Welcome to Infomancy

Welcome to Infomancy.net, the website of haikuist and author Stewart C Baker.

You can read free reprinted and original fiction and poetry right here online.

If you’d like to browse around my published fiction and poetry (much of which is already free to read on external sites), check the relevant links in the menu to see a list of each.

Get in touch: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail

Original Fiction: “How to Configure your Quantum Disambiguator” at Nature

My flash fiction piece, “How to Configure your Quantum Disambiguator” is online now at Nature magazines’s “Futures” section.

It’s a short story (about a page and a half long), and is about evil twins, giant bananas, parallel universes, shiny red buttons, quantum superposition, and implausible help desk hours.

Intrigued? Confused? You don’t even?

Go read the rest at Nature “Futures”: How to Configure your Quantum Disambiguator

As an added bonus(?), you can also see my notes on the story at the Future Conditional blog.

Under new SFWA rules, I almost qualify

Yesterday, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) issued a press release stating that they’re changing their qualifications for membership:

Short version:

Specific details will be posted at sfwa.org by the first of March, but the basic standards are $3,000 for novel, or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership. A single story of at least 1,000 words paid at 6 cents a word will be required for Associate membership

I’m very excited about this, since I hope it will break down some of the taboos around self-publishing (if those taboos even exist any more?), and it’s also nice to see SFWA doing something so positive for writers of all stripes after, uh… recent kerfuffles.

I’m also excited to see SFWA dropping its current language about “three paid sales” totaling 10,000 words, which has kept me well away from qualifying since I mostly write flash fiction.

Under the new rules, I currently have a total of 9200 qualifying words:

“Raising Words” – Penumbra eZine, July 2013 (1200 words at then-SFWA-qualifying 5cpw)
“Oubliette” – Flash Fiction Online, April 1 2014 (1000 words at 6cpw)
“Little More than Shadows” – Daily Science Fiction, November 18 2014 (750 words at 6cpw)
“Fugue in a Minor Key” – Galaxy’s Edge, forthcoming (5400 words at 6cpw)
“Configuring Your Quantum Disambiguator” – Nature Magazine’s “Futures”, which goes live today some time (850 words at 15cpw)

That means I only need one more 800-word sale at 6 cents per word to qualify. Mind you, I’m not 100% sure I want to join–or that I can even afford the $90 yearly membership, to be honest–but it’s definitely nice to know I’d have the option. And it feels validating to qualify, as well.

Now Available for Pre-order: New Resonance 9 (and a chapbook!)

If you’re an avid reader of haiku, you may already be familiar with the “New Resonance” series of anthologies from Red Moon Press. If not, they’re well worth exploring: They’ve won at least seven Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards, and the poets featured in their pages often go on to do great things in the haiku community.

New Resonance 8
(a previous year’s edition of the anthology)

I’m very proud to have been selected for inclusion in the ninth edition of the anthology along with sixteen other poets.

As part of the publication process, I receive 25 copies of the anthology, which I’m making available for pre-order now so I can pay for my portion of the publication costs (yes, fiction friends, Yog’s Law(!!!)—but haiku works a bit differently in this particular case).

Using the form below, you can place a pre-order for a copy, and ask me to inscribe it to you or someone else (or not), and give me a topic to write a haiku along with that inscription, if you like. The book is slated to come out in May of 2015, so you should receive your copy in the mail from me by early June.

I’m selling my copies for $15.00 USD ($2.00 less than the price on the Red Moon Press website), and if you live in the US I’ll throw in free shipping. Unfortunately, the USPS has apparently decided they’ll go bankrupt if they continue to ship things overseas at reasonable prices, so shipping to Canada or elsewhere costs more.

To show my gratitude to anyone who pre-orders, I’ve created a chapbook of my haiku and tanka, called Stray Cats, which isn’t available anywhere else. I’ll e-mail you a copy upon receiving your pre-order for New Resonance 9 via PayPal, and will include a printed version of it when I mail you your copy of the anthology. If you just want to buy the chapbook, that works for me (you’ll see a second order form for that, below the one for New Resonance 9).

So, to recap:

  • I’m taking pre-orders for New Resonance 9
  • I’ll personalize your copy and write a poem in it
  • I’ll also send you a chapbook
  • I’ll also also e-mail you a PDF of the chapbook
  • If you want to just buy the chapbook, that’s cool too

I’d love to share my work with you, and would greatly appreciate your support to make that happen.


Pre-order New Resonance 9

  • Inscribe To:
  • Custom Poem Topic:

“Stray Cats” Chapbook

Two Sales: Sockdolager and Fine Linen

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve made two sale in the past few days.

First, to The Sockdolager, a new semi-pro ‘zine, I’ve sold reprint rights to my post-apocalyptic metafictional fairytale, “Selections from the Aarne-Thompson Index for After the End of Things.” This one was a lot of fun to write, but it definitely requires a certain… intellectual/weird sense of humour that made finding a home for it to live online a little difficult. It first appeared in the London-based The Next Review.

Secondly, “Nikumaroro, July 1937,” a very short and hard-to-classify tale about what really happened to Amelia Earhart (or something) has sold to Fine Linen Magazine. Nikumaroro is the name of an atoll in the South Pacific, where it’s thought Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noons may have crash-landed. The atoll has a small amount of freshwater, and quite a few coconut crabs. Factoids which may or may not be relevant to the plot of my story.

That brings my stories sold this year up into the double digits, which I’m pretty excited about! I’ll probably post a “submission statistics” post some time towards the end of the year, just because I think it’s interesting to see that sort of stuff.

Original Fiction: “Little More than Shadows” at Daily Science Fiction

A weird little flash story of mine is available today at Daily Science Fiction.

Broadly speaking, it’s about dreams. Also paranoia, insanity, resignation, love, and a vaguely-defined beast which is eating the world.

You know, the usual stuff.

Intrigued? Perplexed? Read on at: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/parapsychology/stewart-c-baker/little-more-than-shadows

I’d also like to point out that DSF uses a rating system for their fiction—so if you like what you read, please leave a rating!

Sale! “Configuring your Quantum Disambiguator” to Nature’s Futures.

Very happy to announce that I’ve sold a story to Nature magazine’s “Futures” feature.

Nature, for those not familiar, is one of the leading scholarly science journals. More importantly for me, they also have a column that publishes sci-fi flash fiction. This is my first sale to them out of four submissions. The story is written in the form of an instruction manual, and balances absurdist humour with SFnal trope-based jokes and is generally quite weird. (There’s also a nod to Ren & Stimpy for the eagle-eyed.)


Now on Amazon: The Butterfly Disjunct

My story “The Butterfly Disjunct” is now available on Amazon as a Kindle single. This story first appeared in Spark: A Creative Anthology, volume 4 (January of this year, their speculative fiction issue).

Here’s a teaser:


by Stewart C Baker

She was four when they furrowed her, opening holes in her skull and channels through her brain. She was four when they prepared her for the Tree.

Four, but not afraid—not really. Jeyna had known of the Tree, of course, and how important the guardian’s duties were, but fear was foreign to her, along with the words her parents had repeated the night before: honour, sacrifice, pride.

Her parents themselves she remembers mostly as a jumble of impressions, all tear-streaked faces and shaking hands. She can picture their clothes, though, crisp and orderly, their pristine white subtly emphasising the cream-coloured soulsteel curves of the Place’s inner halls.

Her father’s broken baritone still echoes through her mind: “It’s not right, Kel. Not right.”

Still, he left her there.

They both had, outside the surgery, but she had not been afraid. She was curious. What would it be like, this new life with the Tree? She turned to the doors to find them open, awaiting her.

Want to read on? Check it out at your regional Amazon with the following link: http://mybook.to/tbdis14

Contest Win! “Kuriko” at Spark: A Creative Anthology

Pleased to announce that “Kuriko,” probably my most favourite story of all I’ve written, placed second in the recent “Monsters and Marvels” contest for Spark: A Creative Anthology. I’m not 100% clear whether the win includes publication, but will follow up on that when I am.

The story—essentially a “historical science fantasy” of sorts—tells the tale of a sentient mechanical doll in late 1800s Japan. There’s intrigue, danger, samurai and daimyo, and any number of other exciting and interesting things.

I wrote this one way way back in late 2009 as a contest entry on Scribophile, a social community for authors I used to be fairly active in (where it didn’t come close to placing because it didn’t really fit the theme), then polished it up quite a deal for Writers of the Future back in mid-2011 (where it got a semi-finalist—still my highest score there), before sending it around to ALL THE PLACES, finally doing a bit more revision earlier this year that involved significant trimming (to the tune of 2900 words chopped out), and submitted it to the Spark contest a month or so ago.


Sale! Flash fiction to Plasma Frequency

I’ve sold a slipstreamy flash fiction piece called “Some Salient Details About Your Former Lives” to Plasma Frequency magazine.

Not clear yet on when exactly it will be published, but I’m happy to find a home for this one, which has done the rounds at a number of places and always come back to me. (Perhaps apt for a story about two people who continually reincarnate and kill one another?)

The story is sort of a riff on part of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide series—specifically the character of Agrajag, the poor being who was inadvertently and numerously killed by Arthur Dent. Hitchhiker’s Guide was one of those series I read over and over and over again during my formative years, so it’s nice to see a story I’ve written that’s part homage to it and its author find a happy home.