From Kazakhstan to Senegal to Hong Kong, from the 1970s to the mid-21st century, these early stories anticipate the hyperconnected transcultural world of today. Whether we see parents using medication to cure their child of being gay, scientists in Africa valuing data on malaria more than a child's life, 10-year-old boys making bombs from "match heads," or a wife in Iran tormented by the discovery that her husband smuggles alcohol, the characters in these stories believe in something. They seek to do good, even when the conditions of their lives are inscrutable, and from their many struggles emerges a map of the dangers and possibilities of the new century, which was the stuff of science fiction when these stories were written.
Experiments in Belief collects the output of a young writer on the verge of a career in video games and in the early stages of writing the multi-faced novel, γ, woven from many of the voices and ideas first seen here.
The stories are available on the Web, below, and also as a bound collection in the following formats:
Experiments in Belief
The complete text of the stories -- for free! Tips are welcome, though, and can be donated via purchasing the book or one of my novels. Books make great gifts!
Preface - A decade of the author's life in 300 words or less.
End of a Long Winter - A weary old man becomes immortal.
Match Heads - My first published story! A largely true account of how I learned to make bombs with the heads of matches when I was in fifth grade. (Foxtail, 1991)
Evil Spirits Travel in Straight Lines - Two French scientists go to Senegal to fight a resistant strain of malaria. (The Bridge, Winter 2000)
No Secrets - "Black Muslim" gang members score the ultimate drug: genetic "homologues" for inserting traits into ones offspring. But are they a trick by the CIA?
Conversations with the Noösphere - A retiree grieving for a deceased wife seeks comfort in a world dominated by knowlege machines.
A Great Burning - A descendant of the Cherokees attends his first Pow-wow.
Signs - A rave-head gets mixed up in a revolution in 21st-century Hong Kong.
Can(n)on - In which the narrator struggles with being a terrorist, a rapist, and a postmodernist. Sorry to write such a sick story.
Royal Colors - In the crazy nanotech future, a teenager tries to debug his body the night of Homecoming. (quarter-finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest, spring 1997).
Azadi - A woman in Tehran intervenes when her husband becomes a smuggler of alcohol.
Vanishing Point - Worried parents cure their lesbian daughter with a drug that alters ones sexual preference. (semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest, winter 1997).
Khodoki - Down and out in Leninsk, Kazakhstan: the life of an old technician at Russia's largest spaceport.
Incantation - In a world where intelligence can be enhanced with expensive pharmaceuticals, a boy from a poor family needs an alternative medicine to keep up with his classmates. (quarter-finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest, summer 1997)