The Shapeshifter Chronicles came out on July 30--and in typical Future Chronicles style--has been doing very well. I'm not going to lie, It's been a cool thing to be a part of. The waiting was worth it.
Months ago, I got an invitation from Samuel Peralta to participate in the anthology. I was pleased, excited, and a little nervous. I'd never really thought about writing a shapeshifter story and I was asked for something in the SF range. It's a genre I enjoy writing, but it's not at the center of my comfort zone.
The good news is that being pushed can be the absolute best thing. Once I got started I had a blast.
I talk a little about how "Rock, Paper, Scissors" came together in the note after the published story. I won't repeat that here. I'll share a few of the weird research bits and associations, instead. One inspiration came from a segment on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight. It was about the poultry industry's exploitation of farmers. That eventually brought me to doing some research about lab-grown meat. The other main inspiration was the game. It got me thinking about probability and change which in turn got me to read about aliens, Fermi, Hart, and a lot more math than I'm usually comfortable with.
That part of the process is always so damned much fun.
After that it was all about drafting, editing, and waiting for the final product. And what a beauty it is. That cover! Look at it.
I believe that the stories inside live up to the promise of the exterior. The variety is impressive. There's SF, a bit of horror, Fantasy, Steampunk, and lots of interesting genre blends.
To continue my usual approach to collected works, I'll mention my top three favorite stories. It was difficult to choose, but here it goes.
1. "Good Hunting" by Ken Liu. All right, I'm a fan. "Paper Menagerie" never fails to make me cry. This story is beautifully written and mixes steampunk with a reimagining of fox-spirit legends. What it has to say about colonialism and humanity is riveting. Loved it.
2. "With Hair of Teeth and Claw" by Charity Tahmaseb. It's a take on the Rapunzel story that both surprised and delighted me. It's got some lovely lush prose, some heartbreak, tension, and a healthy dose of kick ass. Awesome.
3. "Not Quite Her" by K.J. Colt. I was drawn in by the emotional weight of the story and the deliciousness of its premise. This shifter has a long habit of assuming the identities of dying patients, but this time is different. I was intrigued by the implications and the exploration of ideas.
And, since my first choice was a reprint I'll choose one more. "Of Bats and Atomic Bombs" by Thomas Robins has gorillas, guns, and shady government research programs. It takes its premise and runs with it. Full tilt.
There are eleven stories and one poem in the anthology. It's available on amazon as an ebook right now. A paperback version will be coming sometime soon. That will most likely prompt another happy post because while I like ebooks, nothing quite beats holding your work in paper.
Thanks for reading!