Conversation in Strange Horizons

Bogi Takács and I have a non-fiction piece in Strange Horizons. It’s called Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation. We talk about various stuff, from things we think are handled badly to recommendations. This also marks my first non-fiction sale.

While we were talking, I did have a tangent that I didn’t include. It’s something I think would interest my fiction readers more than people who don’t know who I am. Namely about the issue of times when it’s hard to show in a short story that humans do something too / it’s not an alien-only thing. I had a story where it was an issue: “The Dragonfly People” in Rainbow Lights. The viewpoint character is a giant scorpion-like alien, who comes from a strict trinary gender system. She assumes, based on what she sees, that humans have a strict binary gender system. Without concepts like being trans existing in her own culture, or a fluent shared language to discuss the issues, she remains thinking her initial assumption is correct.

It was something I considered at the time I wrote it, though I felt overall it’d be clear it wasn’t my view from my body of work, and there was a sequel in progress about the alien/human relations in the next generation that tackled those issues.

But the thing that struck me, and where this tangent is going, is those sorts of stories are rarely the ones where people are saying they couldn’t see how to mention it. They tend to be stories with human viewpoint characters, very human-like aliens, and/or characters who speak each other’s languages fluently. Which is why I often feel like replying to those statements with, “Is your viewpoint character a giant scorpion who thinks humans are weird squishy things that make funny sounds? No? Then someone can tell them androgynes exist, okay.”

Now, I’m off to eat solstice chocolates. I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Book Launch: Steampunk Novelette

Update: This book is no longer available to buy as a standalone title. It can be downloaded for free from Patreon.

I have a new ebook out in the world – a steampunk novelette called “By Means of Clockwork Selection”. As a launch promotion, the book is available free on Amazon from 28th August to 1st September (2013). Full book details, and links to all the sellers, can be found on the official book page. Ramblings about the book can be found below.

 

Book Details

The gears on the cover come from an old clock, which I dismantled. There were other neat things in the clock, like a mechanical music movement, which may be coming to a cover near you soon.

And the book description:

Connie survived the plague that devastated plants, animals and clockwork alike. Her life has settled into the relative peace of farming clockwork ponies and marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Bess. But the threat of plague is never far away. Mutated oaks are spreading over the ruins of London and stories of outbreaks abound. She fears the worst when a pony collapses, but the true cause is far more surprising. It might be the key to rebuilding the world.

 

Cupcakes and Plans

Originally, I planned to make cupcakes for big releases only. When I told the family my next book was a steampunk novelette, the response was, “Steampunk cupcakes!” So it looks like I’m making cupcakes for short story releases too. Gears were a challenge as I couldn’t find any cutters locally, so I cut circles and fashioned them into gears.

There are standard gears and sky metal gears (also seen on the cover). The filler cakes have nothing to do with the story, as they were mostly an excuse for adding fudge pieces.

The next thing out will be an urban fantasy novel. Until then, I hope you enjoy this book*!

 

* If you’re of a social media persuasion, you might want to add it to Goodreads or LibraryThing.