End of the Universe Theories

8 Observable Universe (ELitU)-blank

New flash fiction at 365 Tomorrows: End of the Universe Theories
I read this at SFContario as part of the "Flash Fiction After Dark" and was happy to see it get some laughs. It's challenging to read a story that it mostly dialogue between two people and find a way to distinguish the voices without comic exaggeration (at least it is when one isn't a trained voice actor) but I think I got the point across.


SFContario 3 Schedule

I'll be going to SFContario 3 this weekend. I've had some fantastic times at the the last two instances of this convention and last year's was particularly special. I've really appreciated the focus they give to stories and science, the downtown location and a really comfortable setting where it's more about the quality of people and panels and not the volume. This will be the first time I'll be a panelist and I've got an interesting set of discussions ahead for the weekend.

Flash Fiction After Dark Can a short story be a thousand words? A hundred? Six? Listen to some short readings of recent speculative flash fiction and learn the tricks of how writers cram big stories into tiny word counts.
Friday 10:00 PM, Location TBA

Short Stories Our panelists discuss the role short stories have and will play in science fiction and fantasy, from proving ground to promotions to the merits of writing and reading short stories. We'll explore where the form is headed, whether its early popularity is enduring and what are the influence of contests and electronic publishing. 
Saturday 3:00 PM, Ballroom A

Will we ever stop being human? From the cyberpunk desire to transcend the flesh to speculative fiction's monstrous bodies, when does the category "human" cease to apply? This panel will explore what the terms "human,""transhuman," and "posthuman" really mean and, through the lens of science fiction, imagine what the future of humanity might look like. 
Saturday 4:00 PM, Gardenview

Writing in the digital age Many professional writers these days maintain an online persona. How does one survive as a writer in the digital age? How does an internet persona mesh with the introverted lifestyle of an author? What's the best way to deal with the trolls and haters? 
Sunday 10:00 AM, Ballroom BC


Leaves the City in Silence


My short-short piece about the arbitrary nature of sheet music Leaves the City in Silence is in the November issue of The Cafe Irreal. They have a wonderful sense of the fantastic and the incongruous along with a healthy appreciation for Kafka and Borges, the later of which I was shamelessly (and quite hopelessly) trying to imitate.


"Thirteen Generations" at AEscifi.ca

 Thirteen Generations is now live at AESciFi.ca.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the artwork by Paul Jackson to go along with the story. I've had art for two stories of mine to date and it's a flattering and humbling feeling. I think Jackson's drawing does a great job playing up both the physical features of the gastrotrich-like worm-creatures and the more iconic nature of the maze.

I rather like this storyand I hope it's a good fit alongside the fantastic short fiction AE has been putting out over the last two years (like Matt Moore's Touch the Sky, They Say and David Steffan's The Infinite Onion.)

Check out Paul Jackson's other creative efforts at www.theskycaptain.com.


"Thirteen Generations" coming to AE SciFi

I'm delighted to announce a short story sale to AE Science Fiction Review. It's quite validating in that it makes my previous professional sale slightly less of a fluke and it's also a very recent story, so the thrill of acceptance feels rather immediate. Anyhow, I look forward to sharing "Thirteen Generations" through a site that has had some brilliant short SF that isn't afraid to veer into literary and experimental territory.

Thank you AE!


Writing: Year 1

It's an anniversary of sorts for me today. In early July of 2011, I submitted a pair of stories to some publications for the first time, and one year ago to today I received my first rejection letter for a short story.

It was for a short piece that would later be called "Estimated Time of Arrival". I consider it my attempt to write an SF comedy, a  version of Stephen Leacock's "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town", if you will. It  wound up with a greater debt to sitcoms and had a more dour and somber tone to it by the end. I don't think it's a bad story, but it took a little time to find a market that appreciated the particular balance of moods and themes. Ray Gun Revival  gave it a chance and the story was published with them last April. It was also my first ever reviewed piece thanks to Adam Shaftoe taking the time to critique it on his Page of Reviews.

The other story submitted last summer took a stranger route through publications that shut down before I heard anything back, had a finalist run in the Friends of the Merril Contest and a faced rejection or two before being picked up by Daily Science Fiction for my first professional sale (thanks Michele and Jonathan). That story, "The Mobius Garden" was mailed out to their subscriber list today and should be on their web archives in a few weeks.

Anyhow, if you've just received Daily Science Fiction and were curious enough to visit,  please accept my thanks and gratitude for your time spent reading "The Mobius Garden". If you have opinions, reactions or other thoughts to share I'm happy to chat over my twitter (@JamesBambury) and Google+ accounts. If you're not into social media there's the contact form at the top of the page that will e-mail me somewhat indirectly.

Again, my thanks.


Story Coming to Daily Science Fiction August 30

I am delighted to share that my first professional story sale, "The Mobius Garden" will be the e-mail story for Daily Science Fiction on August 30 and will be available on their website a week or two after that.

If you're not already familiar with Daily Science Fiction, signing up for their list is absolutely free and they send very short stories right to your email box each weekday.


The Loon

My story The Loon appears today on the bizarro blog "The Mustache Factor".


Longing to Play the Oboe

Oboe modern

My not-particularly-speculative bit of flash fiction "Longing to Play the Oboe" is in the July issue of Jersey Devil Press.
The oboe players across the street were in the midst of a blistering ecumenical argument. Their voices were muted by the glass but I caught enough words to figure out they had severely divergent views on the Book of Job... (read the rest at Jersey Devil Press)



Calabi yau

My very-short piece 
Pointland is online at Bewildering Stories. It should be extra-enjoyable if you've ever read Edwin A. Abbot's classic with a similar name
After failing to find moksha beyond the Calabi-Yau manifold, I went the other way. I dodged tesseracts going left and right, ana and kata on my way to Spaceland...(read the rest at Bewildering Stories)
I'm also intrigued that the editors have included a series of questions to accompany the piece which really get at some of the themes and allusions I tried to fit into it. So, take the Bewildering Stories Challenge for this issue if you feel inspired.


