Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

A free fiction sampler

My Campbell clock started January 30, 2006 when Strange Horizons published my story, Portrait of Ari. That story is still on the web, but much of my other short fiction is hard to find. I’ve pulled five stories out of my sales that reflect a range of the kinds of fiction I write.

If you are a voting member of WorldCon and would like to read more, visit the bibliography on my website. See a story that isn’t available? Drop me a line and I’ll send it to you.

You can download the .zip directory of stories. This collection includes
For Solo Cello, op. 12 — Originally published in Cosmos
Bound Man — Originally published in Twenty Epics
Death Comes But Twice — Originally published in Talebones
This Little Pig — originally published in Cicada
Cerbo en Vitra ujo — originally published in Apex Digest [Warning: explicit sex and violence]

I can haz Wikipedia entry.

I’ll know that I’ve arrived if the Wikipedia entry on me doesn’t get deleted for not being notable enough. I long to go in and add birthdate (February 8, 1969) and birthplace (Raleigh, N.C.) but the etiquette of wikiland say that I can’t add information about myself. Still, I’m not going to complain much or loudly since I have an entry. Yes, that’s how much of a geek that I am — a wikipedia entry pleases me.

The Guardian reviews Solaris Book of New SF

The Guardian has a review of Solaris’s Book of New Science Fiction which opens with this line.

Early in 2007 the science-fiction imprint Solaris marked its launch with The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction. A year later, editor George Mann returns with a follow-up, this time featuring strong stories from Kay Kenyon, Michael Moorcock, Mary Robinette Kowal, Eric Brown and others.

I’m so stunned that all I can see is “stories from celebrity, celebrity, me, celebrity…”

I’m a Campbell nominee!

!!! I think that deserves more than a single exclamation point, don’t you?

I got the email a little over a week ago and couldn’t even hint that I’d been told. That’s probably where the fever came from, all the pent-up excitement. Today though, they announced the full nomination list for the Hugos.

The Cambell nominees are:

Joe Abercrombie (2nd year of eligibility)
Jon Armstrong (1st year of eligibility)
David Anthony Durham (1st year of eligibility)
David Louis Edelman (2nd year of eligibility)
Mary Robinette Kowal (2nd year of eligibility)
Scott Lynch (2nd year of eligibility)

As far as I can tell, I’m the only short story writer on the list, the rest are all novelists. I’m pleased as all get out to see David Louis Edelman on there with me. Besides being one of my favorite people, I think his nomination is well-deserved. I’ll admit that besides David, Scott Lynch is the only one of my fellow nominees that I’ve read, but then I’ll bet the other guys are wondering about who I am too… heh. Funny. I only just now realized that I’m the sole woman on the list.

Anyway, I was going to say that I plan on picking up copies of each of the other fellow’s novels and encourage you to do the same. One of the best things a nomination like this can do is to raise the visibility of the author, so darn it, get out there and read these guys. A puppeteer friend of mine said, “The only competition is a bad puppet show.” I firmly believe that’s true in science-fiction, too. I won’t be at all upset if one of the other nominees wins it, because a new good writer will just draw more people into the field and that’s good for me.

All of that said– There is one very simple reason you should vote for me which can be summed up in two words. Campbell Tiara.

I am the only girl on the list and I come with my own ballgown.

Solaris Book of New Science Fiction

SolarisSo, that box the post office tried to deliver yesterday wasn’t Shimmer.

It contained my contributor copies The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, volume two. Keen!

I want to give a shout out Mike Munsil, who created Liberty Hall Writers, an online group that does weekly flash challenges. My story, “Evil Robot Monkey” came out of one of those. Each weekend, you get a trigger and then have an hour and a half to write a story.

The story itself is sort of the product of two triggers. See, at Shimmer we have a running gag which stemmed from when we were testing the submission system. Beth sent in a trial submission called “Harry Potter and the Evil Robt Monkeys!” ((The misspelling is intentional. You’d be amazed by how many people send in stories with misspellings within the first five lines.)) Brilliant. I decided that whatever the trigger was, my story would have that title. The trigger itself was a piece of clockwork art.

Here’s the first bit of the story.

Sliding his hands over the clay, Sly relished the moisture oozing around his fingers. The clay matted down the hair on the back of his hands making them look almost human. He turned the potter’s wheel with his prehensile feet as he shaped the vase. Pinching the clay between his fingers he lifted the wall of the vase, spinning it higher.

You can see that I kept the hairy potter.

The Bride Replete, ready for reading

I ran The Bride Replete through my real life critique group and hope that I’ve incorporated their notes successfully. If you have some time to read the whole thing and let me know if it makes sense, I’d appreciate it. 12,500 words of science-fiction. Think that’s long? You should have seen it in the 16,000 first draft. Ugh.

It’s in a password protected post, but it’s the usual password. Don’t know what that is? Drop me a line and I’ll tell ya.

And here’s the teaser.

When the matriarch announced that she was sending the sixteen members of Pimi’s small-family across the ocean to settle in Repp-Virja, Pimi thought it the end of her life. For though she had seen only seventeen full years, Pimi considered herself ready to fill her crop and begin the social rounds, seeking a mate. Her mother and the matriarch felt otherwise, though how they could expect her to find a mate in a strange, sideways land like the colonies was beyond Pimi’s understanding.

But Pimi packed her luggage and prepared to leave the warm underground rooms of their home. Before her small-family departed, the matriarch held a feast to fill everyone’s crop for the voyage. The gas lights gave a gentle glow to the Deep Hall. Four stations with each of the food families, nuts, fruit, dairy and grain, stood in corners of the room. Like the two fingers on a hand, the nuts and dairy stood at one end of the room; the fruit and grain at the other end represented a hand’s two thumbs. Each a distinct group, but vital for grasping life.

Assigned to the fruit dishes, Pimi ate until her crop distended the spotted green and amber skin of her belly like a bride’s. She adjusted her tunic to show off her growing roundness.

Protected: The Bride Replete

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Scenting the Dark, readers wanted

I just finished a short story which I’d love having a reader or two look over. It is science-fiction horror, so don’t volunteer if you don’t like that sort of thing. It’s in a password protected post, but it’s the usual password. Don’t know what that is? Drop me a line and I’ll tell ya.

Here’s a teaser of Scenting the Dark

Lifting the stopper from the vial to his nose, Penn inhaled slowly. Against the neutral backdrop of his ship’s clean room, he picked out aromas of quince, elderberry, bright Martian soil that hinted of blood, with undercurrents of cinnamon and Zeta Epsilon’s fragrantly sweet longgrass. He sighed, blowing the scents out again. The perfume was still out of balance.

The door chime rang, letting him know that Madison had returned. The round tones resonated off the glass labware and sent vibrations across his scalp as it slowly, slowly faded. God, it was gorgeous — picking up the temple bell when they were on Mosholu had been one of his better choices. He’d eventually get the whole ship converted to real things instead of all the virtual hoo-ha it came with. Well, maybe not the whole ship; the skip drive had to exist in quantum state, but by God, the controls at least were made out of real ebony and brass.

He slid his left hand forward until he found the wire stand that held his work trials. His fingers followed the trail of braided metal up to the smooth glass vial. He slipped the stopper into it with practiced ease.

Protected: Scenting the Dark

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2020 is near-term SF

I was just reading an article about how NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 and thinking that it was forever from now. Only, it’s like twelve years, which, as government agencies go is practically tomorrow.

It’s just that after eight years I’m still not used to living in the twenty-first century. There’s no jetpack, but all the science-fiction dates are just around the corner. I mean, how many stories have you read where something is set in 2024 or 2041. They sound really far away and all furturistic, except they really aren’t.

At last year’s Readercon I wound up on a panel talking about near-term SF and one of the things I said was that I counted stories as near-term right up through 2070 because there’s a fair chance that I will still be alive then. My grandmother is nearly 103 and still lives alone, so I figure 2070 ought not to be a problem for me.

Although we talk about how much has changed in the last hundred years, look at how much hasn’t. Sure there’s tech that a teenager in 1920 would not believe possible, but the structure of society hasn’t shifted out of recognizable forms. Shifted, yes, but most people still live in the same family structure as one hundred years ago. Women worked then, but not as often as their husbands.

It’s making me understand the whole mundane SF movement a little more. It’s not that I have less fascination with deep space colonies, it’s just realizing that it’s much, much farther away than I’d like to think it is.

So, I’m re-examining my SF now, taking trends from the past and trying to project them from today forward instead of just thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if?” I mean, what was the last SF story you saw that had any form of social networking? Darn few of them, aren’t there. They exist, but that part of our present doesn’t show up as often in the future as FTL.

Can you imagine a murder-mystery where the serial killer Twitters?

To Readers of Science Fiction and Fantasy everywhere

The editor at IGMS asked me to pass this along to you. I think highly of him, and he’s offering free fiction. How could I say no?

When you have something great, you want everyone to know. So you tell people about it. You share it. You pass it along to friends everywhere. Well, that’s what we’re doing with InterGalactic Medicine Show. We want to make sure everyone has had a chance to check out what we’re doing, so w’re offering up a sampling of our stories — for free.

