Thursday, May 17, 2018

Talking About "Logistics"

"Logistics" from Clarkesworld Issue 139 has been out in the world six weeks now, and it's been exciting watching the chatter around it. I'd hoped to make an impact because sanitary products is not a theme usually explored in speculative fiction. Here's to more stories about reproductive justice!

Tiffani Angus, the academic whose lecture at Worldcon was part inspiration for the story, interviewed me and was kind enough to let me ramble on about reproductive justice in fiction, toilets on spaceships, and social justice in the sff community in general. You can read the interview over at her blog: "Interview with activist and author AJ Fitzwater"

Charles Payseur has been doing thoughtful and kind reviews of my work this year, and "Logistics" has warranted mention three times in his various review capacities! His Quick Sip review, a shout out in his Patreon (support!) post about queer stories, and in The Book Smugglers (!) X Marks the Spot for May. Honoured and humbled.

At their blog, Brigid Keeley has done a long, thoughtful analysis. Thank you so much.

And Maria Haskins takes a look in 9 Extra Stellar Short Stories I Read in April at her blog.



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Clarkesworld, Issue 139, April 2018


[Image: Will Smith, a black man with short hair in a black suit, gesturing towards the Clarkesworld April issue cover of a small spaceship moving towards a fantasy city made of bulbous, eye-like protrusions. The cover has my name on it]

Friday, March 23, 2018

Something Something March Update

This year feels like there's positive steady momentum. Probably a mix of a steady uptick in published stories, a change to my writing approach, and lots of positive feedback.

Writer's and Readers 2018 went awesome. My session with Charlie Jane Anders was a great discussion on the themes of disability and diversity in her work, Ursula K LeGuin's legacy, climate change, and the future of queer speculative literature. Charlie Jane and I had a great chemistry, and I'm so proud of the conversation we delivered. Live Artist Tara Black drew a cartoon of our event, and Elizabeth Heritage wrote the review to go with it at the Booksellers blog. Thanks Charlie Jane - I really loved hanging out with you! May we meet up again sometime in the future. The NZ Festival team were very supportive for a small time writer like me, and I really appreciate the opportunity to try out my festival chops at such a big time event. Thanks to Mark Cubey who was full of energy and support, and to Rachael King (yo, Word Christchurch 2018 is gonna be awesome!) for putting my name out there.

Reviews have been happening of my most recent work. Big shout out to Charles Payseur and his Quick Sip Reviews. He's reviewed three of my most recent works:"Through the Eye of the Needle" and "Granny Death", as well as "From the Womb of the Land..." at Book Smugglers new X Marks the Story short fiction review blog. Charles gives such incisive and thoughtful critiques, and does great work filling the niche of short sff fiction reviewing. Jason Sanford also had nice things to say about "Granny Death".

My Big Deal of the year is only a few days away, with "Logistics" going live at Clarkesworld in their April issue. I am incredibly excited to share this story with the world (I think it's my best to date), as well as be featured on a platform like Clarkesworld. What happens when you need tampons and gender confirmation surgery after the apocalypse? Follow Enfys through post-phage Europe to find out...

The SJVs are this coming Easter weekend as well, and I'm short listed in the Short Story Category for "From the Womb of the Land...". So if you're a SFFANZ member or going to Conclave, don't forget to vote.

And to wrap up, a bow tie cat pic:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February Stuff: Giganotosaurus and Glittership and NZ Festival Oh My

Things are happening at A Rate this month, my bow tie is spinning.

First up: I will be interviewing Charlie Jane Anders (!!!) at New Zealand Festival Readers and Writers Week. "Beautiful Fantasy" is Saturday, March 10 at the Festival Club. I'm stunned and delighted to be asked by the Festival to undertake this task. Nervous as all get out, this is a Big Deal for me. And, hehe, I'm described as a "speculative practitioner". That's going into my bio from now on.

Second up: "Through the Eye of the Needle" went live at Giganotosaurus on February 1. Enormous dragon Kitahniaa is trapped in a magical prison by the mysterious Mistress who uses female (and in the case of Kitahniaa, non-male) practitioners of magic to her own evil ends. There Kitahniaa meets Riena, who can do amazing things with needle and thread. Do they trust each other, or is it simply another trick to strip the once great dragon of what remains of their dignity?

