Quite a while ago, I translated Jean-Marc Ligny’s 2014 cyberpunk story “RealLife 3.0” from the French for anthologist Jarid Shurin. That translation is now out in his 2023 anthology, The Big Book of Cyberpunk.
Jared was a pleasure to work with, and the story was fun to translate because it’s sprinkled with geeky slang, tech-industry jargon, and genre-specific cyberpunk terms–and these are all spaces I enjoy inhabiting, which made translation quick and enjoyable.
Of course, translating the story to English didn’t change its very French sensibility. The stories in this massive 1136-page anthology come from twenty-five countries, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them.
I recently read the most recent book in Leah Cypess’ “Sisters Ever After” series. This clever MG fantasy series upends fairytales by re-centering the story on a previously-unknown sibling of the tale’s original protagonist. The main character of The Piper’s Promise is Clare, the little sister that Cypess invents for the infamous Pied Piper, who she names Tom.
The Pied Piper fairytale runs something like this: The Pied Piper draws all the rats from Hamelin with his magic flute, and then, when the town withholds the promised payment, draws all of Hamelin’s children away, never to be seen again. The classic tale invites questions–where did the Piper get the flute? And what did he do with all those children? Cypess delights in unfolding her answers to these questions slowly, drawing us both into the time-slipped Faerie Realms and into layers of backstory and intrigue.
Readers who relish the factions and intrigue of Tui T. Sutherland’s popular Wings of Fire series will find much to enjoy in Cypess’s underground faerie realm, where the lean cast of fae characters nonetheless manages to run the gamut of shifting allegiances, high stakes, and betrayal. The focus, however, is on the bond between Tom and Clare, as Clare moves from a young girl reliant on her brother to a courageous heroine who must choose between her Fae upbringing and her humanity. Clare’s steadfast belief in her brother’s essential humanity propels her to unravel the truth behind his seemingly cruel actions.
I found this to be an imaginative retelling of the Pied Piper tale that wraps the essence of sibling love in faerie magic, with a side of nearly-grown-up politics and intrigue. Well worth the read for fantasy readers aged 9-12, especially fans of anything faerie; like the others in the series, it may especially appeal to little sisters.
The next book in the “Sisters Ever After” series, The Last Rose, will be out in early December.
I’m so pleased that an anthology I have a story in (“Orange Rope for Sale”) was nominated for an Aurora award! Nothing Without Us Too, eds. Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson, is one of the nominees for Best Related Work (which is, apparently, where the anthologies go to get nominated). Super proud of Cait and Talia. Voting begins on June 17th and closes on July 29th. Fingers crossed!
I have a flash story out in the latest issue of The Quiet Ones. Excerpt:
I lost Asmodeus on Tuesday evening. I didn’t mean to release him. When I got him, I promised the housemates I would absolutely keep him under control. (I also swore he wouldn’t destroy a single thing, not even the tiniest corner of the meanest stick of furniture. Fortunately, my room’s furniture didn’t count.) Asmodeus defeated me by farting.
My favourite thing about the virtualization of the Nebulas is that online conferences don’t have to end. SFWA’s still organizing writing dates and programming on the virtual airship. This past Saturday, I had a terrific time discussing cli-fi with Aya de Leόn, Premee Mohamed, and Octavia Cade in this panel moderated by Brandon Crilly. If you were at the 2022 Nebulas, you can catch the replay here (login needed): https://events.sfwa.org/events/climate-fiction-adaptation-to-a-new-literary-landscape/
The story, “Orange Rope For Sale,” is told entirely in Kijiji online sales platform posts and messages.
Dec 2022 update: R. Graeme Cameron reviewed Nothing Without Us Too in Amazing Stories. Graeme has an interesting and thoughtful take on my story as “a fantasy approach to the problem of extreme agoraphobia.” Not what I had in mind when I wrote it, but I can see where he’s coming from, especially given that I first drafted that story sometime in 2020 or 2021.