First Review of “The Waxing Disquiet” (And It’s a Good One!)

Thanks to my co-author Tony Pi for the head’s-up about the first review of our story “The Waxing Disquiet,” which appeared last month in Deep Magic.

The Waxing Quiet, by Tony Pi & Stephen Kotowych in Deep Magic. “He retreated to the calculation antechamber, where the tallylooms worked unceasingly. Click-clack went the wooden hooks, tying knots in the coarse hemp twine, the knot-history of their answers.” Fate and faith are at the center of this story, set in a society where a complex loom is used to determine which decisions are the right ones: for the society as a whole, and for individuals. The loom itself is a breathtaking piece of imagined technology, and I love the way the organization of the society uses concepts and terminology from bees and bee-keeping. A uniquely imagined world, and I’ll be thinking about that loom for a while…

Thanks to Maria Haskins for the shout-out–we’re glad she liked the story!

– S.

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“The Waxing Disquiet” Available Now!

18879898_1349788011771685_4624014453232649535_oThe June 2017 issue of Deep Magic–which includes “The Waxing Disquiet” by Tony Pi and me–is available now! Here’s the epic table of contents for Deep Magic’s 1-year anniversary issue!

– Short story “The Black Irix” by the legendary Terry Brooks
– Short story “Metamorphistry” by Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Jeff Wheeler
– Short story “The Waxing Disquiet” by Tony Pi & Stephen Kotowych
– Short story “Bad Dog” by Patrice Sarath (Gordath Wood)
– Short story “Dreams of a Radiant Sentry” by Christen Anne Kelley
– Article “Rock Your World in 5 Easy Steps”, by Sara B. Larson, Author
– Article “The Problems with Publishing Contracts”, by David Vandagriff, lawyer specializing in the literary industry
– Interview with Matthew Bialer, agent at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
– Book Excerpt by Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Charlie N. Holmberg, “The Fifth Doll”
– Book Excerpt by bestselling author Carrie Anne Noble, “The Gold-Son”

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Sale! “The Waxing Disquiet” to Deep Magic

Very pleased to announce that “The Waxing Disquiet”, a collaboration with Tony Pi, has sold to Deep Magic. It should appear in that magazine’s June issue.

This is the first collaboration for Tony and I, though we’ve known each other for more than ten years, including belonging to The Stop-Watch Gang writer’s group.

pyramids

“The Waxing Disquiet” is set in a low-metal civilization built around hive-pyramids, bee-keeping, and the candle-and-waterworks-powered tallyloom computers that direct and order the society.

It was a lot of fun writing collaboratively with Tony. We both really loved this world, and I hope its one we can return to again soon.

And as it happens, Tony was able to arrange for a class of University of Toronto mechanical engineers to use the tallyloom idea as the basis for their year-end projects. Several teams actually built tallying machines that used only wood, water, wax, and weights to operate. It was very cool to see something you wrote about come to life like that!

– S.

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We’ve Made Our Own Deflector Shields for the Earth

Usually when you hear about unintended consequences they’re bad ones–here’s a good one for a change!

A pair of NASA space probes have detected an artificial bubble around Earth that forms when radio communications from the ground interact with high-energy radiation particles in space, the agency announced this week. The bubble forms a protective barrier around Earth, shielding the planet from potentially dangerous space weather, like solar flares and other ejections from the sun.

This bubble is caused by human use of very-low frequency (VLF) radio waves. The observations suggest that the VLF waves can push radiation particles away, since the Van Allen belts (naturally occurring bands of charged particles that surround the Earth) are much further from Earth now than in the 1960s, when we sent fewer VLF transmissions.

Mankind: mucking up the cosmos since 1957! ™

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Sale! “The Murmur of Its Name” to Flame Tree Supernatural Horror Anthology

I was supposed to keep it hush-hush for a while, but I think I’m allowed to say now that I’ve sold another story. I’m very pleased that my story ‘The Murmur of Its Name’ will be published in Flame Tree Press’s Supernatural Horror anthology later this summer. From all accounts, Flame Tree’s books are gorgeous so I’m looking forward to my copy!ronin3-small

‘The Murmur of Its Name’ takes place (I think?) in the same world as my story ‘There Followed the Wind’ from my collection, SEVEN AGAINST TOMORROW.

I say ‘I think’ because this new story is…a bit dark for me. Usually I’m not one for horror, but this one just sort of came out that way. It’s also (again, unusually for me) what might be called a “swords and sanity” story, pondering what the invasion of a quasi-Japan would have been like if the Mongols and their Great Khan were actually in service of something…old.

So, not 100% whether it fits in with the world and events of ‘Wind’, but I have more ideas for this quasi-Japan and its samurai so I guess I’ll find out at some point…

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My 2016 Ad Astra Schedule

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My annual local convention, the wonderful Ad Astra, happens this weekend. It’s their 35th anniversary this year, and I realized the first time I attended was their 25th anniversary which means…I’m old.

Anyway, here’s my schedule. I’m only able to attend on Saturday but I’m on what should be some pretty cool panels. Frankly, I’m a bit intimidated by some of the other panelists. Not sure how I’ll sound like I know what I’m talking about. Fake it till you make it, I guess?

Wish me luck!

– S.

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The Decision to Self-Publish

April 30, 2016, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Hall: Richmond A Track: Self Publishing 101

It’s a basic question that all authors are faced with: do you seek out traditional publishing opportunities or do you dive into the world of self-publishing with the hopes of greater ownership and control over your own name and work. In this panel, hear several authors talk about their decision to self-publish or not and the things that they considered prior to making that decision.

