Inhuman Swill : Writing

The left is for sale

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A new old story has gone online for purchase and downloading at Fictionwise this morning: "From Our Point of View We Had Moved to the Left."

This isn't just my first published story; it's probably the most political story I've written, and forgive me if I consider it also to be my most prescient. It made The New York Review of Science Fiction's recommended reading list for 1993, and the good folks there called it "a political fable about near-future America as odd as its perfectly appropriate title."

It's on sale for 15% off the already low price of 76ยข, so grab a virtual copy now!

Badly drawn boys

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I'm afraid I'm compelled to filch the link to this news brief from the redoubtable [info]asphalteden:

Science-Fiction Novel Posits Future Where Characters Are Hastily Sketched

That's our issue!

Two more older stories have gone on sale at this week, by the way: "Colin and Ishmael in the Dark" and "Divided by Time." Get 'em! They're cheap!

ShunnCast #12

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Epidode #12 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I fly to Canada for my first day of service as a Mormon missionary, but before departing perform amazing feats of transubstantiation upon an ordinary chewing gum wrapper.

ShunnCast #11 was accessed over 1,300 times after the BoingBoing link, producing a 30 Gb bandwidth spike. My monthly bandwidth limit is 40 Gb, so I'm very anxious to see how many of those listeners continue on as regular subscribers. File under "Getting what you ask for."

See also [info]shunncast.

ShunnCast #11

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Epidode #11 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I begin the audio serialization of my memoir The Accidental Terrorist, and God commands me to confess exactly which bits are embellished.

See also [info]shunncast.

Update:  Hey! We have a link from Boing Boing!

Here's to deadlines

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The cursor is on page 201.

By the way, I've had a couple of stories go live at this week, which means they're available now for purchase, downloading, and reading in a variety of formats on a variety of devices. Just click here:

Since both stories are new to Fictionwise, they're discounted 15% off the already reasonable price of well under a dollar! And I have it on good authority that a dozen or so other stories will go live in the near to foreseeable future.

(Obviously I'm working hard on this novel.)

One of these days I will be through obsessively posting about "Inclination," but not yet, not yet. I took a little time out from noveling today (200 pages due to the workshop tonight, and I just might make it!) to visit the Borders at Park & 57th. Lo and behold! The March Locus.

Both Locus's short-fiction reviewers wrote up the April/May Asimov's, and to make a long story short, both reviewers placed "Inclination" on their recommended reading lists for the month. Paul Melko, whose fine novella "The Walls of the Universe" anchors the other end of the issue, pulled off the same feat.

To quote from the reviews themselves:

Among all the plot options available to SF writers, there's something to be said for the one that launches the protagonist, with few bothersome preliminaries, into a dizzying succession of new territories, disorientation and wonderment combining in a dance of conceptual vertigo.... There are many fine examples of this narrative tactic in the literature, and Paul Melko's novella in the April/May double issue of Asimov's, "The Walls of the Universe," is an honorable addition to their ranks.... If SF is unable often to break new ground, it can always re-interpret and enrich its staples, and "The Walls of the Universe" add ingenious maturity to its long-established subgenre.

This issue's other novella, "Inclination" by William Shunn, is also a well-considered examination of a basic SF concern: the clash of differing technological levels, and how this (especially now) can cause the lower-tech culture to retreat into fundamentalism.... [T]he plot moves conventionally ... but Shunn gets a lot of good satirical digs in, and a contemporary dilemma is penetratingly illuminated.

—Nick Gevers

Sheila Williams's first year as editor of Asimov's was very solid, and I have just finished the March-April 2006 double issue. It's a wonderful one.

There are two novellas, both outstanding. It can't be denied that Paul Melko's "The Walls of the Universe" is working familiar ground -- it's another "you can't go home again" variant on the parallel universe travel story.... But Melko's treatment is fresh and effective.... In the end, this story is about how experience forms character as much as genetics, and quite convincingly so.

Even better is William Shunn's "Inclination" (a very nice title, I should add). This is told from the point of view of Jude Plane, a young man working on a space station. Jude lives with his father in an enclave of people who follow a traditional religion, a sort of amalgamation of Christianity with respect for the Six Simple Machines.... [Jude's life] becomes even more complicated still when his scheming father gets him a job outside their enclave, among the Sculpted.... It's a fascinating future, and Jude's personal story is involving.

—Rich Horton

I shouldn't be paying this much attention to reviews, I know, but it's helping me feel better about the expanded novel version, which I will now get back to.

At the Asimov's web site, you can now find not only an excerpt from my novella "Inclination" but also an excerpt from Paul Melko's fine and fast-paced novella "The Walls of the Universe," not to mention the entirety of our own [info]asphalteden's excellent essay on electronic music, "A Possible Planet." (There is also an accompanying podcast, featuring many of the musicians Brian mentions in his article, which is well worth listening to.)

And don't forget, you can also hear an excerpt from "Inclination" in the latest episode of my podcast.

So, as a requirement of the workshop I'm attending in May, I must turn in 200 pages of a novel on March 15th. That's Wednesday. I have 45 pages still to go. I did 35 total last weekend, but that was a four-day weekend where I took Monday and Tuesday off from work. I did 13 yesterday. I have to maintain close to that pace every day through Wednesday to make it. Will I make that same total today? Certainly not if I don't stop fucking around on LiveJournal!

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