I write fiction. Mostly short stories. Sometimes novellas. My fictions are less drama and more thought experiment (at best), propaganda (maybe), or anecdotal (at worst). My characters are vehicles of unveiled message to the constant consternation of those that would publish my fictions. Those that do publish my work are wonderfully brave heroes and heroines. Those that challenge me to go beyond hammering subject to address the world in which the stories exist and create well-rounded characters are divine. One such editorial goddess is Elly Blue.
Elly Blue is a feminist-activist-editor-writer-cyclist, and her work inspires me: challenges me. I came to know Blue through a shared set of passions. Several years ago now, I was searching for publications that I wanted to read to inspire my own work. I love to write science fiction and magical realism about bikes, activists, and eco-warriors. I love to write these stories because I feel passionate about the subjects, but also because there is (there was) not much published in the genre. Enter Blue.
Blue wanted to do something crazy for her tenth zine. Previously, she had published
nine feminist zines in her Taking the Lane series that addresses feminist issues in bicycling subculture. For her tenth publication, she decided to see what would happen if she put out a call for fiction. Her other issues had been composed of non-fiction essays. But fiction was not enough. She wanted to get crazy, so she issued a call for a mashup of science fiction, bicycles, and outer space. To keep this story short(er), issue ten was an enormous success and has spawned subsequent science fiction bicycle themed zines that have evolved into full-length anthologies and one single author novel.
Blue is an inspiration to me. She took her passions and ran with them. She dared to fail and succeeded in creating a new subgenre of science fiction. A subgenre that fills my heart with joy. I look forward to each new anthology in this series.
Here is a list of the volumes in the Bikes in Space series (they are all awesome):
- Taking the Lane: Bikes in Space. Vol. 10. May 2013. Ed. Elly Blue. Print.
- Bikes in Space: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction. Ed. Elly Blue. Microcosm Publishing, Jan 15, 2018
- Bikes in Space 2: More feminist bicycle science fiction. Elly Blue. Microcosm Publishing, May 24, 2014
- Pedal Zombies: Thirteen Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories. Ed. Elly Blue. Microcosm Publishing, September 2015. Print.
- Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures. Elly Blue. Microcosm Publishing, August 8, 2017
While you are waiting for the publication of Biketopia and the reprint of Bikes in Space, both Bikes in Space 2 and Pedal Zombies are available. Personally, some of the best stories are in Bikes in Space 2. Here is one example: “Racing the Drones ” by Caitlin Giddings is the type of bike fiction that I enjoy reading and writing. The story follows a bike messenger while in route from pickup to drop off of small parcels that require timely delivery. I loved the story for its simple premise and for its bike-in-traffic descriptions. Sure, there is a twist at the end (which you’ll be sure to see coming), but it is a fun one. Certainly, the success of bike fiction is to motivate the reader to ride. Giddings’ story does just that. Time to ride.
Yes. It is time to ride. Find your bike. Find a good book. Go ride. Go read. Make sure that you follow your passions. If you peddle hard like Blue and her publications, you will ride far.