My latest Central Station story, Crabapple, is now online at Daily Science Fiction:
Neighborhoods sprouted around Central Station like weeds. On the outskirts of the old neighborhood, along the Kibbutz Galuyot Road and Siren Road and Sderot Menachem Begin, the old abandoned highways of Tel Aviv, they grew, ringing the immense structure of the spaceport rising high into the sky. Houses sprouted like trees, blooming, adaptoplant weeds feeding on rain and sun, and digging roots into the sandy ground, breaking ancient asphalt. Adaptoplant neighborhoods, seasonal, unstable, sprouting walls and doors and windows, half-open sewers hanging in the air, exposed bamboo pipes, apartments growing over and into each other, growing without order or sense, creating pavements suspended in midair, houses at crazy angles, shacks and huts with half-formed doors, windows like eyes–
In autumn the neighborhoods shed, doors drying, windows shrinking slowly, pipes drooping. Houses fell like leaves to the ground below and the road cleaning machines murmured happily, eating up the shrunken leaves of former residencies. Above ground the tenants of those seasonal buoyant suburbs stepped cautiously, testing the ground with each step taken, to see if it would hold, migrating nervously across the skyline to other, fresher spurts of growth, new adaptoplant blooming delicately, windows opening like fruit– continue reading.
I have been working on this story cycle / mosaic novel for two years I think. I’ve been struggling with finishing it but I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough in the past couple of days and it may be that I am staring at a (very rough) working draft. I have the feeling it requires one more story, though. The total word count is currently 76,000, which is actually longer than Osama.
This post is really more for my own benefit, to see where I am with it and what happened to the individual stories that make up the overall mosaic.
And so, in chronological order (and not order of appearance), here is the complete (so far) list:
- “The Indignity of Rain”, Interzone, 2012
- “Under the Eaves”, Robots: The Recent A.I., 2012 (Dozois’ Year’s Best, Horton’s Year’s Best)
- “Robotnik”, Dark Faith II, 2012
- The Smell of Orange Groves, Clarkesworld, 2011 (Dozois’ Year’s Best, Strahan’s Year’s Best, Polish translation)
- “Crabapple”, forthcoming Daily Science Fiction, 2013
- The Lord of Discarded Things, Strange Horizons, 2012
- “Filaments”. Unpublished
- Strigoi. Interzone, 2012
- “The Book Seller”. Interzone, 2013
- “The God Artist”. Unpublished
- “Vladimir Chong Chooses to Die”. Unpublished
- “The Oracle”. Forthcoming Analog, 2013
- “The Core”. Unpublished
- “The Birthing Clinics”, unpublished
There is also a very brief prelude that may or may not go in to the final version. I don’t think this is quite there yet, but it’s a big leap towards completion. It’s been a long and sometimes frustrating process, began in Israel, finishing in London, and published in book form who knows when or where… but for all that, a project that has meant a lot to me.
I’m taking a break until the new year, but I’m delighted to be able to offer an e-book copy of my novelette, Strigoi, first published in Interzone #242, September 2012, as a free download. My thanks to Andy Cox at Interzone for allowing me to put this up, and to my cover artist, Warwick Fraser-Coombe, for letting me use his illustration of the story from Interzone.
Download free e-book:
My latest Central Station story, The Lord of Discarded Things, is now up at Strange Horizons. They are having their annual fund drive at the moment, so if you like what they do, maybe drop them some cash!
There were still alte-zachen men in Jaffa in those days. There had always been, junk-gypsies, part Jew, part Arab, part something else again. It was the time of the Messiah Murder, of which you must have heard, of which the historian Elezra (himself progenitor of Miriam Elezra, who with the Golda Meir automaton journeyed to Ancient-Mars-That-Never-Was, and changed the course of a planet) has written, “It was a time of fervour and uncertainty, a time of hate and peace, in which the messiah’s appearance and subsequent execution were almost incidental.”
There were still alte-zachen men in Jaffa and Central Station in those days, as there always were and always will be, and chief amongst them was Ibrahim, he who was sometimes called The Lord of Discarded Things.
You must have seen him approach a thousand times. He appears in the background, always in the background, of tourist-taken images, of numerous feeds. The cart, first: a flat top carried on the four wheels of a liberated, ancient car. In Jaffa’s junkyards, dead combustion-engine cars proliferated, towers of them making a city of junk in which hid the city’s unfortunates. The cart pulled by one or two horses, city-bred and born: mismatched grey and white, these Palestinian horses, an intermingling of breeds, distant cousins to the noble Arabian strains. Small, strong, and patient, they carried the cart overloaded with broken-down things, without complaint, on the weekends putting on bells and colourful garb and carrying small children along the promenade, for a price. – continue reading.
I’ve been working on Central Station for a while now. This is my first attempt at a mosaic novel. Yesterday I sold “Crabapple” to Daily Science Fiction, making it the seventh Central Station story sold individually. The full novel will be, well, novel sized (80,000-90,000 words). I’m hoping I manage to finish it in the next month or two.
The current published or due-to-be-published Central Station stories are:
- “The Indignity of Rain” – published in Interzone
- “Under the Eaves” – published in Robots: The Recent A.I.
- “Robotnik” – due in Dark Faith II
- “The Smell of Orange Groves” – published in Clarkesworld
- “Crabapple” – due in Daily Science Fiction
- “The Lord of Discarded Things” – due in Strange Horizons
- Strigoi” – due in the next issue of Interzone
This has been an interesting experience so far!
My Central Station novelette, “Strigoi” is coming out in the next issue of Interzone magazine (#242) in September, illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe. Here’s the – pretty gorgeous! – title spread.
A few recent short story sales:
My latest story, “The Indignity of Rain” – the first, chronologically, of the Central Station stories, is in the latest issue of Interzone.
The smell of rain caught them unprepared. It was spring, there was that smell of jasmine and it mixed with the hum of electric buses and there were solar gilders in the sky, like flocks of birds. Ameliah Ko was doing a Kwasa-Kwasa remix of a Susan Wong cover of Do You Wanna Dance. It had began to rain in silver sheets, almost silently, the rain swallowed the sound of gunshots and it drenched the burning buggie down the street, and the old homeless guy taking a shit by the dumpster, with his grey pants around his ankles, got caught in it, his one roll of toilet paper in his hand, and he cursed but quietly. He was used to the indignity of rain.
One of the projects I’m currently working on is a second picture book called It’s Hard to be a Filipino in Hebrew. It’s the story of Charlie, a Filipino kid growing up in the Central Station area of Tel Aviv. Charlie wants to be a superhero… while having to come to terms to living in a society which doesn’t accept him as part of it.
I’m working with Israeli artist Adi Elkin, who I think is fantastic, and she is able to work from real life, going around the Central Station area (the setting of my current SF project of linked short stories as well) to really capture the setting, I think.
As a taster, here is the finished page 18, with some accompanying text.
Eran wants to be an air force pilot when he grows up. His dad was a mechanic in the air force. He and Charlie play at being pilot, outside the Kingdom of Pork store, next to the shawarma place where suicide bombers twice blew themselves up.
‘No, idiot, that’s a race car!’
They fly over the borders and bomb targets in Syria and Lebanon. When you’re a pilot, you can go anywhere. You can fly. Charlie wants to fly, but he doesn’t want to be a pilot.
He wants to be a superhero.
But who ever heard of a Filipino superhero?
No one’s even heard of an Israeli-Filipino.