Alien Jane

My thanks to Nisi Shawl and the Seattle Review of Books for including “Alien Jane” in an article about the ways that SFFH explores pain. It’s one of the oldest questions: what is pain, really? (I’m currently reading Phantoms in the Brain by V.S. Ramachandran which includes the idea that “Pain is an opinion on the organism’s state of health rather than a mere reflective response to injury.”).

If you’re interested, you’re welcome to read “Alien Jane” in PDF form. I’ve just DMCA’ed several websites that are publishing work without my consent, so right now the story might be hard to find on its own. I’m happy for people to read it: I just want it to be my idea, you know?

Enjoy your day.


I can only hear Noir in my head, but they are very loud there. The way I work — my way into story and character — is through mirror neurons, and so my people live large within me. To me they are utterly real.

But, sadly, not real in the “let me play you this really cool song by Noir” way: so the best I can offer is a selection of what goes through their ears when they plug into other people’s music. Think of it as a random sampler of the iPods of Noir (ouch, that sounds like something from a bad fantasy novel, but never mind).

This is a longer playlist, eight songs — two each from Duncan, Johnny, Angel and Con. You do not need to have read their story to appreciate (or not) their taste in music: but perhaps if you have enjoyed traveling with them, you’ll find some fun here.

To use the E-Phonic MP3 Player you will need Adobe Flash Player 9 or better and a Javascript enabled browser.

Duncan’s always a little dramatic: from him, you get Gotye and Nine Inch Nails, and he’s planning to send an audience right over the edge with them any day now — there won’t be a dry eye or a dry seat in the house. Johnny is the rock poet and the Holy shit, look what you can do with music guy: he likes Bowie and would walk through fire for Patti Smith. Angel is… well, he’s Angel: he’d always rather have more, and he thinks resistance is silly, hence his fondness for Cafe Tacuba and “Super Freak.” And Con loves “Bad Medicine” (although for a while he was sorry because the song made a lot of trouble for everyone), and since he saw U2 and Green Day play the Super Bowl he has dreamed, dreamed of Noir having that moment someday. Because they would kill.


Get dangerous…

Many thanks to Rich Rennicks of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville for this lovely review of Dangerous Space.

I’m grateful to everyone who has blogged about the book or left a review on amazon or on a literary social network. There is nothing better for a writer than good word of mouth. Human enthusiasm is a powerful force. I heart all of you who read books, sell them, talk and blog and podcast about them, lend them, and give them as gifts.

Which brings me to Today’s Special Dangerous Offer: a book-loving person has offered to send a copy of Dangerous Space to the first two people (anywhere in the world) who request it here in comments. I’ll get your mailing information privately — for now, just leave a comment and let me know you’d like a copy. And send a little general love vibe to the generous soul who wants to give you a brush with danger today.

And here’s a little general love from me to all of you. Thank you for letting my work into your minds and hearts. I’m very grateful to you all.

Right now the sun is shining, although the forecast was for unrelenting gray and rain all week. Microscopic buds have appeared as if by magic on the tree outside my office window. I think, I hope, that things are beginning.

“Dangerous Space” is a Nebula finalist

I’m delighted to announce that “Dangerous Space” is a finalist for the Nebula Award.

My thanks to the SFWA members who have supported the story — the approval of other writers is very special to me, and I appreciate it more than I can say. This is my third time as a Nebula finalist, and the thrill never goes away. Congratulations to all the finalists. I’m honored to be in your company.

And my special thanks to Aqueduct Press for publishing the collection and giving me the chance to tell another tale of Mars, of all my characters the one who most compels me.

The Nebula Awards will be presented the weekend of April 24-26 in Los Angeles. I hope that Nicola and I will be there — it would be lovely to meet new people and reconnect with old friends. Speculative fiction writers know how to party (grin).

I invite you to read “Dangerous Space” (in PDF format), and let me know what you think. And thanks to all of you who have let me know in the past that you enjoy my stories: this moment in the spotlight is lovely, but nothing compares to the immense pleasure I get knowing that I’ve told you a story that has touched you.

City Life

I’ve been dancing with your spam filter for some unknown reason…hopefully, this will go through, and hopefully you haven’t been copied this five times over. : D

Yours are among my few most beloved, formative books and stories, inspiring in my writing and my life. My experience of Solitaire‘s climaxes is imprinted thoroughly in my mind, and I am so grateful for it.

Is “The Hum of Human Cities” available outside of (the scarce, grr-expensive) Pulphouse 9 / are you planning to republish it? I thought it best to ask you, conveniently giving me an excuse to attack you with fan-mail. : )


Hello, Adrian, and thank you for being stubborn with the form. You’re not the first person to have trouble. I have to get a different plug-in. In the meantime, if anyone wants to start a conversation here and has trouble with the form, please feel free to email me at contact at kelleyeskridge dot com (although I don’t know why I bother to stretch the address, the spammers-boils-be-upon-them found me long ago). Please say that you are submitting a “Talk To Me” post if you use email.

Thank you so much for these kind words, I’m honored. It is always my hope as a writer to touch other human beings in some way with my work, to make a connection… it means a lot to me when someone takes the time to tell me that has happened.

“The Hum of Human Cities” is indeed available in my recent collection Dangerous Space, under its original title “City Life.” It was my first sale (wow, what a feeling that was…). Kris Rusch, the editor of Pulphouse (bows in Kris’ direction in gratitude), didn’t like the title. So I found “Hum,” and like it well enough, but I’ve never stopped thinking of the story as “City Life.” I can be pretty stubborn myself sometimes (grin). So I returned to that title for the collection.

I don’t know if you’ve read all my stories: if not, there are three free here on the site: “Strings”, “And Salome Danced“, and “Dangerous Space“.

Fan mail is never an attack. Come back anytime.

io9 reviews DS

Many thanks to Charlie Jane Anders for a lovely review of Dangerous Space at io9. I’m especially delighted that she liked “Dangerous Space” (the novella) so much. I love that story, really love it. Practically every big feeling I’ve, every piece of music that’s ever gone bone-deep into me, every ecstatic experience I’ve had is in there in some small way. Sure, I’m in all my stories, every one: but this one is special.

See for yourself. Read the story.

If you’re so inclined, please leave a comment on io9 with your response.

For the gender curious

For those who may be visiting for the first time after hearing my interview on To The Best of Our Knowledge, welcome, and thanks for listening.

I invite you to check out some of the content here that may be of particular interest to you:

You can read two stories of Mars: “And Salome Danced” (from which I read during the segment), and “Dangerous Space”.

Speculating Gender at Ambling Along the Aqueduct — a lengthy interview about gender in life and in fiction.
Reality Break podcast — a lengthy audio interview about the collection Dangerous Space, the character of Mars, my novel Solitaire and my recent experience with screenwriting.

“Identity and Desire” — the genesis of the Mars character.
“The Erotics of Gender Ambiguity” — an online discussion that took place about “And Salome Danced” and the gender ambiguity of Mars.

And just because I think it’s cool
This story vid created by Karina in response to the story “Strings” (which is included in my collection and which you can read here).

Thanks for stopping by.

Dangerous Space is here

Here is the novella “Dangerous Space,” in PDF format as it appears in the collection.

Please feel free to share it or point people to the link here. You absolutely positively may not republish it on your own site, print it in your anthology, or use it in any way that makes money for you. If you want to do any of that, play nicely and ask my permission.

“Dangerous Space” is about music and love and sex, and the relationship between artist and art, and what happens when we let ourselves and other people into the deep places within us. I am unbearably curious (practically panting) to know how other artists — particularly those who live in the world of indie music — respond to the story.

