I’ve had a couple people ask for a comprehensive list of my online fiction. You know, stuff that can be read for free in a web browser.
I’m not positive this list is comprehensive, but it is at least nearly so. More recent publications are listed near the top. Older stories are at the bottom. Happy reading!
Dawn, and the Stars, A Dark Expanse tie-in story, published by Deorc Enterprise, May 2013.
A Song of Blackness, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, October 2012
Godshift, Daily Science Fiction, March 2012
The Death and Rebirth of Anne Bonny, Daily Science Fiction, January 2012
All or Nothing, Daily Science Fiction, January 2012
Simulating Sentience (article), Clarkesworld, September 2011.
That Undiscovered Country, Baen.com, 2011.
Movement, reprinted at Escape Pod, originally in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine March 2011.
Like Rain From Silver Skies, Basement Stories, January 2011.
The Scream at NewMyths.com, December 2010.
Nothing This Fun Could Be Good For You: A History of Evil Entertainment (article), Clarkesworld, December 2010.
Knowing Neither Kin Nor Foe in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, April 2010.
The Breath of Heaven, reprinted in Kasma SF, originally in The Sword Review, 2007.
cross-posted from nancyfulda.com
One of the reasons I love writing is because of the things it allows my subconscious to tell the rest of my brain. I’ve never yet written a story that didn’t include a couple of surprises, little turns of phrase which change the color of the universe in my eyes. I’ve always said that I hope my readers come away from my stories as a slightly different person than they were before. I know for a fact that I come away as a different person after writing them.
This week Dawn, and the Stars appeared on the Dark Expanse web site. This is one of those stories that I thought would be an open-and-shut case. The objective was to explore Chitter culture and physiology, set up a couple of story elements for later on, and end up with a short, sweet, intriguing-but-not-particularly-deep bit of space opera.
As usual, my own story surprised me.
(No, really. If you’re the type of person who likes to experience stories before discussing them, go read it now. It’s really short.)
Near the end of the story, a hive-bred alien is struggling with an assignment to join a starfaring expedition — something his genes were never intended to handle, and which fills him with dread. He doesn’t think he can do it. He feels genetically inadequate.
As he turns to go, one of the geneticists calls him back. “Jaktul,” she says. “Remember that a Chitter is more than his genetic pattern. Our genes determine the landscape of our existence, but not the path we take across it.”
That, right there, is the cogent description of the complex interaction between nature, nurture, and agency that I’ve been mulling over for years. And it just popped out. I had no idea the geneticist was going to say that until I’d already put the words on the page.
Like I said, this is why I love writing fiction. Because on the first draft, I get to experience the story right along with the reader.
And I learn something new every time.
cross-posted from nancyfulda.com
The Association for Mormon Letters has selected “Godshift” as its 2013 award recipient for short fiction. This delights and astounds me. The AML is an insightful and highly literary organization, and I’m pleased that they found value in the concepts I sought to explore in the story.
They’ve also written up a lovely description of the story on the AML blog:
Nancy Fulda gives a realistic depiction of what might happen if God, the unchangeable and infinitely merciful, changed. It’s so difficult to write a believable story wherein characters reach a mind shattering conclusion, but Fulda pulls it off brilliantly.
While at first glance, this story seems to be a classic cautionary tale of how science can overstep its bounds, there are a few crucial differences that make this short story different from the archetype. First, the overwhelming fact that, in this story, science is actually changing God’s reactions rather than having God’s reactions change science. Second, the younger generation argues for a more conservative approach to science, while the older generation plunges rashly forward.
I love analyses like this, because I inevitably learn something new about my own work. Mr. Bigelow is correct: this story does invert traditional generation roles regarding scientific impetuosity. And I never realized it until just now.cross-posted from nancyfulda.com
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve contracted with Deorc Enterprise to write one or more video game tie-in stories set in the Dark Expanse universe. Publication will, of course, be contingent on final acceptance of the stories by Deorc.
