Cool news this week: I published my first short story, a sci-fi/politics thing called “We Are Ted Tuscadero For President.” You can read it or listen to Cheyenne Wright’s awesome reading of it over at Escape Pod.
Here’s the intro, and then I have a few notes about the story.
My name is Ted Tuscadero. And I want to be your President.
I say that with a humble heart. I realize that even after eight stellar years in the Senate, some of you are still getting to know me. And I’ll admit, I am not perfect. The other day, when I told a VFW in Littleton I would blast Iran to glass, and at the same exact time I swore off the war at a town hall in Concord? My bad. Or the time that three of me showed up for the big debate in Manchester, and we got in a fistfight over who was going on the air? Yeah, the chattering classes had a few laughs over that one.
And that little incident before the holidays, when I crashed, as lit as a Christmas tree, into a pole and my car exploded, killing me instantly and taking a mailbox, a transformer and a barn cat with me? It looked bad, I know. But that proxy was on the fritz. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. And the more we talk, the better you get to know me, the more you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve been working on the story since last fall, and was pretty far over the moon to sell it to somebody. It’s the first short story I’ve ever published, and the first I’ve written since I was 13 and wrote horrible Douglas Adams-influenced sci-fi on an electric typewriter. While I’ve had the opportunity to publish a lot of stuff in the last decade, this one’s special because, well, it’s useless. It’s not a review of some hot new thing, it’s not a news story, it’s nothing that anyone in the world needed – it’s just a piece of entertainment, and wow, someone wanted to run it.
Here are some notes and links about the story.
- I’m a political junkie and a New Hampshire resident, and the 2004 Primary season – where I got to see every Democrat running, and some of them several times – was obviously a big influence.
- You can find a great discussion of the story over at the Escape Pod forums.
- This is a hairy angler. You can probably figure out why I chose it for the name of this particular character. Kudos to the show The Blue Planet for introducing it to me.
- There really is – or was – a topless donut shop in Maine.
- Fairport is Portsmouth, NH. The windmill thing was loosely based on the new library that was built, after some heated debate, around the corner from my house on Parrott Ave. We were involved in the debate, and it taught me that local politics – the least sexy and celebrated sector of our ever-flashier democracy – can be the most important. That was a big inspiration to my idea of a guy who wants to run for President, but who ends up obsessing over one little project in one little town full of people he may never see again.
- