My short story “Bones Placed in Apposition” is available in the Summer issue of Underland Arcana. It’s free to read online, or you can buy it as an ebook or softcover. Issue 7 also includes stories by Scott Edelman, W. T. Paterson, Ben Curl, Mike Robinson, Eric Witchey, D. Thea Baldrick, and Mattia Ravasi.
Some years ago I spent a fair amount of time with the correspondence of nineteenth century scientists. Among them was Isaac Hays, an ophthalmologist who also had a strong interest in natural science, including the study of fossils. (This was not an uncommon hobby among a group of Philadelphia physicians categorized as “extremely quarrelsome” by scholar Keith Thomson.) Hays and G. W. Featherstonehaugh, an English geologist, found themselves on opposite sides of an argument about the classification of one particular set of fossils. Battles were fought in papers and lecture halls, late friends were defended and honor assailed.
If you appreciate passive-aggressive sniping—or, for that matter, aggressive sniping—then I really do recommend perusing the primary sources. I obviously find the entire controversy delightful; and, more seriously, it serves to illustrate some of the practical and philosophical issues involved with scientific study in the United States, as well as the country’s negotiation of its relationship with Europe. Nationalism intertwined with the interpretation of the past, invented species roaming a prehistorical landscape. The small fantastical aspect of my story is less a feat of imagination than conjuring an elephant from a few shards of bone.
Today you can pick up a copy of Dread Space, an anthology of flash length dark military science fiction stories. My story “Used Armor Smell,” about armor more rugged than its wearer, is included.
When choosing pronouns for nonbinary characters in the past, I’ve defaulted to they/them. It’s a somewhat lazy decision: most nonbinary folks I know use they/them, and as a reader and writer I find they/them more transparent than other sets of pronouns. But in this case, I decided to use Spivak pronouns. Partially, it’s about variety in my writing; on general principles, I should be employing different pronoun sets (including this one, which has been in use for decades). But here, it also serves the story.
My point-of-view character’s gender is completely irrelevant. However, this was a case where I specifically wanted to avoid “they.” Yes, singular they is in widespread use and has a long history as part of the English language. But sentient machines are common in science fiction, as is the merging of human and machine consciousnesses. I quite enjoy those explorations of sentience, but in this case I wanted to make it very explicit that the human is a human and the machine is a machine, a tool of humans, not an artificial intelligence.
Not a joke! The fourth issue of Martian: A Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles is available from Amazon. This is the first chronological appearance of my 100 word story “Tethered, In Darkness,” which will also be in the annual anthology and on the Martian website in May.
I’m a big fan of the cover images chosen by editor Eric Fomley—to say nothing of the stories within. It makes for a very slick package I’m pleased to join.
This reprint anthology was a December release, but it’s still worth crowing about. The book collects all the stories published in the first year of Underland Arcana. My contributions—the short story “Wayfinding” and the flash “Family Dinner”—are in excellent company.
Tarot cards were included with the contributors’ copies, as a special treat. Mark Teppo is having fun with Underland’s Tarot-themed publications, and I’m glad I came along for the ride.
The anthology is available as a trade paperback or ebook (or as a paperback/ebook bundle if you order from the publisher) and can be found at the usual vendors.
I’m going to have a story in the fourth issue of Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles. (It’s called “Tethered, In Darkness” and it’s about a generation ship.) If you read your ebooks on a Kindle and enjoy them popping up on release day, like a present from Past You, consider preordering from Amazon.
You can also, of course, order other issues of the magazine (#2 is at Smashwords, because KDP is not always cooperative). Especially if you like to consume drabbles like popcorn: delicious bites in a big bowl of more delicious bites.
Okay, it’s been a bit of a staged release. I know some folks have already received physical copies and ebooks were available last week, but now the anthology is available for everyone in every format. The publisher, Tenebrous Press, has trade paperbacks; Godless and Amazon have ebooks. If you’re in the mood for Gothic feels, check it out, and I hope you enjoy my story “Always an After.”
My short story “Wayfinding” appears in Issue 4 of Underland Arcana. It’s a sort-of ghost story about cities, people, history, and memory. The story is free to read on the website, or you can click over to Amazon to buy the .mobi or paperback.
Publication was actually at the beginning of the month. Let’s all just say that I intentionally held off on posting until it was almost Halloween, rather than because I have dropped a number of balls over the past few weeks.
Do you want to support a pro-paying market for super-short stories? If so, the first issue of Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles is available for purchase on Amazon. My story “Honey and Apples” is in excellent company.
In 2017, I started writing-and-finishing things after a pretty long break (and, a couple years later, started submitting some of them). 2017 was a bad time for politics in the United States, and it just kept getting worse. (No, I did not think it would end with hundreds of thousands of excess pandemic deaths and an armed insurrection. In retrospect, I marvel at my optimism.) With all the talk of inhabiting the darkest timeline, my mind turned to time travel—and futility.
The story accidentally came out in play form (well, “play” or “90s Terry Bisson,” depending on your perspective). I decided I liked it, especially since that made it easy to obscure gender and skip physical descriptions. Depending on the combination of gender identity, presentation, race, accent, etc. of the characters, it reads differently. I felt like I’d accidentally performed a Stupid Author Trick. And now the story has a home, nestled among other time travel tales.