2024-07-01

Announcing my debut collection, The Wildcraft Drones

My first real book is officially getting published! I'll keep this space updated as we get closer to the publication date. There's four stories in it that are already published, and three of them can be read online right now:
- "Davu the Explorer and the Druid Tía Yara"
- "Squawker and Dolphin Swimming Together"
- "A Holdout in the Northern California Designated Wildcraft Zone"
- "The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones" is also in it, although currently available only in print, in the January/February 2023 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction.

I'm also working on at least five more for the collection this year, so more than half the book will be new, original stories. All of them take place in the same timeline, from the near to distant future, and explore the relationship between nature, technology and humanity in a world that's doing an okay job of handling the climate crisis. That is to say, a lot better than we're doing now, but pretty far from perfect. It's an "ambiguous utopia," as LeGuin would say. Some have called the stories so far solarpunk and hopepunk, and I think those fit the overall tone of the collection, though there are definitely moments that are more punk than hope. My influences range from Cordwainer Smith to Robin Wall Kimmerer to Peter S. Beagle, so I dunno, you'll probably like it? I wrote a lot about the work that into the worldbuilding over on the Asimov's author blog in a post called Finding and Breaking Utopia.

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2023-12-23

T. K. Rex’s 2023 Short Stories (that are eligible for awards)

Gotta be honest, 2023 has mostly been an awesome year for me. Losing my day job was both the low point and the high point. I spent the first half stressing imminent layoffs too hard to write anything and the second half pouring tons of energy into all the stuff I knew I wouldn't have the space for once my severance ran out, like getting this website launched, doing a bunch of readings, going to Taos Toolbox and World Fantasy Con, joining the Writers Grotto, querying my novel, meeting awesome writers, and more. It's been a total blast but I didn't get a lot of new writing done. Lucky for us, though, I wrote a TON of shit the past three years and a bunch of it was published this year. 2023 started with my first novelet, "The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones," appearing on bookstore(!!) shelves in Asimov’s Science Fiction, and I had seven more new short stories published, plus a reprint in my dream market Escape Pod, and a poem in Dreams & Nightmares. It's my first published poem since my very first fiction publication like twenty years ago. I now have two poems in print. Am I a poet?!

Anyway here’s my eight award-eligible stories from 2023. The content warnings make me look low-key psychotic but I don’t think I am? I usually go for, like, hopeful? Notable exceptions this year being “Saltwater Rinse” and maybe “The Six Years I Spent With You on Chenhablimesh” which are both very short and kinda angry, if that’s your thing. None of these are even close to being as good as "Want Itself Is a Treasure in Heaven," my favorite story this year that should win everything, by Theodora Ward. But keep reading anyway for your second and third picks.

The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones

Macara is a Ranger, sworn to keep humans out of the AI-managed wilderness of Northern California, no matter how heartbroken she is since getting dumped. Oliver is a sheltered denizen of the walled citystate of San Francisco, desperate to find his missing ecologist wife. Their quest takes them to a ruined facility deep in the forbidden forest, where not even the AI knows what awaits them.

NOVELET // #sciencefiction #climatefiction #ecofiction #solarpunk #hopepunk #queerSFF // cw: body horror

“The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones” appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, January/February 2023 issue, print only. (Reach out to me on the socials or email me for a consideration copy: tk at this website). I also wrote about my research and process for this one on the Asimov’s author blog. It's set in the same world as my Imagine 2200 story from last year, "A Holdout in the Northern California Designated Wildcraft Zone," and takes place a few generations later.

Squawker and Dolphin Swimming Together

On the Gulf Coast of Florida, a few decades from now, a team of scientists and a wild dolphin strive for a communication breakthrough in the midst of climate chaos.

SHORT STORY // #sciencefiction #climatefiction #ecofiction // cw: referenced animal violence

Squawker and Dolphin Swimming Together” appeared in Reckoning 7. I really nerded out on dolphin communication while writing this one, and it's one of my hardest science fiction stories. Special shout-out to Karen Joy Fowler for giving me some incredibly useful feedback, and for taking me on a tour of an actual dolphin lab.

The Six Years I Spent With You On Chenhablimesh

Memories of a chaotic, sexy, and ultimately kind of fucked up relationship with an extraterrestrial come flooding back after watching a viral video. Lessons were learned.

SHORT STORY // #sciencefiction #queerSFF // cw: domestic violence, graphic sex

The Six Years I Spent With You On Chenhablimesh” appeared in Uncharted in January.

Saltwater Rinse

A resident of downtown San Francisco needs to make this mouth in her knee stfu before it incites a riot.

SHORT STORY // #slipstream // cw: body horror, violence, death

Saltwater Rinse” appeared in Club Chicxulub Journal, vol. 1, issue 1 in July. Check out the audio version with rad ambient soundtrack by Shipwreck Detective for full vibes.

Ravens Made of Lichen, with Beaks of Black Basalt

Sixteen year-old Alana's dad is going back to Earth to find a mermaid he had a fling with in college. Alana doesn't want to leave Mars or her friends, especially Ekaja. Can she stay and make it on her own?

SHORT STORY // #sciencefantasy #ecofiction #queerSFF // cw: drugs

“Ravens Made of Lichen, with Beaks of Black Basalt” appeared in Typehouse, issue 27, (free PDF here), in July while I was on a road trip to New Mexico, which was very relevant. (To me. New Mexico does not technically appear in this story, but like, if you know you know.)

A Lot Full of Weeds

A San Francisco tech worker tosses a seed bomb into the empty lot across the street from her apartment in the Tenderloin. It's, uh, not an ordinary seed bomb.

SHORT STORY // #urbanfantasy #contemporaryfantasy #ecofiction #slipstream #hopepunk

A Lot Full of Weeds” appeared in Little Blue Marble in September. It's set pretty close to home and people who live in San Francisco have told me they really enjoy it.

Hi From Shelling Point

An astronaut with a punk past writes letters to their high school crush, while waiting around a black hole for every planet in the galaxy to die, except for one.

SHORT STORY // #sciencefiction #ecofiction #hopepunk #utopianfiction #queerSFF

“Hi From Shelling Point” appeared in Utopia Magazine’s October/November issue. ($6 PDF, email me for a consideration copy! tk at this website.) (Ignore that big gap in the text on the first page where it looks like that's the whole story and it's only one page. It is not. Keep reading. Thanks.) I consider this one hard sci-fi as well. It was inspired by a video on Schelling points and SETI by David Kipping at Columbia University's Cool Worlds lab.

Water, Which Laughs at All Things

In a drought-ridden land, an ancient sorceress, a gladiator poet, and a mostly-reformed thief must rescue a watertender from a despot and his agricultural folly.

SHORT STORY // #swordandsorcery #fantasy #ecofantasy #ecofiction

“Water, Which Laughs at All Things” appeared in New Edge Sword & Sorcery #2 this month. (Print and PDF available for purchase at the link, email me for a consideration copy: tk at this website.) This one is set the secondary fantasy world of the Faultlands, where several of my previous stories have taken place, and co-written with my mom, L. Ann Kinyon.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading this year 🙂
- T. K.

© T.K. REX 2023 MADE IN SOMA | v1.01