Inhuman Swill : Short Fiction

Will you claim #Seat14C?

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XPRIZE's Seat 14C
For those of you with an interest in science fiction, technology, and futurism—or just in life on Earth itself—I'd like to bring to your attention a new writing contest sponsored by XPRIZE.

XPRIZE, as you may know, is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public science competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit all of humanity. (No small goal, there.) One of their latest initiatives is a push for science fiction stories that promote a more hopeful future than the dystopian visions that seem to be so popular.

To that end, XPRIZE has launched Seat14C.com, a site that is both an online anthology and a fiction contest. Thirty well-known science fiction writers have all contributed short stories about the passengers on a transatlantic flight that departs Tokyo in 2017 but somehow lands in San Francisco in 2037. (The contributors list includes names like Margaret Atwood, Hugh Howey, Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling, Charlie Jane Anders, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Charles Yu. My own contribution, about the passenger in 42E, will appear on the site on August 16th.) Our stories were written to highlight the amazing positive effects that twenty years of scientific advancement could have on a city like San Francisco.

As for the contest, XPRIZE invites readers to submit their own stories about the passenger in Seat 14C. The winner, to be chosen by members of the XPRIZE Science Fiction Advisory Council, will receive round-trip airfare to Tokyo, four nights in a four-star hotel, and $1,500 in spending cash, besides having his or her story published on Seat14C.com.

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My novelette "Our Dependence on Foreign Keys" is now available as a 99¢ ebook! I hope you'll check it out, especially since I'm hoping to get to work on more Franny and Hondo stories.

"Our Dependence on Foreign Keys" was originally published online in 2015 in Across the Margin.


Our Dependence on Foreign Keys

'Our Dependence on Foreign Keys' by William Shunn

Release date: 2 May 2017

When high-tech partycrashers swarm his exclusive soirée high above the floodways of New York City, billionaire inventor Pell Franziskaner can't be sure whether it's a garden-variety annoyance or a prelude to murder. His own.

Environment, economics, and augmented reality collide in this tale of reputation, revenge, and artificial intelligences so advanced they run directly on the fabric of spacetime.


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My novelette "After the Earthquake a Fire" is now available as a 99¢ ebook.

This story tells a fictionalized version of some of my experiences as a Mormon missionary in Idaho after I was ejected from Canada. If you finished reading The Accidental Terrorist and wondered what what the rest of my mission was like ... well, I hope you won't read too much into this.

Be aware that this story includes scenes of animal cruelty which may be disturbing to some readers.

Um, I hope you like it.

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Wired.com's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy Podcast
Happy Monday, Accidental Army! I know Mondays aren't the most thrilling days of the week, but I'm pretty amped about this one because it means that my oh-so-long-gestating memoir, The Accidental Terrorist, will be officially released tomorrow! I've been looking forward to this day for years. I hope you're nearly as excited for it as I am.

I have some interviews coming up that you might want to know about. Last night David Barr Kirtley of Wired.com's Geek's Guide the the Galaxy Podcast chatted with me for about 90 minutes about the writing of the book, why there are so many Mormon science fiction writers, and how Joseph Smith got away with telling such huge lies. That episode should become available this Saturday. (The previous episode featured David Mitchell, and I'm rather excited and daunted to be following a writer I admire so greatly in the guest seat.)

On Sunday morning, I'll be chatting live with David Pacheco of the "Atheists Talk" show on Minneapolis-St. Paul's AM 950—the Progressive Voice of Minnesota. I can't wait for that!

And finally today, to whet your appetite for tomorrow's book release, I'd like to announce the recent publication of my short story "After the Earthquake a Fire" in issue 2 of the new online literary magazine Bloodstone Review.

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Newtown Literary Issue 5
Newtown Literary is our homegrown literary journal here in the borough of Queens. Its fifth issue, devoted to speculative poetry and prose, just appeared, and features my new short story "Sparkler." The issue can be purchased now at The Astoria Bookshop in Queens, and will soon be available for ordering online.

In celebration of the new issue, Newtown Literary will be hosting a launch party on December 17. The event takes place at Terraza 7 Train Café in Elmhurst, Queens. The lineup for the evening also includes Laura Grow-Nyberg, Jennifer Morell, Crystal Rivera, Joan Willette and more.

Wednesday, December 17, 7:00 pm
Newtown Literary #5 Launch
Terraza 7 Train Café
40-19 Gleane St
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Terraza 7 can be reached via the 7 train to 82nd Street in Queens, or (a bit less conveniently) via the M train to Elmhurst Avenue. I hope to see you there!

