Pleased to announce my story, “Witch of the Weave” — featuring the further adventures of Percher and Skink in a world of colossal weave constructs — is out now in Clarkesworld Issue 159. This is the second time my work has featured in Clarkesworld, and I’m hugely relieved the first time doesn’t appear to have been a fluke.
But hold on. “Further adventures,” did I say? Of Skink and who? And what’s this about Part 2? Where’s Part 1? Did I miss something?
Let me explain.
I hope “Witch of the Weave” is able to stand on its own merits, but it’s very much a story built on the foundations of an earlier one. There’s an old adage that you should throw away the first scene of any story, or first chapter of any book you write, as these are most probably unnecessary scene setting and authorial “throat clearing” that will get in the way of the reader and the story. Well I don’t know if I would always agree with that, but there’s certainly an element of truth to it. However, it seems a bit extreme to throw away a whole story. Luckily, if you want to find out how Percher and Skink first met, and what those “clevers” and Motherman references are all about, the prequel story to “Witch of the Weave“, “Climbing the Motherman“, should be out Spring next year in DreamForge Magazine Issue 5. Then you can judge for yourself how much authorial throat clearing is going on.
In the meantime, I’m busy trying to finish the next Percher and Skink story. Certainly helps to know the first two found a home.
Just received photos of my story “The Veilonaut’s Dream” (originally published at Clarkesworld and subsequently in Best of British Science Fiction 2018) sent by the staff at Chinese magazine Science Fiction World Translations, whilst I wait for the physical copies to arrive. I’m really chuffed, as this is the first time any story of mine has been translated — and for one of the biggest markets there is. “The Veilonaut’s Dream” really has turned out to be the little story that could. (The fantastic magazine cover is the image of “Cheela” from Robert L. Forward’s Starquake, apparently.)
After a long hot week at work it was terrifically cool to come home and find contributor copies of Best of British Science Fiction 2018 waiting for me on the doorstep. Both the hardcover and paperback volumes are fantastically well produced, and I’ve have to say I still can’t believe I’ve actually got a story in them even though I can see and touch them “for real” now.
Many thanks, again, to Donna Scott and Ian Whates at NewCon Press. It’s a real shame I can’t be at the launch at Dublin Worldcon (on Saturday 17th August from 5:30 to 6:30), but if you can make it, please do — and say hi to all the amazing folk there.
“Best Of British Science Fiction 2018”, cover art by Les Edwards, cover layout Ian Whates, editor Donna Scott
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.
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
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.