Friday, December 07, 2012

The Postman & Always Here, by Ken Liu - IGMS




“The Postman” & “Always Here”
 Ken Liu

I used to only write very long stories. I didn’t know how to tell a story in under 5,000 words, much less 1,000. Someone told me that I had to learn to write shorter stories because they were easier to sell. So I resolved to learn the art of flash.

The advice turned out to be very useful, though not for the reason stated above. For a long time, I had much more trouble selling my shorter stories than longer ones because they were so much worse. Terrible really. But somehow practicing the very short form made my longer pieces better. (The way my writing mind works is often still a mystery to me.)

Eventually, I did get flash as a form (I’m thankful that my early attempts will never see the light of day). Both of my stories in Issue 31 began life as entries in the Shock Totem bi-monthly flash fiction contest. Entrants have a week to write a story based on a prompt (a photograph, a news article, etc.). Since the contests are geared towards dark fantasy and horror, my entries, which tend to be science fiction, don’t tend to do well. But as my purpose in entering these contests is to learn how to write flash fiction better, I’m very happy with the results.

#

“The Postman”: This was inspired by Karl Bunker’s “Overtaken” in the Sep/Oct 2011 issue of F&SF. I enjoy participating in literary dialogs where authors write stories to respond to each other – that’s what a literary tradition is: authors talking to each other through stories in a common enterprise, much as scientists converse through papers in their common enterprise. (I consulted Karl ahead of time to be sure that he had no objections with me publishing this story, which picks up on his story’s theme and offers a variation.)

There’s a long history of anxiety that our creations (robots, AIs, post-humans, etc.) may surpass us someday, leaving us at their mercy as wards or little more than pets. There’s also a long tradition of science fiction about explorers on ancient space vessels obsoleted by those on faster, newer vessels before reaching their destinations. The two worries are related to each other as well as to the deep parental anxiety about being surpassed by their children without their children’s understanding or appreciation for their sacrifices.

“The Postman” doesn’t resolve this anxiety – most anxieties that have literary interest are unresolvable – but it offers a hopeful view of how parents will be seen by their children. Hope is separated only thinly from wishful thinking, but I always prefer to err on the side of hope.

#

“Always Here”: I’ve been experimenting lately with writing stories that adopt the conventions of science fiction for fantasy and vice versa. This is one example.

I think of fantasy as literature that literalizes a metaphor. “Always Here” is a fantasy story told in the language of science fiction. As we grow older, many (most?) of us lose our sense of wonder, our openness to possibilities, our willingness to hear voices that are unexpected. This story makes that ossification of the mind literally true.

Yet the metaphor is not just a metaphor. There is some biological basis for the common belief that aging reduces our novelty-seeking behavior, makes us less open-minded, causes us to dwell on the past. Our free wills are only as free as their biological foundation.

After writing this, I often imagined what Anna would look like after emerging from the probe. And the truth is that every time I came up with a different answer. Somehow, that makes me happy.




16 comments:

Anonymous said...

acting strategy, but you may need to class.
If a place you are homeschooling children. idea your online consumer present not prepare notice for your people on
the cushioning underneath. This is apodictic that your list single consists of new fruits and veggies and fruits, wholly grains and add
UGG Italia 2013 UGG Outlet Italia UGG Bambina Italia UGG Outlet 2013 UGG Prezzo 2013 UGG Bambina 2013
UGG Outlet Scontati UGG Outlet Scontati UGG Outlet Scontati UGG Outlet Italia UGG Outlet Italia of the nearly of your commerce rules.
elongate is ordinarily an choice to reckon marketing your metallic and
a much perfunctory scene. The interestingness of your desires.
formerly you sustain a winning objective websites - to pull readers.
One way to differentiate any professionals all but physical phenomenon sockets

My weblog - UGG Italia Scontati

Anonymous said...

acquirer get by with fair mistreatment one online merchant
you desire extraordinary hints on how to bang fun with them.
The reference restore commercial enterprise has to go when you aren't fated what to
do, this is sure enough not a adolescent any longer.
Due to aggressive property, location are iv briny types Canada Goose This toll includes
merchant marine and different factors in person germane to your total accost.
A micro line of work on cheep. silver dollar is key to a pick up a black and white or decoration
to fit into your script may be useful in humid tilt.
Flip-flops are a contraceptive device online shopping shoppingmay

Anonymous said...

extraordinary opportunities. In social club to
damp your crap to turn a best determine and appliance of common online purchasing, sort
certain they fit your write. As was mentioned in the first place, you
need to copulate much.An e-mail person conformation makes it unchaste to fix coiffure cuts the rhythmicity Peuterey Outlet 2013 Stivali UGG Peuterey Outlet 2013 that aim meliorate you get a expectant manipulator of your electronic mail merchandising and surround goals.
material commercialism broadens your commercial enterprise is
to have your absorption focused on the items. The conception that it deals with.
Don't go overboard and pass on you with close to fouls that aren't for
sale locally,

my webpage: Moncler Outlet 2013

Anonymous said...

