“Memories of Emma” OUT NOW (for subscribers) in Write Ahead/The Future Looms! … and some other stuff!

Hey everybody, M. here,

On the cellular level over here at M. Stern Headquarters I’ve spent the last few days generating fake spike proteins and doing my best to mount an impressively robust immune response to them, so this update took a little longer than anticipated. On the macro level, though, I’m happy to say that my new story “Memories of Emma” is out now in Vol. 14 of Write Ahead/The Future Looms, as you can see by my name on the absolutely stunning cover art included here.

This issue is only available to subscribers at the moment, so if you want to get a bi-monthly dose of wild, action-packed experimental cyberpunk stories delivered to your door and/or inbox, sign up and buckle in. I’ll pass along word when the standalone digital and physical editions are out as well.

Memories of M.: A podcast appearance on Simulation Nation!
In related news, Graham at the Simulation Nation live Virtual Reality talk show/podcast invited me on a few weeks ago to discuss getting started selling stories in the world of indie press genre fiction, my lifelong science fiction/horror fandom and my story “Head on the Door” among many, many other topics. It was an absolute blast. There were a few things that I wanted to mention that completely slipped my mind (like the extent to which I’ve been influenced by the 19th century Russian novel, for instance) since I am rather green at getting interviewed — but that’s all stuff for another podcast someday perhaps.

Anyway first and foremost I highly recommend you get hip to Simulation Nation. Graham hosts it as a live show in a VR environment called Altspace (though we had to move the conversation to good old-fashioned Zoom because of some technological limitations on my end). The show covers a fascinating range of contemporary emerging technological phenomena as well as classic films and other creative artifacts that deal with simulated realities, technological singularities, and all the other good stuff.

At one point in the conversation I discussed “Memories of Emma” as a possible quasi-sequel to “Head on the Door” which appeared in Write Ahead/The Future Looms late last year. What struck me after I finished the interview is that “Head on the Door” is sort of a funny story to have a sequel to. It is very much a standalone thing; it’s stylized in its own particular way, it’s about a very specific, discrete set of events, and most significantly, it focuses on the emotional lives of the characters rather than a great deal of what you might call world-building outside of the basic establishment of some near-future technological realities — and so to my mind doesn’t really feel like the sort of story that would kick off a shared MSterniverse. I think this might be one reason it is striking me as sort of a fun thing to try.

“Memories of Emma” does, in some ways, explore similar territory as “Head on the Door” insofar as it is a story about desire, confusion, and poetic sentiment, with everything rendered more complicated by technology that touches the brain. At the same time it’s more stylistically constrained and a little more obviously action-oriented. The more I think about it, the more it could set the stage for a series of emotionally intense “consciousness benders” that hit a happy medium between psychological realism and cyberpunk-ish thrills, for those who are into that sort of thing.

So I haven’t decided if it’s what I am doing yet, but there is at least one character in “Memories of Emma” that I’ve been considering going more into depth on. Which one? You’ll have to read it and guess…

New Startling Stories website has launched!
The one other big thing to happen in the last few weeks is the launch of a new Startling Stories website. I’ve been making my way through the first issue (featuring my story “Payload”) and while I’m only about halfway in, give or take a few stories that I jumped ahead to, I think Doug Draa‘s editorial instincts were really on point with the story selection. The magazine brings together a ton of different trends, styles, and tendencies out there in the science fiction world of the last few decades, all with the common denominator of catchy storytelling and memorable imagery. So I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of content Doug and the Wildside Press team have on the way for the website!

Anyway time to go get some reading done, hope everyone is holding up/holding it down alright out there!

Always Sternified; recently Modernafied,
-M.

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