I posted this over on Patreon, but I wanted to share it here with you too:
I think of speculative fiction as the genre of literalized metaphor. This is a particularly personal one. (CW: authoritarianism, homophobia)
This is one of the first stories I wrote when I started writing seriously—one of the stories which got me into the Viable Paradise workshop in 2012, in fact. I wrote it before I knew much about story structure. I’d of course had Freytag’s Pyramid in school, and I tried to write this story in that form, but I knew once I finished it that I had missed.
Yet I thought the story still worked, I just couldn’t explain why. I only realized much after learning about the kishōtenketsu form that I think I all but accidentally hit on it when writing this story. Fortunately I think that structure fits the themes of the story very well, so I’m loath to try to ‘fix’ it. See what you think.
Also I wanted to write a post-apocalypse which reflected my experience growing up in poor, rural places which had lost a lot of population from the farm crises and were a little post-apocalyptic already. Somehow we didn’t descend into a Mad Max hell of guns and gas and hard men killing for canned goods past their sell-by.
This story is my ante-up, me putting my money where my mouth is, whatever cliché you want. This is very much the kind of story I want to publish here with Patreon backing.
This is also one of the stories that got me into Viable Paradise. It’s near to my heart in several ways; I think you’ll see.
I can’t sleep, so here, have some fiction.
Speaking of atlases as we were, this is a story I wrote three years and another life ago (or two? I’ve lost count), as a way to map out one possible future.
My own life has moved past it, but it still lays out a path someone else might take. Maybe even a future me.
For this story, for me, the change of it is not so much something the character undergoes, but between myself, now, and the ‘I’ of the story. I don’t know if that will work at all for you, too, but I hope it does.
A holiday story of sorts.
This was the story I wrote during Viable Paradise (my “horror-that-was-Thursday” story).
My classmates liked it! Steven Brust liked it!
All the markets I submitted it to sent it zinging back with polite little “nope, sorry, not for us” notes.
So it goes.
That means you get to read it here!
The prompt involved a grab-bag draw, from which I received a red foam-rubber clown nose, and asked us to write a story about a future in which a thing that is presently legal has been banned…
I continue to feel that the web site of a fiction writer should have, well, some fiction on it.
After coming back from Viable Paradise, I had occasion to dig through my (relatively small) pile of older work looking for things to submit. I pulled this story out and, reading it, decided that it didn’t suck. I couldn’t figure out where to submit it, though, so I offer it to you here.
This is an erotic short story (2200 words or so) I wrote building off the title, which came to me out of the ether at some point. It has the distinction of being the first thing I ever wrote and finished for myself rather than a class, the first story I ever submitted anywhere, and the first (and so far only) story of mine to ever be short-listed. It’s also, oddly enough, heterosexual.
Being erotica, this story is Not Safe For Work. No trigger warnings, though.
Well, this is unexpected, and not the post I had been meaning to write either, but apparently I wrote a short story this morning. (Around 1500 words as a computer counts.) Like my protagonist I’m a little off from my usual schedule today, and so somewhat reluctantly I found myself returning from the pharmacy at half past oh-dark-hundred with the ingredients for True Nyquil (combine: modern Nyquil and a Sudafed tab), ie. the ingredients of a good night’s sleep — the one thing I was notably lacking in that moment.
The seed of this was a comment Neal Stephenson made at his recent appearance at MIT, saying that he doesn’t think wearable computers like Google’s Project Glass are actually going to look much like the wearable computers in his novel Snow Crash, and that these days he works at a treadmill desk for its health benefits, combined with my own personal frustration at spending forty hours a week staring at the inside of a cubicle while working an office job. Walking home that got me the first line and once I sat down (hah) it spiraled endlessly on from there; low blood sugar and critical caffeine depletion were the only things that forced me to tie it up.
It’s a much more technology-forward sort of story than I tend to write, and it needs editing, but for now the web site has fiction on it, and that seems like the kind of thing the web site of a science fiction writer should have.
(Footnote markers are where links should go; I’ll round them up in a bit.)
“Walk to Work” by Kellan Sparver
I’m a little off from my usual schedule this morning, which means a different route, but I have a lunch meeting with some potential investors in Kendall Square practically downstairs from my apartment, so I can’t loop up to Davis for Thursday Redbones lunch with my team like I usually do. Davis is about three miles if I walk the most direct way, practically a straight shot up Beacon and Elm, which takes me about two hours at my usual pace, almost exactly right to leave at 11 and arrive just past the peak. I’m a bit of a night owl, as are most of the rest of my team, so we meet up when we need to and adopt a generous definition of lunch and that works for us. But today although I woke up a bit early I’m operating on investor time, so I’ve got a bit over an hour, meaning about a mile and a half, to kill.