Forgot to announce this! Back in August, I sold my favorite short story I’ve ever written, “Red Mask,” (set in a futuristic Shanghai reminiscent of the 1930s, about a serial killer who steals young women’s faces) to one of my favorite speculative fiction magazines, Shimmer. My second fiction sale of 2015 that has the word “red” in the title. Likely forthcoming in the January 2016 issue.
This was the last journey I took in China–one that I thought about for a long time but lacked the courage to go on until my last month. Xinjiang is a beautiful place, a silk road hub that’s historically been the crossroads of multiple religions and ethnicities, and it’s a very controversial place in China right now. There is a lot of stigma against Uyghurs and the region. I had been told since pretty much my first week in China to stay away because it was “dangerous.” But how much of that is muddled information, how much truth, and what’s life like for the 40% Han Chinese population in the region?
Read the story here:
You can download it here! http://keithstevenson.com/CDLblog/dimension6/
That world, of sequins and sweat, where bruises are badges and the goal is to fly. The one I call my second home:
My first sale ever, “Mortar Flowers,” is out today in the June 13th issue of Nature!
You can read it here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v498/n7453/full/498266a.html (Check out the PDF version–it’s quite pretty ;)).
Well, what a crazy, wondrous journey it has been. I had 82 writing rejections at the time of the sale.
As for the story behind the story:
A few years ago, I stumbled across the concept of Sarajevo roses, and I developed a reverent fascination for this unique, deeply meaningful art form. When I then read that the concrete was being replaced in the Sarajevo and the roses were disappearing, I was struck by an instant sense of loss. I kept trying to find out who had made the roses in the first place, but I never did. That was the inspiration for the Cement Florist.