Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer
“The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3
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“The Singularity is in Your Hair”
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“Will You Meet Me There, Out Beyond the Bend?”
Nightmare Magazine 63
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Smokopolitan nr 10
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“The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
Bifrost
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“In Memory of a Summer’s Day”
Mad Hatters and March Hares
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“The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard)”
Tor.com
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“Love Engine Optimization”
Lightspeed Magazine 85
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“One Spring in Cherryville”
Available in most ebook formats
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“The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies”
XB-1
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“The Singularity is in Your Hair”
Cyber World
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
科幻世界 (Science Fiction World)
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“The Problem of Meat”
Grendelsong
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016
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“Demon in Aisle 6”
Nightmare Magazine 38
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
World Chinese SF Association
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“The Thing in the Refrigerator That Could Stop Time”
Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest
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“Marie and the Mathematicians”
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #26
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“The Writing’s on the Wall”
Farrago's Wainscot #5
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“The Sembla”
A Field Guide to Surreal Botany
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“The Girl in the Basement”
Hatter Bones
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“Saving Diego”
Interzone #221
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“The Spaces Between Things”
Electric Velocipede 17/18
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“The Girl in the Basement”
Apex Magazine, Vol 3, Issue 3
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“The Suffering Gallery”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Issue 57
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“The History Within Us”
Clarkesworld Magazine #42
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“The History Within Us”
The People of the Book
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“The Hands That Feed”
Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories
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“The Bricks of Gelecek”
Naked City
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“The Hands That Feed”
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
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“The Suffering Gallery”
The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three
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“The Great Game at the End of the World”
After
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Lightspeed Magazine and io9.com
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“The History Within Us”
Clarkesworld Year Four
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“The Last Probe”
Launch Pad
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“Pheth’s Aviary”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Issue 133
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“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”
Clarkesworld Magazine #92
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
XB-1 Issue 8/2014
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Космопорт (Kosmoport)
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“The History Within Us”
XB-1 Issue 11/2014
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“Cameron Rhyder’s Legs”
Clarkesworld Magazine #98
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“The Sounds of Old Earth”
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015
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“The Garden Beyond Her Infinite Skies”
Clarkesworld Magazine
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Short Story Sale to Grendelsong

I’m happy to announce I’ve sold a new story to Grendelsong, the magazine edited by Paul Jessup. My story is called “The Problem of Meat,” and it’s about inter-dimensional creatures who eat our emotions. Grendelsong, back in the 00s was a cool little ‘zine that Paul Jessup put together, and some of the names people take for granted in the genre today had some of their first stories published there. Paul’s taking the ‘zine online, which I think is a better format these days for reaching the greatest audience, and my story will appear in the premiere (online) issue. I’m happy to take part!

 


We Really Don’t Need Blade Runner 2
Do we really need more dystopia?

Do we really need more dystopia?

As someone who’s seen Blade Runner over a 100 times, who has given talks on the film, and has given private screenings for friends in which I (a) add trivia and commentary and (b) occasionally recite lines from memory at their request, I’m disappointed I didn’t get asked to participate in this speculative plotting for Blade Runner 2. So here goes my take:

Don’t make the film.

Yes, that’s right. I said it. While I love visiting the Blade Runner universe, and it’s my favorite film of all time, the film itself is a product of 80s cyberpunk verve and retro noir pessimism with a little apocalypse thrown in for fun. In Blade Runner they don’t have flat screen TVs and it’s four years in our future. The world in Blade Runner is a polluted, corrupt, disintegrating mess, and all the wealthy have jumped ship for (supposedly) happier pastures off world. Likely, they’re just destroying another planet.

And all this is disgusting. I don’t mean the film itself, but the world humanity has brought about. A lot of science fiction serves as a warning: “Look, if you’re not careful, this may come about.” For decades the Blade Runner Hades landscape (the opening scene of smog-choked, smoldering Los Angeles) and the neon-lit, rainy, overcrowded streets, have been the default vision of the future. The landscape was specifically named after the Greek version of hell. It’s only now, after some 35 years, (with a few bright exceptions) that visions of the future have turned at last away from the dystopian darkness envisioned in films like Blade Runner into optimistic visions of the future. Do we really need to head back into darkness again?

