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I have a flash fiction piece about art and memes out in Lightspeed Magazine today: “Stowaways.” It’s in the form of a pretentious gallery description card. You know, the thing you have to lean close to the wall and squint at to read, that gives you a semi-enlightening, semi-inscrutable short history of the attached painting or other artwork. This one, however, has a creepy twist.

I wrote the first version of this several years ago when I was solicited by someone putting together a compendium of ‘impossible works of art.’ I came up with three, this being the weirdest. One of the other ideas birthed my Pushcart Prize-nominated story “Black Ice City,” published in Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters.

The idea of “nucleated” and “unnucleated” brains hosting “memetic intelligences” however goes back to a novel idea I had as a wee college student way back in 2007, when I was studying abroad in Kalimpong, India. The story was about Memento-memoried people living in cloud cities on Venus, waiting for in limbo while a centuries-long terraforming process unfolded. I’m still amazed at how many ideas I had that fall, when I had no easy access to TV or internet and spent most of my time drinking chai, journaling, and staring out at the rolling, foggy Himalayan foothills. The title of that never-written novel (which, who knows, maybe I’ll one day write) was Float, which in this story lends its name to the future artist who created Stowaways.

I’m quite fond of this weird little story, and I’m very glad that (after racking up many, many rejections) it has finally found a home.

My first short story collection is out this week from Future Fiction. This is an Italian-language collection that came into being thanks to Rome-based sci-fi writer/editor Francesco Verso, who had my stories translated from English. Nonetheless it is the first and most comprehensive collection of my short stories available anywhere, and I’m very proud of it. The book contains fifteen stories, including one that has never been published in English.

Sci-fi great Kim Stanley Robinson was kind enough to read the manuscript in English and offer the following advance praise:

“Hudson has found a way to strike together all the various facets of our rapidly changing climate future, sparking stories that are by turns ingenious, energetic, provocative, and soulful.”

Kim Stanley Robinson

And Francesco has this blurb (translated from Italian):

“Andrew Dana Hudson tells realities that don’t exist as if they were already here. And he describes them with a certainty and insight that are found only in a few other authors, such as William Gibson. If cyberpunk has exhausted its science fiction charge, grafting itself in a dangerously natural way into the fabric of global post-capitalism, it is due to authors like Andrew Dana Hudson who have made this genre obsolete by laying the foundations (or rather by sowing the seeds) of alternative futures through solarpunk. “

Francesco Verso

Buy it in the US in paperback or Kindle here.

Cover illustration by Paolo Castelluccio

My debut book now has a cover and a release date! Our Shared Storm: A Novel of Five Climate Futures will be published April 5, 2022 from Fordham University Press. It’s already listed for preorder on most book retailers websites, or direct from the publisher here.

Our Shared Storm is a cli-fi fix-up novel that explores five different potential futures inspired by the IPCC’s Shared Socioeconomic Pathways scenarios. The five stories are set in 2056 at the United Nations climate negotiations (the Conference of the Parties, a.k.a. the COP), but in each scenario the conference, the characters, and the world have been shaped by diverging future histories. Exploring themes of mediocrity, economic growth, inequality, fragmentation, and sustainability, each story has its own twists and turns as our core characters meet each other anew, each as different people living different lives. The five stories knit together into a single narrative whole that explores the the collective choices we will have to make in the coming three decades.

The book also features an afterword about the nature and uses of climate fiction, and proposes a new theoretical formulation of “post-normal fiction.” Feel free to get in touch if you are a teacher interested in climate fiction and are considering using the text for a class.

If any of this sounds interesting, preordering your copy now would be a big help. Or have your local bookstore reserve you a copy!

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My story “A Smell of Jet Fuel” is out in Lightspeed Magazine #134!

Future time travel tourists visit the World Trade Center to observe the Sept. 11 attacks, but for Brad the tour guide not everything goes as planned. This story is an homage to Ray Bradbury’s classic “A Sound of Thunder,” about time travelers who hunt dinosaurs in the Jurassic. I talk more about this inspiration (and 9/11) in this interview. If you happen to nominate for the Hugo or Nebula awards, I’d be obliged if you considered this story come awards season and/or gave it an upvote on the Nebula Reading List.