Dark Expanse© is a free-to-play, real-time, massively multi-player online strategy game of galactic conquest. The stories will be sweeping space opera replete with aliens, smugglers, political scheming, and the occasional explosion. The only downside to this is that it’s going to slow down work on the novel.
Edit: The first Dark Expanse tie-in story, Dawn, and the Stars, is now up at deorc.com.cross-posted from nancyfulda.com
I’ve known David since we joined Codex together back in 2004. This was way back in the dark ages, before David published in Talebones and Analog, won the Jim Baen Memorial award, or became a Philip K. Dick Award winner.
He was a good writer back then. He’s even better now, and his second novel was released from TOR today:
Quintessence is a fast-paced thought experiment set in the Age of Exploration. It reminds me in ways of Sherlock Holmes, Robinson Crusoe, and Treasure Island — with magic, of course. And with a literally flat earth where storms rage and water plunges over the edge of the world near a magical island so dangerous that settlers are dying on a daily basis.
Walton’s exploration of Quintessence — what it is, how it works, and especially the biological consequences of its use in an isolated environment — are enthralling. Repeatedly, I found myself realizing that yes, if creatures existed who could manipulate the atomic structure of their own bodies, evolution would almost certainly take the paths described in the book. Walton is not one to waste words: The depictions are precise and powerful, and the action moves at a strong and steady clip.
Alas, the Amazon description for this book has left out some of my favorite parts. There is no mention of Stephen Parris, the king’s physician who is forced to flee to the edge of the world. Nor does it mention his daughter Catherine; a bright intellectual who inadvertently forms a psychic bond with the mysterious creatures called manticores. There is no mention of priest’s son who harnesses magic for practical purposes, nor of the eerie and intriguing connections between Walton’s ironfish and the physical principles of quantum entanglement.
All in all, this is an excellent book. It does things with magic, philosophy, and the Age of Exploration that I’ve never seen done before, and does them in a crisp and engaging style. Highly worth the time spent to read it.cross-posted from nancyfulda.com
This is the first story I am known to have completed, although not the first one I ever attempted to write. It was originally written longhand, in cursive script, which leads me to suspect I was in fourth grade at the time. I have left grammatical and spelling errors intact.
Later this week, I will post a discussion of newbie writing errors exhibited in this effort.
Sir Louis walked towards the last merchant shop on the street. Hopefully this shop had swords. Sir Louis didn’t relish the idea of going down another street full of merchants trying to get him to buy things he didn’t want or need. The only thing Sir Louis needed was a sword.
Briefly, Sir Louis tried to imagine fighting a dragon without a sword. Ridiculous! Sir Louis had to have a sword.
Sir Louis arrived at the merchant’s shop, a small, brown tent, decorated with colors on the inside. There were all kinds of knick-knacks, a golden shield, a red, obviously fake statue of a cat, a small, green, (what kind of bird was it?) in a silver cage, several books and other such things. But no swords.
Well, he might as well try. As soon as Sir Louis stepped into the tent, up rushed the merchant.
He was tall. Almost seven feet! It made Sir Louis’s six and a half look short! The man was wearing a, um, Sir Louis forgot the name, a cloth on his head. And there was a ruby in the center of the cloth. Oh, what were those things called, anyway?
Sir Louis didn’t have any time to think. The merchant bustled about, grabbing this and that, shoving something or other under Sir Louis’s nose, and talking all the while.
“Hello, Sir. What would you like, kind sir? How about an ancient copy of The Magician’s Book of Spells? Or, perhaps you’d like Magic is Wonderful. Maybe you’d enjoy this fine linen? No? I could even sell you the tent! No one’s been here for so long. Wait! I know just the thing!”
“Excuse me,” said Sir Louis. “The only thing I want is a sword.”
“A sword?” The merchant mumbed, “A sword, a sword!” The merchant went digging through his things. “Aha!” he exclaimed. “Here it is!”
“Here what is?” grumbled Sir Louis. Warily, eyeing the dull, brown, dusty sheath and the dull, gray, unfancy sword hilt sticking out of it.
