Tag: Story: The New Mother (page 1 of 4)

Nueva Madre now available from Editorial Cerbero

It’s out! You can now buy a copy of Nueva Madre of your very own to enjoy en español, translated by the inimitable Arrate Hidalgo. It’s listed as a novela corta, or “short novel,” which I suppose makes me a short novelist. Seems accurate.

I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these beauties. The publisher describes the work thusly:

Partenogénesis Humana Contagiosa. Síndrome del Gameto Diploide. Lleva, al menos, cinco años sucediendo, sea cual sea el nombre que se le dé. Mujeres en edad fértil que corren el riesgo de quedar embarazadas de manera espontánea cada vez que ovulan. Mujeres que tienen hijas que, técnicamente, son clones de sí mismas. Algunos lo llaman epidemia, otros milagro, y hay quien se lleva las manos a la cabeza arguyendo que significará la extinción de los hombres. Tess Mendoza, periodista independiente, lleva mucho tiempo siguiendo la noticia, entrevistando a todos los que parecen tener algo que decir al respecto. ¿Es una enfermedad? ¿Es lícito considerar seres humanos a estas mujeres y a sus hijas? ¿Existe algún riesgo para su propio embarazo, fruto de un donante anónimo?

Which I think translates to something like:

Contagious Human Parthenogenesis. Diploid Gamete Syndrome. Whatever you call it, it’s been happening for at least five years.Women of childbearing age who run the risk of becoming pregnant spontaneously each time they ovulate. Women who have daughters who, technically, are clones of themselves. Some call it an epidemic, others a miracle, and some people put their hands to their heads, arguing that it means the extinction of men. Tess Mendoza, an independent journalist, has been following the story for a long time, interviewing all those who seem to have something to say about it. It is a disease? Is it permissible to consider these women and their daughters as human beings? Is there any risk to her own pregnancy, the result of an anonymous donor?

Purchase it from Editorial Cerbero here.

Cover reveal for Nueva Madre

Here’s what the Spanish edition of “The New Mother” is going to look like. It’s the work of Cecilia García, and I adore it. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen an image of Tess, and she looks so much like she did in my head. I love the press badge, and the little picture of identical GDS siblings on her phone, and her wavy hair, and I especially love the uncertain look on her face. The bustle and blur of the city rising behind her is perfect, suggestive of the complex interplay of social forces Tess tries to navigate as she moves through the story. And that bright, full moon dominating the human skyline and framing the main character is symbolic of the themes in ways I’m sure don’t require elaboration. I’m also very pleased to see not just my name on there, but also Arrate Hidalgo’s, without whom Nueva Madre would not exist.

This beautiful thing will be available from Editorial Cerbero in November.

Spanish edition of “The New Mother” forthcoming from Cerbero Press

The contracts are signed and tweeted, so now it can be revealed that the Spanish press Cerbero will be publishing Nueva Madre, the Spanish edition of “The New Mother.” It will be available in November, in paperback and as an e-book. More details on that soon.

This never would have happened without the phenomenal Arrate Hidalgo, who translated the story and championed its publication. In addition to working as a professional translator and as an associate editor for Aqueduct Press, Arrate writes journalism about the Spanish SF scene, such as this article published just yesterday on women’s voices in ciencia ficción, “La Invasión de las Mujeres Invisibles.

 

“The New Mother” in Science Fiction World

2016-09yiwen“The New Mother” was translated and published back in September by China’s (and the world’s) largest circulation science fiction magazine, Science Fiction World. In fact, given the circulation, it’s entirely possible that more people will have read this version of “The New Mother” than the one I originally wrote.

Now the contributor’s copies have made their way across the ocean to me.  Looking through it, though I can’t read the text, I notice a lot of interesting things.

  • My name, when translated into Chinese, is 尤金 费雪. I’m told this contains characters for both “gold” and “snow.”
  • There are many translation footnotes, most commonly for elements of the story dealing with acronyms and initials. All acronyms and initials are rendered in English characters in the text, then contextualized below. There is one footnote that, from context, is clearly explaining why, in English, a group with a condition called HCP might name their news magazine “The Hiccup.” More common acronyms, like DNA, are still printed in English, but not footnoted.
  • In the English version of the story, the journalistic passages that made up every other section were distinguished from the narrative passages by italics. In the Chinese version there is clearly a typeface distinction going on, but I don’t know how to characterize it. I want to say that the parts that were italicized in English are here rendered in sketchier, less blocky looking characters. I don’t know if that’s just same typeface’s equivalent of italics, or something more like a different font.
  • There’s a fantastic, manga-style illustration to open the story; a double page splash of angry people shouting across a hospital as young girls are pulled away from their mother, while in the center a religious figure with hooded eyes reads from a book while standing beneath a sign that says “KEEP QUIET.” Here’s the best scan I was able to get:

SFW Illustration

“The New Mother” included in Heiresses of Russ 2016

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I’m quite please to say that “The New Mother” has been selected for inclusion in Lethe Press’s Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, edited by A. M. Dellamonica and Steve Berman. This will be the first time my work appears in a reprint anthology. It looks to be a gorgeous book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it and learn who I’m sharing the TOC with. “Heiress of Russ” is an appellation I never would have claimed for myself, but couldn’t be happier to receive. You can buy the book from Lethe’s site here.

