Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Werehouse

In the late 1980s I set out to write hard science fiction fantasy stories. These included pixies ("From the Corner of the Eye"), dragons ("Dragons"), ghosts ("Mammy Morgan Played the Organ; Her Daddy Beat the Drum"), mummies ("Flame of Iron"), demons ("The Feeders"). "Werehouse" is the  werewolf story.

It is very likely the most awful, hopeless, cynical, and depraved story I've ever written. In a strangely literal sense, it stinks. There is a rape and several murders. It uses some bad words and the future in which it takes place is one where things have gone not just wrong, but very, very wrong in multiple ways. It was inspired by the then-popular slogan "Sh*t H*ppens" and the mindset which that implies about agency and responsibility. What happens if indulging the appetites is given free rein. I thought for a time that I would not post it, and perhaps I shall only leave it up for a short time. Let's call it a cautionary tale. It's told in the first-person illiterate

At 11,000 words, it is novelette length. I sent it to Analog, which turned it down as too disgusting, then to Asimov's, which didn't buy the science. Omni also turned it down and Amazing responded that it was not accepting unsolicited mss. Finally, Toni Weisskopf told me about New Destinies, a Baen paperback "magazine" and it appeared in their Fall 1990 issue. It was included in my collection The Nanotech Chronicles and again in a Baen anthology titled Tomorrow Bites.

The carters in the story take the name from Henry Carter in "Remember'd Kisses" and the old newspaper headline Kops Katch Killer Klone refers to "The Laughing Clone," both also included in The Nanotech Chronicles. A close reading of the later Nanotech stories and the "Neighborhood" stories in Captive Dreams indicate an alternate history within the cycles. "Werehouse" is a darker future than the others.

To read the story, if you've the stomach for it, go over to the the story preview page.

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