Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.

29Aug/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fortyfive

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 45

Thanks to her new babysitter, for the next two years Alivda didn’t mind being left on Barmi, though if Amel was gone for more than a month she complained. This time he had been gone for over two months.

“Where is he!” Alivda said, as she jumped up and down. Perry was worried for her floor boards.

“He will get here when he gets here!” she said loudly then added in a small voice to herself, “Why did I have to give Korbin the day off?”

Alivda jumped more and more.

“Stop!”

“No!” the now eight-year-old and almost fully grown dragon yelled at the top of her voice.

Perry gave up.

Alivda ran outside to watch for Amel’s ship next, but got bored so easily she started doing summersaults.

It was due to this new activity that she didn’t notice Amel’s ship land.

“Wow, you have grown!”

“Amel!” Alivda said and ran at him.

“Oof,” Amel said as Alivda hit him.

“I missed you!”

“I missed you too,” Amel said as he walked her back to the house.

“You were gone too long this time,” Alivda said.

“I’m sorry.”

They talked while they walked the rest of the way. It turned out Alivda had run quite a ways in her excitement.

“I am too big for the sword you gave me now,” Alivda said proudly.

Amel sighed. She was growing up too fast.

“I am going to throw it out in triumph!”

“Please don’t,” Amel said. “Can I have it instead?”

“Sure,” Alivda said. “As long as I get a big sword soon!”

“I can buy you a proper sized sword and send it to you if you like,” Amel said. “Or do you want to come to get it with me the next time you come to Gelion?”

“I want it as soon as possible, but I also want to be there to pick it,” Alivda said.

“That is both,” Amel said.

“Then I want both!” Alivda yelled while jumping up and down.

“I will try,” Amel said.

They continued walking while Alivda filled Amel in on all the things that had happened to her, like any child does when they haven’t see their parent in a long time.

She talked about her babysitter and how he was fun. She liked to spar with him and never lost anymore. She was now so big and active Perry didn’t even try to control her.

“Amel’s here!” Alivda cried as they got back to the house.

“Hello,” Perry said. “Are you staying long this time?”

“Not that long, no,” Amel said and Alivda looked at him in horror.

“Why?” she asked, annoyed.

Perry just sighed. It looked like she wasn’t getting Amel in her bed tonight.

“I promised to go see Ann,” Amel said.

“Then why can’t I come?”

“’Cause the last time you attacked her.”

Alivda pouted.

“I promise not to attack her,” Alivda said in her sweetest voice. “I am more grown up now.”

Amel looked at her to gage her sincerity.

“Alright,” he said.

26Aug/14Off

Interview with Djibril al-Ayad

Futurefire.net Publishing is the publisher of both The Future Fire magazine of social-political speculative fiction, and of two previous anthologies, Outlaw Bodies (2012, co-edited by Lori Selke) and We See a Different Frontier (2013, co-edited by Fabio Fernandes). Djibril al-Ayad, a historian and futurist, co-edited both volumes and has edited TFF since 2005. Djibril is in the process of fundraising for a special anthology of dis/ability-themed speculative fiction, Accessing the Future. The anthology is co-edited by Kathryn Allan and will be published by Futurefire.net Publishing. Please support or pre-order by visiting: igg.me/at/accessingfuture

Interview by Christel Bodenbender

Could you tell us about your inspiration for this anthology?

Directly, the suggestion came from Kathryn Allan, who is a scholar of feminist science fiction and edited a recent volume of academic essays on science fiction representing technology as a cure for disability. In the bigger picture, though, disability representation and activism fits very much in the narrative of recent titles from Futurefire.net Publishing: in 2012 I co-edited Outlaw Bodies with Lori Selke, an anthology on queer, feminist, and body-positive science fiction, which included a couple of stories with disability themes (among other elements); last year Fabio Fernandes and I edited We See a Different Frontier, an anthology of colonialist speculative fiction, almost all of the stories in which were inter-sectional in some way—treating feminist, queer, race, disability, gender and/or class issues in addition to colonialism. We expect the stories in Accessing the Future to be equally inter-sectional.

Why dis-/abilities? What do you think you can contribute to this topic in addition to giving voice to groups underrepresented in mainstream culture?

