So I’ve been pretty terrible at writer-marketing, because I don’t think I’ve told you that one of my favorite stories of all time is available for you to read. Plus another story that’s sillier and, er, flighty.
If you’ll recall, “‘Run,’ Bakri Says” – the tale of a girl attempting to rescue her time-travelling terrorist brother from prison – was one of two stories I’ve ever written where I finished the first draft and said, “Yeah, that’s getting published.” And lo, Sheila Williams at Asimov’s agreed, and so it was published to generally good reviews. It’s certainly one of the few stories I’ve gotten spontaneous fan mail on.
Escape Pod thought it was worth a podcast, and so you can now read (or listen to Mur Lafferty’s emotional reading) today! Just so’s you recall the opening:
“I just want to know where my brother is,” Irena yells at the guards. The English words are thick and slow on her tongue, like honey. She holds her hands high in the air; the gun she’s tucked into the back of her pants jabs at her spine.
She doesn’t want to kill the soldiers on this iteration; she’s never killed anyone before, and doesn’t want to start. But unless she can get poor, weak Sammi out of that prison in the next fifty/infinity minutes, they’ll start in on him with the rubber hoses and he’ll tell them what he’s done. And though she loves her brother with all her heart, it would be a blessing then if the Americans beat him to death.
The guards are still at the far end of the street, just before the tangle of barbed wire that bars the prison entrance. Irena stands still, lets them approach her, guns out. One is a black man, the skin around his eyes creased with a habitual expression of distrust; a fringe of white hair and an unwavering aim marks him as a career man. The other is a younger man, squinting nervously, his babyfat face the picture of every new American soldier. Above them, a third soldier looks down from his wooden tower, reaching for the radio at his belt.
She hopes she won’t get to know them. This will be easier if all they do is point guns and yell. It’ll be just like Sammi’s stupid videogames.
“My brother,” she repeats, her mouth dry; it hurts to raise her arms after the rough surgery Bakri’s done with an X-acto knife and some fishing line. “His name is Sammi Daraghmeh. You rounded him up last night, with many other men. He is — “
Their gazes catch on the rough iron manacle dangling from her left wrist. She looks up, remembers that Bakri installed a button on the tether so she could rewind, realizes the front of her cornflower-blue abayah is splotched with blood from her oozing stitches.
“Wait.” She backs away. “I’m not — “
Want to read the rest? Go, check it out.
And if you’re looking for some lighter fare, my comedy tale “In The Unlikely Event” – about some horrifically standardized preparations for space flight – is now available at Daily Science Fiction. This one may make you laugh. Or wince. Or both.
The flight attendant speaks as though he will win an Olympic medal if he finishes this safety speech in record time.
“Today’s interstellar flight to the Taurean cluster will take approximately seventy years external-time, racking up six hours on your biological clocks. To avoid unnecessary amputations, please keep all hands, feet, and other protuberances within the boundaries of your personal cryogenics chamber….
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.