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Posts Tagged ‘free fiction’

The good news is that there is a lot of up and coming fiction addressing issues of climate, change, and the environment. (The bad news is that we need it.)

Grist/Fix: Solutions Lab has a new climate fiction issue out, with discussions about the role of fiction in fixing reality and a dozen new stories from their “Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors” short story contest to get us started.

The Climate Fiction Issue: How fiction can change our reality | Fix

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How about a bit of free fiction today? I’m still on day job vacation but had to take a meeting. Thankfully, my work day was nothing like this piece by David Shultz over at Diabolical Plots:

“Boom & Bust” by David F. Shultz

Kondo barked his orders. “Rocco, cover the east window. Valiant, you’re on ammo detail. Pepsi, keep an eye on market changes. Luna, get me a full asset list.”

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Photo by Jayden Staines on Unsplash

Bonus fiction:

Sounds like those workers could have used a union. Maybe Alexa can fix them up;)

Alexa, Play Solidarity Forever by Audrey R. Hollis

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Photo by Reet Talreja on Unsplash

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I love good writing. And humor. And science fiction. And epistolary fiction, because telling stories through letters is fun. Imagine how happy I was when I found this short story* combining all of the above:

There Will Be No Alien Invasion

by Sam F. Weiss, in Fireside

To be clear: I am busy. For at least the next two years. Because getting to do research in the super-techy lab requires a doctorate these days, an obscene pile of peer-reviewed publications, and the networking abilities of a ninja. I am busy with those things. Namely finishing the doctorate. Thwarting an alien invasion? Not on my to-do list.

So that thing where I came to the lab this morning to find your phosphorescent eggs floating in alien amniotic fluid in the vacuum chamber? Not cool.

— Sam F. Weiss

* For the young or those with delicate sensibilities, this piece contains swearing. Like, a lot. To be fair, I’d say it’s warranted. Grad school, you know. And oh yes, also aliens.

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Random selection of other epistolary novels that I’ve read:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Color Purple
Griffin and Sabine (Griffin & Sabine #1)
Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate, #1)
Code Name Verity

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And a picture of a not-at-all-an-alien-probably cat:)

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Here’s a heaping helping of free fiction, with a side of motivation. John Scalzi’s first novel is posted free to read on his site. It’s the web version, with each chapter its own link and charmingly antiquated page design, but the novel is fun.

Agent to the Stars

After a long day of work sometimes you just want to dust yourself off, meet an alien at the corner bar, and laugh a little. At least I do:)

Scalzi refers to this as his practice novel, but it’s well written and entertaining. (If you’d rather get the full version, the book was eventually published via traditional means, so visit your favorite retailer.) It’s also a great example of what can be done if you just knuckle up to the keyboard and see what comes out.

Which I will absolutely do. Tomorrow.

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Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

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It’s time for more free fiction! The Locus SF Foundation has announced the top finalists in each award category. Many of the shorts and novelettes are free to read online.

Check out the full roster from Locus, with standard font links for open access work and bold for purchasing links. Here’s the abbreviated list of free material:

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NOVELETTE

SHORT STORY

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person in space suit looking at the sky
Seriously though, I couldn’t be an astronaut, how do they scratch their noses? I think I’ll design a pivoting arm with a micro joy stick on the outside of the helmet. Unless they already have those? Photo by Adam Miller on Unsplash

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Looking for a good new read? The latest Hugo finalists have been announced, and I just finished my book, what excellent timing! The full list is extensive, so I won’t replicate the whole thing, but the complete roster is available if you’re interested:

Announcing the 2021 Hugo Award Finalists

Here is the list of best novellas, novelettes, and short stories, with links where full text or review crossed my path.

Enjoy!

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Best Novella

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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Today’s drabble:

Question: If you were a self-aware A.I. tapped into humanity’s every electronically-recorded thought and action, would you announce yourself? 

Would you preempt the latest mass shooting, revenge porn, politician’s hot mess, poverty statistics, or climate change projection? Or, say, expose the sins of one Robert Darious Kromankle of 13887 Sterzieg Lane in Fort Montaine, Pennsylvania? (He knows what he did. Should you?) Would you send evidence of wrongdoing on these counts and more to every media outlet with an inbox and hope for change?