“The New Mother” Places 2nd in Sturgeon Awards

Or, as I prefer to think of it, earns first place among all stories not written by Kelly Link, who won for “Game of Smash and Recovery.” Coming in second behind Kelly feels a hell of a lot like winning. It was also completely unexpected. In her opening comments at the Campbell & Sturgeon Memorial Awards Reception, Kij Johnson said that the conversation over picking a winner was always “peppery,” but that this year it was especially so. When she announced my name I was astonished. Here’s what she said:

Second Place, “The New Mother,” Eugene Fischer, Asimov’s, Apr/May 2015.

A new disease makes women able to have babies without sexual reproduction. The story, broken by a pregnant lesbian reporter with her own worries, interestingly explores a multiplicity of legal and cultural complexities that could arise in this situation, without compromising the personal angle. The story was masterfully written and exhibited some of the best craft of anything we read this year.

After the ceremony, she and several others approached me to reiterate how much they loved the story, and what a close choice it was. I spent hours drunk on the experience. Much thanks to the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the Sturgeon Award jury. Here are some photos.

WisCon 40 and the Tiptree Award

Me with my parents on the night of the the Tiptree Award ceremony. Photo by John Scalzi.

This post is long overdue, having been constantly delayed by other life stuff. But WisCon 40 was special, and I want to record some of it here. WisCon is always special to me; it was my first con and the one I still attend every year. Attending as a Tiptree winner though is a unique experience, and one I’m very grateful to have had.

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A warm reception at dinner

I made it to Madison on Thursday just in time to race to the hotel and change into a suit for the Tiptree Motherboard dinner at Cento. I was very nearly on time but still the last to arrive, which produced the weekend’s first moment of atypical celebration when the already assembled group applauded my arrival. I took a stunned and bashful moment, then asked them to do it again so I could snap a picture. I was sure to take time during dinner to move down that long table and introduce myself to everyone, and met many people I was to keep interacting with for the rest of the weekend.

Me and Pat Murphy, founder of the Tiptree Awards

With Pat Murphy, who founded the award in her GoH speech in 1991

The next day was the official start of the convention, with my first programming of the weekend: a reading with Meghan McCarron, Jen Volant, and Anthony Ha. My co-readers shared some great stories, and everyone laughed at the funny parts of mine and seemed interested in the philosophy bits, so I think it went fairly well. After that was dinner, and then the Opening Ceremonies. As it was the occasion of WisCon’s 40th anniversary, many people spoke of what the con and its community meant to them. Then the three guests of honor, Justine Larbalestier, Sofia Samatar, and returning GoH Nalo Hopkinson were introduced.  To close things out I was presented with the Tiptree tiara by founding mother Pat Murphy, and crowned by Eleanor Arnason, the winner of the very first Tiptree Award.

Doing my best Space Babe impression

Doing my best Space Babe impression. This was, obviously, before I got the tiara. Photo by Jeanne Gomoll.

Saturday was my day without any programming, allowing me to simply float about and marvel over how absurdly kind everyone was to me. Cath Schaff-Stump invited me to do an interview for the Unreliable Narrators podcast, which you can listen to here for a sense of how overwhelmed by it all I was. There was a cake for me to cut featuring a mashup of the cover of my Asimov’s issue and the cover of Lizard Radio, the other Tiptree winner. There were many long and pleasant talks with friends. And, for the first time, there were my parents, who showed up that evening and took me out to a steak dinner at Rare, a fancy restaurant around the corner from the hotel. After that was the Tiptree auction, where my mother won me a first edition copy of Patternmaster. The night finished, of course, with the Floomp, perennially a WisCon high point.