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ShunnCast #56

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Epidode #56 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill urges you with all urgency to support the Glitter & Madness Kickstarter campaign, then rewards you with a reading of his story "Care and Feeding of Your Piano."

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=56

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My "Glitter & Madness" Q&A

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William Shunn gets glittery at Icebar Tokyo
It feels like we Glitter & Madness participants are, like, in NPR Fund Drive mode. I've already told you all about this anthology project, and if you still want to know more about it, you can head on over to the project on Kickstarter. What I'm here for now is to answer a quick Q&A designed by the editors of the anthology:

  1. What about the theme drew you to the anthology?
  2. Who doesn't love rollerskating and nightclubs and drugs and sex and debauchery? Who didn't enjoy copious amounts of them all in those gloden days of youth? Well, um, I guess I didn't. I was a Mormon. Okay, I did rollerskate, but I felt guilty about it.

  3. We're often told to write what we know. Did you draw your G&M story from your own nightlife experiences?
  4. I love to write things that I don't actually know. My clubbing experience was pretty much limited to once seeing Gene Loves Jezebel play at Club DV8 in Salt Lake City, and I was terrified for my soul the whole time. My story is actually about slippery souls in Chicago clubs of the '80s, which is why I'm writing it with my wife Laura Chavoen. She's the one who knows exactly what that scene was like.

  5. What's your favorite way to make life more glittery?
  6. I go to a comfortable bar with my wife and friends and drink classic-style cocktails until a glittery haze drapes everyone and everything in sight. Templeton Rye is involved.

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Love rollerdisco? Love science fiction and fantasy? Then you need to support the Kickstarter campaign for the Glitter & Madness anthology!

What's this, you ask? It's a new anthology edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas and John Klima, chock full of speculative stories about the secret history of 20th century nightlife and party culture. Think glam rock! Think rollerdisco! Think glitter! Think madness!

The book will be published by Apex Publications and will feature a standalone novella from New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire set in her InCryptid universe. There will also be stories by Alan DeNiro, Amal El-Mohtar, Daryl Gregory, Damien Walters Grintalis, Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Jennifer Pelland, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Diana Rowland, Sofia Samatar, David J. Schwartz, Rachel Swirsky, and yours truly!

In fact, I'm writing my story together with my fabulous wife Laura Chavoen, so you can be among those contributing to support her fiction debut! And the anthology itself will debut this August at the San Antonio Worldcon, with an otherworldly party at the world-famous Rollercade! Groovy!

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New short fiction: "Stand Up"

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A brand-new short story of mine, "Stand Up," is available now at the group blog This May Get Awkward:

"Stand Up"

The good folks at TMGA (in the person of the estimable JD Adamski, an MVP of the Tuesday Funk reading series I co-produce) asked me a while back to contribute a story, and I'm glad I finally had a chance to oblige them. I hope you like it. It's short.

"Yeah—mothers," said the comedian, running a hand through his sparse hair. "Don't you just hate 'em?"

Uncertain charges of laughter detonated here and there around the club. It was all in the delivery, and in the modest credit he'd accrued up to now with the audience.  [read more]
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New short story online

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The Visitors at Wriggly Field, by William Shunn
Batter up! My pulpy new short story, "The Visitors at Wriggly Field," is now online as part of the Pulps series at ChicagoIn2012.org. It's probably my first sports story, and may well be my last, so I hope you enjoy it. (The illustration is by Frank Wu!)

The Pulps series supports Chicago's bid for the 2012 Worldcon. Earlier stories in the series, both in print and online, have been contributed by Frederik Pohl, Gene Wolfe, Mike Resnick, Phyllis Eisenstein, Roland Green, Richard Garfinkle, Lois Tilton, and others. I'm glad I hadn't read any of the earlier stories before I wrote mine, or I might have been too intimidated to produce.

The stories are an homage to Chicago's past as a home to many classic publishers of pulp science fiction. The guidelines we all were given were that:

  • the hero must be square-jawed and dim-witted, with B.S. for his initials;
  • the heroine must be smart, capable and beautiful, with the name Elaine Ecdysiast;
  • the evil-genius villain must be dastardly and scenery-chewing, with the name D. Vice;
  • and the story must be set at least in part in Chicago.
Even by those standards, I clearly went for the lowest common denominator. No, seriously. Frank chose wisely by not illustrating the story's climax.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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