There are two stories, which are much shorter than the previous six. They were written at about the same time – very early ‘90s, and overlapping by a month.
It’s interesting for me to reread them, because I often don’t reread my short fiction unless I’m looking for specific details in a particular story – for instance, when looking up the Maker’s Guild in Memory of Stone. As I approach the task of proofing them (and describing elements of each story to the graphic designer), I’m struck by the sense of watching myself change as a writer over a decade and a half. These stories were written twenty years ago. All stories come from the sum of our experiences, observations, and interests, but not in completely predictable ways. I do not remember writing these stories, because two decades and small children have changed me.
They’re not the stories I would write now, either. They both have some of the feel of fairy tale in their language and the way event unfolds, and they are both about the end of immortality. I think that’s one of the subjects that’s always spoken to me as a reader — the passing of an age, the loss that it entails.
Birthnight is the first, and has the distinction of being the first short story sale I’d made to that point. I’d sold two novels (although they had yet to see publication, since the lead-time was much longer than it is now), written most of a third. My third attempt at a short story became the Books of the Sundered. So this would technically be my fourth attempt at a short story, because novels were my natural writing length.
I think it works better read aloud, which surprised me; when I wrote Birthnight, it had such a strong voice for me and the cadence of the sentences was entirely natural. But it’s possibly because it has some of the feel of a fairy tale of the type I might have listened to as a child, although I wouldn’t have understood the why of the end.
The story is available now at Smashwords, and is in the queue at Amazon.com and iBooks.
Gifted is mostly set in a contemporary urban environment, but the tone of the language itself isn’t hugely contemporary, because it’s written from the viewpoint of the last of the Genies, and in this particular small universe, Genies perish when they grant their third and final wish, so the narrative voice is distant because distance is how he’s survived.
The second character, the human, is an old woman who lives alone.
I think it’s a little short at the end; I hadn’t completely learned how to balance tone, voice and, well, length. That struggle, at least, has continued.
The story is also available at Smashwords, and is in the Amazon.com and iBooks queues.
I’ve added links to the author pages on the side-bar in “Other Stuff About me”. I’m in the process of adding links to Amazon.com’s author page(s) as well.