2nd story publication at Nature

My second story from Nature, System Reboot, launched recently over at their website!

It’s my most experimental piece, and my first published story in present tense. I don’t usually write in it, but in this case I felt that the story demanded it and I think it turned out pretty well. Colin must have felt so as well, because it’s doing pretty well. I’ve had quite a number of people talk about it online, and government scientists and professors of AI neuropsychology have been tweeting about it. I was blown away by that (and I think my head is still reeling).

And the artwork….

They really do not skip out on the artwork at all.

I wrote about my inspiration for the piece and a bit of background here, so check that out if you want. And if you prefer the pdf version of the story, that’s available here as well.

Enjoy reading!


Also, in other news, my other Nature story, Daega’s Test, will be appearing as a reprinted and translated into Polish over at Szortal. This will be my first story translation, so that’s marvelous. I’ve got a bunch of Polish family members and friends who don’t speak English well (if at all), so now they’ll have no excuse but to read it! I’ll post when it’s up!

’til then…

StarShipSofa: Call for Assistant and Slush Reader

The title says it all. I am looking for an intern to assist me out at the Hugo award winning podcast StarShipSofa. Far Fetched Fables has one. Tales to Terrify has one. We’ve got a spare passenger seat at StarShipSofa HQ and it’s time for someone to fill it.

I’ve edited this podcast for over a year now, (I did it through my final year of university, mind you) and I love it. I don’t ever want to leave. But it’s not an easy task, and I need some assistance, both with StarShipSofa as a whole and as a slush reader. The latter is particularly important, as I got hundreds of submissions last time we opened, and I read them all by myself and offered personal feedback on most. Not easy to do, and the weight of it all burned me out. So I’m on the hunt for someone to be both my intern over at StarShipSofa and a slush reader. As an intern, you’ll help me do the following:

  • Working with dozens of best selling authors in the vein of George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Peter Watts, Robin Hobb, etc…
  • Sending stories by these said authors to narrators.
  • Handling bios, story files, etc.
  • Finding new narrators to be part of our awesome team.
  • Reading slush (when the time comes).
  • Work on one of the biggest science-fiction podcasts in fandom today.

It might sound a lot of work, but I won’t be stepping back at all – I just need someone to help me streamline all this data and help me organize it all. There’s no “minimum” required hours, but 3-4 hours per week would definitely be a good number. This is also an unpaid, volunteer position.

It’s important to note that while this is open to everyone, I’m particularly looking for someone who’s has experience in the SF/F short story industry. Someone who knows the markets and knows short stories. I’m especially interested if you have read slush before, and even more interested if you’ve worked on a podcast previously. If not, then I’d like to hear from you anyway.

If you’re interested, shoot me an email over at jeremyszalsubmissions@gmail.com. The subject line should read: “StarShipSofa Assistant Query” followed by your last name. Tell me who you are, your experience, what genres you like, your favourite authors, publication credits (if any) etc, etc. The more detailed the better.

I’ll contact you if I’m interested and we’ll go from there. Let me know if you have any questions.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


University’s over forever

My brain’s fried and I can’t think of a good blog title now, so bear with me.

The gist of it is this: today, my 3 year stay at the University of New South Wales has come to a close. All the assignments have been submitted, all the readings done, all the presentations completed…everything.

And you what? It’s a pretty good feeling.

I’m not going to pretend I didn’t enjoy love parts of it. I had a hell lot of fun, made a lot of friends, learned critical thinking and knowledge that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Other than my Film Studies and Creative Writing major, I also did two subjects of Sociology, two subjects of Physics and astronomy, and one of modern history. Not everyone gets to say they studied (and passed!) advanced astrophysics at university level. I loved my lectures and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

But all good things must come to an end.

While I did enjoy my stay there, and I do enjoy the process of studying, it’s a very draining experience. There’s always something due. Always another presentation coming up, always another book to finish, always another draft to go over, always another reading to do, always another-

It does your head in after a while. It really does.

And I’ve never let university stop me from writing and submitting work: it’s what I went there in the first place to do. Over the latter two years (I’m not counting the first) I had more than fourty-five (and counting) short stories, articles and reviews published, everywhere from Strange Horizons to Nature. And that’s just the stuff that’s been accepted and published. And that doesn’t include the 50+ episodes of StarShipSofa that I solicited, produced and organized.

Writing’s hard, man.

For the content of the courses, the majority were good, and there were some that were invaluable to me as a writer (and film producer!). When I get that book deal, my teachers are being thanked in the credits, that much I promised them. But there was one creative writing class that was the equivalent of the world’s worst sewers being funneled down to a single mammoth-sized container, and then exploding that container wide open. I think I’ve gotten PTSD from that class. The lessons being taught were so absurd, so wildly impractical and against every fundamental writing rule ever (give your character agency, write in a clear prose, keep your audience in mind, don’t use passive voice, etc, etc) that I shut myself out and resigned to going over those copy-edits that Nature wanted back. It was completely divorced from the realities of contemporary publishing and literature. There was a strong whiff of nepotism in it, too.

The thing I learned in that class was what exactly not to do if I actually ever wanted to be published outside a coffee-chain owned vanity press. And I’m not even going to go into how any type of genre fiction, regardless of it’s quality, was treated….

But anyway, that’s behind me. I’m looking past that all.

As I say, I’m gonna miss it. There’s a vibe to being on campus, a sort of exuberance that you don’t get anywhere else in the world. And it was awesome while it lasted, but it’s over now. No more essays, no more presentations, no more sodding 3500 thesis to submit in a matter of days. No more of that.

So what’s next?

Writing. A lot of it. I’m going to be scribbling down some more short stories and get around to finishing my novel. There’s also a ton of work to be done on StarShipSofa. Great things are coming to it, and I can’t wait to see the reaction. And of course, I’ll need to get that job sooner or later. I did actually go to university for a reason, after all!

But right now, I’m just enjoying my newly discovered freedom.

If you need me, I’ll be over at the bar.

Over and out.


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