Inhuman Swill : Publication
            

I'm delighted to announce that my new short story, "Last" (with a nifty illustration by Marco Megrati), has just appeared at Seat14C.com, an online science fiction anthology and writing competition presented 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.) 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.

Full entry

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.

Full entry
            

I lived it almost thirty years ago. I started writing it almost seventeen years ago. Today, at long last, The Accidental Terrorist is here. (Quick, lock your doors!)

What more can I say to you about it? I hope you'll order a copy, if you haven't already. Here are some review excerpts. Here is a reading I did last week. And while you're waiting for the book to arrive, you can listen to this Spotify soundtrack in less than a mere two a half hours.

Oh, yes, and don't forget to stop back in about an hour for a very important announcement...

Full entry
            

Tuesday Funk for November 3, 2015
Greetings, Accidental Army! I haven't written a new poem in a while, but that subject line is almost a poem in its own right. But we have only 12 days left until the official release of The Accidental Terrorist and a lot to talk about before then, so let's get to it.

Review

First, I'd like to bring a terrific new review to your attention. Elena Colás reviewed The Accidental Terrorist last week for Chicago Literati, and while I hope you'll head over there and read the whole thing, I wanted to call out one paragraph in particular that I was very glad to see:

I felt his portrayal of his younger self was somehow more compassionate than I've read in other coming of age memoirs. When I finished this book, I was reminded of Joan Didion's advice that we are "well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be." Shunn resists the temptation to paint himself as either naive or savvy, opting instead for the kind of even-handed description that had me wondering pretty far into the book whether the author was still a practicing Mormon. [full review by Elena Colás]
Full entry
            

The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT
Good morning, Accidental Army! With only 13 days left until The Accidental Terrorist's official release date, I figure it's time to give you your marching orders—er, marching suggestions, really—about how and where to purchase a copy of your very own.

Yes, the print versions of the memoir will be widely available through online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. You preferers-of-pixels can pre-order the ebook now for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and more.

But if you'd like to support the book and support a local business in your own area, I would urge you to follow this link to Indiebound.org and place an order with your nearest independent bookstore:

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781941928561

Full entry
            

Our Dependency on Foreign Keys, art by Hayrettin Karaerkek
The second and concluding part of my new science fiction novelette, "Our Dependency on Foreign Keys," is available today at the online magazine Across the Margin. (Part One appeared yesterday.)

When last we left our not-so-heroic hero Pell "Franny" Franziskaner, he was no closer than he was at the start to figuring out who is sabotaging his cocktail party and threatening to kill him, nor to completing or even figuring out the task he's been given by the super-duper advanced A.I. called Hondo. But at least he's invented a cool new party game called dueling holaoke! Will Franny unravel the mysteries before it's too late? And will Hondo ever make an appearance at the party?

Learn all the answers now...

Part One: http://acrossthemargin.com/odfkpo/

Full entry
            

Our Dependency on Foreign Keys, art by Hayrettin Karaerkek
A brand-new story of mine, "Our Dependency on Foreign Keys," is available today at the online magazine Across the Margin.

Or actually, the first half of this 11,000-word story is available today. The second half will go live tomorrow morning.

And to be honest, it's not exactly brand-new, either, though this is the first time readers are seeing it. According to an old blog post, I was working on this story during a trip to Malta and the Middle East in May 2008. It was one of those stories that started with the title, and as I worked out the basic situation of the story the plot and its world, things grew very complicated indeed, even given that I decided to set it in the same near-future historical continuum as a couple of my earlier stories. I clearly remember the bar in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood where I was sitting when I named the main character Pell Franziskaner. According to my records, I finished the first draft around the time Barack Obama began his first term as president.

The story was a difficult one to write because I needed it to be light and frothy but dense at the same time. I took the Jeeves and Wooster stories as my model, though I think you'd be hard-pressed to see that in this final version. Connie Willis's screwball comedies like "Blued Moon" were an inspiration too, though again...

Full entry

Some short Chicago fiction

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My new short story "A Strong Premonition of Death Struck Me This Morning" is now live at the Electric Velocipede blog. I think it was the first piece of fiction I ever wrote that's set in Chicago (though I'm now deep into a novel that's also set here in Chi-town).

Stick around at EV, order more drinks, and remember to tip your servers. I'll be blogging there all week.

Full entry
            

Writing from Starbucks
You may know that John Klima, editor of the award-nominated Electric Velocipede, has taken the month of July off from blogging. Instead, he's solicited posts from a variety of folks, including Jeffrey Ford, Chris Roberson, and EV assistant editor Anne Zanoni so far. We've all submitted material that's been going up bit by bit over the course of the month.

Next week is my week, and things will kick off Monday morning with a brand-new short story, "A Strong Premonition of Death Struck Me This Morning." I hope you'll check in at the Electric Velocipede Blog next week, and if you enjoy what you read that you'll consider grabbing a subscription to the fine print magazine.

Full entry
            

Discover Magazine, February 2008
Hey, I have a reporting credit in the February issue of Discover magazine!

Discover does a humorous monthly column at the back of the magazine called "20 Things You Didn't Know About..." February's column was "20 Things You Didn't Know About Science Fiction," and its posting online seems to have stirred up a small pot of controversy over at io9, Gawker's SF blog. Seems as if a lot of people were not amused, and in turn Discover was not amused that they were not amused. (Thanks to John Joseph Adams for being one of the voices of reason in the io9 comments, and defending my honor.)

For the record, my reporting duties consisted of supplying the Discover writers with about a dozen pieces of SF trivia, of which they borrowed maybe four, putting their own inimitable spin on the material. I'm happy to say I gave them the one about Gene Wolfe and Pringles. But to balance that out, I also gave them the one about some fans not liking the term "sci-fi." (An example of one of my nuggets that didn't make the cut was that Heinlein Crater in the Hellas Southeast Quadrangle of Mars is named after Robert A. Heinlein. So there you go.)

I would have posted about this sooner, except that I didn't become aware that the column was online, or about the attendant flamewars, until early last Saturday morning as we were preparing to leave for a weekend in Iowa. And to be perfectly clear, having my name in Discover is totally awesome.

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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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