SFF, Short stories

Nation Building and Baptism

I have a new story out! “Nation Building and Baptism” is in the new issue of Capricious, available here. It’s part of a series of stories I’ve written about future post-apocalypse New Zealand, rebuilding itself after global ecological collapse.

I love post-apocalyptic fiction, mostly because I really enjoy seeing how communities choose to reinvent themselves afterwards. Do they fall back into the same old patterns? Do they do worse than that, building dystopia out of destruction? Or, what I’m more interested in, do they do better? Apocalypse is a dreadful thing, but it’s also a chance to improve, to look at the ashes of life around you and say “Right. Let’s not do this again” and go on.

It’s not that I don’t like dystopias. I do! But I think we’re over-heavy on the miserable response to apocalypse. Of course there’s going to be misery, there’s no getting round that, and hard choices. But I wanted to do a series of stories where choices were about how best to help, how to support the environment and each other. How apocalypse can be repurposed as an opportunity for the creation of a better way of living. “Nation Building and Baptism” is set in a world where conservation and ecological protection has been made a central concern – as it would have to be, after ecosystem collapse. And that has a whole lot of consequences, such as what to do with refugees, for instance, people from places where the environment lacks viability enough to support them. That’s what this story is about – valuing desperate people as people, and giving the them chance to be a part of a safe and stable community again. If you’re interested, pop over to Capricious and take a look!

SFF, Short stories


CapriciousCover002_600I’ve a new story out today!

“Bone Length, Wavelength” can be found in issue 2 of Capricious, a new speculative fiction zine from New Zealand. It’s set in the same universe as some of my other stories – if you’ve read “The Mistress of Fishes”, for instance (or listened to it on StarShipSofa) then you’ll recognise the references to Carnival.

Like the other stories in this universe, “Bone Length, Wavelength” is set in a future New Zealand that is primarily concerned with ocean restoration after marine ecological collapse. This story looks at a family who, after death, use their bones to build a giant underwater organ to make music for whales. Enter Eli, whose bones are too twisted for song…

They’d been marked off, all of them, in the kitchen. On the door jamb, at every birthday, and every generation the wood would be removed to the shed to be nailed up along the wall and there they were, all of them, all of their large and extended family for the better part of three hundred years.

All of them but Eli.

There was no standing for him. He’d been born with useless legs, the bones all twisted and his femurs would go to the grave with him. He’d never stand, let alone walk, and when he died, it’d be the Carnival for him…