3-Day Novel Update

Friends, the 3-Day Novel Contest starts at 12:01am on Saturday. Hard to believe it’s almost here. I’m mostly not panicking…

You’ll be able to follow my during-contest adventures and lamentations on Twitter (#3DayNovel). I’ll also post another update here after the fact.

As for the fundraising, we’ve done remarkably well, with between $611 and $758 in total pledges (some variability for length and other conditions).

I wanted to note that for anyone who would prefer to make their donation to a comparable organization in Houston or elsewhere in east Texas, that is absolutely fine by me. However, I would encourage you to stick with local groups and, of course, do as much research as possible.

Otherwise, this is the current division of pledges (again with some variability):

Remember, the goal is $250 each and there’s still time to pledge!

With that, I will see you on the other side…

Story Notes: In Which Liz Frankenstein Lives

JDP 92 cover art: “Satan Sowing Tares” by Felicien Rops

What can I say about this story?

For one, writing it was a kind of therapy.

A year or so ago, I completed and defended my Master’s Essay: an exploration of how Rousseau’s theories of education and personhood manifest in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This is not to speak negatively of that experience–it was overwhelmingly  positive–but I definitely needed some time to process my feelings about how gender plays out in Rousseau’s treatise, Emile (grrr), and subsequently in Shelley’s novel (I argued, as a kind of commentary and/or satire).

What better way to purge said feelings by rolling out a time travel story for Jersey Devil Press‘s Victorian Mash-Up special issue?

In addition to giving some neglected women characters just a little bit of justice, I’m always delighted to turn Victorian queer subtext into actual text. Frankenstein is one of the subtextiest of them all, so this is as gay and bi and gender fluid as I could make it in 3700 words.

Also Nikola Tesla. How do you write a mad-as-all-hell Victorian adventure without Nikola Tesla?

(And, yes, if you’re wondering, I did dare myself to include references to as many Victorian or Victorian-adjacent works as I could. I won’t provide a list–where’s the fun in that? But do tweet me how many you found.)

Ultimately, though, sometimes we just write things for fun and out of affection for other things. Because I do, and have always, loved these stories, whatever their flaws and my frustrations.

Rousseau on the other hand…

“In Which Liz Frankenstein Lives,” appeared in the Victorian Mash-Up special issue of Jersey Devil Press. Support their unique flavor of weird fiction by donating or by purchasing one of their anthologies.

New story

Jersey Devil Press released their Victorian Mash-Up Special Issue today. It includes my short story, “In Which Liz Frankenstein Lives, Makes New Friends, Saves Nikola Tesla, and Fixes What She Can” (“In Which Liz Frankenstein Lives” for short).

You can find it, Dan Morey’s delightful Little Women/Moby Dick mash-up, and Jen Fawkes’s excellent meditation on Professor Moriarty here.

Thanks for reading!

Story Notes: Whatever Tower, However High

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to take a Sci-Fi and Fairy Tales workshop with the Brainery (taught by the lovely and talented Carina Bissett). Each week we tackled an element of science & technology and combined it with a myth or fairy tale to create a science fiction story.

“Whatever Tower, However High” resulted from pairing Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, “The Tinder-Box,” with the phenomenon of the Internet of Things, or the idea that all of our gadgets and smart houses and Amazon Echoes will form their own interconnected network.

As Tina mentions in her commentary at the end of the episode, “The Tinder-Box” is a pretty grim tale in most respects. The soldier achieves his ends primarily via murder and by using the magical (and ill-gotten) tinder-box. The princess is a trophy, not a person.

I didn’t much want to go down that specific road, but I was intrigued by the image of the soldier after war living in a tiny attic apartment where no one would visit him and the ways in which that mirrors the image of the woman in the tower. Which is how Eric and his fellow hacker, Rebecca, came to be. They are, in many respects, two sides of the same coin.

The difference is, of course, that whether Eric knows it or not, he does have a community who cares for him: Warley and the people who live in his apartment building. As someone who’s always adopting people into her own, I’m a sucker for found families.

And 3D chess. And wheelchairs that go way too fast.

“Whatever Tower, However High,” read by Logan Waterman, was episode 573 of Escape Pod, the weekly science fiction podcast. You can donate directly on their site or support them and the other Escape Artists podcasts on Patreon.