I’ve decided to launch a podcast of me reading excerpts from my stories. I’ve held back before because I just couldn’t see how I could possibly reliably get quiet places to record in — my flat and office are loud, and the hotel rooms, airport lounges, etc, where I live most of my life are no better. But what the hell. Mark Pesce says that the ambient noise adds texture and I’m inclined to agree.
The story I’ve started with is “After the Siege,” a novelette I’m writing on long-haul flight segments, in 2-5,000 word chunks, for an anthology of optimisitic sf stories. It’s inspired by my grandmother’s stories of living throug the Siege of Leningrad, which she told during a family reunion in St Petersburg, Russia, last summer.
I’ve just posted the first installment as an MP3.
Here’s the podcast URL if you’re inclined to subscribe. I’m also hoping that this will end up in the iTunes podcast repository.
The day the siege began, Valentine was at the cinema across the street from her building. The cinema had only grown the night before and when she got out of bed and saw it there, all gossamer silver supports and brave sweeping candy-apple red curves, she’d begged Mata and Popa to let her go. She knew that all the children in the building would spend the day there — didn’t the pack of them explore each fresh marvel as a group? The week before it had been the clever little flying cars that swooped past each other with millimeters to spare, like pigeons ripping over your head. Before that it had been the candy forest where the trees sprouted bon-bons and sticks of rock, and every boy and girl in the city had been there, laughing and eating until their sides ached. Before that, the swarms of robot insects that had gathered up every fleck of litter and dust and spirited it all away to the edge of town where they’d somehow chewed it up and made factories out of it, brightly colored and airy as an aviary. Before that: fish in the river. Before that: the new apartment buildings. Before that: the new hospitals. Before that: the new government offices.
Before that: the revolution, which Valentine barely remembered — she’d been a little kid of ten then, not a big girl of thirteen like now. All she remembered was a long time when she’d been always a little hungry, and when everything was grey and dirty and Mata and Popa whispered angrily at each other when they thought she slept and her little brother Trover had cried thin sickly cries all night, which made her angry too.