Diverse Energies Launches Today!

Diverse EnergiesThe Diverse Energies anthology is now officially available in fine bookstores near you. Find it at a local, independent bookstore through IndieBound or grab it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. I haven’t yet seen any eBook versions, but I think you’ll be able to find them through GoodReads.

Diverse Energies has 11 stories on a dystopian them for YA readers. Editors Tobias S Buckell and Joe Monti wanted to create an anthology full of characters that reflected the diversity they see in their own lives, so all of the protagonists are of color. Many of the authors are of color as well, and the stories well up from our perspective and experiences.

My story, “Uncertainty Principle”, features a girl of mixed Latina and Middle Eastern background who finds that the world changes around her — big changes that no one else but her notices.

Here’s the full TOC:

“The Last Day” by Ellen Oh
“Freshee’s Frogurt” by Daniel H. Wilson
“Uncertainty Principle” by K. Tempest Bradford
“Pattern Recognition” by Ken Liu
“Gods of Dimming Light” by Greg van Eekhout
“Next Door” by Rahul Kanakia
“Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
“A Pocket Full of Dharma” by Paolo Bacigalupi
“Blue Skies” by Cindy Pon
“What Arms to Hold” by Rajan Khanna
“Solitude” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Thus far I’ve seen many positive reviews of the book from advance readers. The Kirkus review even mentions my story:

Readers will find poor children working in mines and factories, a have-not yao boy kidnapping a rich you girl and a girl reeling as the world inexplicably changes around her, and no one else notices. Although many stories imagine bleak futures, their tones are refreshingly varied. Daniel Wilson’s tale of a robot attack at a frozen-yogurt shop takes the form of an almost-comical police-interview transcript. Ursula K. LeGuin’s “Solitude” is a sweeping, nostalgic epic. K. Tempest Bradford’s “Uncertainty Principle” is a character-driven time-travel tale. Understanding many of the stories takes patience: Readers are plunged quickly into complex worlds, and exposition often comes slowly.

There are a couple of other reviews that mention it as well, but everything is full of spoilers!

If you read the book and like it, please let folks know and leave reviews where possible. Also, buy it for the young persons in your life who like SF or like to read anything and everything.

A Review of My Electric Velocipede Story

Oddly, I haven’t seen too many reviews of EV 17/18, which is a sadness! But apparently Tangent Online did a review of the entire issue, including my story Enmity. Check it:

…a cerebral exploration of the creation story, spanning ancient Greek mythology, Christianity, and probably some other sources I haven’t picked up on too.

…Now, my knowledge of classical civilisation is limited at best, so it took a great deal of Wikipedia research even vaguely to understand what was going on here. Poor Eurydice goes from creator of the world, to Adam’s Eve and back again. She dies, lives, creates and destroys, all with little idea of who or what she really is, and by the end of it all I felt just as mixed up as Eurydice herself. In that sense, Bradford did well to carry me through the narrative as well as she did, but there is no real plot to speak of. I think the ‘point’ of this piece is to portray the eternal, cyclical relationship between good and evil, and to demonstrate how it transcends theology.

My intent was less good and evil but women and men. Perhaps I tripped over my own subconscious there.

People often run up against the same issue the reviewer did when it comes to my mythpunkish stories — I pack in a lot of mythology, some recognizable by folks with a passing knowledge, some not. Apparently my target audience consists of people who have not only read a lot of mythology and folklore from various ancient civilizations but who’ve also delved into the cultural forces that shaped those mythologies and, perhaps, have also done some research into how folklore and mythology change as the socio-cultural landscape of a region or a people change.

In other words, me, Veronica Schanoes, and Helen Pilinovsky. It’s a narrow audience.

Still, I’m glad the reviewer liked it despite the confusion. Though I wonder why she objects to the line “Rape is a metaphor. And it also is not”? There’s more to the review, so click over and read the rest. And, if you haven’t read the story yet, it exists online.

Two Things Make a WIN

Two Things Make a WIN

These two things have nothing to do with each other, I just happen to be posting about them at the same time.

1 — io9 reviewed Federations and Charlie Jane liked it quite a lot. She had nice things to say about my story specifically:

There are also a few delightfully snarky stories which deconstruct, and in some cases satirize outright, the idea of a civilization made up of civilizations, and these are among the book’s standout stories. … K. Tempest Bradford’s “Different Day” imagines the Earth being contacted by not just one, but three different alien races within the same interstellar group, each with its own agenda.

I think I will make a button that says “delightfully snarky.”

2 — Also, the World Fantasy nominees have been announced and you should just click here to see, because the awesome on this list is very strong. I will call out some things I’m particularly happy to see: Filter House, Paper Cities, and “A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica”. Yay for Nisi and Ekaterina and Catherynne, but they are not the only ones. The special awards pro and non-pro have some really, really extraordinary names competing.

This ballot is something to get excited about, unlike certain others I could name.

And… that’s it!

People Saying Stuff About My Fiction

People Saying Stuff About My Fiction

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been made aware of several people saying things about my stories but haven’t had the time to mention it here due to some other stuff taking up my time. Heh. Anyway, here it all is in simple list form.

