Back to the future, sort of

Looking for the Man With No Face

It’s not that I don’t write much science fiction. It’s more that I write across a wide swath of genre, so the love is spread pretty randomly. Looking back at the past year, it’s been mostly horror and urban fantasy. The last pure sci-fi story I wrote was “Deacon Carter’s Last Dime,” for Crossed Genres. That was a while ago. Even “Frames of Reference,” for the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE URBAN KIND anthology last year was just as much horror as sci-fi. In fact, since it was contemporary, it was just as much a noir study as well.

So it was with a bit of surprise that Jennifer Brozek invited me to submit to SPACE TRAMPS: FULL THROTTLE SPACE TALES #5 by Flying Pen Press. I mean, the last story I had sent to her for the just-released HUMAN TALES from Dark Quest Books had freaking Brownies in it…you know, like sprites that help cobblers repair shoes. I’m not sure what she was thinking when she dragged me in to this. But damned if I didn’t have an idea.

I was just notified that my story, “Odd Jobs,” was selected for the anthology.

Because thankfully Jennifer likes noir as much as I do. This little piece could be set in Los Angeles in 1950 with no science fiction elements at all and still be, at it’s heart, the exact same story. But it is also, beyond question, a sci-fi story in its current form. I could even rewrite it with very few changes and make the exact same story work in a fantasy setting.

The thing is this: when I write, I’m telling stories about people. There are genre settings that revolve around time (sci-fi, western, fantasy), and there are genre flavors that are more atmospheric (noir, horror, mystery, action). I love being able to get the combination plate; a little from category A, a little from category B, and a side of stir-fry noodles. I’m thrilled to be able to share my far-future sci-fi noir story with you all in the coming year. In the meantime, I’m toying with an idea for a horror western that I need to put down on paper.

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