Category Archives: In progress

News – Wiscon recovery, Shimmer 17 ToC, general flailing

Shimmer #17 ToC, out this summer:

“The Mostly True Story of Assman & Foxy” – Katherine Sparrow
“How Bunny Came to Be” – A.C. Wise
“The Moon Bears” – Sarah Brooks
“Sincerely, Your Psychic” – Helena Bell
“Out They Come” – Alex Dally MacFarlane
“Love in the Time of Vivisection” – Sunny Moraine
“Fishing” – Lavie Tidhar
“98 Ianthe” – Robert N. Lee
“Stealing My Sister’s Boyfriend” – Jordan Taylor
“The Metaphor of the Lakes” – Yarrow Paisley
“Romeo and Meatbox” – Alex Wilson
“Like Feather, Like Bone” – Kristi DeMeester
“Girl, With Coin” – Damien Walters Grintalis
“River, Dreaming” – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“The Fairy Godmother” – Kim Neville
“We Were Never Alone in Space” – Carmen Maria Machado
“The Herdsman of the Dead” – Ada Hoffman

Jesus, what a fantastic lineup.

Me? I’m still recovering from Wiscon, which was really pretty fucking fantastic – I made a bunch of new friends and got to catch up with some old ones, my reading went really well, and I had a blast at my panels to the point where I think I’ll have to do a part 2 of my cyborg panel next year since there seems to be popular demand and we didn’t get to so much stuff, and of course I got my genderfloomp on – but it was also exhausting, and I think I’m feeling it now.

Case in point: I meant to do so much stuff today and all I did was novel edits and watching The Hunger Games and thinking about thinking about my dissertation. Friday I’m due to write a blog post for Cyborgology on the monetization of fandom, so I need to get my shit together by then.

aaaaaaah the summer is already running away and it’s not even June

I have cover art for Crowflight but I can’t share it publicly yet. You don’t even know how difficult that is.

The “Next Big Thing” Blog Hop

So I’ve been tagged in the Next Big Thing blog hop that’s been going around, by the marvelous Catherine Lundoff – who you should really be paying attention to. I just finished her novel Silver Moon and enjoyed it hugely (menopausal werewolves; you can’t imagine what a breath of fresh air that is).

So here’s me.

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WIP Wednesday: Yet more Harbinger

Yeah, more. It’s pretty much my primary project at the moment and will likely remain so until it’s finished, especially given that I’m in the final push of it. But given that, I want to take a second before I shove more of it at you to talk about what’s actually going on in it.

So what’s Harbinger?

It’s a story about the future. It’s not a nice future. It’s standard dystopian stuff when it comes to the geography of American urban centers and the gap between the uber-rich and the very poor. It isn’t especially groundbreaking in that respect, but I’m not really trying to be; I think there should be space to play within tropes without always having to be doing something new with them. One particular idea I’m exploring is what us politicalish sociologists refer to as the “stickiness” of institutions – the way these things tend to lock themselves in and hold out – and what happens when they continue to function long after they’re no longer really functional in any meaningful way.

It’s about bodies. It’s about what bodies mean, how they change, how they retain memory and how they aid in forgetting. In that sense it’s also about memory; I sort of feel like a story that’s about bodies is also necessarily going to be about memories and vice-versa.

It’s about doing the right thing, or not doing the right thing, and how we get ideas of what the right thing even means, and what we do to let ourselves of the hook of actually doing it. And then how the choices we make end up sweeping us along anyway, into places we didn’t want and don’t even totally understand.

It’s about family, about what you can leave behind and what you really can’t.

And it’s about angels. Or is it?

So here’s some more of it.

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WIP Wednesday: More untitled dystopian cyborg angel novel

I’ve been working on this one for a while now — a few months — and it’s in that awfulGod will I never be able to stop working on this stage of it, but I’m plugging away, I’m about two-thirds done, and I do at least have a pretty good idea of where it’s going.

As I said a few weeks back, it’s set a hundred years or so into a future where the US is in shambles and the gap between the rich and the poor has become unbelievably huge, where the currently questionable line between corporations and governments and the military has eroded into meaninglessness, and where augmentation of the body is commonplace and, for certain elements of society, basically necessary. My protagonist is a Good Samaritan for Michael, a guy who ends up having weird and worrying powers and who may — or may not be — an angel. And the two of them get wrapped up in trying to find a stolen and highly dangerous weapon. And there’s a sister with dubious allegiances. And yeah.

