; pro-rata share to be based upon page count in the print edition.
- Publication history: Must be previously published. Non-exclusive reprint rights must be available (but it’s fine if the work is still available to readers online). Unpublished works may be submitted by invitation only.
- Multiple submissions: Up to 3 stories.
- Simultaneous submissions: Since we will be asking for non-exclusive rights, this is fine as long as the other market is also non-exclusive; please note that this means we will expect you not to withdraw a submission because it has been accepted elsewhere.
12 August 2014Holy crap, you guys. We’ve received 16 submissions in less than day and they are all good. Accordingly, I’m closing submissions at midnight tonight (5 August 2014, Central Standard Time).
- To submit: Send to joanne at upperrubberboot dot com:
(a) your complete manuscript as a .RTF,
(b) a bio of 100 words or fewer, and
(c) a listing of previous publication credit(s) for the work.
Put “CHOOSE WISELY” in the subject line.
If the work is a translation, please also provide a statement from the rightsholder that you are authorized to translate it.
4 August 2014
Announcing an open call for reprint submissions for our upcoming anthology of fiction and poetry, The Museum of All Things Awesome And That Go Boom, to be published in 2016 by Upper Rubber Boot Books.
Editor Joanne Merriam is interested in explosions, adventure, derring-do, swashbuckling, dinosaurs, ray guns, von Neumann machines, fanged monsters, flame-throwing killer robots, chainsaws, antimatter, and blunt force trauma.
She is also interested in writing which explodes our perspective of science fiction itself—literary fiction employing SF tropes, cyberpunk, speculative fiction, magical realism, infernokrusher, etc., are all welcome.
- Word/page count: Up to 10,000 words/story or up to 100 lines/poem.
- Payment: Pro-rated share of 30% royalty for ebook sales and 10% royalty of print book sales; pro-rata share to be based upon page count in the print edition.
- Publication history: Must be previously published, unless it’s a translation, in which case the original must have been published in its original language. Non-exclusive reprint rights must be available (but it’s fine if the work is still available to readers online). Unpublished works may be submitted by invitation only.
- Multiple submissions: Up to 3 stories or 5 poems.
- Simultaneous submissions: Since we will be asking for non-exclusive rights, this is fine as long as the other market is also non-exclusive; please note that this means we will expect you not to withdraw a submission because it has been accepted elsewhere.
- Deadline: 4 January 2015.
- To submit: Send to joanne at upperrubberboot dot com:
(a) your complete manuscript as a .RTF,
(b) a bio of 100 words or fewer, and
(c) a listing of previous publication credit(s) for the work.
Put “Museum SF” in the subject line.
If the work is a translation, please also provide a statement from the rightsholder that you are authorized to translate it.
27 July 2014
Upper Rubber Boot’s Soles Series comprised standalone ebook titles spanning the speculative fiction gamut, including science fiction, literary stories using SFnal tropes, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic, steampunk, slipstream, alternate history, utopian and dystopian, fantasy, and horror.
Series Number 001*
TRACY CANFIELD, “Heist”: Bill Martin’s favorite online game turns out to be a haven for con artists – con artists who aren’t human.
“A neat variation on an SF classic. The character makes the game work.”—Lois Tilton, “Analog, June 2010,” Locus Online Reviews, 7 April 2010.
“This was an imaginative tale of intrigue with many twists and turns that I enjoyed.”—Sam Tomaino, “Analog Science Fiction and Fact – June 2010 – Vol. CXXX Nos.6,” SFRevu, 23 April 2010.
“Since it is as likely that our washing machines will take over the world as it is that our software will teach itself to exploit us, the inventive quality of ‘Heist’ is what makes this tale merry reading. Jigging through the computers’ artificial world of Realms of Daelemil and fantasizing alongside the main character about the nature of a society governed by ‘sensible’ source code is entertaining.”— KJ Hannah Greenberg, “Analog, June 2010,” Tangent Online, 29 April 2010.
Tracy Canfield is a computational linguist from Indianapolis. CNN called her a Klingon scholar for her voice work on the Jenolan Caves’ Klingon audio tour. Her science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in magazines around the world, including Analog, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Crowded, and AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. You can follow her on Twitter, @TracyCanfield, or check out her website at www.tracycanfield.com.
“Heist” originally ran in the June 2010 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
Series Number 002*
INDRAPRAMIT DAS, “The Widow and the Xir”: Hunter, worker, widow and mother, Sanih struggles to overcome the sorrow left in the wake of her husband Namir’s death. Beyond the dunes, Namir’s reincarnation, a young xir, a desert ghost, finds itself drawn to a single human and her son, haunted by memories of a past life with them. When Sanih’s grief begins to call the ghost to her tribe’s travelling camp, Sanih must find a way to put his death behind her or endanger them all.
“A neat fantasy world and a strong story of love… Recommended.”—Lois Tilton, “Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early July,” Locus Online, 7 July 2011.
