Thursday, August 7, 2014

Terrible Minds, Evil Corn, and Big Ideas

All right, happy people!  Today, we have not one, not two, but three awesome new entries in the blogosphere.

First and more belatedly, the good folks at were kind enough to invite me to submit an article for their "The Story Behind" series, titled (naturally) The Story Behind "One Night in Sixes".  That was a hard one to write (because the only thing less cool than crying in the library is writing about crying in the library), but one I'm really proud of. They have some ace talent in their stable, and being invited to contribute is a huge honor.

Then - as if that weren't enough! - GeekChicElite posted their interview with me about the book.  And like, I've said it before, y'all, but it's as true as ever: GCE has some terrifically talented staff, and I'm really stoked about their enthusiasm for all things pop culture.  Don't click for me - click for the Judge Dredd cosplay!

And today, hot off the presses, I'm wildly stoked to have a guest blog up at, called Five Things I Learned By Writing "One Night in Sixes".  Fair warning: linguaphile geekery, rat-based cosmetics, and horse testicles lie within.

Maybe she's born with it.  Maybe it's mouse skin.
Actually, I wanted to talk a little more about that one, though – not so much the article specifically, but Chuck Wendig, the Terrible Mind himself.  Full confession, you guys: I have been the BIGGEST pain in his ass over the last couple of weeks.  Like you would not believe.   I won't go into all the details here, but suffice to say that I have somehow contrived to turn the simple act of submitting a guest post into a Sisyphean orgy of miscommunication and follow-through failure.   It's a hell of a thing, even by my standards.

Anyway, those of you who know of The Wendig probably know that he's legendary for his "ululating shitwizards of epic beardomancy" writing style.  Which is totally cool (because hey, you don't get to be Taco Pastor for nothing.)  But the thing I keep wanting to shout from the rooftops is HOLY SHIT Y'ALL HE'S SUCH A NICE GUY.   It was true when I first met him at WorldCon last year (while I was wholly consumed with trying not to barf on my shoes during my first-ever stint on a panel), and it's absolutely true now (while I have been frantically failboating o'er the Seven Seas of So Not Ready For Prime-Time). 

More productively, though... y'know, guys, I've been doing a LOT of these guest posts and interviews and what-not.  And most of my talking points are about one or more of the big ideas behind my book.  But man, the big ideas behind ANY book are so interesting to me.  Whether it's H.G. Wells and his "hey, colonial assholes, how would we like it if somebody came and colonized US?" War of the Worlds, or Richard Matheson's "well, what if the whole rest of the world turned into vampires and human beings become the monsters?" I Am Legend, or Isaac Asimov and his whole "at what point does a machine become a person?" oeuvre (yeah, I used 'oeuvre' in a sentence – hands up if you're sorry)... like, I am just wildly in love with this whole idea of using speculative fiction not just as fun fantasyland escapism, but as a way to look at our own world with fresh eyes. 

Which is why, even though I am embarrassingly late to the game here, I am totally stoked to read Under the Empyrean Sky.  And I know what all you incorrigible biblio-hipster-philes are thinking.  "Oh my god, dystopian YA?  Why not just hitch up your mom-jeans and do the Macarena?"  

Two words, guys: evil corn.  Corn that's been bred to choke out everything else that used to grow.  Corn that takes everything the groundlings have to control it, tend it, and harvest it to the satisfaction of the indolent elite in their floating cities.  Corn that dominates not only the land, but the people who work it – and ultimately drives one particular person to push back. 

Is that not neat?  Is that not immense?  In my head it's Snowpiercer and Les Miserables and Little Shop of Horrors – you know, all with a cool bleakly-futuristic flyover-state aesthetic.  I love the idea of using a dystopian setting to explore economic tyranny, crop monocultures, and the whole idea of slaving away to serve people you'll never even meet - of taking something so traditionally wholesome and essential as farming and perverting it.  That is SO COOL, and I can't freaking wait to get into it.  If that sounds even remotely good, check it out on the quick side, because the second book, Blightborn is just now out, and I for one aim to be ready when the last book hits the shelf!

Anyway, that's the short story: kickass author writes book that cannot fail to kick ass; film at 11.  And it's always exciting to me to get to know the author AND the book, because I really do believe that at its heart - at its best - this whole fictioneering business runs on love and enthusiasm.  So if you're reading a book you are just totally over the moon about, shout it out here - I would really love to hear about it!

Know your place. Accept your place. Be a shoe.

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