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Deep Thoughts

A few months ago Queer Sci Fi ran a discussion about whether the turbulent, ugly political clime had changed our reading and writing habits. At the time I thought, ‘no, not really’ and didn’t take part. However, I keep track of my reading for various reading challenges. Hell, if I were as meticulous about the rest of my life as I am about that reading list, my house would be on Better Homes & Gardens and my novels would be plotted to perfection.

When I looked over it, I realized I had subtly changed my reading habits. I’ve always read more mysteries than anything else but this year that’s almost all I’ve read. As of me writing this, I’ve read 102 book (including manga) and less than a dozen have been YA or fantasy. That was a bit shocking but I thought no more about it.

Then I started reading Seraphina for the Popsugar Challenge read a book recommended by a favorite author. It’s an interesting fantasy with a strong female lead and I set it aside half way through (or maybe a bit earlier than that). It was blatantly about racial intolerance (and one would assume defeating the evil of it but there’s no guarantee). In this case human vs dragon but the implications were obvious and I couldn’t escape thinking ‘if I wanted to be immersed in that, I can turn on the news.’ I just couldn’t finish it. There might have been a happy ending or relatively so but I couldn’t make myself read it.

I meant to write this post then but life intervened. I got busy. And more horrible shit has happened in the world. Two weeks ago I started another YA fantasy, Julia Vanishes. Like Seraphina, it’s an interesting world with a strong female lead…and the story is becoming the loss of freedoms and rights, the turning away/attacking of immigrants as the leadership becomes a theocracy and women are bearing the brunt of it. Yeah, no, I just can’t. Maybe at another time I could read this but right now with Trump and his bullshit, I simply can’t heap fictional misery upon real life.

Now, I know some authors need to use their writing as an outlet for this stuff, to work through their own feelings. In theory in far less turbulent times, I did write one novel where the bad guys were trying to erode the rights of women and homosexuals (about 13 years ago now) but it didn’t work well. I had another which was about racial intolerance before I gave it up. I lost the heart to do it. One of my potential nanos would have featured a new but growing intolerant religion but nope, I just cannot do it. That one is for after nano (maybe for camp next spring) when I can replot the villains.

So I was wrong. I have changed, partially subconsciously. I’ve never really liked dystopias so I thought yeah I haven’t really changed my reading but yes I guess I’ve started avoiding fantasies with sweeping political plots. I think I like mysteries because they’re so small picture, if you will. We’re concentrating on a murder and not the state of the world for the most part. How ironic is it that fictionalized murder is less disturbing to me than fictionalized political/racial strife.

Renewal Release!

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer


Ebook:

http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p123/Renewal%3A_Queer_Sci_Fi%27s_Fourth_Annual_Flash_Fiction_Contest.html

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/renewal-27

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=2333692

https://play.playster.com/books/10009781386116653/renewal-j-scott-coatsworth

Print (b/w illustrations only):

Paperback (color illustrations, est available 9/16 – preorder now)

Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera