“Love and Relativity” now available in Spanish at Axxón!

My story from Nature Physics, “Love and Relativity,” has been translated into Spanish by the fine folks at Axxón magazine.

You can read the translation, “Amor y Relatividad,” by author and translator Claudia De Bella, here: http://axxon.com.ar/rev/2016/10/amor-y-relatividad-stewart-c-baker/

Gracias, Claduai y Axxón!

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!)

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.

Two new stories and one reprint out this month

I’ve somehow neglected to post about this, but I have two original science fiction stories and one reprint out this month (plus a translation of the reprint, interestingly enough).

The first story is “Just Another Night at the Abandoned Draft Bar and Grill” in the May issue of Galaxy’s Edge. This story is a meta-fictional dig at some of the harmful, clichéd stereotypes which tend to permeate less-than-stellar writing—it features a woman named Mary-Sue, a black man named Alphonse, and a Chinese man who’s so much of a stereotype he barely exists beyond his peasant hat.

You can read “Just Another Night at the Abandoned Draft Bar and Grill” at Galaxy’s Edge for free through the end of June, along with stories by Tina Gower, George RR Martin(!!), Kij Johnson(!!!), and many other super-talented writers.

The second original piece is my story “Images Across a Shattered Sea,” which was my first-place story from Writers of the Future volume 32! I like to tell people it’s an anti-war story about post-apocalyptic Morocco, time travel, and the Open Access movement. (Wait, what?!)

Here’s a teaser:

The air on the cliffs above the Shattered Sea was hot as a furnace and twice as dry. Still, Driss couldn’t suppress a shiver at the way the shimmering message-globe moved through the sky, dozens of meters above the churning, black waves of the sea.

He had seen the globes before, of course, but only after they’d been captured and put on display in the village’s little museum. It didn’t quite seem real, the way the little ball bobbed and danced on the breeze, drifting ever so slowly towards Fatima where she stood atop a heap of boulders at the edge of the cliff.

“Here it comes,” she said, waving her net back and forth as she hopped from foot to foot.

Her eagerness just made the dangers of the place worse, Driss thought. It was as if she didn’t care that one misstep would send her tumbling to her death. He himself would have been happy never to have seen the coast in person. It had always been a deadly, desolate place, even in the days when the message-globes blew across the sea in huge clouds which blotted out the sun. And those days were long since past: They had seen only three globes during their two week hike, and this was the first that had come anywhere near them.

“Gotcha!” Fatima leapt into the air, hooking the bubble-like ball in her net and pulling it down from the sky. “What do you think is in it?”

The story (like all others in the anthology) is gorgeously illustrated, in my case by the talented Seattleite Paul Otteni.

You can buy a copy of Writers of the Future through various retailers, all listed at http://www.wotf32.com along with information about the anthology’s writers and illustrators. If you want to try it out before you buy, I have electronic samplers to give away. E-mail me and I’ll send you one! :)

On the reprint front, my Nature story “Love and Relativity” is now up at Flash Fiction Online, along with three wonderful original stories by Gary Emmette Chandler, Lynette Mejía, and Evan Dicken.

“Love and Relativity” is also due to be translated into Croatian by fanzine Eridu later this month, which is pretty cool.

Up and Coming: Stories from the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Authors – Free download!

The inimitable SL Huang and equally awesome Kurt Hunt have put in some serious hustle and created an anthology containing over a million words of fiction(!) from the authors who are eligible for the Campbell Award this year.

For those not in the know, the Campbell Award for Best New Writer is awarded each year concurrently with the Hugos, and is awarded to a SF author who has had their first professional fiction publication in the past two years. Past winners include luminaries like Lev Grossman, Sofia Samatar, and Wesley Chu, and–the further back in time you go–Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Ted Chiang, CJ Cherryh, and Spider Robinson.

So you know you’re in for a treat with this anthology.

And did I mention that it’s free to download?

Here’s what Lisa has to say about the anthology:

This anthology includes 120 authors — who contributed 230 works totaling approximately 1.1 MILLION words of fiction. These pieces all originally appeared in 2014, 2015, or 2016 from writers who are new professionals to the SFF field, and they represent a breathtaking range of work from the next generation of speculative storytelling.

All of these authors are eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2016. We hope you’ll use this anthology as a guide in nominating for that award as well as a way of exploring many vibrant new voices in the genre.

This anthology will be offered as a free download through March 31, 2016 only.