Obviously, being a platform for underrepresented voices, including people with disabilities who write science fiction, is an important goal in itself. I think this anthology will also help to address issues of visibility; of definition, of the multiplicity of disabilities, both physical and mental, that exist; and of the fact that disability is almost entirely a social phenomenon. Many people with disabilities do not want to be “cured”, and certainly don’t want to become “normal” or for people like themselves to disappear. Rather they deserve to be treated as autonomous and human, allowed and enabled by society to live the lives they want to (as we all do). These are points it’s important to see in science fiction, as well as in politics. Accessibility is a basic human right, not a special treatment that is offered only when it’s convenient to the majority.

Science Fiction has been envisioning future technologies that became reality later. How far do you think this anthology can inspire solutions around accessibility in the present?

Actually I think it’s not so much technologies that we hope will be the solution to accessibility and respect for people with disabilities (although there could be stories that take it in that direction, I guess), so much as politics (or really only basic decency). Accessibility is about attitudes toward disability, toward humanity, and toward all marginalized people. Science fiction has a very respectable history of speculating about social and political developments rather than just about technological advances, so I think that’s the sort of inspiration we would hope to offer.

You have fund raised for anthologies, such as We See a Different Frontier, before. What have you learned from your past experiences and try to do different this time?

The main things we’ve learned from running crowd-funding campaigns before—and watching other friends and allies pulling off successful Kickstarter projects, for example—are basic things like the importance of lining up support and publicity beforehand. A six-week fundraiser campaign is hard work, and you can’t expect to be writing daily blog or Twitter updates, approaching new people for support, and commissioning work all at the same time as promoting the campaign every day; the more that is out of the way before you start raising money, the better chance you have. It’s also important to have realistic reward levels: $25 for the hard copy book level is about right—much higher and people don’t feel they’re getting what they’re paying for. Most important is setting a realistic target for the fundraiser: when raising money for an anthology, I think that you need to decide how much you want to pay for fiction, and double that amount (to account for crowd funding fees/taxes, honouring all those rewards, other costs of launching a publication, etc.).

What have you planned as part of the fund raising effort?

We hope to raise $7000 to pay all authors professional rates of 6¢/word (although we’ll go ahead with a semi-pro if we only make $4000), and have other stretch goals to aim for as well. As well as a series of guest posts and other promotional activities, we’re plugging the fundraiser at various events we or our friends are attending. Most supporters will contribute to the anthology’s budget by pre-ordering copies in e-book or hard copy format, but they can also make larger contributions in return for story critiques, bundles of limited edition titles donated by some of our allies (including some Okal Rel Saga signed first editions), and the opportunity to have a character named after you in a story by Lyda Morehouse, Steven Gould or Nisi Shawl.

How are you going to distribute the anthology?

The anthology will be distributed in trade paperback via Ingram (through a print-on-demand supplier), which means it will be available in print from all online retailers (Powells, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Foyles, etc.), and brick-and-mortar bookstores can also stock copies if they choose. The e-book will be distributed by the usual online suppliers (Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, etc.).

Considering you are working with a co-editor, can you elaborate more on how the collaboration process works for the anthology?

It’s a fairly equal collaboration, as far as editing goes (I’m also the publisher, which is a different question). We’ve co-written the pitch for the anthology, and we’re dividing the work of guest blogging and answering interviews. When it comes to reading the submitted stories, we’ll both read as many of the stories as possible, and certainly anything that we’re considering for inclusion will have to be read and approved by both of us. Otherwise there’s not much of a division of labour in the process; Kathryn and I have already worked together on The Future Fire, and we know we get on well and are pretty compatible in our political and reading tastes.

What's next for you after the anthology? How does it fit into your own body of work?

We’re still at the early stages of this anthology, so I’m trying not to think too hard about what’s next! In this time The Future Fire is still publishing short fiction, Fabio Fernandes and I are in discussion about what a second volume of We See a Different Frontier might look like, and there are still many social-political themes we care about that we might include in future projects. For the moment, though, we’re focusing on Accessing the Future, which you can support or pre-order by visiting: igg.me/at/accessingfuture!


22Aug/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fortyfour

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 44

In the end, Perry managed to get a babysitter named Korbin. He was about fourteen, a member of the PA and just a little more Sevolite than Perry was.

“There!” Perry said. “Just don’t let her destroy too many things or get herself killed. That is all I ask.” And she flopped down on her couch.

“I think I can do that,” Korbin said.

“Then you are made of stronger stuff than me.”

Alivda laughed.

“So,” she said as she grabbed Korbin’s arm, “do you sword fight?”

“I know a little,” Korbin said.

“Teach me what you know.”

   
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