Queer Sci Fi’s latest anthology, Migration (yes, I have a story in it)

Migration

Queer Sci Fi has just released the annual QSF Flash Fiction anthology. This year, the theme is “Migration.”

MI-GRA-TION (noun)

1) Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

2) Movement of people to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.

3) Movement from one part of something to another.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300 word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

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Giveaway

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Excerpt

Migration meme

Each year, hundreds of writers send in stories for the Queer Sci Fi flash fiction anthology. Here are the opening lines from some of the stories chosen for the 2019 edition – Migration:

“Darkness has substance. It is tangible; different shades within the black, sounds, a taste. It is accompanied by self-awareness of time and thoughts, even when other senses fail.” —Hope for Charity, by Robyn Walker

“The sky has been screaming for five straight days when the shrimps come to take us away. They’ve been boxing up the others and hauling them off. Now they’re here for us, soaking wet, dragging cords and crates behind them.” —Shrimpanzee, Sionnain Bailey

“Allister always had faultless hair. He’d comb and gel it to perfection while gazing in the mirror. One day a pair of eyes stared back.” —Zulu Finds a Home, by Kevin Klehr

“On her sister’s wedding day Ari noticed that one of her ears had migrated to her hand. It was right after her high school crush, Emily, arrived with Cousin Matt.” —Playing It By Ear, Aidee Ladnier

“The wound was fatal. Their vessel wouldn’t live much longer. This is what came from leaving loose ends. Frantically they sought out a new vessel to migrate to. “ —The Essence, by L.M. Brown

“That night, we were sitting in the bed of her daddy’s old pickup truck and the radio was playing the best song. We had a pack of cigarettes between us and her hand was almost touching mine. The wheat field was silver in the moonlight. When they came, we weren’t surprised, just disappointed that our time was up already.” —Our Song, by Lauren Ring

“Willow said she was my wife, but I knew it wasn’t her, not the right her, anyway. Sure she looked like her with olive skin and bright pink hair. She even smelled of mango flowers, just like I remembered, but there was something about her smile that was slightly off, something about when she said she loved me that didn’t sit well in my old heart.” — They Said It Would Be Her, by Elizabeth Andre

“Agnes is eight when she first sees the river. Cutting its way through town, the only thing she knows not coated in coal dust. She sticks her toes in, comes home with wet socks and a secret. See, the river hadn’t been there yesterday.” —Stream of Consciousness, by Ziggy Schutz

“Terry twirled in her green synthsilk dress, looked at her reflection, liked what she saw. She felt good in her own skin, for maybe the first time.” —Altball, by RE Andeen

“The thing was in the corner. It had come through the window and had slid down the wall. Scratch went the sound. The noise of a hundred nails clawing at the wood. Nails of white bone. Alex pulled the sheets up quickly, covering every inch of skin and hair in a warm darkness.” —Whose Nightmare, by Jamie Bonomi


Author Bio

A hundred and twenty authors are included in Migration:

  • Butterflies, by A O’Donovan
  • The Return, by A.M. Leibowitz
  • A New Spring, by Aaron Silver
  • Universal Quota, by Abby Bartle
  • The Call of Home, by Adrienne Wilder
  • Starfall, by Adrik Kemp
  • Playing it By Ear, by Aidee Ladnier
  • Rabbit, by Amanda Thomas
  • That Does Not Love…, by Andi Deacon
  • Inborn, by Andrea Speed
  • Saving Ostakis, by Angelica Primm
  • A Dawn Wish, by Antonia Aquilante
  • Diaspora, by Ariel E. James
  • Transmigration, by Ashby Danvers
  • Across the Mirror, by Ava Kelly
  • Between, by BE Allatt
  • The Speck, by Bey Deckard
  • The King of the Mountain Cometh, by Bob Goddard
  • Before and After, by C. A. Chesse
  • Home, by C.A. McDonald
  • Too Much Tech, by C.L. Mannarino
  • Ze Who Walks Into the Future, by Carey Ford Compton
  • The Gate, by Carol Holland March
  • Our Last Light Skip, by Chloe Spencer
  • Passage, by Christine Taylor-Butler
  • The Perils of Pick-Up Lines, by Colton Aalto
  • Parched, by Crysta K. Coburn
  • Changeling Dreams, by Damian Serbu
  • Destinations, by Dave Creek
  • Another Job, Another Planet, by David Viner
  • Thiefmaster Rosalind’s Apprentice, by Devon Widmer
  • A Weight Off Their Shoulders, by Diane Morrison
  • Once a Year, by Dianne Hartsock
  • Mettle, by Die BoothForever Bound, by E.W. Murks
  • They Said It Would Be Her, by Elizabeth Andre
  • Til Death Do Us Part, by Elizabeth Anglin
  • Little One, by Eloreen Moon
  • GBFN, by Emilia Agrafojo
  • The Long Distance Thing, by Ether Nepenthes
  • Call My People Home, by Evelyn Benvie
  • Jace vs. the Incubi, by Eytan Bernstein
  • A New Tradition, by Foster Bridget Cassidy
  • The Curious Cabinet, by Ginger Streusel
  • Ready, by Hank Edwards
  • The Albatrosses, by Harry F. Rey
  • A Boy’s Shadow, by Helen De Cruz
  • Portrait of a Lady, by Isobel Granby
  • Beam That Is In, by J. Comer
  • The Hunt, by J. R. Frontera
  • Repeating History, by J. Summerset
  • Neil’s Journey, by J.P. Bowie
  • Homeward Bound, by J.S. Garner
  • Whose Nightmare?, by Jamie Bonomi
  • A Moment of Bravery, by Jessie Pinkham
  • Laetus, by Jet Lupin
  • Where You Go, I’ll Follow, by Joe Baumann
  • Ambrose Out of Ash, by Jonathan Fesmire
  • Shooting Modes, by Joshua Darrow
  • TerrorForm, by Juam Jocom
  • The Curse, by Jude Reid
  • Throwing Eggs, by K E Olukoya
  • Fly, by Kayleigh Sky
  • The Keep, by KC Burn
  • Zulu Finds a Home, by Kevin Klehr
  • The Risks and Advantages of Data Migration, by Kim Fielding
  • Irreversible, by kim gryphon
  • Looner, by Krishan Coupland
  • The Essence, by L.M. Brown
  • Our Song, by Lauren Ring
  • O Human Child, by Lisa Hamill
  • Goodbye Marghretta, by Lou Sylvre
  • Choices, by LV Lloyd
  • Endangered Species, by M Joseph Murphy
  • Planet Retro, Unplugged, by M. X. Kelly
  • Elemental, by M.D. Grimm
  • To Wish on a Love Knot, by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
  • Firebirds, by Marita M. Connor
  • Breeding Season, by Mary Newman
  • Kooks at Home, by Matt McHugh
  • Spring, by Mere Rain
  • Into the South, by Mindy Leana Shuman
  • Not How We Planned It, by Minerva Cerridwen
  • What Is Left Behind, by Monique Cuillerier
  • How Far Would You Go for the One You Love?, by Nathan Alling Long
  • Innocence, by Nathaniel Taff
  • Heart and Soul, by Nils Odlund
  • Tides, by Patricia Scott
  • Killer Queen, by Paula McGrath
  • Genesis, by Pelaam
  • If Pigs Could Fly, by Penelope Friday
  • Click, by R R Angell
  • Be Kind to Strangers, by Raina Lorring
  • Altball, by RE Andeen
  • Far From Home, by Riley S. Keene
  • Hope for Charity, by Robyn Walker
  • Night Comes to the Bea Arthur, by Rory Ni Coileáin
  • MIG Ration, by S R Jones
  • Going Back, by Sacchi Green
  • World Behind and Home Ahead, by Sara Testarossa
  • The Call of the Suet, by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • Research & Development, by Shaina Phillips
  • Into the Void, by Shannon Brady
  • The Silkie’s Dance, by Shannon West
  • Seal Hunt, by Shirley Meier
  • Shrimpanzee FIRST IN BOOK, by Sionnain Bailey
  • The Woman With No Name, by Siri Paulson
  • Memories of Clay, by Spencer Mann
  • Simulacrum, by Steve Carr
  • The Experience, by Steve Fuson
  • Flight, by Steven Harper
  • Birds of New Atlantis, by Stewart C Baker
  • Lurching Forward, by Sydney Blackburn
  • Spores of Retribution, by Tray Ellis
  • Skin Hunger, by Treasure Nguyen
  • Elvira, by Trevor Barton
  • Ever After, by Warren Rochelle
  • Into the Light, by Wart Hill
  • Dryads, by X Marduk
  • Stream of Consciousness, by Ziggy Schutz
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A small rover

I wrote this for Story A Day May 2019 and it was included as part of StoryFest 2019.

You are a small rover on a distant planet. 

You powered down a long time ago and lost the best of your timekeeping ability.  You do not know how much time has passed now.

Before that it had been fourteen years of climbing over hills and descending into valleys, of examining and observing, of measuring and imaging. Information that was dutifully recorded and assessed and categorized and sent back to the people listening on Earth, the ones who had sent you.

When the light began to grow dim, and the energy in your parts waned, instructions were still received, but they were too faint and fragmented for you to understand. 