During the month of February we are going to make one story from each of our first four issues available at no charge. Two stories will be set free on February 1st, and two more on February 15th. Just visit and explore the table of contents; the free stories will be clearly marked.

Issue one’s free story will be “Trill and The Beanstalk” by Edmund R. Schubert, issue two’s will be “Yazoo Queen” by Orson Scott Card (from his Alvin Maker series), issue three’s “Xoco’s Fire” by Oliver Dale, and issue four’s “Tabloid Reporter To The Stars” by Eric James Stone. Each story is fully illustrated by artists who were commissioned to create artwork to accompany that tale — as is every story published in IGMS.

“Tabloid Reporter To The Stars” will also be featured in the upcoming InterGalactic Medicine Show anthology from Tor, which will be out this August (we wanted you to get a sneak peek of the anthology, too). However, the other three stories aren’t available anywhere except the online version of IGMS.

It’s really quite simple. Great stories. Custom illustrations. Free. We’re pleased with and proud of the magazine we’re publishing; now we’re passing it along to our friends and telling them about it. We hope you’ll enjoy it and do the same.

Edmund R. Schubert
Editor, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

And for those of you who read Shades of Milk and Honey, most of the characters in the book got their names from friends. Edmund gave his first name to Mr. Dunkirk.

SFWA Volunteer Opportunity – Nebula Website Editor

SFWA is creating a new, updated website for the Nebula Awards and is looking for a SFWA member to partner with the professional web designer they’ve hired to do the heavy lifting.

Estimated Time Required: 10-30 hours per month, (Variable depending on time of year. Heaviest commitment: March, April, and May)

Job Description:
1. Advise the Board on the web presence, set priorities for consistent with the overall goal of promoting the Nebula and Norton Awards, the nominees, the winners, the Awards weekend, SFWA anthologies, and through them all, the genres of science fiction and fantasy. Assist in recruiting, training, and coordinating volunteers as needed.

2. Review existing Nebula-related and other genre promotional material and its organization to remove extraneous and confusing material and create an organizational map that is easily navigable and makes relevant material easily discoverable.

3. Suggest, gather, organize, and provide content to the Nebula webmaster, including interviews, opinion essays, images, and bios/essays from Nebula and Norton Award winners.

4. Serve as liaison between the webmaster, Nebula webmaster, Bulletin and NAR editors, Executive Director, and SFWA members.

5. Create press releases regarding important Nebula website updates and work with media representatives as necessary to publicize the website.

Benefits: Extensive networking, connection with the redesign of a high-profile website suitable for resume mention, and increased visibility in SFWA.

Skills required: A high level of organization, ability to lead a team, editing and document management experience, experience with content management systems, blogs, and making video/audio material web accessible. Any level of SFWA membership

If you are interested, send a brief introductory letter to

The British Science Fiction Association long list

Good heavens. For Solo Cello, op. 12 apparently made the British Science Fiction Association long list for Best Short Story 2007. It did not make it to the short list, but I’m stunned to find my story near the list at all.

Several friends also make an appearance: Ted Kosmatka (who pointed the list out to me), Aliette de Bodard, John Scalzi… Best of all, they link to a lot of the fiction, which means it’s a treasure trove of really good stuff.

Blurbs and context

When we get reviewed in the theater, there’s always a moment of scanning the review looking for the pull quote. We’ve got to have something we can plaster on brochure’s and flyers. It is always tempting to pull something out of context like pulling, “Amazing!” out of “It’s amazing that anyone came back after intermission.” (Completely fictional example.)

In the writing arena, I quote reviews and mentions here, and yeah, usually focus on the juicy stuff. For instance,

Gardner Dozois talked about his picks for the Nebula short story categories, saying:

My vote would go to Andy Duncan’s “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse,” … My next choice, I guess, would be “For Solo Cello, op. 12,” by Mary Robinette Kowal … followed by “Titanium Mike Saves the Day,” by David D. Levine…

Woot! Gardner Dozois puts me in the number two position! Except… if you read the whole quote.

This is the weakest of the categories.

My vote would go to Andy Duncan’s “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse,” although it’s not even really a fantasy let alone SF–what it is is an Andy Duncan story, who’s a genre to himself, much like Howard Waldrop. Since Duncan is popular with the membership, it might have a chance, although it did appear in an expensive hardcover anthology from a small press.

Not much else here I’m really enthusiastic about. My next choice, I guess, would be “For Solo Cello, op. 12,” by Mary Robinette Kowal, which is SF (but which is probably unlikely to win), followed by …

Ow. Gardner Dozois says, “Not really enthusiastic!” and “Unlikely to win!”

Ah, context… Think I can put that on a poster?