A fantastic Canadian online magazine focusing on speculative climate fiction yesterday published my short story, “The Wolf Boys of Wide River County.” Like a lot of my shorts lately, this started off as a writing group flash contest story. Before I wrote this story, I’d never tried to write flash using a list structure.
As you can see from the story posted up on Little Blue Marble, I still have not successfully written a list story. The story is not a list. I ended up removing all the list elements and rewriting this one as a straight narrative because the list — a pub inventory — was just getting in the way.
Regardless of my initial failure to land an experimental structure, I really love this story. It’s got a Weird West kind of vibe, it’s furry, and queer, and it’s got characters with conflicting desires that make them confront each other in different ways. Most of all, it’s about the ways that restoring a balanced ecosystem might not seem entirely balanced and how restoration requires sacrifices of all kinds.
Finally, the aesthetics of this story were heavily influenced by the work of Meike Hakkaart (Art of Maquenda). Apart from the obvious wolf people, Hakkaart’s art is inspiring to me in the way it juxtaposes sex and death impulses the combination of which, I think, are especially relevant now at the beginning of the climate emergency. Plus, her art expresses a visceral connection between human, animal, and environment that feels incredibly powerful.
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments here or on Twitter.