Welcome to Infomancy

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

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

I am also now offering editing services.

Get in touch: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail

New story, “Five Recipes You Can’t Live Without” now up at Spirit’s Tincture

My flash fiction story disguised as a series of magical cupcake recipes, “Five Recipes You Can’t Live Without” is now available to read in the inaugural issue of Spirit’s Tincture magazine.

To give you a taste (get it?) that will only serve to increase your appetite (get it?!), here is a sample-sized serving (okay, I’ll stop) made up of the opening lines:

One — Vanilla-Almond and Anise Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. With your dead sister’s image foremost in your mind, chant an awakening spell and light a stick of absinthe-infused sandalwood afire

The story was a runner-up in their flash fiction contest, and the issue also has stories by excellent writers like Laurence Brothers, Darcie Little Badger (whose story won the contest!), Spencer Ellsworth, José Iriarte, and more!

The issue’s free to read online (albeit in one of those funky page-flipping things), and you can also buy a print version if you’re into that sort of thing. Go and check it out!

Here’s the online version:

(PS: Peltandra Sagittifolia and snakeroot are kind of toxic, so do me a favour and don’t try to reproduce those recipes in your kitchen!)

In a feat inspired by quantum interference, I will be at WorldCon this year while I am not at WorldCon this year. #FlatStewart

Ah, WorldCon. Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom’s largest annual shindig. Where you can rub shoulders with upcoming SFF authors and renowned bestsellers alike—and thousands of other industry professional and fans—and even see some people take home fancy (if phallic) rocket ship trophies.

But for all of WorldCon’s fame and staying power, it’s not without its drawbacks. Like, for instance, how no one* has ever dared to attend the convention while also not attending the convention.

That’s all about to change. For the first time ever**, I will be attempting this daring feat, thanks solely to the generosity and ingenuity of author, editor, miniature poodle***, and all-around awesome person-type being known as K.M. Szpara.

Kelly has, through the magic**** of printing, created a proxy for me, dubbed Flat Stewart.

Aren’t I magnificently deranged-looking? I mean magnificent? Don’t answer that.

Anyway, Kelly will be taking Flat Stewart around the place, and no doubt getting up to all sorts of misadventures. You can follow along with the fun by looking at the #FlatStewart hashtag on Twitter*****.

Quantum interference has never been so easy.

Footnotes:
* That I can think of, anyway, because I’m too lazy to look it up and see.
** See previous footnote.
*** It is possible I may be misreading his bio.
**** Any sufficiently advanced technology, &.c, &c.
***** Note that there appears to be some other Flat Stewart in the tweets prior to 16 August 2016. Judging from his profile and relative lack of facial hair, I’m the evil twin.

Reprint: “The Butterfly Disjunct” in Strange Constellations under a CC-BY-NC licence

My far-future story “The Butterfly Disjunct” is now up to read free of charge in Strange Constellations, a web magazine that publishes stories under a Creative Commons licence. a CC-BY-NC licence, in particular.

And what does that mean?

In practical terms, it means that you can do whatever you want with this little story, so long as you:

  1. Credit me as its author
  2. Make it clear that you’ve modified my work (if applicable)
  3. Don’t make money as a result

Want to paste the whole story on your web page? You can!

Want to put it in a free anthology of other CC-BY stories? Knock yourself out.

Want to remix it, or make it part of a bigger work? Cool. Go for it!

Thinking about making a Polish-language post-modern opera about it where the whole story takes place in a Cold War bunker? Sounds neat.

Again, so long as whatever you’re doing is not commercial in nature, there’s no real limit to what you can do. (Although as the author of the story, I can waive this on a case-by-case basis. So just get in touch!)

As a librarian with an interest in the Open Access movement, I’m excited to be able to publish a story under a Creative Commons licence. Especially since this particular story hasn’t appeared in the wild for free before. I hope you enjoy reading it! (Or doing whatever else you plan on doing to it.)

Read “The Butterfly Disjunct” at Strange Constellations.

Two SFnal reprints in QuickFic – “Masks” and “Little More than Shadows”

These two reprints are actually from late June, but I was visiting family at the time and wasn’t paying much attention to things.

So, under the “better late than never” category: I have two reprints in Digital Fiction Publishing’s “QuickFic” imprint which are free to read online on their website.

The first of these, “Little More than Shadows,” is a roughly 800-word 2nd-person slipstreamy story about dreams, monsters, regrets, and Hamlet references in the title. It starts like this:

On the worst days, just the knowledge that you’re dreaming is enough to set you shivering in the cot, neck stiff from the cables.

Eventually, one of your wardens will come, so you wait. They are little more than shadows, these days: features you can’t quite bring into focus; skin tone somewhere between ivory and midnight. You can’t remember any of the names you gave them when you first arrived.

The second story, “Masks,” is closer to 3000 words, and is space opera featuring a colony-ship, spies, sabotage, alien artefacts of unclear provenance, and more. Also a lesbian couple, hooray!

Min can tell by the way the man in the lizard mask drums the fingers of one hand on the surface of his desk that he is angry. She avoids the bright green glimmer of his eyes, wishing she were anywhere but here. Wishing she remembered who she was supposed to be.

“This is all you bring me?” the man asks, his voice raspy with distortion. In his other hand he holds the latest chip Min has stolen, heavy with data on Ship’s communications to the other surviving colony ships and its route away from Earth-long-gone.

New story in IGMS and an (interactive!) reprint in Sub-Q — Also, I’m a Baen Fantasy finalist!

It’s July! And I have a few stories out or otherwise newsworthy.

First, in Intergalactic Medicine Show, my hard SF story about space elevators and the end of the world (and family, and belonging, and loss, and responsibility, and a myriad of other things), “The View from Driftwise Spindle.”

Here’s the opening paragraph:

The plural for meeting, thought Gayatri Anwar, ought to be headache. And even for a surface stint, where meetings always played a heavy role, she’d had a lot of headaches since the Martian Disaster. The announcement that a rogue planetoid had struck their sister planet, and that meteor-sized pieces of ejecta would crash into Earth in five months’ time, had everyone scrambling to get off-planet. Driftwise, as the only spindle with no ties or obligations to a particular nation, seemed to be bearing the brunt of the attention.

You can read most of the first scene (and see the glorious full-colour illustration which won’t make sense until you’ve read the full story) over at Intergalactic Medicine Show, so go check it out! There are also great original stories by Rachael K Jones, Kat Otis, Aimee Pichee, Andrew Neil Gray, and Shane Halbach, along with an essay and reprint from Kameron Hurley. (Note: the full issue is behind a paywall, but an annual subscription is only $15.)


Second, my Writers of the Future winning story “Images Across a Shattered Sea” is now available as a free-to-read piece of interactive fiction at Sub-Q Magazine. Interactive fiction is perhaps not that well-known, so if you’re confused by the word, just picture those old Chose Your Own Adventure books, but on your preferred web browser and without the ability to cheat by reading straight through. Think of it like a text-only video game combined with a short story.

If that sounds like fun, I hope you enjoy the interactive version of “Images Across a Shattered Sea.” There are several new passages in this version of the story, and a few new endings, so even if you’ve read the story before there’ll be some things that are new to you.

I also want to thank Paul Otteni for letting me use his amazing illustration of the story for the cover art of the Sub-Q version of the story. Thanks, Paul!


Last, but certainly not least, my story “Fox-Sign” is a finalist for the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, hosted by Gen Con. The winners will be announced August 6th.

Last Words of the Idea of English Superiorty, Spoken to Nationalist Parties Claiming Its Relevance on the Eve of the United Kingdom’s Dissolution into its Component Countries, Shires, Cities, and Townships (“Last Words” series)

Writing about brexit? Me?

Naaaaah.

Last Words of the Idea of English Superiorty, Spoken to Nationalist Parties Claiming Its Relevance on the Eve of the United Kingdom’s Dissolution into its Component Countries, Shires, Cities, and Townships

by Stewart C Baker

Are you lot still here?

(And this is my 100th post on this blog, apparently. Shiny.)

Last Words of Hate (“Last Words” series)

Given the mass shooting in Orlando, I almost don’t want to post one of these at all.

Here’s a compromise: the last words (and many other words) of hate itself:

Last Words of Hate

by Stewart C Baker

I was so afraid…

If you have some spare funds, please consider a donation to It Gets Better, Human Rights Campaign, or any other LGBTQ+ advocacy or support group you know of.

Dying Words of Alshral Dei, Wisest and Most Venerable Sage of the Twenty-Eight Inhabited Galaxies (“Last Words” series)

It has been so hot around here lately that my ears are starting to melt and drain out from my brain. (ETA: as proof of which, I set this to post ten days after the right day.)

No, wait, should that be the other way around?

Maybe it should. Maybe it shouldn’t. More importantly: what does it have to do with this week’s “Last Words” post?

Absolutely nothing. I just thought you should know.

Dying Words of Alshral Dei, Wisest and Most Venerable Sage of the Twenty-Eight Inhabited Galaxies, as Recorded and Distributed by Ansible to Three Hundred Billion Warring Races to Herald the Beginning of an Era of Universal Peace.

by Stewart C Baker

[unintelligible mumbling]

Out now: “The Mother of Sands” at QuickFic

My Gothic Horror story “The Mother of Sands” is now available to read free of charge in Digital Fiction Pub‘s QuickFic series. (Apparently it’s been available since May 17th, but I never received notice.)

The story follows Clara, a woman of little means, and her childhood friend Ilze, the Countess of —, as they travel to Ilze’s home country of Livonia (present-day Latvia). But when they stop at an inn the first night out, Clara sees the figure of a shadowy woman standing over her old friend’s bed. Ilze—pale and shaking after the encounter—calls the woman Smilšu māte, the Mother of Sands, but refuses to say more. Will Clara discover what the Mother of Sands wants?

I guess you’ll have to read the story and find out.

“Mother of Sands” first appeared in an anthology put out by Chuffed Buff Books in late 2014 which I’m not sure ever actually went to print, so even though it’s technically a reprint, this is its first time appearing before a wide audience. Possibly any audience.

The story can be read at http://digitalfictionpub.com/quickfic/the-mother-of-sands-by-stewart-c-baker/

Enjoy!