Matthew Park’s Illustration for “The Freeze”

Lately, self has been writing science fiction in the apocalyptic vein.

She wrote a story called “The Freeze” which imagined a woman as the only survivor of a drastic temperature drop, who decides to abandon her home city of San Francisco and head south. Along the way, she encounters a band of teen-agers; they all somehow find each other while stumbling around in the dark. She joins their group. Keeping the Pacific Ocean to their right, the group heads for Mexico (What? You expected them to come up with a better plan? They’re all starving, freezing, and in semi-shock. Sorry, this was the best anyone could come up with)

The story’s been published on Bluestem (Spring 2015) but here’s the illustration Matthew Park did for self.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

TheFreezecover_concept02-3

Two of Self’s Flash Were Published This Month (April 2015)

“The Ark” is in the Spring 2015 of Local Nomad, an e-zine edited by poet Jean Gier.

“I Am Cyclops” is in the inaugural issue of Nimbus Cat, edited by novelist (and writing group member) Lillian Howan.

Both are speculative fiction.

Local Nomad

Local Nomad took self’s Biblical Revisionist Story “The Ark.”

YAY YAY YAY YAY!

The editor called it “lovely and disturbing.”

Here are their submission guidelines.

Stay tuned.

 

The Metamorphosis Generator

From A Work-in-Progress:

The Jaguar I know is a bit much. Especially for the country. But Wolfgang must have his toys. The Jaguar, the helicopter, the espresso/ice cream machine, the Jacuzzi with 20 different spurt settings, the 80-inch flat-screen HDTV, the four-foot Bose speakers, the laser wrinkle removers, the Do-It-Yourself Botox injectors and hair implantation devices, the state-of-the-art dollar-printing mechanism, the 3D Alternate Universe Hologram, the foot-high platform shoes with the massage feature, the metamorphosis generator . . .

Once, he trapped a fly in the metamorphosis pod, and what emerged was a woman with wondrous, bulbous dark eyes and gossamer hair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

WARM BODIES Redux: Carrie Ryan’s “After the Cure” (In AFTER: NINETEEN STORIES OF APOCALYPSE AND DYSTOPIA)

from Carrie Ryan’s story, “After the Cure,” in After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling:

An ex-vampire reflects:

In that moment I wasn’t sure where the monster ended and where I began. I know the government just wanted me to go back to the life I’d lived before, but the monster always stretched under my skin as a memory. My nails always a little thicker than before, my hair a little thinner. The taste of animal meat never enough as it used to be.

I wondered why they even bothered curing us.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Winner of Calvino Prize Announced by University of Louisville

(And you know, self joined this year. Why else do you think she’d be so interested in the outcome? Don’t look too hard at the list of runners-up, her name isn’t there LOL. The judge was Robert Coover.)

2014 Calvino Prize Winner:  Micah Dean Hicks, “Flight of the Crow Boys”

Runner-Up: Alisa Alering, “The Night Farmers’ Museum”

Finalists:

David James Poissant, “Minotaur”

Jill Birdsall, “Dandelions”

Hubert Vigilla, “Here Be Dragons”

Emily Temple, “My Past and Future Selves Eat Pasta”

Bree Barton, “Sexing the Starling”

Aline Zybum, “The Vending Machine”

Judith Edelman, “The Parchment Is Burning, but the Letters Soar Freely”

Andrea Witzke Slot, “Where Our Hands Rest in the Night”

Caroline Belle Stewart, “Widow”

Work in Progress: Inspired by the Darren Aronofsky Movie

How many readers actually saw “Noah” when it was in theaters earlier this year? The speculative fiction film version of “Noah,” the one that starred Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connolly? Self loved it. In fact, it’s still one of her favorite movies of the year.

Self is calling this work-in-progress “The Ark.”:

Two by two, the counting went on, day and night.

In moonlight sometimes Noah heard his wife singing.

No more than two, Noah said. One pair, that’s all we can take.

His wife began to argue with him. There must be a way, she insisted. Her eyes had that stormy look. Like lake water in spring, when the wind blows hard around.

