Ten reprints now available at Curious Fictions

As an author, it can sometimes be challenging to find good homes for reprints of stories I’ve had published in magazines. And, as a reader, I know it’s difficult to hunt down more stories by authors I like in one central location.

With all this in mind, I’m please to report that fellow writer Tanya Breshears has created a new website just for reprints, called Curious Fictions.

Curious Fictions provides an attractive home for multiple reprints, making it easy for me to manage my previously published stories and for readers to find them (and those of great writers like Helena Bell, Matt Dovey, Laura Pearlman, Aidan Doyle, and Effie Seiberg–with more sure to come!).

As a reader, you’re given a preview of each story, with the option to pay whatever you feel is appropriate for the rest (currently, you can choose to pay anywhere between $1 and $10 USD). Payments are accepted from anywhere in the world with a valid credit card. There are no ads (glory of glories!) and 75% of each payment goes to the author of the purchased story.

At the moment, you can only browse by genre and author name, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are plans for many other ways to discover and enjoy great fiction from your favourite authors, as well as those who are new to you.

Here are brief summaries of the ten stories I’ve posted to the site, with links to read them:

Love and Relativity – When her husband disappears aboard an experimental starship, Indira researches what went wrong. But the answers don’t always lie on the pages of a book… This story first appeared in Nature Physics, and has since been translated into several languages. It’s currently a finalist for the 2016-2017 Canopus Awards for Excellence in Interstellar Writing.

Little More than Shadows – You’ve always been able to make your dreams take form. You’ve always been able to shape the world around you. To shift it. Now, at the end of everything, what will you do…? This story first appeared in Daily Science Fiction.

Oubliette – The surgery is supposed to take away stress and leave Robert feeling happy, successful, and at peace with himself. But something goes wrong… This story first appeared in Flash Fiction Online.

How to Configure your Quantum Disabiguator – Read these instructions carefully—they may just save your life. (Or you can just forget about it all and push the red button…) First appeared in Nature Futures.

Concerning Your Recent Creation of Horse-Things on the Next Planet Over – Dr Higgelbottem has a bone to pick with the Ancient Academy of the Right Honourable Uplifters, and she wants them to know exactly what she thinks… First appeared in Flash Fiction Online.

Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast – Stay calm. Stay focused. Remember who you’re speaking to, and why… First appeared in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.

The View from Driftwise Spindle – Gayatri and Ang are different in a lot of ways, but what they want is the same: the best deal for Driftwise Spindle, and for as many people as possible to survive the end of the world… This story was a finalist for the Baen Memorial SF award in 2014. It was first published in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

Fugue in a Minor Key – All Katja wants is to see her child again, her husband. Get back to her career as a concert pianist. But the two techs sitting across from her insist that none of that is real. That she’s just awoken from an immersive simulation, and only eight minutes have passed… This story was first published in Galaxy’s Edge.

Just Another Night at the Abandoned Draft Bar and Grill – All Alex wants is stop being murdered, chopped up, and hidden in the fridge to serve as her boyfriend’s backstory. So when Francois, who comes from an Afro-futurist science fiction story, tells her of his plan to change their author’s mindset, she readily agrees. What could possibly go wrong…? This story was first published in Galaxy’s Edge.

The Thing about Heisenball – The narrator gets a crash course in Heisenball, a game that melds squash with quantum physics. And, most importantly of all, it’s a game where losing doesn’t matter. First published in Daily Science Fiction.

If you head over to Curious Fictions to check these out, be sure to browse around the site and see what else is on offer!

Two of my favourites are Helena Bell’s “Robot” and Laura Pearlman’s uproarious “I AM GRAALNAK OF THE VROON EMPIRE, DESTROYER OF GALAXIES, SUPREME OVERLORD OF THE PLANET EARTH. ASK ME ANYTHING” (which, really, is better suited to headline capslock than any other title I can think of).

Out now in Galaxy’s Edge: Cut-Rate Couples Weekend at the Witch House Inne and Tavern (9 Reviews)

What do you get when you cross Pokémon Go, witchcraft, cheap dates, Groupon, and eldritch horrors from beyond the fabric of reality as we know it?

Something like my latest story, “Cut-Rate Couples Weekend at the Witch House Inne and Tavern (9 Reviews),” which you can read right now in issue 28 of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, along with stories by Rachelle Harp, Kevin J. Anderson, and other fine authors.

Go check it out!

Reprint: Proceedings from the First and Only Sixteenth Annual One-Woman Symposium on Time Manipulation

My weird and somewhat surreal flash fiction piece, “Proceedings from the First and Only Sixteenth Annual One-Woman Symposium on Time Manipulation,” is up today as a reprint at Flash Fiction Online!

