I have a new story out today in Chappy Fiction’s Time Travel Tales

Time manipulation is a delicate, difficult practice. First you’ve got to will (be/have been) get/got/getting the right verb tense (or just give up and go with simple present). And then there’s the matter of simultaneous n-breaks—a tricky tactic to stretch and twist time back on itself, allowing for multiple iterations of the same person to exist in the same room at the same time for an academic conference. Not to mention hangovers.

What am I even talking about? My latest published story, “First and Only Sixteenth Annual One-Woman Symposium on Time Manipulation,” which is out today in Chappy Fiction’s Time Travel Tales anthology.

Will Dr. Mirai and her various iterations make revolutionary breakthroughs as they tinker with time, or will they break the universe and suffer the consequences? If you want to find out, you’ll have to snag the anthology: Time Travel Tales on Amazon, available in Kindle and paperback forms!

The anthology has a lot of other great stories on offer, as well, from the metafictional to the traditional, the academic to the adventurous.

Just take a gander at the names which grace the table of contents:

Brian Trent, Catherine Wells, Sean Williams, Stewart C Baker, Robert Silverberg, HL Fullerton, Auston Habershaw, Brenda Anderson, SL Huang, Tony Pi, Steve Simpson, K Kazul Wolf, Rasheedah Phillips, Martin L Shoemaker, Alter Reiss, David Steffen, John A Frochio, Alisa Alering, Desmond Warzel, and Rosemary Claire Smith.

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.

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.

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.)

My quantum physics haiku (yes, really) made the EQUS competition shortlist

I recently entered one of the mini-contests for the Quantum Shorts competition (where my story “How to Configure Your Quantum Disambiguator” is still in the flash fiction contest and eagerly awaiting your vote, if I haven’t said that five billion times already) with a haiku that was supposed to “describe the wonder of quantum physics in 17 syllables through haiku.”

Most people would probably look at that and say: Whaaaat?

For me, the reaction was closer to: YEEESSSSSSSS, ALL THE QUANTUM PHYSICS HAIKU

It’s like they sat down and tried to decide on a contest that would appeal as much to me as possible. Haiku? Check. Nerdy quantum physics references? Check.

So I gave it a go with the following three haiku (accompanied here by notes on the quantum stuff):

Haiku 1

tunneling effect—
dad finally understands
her situation

The quantum tunneling effect describes a “phenomenon where a particle tunnels through a barrier that it classically could not surmount.” (Quoth Wikipedia.)

This illustration by Jean-Christophe Benoist, which shows electrons “tunneling” through a solid barrier, serves as a good way of seeing what this actually means:
An electron wavepacket directed at a potential barrier.  By Jean-Christophe Benoist.

Haiku 2

superposition . . .
the cat chases/does not chase
the tangle of string

This one is a nod to the famous Shcroedinger’s Cat thought experiment, which deals with quantum superposition (put simply, the way multiple contradictory quantum states all theoretically exist until someone observes them). The word “tangle” is a pun on entanglement, the word used to describe this state of superposition.

Haiku 3

wave function collapse—
the last cherry blossom lands
as she says I do

Wave function collapse is what happens when something in superposition “appears to reduce to a single eigenstate” when observed. Basically, to return to Schroedinger’s Cat, it’s what happens when you open the box and see that the cat is either alive or dead.

Yesterday they announced the winner, and while it isn’t me, haiku #3 above (“wave function collapse”) did land me on the “highly commended” shortlist.

I’m especially happy that this was the haiku they chose for it, since it was my favourite of the bunch.

Come check out my story “How to Configure Your Quantum Disambiguator” in the Quantum Shorts competition

…which sadly is not a competition involving clothes that have the fly open and closed until you think to check.

But it is a pretty neat flash fiction competition. I’ve entered my story “How to Configure Your Quantum Disambiguator” in the lists, so go give it a (re-)read and a vote if you like it. The story appeared earlier this year (February) in Nature, and is in part an ode to Ren and Stimpy. So if nothing else, that ought to make it worth reading, right?

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.)

Huzzah!