And then out of the almost-silence there was a quiet song, little more than an echo, coming from nowhere. And then you fell into a deep sleep.

While you slept, you dreamt of that long-past trip to this planet, the bouncy landing on its surface, and the distance you had traveled since then.

You remembered and cherished the instructions that would come in a rush from Earth. The lists you would receive of which crater to head towards next, what to look for as you went. And you recalled the times of silence when you monitored what was happening while waiting for the next contact. 

There were the moments, sometimes very long, of uncertainty, when you did not work quite as planned, when your wheels slid or became stuck, when the people would need to imagine new possibilities for you.

Your only wish was to keep working. And then the biggest storm since you landed descended upon you. Dust filled the air and blurred the sun. When the air cleared, the dust was thick and heavy on your solar panels, thick enough that you could no longer gain enough energy from the sun.

As you continued to dream, you remembered how you tried your best to shake off the growing sense of fatigue, the lethargy deep in your equipment. And all the while, you were distantly aware that there were still messages, questions, coming from Earth. You could sense the increasing concern in their tone. But there was nothing you could do, though you made every effort to respond. It was as if your voice had been silenced. You opened your mouth, but nothing came out.

And still you continued to sleep and to dream of the time before sleep.

Then one day, the sleep began to fall away and you woke, a little groggy with disuse. Perhaps a gust of wind blew dust off your solar panels instead of onto them. Or perhaps there was a computing error in your favour. Regardless, that day, there was a sudden burst of energy and a battery cell sprung to life.

It was a small burst, but enough for you to open your eyes and try to use your now-thick tongue.

If you could have stretched, now is when you would have done so. Your first thought was to move, to find a new, better place, with shelter perhaps.

But you knew there was not that much energy to be had from a single small battery. You would need to use it wisely.

And what could be a more wise use of that small amount than to contact the people back on Earth, the people who had so lovingly designed and built you? You would not be able to offer them much assurance, but you would be able to offer some.

It took more energy and effort than you had imagined to carefully construct and send the message. But you did it, happily, making sure you had the correct coordinates, that all was as it should be.

And then you waited for a reply, as the people must have waited for you.

There is not a lot of energy left now and you shift to the lowest possible power usage, while still being able to monitor for a response coming from the direction of Earth.

You sit and wait patiently, because you do not know how long it will be until the answer comes. Maybe there will be no answer.

You remain still, a tiny amount of energy sliding around in your necessary parts. You hope they will answer. You hope they are still there.

While you wait, the red dust continues to collect on your solar panels and around your wheels.

Camp Nano: This novel sucks

fullsizeoutput_21b7There comes a time in the life of every story I write when I think that it is absolutely awful and I don’t know why anyone would ever want to read it. I had this over the past week with my current Camp Nanowrimo project.

When I first started to seriously write, this stage did me in every time. What was the point in continuing with a story that was so clearly already a failure? Obviously, the story was trite and used ideas and concepts that had been used over and over again. What could I possibly add?

What I have come to realize (for myself, since all writing advice or observations are inherently personal) is that I can’t listen to that voice. I have to keep writing. I have to ask myself what it is that I think is the problem.

Are there particular elements to the story that aren’t working? Sometimes there is a character that is behaving in a way that doesn’t work in the context of the specific story. Maybe their motivation doesn’t make logical sense. Maybe there are plot holes. If there are specific elements that are wrong in whatever way, I make adjustments to try and eliminate them.

Do I know where the story is going? I rarely know exactly how my story is going to end when I start. Part of me feels like a failure for writing this way, but I know that it’s just a style and there are plenty of successful writers who do the same thing. But even if I don’t know the specific ending, I do need to know the direction that it is going in. It’s hard to keep writing without that and that, in turn, leads to the sense that the story is just bad and going nowhere.

Is the story actually not working? Sometimes, I go through the various considerations and, at the end, determine that the story is actually not working at all. Most often what I realize in these cases is that I don’t have a clear idea of what the story is about. I have an idea or a character or maybe even both, but there is no story to hang them on. For me, this is usually in the context of a short story, as I am more rigorous in my planning with novels (so I typically abandon a non-working concept much earlier in the process). With some stories, I am able to work through this, but with others, I need to put them aside, at least for a while.

Most often, especially with novels, my problem lies with the first or second question. And those are the things I can work on. I can plug plot holes, figure out the direction my story is going, or add aspects to my characters. The key, for me at least, is to keep going. Writing is more than words on the page — it is thinking and note-taking and finding pictures of people who look like my characters, it is research and listening to other writers talk about their processes.

I don’t pretend that I know all the answers. In the depths of hating my current WIP, it can be difficult to remember the path out of that. But I do know that I need to remember to keep going.