Island History in Asimov’s, out now

The skinny: My new short story, “Island History” just came out in the September/October 2022 issue of Asimov’s. If you want to read it, you can get a subscription, or you can buy the digital version of the current issue only, or you can try walking into a likely bookstore and seeing if they have a print copy (Barnes and Noble is a good bet).

In other news: The new Terraform anthology has come out and includes short works by many really fabulous writers, as well as my short piece “Plantation | Springtime,” which first appeared on the Terraform website in 2016, then on Big Echo in 2018. You can order it here, or buy it from your local bookstore, or get it in whatever way you usually obtain books.

This summer I’ve been working on translations of Antoine Volodine and Marie Cosnay for an upcoming issue of Palais, the magazine of the Palais de Tokyo. More info on that when it becomes available.

In case anyone’s wondering: I began writing this story in summer of 2020, a few months into the first Covid lockdowns, a few weeks after the Minneapolis police murdered a man and set off an enormous wave of protests, right here in my quiet southside neighborhood, and all over the world.

That summer I was also running a lot, both for exercise and just to get out of the house. My longer runs sometimes take me to Pike Island, in Fort Snelling State Park, where the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi. There isn’t a sign right there, or a marker, or anything really to let you know it, but this confluence is, for the Dakota people, a sacred place called Bdote:

For the Dakota, there are multiple stories of creation, with one account widely held in this region. According to oral tradition, the spirits of the people came down from Caŋku Wanaġi, “the spirit road,” made up of the stars of the Milky Way, and when they arrived on Earth, the Creator shaped the first people from the clay of Maka Ina, “Mother Earth” at Bdote.

For me, descendant of immigrants from Finland and Germany and sundry other European locales, the confluence is a reminder to think about the place where I live, where other people once lived and were forced to leave.

So in the summer of 2020, I was thinking about all these things, and also, a little, about a New Yorker article on the Falkland Islands that I’d read on some insomniac night. This story isn’t about any of them, not directly, but indirectly I think it touches on all of them. I finished the first full draft in April of 2021, and after numerous revisions, finally, here it is out in the world. I hope you like it.

News! Publications! and Manuela Draeger’s Kree

As I noted in my last post, things tend to happen all at once. The week before last, for example, I had one story published on March 30th and another one came out on the 31st. Wild times. Here are the details:

Better Get Hit in Your Soul” appeared on the Nature magazine website, as part of its Futures science fiction series. This is a short piece about a saxophonist forced to get back to basics. I’ve also included a short “behind the story” bit, in which I duly credit Charles Mingus, whose song title I brazenly stole.

Escape Pod was kind enough to produce a podcast version of “Rena in the Desert”, a story which appeared in Asimov’s in March/April 2020. Forever ago, right? It’s strange revisiting a story from before things really went sideways. Anyway, I enjoyed the reading by S. Kay Nash and the audio production by Summer Brooks (I didn’t really notice it so I think that means it’s good), and I’m grateful to Mur Lafferty for her thoughts.

Regarding that third publication—it looks like “Island History” is set to come out in the September/October 2022 issue of Asimov’s. Updates forthcoming.

Now, the big news: I have signed a contract with the University of Minnesota Press to translate the novel Kree by Manuela Draeger.

I just received the hard copy from Éditions de l’Olivier today and I plan to carry it around with me constantly for a year or so

For those not acquainted, Manuela Draeger is a member of the Antoine Volodine/Lutz Bassmann/et al. post-exoticism, er, collective, so to speak. Works previously translated into English include In the Time of the Blue Ball (tr. Brian Evenson) and Eleven Sooty Dreams (tr. J. T. Mahany), both of which I really enjoyed. Kree is a dark, violent, fascinating, and fun novel, and I am so excited I get to sink into it and eventually share it with everyone.

Forthcoming fictions (it never rains but it pours)

After a couple years’ dry spell on the fiction front, I am happy and relieved to share some news. Over the last few weeks I’ve had three pieces of my own writing accepted for publication. I’m not sure yet when these things will appear, but appear they shall, and I shall write proud excited blog posts about them when they do. For now, I’ll keep things brief.

First, Asimov’s has accepted my short story “Island History”.

Second, Nature magazine runs an online short fiction series called “Futures,” which will include my flash piece titled “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” (a title for which I am obviously endebted to Charles Mingus).

Third, Escape Pod has agreed to produce a podcast version of “Rena in the Desert,” which originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Asimov’s.

What else is going on? Isn’t that enough? Well, there’s some translation news coming in the near future, but I’m keeping it under wraps until everything’s official.

In the meantime, be placated with this picture of my new dog. This is Jolie. The story is, Jolie escaped a (hypothetical) mean person who hauled her around by the collar a lot, and ended up pregnant and wandering the streets of Jasper, Alabama. Somebody brought her into a shelter, where she produced a single puppy. She ended up at a rescue organization here in Minnesota, where she did some mothering before sending the pup off to college and coming to live with us. As with my old dog Romeo (who was a stray from Brooklyn, NY), I like a dog with an interesting past, even if, in this case, we’ve got some training to do.

More news soon, I hope.