theferrett: (Meazel)

It’s that time of year again, where authors everywhere point at their published works and go, “Hey, if you can nominate for the Hugos or the Nebulas, check this out!”  And I’m not sure how much that helps.  I think it’s the stories that matter, and you either remember them at the end of the year or you don’t.

(Besides, I’m told according to some who game the system that if you tell people about your stories after the nomination periods begun, you’ve already screwed up – most people either vote right on Day One or right on Day Final, without much in between.  I’m a Day Final, m’self.  And here I am, three days late.)

That said, there’s also a lot of stories you could have read during the year that maybe have slipped your mind, and so I shall mention the ones I’d like to remind you of.  I’ve linked to them online when they are available – if they’re not, and you’re eligible to nominate, let me know and I’ll send you your very hand-created copy to peruse on the privacy of your own Kindle.

Short Stories:

“Run,” Bakri Says (Asimov’s) – My rather intense story of a girl who must rescue her time-travelling terrorist brother, this is my pick for my best story of the year.  Lois Tilton at Locus (a notoriously tough reviewer) gave it a “Recommended,” and my Christmas squee came when Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell (who wrote “The Family of Blood,” one of my favorite takes on Tennant-Doctor) said that it was a “bit of a masterpiece.” Also, Tangent Online recommended it as one of their “Best of 2011″ stories.

iTime (Redstone SF) – My other time-travelling fiasco story of 2011, this one’s about a socially-inept physics student whose air-headed roommate gets her hands on the first personal time-travelling device.  Tangent Online also recommended it as one of their “Best of 2011″ stories, except they ranked this one even higher.

Novelettes:

Sauerkraut Station (Giganotosaurus) – My “Little House on the Prairie in Space” riff, this chronicles the tale of young Lizzie, who’s lived out on remote trading post Sauerkraut Station all of her life, and tells what happens to her once the war started.  I don’t know how many positive reviews this racked up on the trades, but I received more positive emails on this than anything else I published.  So I’ll ask y’all to take a look.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

The good news is, I sold the audio rights for my story “A Window, Clear As A Mirror” to PodCastle.  This is awesome, because a) if you’ll recall, it’s my favorite story ever, and b) PodCastle did such a great job on my story “As Below, So Above” I that I can’t wait to see what they do with the more-humorous-but-more-melancholy tone of “Window.”

But their choice of narrator threw me. I wanted a woman to read this; they said it should be a male.

Which is odd, because to me, “A Window” reads very clearly as a female story, even though the lead character is a male.  In fact, when I read it, I read it in a woman’s voice – I have a high voice to begin with, and I spent years working at a receptionist agency where the patients yelled less if you presented as female, so I have a very good female voice.  And both times I’ve read it, I find my vocal tones rising, me adopting a female slant.

Whereas Dave then told me that if I ever sold “‘Run,’ Bakri Says,” then that would need a female narrator.  And to me, “Bakri” reads so strongly as masculine that I can’t envision what it would sound like with a woman’s voice reading it… Even though the protagonist is a teenaged girl.

I dunno.  On the one hand, he has a point about readers expecting a male protagonist to be read by a male voice, and considering that he’s co-editing an insanely great podcast, I defer to his experience about creating an awesome production. Yet on the other hand, I think about how Neil Gaiman said that he wrote gendered stories; American Gods is a boy book, whereas Stardust is a girl book.  And to me, “Bakri” is a boy story, and “Window” is a girl story, and having opposite-gendered readers feels vaguely like indulging in transgenderism.  (Which is not a bad thing – as noted, I love dressing in high heels and stockings – but it is a little odd at first.)

Gini pointed out that perhaps I was being stereotypical – “Window” is a girl-story because the lead character is dissecting a broken romance, and “Bakri” is a military, “let’s-solve-this-problem” kinda tale.  And there’s an element of that in there, even as “Sauerkraut Station” – which is at least ostensibly about a war – is extremely feminine (though that could be because the inspiration that story is derived wholly from “Little House On The Prairie”).  “iTime,” a problem-solver story if ever there was one, is feminine, whereas “The Backdated Romance” is masculine.  “Camera Obscured” is feminine, “My Father’s Wounds” is masculine.

(On a side note, you know how awesome it is to have so many published stories that I can link to them like this? It’s totally awesome.)

I don’t know. In my head, there’s some trigger where a story is female or male, and it has little to do with the protagonist.  Nor is it necessarily that the story is about problem-solving or relationships, although it does stereotypically tilt slightly that way.  It’s just that to me, certain stories are boy stories and others are girl stories – neither better nor worse, but just flavored in a way that I’ve been drawing this distinction all along, and it only comes up now that I see my girl story putting on a mustache and Don Draper’s suit.

I dunno.  If you write, are your stories gendered at all?  If you read, or have at least read some of the stories here, do you think of them as boy or girl stories now that your attention is drawn to it?

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

Ever wonder what happens when Macintosh develops the first personal time-travel device, and it lands in the hands of rich college kids?  Well, wonder no more, for my story iTime has finally been published at Redstone SF – and you can read it for free!

An excerpt:

I’d say that my roommate Rochelle had to have the latest in technology, but that would be incorrect.  Rochelle had to have the most expensive thing, and the trendiest thing, but it barely mattered what her accessories did so long as they didn’t clash with her cheerleader’s outfit.  When she got a personal biometric scanner, I wanted to use the data to generate a customized probiotic treatment to optimize the bacteria in her lower intestine; she used it to send scans of her boobs to cute boys.

As assigned dorm mates, all we had in common was our love of hardware.  That was why I was the first person who got to see her new iTime.  It was made of white enameled metal, shaped like an old stopwatch, smooth as an egg except for the plug-timer on top and the recessed nav-wheel on the front.

“You got one?” I asked.  “Isn’t there a waiting list?”

“Daddy paid four hundred thousand on eBay for an unbonded four-hour model,” she said, puffing out her chest.  “He said it was worth it to get me something that was guaranteed to bring up my grades.  I begged him for the eight-hour version, but he didn’t want to clean out my college savings.”

I reached out to touch it; it flickered away underneath my fingertips like a hologram.

“Oh, that’s the safety feature!” Rochelle squeed, clapping her hands in joy.  “The salesman said it was bonded to my personal timeline; it doesn’t really exist for anyone but me.  Otherwise, you could do all sorts of nasty things to me if you found it.”

“Like what?”

“I dunno.  He tried to explain, and I got bored.  But ask me that question tomorrow, and I can rewind time back four hours to before you asked me, and everything would happen again just the way it did before I rewound.  Except that this time, I’d read all the instruction manuals and stuff before I got here – so when we finally re-met and you asked me what things the iTime could do, I’d know…..”

The full tale is over here – and if you like it (and only if you like it), do me a favor and post a link to it on Twitter or Facebook or, I dunno, I hear LiveJournal’s still kicking around.  But hopefully you will like it.  Enjoy.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

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