other people’s words: 2

An ongoing effort, each Monday, to point you to stuff old and new to read around the web. Mostly I’m focusing on highlighting sf/f/h fiction online, but I reserve the right to mix it up at anytime!

Today I’m linking to a back issue of Clarkesworld and a story by Nnedi Okorafor that I find interesting, in part, because it’s uniquely suited for the web: From the Lost Diary of TreeFrog7 is the report of a field worker on an alien planet that uses audio files and mouse-over text with the names of flora and fauna for their field guide entries. Now, the mouse-over stuff could arguably be replaced by footnotes on paper, but the audio files, of course, could not. You don’t need any of those things to make the story work but they definitely enhance the futuristic field worker feel of it.

I remember in the early days of the web there was a lot of talk about hypertext and how fiction could really make use of new possibilities, but by and large that hasn’t happened. I’m not really sure why, except to say that in my own case at least, I’m kind of a traditionalist when it comes to fiction; I generally like to just read stories that are well-told, whether the format’s paper or electronic.

But sometimes, when I teach composition, I assign this story as an extra credit because I want students to know fiction isn’t just decades-old stories in their textbook, that short genre fiction in particular is thriving online, and that short stories can potentially use this method of delivery in innovative ways.

Also, the story just kind of haunts me. I don’t want to give anything away, so that’s all I’ll say.

And not online fiction, but an online crowdfunding fiction thing: Canadian writer and editor Michael Kelly is putting together a second volume of ghost stories Apparitions II. Your money will go toward paying professional rates to the writers, artist, and designer. And just check out this lineup thus far: Glen Hirshberg, Kathe Koja, John Langan, Sarah Langan, Mark Morris, Reggie Oliver, M. Rickert, and Simon Strantzas. Apparitions II will also have an open reading period in February 2013.

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