Cli-Fi and Creative Santa Fe

Happy to announce I’ll be participating in a symposium through Creative Santa Fe later this month where we’ll be talking about positive ways forward despite our uncertain future at the hands of climate change. I’ll be reading from Implanted, which was shortlisted for the Compton Crook award for best first SF/F/H novel, along with my fellow writer and friend Sarena Ulibarri of World Weaver Press who has done so much to broaden the field’s awareness of the solarpunk subgenre.

Check out the deets below, and if you’re near Santa Fe, New Mexico, please join us on May 22nd!

Cli-Fi: Altered Futures Through Film and Literature
A Disruptive Futures Dialogue
Wed, May 22, 2019
5:30 – 8:00 pm
Scottish Rite Masonic Center: 463 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM. 87504

What if we could peer into the future of our landscape in New Mexico? What would we see, and how would that affect the actions we take today?

Creative Santa Fe presents Cli-Fi: Altered Futures Through Film and Literature, A Disruptive Futures Dialogue on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:00 PM at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center.  This multifaceted evening will include short films, readings by local authors, and opportunities to engage in learning about and taking action on sustainability issues.

This event will explore how our local resources, when combined with the arts, can address the effects of climate change and create a pathway for sustainability for years to come. The first portion of the evening will feature four science fiction short films by directors Suzi YoonessiNanobah BeckerHugo Perez, and Ramin Bahrani exploring the potential futures of water, waste, and agriculture in the face of climate change. These films are collected from the FutureStates film archive. Following the films, local authors Sarena Ulibarri and Lauren Teffeau will read excerpts from their climate fiction (Cli-Fi) and Solarpunk themed stories. Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”

The book and film presentations will be followed by a discussion of an initiative, led by the Coalition of Sustainable Communities NM and Creative Santa Fe, to explore the development of a sustainable technology center in Santa Fe. This center would serve as an intellectual consortium and physical hub for institutions of higher education, national laboratories, non-profit and business partners to advance research, development and deployment in the area of sustainable technology in New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Watershed Association350.org New MexicoThe Santa Fe Community College Controlled Environment Agriculture Department, and other fantastic local resources will engage audience members in activities and education before and after the event.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and will open on the event webpage on Monday, May 6th at 6 PM. We will share the registration link at that time through our newsletter and social media. Snacks will be provided and complimentary childcare is available upon early request.

FEATURED ARTISTS

SARENA ULIBARRI is a graduate of the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop at UCSD, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her fiction has appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, DreamForge, GigaNotoSaurus, and elsewhere, as well as anthologies such as The Gamer Chronicles and Biketopia: Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures. She is Editor-in-Chief of World Weaver Press, and edited the optimistic science fiction anthologies Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers (2018) and Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters (2020).

LAUREN C. TEFFEAU is an Albuquerque-based speculative fiction writer, and her short fiction can be found a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her novel Implanted (2018, Angry Robot) was shortlisted for the 2019 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel and named by Grist.org as one of seven books imagining a better future.

The Allure of Print

It has never gone away for me despite all the advances in ebooks and technology more generally. The convenience, the accessibility, the portability of electronic texts are undeniable, but so are the risks of the corruption, obsolescence, and their relative invisibility when so much else is competing in the digital space.

I guess I’m old-fashioned in that I like to hold paper in my hands, feel the weighted slide of the pages, and rub my fingers over the text. When it’s something that bears my name, the effect is magnified, and for a moment I feel connected with the larger world in a way that’s impossible on my own.

That’s why the novelty never wears off whenever a story of mine comes out in print. Last week, author copies of two different magazines arrived. The first, DreamForge Magazine, has a brand-new fantasy story from me called “Sing! And Remember.”

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I talked about it briefly here, but that was back when the magazine was still in production. Having now seen the Founder’s Issue after their successful Kickstarter firsthand, the quality of the magazine has exceeded all expectations. It doesn’t hurt that my name’s on the cover–a first for me.

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The second magazine is also a new venture. Serial Magazine specializes in pulpy genre stories, and their third issue just came out, featuring “No Regrets on Fourth Street,” which I’ve mentioned before.

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My mash-up of science fiction and romance kicks off the glossy issue, and the rest of the volume features a number of great love stories to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can check out the table of contents here and learn more about my fellow contributors.

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Both magazines are now available in print and digital, with a variety of subscription options. Be sure to check them out! Happy reading!

Implanted shortlisted for the Compton Crook Award!

I’m thrilled to announce that my novel Implanted is a finalist for the 2019 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel. The award has been presented through the Baltimore Science Fiction Society since 1983. File 770 has a good overview of the award, along with the BSFS site.

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When I first received notice of the award the day before, I kept rereading the email, wondering how on earth I finaled in a field of over 100 SF/F/H debuts. Even as the announcement went live yesterday to a flurry of congratulatory tweets and RTs, it still hasn’t quite sunk in. I mean, just look at the other finalists:

•    S.A. Chakraborty – The City of Brass
•    R. F. Kuang – The Poppy War
•    Rebecca Roanhorse – Trail of Lightning
•    Rena Rossner – Sisters of the Winter Wood
•    Nick Clark Windo – The Feed

These are all impressive writers with equally impressive debuts. Needless to say, besides some kermit flailing, impostor syndrome struck hard, but as with anything, the only antidote is to keep writing. At least that’s how it’s always been for me.

But the one thing that didn’t surprise me was Rebecca Roanhorse’s presence on the list for the electric Trail of Lightning. We were able to do some joint bookstore events when Implanted released, and we’re also in the same NM-based writing group. I’ve seen her work up close and personal, and I’m here to tell you she’s the real deal if you haven’t (somehow) read her stuff yet.

Anyway, I want to congratulate all of the finalists, give my thanks to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for the time they’ve invested in curating this award over the years, and encourage everyone reading this to go out and support a debut novelist!

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New Story in DreamForge Magazine

I’m happy to announce I’ll have a short story in DreamForge Magazine’s Founder’s Issue that will be available this February. My short story “Sing! And Remember” is set in the same fantasy world as “Those Who Wear Their White Hair Proudly” that was published in Flame Tree Press’s Heroic Fantasy Short Stories anthology. It’s a sweeping tale of swords and sadness, monsters and mayhem, and the occasional bad rhyme. And if that’s not convincing enough, it’s illustrated by Hugo award-winning artist Elizabeth Leggett!

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DreamForge is a brand new SF/F market looking to inject more optimism in our world, and it’s an honor to have been selected to appear in their founding issue. In their own words:

We’re a new quarterly magazine of science fiction and fantasy on a mission. We believe words are important; that the stories we tell ourselves affect the present and become the future. 

At DreamForge, we are about hope in an age of dystopia. Our goal is to encourage the abandonment of the dystopian mindset and promote the ascendency of reason and humane values, civility, community, and scientific advancement. We see the human challenge through an optimistic lens.

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Be sure to check out the rest of the Table of Contents featuring some serious heavy hitters in the SF/F field and consider helping their Kickstarter to bring more amazing stories into the world!

For Your Consideration – Implanted

It’s awards season, the time of year that strikes fear into the heart of every writer while simultaneously stoking the flames of what-ifs.

The only thing I have that’s award-eligible this year, is my debut science fiction novel Implanted, that was published by Angry Robot this August in trade paperback and ebook. An audiobook version came out at the end of October from High Bridge Audio. I’m immensely proud of it, between its mash-up of cyberpunk and solarpunk elements, the homage to espionage and romance, and a deep-dive into communication theory.

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After all, when you’re writing about the future, you can never have too many ideas in my opinion. And mine tend to come to me snarled together, interwoven and inseparable, or in great big chains like dominoes falling into place, one right after another.

It’s gotten some great reviews, between the ambitious world and a turbo-charged second half, but I’d love for it to find even more readers. In case you’re still on the fence about the book, here’s a look at some of the themes I explore in Implanted:

This is a story about the coming climate apocalypse.

So many different potential futures stretch out before us. But as recent reports suggest, it’s increasingly likely we’ll have to pay the piper for all the damage we’ve wrought to Mother Nature, and god help us when that debt comes due. In the world of Implanted, the worst has already happened. After too many years of storm-leveled towns, receding coastlines, drought, flood, pollution, and devastating fighting over food and resources as governments try (and fail) to provide for their people, domed cities have become humanity’s only option to escape the ravages of a world pushed to the brink after so many years of abuse.

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What would make such a disruptive population shift into a constrained environment successful? Think about it. If you had to bundle up your life, abandon your home, and take refuge in a domed city, what would bring you solace?

This is (also) a story about hyperconnectivity.

For the citizens of New Worth, it’s neural implants that make day-to-day life more bearable along with the network that provides them with an unending array of information, entertainment, and ways to connect with other users. After all, when you lose everything, what’s one more piece of your humanity?

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Roughly two generations later, when the book starts, the tech has matured with the city. While everyone in New Worth is granted equal protection from the hostile environment outside, their lives inside the dome are dictated by status, credit balances, and career potential. Those with the right credentials have every advantage as they literally rise through the ranks, living out their lives on the city’s luxurious upper levels. Everyone else remains landlocked below – choked off from light, constrained by space, and constantly inundated by others tied to the same fate. The one bright spot on the horizon is Emergence – the day when the dome finally comes down, and they can return to the land.

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After all this time, implants are still most people’s go-to choice to cope with living under glass. But taming the network’s growth has become virtually impossible – too much of the city’s infrastructure relies on it – which in turn has made data security increasingly difficult.

So… this is also a story about information security.

The government and business sectors have been sinking so much money and manpower into chasing down bugs and backdoors and staying on top of new advances, they’ve had to come up with a new way of doing things. Getting back to basics, with a twist, of course. Physical instead of digital delivery of information, the twist being the DNA-encoded blood cells as the new format.

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Enter Aventine Security, a clandestine organization that specializes in shuttling information too sensitive for the network across the city. What makes their elite couriers so special isn’t the state-of-the-art training or gear they’ve been provided with, but a special property of their blood that allows them to carry encoded information that makes it undetectable, unhackable, and untraceable. And people are willing to pay top dollar for their services…and their discretion.

And perhaps most importantly, Implanted is a female-centered cyberpunk story.

Which in my mind at least we need more of. Men’s visions of our technological future dominate the field, too often filled with oversexualized women with problematic characterization (dentata’s anyone?). The list of women publishing cyberpunk is short though memorable (frex. Pat Cadigan, Laura Mixon, Madeline Ashby, KC Alexander), and I humbly add Implanted to that list, where I tried to cram together as many things I love as I could, including high-tech gadgets, light espionage, romance, and hard questions about the future, while centering the female experience.

And I very much hope you’ll join me on the adventure…