Blade Runner 2 shouldn’t be made because (a) the film doesn’t need to be improved upon or expanded because it’s a complete and perfect object and (b) what the world needs now is not more dystopian, bleak visions of the future, but positive, bright, optimistic ones. Instead of destroying people’s spirit by positing a bleak future for humankind, let’s lift people up, inspire, and encourage them to greater things.

It’s a movie that doesn’t need to and probably shouldn’t be made.

 

 


Does Star Trek Need a Villain in Every New Film Now?
But it has cool special effects!

But it has cool special effects!

I read this article this morning and it made me both sad and disappointed:

Idris Elba In Early Talks for ‘Star Trek 3’ Villain

So Star Trek needs Khan-like villains now in every new film? Once, I remember Star Trek was about exploration, discovery, big ideas and the betterment of humanity, about the movement away from a world of scarcity and divisiveness into a world where each person is free to seek out her bliss in whichever way they see fit. Now it’s all about space battles and evil nemeses. This is why I have enjoyed films like Interstellar and books like Kim Stanley Robinson’s amazing 2312, which both explore what humanity might become without need for an arch-nemesis or evil mastermind. Can you imagine? No? Sorry, but that’s your fault. Except it’s not your fault, not really. It’s what you’ve been conditioned to think through years of pessimistic visions.

Some say science fiction is never about the future and always about the present. And in this case of Star Trek they are right. Under Roddenberry’s command, the Star Trek enterprise (see what I did there) was always about envisioning a positive humanity for us. With his passing, the show reverted to a Star Wars like laser-gunslinging adventure. Now every new film is about some evil mastermind, a la James Bond or Holmes’s Moriarty. It’s never about how humanity, in the centuries from now, overcomes our worst tendencies of violence and barbarity and explores the unknown. Starfleet is depicted less like an advanced university now and more like a military academy. Roddenberry was always aware of the fine line between the command structure of the ship he envisioned and one of a military vessel. But the Enterprise was primarily a vessel of exploration, not offense.

That has been dropped in favor of new villains. We are no longer exploring what’s out there, venturing into the deep unknown. Hollywood, because most of the producers have the imagination of a paper bag, can’t see beyond the next space battle. And so we are left stuck in the Us vs. Them mentality. Nothing against Idris Elba. He’s a fine actor. But I have to say that Star Trek is beginning to bore me.

Dear Hollywood, can you envision a positive future for humankind? I dare you.


Positive Future vs. the Singularity
Simple solutions, not cosmic ones.

Simple, real solutions, not cosmic ones.

Believing technology may be the solution to many of humankind’s problems is not the same thing as wanting the trans-human Singularity, that modern cultist, nerdist philosophy that believes in 30 years or less technology will progress so quickly that the future will be as unrecognizable to us as an iPhone is to a goldfish. Believing in the revolutionary power of technology is not an either or proposition, i.e. you believe in the Singularity or you’re a Luddite. I’ve seen it suggested that conspicuous consumption and early adoption really only serve to “fill a crushing vacuousness” in our lives. Maybe in that small case. But the vacuousness is only there if you don’t have a clearly defined long-term goal, if your path from dawn to dusk involves going through the motions, without considering the future beyond the next iteration of Star Wars or version 10 point whatever of your favorite video game.

In other words, an empty life is a choice you make, sometimes without knowing you are making a choice.

Technology can be used for good things, if we make that conscious choice. Solar power, electric cars, satellite internet access to under-served areas of the globe so that people can have greater access to educational materials, which in turn will reduce poverty, ignorance, and subsequently war. Supporting technological innovation doesn’t mean buying the latest gadget and throwing it away as soon as the next version comes out. It means understanding that technology has given us a great many good things: clean water, electricity, information, medicine, transportation, insights into the human condition, etc., etc. And technology will continue to improve the lives of many by many orders of magnitude over the next several decades. We can help both the Earth heal and a great many suffering people live better lives with technology without subscribing to a semi-spiritualist, quasi-messianic view of some post-human Singular age.