Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Read Futile the Winds on Medium

Martian sunset. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL

What do Emily Dickinson and Mars have in common? This story. Futile the Winds previously appeared in Interzone, but since that is print only, I decided to put it up on Medium so that y'all can read it.

I came upon this poem towards the end of writing the first draft, and it guided my subsequent revisions. For me it is deeply, if somewhat invisibly itegrated with the final version of this story.

Wild nights - Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile - the winds -
To a Heart in port -
Done with the Compass -
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden -
Ah - the Sea!
Might I but moor - tonight -
In thee! 
P.S. I blogged about the way Kij Johnson used Shakespeare's sonnet 116 in her excellent story, Spar. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see what I thought.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cattle Futures

My story Cattle Futures is now available to read at the 99 Pine Street Literary Journal. Many of my stories come out of a collection separate ideas that I sew together, Dr. Frankenstein like, into a unique creature.

Remember FarmVille? A few years back it was the most popular game on Facebook, and even though I have zero interest in playing games on my social networks, I would see these little bright green fields in my feed as others played. I was fascinated by the idea of thousands of people growing crops and caring for flocks and herds of farm animals that were all just flickering pixels on their screens.

And people were spending real money inside the game, which seemed like a natural enough progression, especially when you look at how money, goods and stock are traded today. Screens dominate the floor of modern stock markets, and prodigious computing power is devoted to mediating their daily business. Everything under the sun is traded largely via flickering screens. It seems ephemeral, yet very real fortunes are made and lost every day in the markets.

Around this time there were also some news stories circulating about efforts to grow beef in the lab. So far this is still extraordinarily expensive, but if the process could be scaled up there is real potential to create solutions that might feed the world's growing population while being more humane to livestock animals and using up less water and land resources. It's a very science fictional idea on it's own. Kind of feels like we're one step closer to a food replicator.

Add a family trip to Carlsbad Caverns, mix well, and Cattle Futures was the result. I enjoyed writing it immensely and am delighted that it found a home at 99 Pine Street. Be sure to stick around and check the other stories, artwork and poetry.