Writer Wednesday: Karen Osborne

Karen Osborne. Photo courtesy of the author.

Karen Osborne is a writer, visual storyteller and violinist. She is the author of Architects of Memory and Engines of Oblivion from Tor Books. Her short fiction appears in UncannyFireside, Escape Pod, Robot Dinosaurs, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a member of the DC/MD-based Homespun Ceilidh Band, emcees the Charm City Spec reading series, and once won a major event filmmaking award for taping a Klingon wedding. You can find her on Twitter at @karenthology and on the web at www.karenosborne.com.

Cover art for Engines of Oblivion, by artist Mike Heath.

The Memory War is author Karen Osborne’s lightning-fast science fiction action and adventure tale of a civilization devastated by first contact. In a corporate future where citizenship is a debt paid before it’s earned, terminally-ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson, sardonic ordnance engineer Natalie Chan and practical captain Kate Keller fight to build a future for themselves amid the wreckage of a catastrophic war against the alien Vai. When their crew discovers a genocidal secret on a ravaged colony planet, Ash and Natalie are drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to turn Ash into a living weapon—endangering Kate’s life, Natalie’s humanity, and the existence of memory itself.

Without context, what’s one of your favorite sentences in the book?

“War is science.”

If your book includes a real place on Earth, how does your version of it differ from reality?

The main character of Engines of Oblivion, the ordnance engineer Natalie Chan, grew up in Albany, New York—specifically, in and around the Empire State Plaza, which is this amazing brutalist masterpiece built on the bones of a murdered neighborhood, all white marble and tall skyscrapers surrounded by crumbling churches and rowhouses.

Continue reading “Writer Wednesday: Karen Osborne”

Writer Wednesday: Zig Zag Claybourne

Zig Zag Claybourne

Zig Zag Claybourne is the author of The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan and its sequel Afro Puffs Are the Antennae of the Universe. Other works include By All Our Violent Guides, Neon Lights, the short story collection Historical Inaccuracies, and the inspirational book In the Quiet Spaces. His stories and essays on sci fi, fandom, and life have appeared in Apex, Galaxy’s Edge, GigaNotosaurus, Strange Horizons, and other genre venues, as well as the “42” blog at www.writeonrighton.com. He grew up watching The Twilight Zone and considers himself a better person for it.

It’s his latest book, Afro Puffs Are the Antenna of the Universe, we’re here to talk about today…

No one has time for your BS…but Captain Desiree Quicho and her crew of utter badasses surely don’t. Got a universe to save. Again. Commandeer one piece of out-of-this-world tech and suddenly you have an evil billionaire and a corporate queenpin on your ass, factions scrabbling at the power grab to end all power grabs, and an ultimate AI bent on a rampage of healing. All a captain wanted was a little chill time, a few tunes, and quality barbecue. Woe to those blocking her groove. Four women; One machine goddess; a Hellbilly, Saharan elves, the baddest Pacific Octopus this side of Atlantis… and Humanity’s balance tilting toward its biggest unknown future yet.

Without context, what’s one of your favorite sentences in the book?

“Thus spake Bobo to ya.” Any time I get to riff on “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and use a telepathic octopus to do it, I’ma do it! I would’ve re-written the entire book just to make sure I could include that one line!

If you could pick one room to spend a day in, from one place in your story, where is it and why?

The library of the Silica elves. It’s the opposite of anything we think of as a library. It’s raucous in place, there’s food and drink, it has the hue of a honeycomb, and it contains ancient knowledge several magnitudes higher than our own. If I wanna learn ancient aliens or experience the full power of a fully functioning book of poetry, let it be with elves who love Prosecco and music in their libraries!

Continue reading “Writer Wednesday: Zig Zag Claybourne”

Free Flash Fiction: “A Revised History of Earth”

A Revised History of Earth

Sherla was lying on her belly on her bed, one of the two tiny singles in the tiny cabin she shared with one of the research girls that just came on board. “Mattie,” she said without looking up from her nail polish, “you can keep talking if you want but I don’t really care about any of that.”

“But the tests are conclusive,” the other woman replied, waving her tablet in the air. “I’ve got it all right here.”

“Don’t care,” Sherla repeated. She applied another strip of opaque black polish to a blank nail and watched as it slowly expanded to cover her nail perfectly. The backs of her hands were criss-crossed with faint scars, leftovers from much worse damage the regen machines back at the base had almost finished repairing, before she got called up to the ship. Still, they were good hands, she thought.

Mattie wasn’t giving up though. “You don’t care that the ruins we found on Planet X are actually older than any known civilization on Earth?” she asked.

“Nope.”

Mattie sat down on the edge of her own bed with a heavy sigh. “I mean… that’s a big deal to me.”

Sherla turned her head to look Mattie in the eyes. “I care that you care, honey,” in between blowing on her nails to set the polish. “But I think we just see this two different ways.”

Mattie shook her head, barely ruffling her close-cropped curls. “How’s that?” she asked.

Continue reading “Free Flash Fiction: “A Revised History of Earth””

Re-Reading Comics: MIND MGMT (Book 2)

Last week I talked about the first collected book of MIND MGMT issues, subtitled “The Manager”. Today we’re going to talk about the next book, “The Futurist”.

After a quick but clear recap, Kindt drops us right back into the action. When last we left our heroine Meru*, she’s still chasing Henry Lyme and MIND MGMT, still missing memories and still not sure why she’s doing what she’s doing. We see more of Lyme’s perspective this time, which Kindt is better at, giving the second collection a more solid footing. Like the first set of issues, this book is action-packed and a quick read; there’s toothy issues for your brain to gnaw on, but they’re delivered on the fly as Meru and Lyme run through scene after scene.

Continue reading “Re-Reading Comics: MIND MGMT (Book 2)”

Re-Reading Comics: MIND MGMT (Book 1)

I’m continuing my big pandemic reread – using graphic novels, collections, and single issues I’ve got in my apartment right now – with the first collected hardback of Matt Kindt’s MIND MGMT. Subtitled “The Manager”, this includes issues 1-6, originally published monthly.

I got this and the second collection as a Christmas present a few years ago. The person who gave them to me had read and loved them, which is the best kind of present: not just something they thought I’d like, but a gift of getting to know them better too, but seeing what matters to them.

Continue reading “Re-Reading Comics: MIND MGMT (Book 1)”