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Under the Needle's Eye by Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Ee, Raymund Eich, Emily Mah, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Ibi Zoboi, Ari Goelman, Samantha Ling, Patrick Samphire, and Allan Rousselle, Edited by Raymund Eich and Emily Mah

Under the Needle's Eye by Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Ee, Raymund Eich, Emily Mah, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Ibi Zoboi, Ari Goelman, Samantha Ling, Patrick Samphire, and Allan Rousselle, Edited by Raymund Eich and Emily Mah

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Under the Needle's Eye by Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Ee, Raymund Eich, Emily Mah, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Ibi Zoboi, Ari Goelman, Samantha Ling, Patrick Samphire, and Allan Rousselle, Edited by Raymund Eich and Emily Mah

ratings:
5/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
206 pages
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 24, 2013
ISBN:
9781301400232
Format:
Book

Description

Eleven authors with one thing in common: the Clarion West Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy class of 2001. Other than that, we're about as diverse as you can get. This anthology is one of the broadest samples you can find of up and coming science fiction and fantasy talent.

Our instructors: Octavia Butler, Bradley Denton, Nalo Hopkinson, Connie Willis, Ellen Datlow, & Jack Womack.

Table of Contents:
The Worry Doctor by Linda DeMeulemeester
Angelfall (novel excerpt from Book 1) by Susan Ee
Selling Short by Raymund Eich
Everyone Gets Scared Sometimes by Ari Goelman
Ruined Spa Day by Samantha Ling
Coyote Discovers Mars by Emily Mah
The Guy Who Worked for Money by Benjamin Rosenbaum
Everybody Stops at Boston's by Allan Rousselle
Rosamojo by Kiini Ibura Salaam
Lavender's Blue, Lavender's Green by Patrick Samphire
The Fire in Your Sky by Ibi Zoboi

Ibi Zoboi: both a writer and storyteller of the oral tradition, has won "Tricky Talker of the Year", granted by the Afrikan Folk Heritage Circle, and is a recipient of grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Speculative Literature Foundation (Gulliver Travel Award)

Patrick Samphire: has been featured in The Year's Best Fantasy

Kiini Ibura Salaam: winner of the Tiptree Aware for her short story collection, Ancient, Ancient, from Aqueduct Press

Allan Rousselle: career journalist and video humorist

Benjamin Rosenbaum: nominated for a Nebula for the first story he wrote at Clarion West, also a finalist for the Hugo and Theodore Sturgeon Awards

Emily Mah: blogger for The Black Gate, also an indie romance novelist under the name E.M. Tippetts

Samantha Ling: received an honorable mention in The Year's Best Science Fiction for the first short story she ever sold (to Asimov's)

Ari Goelman: his first novel, The Path of Names, was published by Arthur A. Levine in 2013

Raymund Eich: indie author of science fiction (New California, Take the Shilling) and fantasy (A Prince of the Blood, as by Eric H. Munday)

Susan Ee: the first indie author to be a finalist for the Cybils Awards, for her novel, Angelfall: Penryn & the End of Days

Linda DeMeulemeester: author of the award winning, hit series, Grim Hill, which is now in development as an animated television show

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 24, 2013
ISBN:
9781301400232
Format:
Book

About the author

Raymund Eich files patent applications, earned a Ph.D., won a national quiz bowl championship, writes science fiction and fantasy, and affirms Robert Heinlein's dictum that specialization is for insects.In a typical day, he may talk with university biology and science communication faculty, silicon chip designers, patent attorneys, epileptologists, and rocket scientists. Hundreds of papers cite his graduate research on the reactions of nitric oxide with heme proteins.He lives in Houston with his wife, son, and daughter.


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Under the Needle's Eye by Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Ee, Raymund Eich, Emily Mah, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Ibi Zoboi, Ari Goelman, Samantha Ling, Patrick Samphire, and Allan Rousselle, Edited by Raymund Eich and Emily Mah - Raymund Eich

Edited by Raymund Eich and Emily Mah

for Octavia Butler

(June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006)

our first week instructor

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2011 by the individual authors

Cover design © 2012 Emily Mah Tippetts and Raymund Eich

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

The stories in this anthology are all works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, business establishments or locales is entirely coincidental.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. All rights reserved.