Excerpt after the cut. Quick setup: Samir, Michael, and Ashmita have arranged to meet with a dissident group who they think is involved in the theft of the weapon. But they aren’t the only ones looking for it, and — predictably — things don’t go smoothly.

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WIP Wednesday: “Iron Ladies, Iron Tigers”

So having abandoned the audio posts for now, I’m looking to jump back into the swing of things with actually writing, and to that end I’ve decided to pick up the Muse Monday/WIP Wednesday posts again. Because I think the template works well, on the whole, when I can bludgeon myself into keeping up with it.

The WIP for this week is actually not technically a W IP —  at least not at the moment — because I just made the last of the current round of editing passes through it yesterday. I still intend to get some further outside crit on it, but I’m largely comfortable with the meat of it as it stands.

It had its inception when I stumbled on the concept of iron stars — a theoretical kind of endpoint for a star that would only be possible mind-bending lengths of time in the future (and only, apparently, if the proton doesn’t decay). The idea of a cold sphere of pure iron spinning through the post-stellar darkness blew my mind in the most evocative of ways, and anything that blows my mind in just that way is going to have me trying to hammer it into something story-shaped. I’ve also been wanting to write something about loss and time travel for a while, and the ideas all just kind of gelled. Vita and her AI companion CERA and her lost love Kendra emerged from that and finally I had my elusive story-shaped thing.

Excerpt under the cut. Enjoy.

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WIP Wednesday: Untitled Dystopian Queer Angel(?) Novel

I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/14157/uncensor

I’m █████ to ████ █████ the ████ █████ I’m ███████ on. I ████, it █████ █████-██████. We’ll see.

██████ I ████: I ████ it’s set in a █████████ ████████ ██████. I ████ ████ █████’s a █████ of █████ █████ ████████ ████████████. I ████ my ████ ██████████ are █████ █████–a man ████ a ███████ ██████████ who has ████ ████████ ████ a ██████████ and who has ███████ to ████ █████ the █████████–and ███████–a man ████ a ██████ ██████, a ██████████ ████, and ██████████ ██████, who █████ to ███████ ████ he is an ███████████ of St. ███████ █████████. I ████ ████ █████ and ███████ ████ ██████████ ████ a █████. I ████ ████ the ████ █████ not ████ ██████ █████ ███████ ████████████ but ██████ the ███████ of a ████████ █████████ █████ to ███████ a █████ to █████████ the ██████████.

██████ I don’t ████: ███████ or not ███████ ██████ is an █████. ███████ or not █████’s ██████ is one of the ████ ████. ███████ or not █████ ████ be a █████ ██████.

█████ I ████ all of ████ out, ████ a █████.

– – –

He ████ ███████ the ████, ███████ his █████ ███████ it, ██████ ████ ████ and ██████ ███████ ████ and █████████ on. He no ██████ ██████████ how ████ he had ████ ███████.

█████ he had ███████ ████ the dog-man, █████ had ████ a █████ ████ of ████████ and ███████████ █████. ████ had ████ the ████, and for a ██████ █████ he had ██████ ████ ████. █████ was █████████ █████ the █████ ██████, so █████████ ████ the ██████ and ██████████ █████ ████ he had ████ all ██████ him, the ████ ███████ in the █████ █████. The █████ had ████ a ██████ ████…

████.

And he had ██████ in it, ████████ █████ in the ██████ of an ████████ █████ ████ █████, ██████ █████ ███████ ████ his ████ ████, ████ ██████ up to the sky and his ████ ██████. █████. ████. █████ ████ ████ ██████. He ██████████ ████ ████.

████ a ██████ and the █████ of ███████ █████████ ██████ him, and the ███████ of ██████ had ████████. The █████ ██████ him ███████. He was ██████ █████.

████ or █████ he █████ a █████ ████ ██████ to him ████ the █████ did, and █████████ in him ████████ him ████ the █████ was █████ and the █████ was ███████, and he ███████ and ████ ███████ ████ █████ and ██████ his ████ ██████ ███████ as his ████ was ███████ ████ ███████. He was ███████████ █████, █████████ and █████████ ██████ ████ ███████ a ████. ████████ █████. ██████ ████ was so █████ to ██████, ████ ████ was so █████ to ████.

████ was not ████. ████ was a ████ ██████ of it. He ███████ ████ and ██████ on, ██████ ███████ ███████, ███████ ██████ ██████████.