“Great. Just fantastic,” thought Sir Louis. “Now all I need is… is… oh pooh! I’ve forgotten. Oh well, I’ll just have to manage without it.”
The merchant had just finished dusting off the sword. It was still dull.
“Ah! Here it is! Just what you need, my good man,” the merchant chattered happily.
“How much?” asked Sir Louis.
The merchant didn’t hear him.
“And a marvelous thing it is, too!” said the merchant.
“How much!!?” screamed Sir Louis at the top of his lungs.
“Wha…? Oh! The good man would like to know the price? Well, I’ll sell it to you cheap. Fifty gold pieces.”
“You call that cheap!” cried Sir Louis.
“Yes, yes I do.” Said the merchant. “Because this is not a regular sword. It is a magical talking sword!”
“Talking sword?” said Sir Louis, “I’ll take it!”
Sir Louis paid the merchant. Then the merchant said, “Now, would you be interested in…?”
“No!!!” Sir Louis screamed, and he ran out of the tent.
Sir Louis walked through the forest of, of, what kind of trees? Green forevers or something. Oh, well. Sir Louis relaxed and enjoyed the scenery, the cool, fresh, air, the ferns, the calls of birds, and the quiet.
Sir Louis came to a clearing of nice, green grass. Is was especially nice and quiet. Now was a good time to try the sword.
Carefully, Sir Louis pulled the sword out of the sheath.
“Hi!” said the sword extremely loud and slow. “You know,” said the sword, beginning to talk very fast, “I’ve been in that stupid, idiotic, stuffy, and uncomfortable sheath so long. It’s a pleasure to talk to someone! Even if it is a dumbbell like you!”
“Ahem,” said Sir Louis.
“Why,” said the sword, ignoring him, “It’s amazing how idiotic people can be!”
“Ahem!” said Sir Louis.
“I remember one time when…”
Sir Louis shoved the sword into the sheath. When the sword saw what he was doing it cried, “No! Nononononononommff!”
Sir Louis pulled the sword halfway out of the sheath, and before it could say a thing said, “May I speak for a change?”
“Why, sure,” said the sword slow and innocently. “You can do anything, anything at all, only…” here it speeded up, “Don’t put me in that stuffy sheath again! Pleeeeeze! You can’t…”
Sir Louis started the move the sword into the sheath.
“Noooooooo!” Pleeeeeze! Nooo…”
Sir Louis moved the sword faster. It was quiet! Nothing but forest sounds!
“Now,” said Sir Louis. “What I was going to say is that we’re going to slay a dragon.”
“Slay a dragon!” the sword exclaimed. “Hah! You’d have more luck catching a unicorn!”
Sir Louis tried to remember how he had shut the sword up before. His mind went blank.
“Slay a dragon! Don’t you know anything? I faint at the sight of blood! And do know how swords faint?”
“No!” screamed Sir Louis, somehow out-voicing the sword. “And I don’t want to! I’m boss and we’re slaying a dragon!”
“Alright,” said the sword. “There’s a dragon’s den a mile back.”
Upon reaching the den, without resting a second, Sir Louis charged in. The dragon, which had been sleeping, was awakened by his loud battle cry. Sir Louis charged in, headed straight for the dragon. The sword was calling, “And the dragon strikes! And the knight parries! Now the knight strikes! And he misses! And the dragon’s claw scratches the knight’s hand! And… it’s… blood… and…”
Then the sword hit the dragon, and bent. Then it grew limp. Then it flopped all over the place. Finally it dripped to the floor.
Sir Louis looked at his empty hand. Then at the dragon, which was blocking his way out.
Sir Louis smiled a broad grin, showing all his teeth.
Then Sir Louis ran, dodging this way and that. Somehow, he passed the dragon, exiting the cave just in front of the flames the dragon breathed.
Sir Louis didn’t hesitate; he ran straight for town. After about a mile he slowed down.
Sir Louis thought about all the money he had wasted on that silly, useless sword. Oh, well. Sir Louis shrugged his shoulders, and walked on.
