‘Three and A Half Things’ at England’s Future History

English / Svenska

tangent detail

Someone wanted my story! Hurrah!
This winter I’ve attempted not one, but two, sci-fi short stories. Sci-fi has never been my genre, although I like reading it. It was the science part that hindered me as I didn’t feel I knew enough. (Still don’t.) Even though it is fiction and you are allowed to break the rules, the science and theories used must at least be logical and science, I thought, was way too complicated. (Perhaps I should say, I made it too complicated.) In the words of Miriam Allen de Ford:

“Science fiction deals with improbable possibilities, fantasy with plausible impossibilities.”

Then I stumbled upon England’s Future History — and I had to try and write something. The idea is to collect short stories online, which together will create the timeline of England’s future. Awesome concept. And they wanted my story! Even more awesome, for me, anyway.

They had their first deadline back in March and my story ‘Three and a half things‘ was picked, along with the work of 2 other writers: Aviva Treger and Tom Leins. There will be three more deadlines this year and next one is on the 30th of June so if this idea tickles your fancy and you have the seed for a story or a vision about England’s future, sit down immediately: write, read, edit, and send it in.


Jag har aldrig tänkt mig att jag ska skriva science-fiction. Jag läser det gärna och sväljer alla filmer på området. Men att skriva sci-fi och göra det bra, det har känts alldeles för svårt. Sci-Fi handlar ofta om att ta osannolika möjligheter och skapa en berättelse (fantasy om att göra omöjligheter sannolika) och vilken värld man än skapar så måste det finna en inre logik och system.

Jag har aldrig satt mig in det vetenskapliga så när jag har provat skriva sci-fi har jag snabbt gett upp då det blivit alldeles för mycket research innan man kan komma igång. Men så snubblade jag över sidan England’s Future History och då de efterlyste korta berättelser kände jag att det var lika bra att prova. Och tur var väl det, för de ville ha min berättelse – hurra!

Tanken bakom deras sajt är att göra en samling online med korta noveller, 500-3000 ord långa, som alla handlar om hur England’s framtid kan se ut med fokus på det personliga planet, så mycket av det jag tyckte var krånglig med genren var inte nödvändigt att ha med. Jag chansade och skickade in en kort text om Candice i ‘Three and a Half things.

/Happy Monday!

Taking the plunge

This winter I set myself a number of deadlines. Without uni-work I finally had a little more free time — a little, mind — and decided I should try to send work out there. Into the dreaded sphere of the internet and go off the known paths, into the dark side of the map where there be monsters. And judgement.

What did I expect? A lot of things, mainly bad. I pictured returned items marked all over in red, angry emails asking me why I bothered them, and similar ridiculous and melodramatic ideas. So far none of the above have happened. I also imagined good things: ecstatic comments and helpful advice, but as I would wager many others have experienced the negative voices far outweigh the positive ones. I sent stuff out, anyhow.

So what happened?
All the things I had hoped for, actually.

It is one thing to write and write well, that is a life-long commitment. It is quite another to share what you write. (I would like to think this is true for any creative output.) After you’ve written x-amount of words whether it is fiction, poetry and so on, you want readers and your words want readers: that is what they are for.
So what I hoped for was, in essence, to write a lot and forcing myself to work toward a deadline proved extremely useful.
I also hoped to learn when to let go, to get over the fear of letting people read, get used to hearing no, and figure out just how you go about sending things out. Now, after a few nerve-racking and rewarding months, I can say that I am at least better at all of those things than I was half a year ago.

Things I had not anticipated also happened: I learned what standard ms format actually means (more complicated that I had thought) and that writing a cover-letter should be classed as an art form. I tried my hand at genres and styles I had never tried before; I have written more words than I thought possible; a flash fiction piece made it through to a second reading; a short story was accepted and published online; and, perhaps one of the most rewarding, one rejection came with a long letter offering both encouragement and advice, what more can you ask for?

At the moment I am putting short stories and deadlines on pause. I hope to spend the rest of this month devoted to the final phases of a novel that has been in progress for the past four years… My goal is to push through and finish the first draft, then print it out and stack it in a massive pile on the nearest table. Then, sometime in the future I might (with a whole lot of coffee and perhaps some wine) get off the path again and go into unknown, badly written, territory to find out if any of it is worth keeping.

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