Tor Books has posted the first chapter of my upcoming novel, The Nature of a Pirate, at its blog. Some of you may have heard me read this chapter… but for those who haven’t, or anyone who wants a refresher, here’s the opening. A taste of a taste, call it.
Kitesharp was bleeding.
The wounded ship was fifty feet long, with a crew of fourteen sailor-mechanics, and when dawn rose over the Fleet of Nations, her blood trail was just a thin line of crimson threaded into her wake. It twisted against the blue of the sea, a hint of pinkish foam that might have gone unnoticed for hours if it hadn’t begun attracting seabirds and sharks.
The whole Fleet watched as the birds shrieked and Kitesharp’s captain raised a warning cone up her mainmast. Soon—presumably after her bosun had been below for a look—a sphere was raised, too. From a distance, both cone and sphere would appear as flat shapes, seeming to onlookers to be a triangle and circle. It meant Ship in distress. Help required.
This particular distress call had gone out twice before.
The entire book will be available in less than a month, on December 6th.
A. M. Dellamonica, 2014, photo by Kelly Robson
Sci Fi and Fantasy Network editor and podcaster Joel Cornah was kind enough to interview me about all manner of things: my new fiction, my older fiction, my process, growing up in a theater family, my queerness, and my inspirations, to name a few. The interview is here. He will be running one with Kelly soon too, I’m pleased to say.
The interview is about eighteen minutes long and doesn’t have any spoilers for any of my books or stories. Enjoy!
My story “The Boy who would not be Enchanted” will be up soon, in the October issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. (Right now, in case you haven’t had a chance to swing by, they have wonderful new stories by Claude Lalumière, and Jeremy Sim.)
My Boy is the fifth of the series I call The Gales, a group of stories about Gale Feliachild and Captain Garland Parrish of the sailing vessel Nightjar*. These are set over a decade before the events of my novel Child of a Hidden Sea. My other, more facetious name for them is the adventures of Doctor Who, at sea, with her very pretty companion.
This story is told by Tonio, the Erinthian shopboy who rises to become first mate of the ship. Its the story of the first time he stowed away on Nightjar, as a kid of 11. Now he’s 17 and, obviously, far wiser. He knows himself, and he absolutely understands love… or so he believes, anyway. (And he definitely does not have a crush on his best friend!)
Tonio’s good company, and this story is a confection for those of you who have been shipping Bram and Tonio. There’s a piece of bitter chocolate at its heart, too, about Gale’s prophesied death.
The first three stories in the series are Among the Silvering Herd, The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti, and most recently The Glass Galago. They’re available at the Tor.com site for free reading, or as ebooks. The fourth, “Losing Heart Among the Tall,” will be up at Tor.com on February 22nd, 2017.
Yes, this means they’ll be going up out of order. It’s not a big thing; they are not that tightly bound together that you can’t enjoy them out of sequence.
Kelly, meanwhile, has a kickass essay about being a late bloomer up at Clarkesworld and a Locus Magazine spotlight interview!.
The two of us will be in Ottawa at Cancon in a couple weeks’ time, and I will post my panel info soon.
*Nightjar, as it happens, was recently featured in an article by Fran Wilde on Tor.com, “It’s all about the Rigging: My Favorite Fantasy Boats.”
Kelly and I couldn’t be in Calgary last night for When Words Collide, so we were rewatching Forsyte Saga and keeping one eye tuned to Twitter when word came that Kelly had won the Prix Aurora Award for “Waters of Versailles.” Delightful news, and I am thrilled for her (and, I admit, just a bit smug about having used the words “awards-quality” to describe it before it had even gone out to market).
About ten nail-bitey minutes after that, we found out that A Daughter of No Nation had won the Aurora in the Novel category. Our brother Bill Robson accepted both awards for us, kindly giving up an evening to hobnob with Canada’s SF luminaries. He called to congratulate us, and sent a pic of himself holding both trophies, both certificates, and our nominee pins.
Here’s the speech I sent to Calgary:
Being nominated for an Aurora is one of those things that I believe all Canadian SF authors aspire to. I always did, so it was a thrill and an honor to be on this shortlist with so many great authors whose work I love. I am thankful to my wife, Kelly Robson, to my family, to the people at Tor Books and to all the many friends and colleagues who’ve helped me, over the years, with everything from research and proofreading to unstinting moral support.
Last year, when I had the opportunity to present one of these trophies myself, I was blown away by my good fortune. I feel lucky to be working among such a lively community of brilliant creators, people who celebrate writing, genre fiction, and, above all, each other. I am touched and gratified that you liked A Daughter of No Nation so much; thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Incidentally, the reason
we weren’t in Calgary was that next week we’re going to be in Kansas City for MidAmericon II
. Here’s my schedule:
The Re-emergence of Environmental Speculative Fiction
Thursday 18:00 – 19:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)
This used to be a booming field but has only recently re-emerged. Why is this and how do today’s tropes differ from the ecological dystopias of the 1970s?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin (M), Brenda Cooper, Alyx Dellamonica
Oceans: The Wettest Frontier
Friday 10:00 – 11:00, 3501F (Kansas City Convention Center)
James Cambias, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Patricia MacEwen, Christopher Weuve (M), Alyx Dellamonica
We Deserve Better: Lesbians and Bi Women for Change
Friday 15:00 – 16:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)
TV SPOILERS! TW: Character Deaths.
Alyx Dellamonica (M), Jaylee James, Nina Niskanen, Jay Wolf
Reading: Alyx Dellamonica
Sunday 13:30 – 14:00, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
A. M. Dellamonica, 2014, photo by Kelly Robson
Joanna Russ was one of those people you had to read, as a young feminist geek. Not just How to Suppress Women’s Writing, (though obviously How to Suppress Women’s Writing). The Female Man, We Who Are About To…, and The Adventures of Alyx were all so intrinsic to my experience of growing up, coming out, and realizing who I was going to be as I moved through the world that I cannot imagine doing without them. One need only look at the way I tweaked the spelling of my first name to see how deep the influence went.
So it will come to as no surprise to anyone that I am thrilled beyond words to announce that my first ever foray into the world of editing will be as the guest editor of the 2016 Heiresses of Russ: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction series. I will be doing this for Lethe Press with the inimitable Steve Berman.
In case you haven’t heard of it before, this is a reprint anthology. I have already begun reading, albeit slowly, because I am under a mountain of grading so high it requires supplemental oxygen. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and so far it has been a delight.
Projects like this are labors of love. I have fond memories of shipping off manuscripts to Nicola Griffith and Steve Pagel for Bending the Landscape, as a dykey baby SF writer. It was a really different world, or so it seemed. Books like BtL were the Queers Destroy Science Fiction (and Fantasy and Horror) of their time, and it seems apparent to me that if people like Nicola and Steve hadn’t been bending things then, we might not be in a position to destroy anything now. Anyway, whenever I find myself despairing about the state of the world (as I think we all do) I count up our wins. For me the jewel in the queer rights crown is marriage equality, long a development I thought I would not live to see. And now my government is apparently tabling transgendered rights legislation. I suddenly have to wonder if I’m living in a magical world of Oz.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of broke in the world, so much still in need of fixing. And even wins don’t remain wins if you don’t keep an eye on them. Progress is like a newly shingled roof; time passes, the elements attack and something that seemed so very secure starts springing leaks and throwing shingles. We see this with every political gain… there’s always someone keen to try to roll it back.
And so, in this remarkable year when women swept the Nebula Awards, I want to just open up a can of nostalgia and smell a few of those chapter headings Joanna Russ used to splatter my worldview across a student newspaper office one day in 1985:
She wrote it, but look what she wrote about.
She wrote it, but she shouldn’t have.
She wrote it, but she isn’t really an artist, and it isn’t really art.
Remember that? Screw that. Write what you shouldn’t, people! Projects like Heiresses of Russ: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction are just one way to nail down the shingles, to keep the the rain off as we figure out how to build out the house, to widen the circle to an ever more wonderful and diverse group of writers.