Indrapramit Das is a writer and artist from Kolkata, India. His fiction has appeared in publications including Clarkesworld, Asimov’s and Apex Magazine, as well as the anthologies The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press), Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books) and Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium Publishing). He is a grateful graduate of the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a recipient of the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Award to attend the former. He completed his MFA at the University of British Columbia and is currently in Vancouver working as a freelance writer, artist, editor, critic, TV extra, game tester, tutor, would-be novelist, and aspirant to adulthood.
This story originally appeared in Apex Magazine in July 2011.
Series Number 003*
DAVID M. HARRIS, “Changing the World”: We’ve received a message: Hold on. We’re coming. The aliens are coming! Now what do we do? Dr. George Metesky faces this problem when he gets the message from space. And how can he know whether or not he has the right answer?
Until 2003, David M. Harris had never lived more than fifty miles
from New York City. Since then he has moved to Tennessee, married, acquired a daughter and a classic MG, and gotten serious about poetry. All these projects seem to be working out pretty well. His work has appeared in Pirene’s Fountain (and in the anthology First Water: Best of Pirene’s Fountain), Gargoyle, and other places. His first collection of poetry, The Review Mirror, was published by Unsolicited Press in September, 2013. He is the author, with Harry Harrison, of Bill, the Galactic Hero: the Final Incoherent Adventure.
“Changing the World” was published by Writer’s Block in 1998, and was an Honorable Mention in Best of the Rest: The Best Unknown Science Fiction and Fantasy of 1998.
Series Number 004*
SHIRA LIPKIN, “The Selves We Leave Behind”: On the night side of Las Vegas, you can lose yourself… to a blessing or a curse. And when you lose everything, you get to decide what to pick back up and take with you.
Shira Lipkin has managed to convince Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Stone Telling, Clockwork Phoenix 4, and other otherwise-sensible magazines and anthologies to publish her work; two of her stories have been recognized as Million Writers Award Notable Stories, and she has won the Rhysling Award for best short poem. She lives in Boston and, in her spare time, fights crime with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Her cat is bigger than her dog.
“The Angel of Fremont Street” originally appeared in ChiZine in January 2009. “Fortune” originally appeared in Ravens in the Library, a benefit anthology for musician SJ Tucker, in February 2009.
Series Number 005*
MARI NESS, “Twittering the Stars”: Unlucky asteroid miners tweet from the stars.
“What could have been little more than a gimmicky format (the clue is in the name) is used to break a tale of unlucky asteroid miners into pithy, revealing chunks that comprise a grippingly personal narrative” —Sumit Paul-Choudhury, “Sci-fi: The near future looks brighter than ever,” New Scientist, 7 April 2010.
“A very clever piece of writing and one I’d recommend.” —Liz de Jager, “Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science-Fiction,” SFRevu, 15 April 2010.
“One of the most original stories I’ve read in years” —Paul Goat Allen, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades: Optimistic Science Fiction (Finally!),” Barnes & Noble Book Club, 30 March 2010.
“The story immediately engulfs you in the drama and wins you over to the protagonist’s side. What’s deceptive about the piece is that it’s quite lengthy but because Ness uses Tweets, it doesn’t feel overbearing.” —Charles Tan, “Book/Magazine Review: Shine edited by Jetse de Vries,” Bibliophile Stalker, 22 March 2010.
“most original” —”REVIEW: Shine edited by Jetse De Vries,” Speculative Book Review, 4 May 2010.
“Twittering the Stars” originally appeared in Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science Fiction, published by Solaris Books in 2010. In addition to the Shine anthology, Mari Ness’ short fiction has also appeared in Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, Tor.com, and Apex Magazine; her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and Dreams and Nightmares.
Series Number 006*
KENNETH SCHNEYER, “The Tortoise Parliament”: At the Parliament of the Confederation of Inhabited Worlds, speed-of-light instructions from home arrive too late, and personal loyalties and jealousies dominate decades of negotiations and lawmaking. Will Tithonos sacrifice the needs of his planet for the sake of his mistress?
“A space opera that makes the slowness of light and the spaciousness of time central figures in a thought-provoking exploration of love and politics.” —Ken Liu, author of “The Paper Menagerie” (winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards) and “Good Hunting” (winner of the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction)
Nebula Award-nominated author Kenneth Schneyer thinks more about the legislative process than most people. A lawyer, law professor, and onetime appeals-court clerk, he comments extensively on lawmaking and legal interpretation in several published articles. His stories appear in Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, Clockwork Phoenix 3 & 4, Daily Science Fiction, Escape Pod, Podcastle, and hypothetical lawsuits created for students. A graduate of the Clarion class of 2009, he lives in the last state to ratify the U. S. Constitution, with three people who are smarter than he is and a litigious cat.
This story originally appeared in First Contact: Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1, edited by Jessi Hoffman (Digital Science Fiction, 2011).