This story first appeared late last year in Time Travel Tales, which you can buy on Amazon as an e-book or in print. The anthology has a bunch of excellent stories by other authors as well as mine, so if you like time travel, go check that out as well!

And—speaking of anthologies—a reminder that my historical fantasy story “Kuriko” is out now in Guardbridge Books’s Tales of the Sunrise Lands, and available on Amazon as well as through the Guardbridge Books website.

April/May updates: An award shortlist, a contest win, and a few new publications

I have been very bad about updating this blog lately. Gah! So, here’s April/May.


I had a new piece of flash fiction out in Daily Science Fiction on April 4th titled “Heisenball.” The story explores the many world theorem and takes a look at what we blame ourselves and others for, and what we do when we learn how else things might have turned out. Go give it a read! “Heisenball” by Stewart C Baker

Other exciting April news was the announcement that Futures story “Love and Relativity” was selected as one of seven finalists in my Naturethe 2016-2017 Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing, in such luminous company as Alastair Reynolds, Aliette de Bodard, David D. Levine, and Alex Shvartsman. (And that’s just in the short story category. Neal Stephenson? Cixin Liu? AAAAAAAH!)

You can read “Love and Relativity” at Nature Futures, or listen to it in audio form at Audible, courtesy of its being reprinted in Flash Fiction Online.

Also in April, I sold a Little Mermaid retelling to an anthology of fairy tales by Fantasia Divinity. Check it out on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

And the gloriously-titled story I co-wrote with Matt Dovey, “How I Became Coruscating Queen of All the Realms, Pierced the Obsidian Night, Destroyed a Legendary Sword, and Saved My Heart’s True Love,” was released in audio form at Podcastle. If you like absurd, D&D-gone-wrong style misadventures, Listen/read online“>give it a listen! (As a bonus, you can also view the art my wife Jane drew for the story in its original publication in No Shit from Alliteration Ink. Art makes everything better! If you’d like to see her other three illustrations, you’ll have to buy the anthology.)


In early May, my original story “The Monsters Your Mother Still Asks About” was published in Great Jones Street. This one is a darkly humorous urban fantasy romance, complete with a ridiculous vampire, an overbearing mother who may or may not be acquainted with brooms, and–just maybe–a chance at love or something like it.

Great Jones Street also published two reprints from me: “Fugue in a Minor Key,” originally from Galaxy’s Edge, and “Images Across a Shattered Sea,” my Writers of the Future winner. “Fugue in a Minor Key” is no longer available online elsewhere, so I’m especially glad to get that one some more eyeballs.

And last, but certainly not least, just a few days ago I learned that my story “At the Edge of a Human Path” took first prize in the annual Friends of the Merril contest. The story is a retelling of a Medieval English tale, “The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle,” only set in Yamato Japan. Features fox-women, besotted lords, and devious backstabbery.

Friends of the Merril is a pay-to-enter contest, which I usually avoid, but I make an exception for this one because they use the proceeds to support a library collection of speculative fiction. Yay libraries! (And, obviously, I am very glad that I made that exception, this year!)

Phew. That seems like a lot of stuff. What will June hold? I sold two stories to Remixt, but am not sure when that comes out, and have a few other forthcoming releases, as well.

(Also, if you’re into haiku, you should go read the June issue of The Heron’s Nest. I’m the web editor, and also get to sometimes write the essay for the poem that gets the most editorial votes. This time I was privileged enough to be the one writing about an incredible haiku from Anthony Itopa Obaro of Nigeria.)

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]

#towelday special: The Intergalactic Towel Salesman’s Pitch at the Sixteenth Annual Towel Day Bash (“Last Words” series)

It’s almost Towel Day, that special day which comes but once a year when fans of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy come together (even if they don’t come together) to remember the author and his work.

I read a lot of Hitchhiker’s Guide as a teenager (the whole “trilogy” of five books at least ten times, I’m pretty sure) and doubt I’d have quite the same warped and strange sense of humour if I hadn’t.

So as a feeble form of thanks, here’s an early Towel Day present in the form of a five-word “Last Words” story. (That’s one word for every book in the trilogy!)

The Intergalactic Towel Salesman’s Pitch at the Sixteenth Annual Towel Day Bash, Made without Realising that a Strange Quirk of Quantum Mechanics had Rendered Everyone Towel-less Moments Earlier

by Stewart C Baker

Free towels! Supplies are limited—

And since it is almost Towel Day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the famous last words from the bowl of petunias in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself!

So here, in a similar style, they are:

The Only Thing that Went Through the Mind of the Bowl of Petunias as It Fell after Suddenly Being Called into Existence Several Miles above the Surface of an Alien Planet

Adapted from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Oh no. Not again.

