Ark of Bones now available! In audio!

https://embed.acast.com/starshipsofa/starshipsofano509jeremyszal

A very, very belated post: but my short story “Ark of Bones” is now available in audio over at StarShipSofa in episode 509. It’s narrated by the wonderful Mikael Naramore, who’s narrated audiobooks by Clive Barker, Nora Roberts, Wesley Chu, and other writers much more talented than me.

His buttery man vocals bring the story to life in ways that put a stupid grin on my face, and I usually can’t listen to audio adaptations of my work. But this one, I’m very much able to hear his rendition of my characters again and again.

This is the short-story version of the YA SF novel that almost got an agent, but didn’t. I was cut up about it, but not enough that I was done with the world. It wouldn’t leave my brain, even a year after the final rejections came through. So I decided to write a shorter, tighter version (and one with a much better endings, methinks). Humans have occupied over the planet of Arkaeyus and segregated the native aliens into a filthy refugee camp that’s getting smaller and smaller as the paramilitary slowly eat away at their rights. This story focuses on a human and his best mate, who happens to be one of these aliens and their investigation as more of these aliens start to disappear.

It’s a little strange, having a story appear at a podcast I edit. I’m very aware of how prevalent nepotism is in this industry. Tony read one of my stories a few months back in the anthology he published, and was interested in putting it on the show. But the rights were taken up, and he asked if I had anything else. I offered up another story on the condition that he decide whether or not it was good enough. He thought it was. I was a hesitant (againn, nepotism), but since this was a solicited piece, and I wasn’t the one making the decision whether it’d run or not, I decided to go through with it.

So. It’s now finally available to stream into your earholes worldwide. It’s one of my favourite stories, and it went through multiple drafts before I even started polishing it.

I first started building this world it during university classes back in 2013, so seeing it all finally come to life in audio is is something pretty special. ūüôā

 

The Galaxy’s Cube out in Abyss and Apex!

Well, this is certainly overdue. But no matter: my short story “The Galaxy’s Cube” went live at Abyss & Apex for their 58th issue, Q2 2016. It takes place on a Thailand-inspired colony world – there’s a strong biopunk favour, lavish descriptions of haunting cities, dormant AIs, relationships and the sense of wonder and sorrow. It’s also a bit of a love letter to the choatic, beautiful sprawling mess that is Bangkok, Thailand and the wonderful people who reside there. I’ve lived in the place and visited it more than a dozen times and I’ve never had a bad experience.

I wrote this story back in late 2014 or so. It gave me hell at the time of writing, I had no idea where I was going with it, what I’d do, how it would turn out, etc. But I pressed on, finished it, and sold it to Abyss & Apex very quickly. A&A have published work by ¬†Aliette de Bodard, Marie Brennan, Rae Carson, J. N.K. Jemisin, Will McIntosh¬†C. J. Cherryh,¬† Paul Di Filippo, Jay Lake,¬† Tim Pratt, and others, so it’s an honour to appear in their pages. So far it’s gotten pretty good reviews, including one in SF Revu where they called it a “fantastic, heartfelt story.”

It’s not perfect of course, considering I wrote it a year and a half ago, but I think it’s one of my better stories, and I feel it’s one of those stories that I “leveled up” with. Considering that they only publish 20 or so stories a year, and frequently get Honourable Mentions in the Year’s Best, I’m pretty happy to be in their pages. Many thanks to¬† my editors Wendy and Tonya who pushed for it to be the leading story of the issue.

So yes. Sit back and go to a future Thai colony and do let me know what you think of the story. You can find it online for free here.

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Massive Announcement: First “Professional” Sale!

I’ve been quiet about this for the past week, but I can’t keep the lid on any longer.

Exactly one week ago, I signed a contract for a short story, selling it to a magazine. Which magazine, may you ask? That magazine would be Nature magazine, published by Nature Publishing Group, a division of PAN MACMILLAN/TOR!

I won’t lie, my jaw smacked the desk when I saw that Nature had accepted my story. At 19 years old, I sold fiction to a magazine published by a division of one of “Big Five”.

Phew. Wow.

So, I scrapped my brains off the wall and popped a beer in the fridge to celebrate (it was first thing in the morning, and even by Australian standards that’s a tad early). Then I saw that Nature publishes anthologies with names like Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick and others, and that Nature is the most cited science journal in the world, with over 3 million visitors to the website per month.

And I scrubbed my brains from the ceiling one more time. I seriously couldn’t believe it. Even now, it’s a little surreal. Hell, even family, teachers and people I barely know, who don’t even read science-fiction (some don’t even read at all) know about Nature magazine.

There are no words that can express just how riveted I feel. My editor has been phenomenal in making the story the best it could possibly be. I’ve seen the page proofs and artwork, and I love it.

But I’m not getting side tracked. This is the first step in a long, long journey that I won’t be quitting any time soon.

Look for my story in a future issue. For me, I’m back to my editing and writing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll sell another story with them in the future.

Actually, scratch that. You can bet that I will.