Each contributing author holds the copyright to their work. The authors collectively hold the copyright to this anthology.

Preface

Contained in this anthology are stories and novel excerpts by eleven authors who have one thing in common. We were all in the 2001 class of the Clarion West Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and are one of the only classes to have all seventeen of its members published in professional venues. For six weeks we lived in student dorms in Seattle, Washington (home of the famous Space Needle) and were trained by Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Bradley Denton, Connie Willis, Ellen Datlow, and Jack Womack. We wrote and analyzed fiction until our tempers frayed and our egos were flattened. We endured enough sleep deprivation to hallucinate our characters. We learned to write a short story in mere hours, and tear one apart in mere minutes. In our critiques of each others stories, we said things like (and these are real quotes):

Satan’s motivation seems a bit unclear.

You do a good job of working the story into the info dump.

I ditto myself on that last part.

Ewww!

The idea of Canada as a major power is a wonderful, fantastical notion.

I presume it was a challenge having to write in first person omniscient.

The word ‘wife’ short-circuits the whole love-story aspect.

I ditto all the negative and insensitive comments so far.

I read this story at 2 am, and all I could think was, why don’t these people just go to sleep?

Basically this is Hindus, in space, on heroin.

I just have to out myself as a former party clown.

I don’t like stories that promise to tell me something and then tell me to wait — and I’ll say more about that in a minute.

It takes balls to imagine you’re a woman.

I knew Bob was doomed from the nose-picking scene.

The first twenty-seven pages didn’t really grab me at all.

I thought you were brilliant, but obviously you weren’t.

Four beautiful vignettes tied together with a common bulldozer.

But yes, most of us are still talking to each other eleven years later. Our class runs the gamut from magical realism to hard science fiction. One of us was nominated for a Nebula for his first week’s story (Benjamin Rosenbaum). One of us was the first indie writer to be a finalist for the Cybils Awards (Susan Ee). One of us got her start in the oral storytelling tradition (Ibi Zoboi). Over a third of us are authors of color, and three of us travelled overseas to participate in the workshop.

All of us in this anthology (and a few who aren’t) are still working, writing, and publishing. Consider this anthology a sample of eleven voices in science fiction and fantasy who have been trained by some of the greats, and yet are early enough in our careers that you may not have heard of us before.

Table of Contents

Preface

The Worry Doctor by Linda DeMeulemeester

Angelfall (Novel Excerpt) by Susan Ee

Selling Short by Raymund Eich

Everyone Gets Scared Sometimes by Ari Goelman

Ruined Spa Day by Samantha Ling

Coyote Discovers Mars by Emily Mah

The Guy Who Worked for Money by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Everybody Stops at Boston’s by Allan Rouselle

Rosamojo by Kiini Ibura Salaam

Lavender’s Blue, Lavender’s Green by Patrick Samphire

The Fire in Your Sky by Ibi Zoboi

Authors’ Note

Acknowledgements

Linda DeMeulemeester has worked in the fields of literacy and education. Her award winning middle grade Grim Hill series has appeared on the Canadian best seller list in YA fiction. The first book,The Secret of Grim Hill, was also featured in the Globe and Mail. Grim Hill is in development as a T.V. series with Wizard Hat Productions. She lives on the west coast of Canada and is currently working on book six of the series.

Her website is: www.grimhill.com

The Worry Doctor

by Linda DeMeulemeester

A sea of shiny haired children bowed their heads in task. Angela listened and the scritch-scratch of pencils on paper filled her heart.

That’s right children, draw me a picture of your special place. It should be where you have your happy thoughts. Up and down the aisles Angela glided and nodded encouragement.

Oh, Mary, Candy Land looks scrumptious. I’d love to visit there myself.

Two more steps forward, James, Soccer Land would be so much fun. One more step forward, Angela stopped.

Christa, what land is this? She’d dropped her voice to almost a whisper.

Why Teacher, it’s Ladies Land, Christa’s brow, first furrowed in concentration, now smoothed when she smiled up at her.

