Short Stories

free fiction for friday!

If you haven’t yet snagged a copy of the critically-acclaimed Sybil’s Garage No. 7, for a limited time you can download a free PDF of the issue courtesy of Senses Five Press. It will be available online until February 15th, 2011, when the nomination period for the Nebula Awards closes. This is a beautiful magazine packed with excellent fiction, articles, and poetry–but don’t settle for my (moderately biased) opinion, when you can read it for yourself.

Selfishly, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to look at my science fiction short “My Father’s Eyes.” I’m very proud of this story–one of my best pieces to date. It has received some notice in reviews, and I would of course be thrilled if anyone enjoyed it well enough to nominate it for a Nebula or a Hugo Award. One can dream, right? But if my story doesn’t do it for you, I believe that you’ll find at least one in the issue that you will love, and none of them would be out of place on an award ballot.

Thanks to Matt Kressel for making this electronic edition freely available to everyone. This is the best issue of Sybil’s Garage yet, and I’m pleased that many more people will be able to sample it now.

And here’s a brief excerpt from “My Father’s Eyes”:

My hands tremble as I swirl developer solution over the photographic paper. I’ve never been more anxious to see one of my pictures before. My classmates would say this is another drawback to traditional photography over digital: delayed gratification. I’ll never make that technological leap; I still shoot in black and white. My father never dabbled with digital photography either, and it’s because of him that I decided to become a photojournalist in the first place.

A cloudy scene emerges on the paper floating in the tray. Shapes and shadows magically replace the blank white surface, gradually forming trees and rocks. I’ve had this image burned into my mind ever since I glimpsed it through my lens and my finger instinctively clicked the shutter. It’s a bad photo, the subject slightly unfocused and too far away, though I’ve blown it up as much as I can. It won’t help my thesis project or launch a career, but it’s the single most important picture of my life.

As I squint at it in the dim red glow of the safelight, a crouching figure fades into the scene like a ghost. His face is blurred, captured in motion just as he’d turned and darted away. Despite the blurring, and the fact that I haven’t seen him in fifteen years except in other pictures, I know he’s my father. I knew it even before I unloaded the film from my camera.

Read the rest in Sybil’s Garage No. 7!

another review of “My Father’s Eyes”

Sybil's Garage #7Seamus Sweeney reviewed Sybil’s Garage No. 7 for SF Site, with some complimentary remarks on my story, “My Father’s Eyes”:

This was one of the most moving, and in an unforced way original, stories in the collection–my joint favourite with M.K. Hobson’s “Kid Despair in Love.”

Overall he seems to like the rest of the issue quite a bit:

Sybil’s Garage achieves a satisfyingly universal appeal, and an extremely high degree of literary quality… it is pretty wonderful stuff—beautifully produced, and never dull. The stories are a mix of slipstream, near-future, horror, comedy horror, mythic and pseudo-mythic—eschewing anything as vulgar or misleading as a neat straightjacket of genre.

You can check out the full review here and pick up a copy of Sybil’s Garage No. 7 at Senses Five Press.

the year we made contact

I wasn’t going to do a 2010 review of my accomplishments because it’s a lot of work to recap everything and I’d rather spend my limited free time building toward an even better year. (If I had a New Year’s Resolution, it would be to blog more frequently.) But a lot of people are doing it, so I figured I can at least post some highlights you may have missed, in brief. In no particular order, the things I am happiest and proudest of:

  • I proposed to my wonderful girlfriend of six years in a fairly geeky way, and she said yes! (No surprise that the impending wedding will preoccupy us for much of the first half of 2011.)
  • One of my favorite and best short stories, “My Father’s Eyes,” was published in Sybil’s Garage No. 7. Even better, this story has been getting favorable comments both online and offline. If you have the opportunity to read it, I’d appreciate it if you considered nominating it for the Nebula or Hugo Awards. I read part of it on Jim Freund’s original Hour of the Wolf radio show on WBAI 99.5 FM with editors and writers from Sybil’s Garage, and it may be dramatized in part in a short promo film for the magazine.
  • I sold my short story “All the Lonely People” to Shimmer, a magazine I have wanted to be published in since I saw the first issue. It should appear in the next issue, lucky number 13. I read “All the Lonely People” at a New York Review of Science Fiction Reading featuring other members of my writing group, Altered Fluid: Mercurio D. Rivera ( who co-hosted with Jim Freund), N.K. Jemisin, and Devin Poore. I look forward to more people getting to see this one.
  • My writing group also participated in a round-table interview at Clarkesworld Magazine.
  • I finished the first draft of a contemporary YA novel, tentatively titled Untwinned (formerly known as Birthright), which I hope to revise sometime this year, after I finish the current revision of Who We Used to Be.
  • I read 55+ published books, mostly YA, which is far less than I would like. I read and critiqued 6 or 7 unpublished and soon-to-be-published novels too, but I suppose those don’t count, though they certainly had an impact on the time available for other reading.
  • I helped Ellen Datlow read for the next Year’s Best Horror for Night Shade Books, right up to the wire. Unfortunately I won’t be able to continue reading for future volumes, but I enjoyed working with her a lot over the last few years and I think my writing improved from exposure to such a wide range of short fiction.
  • Torie Atkinson and I moved our celebrated Star Trek Re-Watch from Tor.com to our own dedicated website, The Viewscreen. This endeavor represents a significant amount of time and effort from both of us, but I enjoy the challenge of maintaining a weekly blog and we’ve built a fantastic community there. I also think our reviews are consistently thoughtful and well written, though I will be honest and admit that I can’t wait for the third season to be over. I know I frequently post about my reviews here, which may not interest everyone, but we’re rather proud of the site and it deserves as much attention as we can attract. We have big plans for it in 2011 too. Some recent reviews: “Wink of An Eye,” “The Empath” (this episode to be avoided at all cost!), and “Elaan of Troyius.”

I may have missed some things, but I’m officially done with 2010 and ready to move on to bigger and better things. Happy New Year!

ETA: I did forget two important things!

  1. I fully completed New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  2. I began editing book trailers for a few different clients, but my best is the one I made for Alaya Dawn Johnson’s book Moonshine. Check it out–it’s only 30 seconds long!

spreading some holiday cheer

Stephanie Burgis and Patrick Samphire have come up with something really special for anyone who likes fiction, especially cheerful and uplifting stories: The December Lights Project, an online collection of free short stories “to light up the winter season.” They’re publishing two or three a week through the end of this month, and are already sharing work by many fantastic authors, including Sarah Prineas, Karen HealeyMaurissa Guibord, Sherwood Smith, and of course Steph and Patrick themselves. Check out what they have up so far and keep coming back for a regular fix of warmth and joy, and a reminder of what holidays should really be about.

But wait! There’s more good news for fiction lovers: Senses Five Press has a 50% discount on everything in their store this month, which includes every issue of Sybil’s Garage and the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Paper Cities, which are available in paper and/or various digital editions. Just use coupon code HOLIDAZE2010 when checking out. Might I suggest you pick up a copy of Sybil’s Garage No. 7?

(Image courtesy of Comics N Things)

last day to enter the eReader drawing!

Today is the last day to buy tickets for the eReader drawing that benefits the Carl Brandon Society and the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship. Please buy some tickets here to support a good cause and win one or more eReaders loaded with tons of free fiction from writers of color, including my science fiction short story “My Father’s Eyes”. Tickets are available until midnight and winners will be selected tomorrow.