Short story alert: I've got one.
Over the years, I've been fortunate to work in a variety of formats: novels, screenplays, teleplays, videogames, animation, commercial spots, etc. But never short stories. That's just changed, as Subterranean Press will be publishing me along with a variety of other science fiction authors in Subterranean Magazine #4.
Edited by the prolific and talented John Scalzi, Subterranean #4 tackles popular science fiction clichés, with writers spinning them on their ear. I took on the "aliens want to eat us" conceit, and had a lot of fun doing it. "Tees and Sympathy" it's called, and it should be available this April. Subterranean Press is taking preorders for issue #3 right now, and I imagine they'll do the same for issue #4 soon. I'll post a note when they do.
Many years ago, during a Twilight Zone marathon, I remember my dad explaining the unlikelihood of aliens viewing planet Earth as a smorgasbord. Evolving on an alien world, what are the odds they'd consider human flesh tasty? The prevalence of "they want to eat us" fiction has more to do with our fears than actual possibility. Thinking it over, I wonder if the same could be said for most fiction. Tickling peoples' hopes and fears tends to come before strict believability. And the feeling that something might happen becomes more important than whether or not it actually could.
"Tees and Sympathy" was a lot of fun to work on, and I think there's a lot to like about the short story format. A huge relief to know you don't have hundreds of pages standing between you and the end, and a good challenge to put a lot of story into something short and sweet. I'm happy with how it came together; John gave it a thumbs up; I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy and enjoy it as well. Not to mention all the other stories in Subterranean #4. Looking at the list of authors, I'm in very good company:
"Cliché Haiku" by Scott Westerfeld
"A Finite Number of Typewriters" by Stuart MacBride
"Hesperia and Glory" by Ann Leckie
"Horrible Historians" by Gillian Polack
"The Inevitable Heat Death of the Universe" by Elizabeth Bear
"It Came From the Slush Pile" by John Joseph Adams
"Labyrinth's Heart" by Bruce Arthurs
"Last" by Chris Roberson
"The Last Science Fiction Writer" by Allen M. Steele
"Movie Clichés and the Sci-Fi Films That Love Them" by Ron Hogan
"The NOMAD Gambit" by Dean Cochrane
"Refuge" by David Klecha
"Remarks on Some Clichés I Have (by Definition) Known Too Well" by Teresa Nielsen Hayden
"Scene From a Dystopia" by Rachel Swirsky
"Shoah Sry" by Tobias S. Buckell and Ilsa J. Bick
"Tees and Sympathy" by Nick Sagan
"The Third Brain" by Charles Coleman Finlay and James Allison
"What a Piece of Work" by Jo Walton