Very happy and honored to tell you that my novelette, “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Mar/Apr 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Eugie Foster Memorial Award!
The Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction (or Eugie Award) celebrates the best in innovative fiction. This annual award is presented at Dragon Con, the nation’s largest fan-run convention. Starting with the 2020, we will add a video presentation of the award online, along with a reading of a section of each finalist.
The Eugie Award honors stories that are irreplaceable, that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. We will be looking for stories that are beautiful, thoughtful, and passionate, and change us and the field. The recipient is a story that is unique and will become essential to speculative fiction readers.
I’ve had a wonderful two days just telling people that I became a finalist and receiving so much positive feedback. I kinda feel that being a finalist with all these cool authors and stories is its own reward! It’s really filled my soul with love in this very tumultuous time.
There are still many changes to make in the world. We will make them! Today, it was nice to feel loved.
PS. Yes that is my illustration for the story. It was something created way after the story was accepted and in print… but it was fun to doodle.
I only published one thing this year, 2019, but it was a big publication for me. “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” was a novelette (8000 words) published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the March/April 2019 issue and is eligible for Canadian and American writing awards. It is Fantasy. It’s about the power of music, music mentoring, about the courage to go on after loss, and features jazz-playing fauns. The character is queer and disabled. He stays queer and disabled and alive through the whole story.
Below you’ll find a link to the whole story here online, or you can read an excerpt from it.
*I am a Canadian and American writer, holding dual citizenship.
Thank you for visiting my 2019 year round up page, and I hope you enjoy my story.
Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Mr. Dance couldn’t keep his eyes off Eric’s clarinet. From the moment the young football player opened the black case and revealed the instrument, Mr. Dance knew that what he thought had been broken– as his legs were– or lost–as he felt–had instead been hidden for a hundred years.
I like finding science fiction in odd places. Janelle Monáe is a genius. Think if the Archies had been a ska band with a funk lead singer. But she’s more than that. She’s also a brilliant storyteller. Her “Many Moons” reimagines the beginnings of science fiction cinema, Metropolis. She gives the silent film Metropolis the soundtrack it needed. For Janelle, Metropolis is about many androids now…and there are comments on slave auctions, blaxploitation, and the lack of freedom–for anyone. For women, for minorities, for humans in a world overcome by technology. There is no fear of androids in “Many Moons”—but even I would think that at the corners of the movie Monae makes, there is jealousy at the perfection of the androids, and even a bit of jealousy when Cindy Mayweather erupts in a spasm of freedom, or is it a spasm of realization that she is not free…. all I know is that she breaks loose and begins to dance, dance so high, that she short circuits. But the crowd is in ecstasy with her.
Monae has certainly looked here at humanity as commodity. She’s done it with brass. And artistry. She’s even mixed in a bit of Sesame Street.
I like finding science fiction in odd places. And this small film is beautiful. It’s got solid worldbuilding where she’s imagined, in one scene, the state of society. The characters all have the hint of well-developed backstories; they have desires, weaknesses, past confrontations. Cindy Mayweather grows as an android/character. Her growth, perhaps, comes from her realizations–of the names that keep her as Other. The names are not androidish—they are names leveled at minorities. Check out the Cybernetic Chantdown after the break.
Hey, The American Astronaut, a film-noir musical about a steampunk astronaut, isn’t the most widely known astronaut in music. I got to feeling nostalgic about Major Tom and other Musical Odes to Astronauts and found a few that I thought you might enjoy.
Most of these songs characterize the astronaut as lonely and eventually disconnected–disconnected from family as he leaves, disconnected from Earth, and in a few of the songs, disconnected from the spaceship as well, as he floats out into the nothing of space. Bowie’s song was in 1969, timed to coincide with the first moon landing; Elton John’s in 1972 and Peter Schilling’s in 1983. I add Duran Duran’s Astronaut as a contrast–he’s “leaving with an astronaut” which makes the song much more about coupling than de-coupling. And then, the opening to “Enterprise”–“Faith of the Heart” that celebrates astronauts as parts of teams.
I think the lonely/together idea is interesting when you talk about astronauts. Are we starting to see astronauts not as those who leave community, but those who are creating community? The first three songs are about leaving, about separating, and about not trusting Ground Control and where they might be sending humans. The other two, perhaps, are seeing the adventurous side of being an astronaut again, certainly about being part of a larger community which connects all the aviation pioneers in a long line of exploration and pushing out into space–which according to Star Trek– is densely populated.
Welcome, “lonely” astronaut!
Below: David Bowie “Space Oddity”; Elton John, “Rocket Man”; Peter Schilling “Major Tom”; Duran Duran “Astronaut” and Russell Watson’s “Faith of the Heart,” the opening to the TV series “Enterprise.”