Friday, September 28, 2012

Self-moving plants

Cool article about a microscopic algae that can swim. I'm always fascinated with plants in general and especially learning about new behaviors and ways they seem to tease the line between what we think of as plant and what we think of as animal attributes and behaviors.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Moon Magic Eclipse"

I just realized today that the latest issue of went live on September 1st and that this is the issue with my flash fiction story "Moon Magic Eclipse." This was a story I wrote to be deliberately more high fantasy in feel than I usually try for--for a long time I'd had in mind a magic that works like moonlight, coming from a definitive but cyclical source, something that could be blocked or amplified. Only thing was, my longer writing was moving away from the kinds of stories that this kind of magic seemed to fit, so it just sat there in the back of my head (and probably in a notebook somewhere). Then last year I decided to work it into a flash fiction piece, and this was the result.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Honorable Mention

For a second year in a row I wrote and submitted a poem for the National Space Society of North Texas's poetry contest. I learned today that my poem was chosen as an honorable mention, which I'm assuming means it will be appearing in the anthology in a few months. Last year I wrote a free verse poem about the moon. This year it was a formal sonnet about colonizing Mars.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Short Fiction Saturday

A couple of recent stories that I found worth mentioning in themselves, but also seemed to complement each other, with their takes on gender:

In Aliette de Bodard's "Heaven Under Earth" there is an unexplained shortage of women on a distant planet, settled by (Chinese) humans. Only some males, then, are allowed to be fathers, the eggs of what women there are are harvested and highly valued, and most males undergo a procedure that turns them in caihe, a sort of eunuch with an artificial uterus and mammary glands. Liang Pao, a caihe carrying a child for the husband, is the central character, and the tension comes when the new, fourth spouse turns out to be not a caihe but an actual woman.

"Love Might Be Too Strong a Word" by Charlie Jane Anders is a wild and imaginative story set on a massive space ship headed toward a new planet. There are many genders on the ship, determined by a person's rank and role in keeping the ship going, and Anders gives each of the genders their own sets of pronouns, which adds an intriguing touch to the story. The main gist of the narrative is a love story, sort of, in which a pilot (at the top of the ship's castes) falls in love with a low-caste cleaning person. Or seems to. The courtship news spreads throughout the ship, a lovely and romantic thing...except to the cleaning person Mab, who doesn't trust the pilot at all. The gender play is stunning throughout, and the imagination of it means this is a story that will likely stay with me.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

"The Rustic Ladder" in Bourbon Penn

My story "The Rustic Ladder" is part of the new issue, which just went live today.

This story really came about, a couple of years ago now, as a result of a number of discussions about the differences between magical realism and fantasy. Gene Wolfe famously said magical realism is simply fantasy written by someone who speaks Spanish. It's a funny quip, but not the most helpful... I've never been a fan of strict or exhaustive boundaries and definitions of things like this, but I do like to go back to the distinction given by a professor of mine. We were studying, especially, the Boom writers, and in that context she explained that in Spanish-language fantasy, the fantastical or uncanny aspect is the source of the story's conflict. In magical realism, however, the fantastical elements are simply a part of the everyday lives of the characters, and the conflict arises from other sources, often related to themes of colonialization and (sub-)development. With that distinction, and with those online discussions fresh in mind, I wrote this story to explore how I might take those themes.

Bourbon Penn is free to read online, or you can order a Kindle copy or POD physical copy through the site.