My last post was about stories being tracked in my sidebar. But I have folders full of other stuff. Those other projects in my drafts box, I thought I’d mention just to keep myself honest, and to amuse those curious about what kinds of things I’m writing about.
4. Refugees (short story): A spooky response to the Fermi Paradox that starts with a sudden reception of a signal from a civilization about 1000 light years away, and gets compounded by the sudden, highly-visible, and (relatively) slow front of a wave of interstellar refugees through close visible space.
5. AI Ghost (flash/short story): What would an AI feel like if it felt haunted. I’m not sure yet, so it’s sitting in the drafts pile, but it’s basically a ghost story with no supernatural elements, no humans, nothing familiar… and yet, it shall have to pop and crack and groan like a ghost story, if I ever am to declare it successful.
6. Dear Headspace: A flash piece about the impact of social-mediation technologies on one middle schooler’s social development. Vernor Vinge’s probably done it better, except I’m focusing on the negative more than I imagine he’d do.
7. The Gi-Thief. Asiatic fantasy of indeterminate length (possibly a novel), very loosely based on the early stages of the Japanese colonial encroachment and invasion in Korea in the twentieth century. Shamanism, steampunk, land surveys, chattel slavery, a corrupt and collapsing royal court, sweatshop work, village scholar-rants, lots of urban legendry about geomantic warfare, and not a droplet of magic anywhere… though lots of people think there’s magic all over the place.
8. Poppy, or, The Adventures of Phillip Pirrip in the Land of the Great Peace King With An Eye To The Effects Upon The Spirit of Man Wrought By Slavery (or some horridly Victorian title like that): Basically, Rudyard Kipling’s worst colonialist nightmare. Chinese opium war in Britain. Corrupt customs officer ends up as a slave in Manchu-controlled Beijing, and flees southeward to the Christian Taiping-ruled capital Nanjing, and from there escapes to post-epidemic America to tell his tale. Postcolonial alt-history? Or something.
9. Jigeumeun chukiyeolkeoyaeyo: Actually, I just made up that title. I was crossing a very rickety bridge across a very deep canyon one day with Lime when I imagined what would happen if one of those automated DMZ-patrol bots that the military has commissioned went malfy and happened to go berserk on our asses.
10. Prison Story: This has been sitting a year. Story told by the AI running a fully-self-contained, subterranean prison from which exist is supposed to be impossible. The AI is programmed to ensure that the conditions in the prison are “humane”, and of course, finally, this means it goes nuts, since no definition of “humane” can ever encompass life in a self-contained prison. One inmate’s pregnancy (supposedly impossible, eppur si muove) triggers an appeal the aboveground controllers, but its only models for communication beyond basic form responses and status reports is a collection of novels in its databanks. So it plagiarzes the novels to explain what’s going on in the prison. Narrative, plagiarism from 19th century novels… it’s fun. But hard to pull off.
11. Balkanized: The folder for this puppy reads, “The Balkanization of Historical Time”, and it is indeed a kind of time-police story, except one in which ethnic minorities, refugees from the present, flee into the past. Usually, if they flee to some point far enough back in time that their impact isn’t directly felt by the modern world, that’s fine, but sometimes, mine fires and the like leave serious traces and impact on the future; luckily, these things propagate “slowly”, and while history is re-knitting itself–a process that, paradoxically, progresses at a rate slower than time (think computer cycles versus subjective time, and then imagine subjective time as time, and computer cycles as the instantiation of the changed quantum state of the universe, in a destructive computation that is detectable further down the timeline before its effects are actually felt… if you know how to catch it, such as via a set of “bouys” set up throughout historical and prehistoric time)–people can go back and prevent the disasters from ever taking place.
Which leaves you with large numbers of refugees from timelines that end up never having happened, but since it’s illegal and considered inhumane to abandon them, especially considering their parents’ and grandparents’ political status as refugees and oppressed minorities, leaves you with a bunch of uncomfortable minorities and no choice but to release them, one by one, slowly so that their impact on world history is small enough to avoid having your own descendants, further down the timeline, come back and intervene.
And if you followed all of that, you know why this particular story is stalled. Way too much paradoxical balancing, but I would love to make it work, somehow.
That’s the stuff in the “Continue Drafting” folder on my hard disk. There are also seventeen pieces of writing in my “To Revise” folder, including one novella from my MA thesis that may end up being combined with “Refugees” above, and one novel, a ghost story set in Korea. Other goodies include invasive VR-gaming attacks from animal-rights activists; the destruction of a post-Israel-era Jewish clave in Shanghai (and the afterlife experiences of a few people who die in the attack); a letter from a highly
robotized (cyborgized in the original draft, but in the redraft-to-come, highly biotechnically modified) cop to her husband; a non-Christmassy Christmas story set at a truck stop in Uzbekistan (the story that got me into Clarion, in fact, which I think I’ll touch up with a few details before sending out); a bizarre tale of a Hindu terrorist attack on the beef/dairy industry, for which the protagonist needs some serious reworking; a Kerouac tribute involving picking up Jesus by the highway and feeding him benzedrine; a mourning story with lots of weird SF drugs; a short rant on punctuation by a mad Victorian pervert; and four of my Clarion stories, including two novellas (“Winter Wheat” and “Lester Young and the Jupiter’s Moons’ Blues”) and two short stories (“Comfort Woman” and “Why Korean Eat Dog”).
That stuff should, all in all, be enough to keep my busy for the next year or so, even if I do end up abandoning some of the stories. Time will only tell which ones fail me.
Now, off to try do a little drafting on Ogallala.