“All a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories.” Albert Camus, The Plague
I was twenty-three and in my final year at The Evergreen State College when I came across The Pugilist at Rest, by Thom Jones. It was a slim book with an intriguing cover that I bought almost as an afterthought. The short stories it contained were some of the most visceral pieces I had ever read. As the title suggested, each story was like a boxer’s punch– precision fury distilled down to a single, sharp blow. In combination, Jones’s collection had a cumulative effect that left me dazed. Beyond the power of the writing was the realization that Jones was a real flesh-and-blood guy who had worked as a janitor just a few miles from where I was living. Up to then, I’d never really thought of writers as actual people. Jones’s proximity abruptly reduced the distance between myself as a reader and the authors that I admired. Like his writing, his nearness was a revelation.
An article I wrote for LOSTWKND, a new literary magazine you should definitely check out.
LOST WKND Issue N˚ 1
In April, the scientific community was jolted by news that Chinese researchers had successfully edited the DNA of a human embryo. It was a watershed moment: the first time humanity had edited its own germ line, the sex cells (eggs and sperm) used to pass on genes from generation to generation. Although the experiment—conducted by Junjiu Huang and his colleagues at Sun Yat-sen University—used non-viable embryos and produced unintended mutations, the implications are profound. Beyond fears over genetic engineering and “designer babies,” to manipulate the human germ line is to manipulate human heredity; evolution itself becomes malleable.
A Light-Hearted Examination of Paradoxical Technology, the Opacity of the Future, and Humankind’s Inevitable Self-Destruction
A feature I wrote for Flaunt Magazine.
Surprised and very pleased to make this list.
Yesterday, Ellen Datlow posted her long list of Honorable Mentions for her 2013 Best Horror of the Year, and six Shimmer stories are among the mentions:
From Issue #16:
The Revelation of Morgan Stern, by Christie Yant
The Binding of Memories, by Cate Gardner
Word and Flesh, by Dennis Ginoza
The Life and Death of Bob, by William Jablonsky
5,300 years ago in the village of Quanhucun in Shaanxi, China, cats ate millet alongside the farmers who grew it. The story is told in pieces of bone—mandible, pelvis, tibia, humerus—unearthed and carbon dated by Chinese scientists in 2013. Isotopic data reveals a diet rich in grains, indicating the sharing of food between cats and humans. Variations in the amount of millet to meat suggest that some cats were treated better than others. One cat in particular was quite elderly, its teeth worn down to nubs. Researchers speculate that it was a favorite, provided with food and shelter by humans after a long life protecting the harvest from mice.
A terrific blog post by Rashida J. Smith in which she shares memories of working with Octavia E. Butler and talks about the reading last Friday in Seattle to honor Ms. Butler’s legacy .
Last night I had the privilege of participating in a reading in honor of the late Octavia E. Butler at Wayward Coffeehouse here in Seattle.
NORTHWEST WRITERS HONOR LEGACY OF OCTAVIA E. BUTLER was put together by the incomparable Caren Gussoff to support the recently released anthology “Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars. ” The anthology, in turn, is to suppor the Octavia E Butler Scholarship organized by the Carl Brandon Society. I’ve blogged about Octavia’s importance to Clarion (and science fiction genre) here before, but, in short, the scholarship supports the attendance of one writer who has been accepted into any of the Clarion workshops (West, South, San Diego) and might otherwise not be able to attend.
I can’t even begin to describe Octavia’s influence in my writing. Fresh off the Patternmaster series I realized that this was the kind of writing I could aspire to. As Caren said in one of her introductions, reading Octavia’s work left a young, impressionable writer thinking: “We can do THIS?!”
I was honored to be the Octavia E. Butler Scholar at the 2011 Clarion Writers’ Workshop. On 4/12, I’ll be joining Vonda N. McIntyre and Nisi Shawl as well as several fellow OEB Scholars to celebrate Ms. Butler’s legacy and to raise funds for the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Fund.
I hope lots of folks will come out and have fun while supporting a worthy endeavor! If you can’t be there, you can still purchase Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars until June 22, 2013. All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund.
Northwest Writers Honor Legacy of Octavia E. Butler – SF Signal.
In celebration of the legacy of Octavia E. Butler, Pacific Northwest writers Vonda N. McIntyre, Nisi Shawl, Dennis Y. Ginoza, Erik Owomoyela, Caren Gussoff, and Rashida Smith will read work inspired by their relationships with Octavia Butler, or stories included in Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars.
These readings will be at Seattle’s world famous sci-fi/fantasy coffeehouse, the Wayward Coffeehouse (6417 Roosevelt Way NE, #104, Seattle WA 98105) on Friday, April 12, at 7PM.
Octavia E. Butler was one of the world’s most respected speculative fiction writers. Butler, an African-American woman, was recognized during her lifetime with numerous awards, such as the Hugo and Nebula, and was the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. Butler made the Seattle area her home in 1999, and lived in Lake Forest Park until her death in 2006.
Bloodchildren is an e-book anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories by those who have received the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship.