2016 is drawing to a close, and in terms of my writing, it’s been an incomprehensibly good year. I’ve had the immense good fortune to sell and publish five short stories. I hope you’ll read some of them, and enjoy them; and if you consider anything I’ve done worthy of some kind of award nomination, I would be thrilled and flattered beyond belief.
I list my stories below in approximate order of pride, so if your time is limited, I strongly recommend #1. Insofar as I’m pushing one story as award-worthy, it’s “The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.“
Only a terrible parent would show such favoritism. But thankfully, we can show love for the whole family! I speak with the utmost of blustery impostor syndrome pride when I point out that this will be my first year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and if you enjoy my body of work, I hope you’ll consider me.
Thank you for reading!
- The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R. (Strange Horizons, June 2016; modern fantasy, 3400 words). A ghost story, with a classic recurrent haunting, but told from the ghost’s perspective. Also the ghost used to be a scientist. About how relationships survive or change across gulfs of habit, time, space, and death. Publication notes here, audio version here.
- Meltwater (Strange Horizons, March 2016; science fiction, 2200 words). Love among the posthuman. The less I spoil about it, the better. Publication notes here, audio version here.
- The Time Cookie Wars (Flash Fiction Online, August 2016; science fiction, 970 words). Time travel black comedy! About all those times you blame your past self for your mistakes, and also about delicious baked goods. Publication notes here.
- Sweeter than Lead (PodCastle, July 2016; dark fantasy, 2700 words). Neo-Lovecraftian: cosmic dread in the face of a hostile universe, without the underpinnings of racism and xenophobia. About addiction, succession, and malevolent prophecies. Publication notes here, audio version here.
- Shiplight (Metaphorosis, September 2016; science fiction, 6100 words). Politics and popular uprisings on mankind’s first extrasolar colony. About the causes, costs, and inevitability of generational divides. Publication notes here.
Let me keep the coals hot here with a quick monthly update…
- More travel. Oh god the travel. But it was fun! I ate 5 thanksgiving dinners! And now I’m back.
- Novel revisions coming along, a little behind schedule, currently hope to be done by the year’s end.
- May be shifting up my convention plans for 2017. Jumping toward the Nebulas, which may mean skipping Capricon. Still aiming for Worldcon but don’t know enough about my summer schedule.
- I wrote and submitted a nonfiction article to a major market! They accepted the concept pitch, but we’ll see about the article itself. “The Evolved Brain” is based on the second half of the talk I gave to the Viable Paradise Reunion in October.
Help support an awesome new SFF magazine thrive and grow! In its first year, Metaphorosis has published a host of beautifully-written stories by awesome folks such as Karl Dandenell, Kelly Sandoval, Mari Ness,and over 40 others (myself included). Every story goes out onto the internet for free, but Kickstarter funds will let them do fun things like add podcast narration and pay higher rates for their authors.
And if you donate at the $75 level, you might get a story critique from me!
Brief post this month, because I’m in the middle of a 2-week academic conference travel loop.
- Attended the Viable Paradise 20th reunion, and gave a neuroscience talk on how to understand the brain. For the countless among you who missed it, fear not: I’m working on adapting my talk into a nonfiction article for various publications!
- Finished up a new short story, “The Hammer’s Prayer.” It’s in the second-draft stage, will need some more thought & revision before it’ll be ready for launch.
- Sold my first reprint, of a short story that didn’t get spread far on its first sale!
- Continuing apace with second-draft revisions of the novel. May not hit my December 1 self-imposed deadline, but I won’t be too far behind it.
- Thus, instead of doing NaNoWriMo, I’m doing NaNoFiReMo. (That’s “Finish Revising.” Or “fire,” as needed.) But no promises since I have multiple end-of-November deadlines.
- Current short story status: 11 submissions circulating, 3 of them shortlisted.
I’m pleased to announce that my first published short story, “The Wind and the Spark,” will appear as a reprint in Digital Science Fiction! This is one of my older stories, but I’m thrilled to re-release it: it’s currently only available in a paid issue of a magazine that went defunct before it published me, so not a lot of people have read it. Stay tuned for a publication date.
September was busy! September continues to be busy! (What do you mean it’s not September anymore?) Monthly update all quicky-like:
- My short story Shiplight came out at Metaphorosis!
- The text version of Sweeter than Lead (previously audio-only) went up on Podcastle!
- First draft of new short story! So far, pretty terrible!
- Novel revision status: behind schedule, but progressing! I’ve solved all the big structural problems, now I just need to implement it all.
- I attended a Social & Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology conference. Super-amazing!
- Spent today at Archon! Had my first public reading, and I was on a bunch of fun panels. Got to play the expert for a little while, and meet a bunch of excellent people.
October will include 3 weeks of travel (2 for work, 1 to visit family). Hopefully I can get a lot of revisions done meanwhile!
I spent last weekend at the Social & Cultural Issues in Astrobiology 2016 conference at Clemson University, South Carolina. A small academic conference (~30 people) discussing nonscientific issues surrounding astrobiology and space exploration, and an absolutely amazing chance to spend two days thinking through the future among some of the world’s foremost thinkers and researchers on the topic.
If you poke around the website, you can find abstracts on all 26 talks: two one-hour keynotes and 24 half-hour talks on everything from ethics to gene theory. Starting on the 3rd talk, I livetweeted my notes and comments. For an overview of some of the top concerns and opinions around space travel, take a look through the Storifies below!
Session 1: Philosophy of Science
Session 2: Philosophy of Biology
Session 3: Connections and Patterns
Session 4: The Importance of Perspective
Day 2 Keynote
Session 5: Education & Outreach
Session 6: Concepts of Life
Session 7: Applied Ethics
Session 8: Ethical Theory
I’m excited to announce my schedule at Archon, the St. Louis area’s fan-run SFF convention! This year, Archon 40 will be September 30 – October 2, 2016.
All of my panels are on Saturday, October 1. I don’t expect to be there on Friday, but I may on Sunday.
Author Readings with Benjamin C. Kinney and Lloyd Kropp
10am, Cahokian (GC).
Changing Landscape: Science Fiction Then and Now
12pm, Illini A (GC). Science fiction has rapidly evolved in the last 60 years. Discuss current science fiction and if the changes have been for the better.
Van Allen Plexio (M), Rich Horton, Lettie Prell, Benjamin C. Kinney, Sara M. Harvey.
Writing and Selling Short Stories
3pm, Marquette B (GC). Short stories behave differently than full-length novels in many ways. Come get tips for writing, editing, and selling your best short stories.
Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Ellen Datlow, Joey Froehlich, Joy Ward, Lettie Prell.
Writing Sexuality and Gender in Science Fiction
6pm, Marquette B (GC). A conversation on the whens, whys, and hows of addressing sexuality and gender in your writing.
Cole Gibsen (M), Tex Thompson, Betsy Phillips, Sara M. Harvey, Benjamin C. Kinney.
My latest publication, Shiplight, is up today at the fine Metaphorosis Magazine! Alongside some absolutely gorgeous cover art by Vincent Coviello.
This was originally one of the first stories I ever wrote; the first words hit the page in June 2012, but it’s been vastly revised over the years. It’s a science fiction story set on humankind’s first extrasolar colony world, about fear and politics and the inevitability of generational divides.
I have some story notes below the cut, but they may contain spoilers, so read the story first!
Been waiting for my audio-only story in PodCastle to come out in an eyeball-compatible version? Your prayers are answered, all my non-podcast-listening friends! Follow this link for the text version of Sweeter than Lead, my dark fantasy about prophecy and addiction.