Ladies Land indeed, Angela studied the not-so-stick ladies, and scantily clad at that. No other grade twos drew people without their proper tunics and jumpers. But there was something else about the picture, something more disturbing.

What are these? Angela pointed to the pencil etched outlines behind the ladies.

Those are trees in the woods, said Christa.

The woods past Institution! But what are those squares the ladies are holding on to?

Suitcases, Christa’s stubby finger traced the boxes on the page. The ladies are moving.

Oh, said Angela.

Angela took a calming breath and walked back to her desk. She pulled out her anomaly book. Un-uniformed ladies frolicking in the woods outside Institution – this warranted a trip to the worry doctor. Angela sighed. Good thing for Christa and for all the children’s sake she was a vigilant guard of mind harmony. She took her job seriously.

Good work children. Thank you for your lovely pictures. Tack them on the board; then you are dismissed.

The class rose in unison and posted their drawings in perfect alignment. No squabbles, no pushes, they maintained an orderly formation out the door – with the exception of Christa who trailed behind.

***

Next morning the blue card lay folded on her desk. Angela spotted it before she had even removed her sweater. Strange, she hadn’t sent her report in yet. Had someone else noticed Christa’s odd behavior and notified Admin? Was there a problem with one of her other pupils, some infraction in the dorms, or an upsetting weekend leave? No one from Admin needed to become involved. Angela massaged her forehead. That egotistical thought unworthy of a Teacher, melted away. Common good was all that mattered, harmony. When she unfolded the card her heart sped up.

Angela Roberts is to report to the Principal’s office at noon. All worries are unnecessary.

Why was she being summoned to the office? Her mind wrapped around that all morning as her class hummed through their motions. At 12:00 she hurried down corridors and climbed the steps to Admin sector. She reviewed her well-structured life. After marking and prep it was supper; social tea till 21:00; in the dorm and lights out by 22:30. She enjoyed weekend leave with her surrogate family, and courtship dances every other Saturday night.

My thoughts are well ordered, Angela said as she arrived breathless at the reception room.

I’m certain they are. The receptionist smiled. Harmony for us all.

Angela stiffened despite the soothing interior of the office, or the friendliness of the woman in front of her. Then why am I here?

Principal will see you now. The receptionist beamed.

Angela hesitated in the arch of the open door. As she glanced inside the monotone room, she was startled that Principal was not alone. A worry doctor, gray suited and inscrutable, stood against the far wall behind her. Angela forced her legs forward as the slightest gasp hissed through her clenched lips.

Sit down, Angela. Principal’s cheeks dimpled and her smile radiated warmth, but Angela felt chilled.

So this is what it’s like for the children. That there might be a cost to anomaly management had never occurred to Angela…

Worry Doctor’s tall frame and silver hair contrasted with Principal’s short body and brown round face framed in tight black curls. Both of them looked like pythons curled to strike.

Well, well, Angela, said the worry doctor. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you here."

Here? Angela stared hard at the worry doctor. A vague image rustled in her mind – him in the same gray suit but salt and pepper haired and younger, taller, fitting a happy mask across her face. She shuddered.

Please, why am I here? Angela’s voice was now soft and small, like those of her students. What have I done?

Done, Principal cut in. Why dear… nothing. You’re a model teacher in our little family here. Her hands spread, expansive – embracing. That’s what we’re counting on.

They had an agenda, and they’d unfold it as it suited them. Angela waited.

There’s an emergency, the worry doctor said bluntly. We know there is a dissident present in our catchment area.

Angela gasped.

And dear, we need someone to find the dissident. Principal Benford nodded her head. Her dark curls shook in agreement. The worry doctor chose you.

Angela ignored her rising dread. She had been chosen. She leaned forward and listened.

Some records have been altered, said Principal Benford. The problem is, we can suspect, but our minds are united, tuned. Interrogating suspects won’t help us. Our thought patterns have been altered for harmony. We are incapable of the critical thinking that will be necessary.

How would I be capable? Angela asked. The worry doctor sat down facing her, and she squirmed under his level gaze.

