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Walking to Mordor

Look at this! My name, in some excellent company.

Uncanny 25 Cover

I have an essay in the Nov/Dec issue (25) of Uncanny Magazine, out today. The second half of this issue will be posted online on December 6. I’ll let you know!

I submitted this essay to Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and it was rejected with editorial comment, “We can’t take this for DPDSF, because it’s not science fiction. Can we publish it in a later issue?”

BEST REJECTION, and I replied instantly.

So here it is.

And frankly, I’m terrified. This essay, about cancer and medicine and recovery, is the most personal thing I’ve ever published, and I’m terrified about people reading it. But it’s out in the world now.

I’ll be under the bed.

#SFWApro

By Stone

It has already appeared in the Fireside quarterly print, and monthly e-magazine, but today my flash story, “By Stone, by Sea, by Flower, by Thorn,” is available to everyone!

“By Stone” is my tenth sale, and my fifth pro sale. Given how little time I spend writing, that’s pretty good, even if it’s taken me eight years to get to ten stories.

I’m very proud of this story; it’s clear to me that I’ve gotten better over the past eight years.

Fireside logo and pull quote from story: “The first man who bought me for shards of bright silver had foul breath and beat me when he wished. He died in his stocking feet, alone and in agony. I burned his bed.”

It’s an angry little story about the value of long-term planning.

#SFWApro

Happy anniversary to me!

Today is the 20th anniversary of my PhD defense. I’ve been Dr. Goslee for two decades!

How am I celebrating, you might ask? By finishing the invited seminar I’m giving in Belfast and Dublin next week, then getting on a plane.

Week in review

It’s been quite a week.

Monday, I found out that I sold a story to Fireside! I adore Fireside, and they seem to be fond of me as well: this is my third sale to them. It’s my tenth sale, and my fifth pro sale. Eventually I will qualify as a full member of SFWA, though at this rate it will take another decade.

There is a word count requirement, not just number of stories. One longer short story would do it, but I write mostly flash.

Wednesday, when I went in for a port flush, the every-six-weeks giant needle project, the nurse said, “Oh, while I’m doing this I can just draw your quarterly blood samples.”

“Um, sure.” Instant panic: I was planning on doing them later in the month. That gives me more time to fret, but also more time to prepare. Getting bloodwork done is very stressful. But there was no actual reason not to, and it would save me a trip in a couple weeks.

My oncologist is both great and overworked, and released the results to me at 9pm that night. I continue to be healthy, putting me at the four-year mark, or close enough. “Quite encouraging,” as he put it. Waiting for the results is hugely stressful, but at least it’s fast.

On top of this, I am swamped at work. Not end of year stuff, because my year ends in September, but I am buried under not one but two five-year project plans, and various other overdue projects. I’ve worked most of the weekend, barring breaks for long, cold, dog walks.

Me now:

Covered in cats

#SFWApro

Helsinki!

Oh yeah, I'm at WorldCon. I guess that might be of interest.

I'm on two panels on climate change in fiction, one Thursday and one Saturday. I'm still trying to come up with insightful things to say that don't conflict with my day job (don't ask). Nonetheless, it will be fun. Or depressing. But interesting!

The panels are super-crowded, but the people are great. It's amazing how many people I know in Finland, this week at least. I made it to one panel, but was turned away from another because it was full. I think I've given up on programming that I'm not part of, which is sad.

I'm enjoying Helsinki, now that I'm slightly recovered from travel exhaustion. I did have the interesting experience of grocery shopping in a country where I know exactly one word, while jetlagged and exhausted. (My lodging has a kitchen, which is the best.) I found the smoked salmon readily, but I ended up standing in the dairy section googling Finnish names for dairy products trying to figure out which was which. I managed to buy lactose-free cheese, because I selected it solely based on appearance, but it tastes yummy so no harm.

It is unlikely to surprise _anyone_ that I went to the botanical garden before even visiting the con. Lovely!

If you are at the con, please say hi! Ping me on twitter or just say hello if you see me.

#SFWApro

Just Another Woman in Love

150 word story #9 for 2017.


“Hello, world!”
“Hello, rainstorm!”
“Hello, mud!”

I held down my skirt as the wind tweaked it, and maneuvered around the holographic ads floating nearby, even though it meant walking into a puddle sheened over with oil. I loved puddles.

I loved the ads too. I still didn’t want to walk through them, even if they were intangible, but I loved them.

“Hello, traffic!”

I stopped to let a truck pass, spraying me with mud and water. I loved being wet.

I breathed in, and out, and in again. I loved the faint medicinal smell of the air. It wasn’t always like that, but the megacorps set it up.

I walked through a bevy of ads. I loved the way they whispered in my ear as they dissolved around me.

Do you remember the days before we loved everything? Most people don’t seem to recall, but I do.

I love it.


Random wikipedia prompt

Habitat

There’s only so much we can do. Conservation funding is hard to find. There are so many other ways to spend money, ways that have quicker results, or more immediate impact. Infrastructure, education, tax cuts.

We use what we can get to create reserves, save important sites from development. We put up barriers to protect the organisms we’re trying to save, to keep them in and keep poachers out. Resource extraction is a big problem. Miners are always trying to sneak in, and plant collectors. It doesn’t matter how out of the way the reserve is, we have to keep rangers onsite.

I wish we could do more than just set aside a planet or two. That doesn’t seem to be enough to keep these humans from destroying themselves through overpopulation and pollution. I keep asking for more funds, a bigger area.

But there’s only so much we can do.


I haven’t been writing much if any fiction, as you can tell from the radio silence here. I’m trying to get back on the horse, but the nonfiction I’ve been writing seems to be coloring my outlook.

The random Wikipedia prompt didn’t help any.

Balancing

I am delighted to announce that my second appearance in Fireside, the fantasy short story “Balance Point,” is out today. Magic gone sideways, the price of knowledge, and the difficulty of being young.

Trygvi says you should go read it right now!

#SFWApro

Geordie

Back to the flash-writing project (#7 for 2017). Today’s prompt is a 19th-c coal mining song from Newcastle, Geordie Black. There are a couple of recorded versions, including this one by Ian Campbell Folk Group.


They say young men can’t imagine being old, but I can’t either imagine being young. There was never a time when my bones didn’t ache, when I slept at night, when I could hear a young lady whispering in my ear, when I had a young lady or two who wanted to whisper in my ear.

There was never a time when I went down in the mine.

This town mines, or cooks and cleans for those that do. I can’t cook, so I must have mined. This town can’t imagine anything more. I look around; all the young men have coal dust for skin. I look around; there are no old men. Young men descend, day after day. They come out old, or not at all. They leave themselves in the mine, bit by bit, swapping self for coal.

I do not recall the mine, but it remembers me.

Hit

Sirisha slid on beaded black evening gloves, concealing the tattoos that wrapped her forearms. If Devudu noticed the intricate traceries, he would never allow her close enough to kill him. The slithery scarlet fabric of her dress plunged here and swooped there, concealing as much as it bared. Sirisha twirled, ensuring her knives were among the items concealed. The blades were brightly polished, but insufficiently formal for tonight. A clutch held only her forged invitation to the gala and a lipstick that matched her gown. Everything else she might require was hidden on her body.

The gallery was packed with people enjoying the champagne and pretending to enjoy the exhibits. Devudu was the pivot around which the crowd flowed, each person hoping for a moment of his attention. Sirisha too desired a moment, a timespan as thin as a blade. She eased her way into the eddy, eager to work.


150-word flash #6 for 2017.
Random Wikipedia prompt