The Billows of Sarto – new short story in Asimov’s

asimovs march april 2018I probably wax on about my teenage dream of getting published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. This month marks the publication of my fifth story there, in the March-April 2018 issue. I’m humbled every time. That my little ol’ story gets such an honor.

Without giving too much away, “The Billows of Sarto” is set in an dormant volcanic crater, teeming with forest life and hotpools, on a far away planet (isn’t science fiction cool – I get such a fun playground). There’s an interview around somewhere with me (I’ll link to it once I find it!), but one of the questions was about my inspiration for the story.

Well, I do like volcanoes. Growing up in New Zealand, they’re all over. On a clear day, with a bit of elevation, you can see two from my hometown – Taranaki and Ruapehu.

I’ve also been lucky enough to visit volcanoes in other parts of the world too, from the volcanic plugs of the Glass House Mountains in Queensland Australia, to Rano Kau on Easter Island to Mt Fuji in Japan (well in the distance from a train).

One of my favourite places is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. This is a genuine collapse caldera, where part of the mountain has dropped into the magma chamber (if I have those processes right). A smaller cone has even developed inside the caldera.

(photographs by Diana Monaghan – when I was there I was so in love with the place I forgot to take any. Excuse the bluriness – not Mum’s fault: mine. I photographed her photos with my phone. Sheesh).

It was fun to write the story, taking those places and reinventing them, with new ecologies and geothermal systems and, I hope, interesting characters.

Oh, it also turns out that my last story for Asimov’s, “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, is also a finalist in the Asimov’s  Annual Readers’ Award Poll, short story category, which is quite an honor. Maurizio’s wonderful cover art is also a finalist in the art category. Feels like that’ll need a longer post soon.

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