Speakers:
A.A. Jankiewicz, Jennifer Jaquith, Marcy Italiano, Robert Boyczuk, Stephen Kotowych
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Modern Anxieties and Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes

April 30, 2016, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Hall: Markham A Track: Storytelling and Literature

Zombies. Outbreaks. Warfare. Environmental cataclysm. Sometimes all of the above. In recent years, post-apocalypses have become all the rage. But why? Why are we so interested as a culture in exploring the end of Western civilization in the 21st century? How do the post-apocalypses we create reflect real fears and anxieties in our own time? In this panel, we’ll explore the link between post-apocalyptic fiction and worlds and modern events.

Speakers:
Alyx Dellamonica, Catherine Asaro, Naomi Foyle, Peter Watts, Stephen Kotowych
________________________________

Crafting a Believable Alternate History

April 30, 2016, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Hall: Richmond B Track: Storytelling and Literature

Some authors borrow from history, others outright reimagine it, rewriting historical figures and scenarios in unexpected ways. Are there certain considerations to take when reimagining recent history over ancient history? What are some of the challenges of working with historical events with which the reader may (or may not) be familiar?

Speakers:
Charlotte Ashley, Dominik Parisien, Jack Whyte, Kate Story, Stephen Kotowych

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“Super Frenemies” Nominated for Aurora Award!

I’m thrilled to announce (after an agonizing two week embargo!) that my story “Super Frenemies” is nominated for this year’s Aurora Award in the Best English Short Fiction category. This is my second Aurora Award nomination: my story “Saturn in G Minor” was nominated in 2008.

AuroraWinner+NomineeLogos_2"“Super Frenemies” looks at a group of children who develop super powers as the result of a pandemic, and how schoolyard politics and power dynamics would play out if suddenly the bullied kids had the (super)power over the bully who tormented them for years. It was originally published in Caped: An Anthology of Superhero Tales (Local Hero Press, 2015).

I really love this story, and I’m so pleased that others did, too, and saw fit to nominate it for an Aurora. It was partly inspired by an idea from Harry Connolly, and partly from my three-year-old son’s growing love of superheroes. Though I’d been reading comics my whole life, it wasn’t until he started wanting to watch Superman and Batman cartoons that I truly realized how important violence is to superheroes, even the good guys…

The full list of the 2016 nominees can be found here. Congratulations to all the nominees! Looks like a fantastic ballot again this year.

A reading package of the nominated works (including “Super Frenemies”) will be available shortly, and voting will begin June 15. More details closer to those dates. The Aurora Awards will be presented during When Words Collide / Canvention 36 on the weekend of August 12-14, 2016 in Calgary.

– S.

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“Saturn in G Minor” Now Available on StarShipSofa

Very pleased to report that my Writers of the Future winning story “Saturn in G Minor” is now available as FREE audio fiction from the good folks over at StarShipSofa.

The narration is crackerjack, provided by Nick Camm, an actor, audio-book narrator and voice-overer. I love his narration–I do. However, based on the list of accents on his profile page I now kind of wish he’d narrated the story in a Cockney, or perhaps a Glaswegian accent. Ah, well. Next time.

This is my second appearance on the Sofa. My story “A Time for Raven” (first published in Interzone) appeared as the featured story way back in Episode 259. Here’s hoping they’ll have me back for more at some point!

Oh, and as a completely disinterested party…Did you know that StarShipSofa is eligible for Hugo nominations in the BEST FANCAST category this year for their run of shows in 2015? You can find a full breakdown of StarShipSofa circa 2015 here. Since nominations close this Thursday, March 31st there’s still time to show the Sofa some nomination love! You can be sure that I will. You know: as a completely disinterested party.

– S.

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SFRevu Likes “The Shipwright”

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SFRevu.com has had a read of Abyss & Apex #57 and they like what they’ve read, including my story, “The Shipwright”:

In a world where ships were beasts, the job of the shipwright is to control them with his mind. Telig has done well with female ship-beasts but he has been kidnapped by pirates to run a man-o’-war, what a female ship-beast becomes after the Change. The pirates are seeking the man-o’-war they call Leviathan. Telig, not able to control this ship-beast, must find a way to control the more powerful Leviathan. Interesting turn on the classic sea adventure.

Not bad.

A special congratulations to C. Erickson, who garnered special praise for her story–her first sale!–in the issue. Well done!

– S.

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Why You’ll Never Look at Little Red Riding Hood the Same Way Again

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Okay, so this is COOL. Using techniques developed for the study of evolutionary biology, scientists have traced certain folk stories back to the Bronze Age.

Stories, in their telling and retelling, accumulate changes in plot, characters, and settings. In fact, they behave a lot like living organisms, which build up mutations in the genes that they pass to successive generations. And now scientists can reconstruct the relationships between versions of a story using the same tools that evolutionary biologists use to study the change over time in species. They can compare different versions of the same tale and draw family trees–phylogenies–that unite them. They can even reconstruct the last common ancestor of a group of stories.

Little Red Riding Hood, for example, can be traced back to a single origin, 2,000 years ago, somewhere between Europe and the Middle East. Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin were first written down in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively, but they are actually between 2,500 and 6,000 years old.

How cool is that!?!

Much more here. And here, too. Well worth the read!

– S.

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