Ok, I admit. This story isn't exactly Nebula material. My protagonist has some rather distressing anger management issues, for one thing. There's also the matter of his unexplained forgetfulness and the itsy, bitsy detail that the premise of the story was lifted from one of my brothers' D&D games. All the same, I'm impressed at the cohesion I managed to attain at that age.
I also showed a decent amount of business sense, making sure to give myself author and illustrator credits on the title page. I even included an "About the Author" section, because... you know... Branding!
Of course, as we all know, the most important question regarding any work of fiction is: Did it please the target audience? On this point, I leave my readers to judge for themselves.
Confession time. I haven’t contributed an act of whimsy to the Jay Lake Fund Drive. Not because I don’t care, but because I was so freakin’ busy. I kept saying I’d do it later.
Wake-up call: THERE ARE ONLY FIVE DAYS LEFT.
For anyone out there who’s been meaning to donate, but hasn’t yet, here’s a little added incentive.
If the Sequence a Science Fiction Writer fundraiser hits $47,000 I will reveal my first completed manuscript. It is hand-written, self-illustrated, and entertaining in an “Oh save me this is so awful” kind of way. My teacher gave me an A+.
If any individual blog reader donates more than $500 in the next five days, I will let you name a character in one of my novels or stories. I will need verification of the donation amount from the fundraiser’s coordinators. Contact me for details.
Let’s give Jay a final push in the home stretch. Because Jay’s awesome, and cancer sucks.cross-posted from nancyfulda.com
So I’d planned on writing a really nice, organized “Year in Review” post that summed up 2012 and drew deeper meaning from the complex threads of my writing efforts.
Sorry, but you’re not going to get that post. 2013 opened in a mad scramble to write requested stories for two anthology invites coupled with some minor software-related emergencies for another company I’m assisting. I’ve barely had time to draw breath, let alone blog.
So instead of an organized post, you get a scatterbrained account of what I’ve done, writing-wise, during the past twelve months. There’s a lot of it. Wow, there’s a lot of it. I can’t help wondering what tumbled, unnoticed, out the back end of my life to make space for all this. Blogging, maybe.
I traveled to the Nebulas and the World Science Fiction Convention this year, both times as a nominee. I met many fabulous people and discovered that, as wonderful as the internet is, meeting people in person is even more so. For those wondering if it’s worth going to conventions, I say yes. At least now and then.
Six new stories this year, all available online, four of them for free. My personal favorites are Godshift and A Starscape Slightly Askew, but the others came out pretty well, too. Summaries as follows.
Man screws with God’s nature via the Large Hadron Collider. Not surprisingly, Man does not come out ahead.
(This one’s my best bet for the Hugo and Nebula nominations this year, primarily because it explores a premise I’ve never seen done.)
A Starscape Slightly Askew
(Published in The Gruff Variations)
An exploration of the fairy tale trope of one-good-and-two-bad sisters in a space opera setting. With archaeology. And twenty-dimensional demonic entities.
The Death and Rebirth of Anne Bonny
A girl injured in a car accident befriends an imaginary parrot, with results that are not so imaginary.
A Song of Blackness
Vengeful dethroned ruler sets out on a quest to regain his birthright, against the wishes of his own wife.
All or Nothing
This poor kid’s spent his whole life as the living personification of the number zero. Fortunately for him, he gets a happy ending.
In the Fading Light of Sundown
Old guy uses his ability to Awaken wood to shape a boat and cross salt-poison waters. Why? To learn the answer to a decades-old question.
I was invited to submit to three anthologies this year, with one acceptance and two still out with the jury. Pretty sure the Hugo and Nebula noms were mostly responsible for the invites.
Earned several hundred dollars off self-published stories. Also noticed that it’s a huge drain on time, energy, and writing productivity. Wondering whether I should team up with a small press for the next collection.
A small film company in India has purchased movie rights for “Movement”. It will be a small production, intended for film festivals, so I’m not exactly basking in Hollywood glamor. Still: Film Rights!
I’m still doing independent editing for a number of Kindle authors. I find the work very enjoyable, and a nice complement to producing words of my own.