So awhile back three serendipitous things occurred at roughly the same time.
The first was that Clarkesworld Magazine asked me to do another story for them. For some reason, I do a lot of my best work
for Clarkesworld. I still think A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica
is one of the best short stories I've ever written, if not the best.
But they stipulated that it had to be SF this time. I was really quite worried that I didn't have another SF idea after Golubash
. But I agreed, because I love Clarkesworld and I really work best when given strict boundaries and challenges.
And then I started talking to someone in Seattle about how Mark Z. Danielewski is so plainly affected and influenced by the fact that his father was a documentary filmmaker.
I started thinking: well, Cat, your dad was a filmmaker, too. And your mom has a master's in theater. How has that affected you? You've never written about movies or anything like them, yet they are this massive part of your psyche and upbringing. Yet it's practically invisible in your work.
...and my Beast came up to me one night and said: "Oh please, oh please, can you write me a story where Venus is like it was in old SF books, all waterworldy and with big fish and stuff?" (While I was writing Golubash, he said "oh, please, oh please, can I have a pony in it?" You can't blame him, he's been waiting for me to write SF for four years--exactly, in fact, as today is our anniversary--so it is a bit like getting a vending machine suddenly stocked with your favorite stuff. He just keeps mashing the buttons to see what will come out.)
And sometimes that's how stories get written. Three things make a story.
I'm going to do a big post on Monday about what it's been like to start writing SF after a whole career writing fantasy. But for now, let me just say I love this story obscenely and am super proud of it and really, really
want you guys to head over and read it, so oh, please, oh, please go and read about my weird artdecopunk world with Venus and Neptune and silent films and gossip mags and cheesy performance art and gigantic aliens. And leave a comment!
You can even hear me read it on the podcast.
So here it is, my second SF story ever: The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew
Two SF stories! Why, the next thing you know I'll be expelling my fantasy novels from my bookshelf! Of course, it's not hard SF--the alternate world tech is, well, alternate.
I need a writing SF icon.