Resilience is an essential in These Times. We are all feeling the weariness of 2020 creeping into 2021. My SF story in Very Much Alive, “Plain Sight”, deals with trauma–not getting “over it”, but getting through it. (CW: domestic abuse).
The pre-pandemic stories you will find in this book do not contain utopias or cast a light back on a better or happier time. They don’t tell stories of a world where nothing bad happens. As you’ll read, it is the small acts of resiliency that give humans the courage to face their fears, and ultimately, to change.
In these pages you will find artwork, poetry and stories by Canadian artists and our editors. We are part of this journey together, and we are still here – and very much alive.
Resiliency will get us through this current world situation. That, and the little bits of hope that are there if you look for them.
Find my story and many others in the Very Much Alive anthology at The Selkie Shop.
2020 wasn’t a good year for most of us. When I saw the submission call for Shannon Page’s Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day anthology and its focus on hope, I knew I wanted to contribute to this antidotal book. “The Boggart of Campsite C47” examines how one good apple in a barrelful of rotten ones can make a difference.
This is a wonderful, diverse, and extensive collection of short stories (and a few miscellany) based on the theme of Hope. Which is understandable, and in some ways mandated by the past year of Covid, racial injustice and tension, political divisiveness, conspiracy craziness, and simple mean-spiritedness that has permeated almost all levels of culture. Of course, there is another way to view the past year, and that is the unfettered creativity and triumph of the human spirit that emerged in front-line workers, parents, teachers, and a whole host of others. And this is where the Black-Eyed Peas Anthology is situated. On the positive side of the line. It is, quite simply, an antidote. – Paul S. Piper, author of Dogs and Other Poems and The Wolves of Mirr
Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day is a multi-genre anthology. Fantasy, science fiction, literary, even nonfiction – all bursting with optimism.
This new story is a science fiction mystery, a subgenre that has a growing fan base. A newly retired ex-mayor of the largest colony on Vesta is en route to a smaller city on the asteroid when the shuttle is hijacked by a protectionist radical. Vesta’s unique properties allow the criminal to make a seemingly-impossible escape. Talia must act quickly to save lives and solve the mystery, so she can start the next phase of her life.
Find “Vesta for Beginners” in the February 2021 issue of Utopia SF and start unravelling the mystery!
Travelling through time never seems to go smoothly, does it? I guess that’s why I like writing about it.
“Reaching Up, Reaching Back” first appeared in the inaugural issue of Constellary Tales. It’s now been reprinted by Smoking Pen Press in The Trouble with Time Travel. It’s a flash piece about a relationship that’s not between parent/child, siblings, lovers, enemies, or friends–an experiment on my part.
The characters in these twenty short stories in this Read on the Run anthology are all having trouble with time travel. Some have trouble with the equipment, some have trouble with what they find, others have to deal with unexpected consequences. Some travelers intentionally reach out to their past or future selves, others work to avoid this.Some travelers focus on the future, others focus on the past, a few look in both directions.Travelers travel by time machine, cell phone, time cap, elevator, compass, or without the need for a device at all.
Back in May, a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on George Floyd’s neck and defunding the police in the US has been a common topic of discussion ever since. Reallocating police department funding to other forms of public safety and community support only makes sense. A better life can clearly be had by everyone if the cycles of poverty, homelessness, and mental health issues are broken by improving housing, employment, healthcare, education, and etc., and etc..
But what would that sort of society look like?
James Beamon conceived of editing a speculative fiction anthology of just such stories. Amazing Selects (a division of Experimenter Publishing which publishes the 94-year-old Amazing Stories magazine) was only too happy to publish it. The result is No Police=Know Future. As James says: These eleven stories provide a small window in which to glimpse a future we can achieve, a future without a tyrannical police force, one with a system of justice of which we can all be proud.
As we head toward the winter solstice, here in the northern hemisphere, I can’t help but think about the sunshine that will follow as the days start to lengthen again.
Solarpunk appeals to me precisely because of that forward-looking aspect. My latest solarpunk story appears in And Lately, the Sun.
“Stubborn as Dirt”, involves a school science project gone wrong. Rewilding a former marsh isn’t any easier than it sounds!
And Lately, the Sun, a 20-tale anthology, probes at “how we could build a working world using the resources available to us – the natural, the social, the political, and the technological”. It’s published by [Calyx Create Group], an international team of writers, science fiction enthusiasts, media types, and people who don’t want to see humanity crash and burn. The group is registered in Australia as a non-profit association for the purpose of supporting, generating, and disseminating creative works on themes of science, technology and the future.
