Somewhat unbelievably, I find one of my stories in the table of contents of the NewCon Press Best Of British SF 2018, edited by Donna Scott and to be published this August. First time one of my stories has featured in a best of anything, and not only that, look at this super-talented lineup of writers…
Multiple lifetime ambitions achieved here, including sharing a table of contents with Al Reynolds, of whom I am a fan, and who was also a fellow first year Astronomy student at Newcastle University (Hi Al!).
That sound you’re hearing? Me going “Ouch!” as I keep trying to pinch myself awake out of this dream…
Best Of British SF 2018:
Chasing the Lightship by Les Edwards
My story “On Ohab’s Land” is out in the Spring 2019 edition of Kaleidotrope. No it’s nothing to do with whales. Here’s a taster:
Grass stubble crunches beneath Ohab’s feet as he approaches the giant. The long, dry summer has baked the hayfield a deep golden brown, and late-blooming poppies sprout from between the ridges of cracked mud, nodding like amiable premonitions of blood as Ohab passes by. The last wisps of early morning mist have burned away, and crows, unfazed by the giant’s presence, flap lazily between the barrel-trunked oaks that dot the field’s perimeter.
Don’t ask me how many attempts it took to get that first paragraph just so. Many. Many attempts. No really. If you have a figure in mind for the number of revisions then I’m pretty sure it’s too low. Yes. Even that figure. Waaaaaay too low. And I’m still not sure about the extra comma or the two instances of “Ohab”. Yes, these are things that give me sleepless nights.
The story’s first-pass name was “The Origin of Giants”, a rather grandiose title from under which it could never really escape. Although “Land” deals more or less with the physical origin of giants (in this story world), it nowhere near adequately approaches the origin of true giants, those not of merely physical stature… for that you’d be better off reading something like Jose Pablo Iriarte’s The Curse of Giants. So the title had to change, and the story had to find a new heart… which I think it does, at the end. Probably it’s too optimistic of me to consider Ohab a suitable case for redemption, but in order to be a writer you really do have to put aside the pessimism now and again. Do I believe that change for the better — for people and the world — is possible? Sometimes. Yes, I really do.
“Giant” by Saryth Chareonpanichkul
The folks at Nightscape Press and anthology co-editor Richard Salter recently shared the news that Fantasy for Good has so far raised at least $10,000 for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Which is absolutely fantastic — but you know what? It doesn’t need to stop there. The anthology is still for sale and it’s full of timeless tales by some of the biggest names in fantasy literature, so if you haven’t got a copy yet (or two, or more) it’s not too late to help this great book raise even more funds for a really worthwhile cause.
Also. Look at that cover. It’s worth the price alone.
The anthology Sins and Other Worlds, edited by Eric S. Fomley, is now out in e-book and print format, available from the retail arm of the world’s most popular cloud computing platform provider. It contains a reprint of my dark little flash story In the Maze of His Infinities, first published by Perihelion SF.
Table of Contents
- The Plague – Ken Liu
- The Far Side of the Wilderness – Alex Shvartsman
- The Last Racist – Laird Long
- Floating in My Tin Can – Gerri Leen
- Tough Crowd – Holly Schofield
- Nothing – Douglas Smith
- The Memory Ward – Wendy Nikel
- About Time – Mike Murphy
- God State – Michelle Ann King
- Tugship – Russell Hemmell
- When There’s Only Dust Left – Jeremy Szal
- Angels Behaving Badly – Rhonda Eikamp
- The Dust Bathynaut – Dennis Monbauer
- A Fully Chameleonic Foil – Christi Nogle
- The Service Call – Ed Ahern
- The Sin of Envy – George Nikolopoulos
- Flies – Robert Silverberg
- Between Two Distant Shores There Lies Space for an Ocean of Troubles – Jez Patterson
- Death, Where is thy Sting? – John H. Dromey
- Last Long Night – Lina Rather
- Apocalypse Beta Test Survey – Gregg Chamberlain
- In the Maze of His Infinities – Henry Szabranski
- Most Valuable Player – Eric Choi
- Benchwarmer – Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn
- The Cyclops – James Dorr
- Remembrance Day – Liam Hogan
- The Eye Patch Protocol – Vaughan Stanger
- Once Was Lost – Alan Baxter
- The Assassin Program – Christina Sng
- The Plan – Mike Murphy
- Stewardship – Holly Schofield
- Walls of Nigeria – Jeremy Szal
- Whom He May Devour – Alex Shvartsman
- Event Cloak – Ken Liu
- Job Qualifications – Kevin J. Anderson
Mark Linsenmayer’s podcast of “Kill Switch” is now up at Constellary Tales, along with an interview with me about the story. Brian Hirt and Ken Gerber have somehow edited my voice to sound much posher and more articulate than it actually is, and boy I do not sound anywhere near as nervous as I actually was during the recording. But judge for yourselves.
Also, a great excuse to post up another great Juno image.
….aaaand my story “Kill Switch” is out now in issue one of Constellary Tales.
In amniotic darkness my mind reflowers, configuring itself in new and unfamiliar ways. Visions of slashing, blood-slicked blades fade, replaced by a deadening calm.
“One of my drones has gone rogue.”
“Red Alert” by Sebastian Hue
Image of Jupiter’s swirling cloudscape captured by NASA’s Juno probe.
…is a great name for a 70’s prog-rock concept album, but is also partially the subject matter of — as promised last month — a second story that (only very briefly) mentions the Discontinuity featured in “The Veilonaut’s Dream“. My story “Kill Switch” has been accepted for publication by new SF magazine “Constellary Tales” and will be podcast hopefully later this autumn. Yay for podcasts! — they always seem to make my stories sound great. Can’t wait to listen to it.
Also a great opportunity to showcase as the blog image the swirling clouds of Jupiter as captured by NASA’s Juno probe, currently still swooping around old Jove. Despite the imminent collapse of Western civilisation it’s great to be living in a time when we can receive such amazing photos from the outer reaches of the solar system.