Sunday was the big day. I spent the morning in my room working on my acceptance speech, then went downstairs for my first ever WisCon panels: Exposition in SF/F, and Writing Near Future SF. While I was empaneled, my aunt and uncle drove up from Chicago to join my parents and myself at the dessert banquet and subsequent ceremonies. First came the three excellent Guest of Honor speeches, including Nalo Hopkinson’s establishment of the Lemonade Award for kindness in science fiction communities. Then, when those were over, the Tiptree Award presentation. This included receiving the award, a check, a box of chocolates, a commissioned artwork based on “The New Mother,” and a serenade from audience. Some pictures:

Then it was time for me to give the speech I’d spent the morning writing. Just as with the the picture of my loss of composure in the gallery above, John Scalzi managed to snap an action shot:

This is an overwhelming honor. I owe so much gratitude to so many people for the success of “The New Mother”—readers, jurors, friends old and new— that, even if I restricted myself to just people who are in this room, I would outlast any reasonable person’s patience before I could individually thank them all with the thoroughness their generosity merits. Doing so may well be less the work of an acceptance speech and more a permanent life project. Special recognition is due, though, to my parents, Jean Stein and Michael Fischer, who traveled from Texas to be here tonight, who raised me in a house full of science fiction novels and have been the most constant supporters of my own writing. Beyond that, I’d like to briefly explain how instrumental the entire WisCon community was in enabling me to write “The New Mother.” When I attended Clarion in 2008, I had already been sitting on the idea for this story for two years, certain that the concept was strong, and equally certain I didn’t have the knowledge or skill to do it justice. During the last week of the workshop I mentioned to Nalo Hopkinson that my recent, brief visit to San Diego Comicon had given me a panic attack, and that I was unsure the whole con thing was really for me. She told me that not all cons are like that, and specifically made me promise to give WisCon a try before I made up my mind. I attended for the first time in 2009, and when I got home I sent Nalo flowers in Canada to thank her for pushing me in this direction. I’ve been coming every year since, listening to all of you and your important, challenging ideas. I could not have written “The New Mother” without access to the vibrant polyphony I encounter annually in this building. So I thank you, WisCon, both for celebrating me this weekend and for educating me over the last seven years. I hope to continue learning from you for a long time to come.

After that came hugs and laughs and, as I recall, a very great deal of tequila. My hangover the next morning was pristine, the sort of hangover where anyplace you put your body feels like littering. Fortunately it began to abate by the time I had to make my way to the airport shuttle, because I ended up sharing that ride with Pat Murphy. We were on the same outbound flight, and so I got to cap my Tiptree experience by debriefing with the woman who was there from the very start. A more perfect close I couldn’t imagine.

Nebula Awards Weekend 2016 in Pictures and Words

IMG_7822I’m finally over the cold I brought home with me from Chicago, so it’s time to put up a few pictures before it’s off to the next con. Short version: didn’t win a Nebula award, but still had a fully lovely time. Met many wonderful new people with whom I hope stay friends for years to come, wore good clothing, drank tasty drinks, and gave a speech from the alternate universe in which I did win that was well-received, especially by SFWA President Cat Rambo. The programming was excellent and the environment welcoming; I’m very grateful to the officers, administrators, and volunteers for all their fine work. Here’re some photos and the text of my AU speech.

Thank you all for the bravery and optimism you’ve shown in congregating for this kind of celebration. For so many of us to risk staying so long in the same place reveals, I think, the great value stories have in lessening our burdens. To those who claim that the time we spend in fabulation would more profitably be used marshaling resources against our adversary, I answer: what is the purpose of our fight if we cease to dream of better lives? Our parents parents parents owned the surface of this world. They named this award after what they saw when they looked up. Above them was the “Sky,” and deep inside the Sky, the “Nebula.” Even then it was something lofty and aspirational. We can still dream as well as they could, and when I retire behind the fortifications tonight, I will do so with confidence that, some day, people will look with bare eyes upon the Nebula again!

Skiffy and Fanty Show Novella Roundtable

I was recently a participant on a Skiffy and Fanty Show roundtable discussion of novellas, along with Fran Wilde, C.S.E. Cooney, Malka Older, and Mike Underwood, hosted by Julia Rios. Listen to learn the anthology from which I first discovered novellas as a distinct entity, and hear me recommend some of my favorites.

“The New Mother” is a Finalist for the Sturgeon Award

Sturgeon-trophy-sThe Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction seems to have sent out a press release today, because various editors began congratulating their authors, so I think it’s safe for me to announce that “The New Mother” is a finalist the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. SFSignal has a list of all the finalists. I found out I was a finalist on the same day I found out I had won the Tiptree Award, a surreal 24 hours in which I got a wave of wonderful news that I was unable to talk about publicly. I told my parents though, and they were perhaps even more excited that I’m a finalist for the Sturgeon Award than they were that I won the Tiptree. As I’ve mentioned before, they spent some time with Sturgeon when they were both in Lawrence, Kansas, and credit him with strengthening their then-nascent relationship. So it’s arguable that I owe Ted Sturgeon some credit for my existence, and it’s certain that I grew up reading him, often from copies of books signed with his “ask the next question” symbol memorialized on the Sturgeon Award permanent trophy. So this particular award has tremendous personal significance.