Without any warning or reason, my insomnia faded away. I’ve been sleeping at least 7 hours a night, all at once instead of broken up into separate naps, for the last week. By itself that’s wonderful and I’m glad. But I’m also dreaming a lot more — not just more than I did when I wasn’t sleeping, but more than I usually do when I sleep okay — as if my brain is trying to shove in an extra two months worth of dreams on top of my usual slate, to make up for what I missed. Maybe this will recharge my brain, get my creative writing back on track? Or maybe it’s only pretty pretty lights playing merry hob with my brain, and in a few weeks it’ll fade away.Continue reading
Second week of the new year. It’s been quiet here, warmer than usual for a January, and generally peaceful. I’m in between a lot of things right now, still figuring out what I’m going to do next. I don’t feel rushed, though. For the first time in years, I think I can take a minute to catch my breath.Continue reading
The idea is to do a quick update, once a week, about the week that came before. The idea isn’t mine; it’s been a thing for more than a decade. I’m not even the only person I know to do it: Don started something similar last year and I’ve seen it help him get back into regular blog updates, something I need to do for myself.
I got into the habit of using social media, particularly Twitter and IG because while they both suck for passively allowing Nazis, incels, and President Tr*mp to say whatever to whoever, Facebook can outright go fuck itself for actively adding to the world’s problems. In the process, for reasons I’ll get into another time, I mostly stopped using my personal website. But this space, in as much as anything digital can be owned, is definitely mine, while Twitter and IG and Fuck-Facebook and all the rest are, depending on the day, very likely not mine at all.
I mean, I’ll still use them in a limited way to keep in touch with people I care about. I’m not a monster.
But this is meant to take some of what’s been in my head for the last week and put it into words that you, people reading this post for your own reasons (hey, I don’t judge – you do you) can put into your own heads.Continue reading
In 2016, Apex Magazine published my short story, “That Lucky Old Sun”, to my great delight. You can still read it online for free, here. You can also buy the whole issue for Kindle here. AND it was made into a radio play by Redshift in 2017; you can listen to their performance of it here.
Before I talk about the story, I want to mention their publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Jason Sizemore. He’s been going through some health problems – Bell’s palsey, a painful cyst, required surgery – and chose to use the current issue to find inspiration in the darkness. You can read his editorial online here.
Apex Magazine has been publishing for years and has given us work by some amazing writers. While Jason’s surgery tomorrow shouldn’t affect their ability to keep publishing, maybe today is the day you subscribe? You can choose whichever format suits you best:
I know that I look forward to reading each month. I hope you do, too.
Now, about my story…
(If you haven’t read “That Lucky Old Sun” yet, be warned that there are minor spoilers below.)
I was nervous before “That Lucky Old Sun” came out; it’s the longest short story I’ve published to date, and it plays with an old SF trope in a way that readers might either love, or hate, or not notice at all. You can never tell until a story ends up in the world and out of your hands. I was more nervous because this story is important to me. They all are, of course, though some of what I write is fun, some is dark, some is about projecting the future – I’m usually pushing at the edges of what I can do in a story, but the boundaries I’m pushing aren’t always the same.
In classic, golden age SF, we have these grand stories about building rockets, escaping doomed worlds, blasting off into space with limitless potential in front of us. I could write that again a hundred times, and who would question it? We know that tale. We’ve all read it. With this story, I wanted to talk about the people who get left behind. Not the rocket scientists or astronauts or the child looking out the porthole at a dwindling blue marble that used to be his home. Just regular, everyday people. Families. Neighbors. Small town folks, faced with things much bigger than themselves.
I am so happy with how it’s been received.
Amelia Crowly said:
This really gave me chills.
I love the way it *seems* to set the scene at once, only to become darker and more intriguing as the story progressed.
On Twitter, @robertired said:
It’s amazing. Subverting old school sci-fi is something that should be done more. Congratulations.
@MariaHaskins called it:
Wonderful, creeping-up-on-you #scifi
And @LaurenLykke said:
Just read and LOVED your story in @apexmag !! Got me all teary-eyed!
Over at Tangent Online, Kevin P. Halett said:
Carrie’s “end of the world” science fiction story is time and world ambiguous, telling this often-told story from a new perspective. The protagonist is a small girl, innocuously spending what could be her last day with her loving mother, who knows what’s coming. The author touchingly portrays the mother’s loving patience and the girl’s innocence in this easy to read tale.
Telling the story from the little girl’s perspective made it darker and more compelling. I found the writing engaging from the very beginning and it continued to hold me even though I could guess where it might end; a pleasing new variation on an old theme.
Lastly, and with the most spoilers… At Quick Sip Reviews, Charles Payseur said:
………….okay then. Yeah, this story is a bit dark, a bit…well, a bit very dark, about a child, Melanie, and her mother as they sort-of wait for the end of the world. The setting is vaguely futuristic and also rather dystopian, a place where people are judged based on their skin but not exactly the way that they are now. Here it’s not exactly race it seems but something in the blood that changes the skin’s color and might do other things to it. Whatever the case, it means that there are vast systems in place to try and “contain” it, mostly by reporting on neighbors and living in a police state and it’s an all around not-good scene. And yet the “problem” persists and so the government decided to just bomb everything. Bomb it all and then return to reclaim the wiped slate. And that the story follows a mother and her daughter on this day is bleak as fuck, but also I rather enjoyed it. There is something to be said about this, that this is where fascism leads, that this is where intolerance and bigotry lead. That there are “understanding” people who are just part of the problem and that everything is built on hate without reason, hate because that’s all it is, and in the end it tears everything apart, tears families apart and lets the central lie of the story fester and burn like the fires of the bombs being dropped. Because a large part of the story is the absence of the father, who is “pure” and who has the chance to survive. It’s a wrenching story and a sad one, very much worth reading but maybe prepare some cat videos for the aftermath. Indeed.
Kaleidotrope, a wonderful online magazine devoted to speculative fiction, published my story “Last Bus to What’s Left of Albuquerque” in their Summer 2018 issue. It’s an odd length — about 1700 words — and I was glad to see it picked up fairly quickly, on my first submission to Kaleidotrope. You never know, when you try something new or different with fiction, whether anyone else will see it in the same way you did, but Fred did. (He’s a great editor to work with; if you’re looking for a new market, I suggest sending your work his way.)
SFRevu Review said
Daymon Blue has finally been released from prison for going into debt for his daughter’s medical expenses. But what has he been released into? Another poignant tale.
I was thinking about what happens when people are released from prison, when I wrote this. How we expect most people to return to jail, how we don’t expect much good from them at all. Serving your time doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to, and the reasons why people end up arrested or imprisoned are rarely simple. We, Americans, in general, are committed to the prison system in a way few think about, and we’ve turned it into a profitable industry which is now creating new ways to punish people for being failed by society.
You can read it for free here. Please do let me know what you think, and tell your friends. Thank you!