Coming this September: In the Shadow of the Towers anthology

In the Shadow of the Towers cover

Douglas Lain put together a fantastic new anthology called In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World, and I have a story in it! Until Forgiveness Comes, to be exact. I’m quite honored to be in the company of so many great stories. Particularly There’s A Hole In The City by Richard Bowes, still one of the best post-9/11 stories I’ve ever read.

Pub date is September 1, and you can pre-order the book now from Powell’s or Amazon.

The version of the cover I grabbed off of Amazon is different from the one I saw on Doug Lain’s website a while ago. That version did not have my name on the cover. No idea which is the final, so I guess it will be a fun surprise! (I honestly don’t think it’ll be this version.)

I’m trying to decide if there’s still a chance at getting the radio play version of this produced before September. The script is done, I’d just need a cast, a place to record, a director…. You know, minor stuff.

“Why I Don’t Drink Anymore”

If you’ve been to my website recently you may have noticed that I changed the theme dramatically. Along with that I’ve been cleaning up some of the pages and making this place a more useful calling card for myself.

Right now I’m working on the Fiction page. It’ll probably be done by the time you read this. In the process of checking links I discovered that a story I published long, long ago at Abyss & Apex no longer exists on the website. That’s not a huge surprise. I think the archives got pruned long ago. And none of the editors working there now were working there back then.

I dug the page out of the Wayback Machine to reclaim the story, which I remembered as being rather short. I was right. Here it be:

Why I Don’t Drink Anymore

by not-K Tempest Bradford because I had a different pen name then

I’m sitting at my favorite café drinking absinthe when this guy comes up to me.

You’re a writer, aren’t you? he says.

Yeah, I says. How did you know?

You have that Hemingway thing going on, he says. Sitting around in a café all day. Drinking absinthe. Scribbling in your little notebook.

At this point I’m starting to get offended.

This isn’t Paris, you know, he says. This is Oregon. And you’re drinking in the middle of the day. Do you know what we call you types where I come from? Drunks. Damn drunks.

Then he walks away.

Oh, did I mention that this guy was a big scary eight foot tall monster with six arms? What a loser.

Story Notes: Uncertainty Principle (from Diverse Energies)

Story Notes: Uncertainty Principle (from Diverse Energies)

So I may have jumped the gun a bit early on the release date for Diverse Energies! However, according to the publisher, it is available now. And I’m seeing it in eBook format on Amazon and B&N, so I suspect print copies will be forthcoming very soon. Check your local, indie book sellers first!

I’m looking forward to hearing from people who read the stories to see what everyone thinks. Rachel Manija-Brown wrote a very thoughtful review here which then led into this post about dystopias and genre labels. One thing I find intriguing is that where Rahul Kanakia was told to write an SF action story, I was told to write a dystopia, yet his story is way more classic dystopia and mine has little shades of it but is more actiony.

Given the discussion on that post, I thought I’d give folks who read my story “Uncertainty Principle” a little peek into the background of it and my thinking around the whole dystopia thing.

As you might expect, these story notes are full of spoilers, so they’re going behind a cut. Don’t read unless you’ve read the story or don’t mind knowing some things about it! (also, ‘ware spoilers in the comments.)

[Read more…]

I Still Have That Dream

I Still Have That Dream

Been wondering why I’m in such a funk lately, then my calendar reminded me again this morning that today is my mother’s birthday. Her name is Marjorie Bradford and she died 13 years ago now, but the pain feels pretty fresh whenever I stop to think about her (which is often).

For many years after her death I tried to write a story that encapsulated how I felt about what happened and how much I loved her, but nothing ever came out quite right.

After she died, I had tons of dreams about her, but most of them had a common theme. In them, I was often aware that I only had a little bit of time to spend with her because I understood that she was sick and still dying. In some dreams she was very sick, in others almost completely healthy. A few times in my dreams I even asked her “How much time do we have?” and she’d say “Only a little while” or “A few days” or something.

It was as if, in my dreamscape, I was able to roll back the clock a little and revive her, but not completely and for good.

In mulling over why she almost always manifested in this way in my dreams led me to finally being able to write a story about her that did all of my memories and feelings and her impact on me justice. The story is “Elan Vital” and you can read or listen to it over at Escape Pod.

I’ve never read that story in public and probably never will because any attempt to do so will end up with me curling up in a ball sobbing. I don’t even read it to myself for that same reason.

However, when the story first appeared on the podcast I saw so many people praising the reading of it, I decided to listen to just a few minutes. I ended up listening to the whole thing. Mur Lafferty, as you may know, is an extremely talented reader. She did such justice to that story I can’t praise her enough.

