Dayshift, Eureka, and Cry the Thousand Sentinels

Starting this month out with some exciting news. The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF series has selected my novelette “Crash-Site” (first published last year in F&SF) for inclusion in their upcoming Volume 5. This marks my second consecutive appearance, and is a direct sequel to the story that appeared in Volume 4, continuing the ongoing adventures of futuristic war hero Harris Alexander Pope and his compatriots.

I also sold my sci-fi fantasy story “Cry the Thousand Sentinels” to Third Flatiron’s Hidden Histories anthology. The anthology’s theme is not about alternate history (which I adore) but about behind-the-scene layers to existing history, conspiracies bubbling beneath the mundane, and secret masters operating in the shadows. My take (which will appear later this year) is set in a single night, but extends its tendrils to a cabal of ancient alchemists. The opening line is: “The man who needs to die pulls into the truck-stop in a cherry-red tractor-trailer while the Arizona diner clock reads 7:02 p.m…”

This month also sees my junkpunk tale “Dayshift” published in the new issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. This is a hard look at selfie culture, class distinctions, and the banality of evil. In the far future, the privileged live in mighty arcologies whose technologies rely on the rare earths that are no longer available, except through paying “junkpunks” to recover yesteryear’s high-tech trash. Special thanks to artist Michael Wolmarans for the creepy accompanying illustration.

This is a bittersweet announcement, too, as IGMS has just announced that they are shutting their doors. I am honored to have had two stories published with them: “Dayshift” and “Shadows and Shore Leave”. I extend my gratitude and best wishes to editors Scott M. Roberts, Edmund Schubert, and the entire IGMS team for their indelible contributions to an ever-evolving genre.

And speaking of evolution, Darwin Day is this month. One of the most essential achievements of the human journey is the expansion of our understanding of the universe—and of ourselves in the process. Charles Darwin made a mighty contribution indeed: his expeditions to the Galapagos resulted in one of the most significant advancements in scientific understanding, and which has impacted multiple fields of endeavor since. Happy Darwin Day to all.

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I’m rewatching Eureka from start to finish, and thinking this really may be the most charming show of its kind. Everyone is pitch-perfect in their roles, and the acting is consistently top-flight (especially Colin Ferguson, Joe Morton, and Erica Cerra, who bring highly complex layering to their roles). The effects are excellent. The writing is sharp, from snappy dialogue to clever in-universe reboots to engaging season-wide arcs. And the atmosphere is, well, heartwarming. It even manages to mostly sidestep the cornball factor that I can’t stand from other shows of this subspecies.

It does make me realize that I am in need of a new, good, satisfying science-fiction show. I did see that a new Star Trek series (or rather, two new series) is on the radar, which gives me seriously mixed feelings. One will see the return of Picard, and one will dive into the shadowy corridors of Section 31. On the one hand, I appreciate that most of the new Trek spin-offs have attempted to expand the universe meaningfully–to me, that’s the sole reason to do a sequel/prequel/interquel. Otherwise it’s just a rehash (ahem, Force Awakens). I am guardedly optimistic about a Section 31 series, as I always felt the Federation seemed woefully unsustainable when it came to addressing threats from without or within–I have repeatedly told friends that I feel confident I could conquer the entire Star Trek universe in a month.) And I’m an enduring and old school devotee of Michelle Yeoh. We shall see…

Definitely my kind of town.

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Author J.D. Moyer interviewed me last week for his ongoing Word Craft series, which examines the techniques, habits, challenges, and perspectives of writers on the subject of writing. The interview was tremendous fun–as a writer himself, Moyers isn’t afraid to get granular with his inquiry, asking his guests to really dive into the rolled-up dimensions of the writing process. For example, yes, I actually do physically act out my action scenes to examine the logistics, timing, light source, and practicality. He asked thoughtful questions, and I encourage readers to check out his entire series.

And speaking of writing, I was invited to SoonerCon this year, where I will be moderating and serving on several literary panels about speculative fiction, and signing copies of Ten Thousand Thunders. I will be posting my scheduled panels as they become official.


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