Original story: “Fallinghome – A Reevaluation” free to read at Big Echo SF

In the year 2168, the Earth was destroyed in a gravitic anomaly. Humankind, which had already begun to spread to other planets and off-world habitats, was greatly reduced in number, and was dealt a devastating psychological blow.

This is the backdrop for my latest story, “Fallinghome: A Re-evaluation,” now live and free to read at Big Echo SF.

Told in the style of an academic essay mixed with documentary footage and primary source material, the story charts the career of Akiko Cheung, famed architect and anomaly survivor, in the decades after the disaster. It’s a story of loss, grief, resignation, and determination in the face of adversity both personal and natural. How do you keep going when everything you cared about is gone?

Here’s a teaser:

Cheung floats unmoving in a cavernous station chamber, her form hidden in a bulky utilitarian spacesuit which is tethered to the ceiling. Her creation lurks behind her, monolithic, monomaniacal, insane.

She does not speak, but closes her eyes as the rear wall of the chamber folds away and Fallinghome is gently pulled free of the station by automated tugs. We see, distantly, the first burst of fusion fire from its directional jets, and the home drops from view.

Cheung floats in front of the camera for several minutes — eyes closed, unmoving, unspeaking — and then the footage abruptly ends.

“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)

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: The Robotic Poet Reads Bashō

I’m pleased to announce that Beyond Borderlands, a hybrid academic/creative arts magazine, has just published “The Robotic Poet Reads Bashō,” a story of haiku criticism, parallel worlds, Thoreau, and the nature of reality. (I wrote the thing. In case that wasn’t clear.)

Here’s a brief teaser:

The robotic poet (who refers to herself in the third person, for reasons which may become clear) has been reading translations of Bashō, and has discovered two things in his work:

First, that our understanding of reality is largely a consensus agreement.

Second, and more importantly, that poetry can serve as a gateway to an infinite number of realities.

It may be tempting to attribute these little epiphanies to the vagaries of translation—to differences in interpretation and idiosyncratic syntax choices. (The robotic poet’s children were of the opinion that we all saw a single reality, but children have not lived. Not fully. The robotic poet herself remains convinced there is more going on.)

Intrigued? Confused? You don’t even?

You can read the rest of the story at Beyond Borderlands here: “The Robotic Poet Reads Bashō”.