The email was waiting for me this morning, though if I’d checked one last time before bed, I probably would have seen it. They accepted the story!
This is huge. It’s a professional sale, and boy, that is a nice feeling. And it’s going to be an incredible collection of science fiction, edited by a group of very capable women, and published in Lightspeed Magazine.
It means a lot to me. It’s the first major writing I’ve done since the two surgeries last year, and the story was finished at the Banff Centre. But it means something more: it reminds me of the librarians raising their eyebrows when I wandered into the SF section as a kid and came out with Arthur C. Clarke’s A Fall of Moondust. Wouldn’t I prefer to read Sweet Valley High? No. No. I would not. I went from Clarke to Ben Bova’s Kinsman saga, spent my babysitting money on Feintuch’s Midshipman’s Hope and waited patiently for the next books in the series to come out. I devoured Heinlein and fell into Anne McCaffrey’s worlds and never left. I read Ender’s Game and wished I could go to battle school. I’m the kid who watched Aliens so often I wore out the videotape, and I STILL watched it after I did (I can still run lines from the movie). I wanted to be a space marine, a crystal singer, an asteroid miner. I wanted to fight the buggers. I’m the kid who went to the encyclopedias at the library and painstakingly copied out the entry on recombinant DNA after I read Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber’s The Mutant Season, and then tried to write my own mutant story. I’m the kid who learned the litany against fear from Dune and whispered it to myself when high school was particularly awful.
I’m the kid who grew up to do a master’s degree in zombies, who gleefully throws wrenches in our dungeon master’s D&D games (why not conjure an illusory dragon in a crowded street?) and wept at the end of the Battlestar Galactica reboot. And I’m now the woman who watches the debates about why women can’t write ‘good’ sci-fi, and why women who try are bitter and didactic. Nope. I don’t accept that. The Kickstarter to fund this issue of Lightspeed needed $5,000; they raised $50,000. We all make SF better. All of us, men and women, looking ahead and trying to imagine what will become of us. This issue of Lightspeed will prove that women have just as much to say about the future as men, and we’ll do it competently and with imagination. I know it.
I wrote the story for me. But I also wrote it for the girl I was: first wandering into the stacks, looking at the covers of tatty paperbacks and reaching for that first book. And I’m writing SF now for the girls who are going into the libraries now, doing the same thing.