My short story, “Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts,” is now available for free online at Realms of Fantasy’s website. It’s also being featured next week in io9′s short-story reading club. The short story club is a new feature at io9, and the first few stories featured included stories by Isaac Asimov and Elizabeth Bear, so it’s a thrill and an honor to be in such amazing company.
BTW, io9 is one of the coolest places on the internets for sci-fi goodness, as exemplified by recent posts such as 38 reasons why Iron Man is cooler than Darth Vader, Patrick Stewart Explains How Shakespeare Prepares You for Science Fiction Acting, or 20 Great Infodumps from Science Fiction Novels. Definitely worth adding to your RSS and/or regular routine of obsessive blog-checking.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the discussion of “Tio Gilberto” at io9 next Saturday. Many thanks to David Grossman at io9 and Doug Cohen and the gang at Realms for making Gilberto’s internet tour possible!
That’s a paraphrase of the opening line of M.T. Andersen’s Feed, a young adult novel about an eerily familiar future in which everyone is connected to a neural feed, which transmits information, messages, and lots of advertising directly into your brain 24-7. The story mainly follows a group of teenagers as they hang out, date, and consume. The novel is one of the best I’ve read in recent memory, and has pretty much everything you want in a science fiction novel: great characters, an interesting and well-thought-out future, a brilliant voice, a good dose of humor, and some thought-provoking ideas about the world we live in. Possibly the most powerful thing about the novel is what’s mostly unspoken in the background: things have gotten pretty bad in this future, and meanwhile these American teenagers are just obliviously hanging out at the mall. The fact that most of them have developed unexplicable lesions bothers them at first, until lesions become the latest fashion trend, of course.
It’s hard to say much more, other than that this book meg rocks. Put it at the top of your reading list and you won’t be disappointed.
Today is my 33rd birthday, and I’m celebrating by taking a mini-cation from work to write and see close friends – two of my favorite activities. I was thinking of having a big party for myself but that sounded an awful lot like the event-organizing I’ve been doing for work lately, so I decided to postpone the party to a less busy time. I’m thinking I may have a party some time in the summer to celebrate hitting a third of a century.
There are many other illustrious figures born on March 18, including at least two others born in 1977, the year that Star Wars was released and Harvey Milk was elected. A very special happy birthday to Peter Ball, my birthday-brother from Australia, a fellow writer who defies categorization, writing in every genre from magic realism to pulp noir, and possibly inventing some new sub-genres along the way. For a free online taste, I recommend this short story at Strange Horizons about merfolk, Copenhagen, love, and loss.
And happy birthday to all the other fabulous March 18ers, including Jordan, a new friend who was born only a half-hour apart from me, and Fernando, an old friend who was born a bit further apart from me than that.
In other news, SF Signal recently asked this year’s Nebula award nominees for recommendations of other worthy stories. I was honored and flattered to see that “Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts“ was mentioned by several of the nominees. Many thanks to Chris Barzak, Richard Bowes, Will McIntosh, and Rachel Swirsky for the shout-outs. It’s especially nice to get kudos from those four writers, all of whom much deserved their nominations and routinely write some of the best stuff out there these days.
All right, time to get some real writing done…
Ben Francisco is a writer of fictions. His stories range from magic realism to space opera, and have been known to feature oversexed ghosts, epidemics of phosphorescence, zombie musicals, and pantheistic vampire aliens who reproduce like moss. Common themes include cultural misunderstandings, family dysfunctions, LGBT experiences, and spiritual searches. Also, lasers.
Ben’s stories have been published in Realms of Fantasy and the anthology Dreaming Again. Other stories are forthcoming in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and Shimmer. He has also written nonfiction columns and articles for Fantasy Magazine.
Ben is a graduate of the Clarion South 2007 writers workshop in Brisbane, Australia, a science fiction boot camp where he spent six weeks writing non-stop, playing Mafia, and staying up till the wee hours of the morning talking about the physics of cannonballs, unicorns, and zombie watermelons. He is also a graduate of Taos Toolbox 2008, another intensive workshop, taking place at very high altitudes in New Mexico. His friends and family may soon have to perform an intervention to help him break his workshop habit.
He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Hassan. Their diet consists mainly of chicken.