Posts Tagged ‘genre fiction’

My afternoon disappeared with a giant sucking sound, so please enjoy this story about hope, the power of community, and doing what you can where you are.

Her branches reach for the stars (Jo Miles in Nature: Futures)

Lieutenant Auri Murr knew the exact moment when her grandmother died.

She was on duty in engineering when Grandma Shanna’s dappu-wood bead on her kin-necklace cracked: a sharp, dry, quiet sound, unmistakable to anyone from Darmindu Colony. It could have woken Auri from a sound sleep.

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Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

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It’s Tuesday, so you almost got an encouraging quote and pretty picture, but this short story appeared in my inbox. 

I was never a philosophy student but the message still tickles my funny bone (I probably would have taken that job, though).

You might like it too.

Recipe by Tina S. Zhu

Makes one reluctant vampire hunter.


     1 desperate jobseeker

     4 YouTube videos on cooking with tomato sauce

     2 fire alarms, batteries not included

     1 friend willing to smuggle blood

     4 cloves garlic

     1 gallon expired holy water

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Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash

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Whether your story rests on a historical foundation or you’re starting a world from scratch, writers, game-builders, and creators of all kinds can benefit from an in-depth understanding of how social and economic systems operate. 

There is a lot of related material out there but I came across this guide, specifically aimed at creators of fiction, and thought I’d share.

Resources for World-Builders by The Pedant, a.k.a. Dr. Bret C. Devereaux

I know a lot of my readers are interested in constructing fictional worlds which follow historical rules and patterns, where things like agriculture and armies make sense. So I thought I would gather together some of the material I’ve written that might be of use. 

As an example, here’s an analysis of what it took to for pre-modern farmers to make bread. It certainly makes me appreciate the ease with which we can now access high-quality flour (and legal protections, and insurance). 

Bread, How Did They Make it? (I, II, III, IV, A)

And finally, just to point out the obvious: farming labor is hard. It is back-breaking, uncomfortable stuff. 

The resource collection includes material on the following categories, with examples from history (fictional and otherwise).

This site has a Lot of other interesting material as well, so if (for example) you’ve ever wondered why the Industrial Revolution didn’t happen under the Roman Empire, this is the resource for you.

* Also note, for more on what and how people ate in the Western Middle Ages, SF Canada writer Krista D. Ball has a detailed and useful book on realism in fantasy food: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

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Photo by Mingwei Lim on Unsplash

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The winners of the 2022 Hugo Awards have been announced! 

The Hugo Awards

  • Best Novel – A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor)
  • Best Novella – A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)
  • Best Novelette – “Bots of the Lost Ark”, by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, Jun 2021)
  • Best Short Story – “Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)

Click through the links above for free access to the winning novelette and short story, or visit the awards page for the full list of awardees.

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Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

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I’m apparently out of practice balancing the day job with other things. I also spent a good part of my day interfacing with computers, so while I relearn time-management skills, here’s a story from Ken Liu.

/can’t find the story

/now where is that link hiding?

/AI help needed!

Ah, here we are.

50 Things Every AI Working with Humans Should Know – Uncanny Magazine

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Photo by Ian Battaglia on Unsplash

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I tested out yet another version of my tofu pudding recipe, hazelnut chocolate this time. It’s a little sweet, but I may try layering it with passionfruit whipped cream and see what that’s like. Because half the fun is in the making.

Ok, maybe not half. But it is fun.

In honor of the connection between food, experimentation and the evolution of humanity (by humans or… not), check out this short story by CB Droege in Nature.

Alfie’s ice cream
It was almost time. After months of calibration and fine tuning. After dozens of years of research, theory, testing and production. After centuries of anticipation and dreaming. The SCS Alfred Nobel, Alfie as he called himself, was finally going to try some ice cream.

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Photo by Andres Molina on Unsplash

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Sorry, can’t chat right now, I’m too busy reading the new Ilona Andrews book, Ruby Fever.

While I do feel a bit bad that it will only take me a day to read what took months to write, I’m going to inhale the book anyway. Back soon!

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Photo by Mike L on Unsplash

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A random musing in the form of a drabble: What if finding an adult sponsor were the only way to live past your 18th birthday?

Old and New
Travis smiled as he helped Mr. Frederick with his groceries. Dead-end job? Sure, but it gave him a chance to meet a lot of elders. They usually hid behind retirement community walls, but everyone had to eat.

He slipped a Recommendation card into the last bag, between a head of broccoli and an eggplant.

“Thanks, kid,” the old man said.

Damn it, three weeks of sucking up and Mr. Frederick still didn’t know his name? All his other prospects had fallen through. Travis gave a silent groan as he counted the days to his 18th birthday.

He was so dead.

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Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

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A new drabble:

Beware of Bite

He waited until the end of the appointment to ask, fingers brushing as she handed over his new bite guard.

“Are you free later?”


“I have a thing for dental hygienists,” he said, winking.

She looked him over. He knew what she saw, though he hadn’t seen it himself in years. A tall drink of dark and handsome, only slightly marred by two remarkably sharp canines.

“Sure, why not?”

“It’s almost 7:00. When do you get off?”

“Eight o’clock.”

“Can’t wait.” 

Just enough time to prepare, he thought, dropping the bite guard into his bag with all the others.

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While chatting with my father about a sci-fi book he’s reading, I remembered this short bit of free fiction from John Scalzi. Now I share it with you, too.

When the Yogurt Took Over: A Short Story | Whatever

When the yogurt took over, we all made the same jokes – “Finally, our rulers will have culture,” “Our society has curdled,” “Our government is now the cream of the crop,” and so on. But when we weren’t laughing about the absurdity of it all, we looked into each others’ eyes with the same unasked question – how did we ever get to the point where we were, in fact, ruled by a dairy product?


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Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

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