New Book – Contains Romance

The above book is due out tomorrow, though you can pre-order it now from you know who. I’m writing about it now because tomorrow I’m traveling to Belfast via Dublin to give a talk at Queens University.

The book is an anthology of queer love stories, and it is being published on Valentine’s Day because queer people deserve love too. (Why yes, I did get a card. Thank you for asking.) The editor is Farah Mendlesohn. One of the stories is by me.

This is something of a departure for me, because it is a love story between two women. I haven’t written one of those before. However, not much else has changed. The story is set in the ancient world on the island of the goddess, Calypso, where Odysseus spent many years on his way home from Troy. I should note that, because this is the ancient world, many of the characters are bisexual, so I hesitate to call this a lesbian romance. It is what it is. I hope some of you get to enjoy it.

Story Sale

This one appears to be official now. At least one of my fellow authors has written about it. So I guess I can celebrate too. I am delighted that I will be having a story in Rainbow Bouquet, an anthology of queer love stories to be published on Valentine’s Day. The editor is Farah Mendlesohn, and one of my fellow authors is Sarah Ash, so I’m in excellent company already. Here’s the full ToC:

  • The Man of My Dreams by Harry Roberts
  • Proof of Evil by Ed Ahern
  • A Hatred of Wednesdays by Victoria-Melita Zammit
  • Ubytok — umu pribytok by Erin Horáková
  • The Poet’s Daughter by Cheryl Morgan
  • Duet for Piano, Four Hands by Sarah Ash
  • Stronger Than Death by Kathleen Jowitt
  • More than Starlight, More than Rain by Sean R. Robinson
  • O’Canada by Garrick Jones
  • Firebrand by MJ Logue

I can tell you that my story is not trans-themed. I also note that the publishers, Manifold Press, specialise in queer historical fantasy. No more clues.

Obligatory Eligibility Post

It is that time of year again, and to make my author friends less self-conscious about reminding you of their fine work over the past year I am going to remind you about what I have been up to.

Much to my astonishment, most of what I have eligible is fiction. I had three (yes, three!) short stories published last year. Two of them were in Holdfast Magazine and you can find them as follows:

There is also “Camelot Girls Gone Wild”, which is apparently now available in Fantastically Horny. Kevin tells me he got his copy from the crowdfunding campaign. I have yet to see any sign of it.

I got nine episodes of the Salon Futura podcast out last year, so I guess that is eligible as a Fancast. (That also reminds me that I have a couple in the pipeline that need editing.)

The BristolCon Fringe podcast is also eligible, though if you nominate it you should credit Joanne Hall as well as me because she did all of the work of finding guests and booking the venue. (There may be other people too. I don’t know, I just show up and talk.)

I think that covers it, unless you have a favorite review or something, or if you think it has been long enough since I won Fan Writer for me to have another go. Not a huge amount, but hey, better than the Puppies, right?

New Fiction, by me

Experimental Subjects art

Issue #8 of Holdfast Magazine has been published today. It includes a short story by me, and an essay on non-heteronormative characters by Jo Hall. So Jo and I are sort of doing a role-reversal thing here. Her essay is great. My story, well, you’ll have to judge for yourselves.

Anyway, “Experimental Subjects” is a tale about two young people from Bristol who get kidnapped by aliens. The fact that the issue is billed as a “Love, Sex and Romance” special might give you a bit of a clue to the plot. I love the illustration they did for it.

There’s lot of other good stuff in the issue too, including an interview with Aliette de Bodard (graced by her fabulous new author photo by Lou Abercrombie).

Today on Ujima – Football, Lesbians, Rhodes and Bowie

I was hosting the Women’s Outlook show again today on Ujima. We started off with an interview with some football (soccer) players from a local sports club. Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls are perhaps most famous for the fact that Banksy was once their goalkeeper, but they deserve to be far more famous for the wonderful work they do in the community, and around their world. They have a slogan, “Freedom Through Football” and they have done amazing things in places like Mexico and Palestine. The main reason that they were on the show is that the Cowgirls team has just got back from the West Bank and they are going to be showing a film about their trip. What the Palestinian footballers have to put up with is beyond belief.

The club is also very inclusive, taking players of all ages and abilities. They now have netball and cricket teams as well as football. And they are fully LGB and T inclusive, and multi-ethnic.

You can listen to the first hour of the show here.

In the second half of the show I was joined by my lesbian author friend, Bea Hitchman. She’s doing a PhD about lesbians in fiction, in particular addressing the fact that their stories so often come to a sad end. I suggested that she talk to Malinda Lo. We were joined in the studio by my colleagues, Judeline and Frances, both of whom had seen Carol, and we talked a bit about the film.

For the final half hour we were joined by playwright, Edson Burton, and poet, Miles Chambers. They had some events to plug, and in return they joined us in discussing the legacy of Cecil Rhodes and the Rhodes Must Fall campaign currently being waged by students at Oxford University.

You can listen to the second hour of the show here.

