Notes on “The Famine King”

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I have a new horror story in Mythic Delirium 3.3, “The Famine King.” You can read it online heeeere: Mythic Delirium 3.3, February Featured Story. It’s about wendigo movies, psychosis, hunger, and the cannibal world we live in. Although the story is among my most personal and complex, this blog post will not comment on its meaning(s) or try to direct reader interpretation. However, I’d like to discuss (briefly) the main character, Irene. During the story, she has a psychotic episode, and guess what! She’s not the bad guy! That’s no spoiler, by the way: it’s something that should go without saying. Unfortunately, the horror genre is not known for realistic or sympathetic portrayals of mental illness. Cough. It’s time for a change!

Final fun fact: alternate universe versions of Irene and Az (protagonists in “The Famine King”) appeared in the first story I sold, “To Sleep.” It’s a creepy flash about troubled dreams and small-town hatred. It’s inspired by the worst place I ever lived, a little town called Castleton, Vermont. Ask me about Castleton sometime. I dare you. The story is still in the Fiction 365 archives, but you can also read a copy on my blog: To Sleep

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The Famine King: art by Lee Wagner. For more of Lee’s work, visit Twitter (@archwags) or Instagram (archwags)

2016 Story Roundup!

Somehow, while writing my dissertation about phytoplankton genes, I had time to publish a few stories! BEHOLD! My precious fiction!

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  • “Né łe!” – an Apache veterinarian makes difficult decisions – and falls in love – during a puppy-tastic disaster en route to Mars. Also known as “that story with 40 Chihuahuas in space.” Published in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time, an anthology of indigenous SF/F. 4200 words.
    • Goodreads (with plenty of reviews)
    • Né łe! was mentioned in reviews of Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time by Dr. Debbie Reese, Polenth Blake, and Bogi Takács.
    • Spotlight by LGBTQ Reads
    • For award consideration requests, please contact me via email (darcielittlebadger @ gmail . com) – I recommend reading the whole anthology, though, since it’s overflowing with wonderful stories by indigenous writers.

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  • “Our Laughing Gale” – High fantasy about horrifying secrets. Winner of the Spirit’s Tincture inaugural issue flash fiction contest. Free in Spirit’s Tincture #1 (digital) About 950 words.

Little Badger Talks Pow Wows, Regalia, and Other Things That Aren’t Magic

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From left to right: my uncle, my mother, and a child version of me.

Do y’all remember when dictionary.com described a pow wow as “(among North American Indians) a ceremony, especially one accompanied by magic …”? If not, here’s an article from ICTMN that describes the incident: Dictionary.com: A Pow Wow Is An Event Where Indians Practice ‘Magic’

Look, I’ve danced at countless pow wows, been dancing since I could walk, and we aren’t doing magic. To me, they’re about family and good times. Similarly, the outfits we wear during pow wows aren’t costumes. They’re regalia.

Cloth, beads, buckskin: my mother makes all my regalia, an act of love and sacrifice. Mom has a genetic form of generalized dystonia; it sends painful spasms through her body. Her legs, her arms, her fingers. Thousands of beads on my crown, thousands of sacrifices she made for me. When I wear my regalia, I honor my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, all the women who fought, suffered, and triumphed so I could thrive.

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The glorious diatom crown! I wrote more about it here: A Mermaid’s Crown

Each time I had a growth spurt as a child, Mom made me a new jingle dress. First, I danced in blue, then turquoise, then blue, then pink, then iridescent rainbow (my personal favorite), then purple. Once I matured, Mom sewed my traditional camp dresses with ocean-themed patterns; she made me a fringed shawl lined by seashell ribbon. I wore my regalia – blue camp dress and beaded moccasins – when I graduated from Princeton. The vibrant blues hid under the black graduation robe. When the other students threw their caps into the air, I tore off my robe, as if shedding chains.

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Princeton graduation (2010). Can you find my *real* regalia? Look for blue and yellow fish. Don’t ask about the horror book. 😛 I got bored. Photo by Diana Chien, my graduation buddy!

Our regalia aren’t costumes. Our pow wows aren’t magic shows.

This December 1st, my short story, “Black, Their Regalia,” will appear in Fantasy Magazine’s POC Destroy Fantasy! In fact, it’s the cover story! Loooook! Destroy ahoy! “Black, Their Regalia” is about three Apache/Navajo metalheads who either save the world or die trying! As you’re reading (and you WILL read it, right? right?), keep in mind that the story *is* fantasy – The Plague Eater is my invention – but pow wows are *not* fantasy. I’M TALKING TO YOU, DICTIONARY.COM!!!!!

My Blue Sargasso

When my mind is unoccupied with science, it becomes troubled. O, how I yearn for the depth and quiet of the Sargasso Sea. There, I fell in love with the ocean. On a research vessel battered by the mid-Atlantic gyre, beneath constellations without names. Landbound, I’d never seen a sky from horizon to horizon. It’s a remarkable thing, this bubble around us, this little skin against oblivion.

What can I do when the oblivion finds a home within me? Dream of ginseng tea, saltines, and a blue that could swallow me if I let it.

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View from the RV Atlantic Explorer

HeliKnow Services Pamphlet

I received this in the mail!

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Maybe I should apply to HeliKnow after I graduate. Their benefits seem very cool.

((This is a piece of fiction.))