Thursday, October 31, 2013

"The Letter Hidden in the Alphabet" published

The new issue of Bourbon Penn has just gone live, including my story "The Letter Hidden in the Alphabet."

I can pinpoint two inspirations for this story. The first is a kids book I saw at the library called There's a Monster in the Alphabet by James Rumford. As soon as I saw the title, the opening of this story came to me--of course there's a monster hidden in the alphabet! What a perfect image. Then I opened the book and found it was one of those times when you think you know what the book will be about, and when it turns out to be something quite different, you're glad because then it can mean you get to write that story instead.

The other point of inspiration is Italo Calvino, and especially his stories in t-zero and Cosmicomics. The narrator of those takes scientific and historical facts and theories and then recounts those events literally, often with a wide-eyed yet matter-of-fact tone. So I took that image of a hidden something within the alphabet and made that hidden letter into a narrator who recounts the history of the alphabet from a similar viewpoint.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reposting my #WorldAsh serial

Several years ago I had great fun crafting a story in Twitter-sized chunks. There's a puzzle-solving sort of fun to trying to tweak each tweet so that it's interesting in itself while also moving the overall story along. The story, #WorldAsh, appeared in the wonderful (if short-lived) Twitter zine Thaumatrope, appearing one to two tweets each day for a month.

Now admittedly, Twitter is not something I use a lot, but looking back through my bibliography as I was updating in the other week, I decided it would be fun to repost the story, this time to my own Twitter account, @ausema. Now when I originally wrote the story, I used a few opening tweets to establish the character as a picaresque sort of person: young, somewhat naive, a bit of a rogue, overestimating his own talents. The editor didn't think those were necessary, so we ran the story without. Those aspects were in my mind throughout the story, and I think they come through to a certain extent in the rest of the tweets, but I'm not sure how clearly.

Maybe it was the right choice anyway, but I decided to incorporate those original opening tweets this time. So for the past few days I've been adding one tweet each day. Feel free to follow me, or just read only the #WorldAsh ones without actually following. There are just a few days to catch up on, and then you can follow along throughout the next month or so as the story develops.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Short story in Perihelion SF

My story "To Hunt a Sky Eel" is in the latest issue of Perihelion SF, which went live this past weekend.

This story really started inside another story. A couple of years ago I set myself a challenge of writing a far future, interplanetary sort of science fiction story. I had some thoughts, but it really stalled out for a while, until I read a few works by Samuel R. Delaney. Something in those stories made me decide to take a different approach, and the story unfolded beautifully. Or at least, I thought so...though that story hasn't been accepted anywhere yet.

In working through that story, I had at one point come up with the image of these sky eels, floating gracefully and in their full sense-of-wonder-ness through the air. I loved the image and some of the ideas I had to build on that...but it just didn't end up fitting in that story. All that remained was a single reference to them as a part of the planet where the story ends up. So last year I came back and decided to write a sort of companion piece to that, taking place on the same distant world but giving the sky eels more space and development.

On a tangential note, I've now fully updated my bibliography page here on the blog, including the link to this story and all the stories and poems that have been published since I last updated it (probably a year and a half ago or so...). It will be out of date again within a few weeks, unless I manage to actually continue updating it...

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

"Winter on Mars" poem in the current issue of Space & Time

Just what the heading says: "Winter on Mars" in issue #119 of this long-running magazine. Until the next issue comes out, the link is here.

It's fun timing to reread this poem (and another that should be coming out shortly) right now: I'm reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, which fits in perfectly with these two poems that are both set on Mars.