He smiled fondly at Angela. You and I go back a long way, Teacher Angela. I mind shaped you, and seeing the person you’ve become shows us we’ve all done our job.

Angela’s stomach clenched.

Principal Benford proceeded. You, the teacher, have always picked up where we’ve left off. After children are mind shaped and have had their negative experiences removed, then Institution works hard to replace those experiences with positive memories.

Angela smiled weakly, proud of her small part in it.

But with only positive experiences, the worry doctor paced the floor, with only pleasant thoughts, he stopped, people are incapable of managing conflict.

When the principal nodded her head in agreement, it bobbed as though the worry doctor had an invisible string he pulled for emphasis.

There was something about the way they looked at her.

We need someone to recall some discarded memories, said Principal Benford.

Why me? Angela’s voice sounded flat.

We can’t be exposed for harmony’s sake. But your experiences were somewhat sensational and documented. The worry doctor thinks we can reconstruct the events.

Angela pressed hard into the chair, physically willing all this to disappear.

I’ll reconstruct the experiences over a period of several weeks, said the worry doctor. You’ll begin to notice gradual changes as your thoughts become misaligned.

What changes?

You will begin noticing things you weren’t conscious of before, things that others miss. Once you’ve identified the dissident, we’ll bring you both in.

The worry doctor patted her on the shoulder. When it’s over, we’ll erase the whole experience and restore you to harmony. All worries are unnecessary.

Angela hoped so.

***

Angela visited the worry doctor every night that week. It was an unsettling sensation in the worry doctor’s office when the happy mask was strapped across her face and she first inhaled the faint scent of cherries. No wonder she could never stomach the fruit. She would awaken in the chair with a sense of having misplaced something important. Except she didn’t think she wanted to find whatever it was.

She had begun to notice a few subtle changes. The children, always sweet and enjoyable, had never given her a moment’s concern. But now, sitting in the teachers’ commons for dinner, her jaw was sore because her teeth had been clenched all day. This was to restrain herself from saying, Come on, act a little lively. You’re all so predictable. But how was becoming impatient supposed to help her find a dissident?

The dorm matron approached her the next morning. You never signed up for this weekend’s leave. I received a call from your surrogate family. Matron looked puzzled.

I was behind on my prep and marking, and I didn’t want to miss next week’s courtship dance.

This time Matron smiled knowingly. You’ll be released from teaching next year. I guess it won’t be long before you and Seth will be attending partnering sessions.

Angela managed to blush at this, which satisfied Matron. But Seth hadn’t been on her mind at all. The blush was from not being completely forthright. It was true enough about being behind in her prep, with all the worry doctor sessions, but she didn’t want to see her surrogate family. Not when she spent every night trying to remember the faces of her original family. No one recalled their mothers or siblings after they arrived at school. That was no more important than a puppy remembering its mother once it was removed from the litter. But after her sessions, as she was falling asleep, Angela saw them each night, reflected in an opaque pond, waiting for her to reach in and pull them to the surface.

The second week Angela yawned through her duties. Her eyes drooped from sleep deprivation. There were still the troubling dream snatches about her family. Also, she was staying awake late each night as blood coursed through her veins. Now, Seth was on her mind, constantly.

I’m longing, Angela concluded with some surprise one morning as she spent twice her usual amount of time in front of the mirror. She had heard of ‘longings’ once partnership sessions had begun.

Am I as pretty? She pulled and shifted her jumper tight in flattering angles and fluffed out her wavy brown hair before tying it behind her back. As pretty as whom? An image materialized in her mind of herself, very young, standing beside someone a bit younger still, someone blond with shining blue eyes and rosy cheeks.

Isn’t she adorable, all the voices would say about the blond girl, including Mother. Hurt squeezed Angela’s chest, hurt and jealousy.

Funny, as unpleasant as those feelings were, she wanted to understand them better.

***

There had been no question about her wanting to take family leave the next weekend. She couldn’t wait for courtship dance. Angela stretched out on the porch swing and tried to relax. It didn’t work. Shadows in corners seemed to draw her in, beckoning her to examine the ones in her mind. She resisted. Reaching down she scratched the back of Dog’s neck behind its collar.

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