In the Shadow of the Towers cover

Coming this September: In the Shadow of the Towers anthology

In the Shadow of the Towers cover

Douglas Lain put together a fantastic new anthology called In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World, and I have a story in it! Until Forgiveness Comes, to be exact. I’m quite honored to be in the company of so many great stories. Particularly There’s A Hole In The City by Richard Bowes, still one of the best post-9/11 stories I’ve ever read.

Pub date is September 1, and you can pre-order the book now from Powell’s or Amazon.

The version of the cover I grabbed off of Amazon is different from the one I saw on Doug Lain’s website a while ago. That version did not have my name on the cover. No idea which is the final, so I guess it will be a fun surprise! (I honestly don’t think it’ll be this version.)

I’m trying to decide if there’s still a chance at getting the radio play version of this produced before September. The script is done, I’d just need a cast, a place to record, a director…. You know, minor stuff.

As Always, My Thoughts On 9/11

Are best expressed in fiction.

Others have also raised concerns over the ongoing nature of the haitai ritual. Though performing it after the first or second anniversary isn’t unheard of, most clerics don’t recommend it. Wassirian cleric Anes Mshai is an outspoken opponent of further Red Seteshday haitai.

“Bringing closure and allowing family members to say goodbye is healthy. Especially in the case of such a massive disaster. But reliving and recreating the event over and over again every year may be keeping them from moving on.”

Until Forgiveness Comes at Strange Horizons

I turned it into a story but the hole in my heart is still there

Last year when I was a guest on Hour of the Wolf I read my 9/11-inspired story Until Forgiveness Comes on the air. Jim Freund liked it so much and liked the radio-y/NPR-esque-ness that he suggested we should record it as a radio play. I am all for that, so I wrote a script and we’ve been slowly, slowly working our way toward making that happen.

Jim will produce, we’ll likely get studio time at WBAI, and the fabulous Andrea Hairston will direct. She has some actors in mind, Jim keeps insisting I should do a part, and I am crossing my fingers for a guest appearance by Margo Adler (the original host of Hour of the Wolf and fancy NPR contributor). But I know we’ll need to bring in a few actors to read, and it would be nice if those actors could be paid. This is the part that’s holding up the works, unfortunately.

I’m hoping to get that all resolved because I would really love to have the play ready to go on next year’s anniversary. Despite the fact that many of us here in NYC are truly Not On about the spectacle that these anniversaries have become, it’s not likely to get any better next year due to the West’s love of base 10. So I’d like to make a small contribution to the conversation that isn’t about politics or publicity.

Somehow the money will emerge. That or we’ll find really excellent actors who don’t mind working for free. Still, I’d rather give everyone involved something for their time.

You can still read Until Forgiveness Comes at Strange Horizons or you can

      listen to the second half
of my appearance on HotW where I read the story then take calls.

I’ll be back on the show next Saturday with my writing group, Altered Fluid. They will be critiquing a story of mine live on the air. At 5am… Yes, there will be a podcast you can download later, but you’ll miss the call-in part!


grand central station in the style of an egyptian temple


Two years ago today I was listening to an NPR report about the anniversary ceremony that happens every year down at Ground Zero. It was very similar, though more polished, to the first such anniversary memorial which I listened to live on the radio. In 2002 I felt that everything was appropriate. The reading of the names, the ringing of a bell to mark when the planes hit and then when the towers fell, the speeches from various elected and appointed officials, the gathering of the survivors and families of the victims, all of it. It had only been a year, the pain was still shockingly fresh.

But when I listened to the report two years ago I had a very different reaction. Ceremony and ritual intrigue me, and listening to the names and bells and speeches, I was struck by how easily we fell into this ritual with these elements that you can find in ritual and cult in many cultures and many periods in history. Without calling it a ritual, the remembrance of 9/11 became one. What interested me the most was that it also became a particular kind of ritual, one where these survivors and family and friends of those who died were viscerally reliving and recreating that day.

Here is when this moment occurred — mark it, remember it, relive those feelings again. Now here’s where this moment happened — where were you, what were you thinking, what did you feel?  Now this moment, and this next one, until we’ve gone over again and again the details and called up the ghosts and recalled the last words, the last touch, the very moment when your life was sliced into Before and After.

This is powerful magic.

In between 2002 and 2007 I didn’t listen to any other 9/11 ceremonies. I avoided most media on those days and have carefully avoided even being down near Ground Zero as the anniversary approaches. Having lived through it once I was in no hurry to relive it again, even through ritual, which I find comforting. When the anniversary came around again in ’07 I thought it was safe for me to listen to the radio, I thought I had successfully dealt with (read: suppressed) what went on with me that day. 5 minutes of news coverage undid all my walls.

In response, I started writing the story that eventually became Until Forgiveness Comes. That was my ritual.

Last year I was able to listen to the news and watch television without having a complete nervous breakdown. This year my response has been a bit different. YouTube and I have gotten to know each other well over the past week. But the more I process and reflect, I still think that, before or since, I’ve not said anything that articulates my feelings about that day better than the story I wrote.

