Reviews for Nueva Madre en Español

Editorial Cerbero’s Spanish edition of “The New Mother” (translated by Arrate Hidalgo) has been out for a few months now, and Nueva Madre‘s reception by its Spanish readership has been supremely heartening. The Goodreads responses—which I’ve never felt a desire to read for my publications in English, but discover I’m fascinated by now that I’m in translation—have been consistently positive. My most common reason for signing into Twitter lately has been to see if Arrate has flagged a new review for my attention.

The first one I can recall seeing was David Pierre’s review on his personal site. Machine translation informs me that he recommends the book, and says, “Nueva madre is a short science fiction novel that, in a masterly way, poses a future that seems odd to us, but that could destroy us as a society.”

Miriam Beizana at A Librería is not a frequent reader of SF, and seems skeptical of novella-length fiction, but seems to have enjoyed Nueva Madre despite those reservations. She says something that Google thinks means:

I have read many precious short novels that I will recommend ad nauseam. Virginia Woolf is an expert in this format, I could also quote The Hours of Michael Cunningham; or in a more indie look There are no fair men left in Sodoma by J. Font and the wonder of O derradeiro book by Emma Olsen by Berta Dávila. I can not avoid making a comparison between these titles and Yabarí , Mud or Chlorophilia . While the first ones remain as a reminiscence in my head, the seconds have a more fleeting life in my memories.

I have to say that with New Mother , maybe, maybe, I have found in this little book what I hope to find in a novel of these characteristics. Noting, that yes, that the 187 pages indicated in the technical sheet would be about 100 in a more common A5 size, which the achievement is even greater.

Ester Barroso Jaime wrote a review that I actually have a human translation of, thanks to my mother posting it on Facebook and getting a reply from a bilingual friend. They write:

Not all writers are so brave when it comes to writing, but Fischer is in The New Mother. With mastery, the author puts the finger on the sore spot, he makes the reader wonder and question things; he leads him, page after page, to think about the possibility that he has created. To what we give for granted and normal, he gives it a whole turn demonstrating that the meaning of “normal”, in any field, is arbitrary. And what is worse: the things that humans are capable of doing in order to maintain that structure called “normal”. Who are the monsters then? The “normal” ones who prefer to walk on the safe side or those who suffer from this pathology? Survival in its pure state is served.

It’s lovely to see a new group of readers engage with my story. Gracias a todos ustedes que compartieron sus reacciones a Nueva Madre.

Reading: Bat City Review, Austin, Jan. 26

What: a reading series organized by Bat City Review, the art and literary journal of the University of Texas. There will be free food and drinks, including mulled wine!

Who: Well, me, but also reading will be Leah Hampton and Jay T. Howard, with musical breaks from American Dreamer.

Where: The Lewis Carnegie Gallery, outside if the weather is nice, inside if the mulled wine alone is insufficient to keep us all warm and happy.

When: Friday, January 26, 6:00 pm. Hope to see you there.

Andy Duncan recommends “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers”

Among many other excellent things on his long list of 2017 science fiction, fantasy, and horror worthy of people’s attention, Andy Duncan was kind enough to include “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers” from The New Voices of Fantasy. I’m grateful to have a recommended reading list from someone who seems to have read so widely from last year’s publications. When it comes to fiction from 2017, if it wasn’t nominated for the Tiptree Award then I didn’t have a chance to read it. I’ll definitely be revisiting this post to catch things that I’d’ve otherwise missed. So for both the list itself, and my story’s inclusion thereon, thanks Andy.

Interview at Conflict of Interest

There’s a new, long interview with me up at Conflict of Interest, a magazine covering the visual art and literary communities in Austin, Texas. Rebecca Marino talked with me about “The New Mother,” writing process, influences, translation, and gave me room to ramble about lots of other things. This interview is, I think, the first time I’ve publicly articulated what my priorities would be were we faced with the spread of a condition like GDS.

I personally think our sexual dimorphism is nothing more than a happenstance of evolution, not invested with any kind of fundamental ethical importance. There are many in the story who believe that GDS heralds the extinction of men, and while the validity of that fear is left up to the reader, I don’t think it’s an unreasonable thing for people in the story to worry about. If GDS were to occur in the real world, I would have sentimental and aesthetic reasons to want preserve the human male phenotype if possible but not at the expense of individual human rights, which are ethically charged in a way that supersedes aesthetics and sentimentality. I’d rather see my own morphology disappear into history than persist via the subjugation of other people.