Enjoy this. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

When you you are jadeando

Most spam comments are pretty straightforward (sex sex sex sex nasty sex sex!). But every once in a while they get strangely creative. So today’s medal of honor for spam comment wackness goes to:

When I have left the fine girl on heart it was very bad, even would visit thoughts on that what to leave in other world, did not know, that to me to do further without it. But I was helped by the Internet, I long wandered on it and on eyes one site which has cheered at once me up and all has got to me as that by itself has seen reason, can and still to someone will help [Kelley’s note: followed here by the url of a porn website… ]
— a spam comment recently left in my comment queue

Is it just me, or is this oddly… hypnotic? Do you glimpse, as I do, some mad story peering through the cracks in that tangled string of words? Or is it just that had I too much wine last night and not enough tea so far this morning? Hmm, that might be it…

Perhaps it is because I am a storyteller that I insist on trying to find meaning in, well, everything, even some jumbled babel fish words. Of course automated translations are pretty unsuccessful — translation and interpretation are not simple word-for-word exchanges, that’s not how language works.

I remember being absolutely gobsmacked as a child to learn that some languages didn’t have words for things we have words for in English. I had always assumed that languages all had the same number and type of words in them, but that those Other People’s words were funny-sounding and spelled weird. My native language was so engrained into me at the molecular level that I literally couldn’t understand that other languages were differently structured, used different grammar, defined the world in fundamentally different ways.

The day I finally, really got it, it felt like the top of my head turned inside out. I felt that again thirty years later, learning American Sign Language with its spatial grammar and ability to particularize classifiers to meet a variety of needs, rather than having “a sign for every English word.” We drove our teachers nuts the first year or so asking What’s the sign for crimson? What’s the sign for trapeze? What’s the sign for mansion? while the patient look glazed over their faces and they tried once again to make us understand that it’s not like English.

Language is not a vehicle. It’s not like driving on the left versus driving on the right, where the whole experience is really weird but underneath it all the cars all work the same way. It’s not like a currency exchange, where you give dollars and get back lira… we should never assume that there’s equivalency in our different languages, that everyone has some word that means the exact same thing to them that our word means to us. Language is… so much more. How fascinating to see human experience through the lenses of different languages and therefore different meanings, different shadings, different worlds…

Fortunately, Babel Fish is not the only option these days. I use a site I really enjoy,, which I like because it’s a dictionary site, not a translation site. But translations are available — it’s just that you have to dip into the forums and interact with a human being to get them. And WordReference keeps a database of phrases, etc. so that you can see how the word you’ve looked up is actually used, and you can see equivalencies rather than literal translations. It’s a wonderful window into how languages actually work, the apples and oranges of it all.

I used Babel Fish to translate one of my favorite paragraphs of “Dangerous Space” into Spanish, and then back into English.

But the night. Music. The pulls of the house with people; the air is heavy with its anticipation, its alcohol and the musk, the human atmospheric disturbances of its conversations that hit. When the technology of the guitar warms up, when fixed mics, people watches to us with a directness that it never would demonstrate in the street, as if she could raise in our lives if she watches fixedly only hardly enough. We are foreplay; we walk the stage like the models of the channel, horses of races, arrogant and kind expert and, and slightly rubbed its anticipation with each movement that we do. And when you are ready, when you you are jadeando for him, the bandage comes to you with the hands of music and it touches with heat and hope and joy to him, with all they know of being human, and is so great you cannot contain it everything: sing you it and again dance and shout them. And then they give more him. Forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards. Ecstasy.
— Babel Fish translation of “Dangerous Space”, English to Spanish to English

It has its own mad beauty in places, no? But it’s not the same. All props to the literary translators of the world, the human beings who with their skills make stories into something more than converted words, who translate meaning in meaningful ways. And to the interpreters who build bridges between us by finding ways to make meaning clear when it seems sometimes that our languages are no more than mud between us, something sticky that we cannot see through to find each other.

Reality Break podcast interview

Head on over to Reality Break and listen to my 2007 interview with my good friend Dave Slusher. Our lengthy (47 minute) conversation ranges from the power of performance to competence in characters to the origins of the story Dangerous Space… I enjoyed doing it, and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing it.

I talk in the interview about how special it was for me to put together the collection and have the chance to consider years of work in a contained way. It turns out the same thing is true for me with this interview. Dave gave me the chance to talk about things I’ve been thinking about for a while, and to string together a number of different ideas and perspectives about my work into a single conversation. Very fun for me, and illuminating in ways I didn’t expect. Kind of like writing that way (grin).

Dave, thanks so much for the chance to be part of Reality Break. It was a genuine pleasure.