Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Kowal’s last day.

Rob’s folks left this morning, but we said our goodbyes last night. They had a five am flight this morning. Ugh. How cruel. Yesterday we went to the studio for lunch, and then Pat, Glenn and I went to Laugar Spa.

To start with, they use iris identification for accessing the different areas, so you get scanned and then have to stare into these different “eyes” to get into the facility. It’s like something out of a science fiction story. In fact, I was wishing I had been there before writing Cerbo en Vitro ujo for Apex Digest. I was tempted to play with them to see how little time they needed to make sure “identification is completed.” But I thought that would probably bring security down on me.

Anyway, after I finished being delighted at the eye scanners, we went to spa room. There are nine different saunas or steam baths to bask in. A jacuzzi tub. A sea water bath. A relaxation room, with leather lazy boys and a fire place, at the perfect temperature for napping.

There’s also an outdoor and indoor pool. And the water slide. Glenn did some laps and then needed to go down the waterslide. He also jumped into the sea water bath, which I couldn’t bring myself to do. I mean, sea water is cold! But he could also take much hotter saunas than I could.

Pat and I stayed mostly in the steam baths or hot pots.

Afterwards, they headed back to their hotel to get ready for their trip to London where they will meet up with an old friend of theirs.

Shimmer: Spring 2006

smspring06coverThe Spring 2006 issue of Shimmer: Available now!

Our cover story is A Warrior’s Death, Aliette de Bodard’s tale of sacrifice and honor in an Aztec-inspired world. John Joseph Adams returns with a review of Larry Niven’s “The Draco Tavern.” Then there’s the charming Dog Thinks Ahead, by Cliff Royal Johns, the sorrowful Litany by John Mantooth, and Bruce Derksen’s Rubber Boots, Mr. President. Angela Slatter brings new life to Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Match Girl and Darby Harn tells us about a blind woman’s unusual skills. We also have the honor of being the first fiction credit for Paul Abbamondi (The Dealer’s Hands) and Marina T. Stern (Drevka’s Rain).

Celebrate Spring with Shimmer! Available in both print and electronic editions, according to your reading preferences.

Subscribe now, and catch the next wave in fiction.

We do grassroots advertising, so you’ll have to expect me to ask you to buy things occasionally. But only good things, and this issue is full of fiction goodness. Speaking of grassroots advertising…if you happen to have a blog and wouldn’t mind giving us a plug, it’d be lovely if you would put this banner up. I’ll treat you to chocolate next time I see you.

The Slush God Speaketh: Blog About F&SF, Get a Free Copy

On The Slush God Speaketh he says that they have 50 copies of Fantasy and Science Fiction to give away to folks who do a promotional blog about it. Now, I read the magazine in pdf and it’s been years since I’ve had a genuine print copy in my hand. So although I don’t need the copy in order to enjoy the stories, I am anxious to see the art and comics, which I totally miss out on. Plus, paper always feels nicer, but it’s easier to deal with subscriptions electronically when one travels as much as I do.

Science-Fiction Novel Posits Future Where Characters Are Hastily Sketched | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Well, this amuses me.

Science-Fiction Novel Posits Future Where Characters Are Hastily Sketched | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

OREGON CITY, OR—Science-fiction author Morgan Richards announced Monday completion of his long-awaited novel, Zeppelins Of Phobos. The swashbuckling tale of the battle for control of the solar system depicts a terrifying future filled with virtually indistinguishable characters who only communicate through stilted and shallow dialogue.

Stanislaw Lem, Author of Science Fiction Classics, Is Dead at 84 – New York Times

Stanislaw Lem, Author of Science Fiction Classics, Is Dead at 84 – New York Times

Stanislaw Lem, a Polish science-fiction writer who, in novels like “Solaris” and “His Master’s Voice,” contemplated man’s place in the universe in sardonic and sometimes bleak terms, died yesterday in Krakow, Poland. He was 84.

The cause was heart failure, his secretary, Wojciech Zemek, told The Associated Press.

Middle Woman review

The newest issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show has an audio bonus of one of Mr. Card’s stories, read by me. It was just reviewed at SFFAudio

An excerpt:

Quite short, only 9 minutes, this is ably read by Mary Robinette Kowal who manipulates her voice in all the right ways to lend classic fairy tale reading to this modern fable. In addition to being a terrific narrator, Kowal is a professional puppeteer who also moonlights as speculative fiction author.

Cerbo en Vitro Ujo in real life!

