The Art of Being Human: “Seeding Trouble”

I have a short story slated to appear in a new anthology coming soon from FableCroft Publishing – their first in six years! – celebrating the connections and creativity that make us human. There is a KickStarter campaign being run for the The Art of Being Human with the primary mission of collecting pre-orders, but there are also some fabulous stretch goals as well. One of those goals will enable a general paperback release but unless that is met, this KickStarter will be your only chance to pick up a physical copy of this wonderful book. Digital editions will of course be widely available after publication.

My story, “Seeding Trouble”, is the first science fiction tale that I’ve written in I honestly can’t even remember how long. It’s also the only piece of fiction I completed in 2020. Mired deep in the pandemic, my creativity largely decided to take long service leave but the invitation to submit to this anthology enticed it come crawling back that November and I managed to write the piece a whisker before the deadline. It’s a story about the vital importance of art and creativity to the human psyche – not just our experiences of art that others create, but the ability and freedom to be creative ourselves. Even if we might not be very good at it. (Or if we’re really bad.) Even if we can’t make a career out of it. (Or any money at all.) It was interesting to imagine a near(ish) future world where late-stage capitalism and hyper-productivity reign supreme, and what resistance to that might look like.

Here’s a small extract to whet your appetite:

Nika wasn’t wrong, Mags said. Art can be beautiful and uplifting, it can serve such a purpose – but when that purpose is prescribed, when beauty is governed by boundaries, then where does it find its oxygen? Never minding that beauty is only one function of art in the first place, one of many and not even the most important. Art should also be dangerous and challenging and silly and fun.
And good, Nika interrupted. Is it allowed to actually be good?
Define good.
Oh, stop. This argument has been done to death a thousand times over. Of course we can define quality; you’re delusional if you think otherwise. Delusional or disingenuous. Art’s no different to any other sphere. Look, I don’t get to swim at the Olympics just because it so happens to be my heart’s desire.
Mags narrowed her eyes. But you do get to swim.

from “Seeding Trouble”

Bonus fun fact: the quasi-abandoned building that features in “Seeding Trouble” is the old Watswool Wool Brokers warehouse in Footscray that I used to ride past every weekday on the train to a job in Sunshine I had many years ago. I used to look at it and wonder what the insides were like and what stories it would have to tell. It became a semi-regular event space in 2019 but still hasn’t been done up very much if Google is anything to go by. It pleases me no end that I was finally able to write a story in which it could imagine itself a home.