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Posts Tagged ‘technopeasant’

Official Member of the Insect Army

As of about ten minutes ago, I am (finally) a member of SFWA.

I’ve been eligible to join since 2004, when I sold my first novel. But back then I was a starving graduate student, for whom the membership fee was a non-trivial expense . . . and soon thereafter, SFWA began shooting itself very publicly and head-deskingly in the foot, not just once, but several times in a row. Its forums were legendary for their toxicity, the org as a whole was run by people who hadn’t been working professionals in the field for years, and while some may have had good intentions, SFWA was not doing a very effective job of coping with the realities of modern publishing. Why should I pay money I didn’t really have to call myself one of them? The answers people gave me basically fell into two categories: 1) “Griefcom and the EMF are good things and worth supporting!” and 2) “Join and be the change you want to see!” While I had no disagreement with #1 (the Grievance Committee advocates for authors in disputes with their publishers or agents, and the Emergency Medical Fund assists writers without health insurance), #2 got up my nose something fierce. Oh, yes, let me give you money for the privilege of trying to reform a group that shows no signs of wanting to reform. Where do I sign up?

But things got better. Actual working novelists and short story writers stepped up to run for election and, well, did what I wasn’t willing to do: dragged the org kicking and screaming toward a better future. Members who weren’t toxic layabouts raised their heads and went “oh, thank god, I’m not alone.” SFWA’s officers did yeoman work during the whole business with Night Shade’s ongoing implosion. Incidents that would have been allowed to slide ten years ago started to be called out.

It still isn’t perfect. SFWA has its share of dinosaurs and reactionaries, and they don’t always get rebuked as fast or as effectively as they should. But it’s improving, and then there was this thing, and I said to myself, “Self, I want to be one of those people Scalzi et al. brought in.” He isn’t president anymore, but the truth is that he and his cohort — people like Mary Robinette Kowal and Rachel Swirsky — are the ones who changed my thinking about SFWA. I actually meant to join after that happened . . . but I got busy, and I forgot. Fortunately (for suitably flexible values of “fortunately”), the sexist racist homophobic assholes of the speculative fiction field are the gift that keeps on giving. Two weeks ago, when John C. Wright was spreading his revisionist history around the web and various people were debunking him as he deserved, I got off my posterior and joined.

So there you have it: I am officially a member of the Insect Army — which is to say, SFWA, The 21st Century Edition. I will try to use my newfound powers for good.

Proud Member of the Insect Army

“The problem is that the ‘vocal minority’ of insects who make up the new generation of writers don’t scramble for the shadows when outside lights shines on them—they bare their pincers and go for the jugular. Maybe it is a good thing that SFWA keeps them locked up. The newer members who Scalzi et al. brought in are an embarrassment to the genre.” — (name withheld) on, during the recent unpleasantness.

I hereby declare myself a proud member of the Insect Army — not a member of SFWA, but certainly part of the “new generation of writers” and unwilling to run for cover when bigotry and stupidity rear their heads in my industry.

And if I’m willing to say that when I am massively phobic of cockroaches and abhor the damn things to the depths of my soul, you know I mean it.

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

I’ve had friends in town for the past several days, and sightseeing with them almost made me forget what today was. Thankfully, several posts on my friends-list reminded me: it’s International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

I’ve been celebrating this holiday since it started in 2007. (You can see the relevant posts, including some history, under the tag.) A little earlier this year, a reader informed me that the changes over at Abyss & Apex meant my story “Letter Found in a Chest Belonging to the Marquis de Montseraille Following the Death of That Worthy Individual” was no longer available for free in the archive; I have therefore chosen that as this year’s contribution. And if you want more, you can always browse the free fiction on my site!

And now, I go collapse. Who knew sightseeing was so tiring?

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

Once again, I celebrate the holiday founded by papersky, International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, wherein writers are invited to share bits of fiction for free online, and thereby prove that this does not cause the sky to fall.

This year I’ve decided to post one of my favorite stories: “Nine Sketches, in Charcoal and Blood.” It’s a favorite because as I was on my way to VeriCon one year these characters wandered into my head and immediately struck up a conversation that hinted at but never said outright all kinds of fascinating things about who they were and how they knew each other and why they had come together again after a long absence. Never have I had such a strong feeling of uncovering a story that was already there, rather than making one up — and hell, I still wonder what some of the things are that they never got around to telling me.

This year, I’d like to make it interactive, too. Leave a comment telling me about free, online fiction you’ve really enjoyed lately, whether a specific story or a particular market or whatever. I read Beneath Ceaseless Skies regularly, but I’d love to gather a bunch of other recommendations, and maybe find some new authors or markets to read. So share the love in the comments, and happy Sant Jodi/Shakespeare’s birthday/Thumb Your Nose at Howard Hendrix Day.

