Issue #2 of Mothership Zeta is available in the wilds, and I highly recommend it for its pages of fun and feels and fabulousness!
My story, “The Android’s Prehistoric Menagerie” is now available online (free!) to read at Boing Boing. It is about an ANDROID WHO RAISES BABY DINOSAURS after the apocalypse. And there are feels involved.
(Forever gratitude to the excellent editorial skills of Sunil Patel, who helped make this even more awesome.)
This story is also about found family, and the importance of choosing your own kin.
Back in the days of tiny!Merc, before I had access to the internet, I had a small but tight-knit group of friends. We played outdoors a lot, built forts and traps and bizarre food concoctions that fortunately we were smart enough not to eat for real (mud + questionable berries =/= edible dishes). We played Star Wars and planned missions into outer space. There was a long-running conspiracy that there was a mysterious, nefarious spy who lived in the woods and was out to sabotage us.
But like everything in childhood, eventually we started to grow and change. Drifts happened. People moved. I grew one way, and friends grew in other directions.
I discovered the internet at a time when I was hopelessly confused about everything (why are bodies? what are words? why are brains horrible?). My friends were changing and going away and I couldn’t follow. Adults had these bizarre conceptions about what I should be, who I should be, what I should be doing, and none of it made sense.
Online, I found people who were more like me. (This was such a shock, and a relief!) I made friends who understood, and who liked the same things I did. I found short fiction in the SFFH fields and fell in love with the form. Most of all, I began to discover that there could be found-families, intense friends, who fulfilled the need to connect and who would respect who I was without a need for me to justify why they should.
I discovered vocabulary for who I was thanks to my online found-family.
Biology is not the be-all-end-all of family. A phrase I heard often as a young!Merc was that “you can’t decide who your parents are or what you’re born as [gender]” and that was super depressing to tiny!Merc who was confused on why not.
But you know what? YOU TOTALLY CAN CHOOSE. Maybe you can’t decide your biological origins, but you can choose your family (and your gender).
Found-family is powerful and important. It can save you.
Look at EX-702.