Today is the release of a project I worked on in 2019-2020 both as a scholar and as a fiction writer. Cities of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures, edited by Joey Eschrich and Clark Miller, features my short story “Solarshades,” as well as stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, S B Divya, and Deji Bryce Olukotun—plus accompanying essays and art. The project was a collaboration between the Arizona State University Center for Science and Imagination and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In early 2020 we gathered in Denver with ASU and NREL energy scholars and visual artists to brainstorm stories about the future of renewable energy in unique urban landscapes. This ‘narrative hack-a-thon’ process produced four fictional looks at how energy shapes and is shaped by the geography and communities of Chicago, Portland, San Juan and San Antonio. Cities of Light is a free ebook available for download now.

Here’s a sample from my story “Solarshades.”

On cloud-out days, when that listless Pacific smother hung low over Portland, and the house batteries chirped their plaintive ten-percent forebodings—the grid no help at all—Kismet clambered onto the roof to see the lit-up glitter of the Clackamas County line: a trash-strewn no-man’s land cutting through brownfields, fallow-forests, and cemeteries. A little crack in the law that neither Happy Valley nor Pleasant Valley wanted to deal with.

Kismet didn’t envy the refugees, undocs, and homeless who pitched their tents and parked their RVs in the interstices. But seeing their pyramids of warm glow, hearing their music, whiffing their smelly foreign food—all while his games were forced off and his showers ran cold and his cousins ate dry cereal and squabbled over flashlights—on those days he couldn’t help but feel a little drip of resentment runneling into his soul.

It’s a story of a Green New Deal and its discontents. Can an encounter with state-seeing AR glasses change his perspective and help him organize for energy amnesty in his community before he’s drawn into his brother’s world of hate and small violence?

I was lucky enough to have six (6) short stories published in 2020—a big chunk of my output from the last few years. I also joined the SFWA about a year ago, voted in the Nebulas for the first time, and attended a solid handful of (Zoom-bound) SFF conventions. So it seems about time that I also made an eligibility post. I would be honored if others in the SFF community read any of these stories and considered nominating them for the Hugos, the Nebulas, or any other annual award.

Short Stories

Voice of Their Generation” — in Lightspeed Magazine #119. Audio versionAuthor spotlight.

On their ninth rewrite of the third act of Detective Pikachu vs. Predator, it occurred to Thicket that they might just be the voice of their generation.

In a fever, they swiped together the final epic speech where Detective Pikachu refutes Predator’s cynical attempts to turn him against his human partner, arguing that the Pokémon relationship with humanity was one not of servitude but of guardianship, for every Pokémon can see within each human the potential to rise above their flawed nature to embody something the world truly needs: hope.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you space jerks try to knock humanity down,” Detective Pikachu said, voiced by John Stamos. “Because when they fall, we Pokémon will be there to catch them. We’ll catch them all.”

Franchise mashups, DeepMake instant-movies, the creative process under cultural fracking. Can Thicket complete a script that pleases the algo before Starbucks kicks them out?

“Black Ice City” — Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters (paperbackKindleebookiTunesNook). Blog postNominated for the Pushcart Prize.

The blue harvest is good this year, kelp growing in straight ropes as thick as my head, dulse bushes meat-red in the angel light of the balmy Barents Sea. We keep waiting for storm waves to rip our crops away, to carry the ripest fronds down to carbon trenches—but they never come. So day after day Zhi Ruo and I pull up seaweed and full racks of mussels and scallops, plumped on the fat plankton of the New North Gyre. It’s a fine season, watching Zhi Ruo’s long legs slide in and out of the water, her shoulders taut and strong from lifting what we’ve grown. Shells clatter on the deck, a bounty, and I feel a greedy excitement at the luxe adventures they’ll earn me at autumn’s end.

Zhi Ruo pouts when I tell her I’m drifting north for the party this year. “Come where the sun is, Gillam, you masochist,” she says. But I’m set. Four years since I last made Black Ice City, and in that lifetime I’ve become, I fancy, the type of strapping, worldly man I’d once seen turn heads skating across the floe. I take Zhi Ruo to bed every night for a week, and then slip out one lightless morning, untie my boat from hers, raise sail and set course for the white-specked horizon, against the tide of migrating birds.