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you and love you and I still have that dream.

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.

Kindred Reading Series September: K. Tempest Bradford (that’s me!) & Ibi Zoboi

Next month I have the pleasure of reading alongside Ibi Zoboi at the Kindred Reading Series. September’s reading will take place at Bluestockings Books in New York City and it starts at 7PM.

I will likely read my story from Dark Faith: Invocations and maybe a teaser from “Uncertainty Principle”, my story in Diverse Energies. But, who knows, I may change my mind :)

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the Kindred Reading Series here before, but it’s the brainchild of Jenn Brissett, an African-American writer from Brooklyn. She wanted to create a reading series for genre writers of color since there’s a general misconception that POC don’t write or read science fiction, fantasy or horror.

A secondary goal was to raise money for the Octavia E. Butler scholarship which helps writers of color attend Clarion and Clarion West, two intensive writing workshops for new authors.

If you’re in the New York area the last week of September, please drop by!

Coming Soon: My stories in Dark Faith: Invocations and Diverse Energies

Coming Soon: My stories in Dark Faith: Invocations and Diverse Energies

Those of you who view the blog proper may notice a couple new covers on the sidebar. I have stories in two anthologies coming out this fall and I’m very excited about both.

Dark Faith Invocations

The first one to come out will be Dark Faith: Invocations. From the Apex website:

Religion, science, magic, love, family — everyone believes in something, and that faith pulls us through the darkness and the light. The second coming of Dark Faith cries from the depths with 26 stories of sacrifice and redemption.

My story is “The Birth of Pegasus”. The full TOC is here and includes such awesome authors as Nisi Shawl, Jeffrey Ford and Tim Pratt. It launches at WorldCon in Chicago. If you won’t be there but want to pre-order a copy, click here. (You can get 10% off with coupon code: DFBradford)

 

Next is Diverse Energies, a YA dystopian anthology where all the stories feature characters of color. It will be out in October. I’m sharing a TOC with Ursula K LeGuin. I have not yet stopped doing the boggie about that.

You can’t pre-order Diverse Energies yet but I’ll let you know when you can.

What do you think of the covers?

As Always, My Thoughts On 9/11

Are best expressed in fiction.

Others have also raised concerns over the ongoing nature of the haitai ritual. Though performing it after the first or second anniversary isn’t unheard of, most clerics don’t recommend it. Wassirian cleric Anes Mshai is an outspoken opponent of further Red Seteshday haitai.

“Bringing closure and allowing family members to say goodbye is healthy. Especially in the case of such a massive disaster. But reliving and recreating the event over and over again every year may be keeping them from moving on.”

Until Forgiveness Comes at Strange Horizons

The Unblinking Eye [Part 1, rough]

The Unblinking Eye [Part 1, rough]

The cold open of my TNG/Doctor Who fanfic is done, so I thought I would share it with you all. I also came up with a tentative title. It will likely change.

Okay kids, keep in mind that this is a first draft. Like a really, really first draft. Have fun.

The Unblinking Eye

Captain’s Log, Stardate 46389.2. We’ve just entered the Davien system and commander LaForge informs me that the test of the new subspace field generator will commence within the hour. If successful, the new engine will increase dilithium efficiency three-fold.

“All right, Data. Activate the field.” Goerdi LaForge swept his rolling chair between consoles, keeping track of half a dozen monitors at once. This first test was going to be tricky, and he didn’t want to give the engineering core back at Starfleet Headquarters any reasons to shut him down before he could prove this new engine scheme would work.

“Subspace field activated.” Data stood at Engineering’s central console while the rest of the crew moved between the warp vestibule and their consoles, keeping almost as diligent an eye on the outputs as their boss.

All signs were good, and Geordi was about to give the order to go to warp 1 when a sharp, rushing sound interrupted the normal thrumthrum of the room. It lasted only seconds, hardly enough time for panic to well up in his chest at what might be going wrong. And when it was over a body lay sprawled on the floor.

“What–”

“Intruder alert,” the computer announced in her faux alarmed tone.  [Read more…]

Happily Ever After Is Now Out

Happily Ever After Is Now Out

Happily Ever After Cover

The Happily Ever After anthology is now on bookstore shelves (both virtual and physical). You should certainly go pick up a copy if you’re a fan of fairy tales, subversion of fairy tales, mythpunk, and other related things, as this book is FULL of such wonderful nonsense. The table of contents alone is enough to tempt people, and that cover is to die for. Here, I shall make it easy for you:

Amazon | Kindle | B&N / Nook | IndieBound