Sale: “The Book of How to Live”

Michael Matheson has made a few announcements regarding Start a Revolution: QUILTBAG Fiction Vying for Change. This anthology was originally supposed to come out from Exile Editions, a Canadian publisher; it will instead become a crowdfunded anthology later in the year.

The new version of the anthology features my novelette, “The Book of How to Live.” I originally wrote it for this call, but at over 11k, it ended up being too long for the market, as Michael was only able to accept a limited amount of material from non-Canadians. When Michael went indie, he asked for the story back. It will be in very good company; I am especialy glad to see Amal El-Mohtar’s “To Follow the Waves” and Bogi Takács’s “This Shall Serve as a Demarcation” in this lineup. I love both stories fiercely.

“The Book of How to Live” is a Birdverse novelette set in northeastern country of Laina, and it is told by two queer women: Efronia Lukano, a peasant inventor who traveled on foot from the northern edges of Laina to study at the university, and Atarah-nai-Rinah, a Khana inventor who lives in the city. It is a story of academic and societal exclusion, finding one’s own community, nascent revolutions. It is the first story I’ve sold which is an explicit critique of Western-style academic establishments, but it is most certainly not the last.

I am happy with this for sale for multiple reasons, not least of them is the fact that I’ve sold three Birdverse novelettes in the span of two months, to appear in 2015. All of those pieces are queer (Birdverse is very queer), and all three of them feature autistic protagonists. “The Book of How to Live” has Efronia, an Aspie; “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” has Kimi, a minimally verbal autistic child; and finally, “Geometries of Belonging” features Dedéi, a nonbinary teen with speech and motor difficulties.

I am very happy that my Birdverse work is gaining traction. I hope you too will love these stories and these people and their world. I am most certainly working on more; there’s no end to these stories.

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Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues, and has been a finalist for the Nebula, Tiptree, Elgin, Rhysling, and Crawford awards.

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