Nautical adventure, Arctic ice palaces, hothouse climate politics, lots of sex!

“In the Storm, a Fire” (with Jay Springett) — And Lately, The Sun (Kindle), 2020. Longlisted for the BSFA Short Fiction Award.

“Chani! I was worried I wasn’t going to see you today,” Kayla said. She was a middle-aged millennial, but, with dyed black hair and meticulous makeup, she passed for 30. This wasn’t vanity, Chani knew, but self-preservation. Asperity was unkind to the elderly.

“Hectic morning, you know how it is,” Chani said. She opened her pack of jars, pulled out a stack of pickled plums hiding drugs that kept Alzheimer’s at bay. Kayla’s face lit up with gratitude.

“Folks are really going to appreciate these,” Kayla said. “My mother especially. I know she’s been running low.”

“Kayla, listen. I have extra today, of some, uh, different varieties,” Chani said carefully. Around them the market bustled. “Would you want to take them off my hands? Free of charge, of course.”

Kayla’s eyes flickered.

Bootleg healthcare, religious schisms, technomilitarized policing, fascism with American characteristics, solarpunk communities of resistance.

Your Mind is the Superfund Site” (with C. Y. Ballard) — Lightspeed Magazine #127. Audio versionAuthor spotlight.

“Ever consider killing yourself?” the gecko said. “It’ll save you one hundred percent on your car insurance.”

I was alone, but not. I tried to step on the creature, but my foot wasn’t there. I clenched my teeth, which felt like water. Alleyah’s Southie accent crackled a reminder of radio.

“Tracey, are you paralucid yet? Need another poke of DMT?”

I was back in high school—or somebody’s high school. The classrooms were vintage Sears catalogs and a spruce tree that grew sideways—not in a directional sense but just with a profound association with the concept of sideways. I climbed the tree and then fell. I fell for a long time, the gecko taunting me, before Alleyah got me moving with another call on the radio.”

A festive brawl through the advertising-infested dreamscape of future socialist Boston. Will Tracey and Alleyah be able to find and defeat the King of Brands before the solstice ends?

Zooming” — MIT Technology ReviewAudio version via Curio.

I’m sitting in my parents’ basement, in a cracked pleather gaming chair, smelling my own funk, or maybe the damp of black mold, and 400 miles below me the whole world is laid out like some vast Tibetan tapestry, full of little demons and beasts and believers.

I tap, zoom, look, unzoom, slide, tap, zoom, look. Sometimes at familiar spots, but mostly just at random, searching for something happening somewhere that’s interesting enough to stream or gif or sell or just linger over. I watch Berliners mob a music festival. I watch mining equipment drag rocks out of an Australian quarry. I watch Pakistani dogs fighting over a chicken and hurricane clouds slamming into Cuba and an exhibitionist couple fucking on a bright red blanket on a Californian rooftop. I lose myself for a few minutes in the ripples of swaying Amazon jungle leaves, wondering how the wind feels to all those trees. And then I get bored, and I’m just zooming through my rounds again, not thinking much, and I see it.

Some kid is dragging a tasteful brown coffin out of the back of a pickup truck parked at the edge of a pile of trash in the junkyard just outside of town, my town. Silent thunk when the box hits the trashdirt, and the kid loses his grip, rolls it, and out comes a body. Denny’s body.

A twisted crime story—from a satellite-eye-view.

The Lizard and the Rat” — StarShipSofa podcast.

Delhi was silent but for the dripping of her suit. Kala felt at home in the empty place. She wove through maze-like slum-husks, shuffled across melting highways. She was a ghost, spectral in the silvery shedsuit. Even though the dehumidifier on her back left a trail of water, for once she didn’t fear being followed. She was protected—by superstition, the bright sun, and the “60C” glowing in the corner of her faceplate.

A professional burglar and an orphan street kid find themselves on the run from trillionaires, cults, and geoengineering spooks.