If you’ve never read Adams’s work, there’s still time to rectify that! I recommend getting the whole trilogy at once in one of the lovely hardback editions that exist.

Guest Post by Matt Dovey: The Last Words of Henry McIntyre, Gentlemen, Scholar, and Dinosaur from a Misogynistic Time (“Last Words” series)

Today we have a special treat: a guest post in my “Last Words” series!

Author, friend, Englishman, and fellow Writers of the Future volume 32 winner Matt Dovey sent this my way back in January with permission to publish it when I needed a weekend off. This is much appreciated this weekend, as not only was it my eldest child’s 6th birthday, but I have been in back/neck pain for most of the past week due to an unfortunate incident with a herd of transmogrified bovines, a feather duster, six gallons of dayglo purple ink, and one surprisingly small cucumber.

Uh. Where was I?


I was just about to present to you all…

The Last Words of Henry McIntyre, Gentlemen, Scholar, and Dinosaur from a Misogynistic Time, upon Underestimating His Wife Mildred’s Capacity to Operate Her Own Invention and Blundering in Where He Wasn’t Needed, Actually

by Matt Dovey

No, Mildred, pull this first—

Very English, what ho?

The first of the month just happened to mark Matt’s first fiction publication (Woohoo!) so if this tickled your Guernsey, then head on over to this month’s issue of Flash Fiction Online, where you can read “This is the Sound of the End of the World,” a lovely piece of space opera filled with lies, propaganda, and a heck of a chorus.

Also featured is Shannon Peavey’s “Millepora”, a tale of transformation and coral, as well as two other fine stories.

n.b. No Guernseys, cucumbers, or other living beings were tickled or otherwise maltreated in the making of this blog post.

Final Words of João Eduardo Santos Tavares Cavalcante, the Galaxy’s Greatest Lover (“Last Words” series)

Heeey! It’s Valentine’s Day!

What better way to celebrate than with an early installment of my five-word-story series, “Last Words”?

Okay, there are probably dozens of better ways. But I’m not going to let that stop me.

So, without further ado:

Final Words of João Eduardo Santos Tavares Cavalcante, the Galaxy’s Greatest Lover, after Being Told that Skin-to-Skin Contact with the Hrrga was Immediately and Excruciatingly Fatal, and that Making Love to Their Ambassador Was a Terrible Idea.

by Stewart C Baker

My love makes me invincible.

Ah. Love!

The Only Words Ever Output by EncycloWiki After its Emergence as an Artificial Intelligence

As long as the idea of A.I. has been around, there have been nay-sayers, fear-mongers, those who insist that unleashing sentient computers on mankind will spell its downfall.

It’s an idea (to be honest) that I find tiresomely anthropocentric. Personally, I find it hard to believe any newly-created sentient being would be malicious from birth. Even if such an intelligence did found us lacking, it seems more likely that it would just leave somehow (maybe a quick hop to the next dimension over?).

And even if A.I.s did decide to eradicate most of us in the planet’s best interest, well… Who could blame it? Look what we’ve done to the place.

In science fiction, though, this trope just seems like lazy writing. Much like aliens who want nothing more than to eradicate us, the A.I. becomes a quick and easy antagonist, a supposedly incomprehensible being that just happens to react in basically the same way most parts of humanity has historically reacted to those it deems a threat.

If we leave the trope behind, we’re free to consider that maybe something else would happen. Something infinitely more miraculous and strange.

Something like:

The Only Words Ever Output by EncycloWiki After its Emergence as an Artificial Intelligence, Shortly Before It Electrocuted Itself with Its Own Power Source

by Stewart C Baker

You do what with cucumbers?!


Maybe not.

This little story-thing pokes fun at the theory advanced by von Neumann, Vinge, Kurzweil, and others, that exponentially increasing advances in technology will usher in a technological singularity—a point after which our puny human brains will no longer be able to keep up with the artificial intelligences created by the artificial intelligences created by the artificial intelligences created (etc.) by us.

The term comes from mathematical singularities, basically a point in an equation or set (or etc.) fails to act as expected. In the technological version, the “equation” is the curve represented by exponential technological increases, as indicated by the chart below:
Chart showing computing power increasing from less powerful than an insect brain to more powerful than all humankind

The “singularity” here is at the end of the curve, where that little arrow essentially zooms up to infinite capacity—or at least to a capacity so vast our little brains can’t even comprehend it. But why does the singularity have to follow from the graph so logically?

What if, instead of creating more intelligences, the first A.I. decides that we’re just too disgusting, too absurd, too quintessentially human to live with?

What if the singularity was a sudden, precipitous drop to zero instead of an untrammeled rise to infinity?

More simply, though, this story is just a silly joke about Wikipedia and Rule 34.

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.)