Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Seastead short story sale

I returned from vacation in the North Woods to find a check and a contract from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for "Jubilee," my newest seastead story. This will be story #5 in this series. I'm going to talk a little bit about this series of short stories, and the process of writing them. The stories are near-future SF, set on a seastead. I like to say that seasteading is real-ish. It's not actually happening yet (unless you count very small examples like Sealand) but there are people who are actually trying to do it. The idea is that a group could construct its own island, settle it, and have a new piece of land on which they could set up their preferred form of government. Most of the people currently into the idea are libertarians who want to run their micronation according to libertarian ideals. (Building your own island is tricky, but it's easier than setting up shop on the moon, right?) Anyway. The premise of the stories is that a libertarian seastead got founded about 50 years earlier; there's actually a cluster of micronations, all a couple of hundred miles west of the California coast. Beck Garrison, the protagonist, is a teenage girl living on New Minerva. Her father is one of the powerful men of the stead; she's lived there since she was five. In "Liberty's Daughter" (which I've put up online here -- it appeared in F&SF in May/June 2012), Beck investigates the disappearance of a bond-worker (debt slave). In "High Stakes," a U.S.-based reality TV show comes to the seastead to film. ("High Stakes" appeared in F&SF in Nov/Dec 2012). In "Solidarity" (F&SF March/April 2013) Beck gets thrown out of the apartment by her father; it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, the discovery that a mysterious plague is beginning to break out. The most recent published story, "Containment Zone" (F&SF May/June 2014), tells the story of the plague, and Beck maneuvering to allow an aid group to dock to help the stead. The story I just sold, "Jubilee" (F&SF probably sometime in 2014), is about the early stages of recovery -- picking up the pieces, trying to get people vaccinated and fix the water supply. I'm editing a story with the working title of "The Silicon Curtain," in which Beck and her friend Thor go to Sal -- the mysterious, isolationist piece of the stead that's essentially a self-contained biotech company. (And, I've already written a story in which Beck goes to California.) I really like these stories. Beck is a great character -- I love writing about teenagers. (The protagonists of my novels are all teenage girls.) I enjoy thinking about the ways she's shaped by her environment (and vice versa). One of my favorite recurring supporting characters is this guy named Zach, who's a member of a private security force located on Lib (the anarcho-capitalist micronation that's part of the cluster). Zach is fantastic fun to write, and he puts in another appearance in "Jubilee." I have tried (without success) to sell these stories as a novel; I'm still trying, but at this point I'm figuring that once I've either sold them all to F&SF or Gordon Van Gelder has balked at buying any more, if no publishers have bitten, I'll do a self-published e-book.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

I really like this series.