Last autumn my short story Last Words was published in AE: The Canadian Science-Fiction Review, edited by D.F. McCourt and Helen Michaud. This month it was named by the storySouth Million Writers Award as a notable story of 2011.
And now, I’d like to share it here with you. Our tale begins beneath the fold:
Following in the tradition of behind-the-scenes posts like The Making of Idiot’s Mask, I invite you now to take a look at the genesis of my most recent serialization effort, Bobo, in which I will share my originating ideas, my thoughts on the themes in the story, and even some “deleted scenes” that didn’t end up in the final novella.
Also: Bobo is available right now in every e-book flavour under the sun, including but not limited to Kindle and Nook or Kobo or iOS or Sony and Palm, and even as a good old fashioned PDF. ($3)
Last week, in my post A Brief History of Who I’m Not, I explained the history of my spectrum of noms de plume from fluorescence to brown. But, of course, the name is not the thing. It’s just a noise.
I’m the thing. That is, I have a persistent delusion of being a specific entity and that’s close enough for our purposes today. Whether I literally am my identity or instead my identity is a byproduct of me is not a student loan I’m willing to take out.
I keep trying to trace this affliction. It goes further than I forget.
When did I first start to un-use my name?
(This is me speaking – the author, the actor, the liar – whatever it is I do. Don’t be confused. This isn’t an installment in a multi-part serial; this is just my life.)
Towns die, when their time comes. The town I grew up in died right under my feet — it died while I watched. It isn’t even on the map anymore.
Once there were hundreds of towns like it: far flung on the frontier, each nestled in the shadow of an atmospheric processing tower whose rumbling works had been patiently revising the climate for centuries. In its heyday atmospheric processing employed thousands. It was the cornerstone industry of country life on this planet, the great smoking hubs at the crossroads of rude paths that linked wildernesses more hostile than anyone young today can easily imagine.
In those days we were fighting both the rocks and sand and frigid cold of the old world along with a million kinds of aggressive and voracious life from the new. Colonization isn’t for the faint of heart. In my grandfather’s time as many travelers stumbled into town just to die as to find a drink or a bed.
But eventually the sky turned blue, and one by one the processing towers were decommissioned. Including ours.
The invasion of Cassiopeia was age-inappropriate for the child: that much was clear.
All the worst words in the dictionary were being acted out live, and that violated the Standard with respect to age-appropriate subject matter. The child was present, which made the Standard paramount. On the other hand, duty was paramount.
The soldier was of the highest quality. No expense had been spared in his manufacture or maintenance. He was beautiful, too. He was as much a parade piece as a tool. Never the less, considering two things to be simultaneously paramount upset him.
The child bleated, “Where’s my mom?”
And now the concluding chapter of The Seventh Rule, another free science-fiction serial from the likes of me. The complete story is available in print in my latest anthology, Eleven Electric Lies, which you might buy a copy of and then bring along for signing at the Toronto Comic Con! I hope to see you (or a duly appointed representative) there, March 18-20, 2011.
This is the sixth and second to last installment of my new serial, The Seventh Rule…
In an homage to counting in order, I’d like to present the fifth installment of my freshest serial, The Seventh Rule…
And now, the fourth installment of my freshest serial, The Seventh Rule…