  • SFScope’s Mark L. Blackman attended the NYRSF Federations reading on July 7th and gave his impressions of the stories and the readers. I have to say, he picked what has to be the worst picture of me, ever! I look like I just discovered a bug in my copy of the antho. :)
    • After a break, next up was K. Tempest Bradford, whose breezily snarky offering, “Different Day”, was a reaction to the common premises that alien worlds have one culture/one global government and that, invariably, they “come to America first.” She cleverly posits rival alien tribes, just as mutually hostile as our contemporary nations, visiting and negotiating with other parts of the world (like Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama), though her present-day biases and digs limit the story’s shelf-life.
  • Tom Crosshill reviewed Sybil’s Garage No. 6.
    • “Elan Vital” by K. Tempest Bradford. A story of dealing with loss, of holding on, and of letting go. The execution is superb, even if the premise feels somewhat familiar (I won’t reveal it here, except to say that this story too is about the undead, although to call it a zombie story would hardly be accurate.) At its core is a parent-child relationship, which as you will see becomes a recurring theme in this issue.
  • Sam Tomaino at SFRevu made me go “squee!”
    • K. Tempest Bradford gives us what, I think, is the best story in the issue with “Elan Vital”. … This is one you won’t forget soon.

There’s more to that last review but it’s a bit spoilery. Obviously you should read the story right now so you can then read the whole review ;)

Torchwood: Children of the Earth

Torchwood: Children of the Earth

It’s hard, sometimes, being a Torchwood fan. It’s hard loving a show that has such obvious flaws. That suffers so many episodes with a good or halfway decent premise to fall apart in the last 5 – 15 minutes. That suffers some more than occasional bouts of bad acting. That suffers Burn Gorman to be presented as a desirable sexual partner for either men or women.

It’s hard being a Torchwood fan.

Long ago I had to admit that I love Torchwood the way lots of people love fanfiction. After all, the show is essentially Doctor Who fanfiction (spinoff is such a polite term). And, like fanfiction, I’m willing to put up with a lot of crap as long as my kink is massaged. My kink is, of course, Captain Jack Harkness.

Over time I also became quite a fan of Miss Toshiko Sato, though her character was badly used through the whole of her two series. And Ianto, of course — mainly because he was snogging Jack.

As long as any one episode contained Jack, Jack snogging Ianto, and Toshiko being awesome, I was mostly happy. But man, oh man, I wished for more. I wished for plots that held together and deep emotional impact and for Gwen not to suck so much donkey balls and for the show in general to just really take chances and change the game.

I clapped very hard for this. Harder than I clapped for Tinkerbell. And my wish came true.

Torchwood: Children of the Earth is so good, so phenomenal, and so crunchy that it truly transcends its fanfiction/spinoff standing and becomes one of the best television events I’ve witnessed in the past several years.

It’s sad that we only got five episodes this series, but Russel T. Davies utilized them well, delivering a plot arc that kept the tension up without resorting to cheap tricks. In “Day One”, children all over the world freeze at the exact same moment. Just freeze. Then, a few minutes later, continue on as if nothing’s happened. That afternoon it happens again, but this time the children all speak in unison: “We Are Coming.” It’s terrifying in its simplicity and in the delivery. All children everywhere saying the same thing at the same time.

Of course the Torchwood team goes into action trying to figure it all out. But they quickly discover that their biggest obstacle and most immediate threat isn’t the aliens, it’s the British government. We find out exactly why over the course of the first three days.

I won’t go spoilerific on you yet (I have much analysis and questions, but I’ll save that for after the final episode has been aired in the US), but I will say that the tension, mystery, excitement and stuff that makes you cry is very well-balanced throughout the series.

One note I will make is that I was pleasantly surprised to discover about halfway through “Day Two” that I wasn’t as annoyed and chafed by Gwen or Rhys as I usually am. In fact, I thought Gwen was really awesome in this series. She didn’t once make me wish she had died instead of Tosh. I didn’t once want to throw her out of the airlock whenever there was a scene with her and Jack or her and Jack and Rhys all together. This is a major accomplishment for Torchwood, I think. And I’m not sure who to attribute the credit to.

I could be Eve Myles, who is a fine actress, and who is not at fault for Gwen horridness in Series 1 and 2. It could be Russel T. Davies, who just might have a better handle on writing the character than Chris Chibnall ever did. He wasn’t responsible for all of Torchwood’s previous episodes, but he was in charge of the series, and thus the writers probably took his cues more often than not. Maybe it was just that there was no time in this series for the usual stupid love triangle crap someone shoehorned into previous series. That’s fine with me. Series 4 writers please take note: this is the Gwen we should have had all along. Let’s keep her, please.

Torchwood: Children of the Earth is the best series to date. I hope its true that we’ll get a Series 4 someday, because if the show keeps going in this vein it may surpass the one that birthed it. Fanfiction rules!

New Reviews of Sybil’s Garage 6

New Reviews of Sybil's Garage 6

Charles Tan has a short review of SG6 wherein he mentions my story as one of his favorites:

“Elan Vital” by K. Tempest Bradford manages to cram a lot in this relatively short piece. While the science fiction aspects and ramifications might appeal to genre readers, what drew me to this story is how Bradford attaches a human component to the narrative and everything else grows out of that. Her protagonist is not only sympathetic but her unique situation could only have been pulled off in the medium of prose. For example, if this were a comic or a TV episode, part of the tension would have been tipped off too early, and a pivotal scene would have lost much of its momentum. But as it is, the chronology is just right, and Bradford crafts a story with emotional resonance.

Fantasy Magazine also gave us an awesome review!