jueves, 31 de julio de 2008


A bunch of Helix writers, including myself, have created Transcriptase a webpage where readers can enjoy stories originally published in Helix, without having to visit said publication directly.

As of now, this is the list of the authors participating in Transcriptase:

Elizabeth Barrette
Beth Bernobich
Maya Bohnhoff
Eugie Foster
Samantha Henderson
Janis Ian
N.K. Jemisin
Vylar Kaftan
Ann Leckie
Yoon Ha Lee
Margaret Ronald,
Jennifer Pelland,
Vaughan Stanger
Rachel Swirsky)
(and myself).

The site includes a summary of the Helix fiasco, as well as the reasons why we've chosen to display our work outside of Helix. A few authors have also written individual statements.

Vylar Kaftan deserves gobs of credit for putting this thing together, as does Eugie Foster for doing most of the web set-up and stuff. Other people contributed their time and effort to make this a work.


lunes, 28 de julio de 2008

Family Values is up at Escape Pod!

Check it out

This is what a couple listeners had to say:

I am glad I get to be the first to comment. What a treat! Be on the lookout for Sara Genge. She is building quite the name for herself. I can see why. This was a fantastic story. Great worldbuiling! Glad to hear it narrated by Alasdair Stuart, He really did it justice
Bookman 12pt

It’s nice that such a short story can still satisfy. The author has a fantastic imagination. A jellyfish alien sex and political intrigue story is a first for me (although I know that there are fetish websites for almost anything)!

Of course, someone caught the blooper (note to self: someone always catches the blooper, the reader is quite right in suggesting authors should not throw around random numbers unless they know what the heck they're talking about).

I enjoyed the story in general, but there's a technical niggle that annoys me:

The teacher transferred (more than) 10,000,000 zettajoules of energy to the senator. To put that into proportion, the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated had a fireball 9Km across and a mushroom cloud seven times higher than Mount Everest. It was 2,500 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

It released one forty-billionth as much energy as was transferred between these two beings. (...)


Of course, I could argue that you don't really know what scale this world is in, that it doesn't even have to be in our same Universe, and that it's satire anyway, so the answer to anything is likely to be 42. However, he got it right. I threw a number around and I missed. This amuses me for some reason... I have fun being wrong.

Scroll down that comment thread for this:

I did like the irony of casual and ostensibly anonymous sex saving a politician from a political gaffe. But the story itself was weak soup. Those zettajoules might have been better spent on character development and an emotional arc that didn't feel like a deleted scene from some intergalactic version of "The West Wing."

Yes! The West Wing was there. I'm glad someone got it.
And I totally did move on to write another alien tentacle sex story, as shreiber suggested further down in the thread. Be on the lookout for "Prayers for an Egg" a rather more serious take on the subject which will soon be published in Asimov's.

domingo, 27 de julio de 2008


It's taken me a while to post about the Helix mess. I'm not going to make yet another summary of the situation. Better bloggers have already done that. A quick google should turn up more posts than anyone could digest in a lifetime.

I woke up to this after an all-night shift at the Hospital. I tried to figure it out, shook my head in denial and went back to bed. At the time it felt wise to postpone decisions until I was fully awake and rational. I did not think, at the time, of asking Helix to pull down my two stories: for good or bad, I'd signed a contract, and I knew they had the right to display those stories unto eternity, if they so chose.

When I woke up again, it turned out that removing the stories had been possible at some point, but by then, Helix was already charging and I was too poor to be pantiwadulous. Would I have asked them to remove the stories if they hadn't started charging? Honestly, I don't know. The contract aspect weighed heavily in my decision to postpone a decision, if that makes sense. I didn't see why the whole magazine should suffer because of one bigoted editor (and lets not sugar coat this, shall we, clearly this was a display of bigotry). Maybe I was just too stunned to react. This is the first Internet storm in which I've been involved personally, and I had no clue what to do. The thing is, I like Helix. I think the mag fills a niche that needed to be filled. This has been a huge letdown.

Afterwards, I spent a wonderful vacation in Brussels (more on that later) with intermittent Internet. That still doesn't explain why it's taken me so long to talk about this. I tend to avoid conflicts and general ugliness. This is my brand of emotional procrastination.

So, what do I think of this whole mess? I'm sad that Helix imploded. I'm angry at the wording of the rejection letter and equally angry at the way other writers were treated when they asked to have their stories removed. I feel really stupid when dealing with these topics; maybe I wasn't taught to talk about them in school. Just another example of my white privilege, I guess, that I can go through life without the language and the skills to shoot down this kind of crap. Not to speak of the sexism surrounding the whole "pantiwadulous" aspect of this little drama.

I will leave my stories up at Helix because I signed a contract. I'll keep my word. But I'll look at contracts more carefully in the future.

martes, 15 de julio de 2008

Sold! Family Values to Escape Pod

Family Values originally appeared in Cosmos Magazine (you can check it out here ). I can't wait to hear the audio version.