Back in New York! This will be a quick update since I spent a full day this week on a plane.
- Pieced Together a new patrons-only short. This one is a western horror story. Enjoy my rad patrons, enjoy.
No new blog non-fic this week.
What I’m Reading
Just finished A Deepness In The Sky by Vernor Vinge. Wow. If you like sci fi, I would recommend this heavily. Tremendously imaginative and concept-wise it is A+.
Some of the prose is clumsy but that’s about the only criticism I can level at the book. This is truly an economist’s novel as well—it explores free market and command economies, slavery, and labor rights in an extremely satisfying way.
There are several fun literary tricks that Vinge uses but I don’t want to give any spoilers so go ahead and read the damned thing.
Dust blew into Mary Wilson’s eyes. There was a sudden lurch and her sewing kit bounced across the floorboards of the wagon. Jed came out of the ruts again, Lord love him. At this rate he’d shake the damned wheels off before they got to Hard Bluff. Young Ezra tapped her on the shoulder.
This is my last week in Thailand. Excited about going home but going to miss this little chunk of paradise. I’ve been busy again this week:
- A new Behind The Story post, this one explores the background for “Carrizo Springs”
- My AWESOME patrons have a new story as well, “To Wake In Your Arms”. Like the last two, this one is set in the world of Petifleur and The Colored City.
Speaking of Miss Petifleur, I think I will write a post about her and her world soon. I’m deep into novel the rewrite now and super happy with where it’s heading.
What I’m Reading
I finished Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. Great book. One of the most innovative things about it was how many of the characters are “group” beings. Think packs of wolves acting as a single organism. Tricky move, executed well.
The book was written in 1992 which feels right since many of the interstellar communications feel like old Usenet posts. Great world-building and deft handling of sticky topics like faster-than-light travel.
I’m onto the next volume in the series which is exciting because I’ve heard it’s even better.
That’s about it! Thanks for reading :)
Her first breath came in like razors. Fear of pain made Catherine hold onto it as long as she could. She let go all at once, coughing and sputtering. The wetness on her face, was that blood–?
The short Carrizo Springs was inspired in part by a town of the same name in south Texas.
Nearly twenty five years ago I packed my shit and drove from Salt Lake City to Carrizo Springs, Texas with my best friend. The motivation wasn't much different than Sam's—some guy I knew from back in Alaska called me to say there was work.
Lots going on this week. Hope you’ve been reading some great stuff. Let me get you up to date on the new developments:
- I started a new non-fiction series called Behind The Story to peek into the inspiration for my fiction
- The first BHS post is Behind The Story “Finding Yourself”
I ALSO wrote a new short for my patrons called “Heresies In Babel”. Become a patron to read it. You can do that by visiting Patreon and clicking the button marked Become a Patron
Oh I almost forgot to mention: the amazing new speculative fiction magazine Spectacle accepted my story “Non Disclosure” and will be publishing it in an upcoming issue. In print. With a beautiful illustration. Woop! Go ye hence and subscribe!
What I’m reading
- I just cracked Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge for some good old singularity sci-fi. (If memory serves, he invented the term.)
- Stumbled upon a GREAT list of literary horror over at Unbound Worlds.
- Also, I just discovered Unbound Worlds. Cool.
Feel free to reply with anything great that you’ve been reading or anything you’d like to see more of from me.
The Library's interwoven towers stretched far beyond the clouds. The books it held were said to be endless in their multitude. This fabled treasure trove drew pilgrims from all over the world. Those who entered the Library seeking truth were permanently lost to its vastness.
Priya dreamed of the Library long before she ever stepped inside. She came from a superstitious village. Arranged marriage. Divorce by fire.
Her journey across oceans took her to the Library's gates. Ready, at long last, to find salvation in the endless knowledge within.
She took a breath and entered.
The short Finding Yourself was inspired by the town of Hampi, India.
Hampi sits near a world heritage archeological area full of ancient temples and holy sites. It is also home to a backpacker nest and all of the associated ecology that entails. Mostly that's just weird Indian dudes mumbling "hashish, mushrooms" as you walk down the street. My personal favorite was a man with soft lips who approached me and whispered, "Would you like me to train your ears?"
"Excuse me? Train my ears?"
He grinned and produced a small notebook full of handwritten, uh, reviews I suppose. After he repeated his sales pitch a few more times I realized he was saying "drain your ears" and his gig was ear candling.
I’ve been trying a couple new things lately.
Might as well make it three.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing small companion articles for some of my shorts. They will explain the experiences or real world inspirations for the stories. Not entirely sure what the format will be yet, I plan on playing it by ear.
There are a lot of ways this could go wrong. I could ruin the “magic” or whatever. Someone could groundlessly sue me for libel because I used their likeness. Ugh. Speaking of, I’m going to go ahead and state this for posterity:
All of my short stories are fiction. Even when characters may appear to resemble living people they are amalgams of inspiration and my own creative process.
I can’t remember if it was by Blaise Cendrars or Louis Céline but a while back I read a line about who we as authors write about. To paraphrase: There is only one subject—humanity; and there is only one human—the author.
When all is said and done stories are reflections of their author’s mind. Even if they’re about something else, they’re really about the author.
CF. “On Exactitude in Science” by Borges and the map/territory relation.
I wrote a thing this week. It’s a new short story called “Explorer” and I really enjoyed putting it together. It’s set in the world that I created for Petifleur and The Colored City. Since it will be quite a while before Petifleur sees the light of day I figured why not start setting some of my short pieces there.
I did another thing this week! (That makes two.) I set up a Patreon account for people who want to support my writing. Basically:
- Patreon allows you to support my writing by chipping in as little as $1/month
- For the price of a shitty cup of coffee you get early access (30 days ahead) to all of my short stories—that’s at least four stories per month
- Some of those stories may get accepted to literary magazines before the month is up, meaning that it will be much longer before non-supporters can read them
- Your support puts the pressure on me to keep producing top quality content for you, the most awesome reader in the world
- If I reach $100/month in pledges I’ll start recording audio for one of my stories each month
After my shorts have been on Patreon for one month, if they have not been accepted to any literary magazines, they will be made available to the public on my blog, so you will still have access even if you didn’t throw any sawbucks my way.
Also, it’s my birthday in like two days so signing up would be a super nice present 🖤
What I’m reading this week
Lots of great stuff.
- Just finished Fevre Dream which is about vampires on the Mississippi River in the 1800s and written by George R.R. Martin. Interesting idea that probably wasn’t worth a whole novel, but GRRM is a hell of a writer and he kept me around until the end.
- Halfway through The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and it’s amazing so far. No wonder John La Carre is such a legend.
- Finished up (and promptly started re-reading) Secrets of Story. If you write, do yourself a favor and pick this up. I’m affiliate linking to it because dammit, it’s a good recco. It’s written by the guy behind cockeyed caravan which is one of the best writing blogs on the interwebs.
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