Third up: "Granny Death and the Drag King of London", my Freddie Mercury tribute story, is live at Glittership! I also did the narration for this, and it was so much fun finding the voices of the characters. I'm all a-fluff this story found a home at Glittership. Set in the days after dear Freddie's death, and imbued in the panic of the AIDS crisis, drag king Lacey deals with rejection, trauma, and death badly. Is she too so close to death she's seeing some weird demon lady crashing funeral buffet tables?

2018, you're doing A Thing. Yeek.

Freddie Mercury, Live at Wembley, 1986.

Monday, January 29, 2018

I Did It

Forty rejections and eight years later, I've sold a story to Clarkesworld.

It's a strange combination of can't even excitement and being able to breathe again.

I've had Clarkesworld on my Must Do list since the beginning, because they're one of my favourite magazines to read, and I respect the vision Neil Clarke has for the work he publishes.

It's a big hill to climb, which might make it easier to climb the next and the next...(one down, four other Must Do venues to go).

The story is called "Logistics", and is about Enfys, a non-binary person, searching for sanitary products in a post antibiotic resistant apocalyptic European wasteland. It's like "Even the Queen" and Joanna Russ on steroids. There's a lot of discussion about necessary bodily functions and how to cope when you can't just pop down to the supermarket for tampons.

It's partly inspired by a lecture I attended at Worldcon by Tiffani Angus of Anglia Ruskin University, talking about the deficit of femme health issues covered in speculative fiction. People still get their period and carry pregnancies during difficult times, trans people will still need medication and care, so what does that look like in the future or in an apocalyptic world where sanitation, health care, and access to medical needs has changed or is perhaps non-existent?

The story is so far set to be published in the May issue of Clarkesworld.

"Logistics" is not the only publication coming out soon. My base of stories soon to be published has crept up on me because I don't blog as often, but this year is starting to look good. "Through the Eye of the Needle" will be up at Giganotosaurus on February 1st (three days!). I've also got stories pending at Beneath Ceaseless Skies ("The Wild Ride of the Untamed Stars"), Glittership ("Granny Death and the Drag King of London"), and Three-Lobed Burning Eye ("Fault Lines").

A good start to the year, eh.

Happy Cat sez "Hey 2018, how you doin'?"

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Ghastly and Gratitude in the Year Twenty Seventeen

2017 has been a year of stark contradictions.

Politically, it's been difficult. The Trump regime has been frightening to watch unfold on their many awful levels. Brexit and European shifts back toward white supremacy have been sickening. War in Syria and natural disaster in Puerto Rico (exacerbated by White House indifference) were heartbreaking. The New Zealand elections were a difficult and rewarding time for women - we lost an incredible mana wahine from the political system to racism and ignorance, and gained a woman Prime Minister. Remaining active in activism locally and worldwide has been intense and draining, but the small wins have been warm sunlight across a grey landscape.

Personally, my writing life was another level again, shifting above and around other years. As the year comes to a close, I can now paint my writing experience in 2017 with hindsight, bringing together a variety of successes and failures into what feels like good progress.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pacific Monsters is here

Earlier this year I was approached by editor Margret Helgadottir who edited the Fox Spirit Books Monster anthologies ("African Monsters", "Asian Monsters", "European Monsters"). Fox Spirit were putting together a "Pacific Monsters" version, and did I have any suggestions of local authors? Sure I did!

So it was a lovely surprise when Margret asked me to write a story for the anthology too. I had the chance to meet with her too when I was in Oslo in August, so that was cool. We had a lovely chat about things publishing, and she took me for a walk around the parliamentary buildings that had been bombed where we spoke of the resilience of cities suffering from trauma. Our experiences and healing paths were different, but there was something of a connection between the two.

My choice of monster was easy - what lives in the cracks formed by fault lines? So was born E, my earthquake monster, in "From the Womb of the Land, Our Bones Entwined".

There is Maori mythology around earthquakes, and I built upon the story of Papatūānuku and Rūamoko. I talk more on this process, and a little of my history with earthquakes, in a blog post published at Fox Spirit Books, "The Spine of the Dragon".

"Pacific Monsters" from Fox Spirit Books, edited by Margret Helgadottir, is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US, currently in paperback form. 

Nga mihi to the people who helped me with my translations, and to the people of Aotearoa for their stories that hold up the spine of the land.  

Cover of "Pacfic Monsters". A sepia toned image of a battered building on a headland overlooking a waterway with an islet and broken signposts.