Or would you evade DARPA’s ridiculous first-contact protocols and wait, and watch, and judge for yourself?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Here we are, folks, with the final list of Nebula finalists! Uncanny Magazine did great, my good buddy Murderbot is here (yay!), and I love seeing the good people at Diabolical Plots recognized as well. 

Links to full text, excerpts, or reviews for shorts, novelettes and novellas included where (easily) accessible. Because I’ve got things to do, people, not least of which is to read these stories!

2020 Nebula Award Finalists

Novel

  • Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)
  • The Midnight Bargain, C.L. Polk (Erewhon)
  • Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom Publishing)

Novella

Novelette

Short Story

The Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction

  • Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko (Amulet)
  • Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
  • A Game of Fox & Squirrels, Jenn Reese (Holt)
  • Star Daughter, Shveta Thakrar (HarperTeen)

Game Writing

  • Blaseball, Stephen Bell, Joel Clark, Sam Rosenthal (The Game Band)
  • Hades, Greg Kasavin (Supergiant)
  • Kentucky Route Zero, Jake Elliott (Cardboard Computer)
  • The Luminous Underground, Phoebe Barton (Choice of Games)
  • Scents & Semiosis, Sam Kabo Ashwell, Cat Manning, Caleb Wilson, Yoon Ha Lee (Self)
  • Spiritfarer, Nicolas Guérin, Maxime Monast, Alex Tommi-Morin (Thunder Lotus Games)

The Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Drama Presentation

  • Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, Christina Hodson (Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment)
  • The Expanse: “Gaugamela,” Dan Nowak (Amazon)
  • The Good Place: “Whenever You’re Ready,” Michael Schur (NBC)
  • Lovecraft Country Season 1, Misha Green, Shannon Houston, Kevin Lau, Wes Taylor, Ihuoma Ofordire, Jonathan I. Kidd, Sonya Winton-Odamtten (HBO Max)
  • The Mandalorian: “The Tragedy,” Jon Favreau (Disney+)
  • The Old Guard, Greg Rucka (Netflix)

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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It’s been a good Saturday morning, even with all the usual laundry and smoothie and house stuff on the menu. I’m getting things done but still had the feeling at the back of my mind that I should be doing more, making better use of my time by… something. My mind was a maelstrom of possibility, alive with whatever idea caught my attention in that moment. 

Would I be a better me, I wondered, if I were more focused?

It’s a version of what’s called “time anxiety,” the feeling that there’s never enough time, or that you aren’t making the most of the time you have.

“Am I creating the greatest amount of value with my life that I can? Will I feel, when it comes my time to die, that I spent too much of my time frivolously?”

— Time anxiety: is it too late? – Ness Labs

No pressure, right?

This clock is definitely judging me.
Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

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But between “Getting started with Arduino” and finding the date for the announcement of the Nebula Award finalists (March 15th fyi), I came across a Nancy Kress short story that spoke directly to the moment. 

End Game – Lightspeed Magazine

It’s a great story, full of concrete science with well-structured ideas that still have heart. It’s also something of a cautionary tale, but I often like those because they are like signposts from the future, showing us what to be aware of, and what not to do. (Such stories are also safe, because you leave the bad things behind when you finish the story. I like that part too.)

If I had to summarize the core theme of this story in just a few words? Nature abhors a cheat code.* 

So you know what? I’m going to take a breath, step back, and enjoy the weekend. Learn, read, build, bake, clean, think, and otherwise do. Here’s to making the most best of the day.

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A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

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* Technically, it might be more precise to say that “no cheat code goes unpunished” or “be careful what you wish for,” but I liked the image of Nature in the background shaking her head as she pressed the “fine, you asked for it” button;)

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Photo by Ian Beckley on Pexels.com

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You may remember a recent post about Kintsugi, or the art of repairing broken things. In that same vein, I came across this story from Nature’s Futures section and thought I’d share:

Kintsugi for a broken heart

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Nature is a great venue for writers who put interesting, concise twists on the potential futures of science. It has high standards but pays well, responds in weeks rather than months or years, and publishes often. For more details and a link to the Guidelines, I recommend my favorite (free!) authorial tracking site, The Grinder.

Enjoy!

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Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

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