As I was driving back from Raleigh yesterday I was listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation which was dealing with Biometrics. Naturally, I was very curious about this because of my story Cerbo en Vitro ujo. In this story, Grete Anders’s boyfriend goes to a boarding school and never returns. Using his biometric information, Grete tries to track him down, but the retinal scans lead her to a woman who has his eyes.

After listening to the program I started surfing around and ran across this case where Malaysia car thieves stole a man’s finger in order to steal his biometrically secured car. Here I thought I was writing science-fiction.

The original scene of Portrait of Ari

If you are curious about how Portrait of Ari started, I can tell you the whole sordid story. I started writing a novel when I was in highschool, and things being what they were, it took me ten years or so to finish the thing. The plot is flawed beyond repair, and believe me, I tried. It’s hard to look at that many words and know that you have to throw them out.

But there were parts of the story that I thought still worked, and there were characters that I loved. Continue reading ›

In Submission – updated

Short Fiction

Waiting for Rain: In India, a winemaker has beggared himself to pay for his daughter’s wedding and can no longer pay his weather bills.

Body Language : Near-future. Saskia, a puppeteer, is called in to help solve a kidnapping because the only witness is eDawg, a toy for which she did the motion-capture work. The kidnappers demand that the ransom be sent in on eDawg, and Saskia has to manipulate the puppet while pretending to be nothing more than a toy.

Some Other Day – Josie’s father managed to rid the world of mosquitoes when she was little. The unintended consequences still affect both the adult Josie and the world.

Trip, Trap, Tripping – The three Billy Goats Gruff retold in a NY walk-up, with a single mother and her tap-dancing daughters as the goats, and the guy downstairs as the troll. (I want to do a series of these, but darn, where do I market them?)

This Little Pig – Near-future. After the Oil Wars, private vehicles are largely considered taboo, but a young boy in the Netherlands covets a 1952 MG-TD. He starts work at a pig farm/methane factory where things go horribly, horribly wrong.

My Friend Anna – 61 word flash involving a tapeworm, bathtub and pregnancy.

Horizontal Rain – A New York contractor discovers that his job in Iceland is being held up because the crew believes in trolls.

Birthright – Near-future flash. In a world with severe birth control regulations, a couple has to decide whether to give up their birthright in exchange for enough money to finish college.

Death Comes But Twice – Epistolary short. A Georgian-era Doctor has discovered a cure for death, but it only works for twenty-four hours.

A Hand in My Colon
– Bitter monologue by dying puppet.

The Promise of Chocolate – An unhappy single mother makes cupcakes for her son’s birthday. One of them contains cyanide.

Changed Itinerary – UFOlogist is abducted by aliens.

Salt of the Earth
– On a sodium-poor world, where every scrap of salt is saved, a salt merchant’s daughter is killed by a salt-overdose.

Chrysalis : The Husiths undergo Chrysalis to become an adult, but the enzymes involved in the process scramble their memories. As a culture, they are obsessed with documenting their pupaehood, which is when the serious work takes place, before becoming a playful adult. Geroth is determined to put off his Chrysalis so he can finish his mathmatical treatise. He hires a human documentarian to help him retain his memories after Chrysalis.


Journey to the East: The Legend of the Monkey King YA Novel – Two American kids find themselves caught up in the oldest legend in China as they struggle to rescue their baby sister from the Bone

Works in Progess – updated

Short Fiction

Beauty Will Come
:Prequel to “Beauty and the Beast” from the Beast’s mother’s POV.

The Case at Landon Manor: In 1924, Ginger Carrington, the glamorous young heiress, must use her skills as a medium to solve a haunting.

Shades of Milk and Honey: Regency Romance, with fantasy. Magic is a woman’s art, like painting or music. Jane uses it to prove that Mr. Dunkirk is wooing her and her sister at the same time.


Virus Attached SF murder/mystery – Scott Huang and his AI partner Metta are trying to solve a murder, when Metta’s chasis (containing her memory) is stolen. She is rebooted from her last back-up, which occurred six hours previously. She and Huang must find her original version before the perpetrator can use it to hack into the police department and erase all evidence of his crime.

Good Housekeeping:
Contemporary Fantasy. The Faerie Queen sent a human changeling, Grace, back to try to keep the old ways alive in the world. Grace uses the internet to manage a network of Goodwives who let brownies, elves and other housefolk live in their homes. But the Unseelie Court has decided to drive out all of the housefolk to diminish the Faerie Queen’s power. Grace has to try to save the Housefolk while adjusting to life as a human.

