You never know who you’ll meet in the mountains…

A very long time ago, in a previous life, I worked for the provincial Forest Service. One day, my colleague and I had driven to a remote logged-over area after the tree planters had left, in order to do some inspections. Due to his error, we were stranded there until we came up with an old-school solution.

My latest story, “Uphill All the Way”, is loosely based on that incident plus, naturally, a certain fantastical addition. It appears in Schreyer Ink’s Canadian Creatures, an anthology of eight “monster” themed stories, each with a uniquely northern twist. Order in Canada here and the US here.


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Brace for Impact

Let me tell you about a bear, a famous grizzly bear around Banff known as Bear 148. She was in and out of various news stories for quite a while, after several close encounters with humans. As this article says: When grizzlies mix too freely with people, the grizzlies usually lose.

According to Bill Hunt, a Parks Canada resource conservation manager, Bear 148 “…showed a very moderated response…tolerating less than ideal human behaviours time and time again.”

Despite this, she didn’t last long. Bear 148 was shot and killed by a hunter in 2017 when she wandered outside park boundaries. She was one of the last few bears legally killed before British Columbia ended grizzly trophy hunting last November.

As we hurtle toward the tech-driven future, and brace against a dozen major and minor impacts everyday, we need to figure out how to be better stewards of this little blue planet.

I was thrilled to learn that my story about a bear caught in a rapidly changing world has won Communitech‘s story contest that forms part of the True North conference happening this week in Waterloo, Ontario. This international conference is focused on issues at the intersection of society and technology, as a force for good in the world. It’s inspiring to be a small part of this very worthwhile endeavor.

“Bear #178” is dedicated to Bear 148, may she rest in peace.

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Kids will be kids…

And sometimes they’re just mean, am I right? Actually, not. Bullying and other forms of aggression are a learned behaviour.

Inklings Publishing produces the Perceptions Series of anthologies for children, focused on helping educators and parents discuss tough topics with children. I’m pleased to have a futuristic story in the upcoming second volume tackling the difficult subject of Bullies. “Slippery Slope” is a reprint of one of my earliest stories and is based very loosely on a childhood bullying experience. It’s got some strong imagery and an equally strong message. You can pre-order now here

Let’s work together to change attitudes toward violence, even the “little stuff” on playgrounds.

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Solarpunk, you say?

As described by the anthologist, Sarena Ulibarri:

Solarpunk is a type of optimistic science fiction that imagines a future founded on renewable energies. The seventeen stories in this volume are not boring utopias—they grapple with real issues such as the future and ethics of our food sources, the connection or disconnection between technology and nature, and the interpersonal conflicts that arise no matter how peaceful the world is. In these pages you’ll find a guerilla art installation in Milan, a murder mystery set in a weather manipulation facility, and a world where you are judged by the glow of your solar nanite implants. From an opal mine in Australia to the seed vault at Svalbard, from a wheat farm in Kansas to a crocodile ranch in Malaysia, these are stories of adaptation, ingenuity, and optimism for the future of our world and others. For readers who are tired of dystopias and apocalypses, these visions of a brighter future will be a breath of fresh air.

My story, “The Call of the Wold,” is, according to Tangent Online, “told in a lightly humorous style with a great deal of wordplay…an enjoyable story with an appealing main character.” I had fun with it and I hope you do too.

It’ll be out in June. Pre-order now for big savings:
iTunes/Apple iBooks
World Weaver Press (paperback only)

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What’s your lot in life?

For two colonists, their farm lot is rife with challenges.

“Home on the Range”, in the Jan/Feb 2018 Analog, is a fast-paced adventure that starts when Helma and Jady’s livestock suddenly disappear.

Who or what took them “adds a good bit of tension” according to Rocket Stack Rank and how the exoplanet’s ecosystem functions is a “nice invention of the native fauna” according to SF Revu.

Pick up an issue today! It’s a lot of fun!

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Where can I find Middle Grade science fiction with diverse characters?

I hear this question a lot lately. One answer is the 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, now available from Dreaming Robot Press via various sources and formats.

I’ve wanted to have a story in this anthology ever since I read the 2016 and 2017 issues. Attuned for ages 8 to 12 (Grade levels 2 through 6), it offers inclusive, imaginative science fiction of all kinds. And new Nancy Kress stories are always a treat, regardless of intended age level.

My story concerns an adventurous little girl who sneaks out of her habitat home on planet Skag3, defying her mother’s orders. Will she learn that her actions have consequences? It’s one of twenty-four stories in this year’s wonderfully thick anthology.

As the Kirkus starred review says, “…this stellar collection will appeal to both teens and grown-ups who dream of future worlds”.

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Optimism is the New Black

There’s enough dystopic fiction out there. I try to make my stories hopeful and uplifting when I can.

It’s not always easy.

When I set out to research a story about water for this anthology, I learned that people had been very inventive in their attempts to save glaciers from melting, trying everything from operating snow-making machines over them to covering them with white paint to reflect the sun. In “The Knells of Agassiz”, my character does something rather…different.

In Reality Skimming’s Water anthology, six authors provide optimistic stories about what Earth will be like in terms of water in the near future.

Step into the light and muse with us about the world of water. Available here.

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