Tor.com content by

Stephen Graham Jones

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Secret Wars and the Power of Persistence

Jim Shooter wrote the book that changed my life, the book that, I’m confident, landed me here. Here’s how it happened.

I’m twelve years old. We live way out in the country in West Texas, maybe fifteen miles east of Midland, an actual city—probably ninety thousand people then, thanks to the oil boom—but we’re not quite to Stanton, a little place of about three thousand. Stanton’s big compared to where we live, Greenwood. No post office, no mention on the map. Just a school and church on the same grounds, and lots of cotton fields, lots of pumpjacks, lots of pastures, and, every few miles, a house, a trailer out in the mesquite.

Every couple weeks, my mom would load me and my two little brothers up and we’d head into Midland, for groceries. It was a big event. Just shy of Midland, there was this gas station, Pecan Grove. We’d each get fifty or seventy-five cents and get to go in, buy a coke. Cokes were very rare in our lives.

One of those times—the Jim Shooter time—on the race back to the cooler for a Big Red or a Dr. Pepper, I saw something I hadn’t seen before.

Comic books.

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Amateur Archaeology: From Bone Yards to Writing Desks

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

Growing up in West Texas, I figured out pretty fast that the ranchers and farmers, they’d always have a certain part of some pasture where they would shoot the animals of theirs that needed to be put down, where they’d drag their cows and horses after they’d wondered out into the road, got hit.

I would spend hours crawling through those corpses. I had cigar boxes where I’d keep collections of all the elbow callouses I’d peeled up, that felt like shallow little stone cups. For a while I had a jar filled with what I’d convinced myself was the shiny disc that made cows’ eyes flash green in headlights.

It wasn’t biology or anything forensic that interested me. What interested me was pretending this was all much older. Pretending this was ancient.

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The Horror Story We All Know

So two guys are walking across the moors.

Yeah, you’ve heard this one.

Couple of young Americans are backpacking through Europe, and they duck in out of the cold, find themselves in the newly made quiet of a very local bar, where they get what turns out to be some pretty sage advice: beware the moon, keep clear of the moors, and, most important, stay on the road.

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What Are the Best and Worst Aspects of Cyberpunk? Authors Weigh In On Writing—and Reading—the Future

Cyberpunk. It’s about cybernetics, neuroscience, nanotech, and transhumanism—and much more than that. The upcoming anthology from Hex Publishers, Cyber World, looks at how the technological changes we all face have inspired new stories to address our fears, hopes, dreams, and desires. All this as Homo sapiens evolves—or not—into its next incarnation.

Some of the most talented science fiction writers of today contributed to Cyber World, which presents diverse tales of humanity’s tomorrow. Today six of those authors answer the question “What are the best and worst aspects of cyberpunk, as either a reader or a writer?” Read their answers and tell us your own thoughts in the comments!

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Series: Cyberpunk Week on Tor.com

Chapter Six

“Chapter Six,” by Stephen Graham Jones, is an anthropological zombie story about Crain, a grad student, who has a theory of mankind’s evolution. As he and his former professor scavenge on bone marrow left behind by the local zombie horde, he makes his well-reasoned argument.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by consulting editor Ellen Datlow.

[Read “Chapter Six,” by Stephen Graham Jones]