Polaris Schedule

Over the last few years, I've come to associate the Polaris convention with the arrival of summer. Thanks to my work schedule I've had lots of free time before and after to make sure I can arrive early and stay late. This is my first year as a participant and I'm excited about the discussions and activities that have been lined up by the programming staff (whom I'd like to thank in advance for the lighter schedule on Sunday).

Here is a tentative list of the discussions and events I'll be at during the Polaris convention next week.
  • Sherlock: A New Game Is Afoot - Friday 7pm 
  • "Duel at Badlands Junction" (film screening and Q&A) - Saturday 12pm
  • Let's Have A Death Match - Saturday 4pm
  • When Live Action Gets Animated - Saturday 5pm
  • The Evil Dead-Third Time's the Charm  - Saturday 11pm
  • Bonding Over Books and Beer - Sunday 3pm


"Estimated Time of Arrival" - Review

Adam Shaftoe at Page of Reviews has been kind enough to write a thoughtful review of "Estimated Time of Arrival".

I have to agree with just about everything he wrote and was pleasantly surprised at a few readings I hadn't considered. Getting to read a thoughtful and insightful response to one's work is truly one of the joys of writing and I'm very appreciative of Adam taking the time to look at my bit of light fare about near-light speed travel.

"Estimated Time of Arrival" can be read at Ray Gun Revival.


Ad-Astra Panel Schedule

My tentative schedule for Ad-Astra is as follows:

Chi-Zine Table
- Saturday 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
A Bit of the Old/New Ultra-Violence?
- Saturday 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

The Future is Fascist 
- Sunday 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Rapid Fire! Flash-length Fiction 
- Sunday 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Book Trailers: Sale or Fail?
- Sunday 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM 
Duel at Badlands Junction Screening
- Sunday 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM


Estimated Time of Arrival

TZ Rocketmod

Raygun Revival has just published my story Estimated Time of Arrival.

It's one of the first stories I wrote when I decided to start submitting last year. My intention was to write a story that might have appeared in Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town if that book had been set in the far future on some terraforming colony in deep space. It fell slightly short of that mark but it does have a few laughs and you can read it here.


Friends of the Merril Contest

Möbius strip

The winners of the innagural Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest were announced today. I offer my sincere congratulations to Sarah Enals, Jason Ridler, and Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon and look forward to reading their stories as soon as they're available.

My story, The Mobius Garden managed to get to the short list, where it is good company with works by Kari Maaren and Suzanne Church.

Thanks as well go to contest runner Michael Matheson for humanizing what could have been a very impersonal process. Lots of judges, writers and readers gave their time and talents to support the finest SF library in Canada and hopefully this will be the first of many such contests for a worthy cause.


Upcoming Stories

Leading hemisphere of Helene - 20110618 TZ Rocketmod Oboe modern

I am pleased to announce some stories of mine have been accepted at various online publications:


Empire, Colorado


My story  "Empire, Colardo" appears this month in Schlock Magazine.

Like most of what I've been writing, it won't take very long to read:

There was no mistaking the ziggurat for the mountains when I looked westward. The temple glittered with reflections of the sunrise and dwarfed the adjacent Rockies...(more)
I have to compliment Marco Attard on his amazing artwork for the story. It's the first time I've seen something illustrated from what I've written and feel very flattered. Thank you Schlock Magazine!


Boxing with Pencils - "IPvInfinity"

Marten Van Valckenborgh - Torre de Babel

Flash fiction entry for Boxing with Pencils:

We wanted a T1 connection to God. To get enough wood for the tower, we had to chop down Yggdrasil. To make enough clay bricks, we needed to use Australia.

As the tower rose, sky and space gave way to a kaleidoscope of Sierpinski hexagons like fractal Stars of David. We sent word through the pneumatic tubes that we were ready to snake the cable.

A basket of laptops was hauled up and a router configured as the connection went into place.

The internet turned into noise.

Inspiration: Ted Chiang's "Tower of Babylon" 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.




I have a micro-story up at Postcard Shorts:

It was all over when silver rained down over the domes. We held out longer than anyone else we'd spoken to, save for the groups in Wilke's Land and Atacama. Silver had spread most everywhere else. Wherever it flowed or fell it devoured and restructured organic matter. We had lasted this long thanks to the mostly closed-loop system of the domes.

I pressed my face to the glass of the dome. Precipitation was rare enough near Tuscon. Droplets ran down the sides as if thousands of old mercury thermometers had broken and emptied in the skies overhead. I tuned out the panic and screaming of the other survivors and looked closer at the ground outside the dome. From a mirror-like puddle of silver something crawled and wriggled towards the glass.

We thought that silver had run its course and was content to leave Earth uninhabitable. The silvery suspension of nano-mites however, turned out to be far more ambitious than expected. Carbon life churned in the oceans for millennia before attempting robust and complex forms, but silver had managed to assemble itself into eukarya barely a decade into its existence.

More specimens of silver crawled through the cracks of our aging and tired building.

I left the planet in their hands and went outside for a last look at the desert.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


I had the chance to look at an advance copy of JM Frey's upcoming novella "The Dark Side of the Glass" and she was kind enough to include a blurb on her website. There's more to Mary Sue stories than you might think...