The music for today’s show was all Bowie, but many of the tracks were covers by black musicians. Here’s the playlist:

  • Let’s Dance – David Bowie & Nile Rodgers
  • Heroes – Janelle Monáe
  • Young Americans – David Bowie & Luther Vandross
  • Life on Mars? – Seu Jorge
  • Ashes to Ashes – Warpaint
  • Sound & Vision – Megapuss
  • Modern Love – The Sunshiners
  • Starman – Culture Club

There’s one cover that I wish I had included. The show before me played it. It is a ska version of “Heroes” performed by the Hackney Colliery Band. Here it is:

Blade Runner – Flash Fiction

In the future, in a world not unlike The Culture, gender transitions are absolute. Biological science has advanced to the point at which they can re-program your entire body, even editing your chromosomes. Of course you do still want to be the same person, so the brain structure is not changed. Only the cell internals are edited, not the connections. Your skills and memories will still be intact.

On a planet called Greer they have invented a psychometric test designed to detect memories of having lived in a gender other than that which your body currently manifests. It is the only known way of telling if someone is trans or not. It is known as the Raymond-Bindel test. The people of Greer employ an elite cadre of assassins whose job it is to use this test to hunt down trans people and kill them.

They do not call this execution.

They call it, “a cure”.

Weird Fiction Review

The indefatigable Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have launched a new online magazine, Weird Fiction Review. It appears from the first issue that it will contain non-fiction, fiction, art, even a webcomic. This month’s fiction is a Belgian story newly translated by the excellent Edward Gauvin.

This is, of course, all tied up with the mindbogglingly huge anthology, The Weird, that Ann and Jeff have just produced. 750,000 words of fiction from all over the world, including some stunning new translations. At the speed I’m reading these days it would take me several months to get through it.

If you’d like to learn more about the book, and about Ann’s departure from Weird Tales, there is a fascinating podcast interview with the VanderMeers on Tony C. Smith’s Sofanauts show.

The P-Con Drabble

In catch-up mode here, I present the Drabble that I wrote for the Frank Darcy Award at this year’s P-Con. It didn’t win, because it isn’t funny. (Julian — you are going to publish your somewhere, right?) Nevertheless it is writing so I figure I should share it.

Treasure trove

It was in the senior common room at Kings that I first heard Farnsworth tell the story of the elephant. His father had bought it in Zanzibar — shipped it home — a wooden ornamental table with an animal base; hell to dust. His mother had hated it.

On buying a home of his own, Farnsworth offered to take it away. The removal men dropped it, breaking off the table top and revealing the map; revealing so much more: the tombs of the Zimbabwe emperors; the unmistakable evidence of alien visitation.

“Does your mother still hate it? I asked

“More than ever.”

That, by the way, was based on an actual piece of furniture that I once owned.

#outeralliance Pride Day 2009

Outer Alliance Pride Day 2009

Shortly after Worldcon, John C. Wright, a man whose bizarre ideas about sex and gender should come as no surprise to anyone, posted a deeply homophobic rant (since deleted) on his LiveJournal. This prompted a group of people to found The Outer Alliance. Those who have signed up (of which I am one) adhere to the following:

As a member of the Outer Alliance, I advocate for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish and support it, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity. I make sure this is reflected in my actions and my work.

Today is the first ever Outer Alliance Pride Day. Members around the world are posting about queer issues. I have a number of posts I’d like to highlight.

I have finally completed the write-up of the Future of Gender panel that I moderated at Worldcon.

As part of that I had to write a brief Gender 101, which I have posted here.

Given that book reviewing is something I do, I have written a review of a book by a lesbian author which has a lesbian central character: The Red Tree, by Caitlín R. Kiernan.

And finally, as almost everyone else is posting fiction, I figured I had better point you at something. This is something I wrote last year: a short tale of gender confusion in ancient Greece. It isn’t very good, and I keep meaning to find the time to work on it, but it is all I’ve got.

A round up of all posts can be found here, but here are a few highlights I have seen so far today by friends of mine.

I’d also like to point you at this post about the LGBT issue of Crossed Genres, which I will have an article in once I get around to writing it.

And finally, mention of John Coulthart reminds me that the city of Manchester celebrated its Pride Weekend a few days ago. As part of the celebrations the local LGBT community put together a little video based, with kind permission, on Lily Allen’s magnificent anti-bigotry rant, “F**k You”. Listen and enjoy.

Update: added Nicola whose post doesn’t seem to have come through the OA email system.


Today has mostly been spent working on other web sites – conventions that the like. I have, however, taken the opportunity to do a few things around here. Here are some you might notice.

I have put the April Fool P-Con report in the fiction section because, well, that’s where it belongs.

I’ve added a link to my new AudioBoo account. I don’t expect to use it very much, and it is linked through to Twitter and thence to Facebook so most of you needn’t worry about where it is. I suspect I’ll use it mainly from conventions – and UK ones at that because uploading MP3s will consume more bandwidth than I’m comfortable with when paying roaming charges.

In Which Cheryl Commits Fiction

While I was composing the post for Twilight yesterday I was suddenly struck by The Muse. As a consequence I have written a short story. In theory it is a cautionary tale about the dangers of trying to impose gender identity on children. In practice it is a comedy about some Greek heroes in the days before they became famous. It is called “The Search for Achilles” and you can read it here.