A new short story debuts at Tor.com on July 8, with amazing cover art by Wesley Allsbruck. “Islands Off the Coast of Capitola, 1978,” is an homage to my favorite writer Gene Wolfe, also my sixth week instructor at Clarion West. Six years ago I came across Wolfe’s masterful and creepy “Houston, 1943,” and my [re]reading of it triggered a [re][re] reading of a group of stories which always struck me as very (very) loosely a series: “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories,” (already part of its own series), “And When They Appear,” “The Boy in the Pepper Mill,” and “Houston, 1943”, each about adulthood as seen from the vantage of a kid named Tacky, or Sherby, or Tippy or Roddy.
I wrote the first version of “Islands” soon thereafter. After the draft was done I tucked it away. But I kept returning to it, nagged by the feeling that there was more here than met the eye. In time I discovered a story beneath the story, one weirdly resonant with Capitola, California, the beach town where I spent summers as a kid.
Prior knowledge of the Wolfe stories isn’t required.
“The Islands Off the Coast of Capitola, 1978” is dedicated to Gene Wolfe.
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
I’m writing the second draft of “Standard Records & Hi Fi,” a ghost/fantasy novella set in Seattle in 1988, as well as deep in its history and prehistory. “The Soul of the Bells” is an sf/mystery among the students of Leos Janacek’s master class in Brno, in 192-. A sequel, “To the Celestial Country,” exists in early draft. On the back burner is “Ismene,” (about 47,000 words ) which might be described as Rimbaud Meets Shambleau.
WHAT HAVE I BEEN READING?
Nobody’s Home by Tim PowersAngelica Lost and Found by Russell Hoban
The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson.
Vampire by Hans Heinz Ewers.
Nothing by Henry Green