Carl Brandon Society Award Nominations

Carl Brandon Society Award Nominations

The Society would like me to inform/remind you that nominations for their 2008 awards will be open until September 1st. CBS administers two awards, the Parallax Award is for an outstanding speculative fiction work by a self-identified writer of color and the Kindred Award is for an oustanding speculative fiction work dealing with race and ethnicity. You may nominate the same work for both awards.

To nominate, click here.

I urge you to check out this list of stories published in 2008 on the CBS wiki. It’s still growing, and some of the work listed there is available for free online. I will also sneakily mention that I had a story pubbed in 2008 which is, yes, available to read for free online.

One in a Million

One in a Million

Had a lovely birthday gift on Sunday when I found out that Until Forgiveness Comes is on the Million Writers Award list of 2008’s notable fiction.  As previously stated, this award seeks to highlight and celebrate online fiction in all genres, not just SF/F.  I join 3 of my fellow Altered Fluidians on the list — 2 others from Strange Horizons!  SH obviously liked us last year. Also, fellow Black Bean Meghan McCarron.  And a large number of writers I am pleased to call my friends.  I know tons of talented people!

On May 15th a shorter list of 10 stories (picked by the award administrator) will battle it out to see who can claim best story of the year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will be on that list.

Even if I’m not, I am super, super excited to be on the long list.  Yay!

I Am Shameless. At Least I Admit It!

I Am Shameless.  At Least I Admit It!

The storySouth 2009 Million Writers Award for Fiction is now accepting nominations!

The purpose of the storySouth Million Writers Award is to honor and promote the best fiction published in online literary journals and magazines during 2008. …this year there will be three cash prizes: $500 for the overall winner, $200 for the runner-up, and $100 for the honorable mention/third place.

I am going to nominate some stories (yes, I’ll tell you which when I know), but I am shameless and want people to nominate my 2008 story, Until Forgiveness Comes, as well.  Here’s the link to do so IF you desire.  Obviously, I shall not force you. ;)

The Internet Taketh Away

The Fix finally reviewed November’s Strange Horizons, yay!  But the reviewer did not dig my story that much, boo.

K. Tempest Bradford offers an interesting look at the effects of continually reflecting on national tragedy in “Until Forgiveness Comes,” but the story is a little too ambitious for its length. Set in a fictional world with very direct real world analogies (setting it in the real world would have strengthened the gut level emotional response), Bradford questions the reasons people have for needing to remember and the methods in which they remember. Told within the unnecessary framing device of a radio report, the ghosts of the victims of an al-Qaida-esque terrorist attack reappear each year on the anniversary of the attacks when a memorial service, haitai, is held in their memory. The piece looks at the individuals who come to see their loved ones in their final moments. Unfortunately, given its brevity, and the mock radio reportage, Bradford can’t fully explore any of the issues she raises, leaving the piece an interesting one, but not one that fulfills its potential.

Ah well. But! I am glad they reviewed it.  I need to create a reviews section for this story, methinks.

Another “Until Forgiveness Comes” Ping

Another "Until Forgiveness Comes" Ping

“Perhaps I’m a little weird in that the facts of the story—a terrorist attack and the discourse over how it should be remembered—pale in comparison to my interest in the form of the story. Bradford has an excellent grasp of the rhythm of an NPR segment (down to the reporter, with a name suspiciously and whimsically similar to the “musical” Sylvia Poggioli), to the point where I could easily hear the ever-present, but rarely informitive ambient sound that would accompany the piece. Made me tear up at work, which makes it memorable.”


Ever wonder which Hour the Wolf likes? 3am, I believe.

Ever wonder which Hour the Wolf likes?  3am, I believe.

Because of several factors, I did not mention that I was going to be on Hour of the Wolf this morning.  For those of you who don’t know, HotW is a local radio talk show dealing with all things SF/F/H hosted by the fabulous Jim Freund.  Thing is, it airs at 5am on Saturdays.  So that means I had to be up at 3am.  This is my 3am face:

I look excited, right?  The show itself was a lot of fun, though.  We talked about Clarion West and writers I like and Carl Brandon Society and Star Trek and stories I have coming out. That’s this first part here:

      Click to Listen
(this will open an inline player)

Then I read Until Forgiveness Comes and then we talked a bit about 9/11 and then I took some calls.  I took calls!  That’s the second part:

      Click to Listen

You can also listen to the show online via WBAI’s streaming.  The MP3s I have don’t include the music he played for copyright reasons.

I should mention that I’ve been on Hour of the Wolf before, but always with my writing group, Altered Fluid.  If you want to listen to our appearances, check out these links:

May 5th 2007

May 12th, 2008

September 20th, 2008

Despite making my 3AM Face, I had a really great time and don’t regret a second of it.  Jim says he’d love to have me on again and I am all for that.  We also had some pre-thoughts about things we could do with Until Forgiveness Comes that are even more radio-y.  Excting!