Right now, it stands at around five pages, double-spaced (1,000 words). Happiness!

Stay tuned.

The List in Self’s “The Secret Room” (CAFE IRREAL, Issue # 50)

Self has long pondered the difference between science fiction, speculative fiction, fairy tales, myths, horror stories and the “irreal.”  The other day, she decided to go through the Café Irreal essay, “What is irrealism?”

She’d first read it several years ago, when she began writing lots of speculative fiction.  It was nice to re-discover it.

The essay reminds us that, in “pre-modern” times, the people telling and listening to folk tales and legends assumed them to be “true.” These people, if they had heard Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” read aloud to them, “would most likely assume that the transformation” of the protagonist into a bug was likely the result of “a spell” (And why not? In “pre-modern” times, spells were considered practical ways to deal with malevolence; in other words, spells were not “magic.” They were solutions to a problem) For them, “the irreality of the story — which flows from an irresolvable clash between the real and the unreal — would be lost.”

There’s more, much more to ponder in the essay.  Self recommends that readers go over to Café Irreal to read it in its entirety.

Self’s story, “The Secret Room,” is in the current issue.

At yesterday’s writers group meeting, self’s esteemed friend (and soon-to-be-famous published novelist) Lillian Howan mentioned that her son liked the list in the story.

Which, self confided to Lillian, was the trickiest part of the piece.  Self had to keep working at it and working at it, constantly changing the items in the list because she was never completely satisfied with the “mix.”

Here’s the list in its final, published version:

  • A map of an island with no name.  There was no way to tell whether this island was near or far, whether it lay within the bounds of the Narrow Sea or beyond, in some yet undiscovered realm.
  • A piece of yellowing parchment, on which had been written, in her husband’s careful hand, the letters KMCVQH
  • An iron knitting needle
  • A stone the size of her fist, on whose rough surface glittered a sparkly metal that might have been silver
  • A drawing of a unicorn
  • A broken silver chain
  • A dozen gold coins stamped with the profile of Aurelia, the Queen of the Undersea
  • A small painting, about the width of a hand, of a man with no eyes

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Sweetness/ Fan Fiction/ Café Irreal

Self is reading something based on a fairy tale.  It’s really sweet, Hunger Games AU, based on the tale “East of the Sun & West of the Moon.”

Peeta whisks Katniss away from her house in District 12, in a broad heavy sleigh, and they arrive in a house at the edge of a lake.  It’s enchanted, like all good houses should be.

It’s really clever, how elements of the fairy tale are woven in, such as in this description:

“. . .   it isn’t the ancient palace from my dream, with its high stone walls and dusty rooms, filled with silence and nameless fears.  I didn’t ride here on the back of a white bear . . . “

The two are tended by Avoxes, which is another thing that fits in with the sense of unreality.

*     *     *     *

On August 1, a fable of self’s is going live on Café Irreal.  It’ll be her second story in the magazine.  Her first, which appeared a few years ago, was a flash fiction called “Appetites.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story soon to be posted, called “The Secret Room”:

One day, during a fox hunt, her husband fell from his horse and broke a leg.  His squires carried him into the castle.  A monk came with healing herbs and made a poultice.  A surgeon set the bone.  But in spite of everyone’s best efforts, the King continued to scream with pain.  For days everyone in the castle was frozen by the sound of his shrieks.

There you go.  Even when writing fables, self always heads straight for “dark.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

In Case You Were Wondering

This is the kind of stuff she’s been writing here at the Tyrone Guthrie Center:

POLYPHORES

The boss was born Earthstar.  He’d never look at her.  His spores were meant to go somewhere else:  to a Silverleaf.  Or a Shag.  Not K that smelled like wet rot.  She belonged with other Common.

Varnish and varnish:  I’d say this for K:  She was tenacious in her delusions.

“My mum’s a thick,” she said once.  “A focking thick.”

“Hmmm,” was all I managed to say in response.

Want to know what happens?  Tune in next week.

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