Why was he ████? █████ had he ████ ████? It ████ a ████ for the █████████ to ████ to him—to ████ ████████ █████████ as █████ as the ████ of his █████████—but ████ ████ ████ ████ ████ █████████, ██████████ to ██████, and ██████ by a ████████ █████████ ████ █████████ █████ ████ ███████. ████ he █████ ████ ████ ████. By ████ the █████ was ████████ and far ████ ████████, no ██████ █████████ to ████ in. █████ was ███████ his ████. He ███████ in a ████ █████ of ██████ and ██████ his ███████ █████ ███████ the █████ of his ████ and █████████.

He ████’t ████ why, █████ all ██████, he ██████ be ███████ ███████████.

Uncensor This

WIP Wednesday: More Mars novel-in-progress-and-almost-done-thank-God

I keep saying how I’m into the home stretch on this novel. The thing about home stretches: they stretch. A lot. The last book I did, the one I co-wrote? I think I was “almost done” with that thing for like three goddamn months. I don’t think that’s going to happen here, but man does this thing seem to be taking its time with ending.

But here’s another piece of it.

(if you want setup, I refer you back to this post, wherein I explain what the hell the whole thing is about) Continue reading

WIP Wednesday: The Scarred Utopian Takes a Wife

This wasn’t actually a WIP until yesterday afternoon, when the idea for it popped into my head very suddenly while I was writing something else with a friend – which at least partially inspired it. The rest of it came very quickly after, and now it’s the rare short story of mine where the actual plot is very fully formed before most of it’s been written. Now I just need to get that last part done.

The “Scarred Utopian” comes from the title of a paper that I wrote in my first year of graduate school. It wasn’t a very good paper, but the idea has stuck with me; the contradictory coexistence of the perfect and imperfect. Of course, such a thing seems illogical – does that also mean it can’t be real?

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WIP Wednesday: The Horse Latitudes

The excerpt for this edition of WIP Wednesday is the story I talked about back on Monday–the one that, at times, practically edges into prose-poetry. It’s a story that I’ve been waiting to write for a year, and it’s huge and thematically sprawling and will probably need a lot of tightening in the editing phase. But without saying too much, it’s about the exploitation of the natural world, about the ruthlessness of the past, and about a man involved in the drug trade in Colombia and the trajectory of his life. I have no idea yet if it’s any good. But I hope it is.

Here’s a bit of it:

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WIP Wednesday: SF novel, “Hadeva”

 

So this is the second of my new twice-weekly posting schedule. This is the fun WIP part. On Monday I posted a fairly whiny piece on writing novel drafts and why they suck and I hate them a lot–the reason for this being that I’m currently in the sticky, gooey middle of the first draft of a novel, and it’s sucking and I’m hating it a lot. However, I know myself well enough to know that I shouldn’t trust my own take on things at this point in the process, so I’m going to choose to believe that the novel isn’t actually as bad as all that and post a short bit of it here.

The basic premise of the thing was inspired by a friend, who said that she wished that someone would write something about early Mars back when it was losing the remnants of its atmosphere and making the transition to the cold, (apparently) dead thing that it is today. I immediately thought “hey, I could do that,” and stupidly set out to try to do so. The result has–so far–been sort of like The Martian Chronicles by way of The Road, a story of the last survivors of a colonization attempt by an alien species, an attempt that, predictably, went horribly awry. The last generation of survivors–most of them, anyway–carry no clear memory of their homeworld, or of how they lived before their colony disintegrated into infighting and starvation. What they do carry are “ghosts”, the fragmentary memories and personalities of the people they have killed and eaten in a highly complex cannibalistic ritual referred to as “communion”. My idea is that this ritual arose as a way to combat the combined losses of culture, community, resources, and meaningful ties to the past. It does interesting things to the meaning of death on this version of Mars (called “Hadeva” by its inhabitants)–anyone may be killed and eaten at any time, for any reason, and people have very little cause to trust one another, though small isolated settlements still exist. But by the same token, slaughter and consumption are deeply meaningful, even respectful, and communities share their dead together. When someone is attacked and killed, they often take comfort in the fact that their killer will commune them and carry their memory. To die uneaten is the worst possible fate.

But not everyone practices communion. And while most have forgotten the stars from which they came, there are a few who still remember–and mean to return there. When Durja, my protagonist, stumbles upon a communication in the belongings of someone she’s killed and communed, it plants the idea of escape from the dying Hadeva in her mind, and pushes her across Mars’s freezing desert toward more danger than she ever imagined, and a choice more terrible than she ever dared to contemplate.

Anyway. Blurby blurbage. Here’s a bit. Rough, bear in mind.

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