Thursday, August 9, 2018

Story Notes: "Like Fleas on a Tired Dog's Back"

It's been a while! About five months, to be exact. In that time I've finished one instantly trunked novella, one short story, and another novella that is my heart's true joy. I also had two short stories published which I'm going to talk about now!

Interzone no. 275 includes my flash story "The Fate of the World, Reduced to a Ten-Second Pissing Contest," which is the third-longest story title I've ever written. It's a nasty little story about (of course) aliens who make life pretty difficult for a handful of barflies. You can get it and four other stories at the link, one of which ("The Purpose of the Dodo Is to Be Extinct" by Malcolm Devlin) is one of the best stories I've read this year. So you might want to get this issue for that story alone.

The other story, "Like Fleas on a Tired Dog's Back," isn't officially published yet; it will be in the anthology Nowhereville from Broken Eye Books. However, if you don't want to wait you can read it right now! Eyedolon Magazine is a Patreon-based dark/weird fiction publication where you can read stories slated to appear in Nowhereville and many other anthologies! Sign up here for as little as $1 a month and read my story along with all-new work from Kathe Koja, Lucy A. Snyder, Bogi Tak√°cs, and Ramsey Campbell.

After her parents are thrown from their car, killed by a moment of planetary betrayal, Megan comes back to the city where she grew up.

The city is of course Pittsburgh, and our planet is pissed off at humanity, just because we destroyed it. Go figure. Earth only has a moment to get its revenge, but it does it in style, creating a catastrophe that spans the globe and leaves aftershocks of both the physical and psychological kind. Humans attempt to survive using technology, but modern-day band-aids aren't going to fix things this time.

Obviously this is a climate change story, based on the Gaia hypothesis. A few months before I wrote it, I read an article about a parasite that makes you allergic to red meat, which made me wonder if the Earth has fail-safes: mechanisms that kick into action when its survival is threatened, that slant the behavior of humans toward ways more befitting to the planet's health. The idea of the Earth suddenly waking up and shaking off its human parasites like the fleas we are was just so appealing. This is also a sibling story, with the bond between Megan and her brother Kyle alternately strained and close in the wake of mass revenge.

Anyway, I hope you read it, either on Eyedolon Magazine or in the Nowhereville anthology when it comes out. I've been exploring climate change in many of my recent not-yet-published pieces, although really, that's just called setting something in the real world now. Watch out for the firenados!