You Have All The Weapons You Need

Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are Anger and Courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. – St. Augustine of Hippo

Do not let this world cause your steps to falter. – Alex de Campi (x)

You don’t think you’re strong enough? You are. You’re afraid. Don’t be. You have all the weapons you need. Now fight. – Dr. Vera Gorski, Sucker Punch

Not too long ago, I wrote a piece for Tor.com about what it means to tell stories in 2017 – and in particular what it means to tell speculative stories, to be able to engage directly with all forms of the what if.

I’m not even vaguely the first person to talk about this, but it’s been something I’ve been wrestling with since November: this question of how I do what I do in a world I barely recognize a lot of the time and most of the time barely understand. First and foremost I’m a storyteller; it’s one of the first things of any kind that I remember doing, and I genuinely don’t think it’s a thing I could not do. But I’m not special in that. We’re all storytelling creatures. It’s one of the primary things that defines us as beings – perhaps the primary thing. We experience reality as a narrative; we remember a past, we experience a present, and we imagine a future (and the lines between those things are blurry and porous, because we don’t experience time as linear at all).

On a level as deep as genes we understand the concepts of beginning and end. Of us. Of all things.

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Happy Birthday, little podcast

Happy late birthday, rather. Gone’s birthday was yesterday. Yeah, episode 1 is now available for listening to. Get it via Apple Podcasts here or Podbean here.

Let’s talk about it for a sec.

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Announcing: Gone

I already unveiled this on Twitter and Tumblr yesterday, but allow me to also do so here: I’ve semi-launched an episodic fiction horror podcast called Gone.

I absolutely love horror/thriller/mystery podcasts – TANIS, The Black Tapes, Alice Isn’t Dead, Limetown, and Rabbits, just to name a few that I’ve been into. I already do a podcast focused on my particular shippy corner of The Walking Dead fandom, but I’ve been wanting to branch out and try some new stuff, learn some new things, and see if I can even vaguely approximate the pleasurable creepy of the podcasts I already adore.

The format is a kind of audio journal (because when you’re one person working by yourself with a cheap mic and Audacity that tends to be easiest) and the premise is simple: Our protagonist awakens one morning to discover that everyone in the immediate area – and perhaps everywhere – has disappeared without any indication as to what happened or where they’ve gone. At first everything – except for the total absence of everyone – appears eerily normal. Then, bit by bit, that changes.

You can hear a very short teaser at the link above, and the premiere will drop next Wednesday the 26th. It’s going to be updating every other Wednesday, with the caveat that, as I said above, I’m one person doing everything myself, and now and then I may simply not be able to keep to the schedule down to the exact day. But I’ll try my best.

As of right now I don’t have a Patreon or a tip jar or anything set up for it, but watch for that at some point soon. Also I’m still waiting on Apple Podcasts to verify it but once they have, you’ll be able to subscribe that way.

I really hope you like this, guys. I’m frankly pretty nervous about it. I care very much about doing it well. Hopefully I will, and you’ll enjoy it. ❤️

New stuff from me

YES, because it’s been a while. And these have actually been out for a while. But I swear, I’m developing an aversion to updating this damn thing.

ANYWAY. Here’s what they are:

Shape Without Form, Shade Without Color (Tor.com)

This is a weird, dreamlike, not very clearly explained piece of darkness. It’s also heavily autobiographical, and really it’s more a look into my particular state of mind during a really rough part of a really rough year. It’s about mental illness more than anything else – and I think that’s one of the reasons why, it seems to me, the reactions to it have been fairly polarized. I don’t usually like to talk about reactions to my own stuff, because I don’t like the possibility that I’m giving the impression that I go after negative reviews. I try to not engage negative reviews at all, ever, because it’s a really really bad idea in addition to being a dickish thing to do. But there are things about some of the reactions I saw that I found both interesting and frankly troubling, and I did talk about it some in a thread on Twitter. Which seemed to strike a nerve with a lot of people, in a good way.

I’ll probably write a longer post about this, assuming I can get my act together, but basically the reactions I saw fell, for the most part, into two categories: “I didn’t understand this/this didn’t make any sense/this wasn’t really a story and therefore I disliked it” and “yes, yes, this is exactly how it feels.

Which, in retrospect, isn’t very surprising. Again, I might – I want to – talk more about this at some point in the future.

AND

eyes I dare not meet in dreams (also Tor.com)

This was originally written for a society and technology blog – Cyborgology – that I used to semi-run with some friends, and it wasn’t even originally a story, per se. It only became clear to me after the fact; it was (and is) an explosion of anger that had been building for a while, about… Well, if you read it, it should be pretty obvious. A particular favorite deceased (or possibly “deceased”) character of mine makes a cameo appearance; those people who know the fandom side of my life will probably spot her.

Y’know, I didn’t even think it was that good at the time. I now think it’s one of the better things I’ve written. Like “Shape Without Form” it isn’t so much an actual story in the traditional sense. As I said, at heart it’s a rant.

I think it’s a fun rant tho.

my #WisCon41 schedule!

I’m super excited about this lineup, lemmetellya. Plus, the panel on shipping? Yeah, thanks to my experience of TWD fandom, I’m gonna have some feelings to express there.

I’ll also have copies of my short fiction collection, and both Labyrinthian and Long Hidden, both of which are now sadly out of print. But you can snap ’em up there direct from me.

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omg heart eyes

I’ve posted this in a few other places, but here, take a gander at the cover art for “Shape Without Form, Shade Without Color”, coming at the end of this month from Tor.com:

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RIGHT???

This is one of those stories that’s incredibly personal in some ways – I’ve never been assaulted by evil starlings, but I wrote it during a very difficult period in my life, and it was an attempt to work some of that baggage out on paper.

Not that the same isn’t true of most of my stuff.

Anyway, watch for that on the 31st. And watch for “eyes I dare not meet in dreams”, also at Tor.com, on June 14th.

 

Long Hidden: get it now (while you still can)!

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OKAY LISTEN UP FOLKS

A few years back, I was massively honored to have a story of mine included in an anthology called Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. It’s an absolutely beautiful book, and it includes stories from people like Sofia Samatar, Sarah Pinsker, Nnedi Okorafor, Ken Liu, Tananarive Due, and Lisa Bolekaja. It’s so good.

It’s also going out of print on May 9th. Which is so damn sad.

BUT. You still have a chance to pick up a copy. I highly suggest that you do. You want this book in your life. It will make your life better. If you already own it, buy a copy for a friend. Don’t wait. Get it before it’s gone because after this there won’t be no more. Any copy of Long Hidden and/or its sequel Hidden Youth purchased from the publisher will be 15% off, 25% if purchased together, with free US shipping (offer includes ebooks).

IN ADDITION 50% of net proceeds from ANY sales of Long Hidden or Hidden Youth (including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) will be donated to We Need Diverse Books (http://weneeddiversebooks.org). Which is awesome. So you have every reason to treat yourself to it.

And please do what you can to boost the signal. Thanks so much.