Big news! My first ever short story sale is now available for purchase. You can get the Winter 2021 issue of The Colored Lens, which contains my short story Travelers’ Crossing, via Amazon Kindle for $4.99. If you happen to have Kindle Unlimited then you can read it for free! (But maybe make a donation to The Colored Lens if you like it?) At over 130 pages it’s a hell of a bargain! Since this is a small press magazine they rely mostly on social media and word of mouth for promotion, so I’d greatly appreciate sharing the link to the Amazon page (or even to this blog post) to help spread the word.
This publication is a big deal for me since I’ve been writing science fiction off and on since high school with the goal of selling to a magazine, so it’s not a stretch to say that I’ve been working towards this for decades. This feels like the first step on my literary journey.
I hate to give away much about my short stories, but if you’re wondering what this one is about it’s a time travel story (my favorite sci-fi subgenre) that showcases my affinity for using science fiction to try to say something about society. It also features one of my favorite concepts: moral ambiguity. I think Travelers’ Crossing is one of the best things I’ve ever written, and it was the first story I wrote where I felt things really clicked. One of those “lean back from the keyboard with a sense of satisfaction” moments.
I hope you enjoy the story, and thanks for supporting me by buying the magazine and/or sharing this blog post!
All I’m saying is that I’m going to be reading a lot more short stories.
Earlier this year (Remember when we could still go out and see people without bathing in bleach afterwards? It was back then.) I started reading The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I highly recommend it if you are into either genre, or just like good fiction regardless of genre. Years ago I had a subscription to Analog, another of the world’s premier science fiction magazines. That was back in college and it was hard for me to keep up with it. You know how it goes.
In the last two years I’ve been reading a lot more and trying to do lots of other things less. Unhealthy things like using Twitter; that kind of stuff. About a week ago I took several days vacation before I physically inverted my work laptop. I turned my phone off for five days. Let me tell you, that was fantastic. I’m doing it a lot more. Again, highly recommended.
Brace yourself for a shocker: most of what I’m reading is science fiction. Mostly “classic” science fiction, partly out of a desire to better grasp the literary history of the genre, and partly because I do find it fun. Emphasis on “fun” and not on “intellectually stimulating,” which is why I like science fiction in general. I’m not shitting on the classics here. I’ve found some I’ve really loved, like Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, or John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids. Now, these are pretty universally considered science fiction classics, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they age well, and that’s my point. Frank Herbert’s The Heaven Makers, though visionary in that it predicted much of the reality television we are assailed by today, is also predicated on a plot that centers on bestiality. Like, a sexy form of bestiality, which makes it even worse.
Lots of science fiction, written by predominantly white conservative men in the 1950s-1970s, hasn’t aged well. There is sexism, obviously. Racism occasionally, just because usually everyone is white. Sometimes there’s that black side character that is there to make the point that racism isn’t a thing in the year fifty-seven billion. Usually there are more aliens than black people, and the aliens are still treated better than black people in the 1960s. Sometimes there are even racial slurs, even when there aren’t any non-whites in the stories!
Ah, reading old literature is so much fun, what with the occasionally wanting to vomit.
Science fiction is a very vibrant field these days, with women and people of color more and more prominent in the field. Many of the magazines and e-zines are making it a point to publish more underrepresented writers (and have been for years), and the stories coming out are much the better for it. A game I play is to count the total number of stories in a magazine, then count the number of authors with female sounding names and work out a percentage. I argue the split should be around 60/40 either way. (I know this isn’t the best way to do it because I’m gender biasing a name versus a gender or sexual identity, but I think it’s accurate enough for my purposes.) A desire to read more and more contemporary sci-fi, as well as to read more in general, led to me a decision that will result in reading a lot more short stories: I subscribed to all of the big three sci-fi magazines.
Analog, Asimov’s, and of course The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Now seemed like a good time as well because with major book stores like Barnes and Noble closed, their sole source of income is subscriptions. If you’re looking for some quality fiction, I really recommending picking up a subscription to one of them, or maybe just ordering some back issues from their sites.
Help a genre out.
Dr. Andrew Porwitzky is a scientist and freelance writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, scientific articles, and essays.