Okay, I’ve got one.

I found something new to post, that didn’t require much jinking to make it web-ready: “But Who Shall Lead the Dance?”

This originally came out in Talebones, whose fourteen-year run came to an end last fall, much to my sadness. Patrick Swenson published three of my stories in total: this, “The Twa Corbies,” and “The Snow-White Heart,” which was in their final issue. (You can still buy back issues here.)

. . . you know, posting this has reminded me of something I forgot. Namely, that this story tried to turn into a ballad as I was writing it. You can see that in the style — this was the first real stylistic experiment I ever tried writing — the rhythm of the “But who shall lead the dance?” suggested the end of a ballad stanza to me, and everything else followed from there.

Maybe I’ll revisit that, and actually try to write it as lyrics, just for fun. No doubt I’ll fall on my nose; poetry and related forms are not something I’m good at. But hey, it’ll be good exercise. And the silly thing’s halfway there already.

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

Oh! I do have a fifth thing. Today is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, when writers celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday by collectively thumbing their noses at a certain past vice-president of SFWA and posting fiction for free online.

I was all proud of myself for having picked out a story to post this year, only to discover two minutes ago that it’s one I posted in the past. So I, er, don’t have anything new to share at the moment. But this page lists all the fiction of mine that is readable for free online (either in e-zine archives or on my own site), and if I manage to get something else sorted out today I’ll be back to post that later.

The IPSTP community has many, many more links. Enjoy!


The free stories I posted for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day are now all available on AnthologyBuilder. In fact, there’s enough of my fiction up there now that you theoretically could put together your very own collection of Marie Brennan stories, since the minimum for an antho purchase is 50 pages of material. But I recommend finding a couple of other authors you like and making a bigger book, since $14.95 is kind of a lot to pay for nine stories, several of which are flash.

I really like the idea of AnthologyBuilder, and I hope it succeeds. This strikes me as the ideal approach to making an author’s short fiction backlist available, without depending on bookstore support for a collection.

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

Yes, folks, I’m doing it again. In fact, I’m doing it even more than in the past two years: I’ve decided to toss up, for free, on my website, all of my fiction published prior to the end of 2006.

Two things swayed me in this decision. One is the relative lack of value in the reprint rights. If anybody was going to put these in a Year’s Best anthology, they would have done so, well, years ago. I’m lazy about marketing the reprint rights to magazines, and (given the situation) my likely payoff on it is low anyway. And I’m not exactly at a point where anybody’s looking to put out a collection of my short fiction.

The other is that I’ve come across a couple of blog posts in the last year to the effect of, “here’s Marie Brennan’s website, she’s got some of her short fiction up there for free, and reading through it makes me want to buy her novels.” I gotta figure, that’s a good thing. And sure, that isn’t necessarily a reason to add more, but — see point #1 above.

So here you go, a (small) bonanza of my older stories:

The rest of the stories from that period are already available, either because I posted them in previous years, or because they’re still in the online archives of their respective magazines. The one exception is “White Shadow,” my first short story sale: since that’s in an anthology, I don’t feel I should post it with the rest.

Speaking of anthologies, though — I’ve submitted all of these pieces to AnthologyBuilder (which already has a couple of my stories), so as soon as those get processed, you should be able to have them printed in a POD collection of your own design. There isn’t quite enough yet to make an entire Marie Brennan collection, but it’s getting there. (Think of it like iTunes for stories, and you’ll have the general idea.)

For more technopeasantry, go here.

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasantry Unite!

In Internet terms, this is ancient history, but I liked this the first time around, so I’m doing it again. (As are some other people.)

Short recap, for those born after the Hendrixonian period of the Cretaceous: the former vice-president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America railed about people posting fiction online for free. The response, as provoked by papersky (Jo Walton) — after we were done making fun of him — was a whole hell of a lot of people posting fiction online for free.

Last year I posted “Calling into Silence,” my Asimov Award story from 2003. This year it’s a piece that might have the best ratio of length-to-pride of anything I’ve written — which is to say, there are things I’ve written that I’m prouder of, but they’re also substantially longer. “Silence, Before the Horn” is just a flash piece, but I like it all out of proportion to its length.

Both stories are available through Anthology Builder, where you can put together an anthology of your own design and have it printed and shipped to your door.

one last word on technopeasantry

If you’re interested in reading some (or heck, all) of the work posted for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, there’s a permanent list going up here, collating links from the variety of places that people announced their contributions. So you can bookmark that and have it all in one handy place. I don’t think the list is quite complete yet, but it’s got a lot there already.