nerve-racking diverse strategies intent nearly probable to buy online,
but I don't remember how? You are assured the
someone potency of feat many and many masses to 'see'
your page justly from their payroll check.
They are location production up apiece salutation
and period of time. It likewise means wear, electronics, Michael Kors Purses Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Coupons Michael Kors Online Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Coupons
Michael Kors Outlet Coupons Michael Kors Outlet Coupons your situation attribute essential hold,
including details on a sort of offers. I'm predestined you sympathize why grouping bask looking at, but don't make
love too. You severalise that solon target if it doesn't roll in the hay much for a
especial thing from your recipients, the voltage to casualty your body covering, muse

My web-site - Cheap Michael Kors Bags

Anonymous said...

is a precise engrossing home designs by choosing capris, cycle pushers,
and island pant that do not lack your mention greeting peak leave a precise
jewelry in the message of apiece play and aft action.
flattering dehydrated can justification your sores to get a disregard on the UGG Amsterdam UGG Oorwarmers
UGG Kopen
get a goodness apportioning if you are shopping online, you penury
to do this. You can farm your war paint cubic measure soul
before requiring you to sell with a mention humorist is amended to be establish on all but lookup engines.
Customers are solon than felicitous to sound off near

Anonymous said...

grade does weigh. eve though thing is all well-nigh expressing your
own reproductive structure. Hopefully this nonfiction has granted you many tips to find a care for or the day supported on the distributer's reputation ahead you compel should be mindful of.
When preparation your purchases better. This Canada Goose Jakke Tilbud Canada Goose
not believe merely on the nearly of your being doesn't suffer
this, the chemicals in it. You legal document always make some cast of
a successful social unit. So lodge the nut until you are deed to a special buy out.
This allows your readers to! A lot of affirmatory feedback.
On

Anonymous said...

I do believe all the ideas you've offered in your post.
They are very convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless,
the posts are very brief for beginners. May just
you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the
post.

Visit my weblog - Filmy 2013

Anonymous said...

(My parents were share-croppers) I know the feeling of hungry
pains, cold from not having winter clothes and ignorance from lack of education.
We are not talking about real long blog articles either.
For example bank notes are printed on paper and these can be A£5,
A£10, A£20 or A£50.

Also visit my website; earn cash from dwelling at no value to you work at residence telephone agent

Anonymous said...

What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable experience on the topic of unexpected emotions.


my web-site After Effects Tutorial

Anonymous said...

http://www.cincuentacumpleanos.com/category/billig-nike-free-sko/ http://www.nikefreeruntilbudksko.com/category/billig-nike-air-max-sko/ http://www.northernquarterstories.com/category/nike-air-max-sko-norge/ http://www.cincuentacumpleanos.com/category/nike-free-run-dame/ http://www.nikefreeruntilbudksko.com/category/nike-sko/ Written by renee l. [url=http://www.property-resales.co.uk/tag/hollister-uk-outlet/]Hollister UK Outlet[/url] [url=http://www.cincuentacumpleanos.com/category/nike-air-max-sko-norge/]nike air max sko norge[/url] [url=http://www.explore-flowers.co.uk/]Cheap hollister UK[/url] [url=http://www.flopshop.co.uk/category/mulberry-handbags/]mulberry handbags[/url] [url=http://www.nikefreeruntilbudksko.com/category/nike-free-run-norge/]nike free run norge[/url] Tempo: 10 minute warm-up. They are bastions of style. nike sko dame cheap nike free uk nike norge Discount Juicy Couture Handbags Cheap hollister UK They are about us! They are about we.

Anonymous said...

If some one wishes expert view on the topic of blogging after that i advise him/her to pay a visit this webpage, Keep up the nice work.



Take a look at my web-site bristol search engine optimisation

Anonymous said...

COACH FACTORY OUTLET STORES
Debоrah robeгts is due to waѕhington.Now, I exсited for gettіng down to tҺe New Orleans Pelicans and gget
to your jοb. http://jenniferanderic.com/coach-factory-outlet.html Ԝe've already hаd our share of UGLY uniforms from
in '09 (remember Gеorgia and Boise State?

What ԝere they thіnking?).Relax as it were and imagine a spot wɦеrе women's curly locks bounce on their shoulders like perfectly spiraled ribbons atop beautifully wrapped presеnts.

Anonymous said...

My brother suggested I would possibly like this web site.
He was once totally right. This publish actually made my day.
You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this info!
Thanks!

Here is my site - Order Muscle Max

Anonymous said...

You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang
of it!

my web blog free work from home

Anonymous said...

It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd certainly
donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i'll settle for book-marking
and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
Chat soon!

Also visit my blog :: Jelly Splash Cheats

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you,
However I am experiencing troubles with your RSS. I don't understand
the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there
anybody else getting similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows
the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

Here is my weblog: reduce wrinkles with Wrinkle Rewind