Shimmer, Winter 2006

Snuggle up with the winter issue of Shimmer and sink into the heat of Alabama with Sell Your Soul to the Devil Blues by Tom Pendergrass, pick the brain of multiple Hugo-award winning editor Ellen Datlow, and listen to the Silent Folk in Jay Lake’s The Black Back-Lands. There’s more: the nursing home adventures in Ken Scholes’s Action Team-up Number Thirty-Seven feature an illustration by none other than Karl Kesel of Marvel comic fame.

Shimmer is waiting to warm your winter nights with speculative fiction in print or online, according to your reading preference.

Subscribe now, and catch the next wave in fiction. The Winter 2006 issue will be available on Wednesday, January 18.

Table of Contents and Excerpts
The Black Back-Lands, by Jay Lake

They say the Silent People can hear you talking in your dreams. I guess ‘cause the Silent People only speak in dreams, they listen real good there, too. Kind of like the dead, maybe. But I always been told to keep my mouth shut when dreaming comes upon me, so’s not to give away too much of myself and get sewn into some woodspocket, and carried ever more through the fir shadows and pine bays while my body starves and fevers.

Action Team-Up Number Thirty-Seven, by Ken Scholes

Thursday, 3:32 p.m.
The dentures I lost on reconnaissance last week have come back to haunt me. Cavanaugh made a big show of it, waving them beneath my nose in the cafeteria line. Smug bastard. If I were ten years younger or if he were forty years older, I’d have shown him completely new uses for tapioca pudding. Regardless, I have my teeth back and that made lunch slightly more tolerable.

Sell Your Soul to the Devil Blues, by Tom Pendergrass

It gets hot in the Delta—evil hot—the kind of heat that fills a man’s lungs with fire and crushes his breath stillborn. Preacherman came through here, ‘bout a year ago, and said this is what it’s like in Hell, so you best behave and live straight. Now God forgive me, that preacher had no notion what he was talking ‘bout. But I met someone a few years back who does.

Route Nine, by Samantha Henderson

Good to see you, Tex. It’s been a while, I know. Haven’t been out this way since I got my route switched. Wouldn’t be here now except there wasn’t anyone else to drive it.

Why? Well, I guess there’s time to tell you. Nothing’s gonna happen till the bar clears out. Need another beer, though.

The Goldsmith, by Ian Creasey

Corinne closed the nail-studded door behind her, and walked down the narrow steps. The goldsmith’s shop was small, full of little cabinets lined with black cloth displaying brooches, earrings, and necklaces of thin golden chain. Corinne got the impression that the entire shop could be stuffed into a bag for a swift getaway from riots, pogroms, or excise men.

Music in D Minor, by Erynn Miles

I awake to the sound of a piano tinkling a low, sleepy melody. It is coming from Charlie’s body. This melody almost always comes from him as he sleeps. He lies in bed next to me, the sound swelling beneath his skin , seeping out of his pores. I hear it in the saliva dripping from his half-open mouth. His arm shifts a little and I hear a hint of lazy cello.

But it is not time yet.

Interview with Ellen Datlow

Neighbor, by Jason A. D. MacDonald

There it was again!

Water pipes groaned behind the drywall, like alpine horns blown by cockroaches. As I started my dishes, the upstairs neighbor had turned on his kitchen faucet. There was a three second differential between the flow in my sink starting and the echo in the wall. I put the dish soap down, stared moodily at the white stucco ceiling of my one-bedroom apartment, and cut off the hot water. Three seconds later, the mockery above stopped too.

The Persian Box, by Gerald Costlow

Pardon me? Oh, you’re interested in the box. Yes, it’s quite beautiful, and quite old.

From Persia, yes.

You’re not the first stranger to remark upon it. People are attracted to its beauty, but it is rare for someone to recognize its origin. You must be a scholar like myself. I am Angelo Demetrius, by the way. Pleased to meet you. Would you care to sit down? I find drinking goes best with a little conversation.

One-Leaf-Two, by Edo Mor

South Wind was blowing now. All today and all of yesterday as well. Cool and steady and persistent. Clenched in his fist (so that they wouldn’t blow away) were sweet, good things of earth: a sticky husk of anis and three gomabarros, helical and phosphorescent in the night, clay-red like the eyes of culebras. Squeezed together, they smelled tart, sweet, and spicy all at once, and his stomach riffled with expectant notes. But he couldn’t eat them. He would wait. They were saved things, saved for her.

Chattacon 31

On January 21, I will be on a panel at Chattacon 31, a science-fiction convention in Chattanooga, called Writing – when can I quit my day job.

I told them that my day job was in puppetry. This should be interesting.