Blog

New story out in Solarpunk Creatures

It’s release day for this beautiful solarpunk anthology! SOLARPUNK CREATURES is going to be the last anthology from World Weaver Press. My story, “Threadloom,” is about the opinionated loom-beast featured on the cover. 

Solarpunk Creatures
World Weaver Press: Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.
www.worldweaverpress.com

Newsletter: AI Week

I recently started a weekly newsletter about AI. It’s not for experts and it’s extremely readable. It’s really aimed at science fiction writers and readers: non-experts (like me) who are interested in the impact of this tech on society.

Last week’s newsletter included:

  • ChatGPT and DALL-E generated carols
  • A new way to make chatbots break their rules
  • A nasty surprise: there’s child sexual abuse material in the AI training data
  • Creepy marketers claiming to spy on your devices and sift through your words with AI (part two)
  • AI-generated songs, alcopop, political speech, and more
  • Plus four very readable longreads about AI and society

I’d love to have you join me. Check out the archives on Buttondown and/or subscribe here:

Cyberpunk in Translation: “RealLife 3.0”

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.

MG Book Review: The Piper’s Promise

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.

NWU2 wins an Aurora

(small squee) An anthology I have a story in, Nothing Without Us Too, won an Aurora award! https://file770.com/2023-aurora-awards-and-csffa-hall-of-fame-inductees/ Very happy for the wonderful editors, Cait and Talia. Anthologies are under “Related works” in the Auroras. This is Cait and Talia’s second year winning an Aurora for an anthology; the previous anthology in this series won an Aurora too.

ShopLocal instead of Amazon

TIL about Canada’s answer to bookshop.org: ShopLocal. Given an ISBN, it pops up a map to local indie bookstores with that book. Example:

I’m going through my blog and adding ShopLocal links to all the relevant posts. To use it yourself, add the book’s ISBN to the end of this URL: https://shoplocal.bookmanager.com/isbn/

Or use the ShopLocal URL generator I created here: https://nrmroshak.com/shoplocal-book-finder/

NWU2 nominated for Aurora award

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!

Four Transformations

New poem out today! “Four Transformations,” a speculative horror poem, appears in the December issue of Polar Starlight, Polar Borealis’ sister poetry magazine.

Riding down from the altiplano
     (sword sheathed, his former captain’s head
     bouncing from the saddle by his side)
the soldier stops at a keening cry
echoing across the pass.

“Four Transformations”

Read the rest in this free PDF download of December’s issue.

Image: Aurora over Lapland, Finland, captured by Juan Carlos Casado. Astronomy Picture Of the Day, 2016 April 8th.

Finding Asmodeus

I have a flash story out in the latest issue of The Quiet Ones. Excerpt:

Cover of Quiet Ones magazine, October 2022. Image: a vampire.
    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.
-from “Finding Asmodeus”

Read the rest in their latest issue, available for free download on wearethequietones.com .