The Parched Lands, my short story that was first published in 2013 in Issue 7 of Crossed Genres Magazine, is now available for free from Smashwords, as well as other ebook retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and the Apple iBook Store. Retailers besides Smashwords may take several days to index the story.
(Kindle Users: I no longer distribute on Amazon. However, you can still read my books! Buy from Smashwords, and you will be able to download the book in .mobi format. You will need to move the .mobi file to your Kindle (via USB), or you can read it via the Kindle Reader mobile or desktop apps.)
Amanthi is a teenage student in a not-so-distant future school system of hyper-testing and top-down control. In this world, creativity is a liability — but Amanthi is not deterred from dreaming. My short story, “The Parched Lands”, delves into the tangled issues of race, tracking, high-stakes testing, and creativity starvation that run through America’s public school systems.
I had the honor of serving as a panelist on four panels at Arisia 2015. I’ll be summarizing what I recall from each discussion in a series of posts.
COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey ( Mark L Amidon, Justine Graykin, Gordon Linzner (m), Marlin May, N.A. Ratnayake) Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted a successful season of “Cosmos”. Seen by many as a “remake” of Carl Sagan’s PBS show, others consider it a bold shot back from scientists at the anti-science nabobs of our day. Let’s talk about how much it has (or hasn’t) changed the discussion.
My first professional publication emerged earlier this month in Crossed Genres Magazine, Issue 7. The Parched Lands delves into the tangled issues of race, tracking, high-stakes testing, and creativity starvation that run through America’s public school systems.
When the bell rang at the end of class, Amanthi was crashing from a dopamine high. She raised her slight, brown hand as her thin body shook, and when her arm brushed against her long, black hair she felt the slick dampness of sweat.
Mr. Daveys was moving around the classroom helping students disconnect from their desks, congratulating or reprimanding as appropriate based on measured performance for the day.
Amanthi could feel that something was wrong, but found herself unable to articulate any words though the shaking of her body. Kassidi, sitting next to her, looked over and noticed her wan trembling, and spoke up.
“Mr. Daveys” Kassidi said sharply. “Something’s wrong with Amanthi!” The teacher glanced up from his IV work and in a moment rushed over, fussing over Amanthi and checking her forehead. He held up a datapad and allowed its cameras to analyze her. The red eye of the infrared and the black eye of the optical glass stared at Amanthi, and she suddenly felt weak and ill.