Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Story Notes: "Can You Tell Me How to Get to Apocalypse?" (+ Bonus Flash!)

After over a year of not having any stories published at all, suddenly I had two of them come out in the same month. That's how these things happen sometimes! The first and shorter of these is the self-explanatory "You Have Contracted a Deadly Song Virus," which you can read for free at Daily Science Fiction. It's my tenth story there, and probably my most horrific one.

If you like your stories to take longer than five minutes to read, pick up Interzone #282, which includes my short story "Can You Tell Me How to Get to Apocalypse?" illustrated by Vincent Sammy. (Aside: This is my third story with a Sammy illustration, and damn if he doesn't do some insanely incredible work.) A very short excerpt:
A dozen little dead kids sit on the Styrofoam steps outside the only apartment building on Gumdrop Road. They're listening to the newspaper seller. He's talking to them about time.
As is obvious from the title of the story, Gumdrop Road isn't a real place. Like the educational program/media empire that it's based on, it's a television show watched by the last remnants of a dying world that's been annihilated by a virus that attacks the reproductive system. In a world where there's nothing new -- because what's the point? -- people escape into a reboot of childhood comfort viewing. But how do you get child actors when nobody can be born? Well, you read the excerpt.

This spun off from the same flash-writing challenge that spawned "Song Virus," although it quickly expanded beyond flash length. What I'd intended to be a cynical commentary on reboot mania became something much more, as I thought about how this form of cultural recycling might be a reaction to the apocalyptic feel of our times. If you and everyone you love is going to die anyway, why not go with what's safe? Nobody cares about innovation when the world is coming to a close, especially not in the arts. And if it takes digging up a bunch of dead children to lend your comfort viewing the proper amount of verisimilitude, that's not really so bad, is it? It's the end, after all.

Yeah, real cheery story I wrote here.

Anyway, you can get a copy of Interzone #282 from the TTA Press site, on Amazon, or in your classier local bookstores. I have at least one more story coming out by the end of the year, which means I'll be posting on this blog at least one more time. Smell you later.