Series Number 007*
J. J. STEINFELD, “The Suicide Inspector”: In a harsh future society where meaning and purpose are turned upside down, a citizen who has struggled through fifty jobs becomes a Suicide Inspector, and finds meaning by writing reports on what the government calls self-terminants.
J. J. Steinfeld is a Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright who lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published fourteen books, including the short story collections Disturbing Identities (Ekstasis Editions), Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized? (Gaspereau Press), Would You Hide Me? (Gaspereau Press), and A Glass Shard and Memory (Recliner Books), the novels Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation (Pottersfield Press) and Word Burials (Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink), and the poetry collections An Affection for Precipices (Serengeti Press) and Misshapenness (Ekstasis Editions). His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals internationally, and over forty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States.
“The Suicide Inspector,” in a slightly different version, was first published in The Apostate’s Tattoo (Ragweed Press, 1983) by J. J. Steinfeld, and was reprinted in The Atlantic Anthology (Vol. 1/Prose, Edited by Fred Cogswell, Ragweed Press, 1984), in Forever Underground Magazine (Issue #1, 2005), and in Aoife’s Kiss (Vol. X, No. 2, September 2011).
Series Number 008*
TADE THOMPSON, “Bicycle Girl”: In a future Nigeria where cyborg surveillance animals, decommissioned space stations and RFID implants are commonplace, theoretical physics professor Aloy Ogene is in solitary confinement and stands accused of the murder of one thousand, one hundred and seventy-five people. Under interrogation he tells the story of a visit from a strange child, a girl with limited command of English who needs his help with a mysterious antique machine, whose request leads to life-or-death consequences.
Tade Thompson’s roots are in Western Nigeria and South London. His short stories have been published in small press, webzines and anthologies. Most recently, his story “Notes from Gethsemane” appeared in The Afro SF Anthology, and “Shadow” appeared in The Apex Book of World SF 2, and “120 Days of Sunlight” appeared in Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. He lives and works in South England. His influence field includes books, music, theatre, comics, art, movies, and memoirs. He haunts coffee shops, jazz bars, bookshops, and libraries. He is an occasional visual artist.
This story originally appeared in Expanded Horizons (July 2013).
Series Number 009*
PHIL VOYD, “Johnny B”: Johnny B is mediocre at everything. Average. Ordinary. Straight Bs in everything. Except for one thing. Shinny, a pickup game of ice hockey played outdoors and the heart of Canadian hockey. Flying across the rinks every winter, no one can touch him. No one can even come close. Until one night, he plays against someone who is better than him. Unnaturally better. Now Johnny has to play like he’s never played before because the price for losing is a lot more than wounded pride.
Phil Voyd’s stories have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and podcasts, including Fear’s Accomplice, Not One Of Us and The Sonic Society. He has received a couple of Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror series and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of his stories was adapted into a radio play at the CBC and another was recently made into a short film.
This story was first published in On Spec in 2000 and reprinted in 2002 in the high-school textbook Foundations of English 12.
*Note: Series Numbers only reflect order of release, and are mainly used because some online bookstores require them. You can read these stories in any order you like.
6 June 2014
The Mask Game: released 7 December 2013.
- ISBN 978-1-937794-19-4 (pdf) is available at Smashwords and Weightless (worldwide; US currency).
- Discuss this book at Goodreads and LibraryThing.
In this irresistible novel, Ukrainian author Sergey Gerasimov tells the tale of a man with fourteen twists of fate embedded in his arm.
The child of a man who had cheated death, if only temporarily, and a woman who had despaired of having children until she buried a pear seed in her garden, and watched over by a mysterious old woman whose ears never stop twitching, Herodion must journey the world to find fourteen secrets from the Broken Glass Age and discover the true purpose of the aliens’ three great gifts to mankind before he can be reunited with his love.
Part fantasy, part science fiction, and part magical realism, this is a tremendously entertaining and exciting tale from a very talented author.
Sergey Gerasimov on writing The Mask Game:
The novel The Mask Game was written in about 500 brief sessions of automatic writing, and then the fragments were put together and edited. I have big enough experience with automatic writing as well as drawing (or almost automatic because some editing is always necessary), for example, my story that appeared in Clarkesworld and some other stories written in Russian were written using the automatic writing method. As far as I know, The Mask Game is the only complete fantasy novel ever written through automatic writing, which is not just a nonsensical text, but a book with a substantial plot, that includes many twists, themes, subplots, and questions remaining unanswered until near the end, where all the plot lines dovetail one into another, which makes this book unique.
Other work by Sergey Gerasimov available online:
- “The Glory of the World,” Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 22, July 2008.
- “The Most Dangerous Profession,” Fantasy, April 2009.
- “Speaking About Pancakes,” Strange Horizons, 15 December 2008.
As any familiar with the podcast will tell you, when I compare this book to Welcome to Night Vale, that is no small compliment. There’s a weird sort of internal logic that pervades the story, but what Welcome to Night Vale does for Lovecraft, the Mask Game does with fairy tales.
7 December 2013