Update on My Social Media Presence (Absence)

I mentioned back in August that I was drastically reducing my social media usage. Three months later I’m still largely disengaged from these systems. Here’s the current rundown of where I can and can’t be found.

  • Facebook: ❌ I’m disenchanted with the site politically on a few different axes, and enjoy having back the amount of my time it used to consume, so I’m still mostly off Facebook and don’t plan on going back any time soon. I do still log in for some purposes, such as interacting with event pages or getting a specific message I’ve been clued to expect. But aside from that, if it’s only on Facebook, I probably haven’t seen it. Right now my profile exists as a repository for my social graph and receptacle for automated notifications about updates to my website.
  • Twitter: ❌ Speaking of sites with which I am politically disenchanted, hey, Twitter exists too. I still log in to this one a bit more often than Facebook, though for (a) engaging with people about recent publications, or (b) talking about NBA basketball. Mostly the basketball bit. So unless it related to something I’ve recently published or the San Antonio Spurs, you can assume that I didn’t see what happened on Twitter either. Automated tweets about updates to this website are still active.
  • Instagram: ✅ I’m aware that they’re owned by Facebook, for whom I have profound ideological skepticism, but pictures of my friends’ pets are too crucial to abandon. This is where I’m currently most active.
  • LinkedIn: ✅ I like that LinkedIn has a monetization model that isn’t exclusively selling my attention to advertisers/propaganda agencies, so when I got off Facebook I set up a LinkedIn account. I have no real idea what I want to do with this, if anything, but if we know each other I’ll be happy to connect with you on there. It’d be nice for my social graph to exist in more than one place.
  • Tumblr: ❌ I mirror this site to Tumblr, but never look at it. If you like Tumblr though, you can follow this content there.
  • Snapchat: 🤷 My significant other uses this a lot, so I’ve started actually opening it sporadically. I have almost no connections, and I don’t really know what to do with it, especially now that Instagram has ripped off all of its functionality. But I have an account here I look at sometimes.

How to contact me if our social media presences do not overlap: send me a text or an email. If you don’t already have my contact information, you can reach me via email through my contact page.

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.


States of Decay by Ben Mauk

While growing up in Texas meant that fanciful notions of 19th century cowboys acculturated into my head too young for me to recall any sources, I do remember my introduction to the 20th century Atomic West. It was from Tom Lehrer’s 1953 tune, “The Wild West Is Where I Want to Be,” unmistakably satirical even to a child’s ears, wherein he sings: Along the trail you’ll find me lopin’ / Where the spaces are wide open / In the land of the old A.E.C. (yee-ha!) / Where the scenery’s attractive / And the air is radioactive / Oh, the wild west is where I wanna be. I had to ask my father to explain the acronym for the Atomic Energy Commission.

From prospectors to the Manhattan Project to artifacts of Cold War industry, the American West has existed in my mind as a kind of mottled antique, retro-futuristic in those places where it isn’t simply retro. So it was with great interest that I read Ben Mauk’s new longform piece in Harper’s, “States of Decay: A Journey through America’s nuclear heartland.” Ben has visited the wellsprings of the Atomic Age, explored disused mines, talked to the people still inhabiting its ghost towns and superfund sites. It’s a fascinating read, full of resentment, nostalgia, and unhealthy doses of radiation.

Back outside, Lucas held his Geiger counter up to his face. This was apparently a favorite pastime of rad heads, but even Lucas seemed startled by the figure: around fifty times background, the result of the radon progeny that had caught on condensation in his beard. “Wow,” he mused, taking a selfie with the counter against his mouth.

“You might want to think about shaving,” Jennifer said.

“States of Decay” by Ben Mauk at Harper’s Magazine.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Have you preordered this book yet? It’s the debut collection by one of the best writers of short fiction alive, and it comes out on October 3rd. Inside you’ll find stories playful and dark, sexy and heartbreaking, so structurally inventive they’re like nothing else you’ve seen. Also, it happens that it was just among the ten books longlisted for the National Book Award. If you like fiction but aren’t reading Carmen Machado’s then you are making bad life choices.