Details on ordering yourself a copy, and also audio excerpts (including one by me!), are here: https://latelythesun.com/. Do check it out.
In my slight haitus away from this blog, I also had the following stories published: – “Passengers All”, an extrapolation of a ferry safety announcement, appeared in Honeyguide Literary Magazine last month. – “Reaching Up, Reaching Back” was reprinted in The Trouble with Time Travel, twenty tales of paradoxes and partial solutions, and offers a unique reason for making temporal trickery. – “Flight Check” — what if we did have flying cars? — was reprinted in MYTHIC magazine and can be found here.
Since seasonal gift-giving is upon us, do consider buying books for your family and friends — they don’t take up much space, can be easily personalized, and are great for re-gifting! (Online reviews of anything you read are always welcome, too!)
In other news, this is my 100th blog post. Since starting in 2013, I’m still pretty chuffed with this writing thing!
As we make it through one of the worst years in recent history, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of my stories that involve futuristic disasters and post-apocalyptic scenarios.
One of the first stories I ever wrote concerns a “perfect storm” of disasters — earthquakes plus nuclear warfare plus tsunamis plus the slow-pocalypse of climate change plus a very Covid19-like pandemic — “Hurry Up and Wait” originally in Perihelion Science Fiction in 2013 has been reprinted several times, most recently in Into the Ruins.
Another story, in Lightspeed’s Women Destroy SF anthology, doesn’t identify the type of disaster that occurs but it’s clearly human-caused. “Standard Deviant” was most recently reprinted in Frozen Wavelets.
Climate change is the obvious catastrophe awaiting us all. I’ve written many stories, both cautionary tales and hopeful ones, which you can find in this link. “Wicked Problem” is the latest of these and was recently released in Utopia SF magazine.
When aliens come into the arena, they may become our evil overlords as per “Connecting through the Cosmos” (originally in SF Comet in English and Chinese, and reprinted in The Insignia Series’ Asian Science Fiction anthology Vol 5 among other places). Of course, aliens don’t need to be the instigators of a dystopic future — humans do that well enough on their own. “Across the Hard-Packed Sand” and “Look, Don’t Touch” (in the Aurora-winning Second Contacts anthology) examine current-day issues like racism and homelessness with the assumption that they perpetuate even when aliens have been among us for some time.
I dissect a failed grassroots protest in “Technicality”, and how evil overlords can take electronic form in “Hat and Stick”.
Apocalypses can occur on exoplanets as well. “Bound, Determined”, in the Brave New Girls #4 anthology involves terraforming-gone-wrong and how that might lead to a two-class system.
These dystopic stories are a departure for me. Generally, I try to write upbeat stories and inject at least a tidbit of hope into each one. These days, yes, that’s been harder, but I strongly believe human nature is transformable, and our species can, as generations go forward, become our best selves.
This story was a long time coming. Back in 2012, I knew I wanted to write a story about wingsuits and BASE jumping on a low gravity planet. And there the idea sat until 2016 when I realized I could combine it with another idea I’d had for a murder mystery on an exoplanet. I also wanted to include the element of climate change (which underpins a lot of my stories), and to specifically examine the psychological toll taken by living with a constant feeling of unease (little did I know that Covid-19 was just around the corner and would add to our collective angst).
Vernacular’s The Way of the Laser anthology focuses on how futuristic disruptive technology will create new opportunities for crime. On distant worlds, the line between what is legal and ethical blurs.
…whether you’re looking for hard sci-fi or something more wildly speculative, you’ll find something to enjoy in this collection. The settings range from Earth in the not-too-distant future to alien planets that present their own problems for human settlers, and the crimes themselves vary from your standard murder and theft to deciding whether to take care of an unauthorized baby. Even the morality of each story varies. Some have the feel of a cop drama, while others question whether the law at the heart of the story is good, and whether the criminal is even entirely bad. I’m very glad I picked this book up to review, and I know any science fictions fans will be glad they picked it up to read.
One of my favorite editors, E.D.E. Bell of Atthis Arts, came up with the idea for an anthology about magic pens. What a great idea, eh!
This eclectic, multi-genre collection of original stories about the power of communication, the magic of writing instruments, and the strength of community, curated to inspire wonder, hope, and joy.
I knew immediately I had to contribute a story if at all possible. The result was “Writ Large”, a surprisingly timely tale of the creation of a “new normal” and a possible way to vastly improve the world.