Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Free Fiction from Gwyneth Jones

Nadeem was a Diaspora-denier. He would bore the socks off you explaining, interminably, how actually there was NO uncontroversial evidence that all planetary variants on the sentiend biped model, all the possessors of "numinous intelligence", capable of interstellar transit, were descended from a single species. He refused, passionately, to accept that the original species had been a hominid from the Blue Planet -a precursor of homo sapiens who had flourished and vanished, leaving only the faintest and most puzzling of traces. It's only a theory, he'd insist.
And yet the man was a scientist.
~ Gwyneth Jones, "The Tomb Wife", 2007
Novelist Gwyneth Jones has posted several short stories on her web site with multiple biological bits: sex and gender, evolution of the "sentient bipeds" that make up the "diaspora", and neural modification that allows interstellar travel.
  • "The Tomb Wife", originally published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, August 2007
  • "Saving Tiamaat", originally published in The New Space Opera; ed. Gardner Dozois
  • "The Voyage Out", originally published in Periphery: Erotic Lesbian Futures
  • "The Fulcrum", featured in CONSTELLATIONS; ed. Peter Crowther and The Year's Best Science Fiction 23; ed. Gardner Dozois
I also recommend her essays "Aliens in the Fourth Dimension", in which she writes about the aliens in her Aleutian novels - specifically, why she made them both humanoid and sexless hermaphrodites - and "The Brains of Female Hyena Twins", on sex and gender.

She talks about is reading conference proceedings (Differences Between the Sexes, ed. RV Short and E. Balaban), with the eye of a science fiction writer, as a source of story ideas.
I am, sincerely, in awe at the quality of some of the papers (so far as an amateur can appreciate them). But I'm a science fiction writer, not a scientist. I approach these essays as I would an article on the curious plight of Hubble's Constant. I'm looking for hooks and riffs; material I can use.

And that ability to take a snippet of science and turn it into an interesting tale is what makes SF so much fun to read (IMHO).

(via Jonathan Strahan's Notes from Coode Street via SF Signal)

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