Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Encountering “The Whale God”

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The September 2013 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact

One of the great satisfactions of my life over the last few years has been the chance to write and publish more short fiction. I began submitting stories to Analog mostly because I thought seeing my work there would be inherently cool, and I never thought it would attract much attention. (It certainly wasn’t for the money. As I’ve mentioned before, from a financial point of view, writing short stories is a losing proposition, and Stephen King breaks down the numbers even more amusingly in the introduction to his classic collection Skeleton Crew.) Over time, though, as I began to rack up a few more sales, I noticed something funny: people began to remember who I was. In fact, I’d say that if a casual reader recognizes my name now, it’s more likely because of my short fiction than my novels, at least judging from the reaction that I’ve seen online.

This is just a roundabout way of saying that I was incredibly pleased to see my name on the cover of the September issue of Analog, which includes my novelette “The Whale God” as its lead story. You can even read an excerpt here, along with what may be the kindest thing anyone has yet said in public about my work in any medium:

Alec Nevala-Lee provides our lead story for September, and it’s just the sort of thing he’s proving to be a master of: a tale set in an atypical location, with science fiction that arrives from an unexpected direction.

That more or less sums up the kind of story I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I first started watching The X-Files. And I don’t take it for granted. Every sale still feels like a gift, and if anything, it only makes me try harder. Right now, I’m working on a new story, and the pressure is on to make it as good as I possibly can—because what I’ve discovered, much to my surprise, is that somebody might actually read it.

“The Whale God” is available now in the September 2013 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, for sale online and at bookstores and newsstands everywhere. I’ll also be writing more about the origins of the story sometime in the next few weeks.

Written by nevalalee

June 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

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