Imagination Sinkhole

Short Fiction: Last Words

Last autumn my short story Last Words was published in AE: The Canadian Science-Fiction Review, edited by D.F. McCourt and Helen Michaud. This month it was named by the storySouth Million Writers Award as a notable story of 2011.

Last Words, illustration by Matthew Hemming

And now, I’d like to share it here with you. Our tale begins beneath the fold:

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Imagination Sinkhole

Babysitter

Babysitter, a short story by Cheeseburger Brown; illustration by the author

The invasion of Cassiopeia was age-inappropriate for the child: that much was clear.

All the worst words in the dictionary were being acted out live, and that violated the Standard with respect to age-appropriate subject matter. The child was present, which made the Standard paramount. On the other hand, duty was paramount.

The soldier was of the highest quality. No expense had been spared in his manufacture or maintenance. He was beautiful, too. He was as much a parade piece as a tool. Never the less, considering two things to be simultaneously paramount upset him.

The child bleated, “Where’s my mom?”

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Imagination Sinkhole

The Seventh Rule — Chapter 7

And now the concluding chapter of The Seventh Rule, another free science-fiction serial from the likes of me. The complete story is available in print in my latest anthology, Eleven Electric Lies, which you might buy a copy of and then bring along for signing at the Toronto Comic Con! I hope to see you (or a duly appointed representative) there, March 18-20, 2011.

The Seventh Rule, illustration by the author
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Imagination Sinkhole

The Seventh Rule — Chapter 6

This is the sixth and second to last installment of my new serial, The Seventh Rule

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Imagination Sinkhole

The Seventh Rule — Chapter 5

In an homage to counting in order, I’d like to present the fifth installment of my freshest serial, The Seventh Rule

The Seventh Rule, illustration by the author
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Imagination Sinkhole

The Seventh Rule — Chapter 4

And now, the fourth installment of my freshest serial, The Seventh Rule

Cheeseburger Brown's The Seventh Rule, illustration by the author

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Imagination Sinkhole

Eleven Electric Lies & The Seventh Rule — Chapter 3

Eleven Electric Lies, cover illustration by Cheeseburger Brown

ELEVEN ELECTRIC LIES, cover illustration by the author

Before we continue with the current serial, I’d like to mention that my latest round-up of stories is available in a new printed edition, available today via the presses of Lulu. If you still like books, or know somebody else who still likes books, or just like supporting independent publishing by putting money in the pockets of the artists you enjoy, please consider ordering a copy or two of Eleven Electric Lies: Collected Stories Volume III.

Meanwhile, here’s the third installment of The Seventh Rule

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Imagination Sinkhole

The Seventh Rule—Chapter 2

Without needless preamble, here is the second installment of my freshest serial, delivered in seven short parts: The Seventh Rule...

The Seventh Rule, illustration by the Author

The Seventh Rule, a web serial by Cheeseburger Brown; illustration by the author


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My Thoughts Exactly

You’re Right, Bruce Sterling: I *am* the future of printed fiction. Let’s discuss at SXSW!

A few months ago I blogged about my ten-or-so year long [career|hobby| pipe-dream|unhealthy obsession] as an itinerant peddler of my self-published nanopunky cyberpunky biopunky novel and novellas. That post was called Traveling Self-Publishing Geek Novelist Blues: the Defcon Variations.

A few weeks after I had posted this bit, the cyberpunk celebrity/novelist Bruce Sterling picked up on it, writing in an entry about me in his beyond the beyond blog entitled “The Future of Printed Fiction“. (Actually he didn’t write a blog entry about me — he copy/pasted my Wetmachine post and inserted into it a few oracular comments of his own.)

It’s all about being a make-do gypsy at the fringes of the web conference scene,” Sterling said in his prefatory remarks. “Gothic High-Tech, Favela Chic”.

I’ve been pondering that pronouncement (and others like it that he sprinkled through post by way of annotation) for a few months now (his post is dated October 14, 2010). Below the fold, I make an attempt at parsing them. I do detect a general tone of condescension in Sterling’s comments. Which, y’know, who cares. And furthermore I’m not even sure about that, that his comments are condescending. It seems like he’s making fun of me, but maybe he’s doing straight reporting or maybe he’s free-associating/scat-singing, like a jazz musician or person with Tourettes; I can’t really tell and anyway I’m not well-placed to judge, inasmuch as the subject is my life’s work. Mostly I’m grateful that Sterling blogged about me at all, because he has legions of fans & I got a nice jolt of web traffic and a mini-spike in book sales after he anointed me The Future of Printed Fiction. So thanks, Bruce.

In related news, both Sterling and I are slated to be in Austin, Texas next March for SXSW, the mega indie artist hipster conclave, at which event he will be giving a keynote talk to the multitudes and I’ll be on a panel (presumably before a much smaller and less adoring audience than Sterling’s) entitled “The Self-Publishing Novelist: Report from the Trenches

Since Bruce & I will both be at SXSW, maybe I’ll get a chance to chat with him & ask him what his comments meant. Or, maybe, just maybe, when I get to SXSW & plop myself down in a chair to listen to his opening address I’ll discover that I’m the subject of his keynote talk, which will be about nothing other than, yes THE FUTURE OF PRINTED FICTION & how I, Sundman is it! And I will find myself thereby catapulted into cyberbionanonovelist superstardom, right alongside Bruce Himself and William Gibson and what’s his face, who wrote Cryptonomicon and is now working some newfangled space-age post-fiction with my friend Nicki Galland and that other guy who wrote the book about little nanomachines taking over your mind — no, not Acts of the Apostles , the other one. Probably not, I realize that. But if you’re reading this, Bruce, and would like to join me for a cuppa whatever, please do  have your people call my people.

While I do confess to a bit of bewilderment about what Sterling is actually saying about me in his post, I think the gist is that printed (fiction) books are rapidly becoming “collector” artifacts for niche and rapidly shrinking communities of readers, like classic 35MM film cameras (Pentax, Minolta, Leica, Hasselblad. . .) that once commanded premiums in specialty stores and now go for a few bucks at flea markets.

Who knows, he may be right about that.

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