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Showing posts from October, 2011

What I read: October 2011

OWW: 3

“We Never talk about my Brother” by Peter S. Beagle.Short stories. The title story will stay with me. So elegant! Some of the stories were meh, like all short story collections, but this one was worth reading.

“Storm Front” by Jim Butcher. So, when I was at the library taking back the previous books, I was poking around. I often look at the Jim Butcher Dresden Files books because I’ve heard so many good things about them, but I want to start with book 1, so I’ve never taken one out. I looked in the paperback FSF section, then the hard cover FSF, then the general stacks... and they always have some random middle books, but never the first. So, I’d given up. I was over in the general paperback section looking for Jane Austen (they only had Mansfield Park, but I wanted Persuasion or Sense and Sensibility) and I found this! It reminded me of Sandman Slim, though of course this came first. It came out in 2000, and it’s weird how strange that feels – the characters don’t have cellphone…

Flash Fiction Challenge: Bully

The challenge: a hundred-word story about bullies, and only the weekend to write it. They're all posted over on, but to be complete about things, I've put it here too.

“You should make something for the bake sale,” Janelle said. “It’s a good cause.”

Their daughters were on the soon to be torn down playscape.

It looked safe enough to Clarissa. “I’m not much of a baker,” she said. Money was a little tight this week.

“Heather looks grubby today,” Janelle said. “Didn’t Children’s Aid visit you once?”

“When her father was still around,” Clarissa said. Things were better now. “Maybe I can make some squares.” There might be brownie ingredients in the cupboard?

Underneath the playscape Heather threw a handful of sand. Caitlin ran, bawling, to her mother.

Flash Fiction Challenge: Welcome to Blackbloom

This challenge was different -- Chuck Wendig is doing a worldbuilding exercise. The entries are all in the comments, but I thought for completism, I'd post mine here, too.

The world was once terraformed. Aliens had seeded it With algae spores. These spores grew on all the wet things, killed some of them, and converted others. It was a very painful process. Creatures walked around, bodies half-covered in algae, going mad from pain.

The algae spores are a modified version of filamentous green algae, which does conjugal reproduction (trading DNA with other species). The algae takes the sulfur out of the SO2 atmosphere, leaving the free oxygen that the original lifeforms are allergic to.

The algae is still out there. Occasionally there’s an outbreak. Non-natives are particularly vulnerable.

Flash Fiction Challenge: Mary Alice goes to Hell

Another Chuck Wendig challenge; the rules are here. I'd written this story to see if I could do something small in the world of my urban fantasy, without it having all that annoying stuff I see in some short story collections that contain those. I had to cut it considerably to fit it in the space. It would be neat to put this aside and then try editing it "straight", and see how it comes out. I had not realized my vampires were so racist.

Mary Alice went out to give Sephora a hug. “Thank god you’re here. Avril is the dumbest thing ever.”

“I know, honey,” said Sephora. Without a mirror she freshened her black eyeliner and cranberry lip gloss. Sephora would have flown commercial from Iceland now that Candelmas was past. She dragged a huge trunk behind her through PATH, Toronto's 10 KM of underground walkway and mall.

“I can’t believe she’s going to be second,” Unlike the other vampires, Mary Alice was small and had a tiny voice to go with her pixie-sized body. “If Goatbo…

Flash fiction challenge: Ginger Root

The challenge is here. Go there! Read the other stories! Mine is about a plant my mother is growing.

Kitchens in the Cookie Factory Lofts were small, so Kimberley didn't have to walk far to show Mitch the ginger they had left in the cupboard.

"Look at it," Kimberley said. "I wonder if you can eat the shoots." Four branches, hard like bamboo, grew off the corners of the wizened 3-inch root.

"It's not a burger," Mitch said. He was working from home on the dining room table. The loft didn't really have an office.

"Maybe I'll plant it," said Kimberley. She used ground ginger instead, and dinner was sub-standard that evening. Mitch knew enough not to say anything.

After dinner, Kimberley took a flowerpot off the windowsill, and threw out the dead poinsettia it had held. She dug a hole and nestled the ginger root in with coffee grounds and potato peels. She watered the whole mess and set it beside the spindly avocados and garlic scapes. By…

What I read: September, 2011

OWW: 4 (and all in the last week)

“Deadline” by Mira Grant. Bought this in North Conway, NH at the Borders Express going out of business sale. The boy devoured it and then nagged me while I finished “Rebecca”. We got Ed “Feed” for his birthday, so he could read this one. I think he’ll like the science. It was nice to have someone to discuss it with. Intriguing ending. I think Shaun has a reservoir condition in his brain, the boy suggests it might be in the Amygdala (whatever that is).

“Among Others” by Jo Walton. My friend Lucy finished it before I’d even started, and asked if I’d read a lot of SF from back in the day. I said yeah, I had, and then I’d gone to SFContario last year and listened to Jo Walton riff with Ed Greenwood and TNH and someone else about how different writers connect together for an hour, and just written down a reading list. This book makes me want to work on “Toothbrushing Club” again. Maybe I ought to pull it out and do a new draft.

“Last Call: the Rise and Fall o…