You can download the anthology in various formats over at Bad Menagerie: http://www.badmenagerie.com/up-and-coming-stories-from-the-2016-campbell-eligible-writers/

This weekend is your last chance to vote in the Quantum Shorts competition.

As the post title suggests, the deadline for voting in the Quantum Shorts competition is coming up.

Voting is open until “the end of January,” which I’m guessing translates to the middle of the day January 31st in most places (the contest organizers are Singapore-based).

My story “How to Configure Your Quantum Disambiguator” is on the short-list, along with a lot of other great stories. Go give them a read and vote for your favourite!

Quantum Shorts voting period extended to January 31st

As I’ve probably already mentioned a few times, my story “How to Configure your Quantum Disambiguator” is on the short-list for the Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition.

The “people’s choice” voting for the contest has been extended to the end of the month, so if you haven’t checked it out and voted yet, go give it a look! There are a lot of strong stories in the top ten, and still a whole 11 days to read ’em.

Also, don’t forget the youth division: http://shorts2015.quantumlah.org/shortlisted-stories

My story “How to Configure your Quantum Disambiguator” up for people’s choice award at Quantum Shorts

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from the administrators of the Quantum Shorts contest letting me know that my entry, “How to Configure your Quantum Disambiguator,” was in the short-list of ten entries that will be judged for first and second prize.

So huzzah(!) for that good news about this quirky little humorous flash, which first appeared in Nature‘s Futures column back in February.

My story is also eligible for the people’s choice award, so if you enjoy that particular piece of mine, I’d appreciate your vote on the shortlist page. (Each person can only vote one time, though, so make sure you read the others before you decide! There’s some tough competition.)

“Excerpt Regarding the Departed” out today at the Sockdolager

Story release day!

My story, “Excerpt Regarding the Departed from the Diagnostic and Necromantic Manual, 5th Edition is out today in the Winter 2015 issue of The Sockdolager.

This is my second time appearing in Sockdolager‘s virtual pages, and my first with an original story.

Hooray, original stories!

“Excerpt” is similar in concept to my other piece that’s appeared there, “Selections from the Aarne-Thompson Index for After the End of Things”. Both stories are told in the style of academic reference manuals, and they’re even formatted the same way, with series of numbers representing a section of the manual, and descriptive text below it. Also, both have grim and possibly inappropriate snips of humour amidst their generally depressing subject matter.

Hooray, grim and possibly inappropriate snips of humour!

While “Selections” told more of a story about story-telling, though, “Excerpt” has more of a traditional narrative buried between its lines.

So go give it a read! I’d love to hear whether you all enjoy it.

As an added bonus, I’m sharing a table of contents with excellent stories from writer friends Charlotte Ashley (“The Will of Parliament,” a tale of politics and the fair folk) and David Steffen (“Tamers of the Green,” which details the challenges of inter-species communications). You can see the full table of contents here: Sockdolager, Winter 2015 (Issue #4)

My story “Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast” reviewed

I’ve spotted a couple of reviews out there on the Interwebs for my story “Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast” in the November issue of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. I know you’re not supposed to read the things, but I’m a glutton for self-abnegation and never could resist.

Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews has some kind things to say about the story.

There is a great sense something terrible has happened, and that in some ways it takes being in such a situation to give advice on it. That this list is both a manual for others and its own successful exit broadcast. That it follows its own advice, though it slips a bit, as anyone would. That it keeps the pain just under the surface, slipping only momentarily up to show in the quiver of a lip, the hesitation in a word. It’s a gripping story, a very, very short story, and a fine read.

I’ll drink to that! Or I would, if I drank.

Alas and alack, David Wesley Hill of Tangent Online was less than impressed, and reads the story as being about someone who is “concerned about looking good while dying horribly”—not quite what I had in mind with this story, although I suppose it’s a fairly accurate surface level summary.

David does make a good point about this being an implausible set of instructions, but such is the nature of the piece’s second-person conceit. Somewhat more baffling to me is that he spends the rest of the review talking about the authentic smell of burning and/or rancid meat. As he says, “Details count, particularly in a story of 200 words.” And sure, I’ll agree with that. And sure maybe I should have deleted “rancid.” (I will admit that it’s mostly there for rhythm.) All the same, this aspect of David’s review still seems a little over the top to me.

Ah well. You can’t please everybody, right? I think that’s especially true for such a short piece as this one.