“The Guilt Child” is up in the current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
This is one of those stories that’s been coming to me the same way lately: I’ll start spinning out some worldbuilding idea — in this case, the industrial magic I’d used in the background of “A Serpent in the Gears” — and once I start to get a clearer sense of it, a story will appear and derail any serious worldbuilding. In this case, it was the idea of magically-infused automata that sparked it, the question of sentience, the inconvenience this would pose to, say, a factory owner whose machinery became self-aware . . . and suddenly there was Stamper, and Carla, and hot tea.
I’m still finding the edges of this world, but I’m finding it fascinating that each story that springs from it is a different kind of story — pulp espionage adventure, mystery and romance, coming-of-age, and now a fairy tale of sorts. Complete with ogre. Hope you like it!
It was here, where the gold light gave way to the sparky blue of condensing thaumic ore, where the spring chill evaporated off the boilers, that her cousin stopped. “Stamper!” he called, pitching his voice above the din. “Stamper!”
The pounding paused, one press after the other, some of them halting in mid-blow. A mass of cables shifted, its fittings turning and locking into place. “Jamie,” said a low, titanic voice, the kind that the pantomimes gave the Stone King.
Still working on Dirty Water, still spinning out Breath of the World, still trying to come up with a title for the short story that blindsided me on Friday. In the meantime, though, PUPPIES!
(Yes, this is very much procrastinating. I don’t care.)
There’s a fascinating discussion about “A Serpent in the Gears” over at Torque Control, and while I’m a little nervous about having my story under such scrutiny (especially because it follows two very serious and thoughtful stories, both of which outclass mine by far), I’m honored that they chose it. The different perspectives on it make for interesting reading, as well as food for thought as I continue work on Breath of the World.
If you’re interested, go take a look. And hey, “The Guilt Child” is coming out on the 23rd, so if this venture into steampunk didn’t turn you off completely, you may want to take a look when it’s up.
A few notes on upcoming appearances, stories, and work:
– This coming Saturday, I’ll be part of a group reading at Pandemonium Books and Games in Central Square to celebrate Strange Horizons‘ tenth anniversary. Ten SH authors will be reading from their works, followed by questions, talk, and general “wooo great magazine!”-ness. The fun starts at 2:00 PM — if you’re in the area and would like to hear some awesome science fiction and fantasy, come join us! If you can’t make it, but would still like to join in the celebration in spirit, consider donating to Strange Horizons‘ annual fund drive. You might even win one of their fantastic donor prizes!
– I’m going to be at New York Comic-Con again, this time on a panel discussing shapeshifters. (The big question I want answered: how many authors on the panel are dog people, and how many are cat people? Three guesses which I am.) I’ll post more once I’m sure of my schedule — maybe this time I’ll sneak out and play tourist for a while!
– If you liked “A Serpent in the Gears” and wanted to read more set in that world, I’ve got a new short story coming out in a couple of weeks in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. “The Guilt Child” focuses on an entirely different set of characters, but it’s the same world, and I love these characters just as much. (Funny, how so much of my writing derives from a desire to introduce people to these amazing characters. Evie, Charles, the Professora . . . and now Carla and Stamper.)
– In no particular order, I still need to:
- get my preparations started for Viable Paradise (I’m staff again this year)
- update my bibliography (which still lists Wild Hunt as forthcoming — yikes!)
- update the whole site so it’s better suited to my needs
- get back to blogging on a semi-regular basis
- attempt to clean before the dust mites grow to the size of my head
- write ALL the things
Whether I’ll actually manage any of this is another matter, since between the obligations listed above, hammering out a first draft of Dirty Water, assembling the first draft of Breath of the World (keep in mind all titles listed are so very very changeable), chasing down the short stories that keep popping up whenever I try to work out more worldbuilding details, I don’t have much brain left. And most of that is in a permanent state of “awww” due to my new nephew, my response to whom pretty much matches this.
It’s gonna be one hell of a month. Totally worth it, though.