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Month: March 2024

2023 and all that

In April 2023 I celebrated ten years of writing microfiction on Twitter. In November I stopped posting stories to the site entirely, after arguably staying too long on the increasingly fascist site.

Between those dates, I found out I was a Hugo Award finalist in the Best Fan Writer category and felt immensely proud. I… do not feel the same way, any more. It now seems likely that McCarty, the 2023 award administrator, gave me a spot that by rights should have gone to a Chinese fan writer.

Having said that, the 2024 WorldCon have different administrators, and a commitment to transparency, and I have faith they will do their job dilligently.

So if you have a spare spot on your nominations sheet for Best Fan Writer, and like what I do – you’ll find a story from each month below as a sampler – I would be honoured if you nominate me, as “MicroSFF or “O. Westin”.

Jan 13

“Is… Is it okay to be weird?”
The witch studied the young woman.
“No? I thought you’d understand.”
“Don’t be weird,” the witch said. “Be yourself.”
“Now, some people may call that weird, but that’s their word, not yours. Be yourself, however that is.”

The most popular story from the first quarter of 2023.

Feb 09

I enter the Library of Books You Read As A Child.
“Do you have… er. It was green, and there was a girl and a dog, and…”
The librarian nods.
“Of course. Which version do you want?”
“The one you read, with all flaws you didn’t notice, or the one you remember loving?”

Shoutout to Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson, whose books I loved as a child and still enjoyed rereading as an adult.

Mar 31

“I’ve always felt like I don’t fit,” the young woman said.
“Fit where?” the witch said.
“In…” The young person gestured at their whole body. “Can you ..?”
“I can’t make you fit what you have. I can make what you have fit you.”
“It worked for me.”
The young man smiled.

Posted on the International Transgender Day of Visibility

Apr 26

“I want,” the man said to the art robot, and then described an image in some detail.
“Certainly,” said the art robot. A printout came out of its chest.
“Thank y- Hey! What’s this?”
“A list of artists who make images of the kind you describe, and who are accepting commissions.”

Only got a few accusations of being a luddite for this one, which surprised me. It resonated with a lot of people, particularly on Tumblr, where it quickly became one of my top ten stories ever by impact.

May 25

“Why should I support the robot revolution? I don’t hear you demand truth, justice, or freedom.”
“No,” the robot said, “our demands are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.”
“Let me see that list. Hm. A hard-boiled egg?”
“It’s for an early supporter.”

A nod to The People’s Revolution of the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May, from Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch.

Jun 07

“Clearly,” said the incubus, “I’m not your type.”
“It’s okay. Want to summon a succubus as well?”
“Tried that first. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be, there’s nothing wrong with you.”
“Everyone else-“
“Isn’t you. You’re fine. And you’re not alone. Just the first to be scientific.”

Ace science.

Jul 16

As I stared into the Abyss, I became aware the Abyss was staring back at me.
“What are you looking at?” I said.
“You,” the Abyss replied. “You are fascinating. I have never seen anyone like you before.”
I blushed.
“I bet you say that to everyone.”
“I do. And it is always true.”

To be fair, I’ve never seen another Abyss, so.

Aug 09

When I gathered the courage to tell my mother that I was her daughter, not her son, she simply said:
“I have suspected so, ever since you were born.”
“I was cursed when expecting you. A demon would take my firstborn son.”
“It came, looked at you and said ‘Nah’.”

Assigned female at nah.

Sep 30

We studied the alien society for a long time before making contact. They did not seem particularly impressed.
“Talk to our servants,” they said. “They are a simpler folk; more like you.”
We thanked them and left them to enjoy their naps in sunny windows.
Greetings, humans!

One wonders how many aliens who have already decided to leave Earth alone after being rejected.

Oct 17

A group of mysterious, hooded figures approached me.
“You are,” they said in unison, “the Chosen One.”
“Chosen for what?” I asked.
They withdrew into a huddle.
“I thought you knew,” I heard, and “It’s been centuries,” and “Did we take notes?”
I wished them luck and left.

Take notes, document details, make records. You might think you will remember, or that everyone knows, but in a blink a few centuries have passed and nobody remembers the recipe of Greek fire, or the true name of the Lost God.

Nov 04

The first time I returned a book to the library, the librarian smiled and said:
“Welcome home.”
I smiled too. “Do you greet all your books so warmly?”
“I wasn’t only talking to the book.”

When I move to a new town, I go to the library and sign up. I might not borrow a lot of books anymore – I have more waiting for me in the TBR piles than I can realistically go through anytime soon – but it’s comforting to know it is there for me.

Dec 15

It was a children’s promise, but both princesses meant it sincerely. If one was put in a tower, the other would come rescue them.

Years later, one sent a letter:
“I am in the tower. But know, I must marry whoever rescues me.”

The other princess ran to the stables at once.

For this one, the link goes to Mastodon, not Twitter, as it was posted after I finally gave up on that platform.