Thirteen Bullets at Podcastle

I'm delighted by the reading of my story Thirteen Bullets up at Podcastle. Austin Malone did an excellent job of narration.

For those who might be wondering, I did my best to capture the attributes and temperaments of Maman Brigitte and the Guédé Barons presented in the story based on research into Vodoun, though I am not a devotee myself. Two features are wholly invented, though: first of all, there is no legend of thirteen bullets being a sovereign against Baron Samedi that I'm aware of, and secondly I don't believe that he is generally associated with the element of fire. The first element was included to fulfill a writing prompt that demanded thirteen of something appear in the story, and the second was to provide an Oz-like bridge between the spirit world of Cimetière and the real-world town of Tombstone.

Event Horizon 2017 anthology

I'm extremely pleased to have been included in this year's Event Horizon anthology, which collects works by Campbell Award-eligible authors. There are many great stories in this collection, which is available for free from the above link until July 15, so I strongly advise anyone interested in short science fiction and fantasy to download it. My particular contribution is Dragonfly Tea, originally published last year by the New Haven Review.

Closing in on Draft Zero

Now that I've bitten the bullet and accepted that Evolutionary Intelligence Enkidu is going to be a duology (or possibly a longer series) and not a standalone novel, I'm closing in on draft zero. Currently just over 100,000 words with a couple of chapters left to go. I'm very pleased with progress so far. Though there will be plenty of revision before a final draft, I don't think there will be any gross structural reassembly, which is by far the worst part of rewriting. Honestly I enjoy low-level polish and mot-juste revisions....

Oh yeah, what is Evolutionary Intelligence Enkidu? It's a near-future military-aviation alien-invasion AI-romance novel. Tagline: "A plane and his boy."

For inspiration I cite the anime Sentou Yousei Yukikaze (Battle Fairy Yukikaze) for which I offer this AMV as a sample.

Best SF Novel of the Year

My vote for best SF novel of the year goes to Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. This is a brilliant if somewhat disturbing novel of the far-future, set in an interstellar empire in which calendarial and symbological science is so far advanced it is indistinguishable from magic. In addition to being the best SF of the year, it's also the best military SF for many years. 

2016 Award Eligibility

The following stories of mine are eligible for Nebula and Hugo awards in 2016:

between two voices talking (950 words) - Nature Magazine

Dragonfly Tea (2,300 words) - New Haven Review

Down Stepped Proud Galatea With a Smile (1,000 words) - Spirits' Tincture

Houseproud (5,000 words) - Sci Future's City of the Future anthology

Of these four, I'm particularly pleased with Houseproud and Dragonfly Tea.

I'm also eligible for the Campbell award this year.

Nature Publication

I'm delighted to announce the publication of my story between two voices talking in Nature magazine. They also published a brief blog post commenting on the story, which I reproduce here:

Writing between two voices talking

The title of this piece came from some Markov-chain word-soup provided as a prompt by the great SF writer Vylar Kaftan. Hence the use of lowercase, because it was a random fragment taken from a randomly scrambled set of paragraphs randomly combined from multiple sources. To me, the title suggested a few words overheard from someone else’s conversation, perhaps people talking about conversation itself.

So what lies between two voices? A communication gap that can be bridged, but only with empathy and insight from both speakers. Of course any sort of connection between people can be fraught with fear and uncertainty. So all that led very naturally to the idea of a first-contact story between a human and an alien who are equally fearful, equally uncertain. Since the alien has already crossed the gulf between the stars, it seems that the gulf between minds may be even more challenging to overcome.

For me the crucial section of between two voices talking comes just before the end, when Marla and the alien’s conversation blends together with similar voices, expressing similar thoughts, to the point that without dialogue tags it would be impossible to say who was speaking. Surely the achievement of a meeting of minds, a rapport based on true understanding, is the ultimate challenge for all humans, and indeed for all intelligent life.