I first drafted this story during a Codex flash contest last year. After noodling over the mechanics of a multi-dimensional multi-level marketing scheme, the story itself fell into place quickly as soon as I realized that the easiest path to success would be to simply sell to yourself, which is right where the story starts:
After Bas signed up to be a distributor for Healinair, he asked his uprift for tips on cold calling through the multiverse.
His uprift–who was also Bas, but from a parallel dimension–laughed.
“Don’t waste your time. The training materials suggest starting with friends and family, but here’s a question. Why not start with yourself? After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”
A frequent criticism of MLMs is that the market is oversaturated: There are too many sellers, and not enough buyers. If there were infinite universes, this specific problem would vanish. But a multiverse would only further obfuscate who’s really actually making money, and how many “business owners” are actually just customers.
If you’d like to learn more about MLMs, check out r/antiMLM. Bonus: My story was posted there, so I say: Write the stories you want to see picked up by the subreddits you love.
My story “Practice on a pulsefish” was just published in Nature! This story marks a lot of firsts for me: First sale to a SFWA-qualifying market, first story where I got to include author notes, first story that includes original art (and oh is it perfect).
Fair warning, it’s also pretty dark, too. If you’ve ever wanted to read about space pirates trying to rob a fisherman who’s just trying to enjoy some electric sashimi for lunch, head over to Nature. Bon appétit.
I’m not going to linger too much on a year that was, well–you lived it, you know. Below is my 2020, writing-wise.
The headline: I submitted more short fiction in 2020 than in every previous year combined. Since my first-ever submission to an NPR Three-Minute Fiction contest in 2013, I’ve had a fairly erratic submission history, including a handful of years (’13, ’14, ’18) where I only managed a single sub. While my focus has regularly been elsewhere throughout this time–novel work, work-work, etc–a lot of it came down to putting my stories aside right before a final revision, the last step before I’d consider them ready to go on sub.
Thinking back, forgoing that final revision (and effectively trunking the story) is a form of self-rejection. After all, if I don’t take the training wheels off a story, I’ll never know if it can ride unaided or not. This year I was much better about taking off the training wheels and giving my stories a good push.
On the stories drafted side, 11 is the most stories I’ve ever drafted in a single year. Of those, two were short stories, and nine were flash. Eight of them were produced for Codex contests, which provide the much-needed deadlines this ex-journalist craves. On the submissions side, of the 11 different stories I submitted, five of them were first drafted this year. I submitted to 19 different markets, 13 of which I’d never submitted to before.
I was thrilled to have “Acquisition: Earth” published in Translunar Travelers Lounge. Additionally, I just sold a story to another incredible market, and I look forward to sharing that story, too!
Now, with all of the above said, did I meet the goals I set out at the beginning of the year? Not even close! But I didn’t set submission or publication goals, so I’m quite happy with how things turned out. Shoot moon, land stars.
Other highlights from a wretched year:
Like many people, I got into baking. Primarily bagels, which I made cheerfully and ceaselessly
I backpacked across the US, sailed the Caribbean, and fought pirate crocodiles in Donkey Kong Country—all from the comfort of my own home!
Inspired by countless Inktober posts, I started drawing again after a long hiatus. I’m gearing up to do Inktober in 2021
Wishing you a safe and joyful start to what hopefully will be a better year.
I’m stoked to have a new story published in Translunar Travelers Lounge. It actually kicks off Issue 3, but you’ll do yourself a favor if you stick around and read the rest of the issue. TTL’s focus is on publishing fun stories, a welcome respite in these fun-starved times.
“Acquisition: Earth” is about an alien who’s tasked with integrating Earth into a galactic corporation. It’s a sci-fi humor story that’s a little Invader Zim, a little Office Space, and that takes less than 5 minutes to read, so hop on over to the Lounge and read it!
Since last year, I’ve been using Mario Party-inspired shorthand for tracking some of my short fiction-related writing goals. I “collect” a star every time I write a story and a coin every time I submit a story, a simple technique that works for me because my gamer brain loves gamification. Read more about it on Medium.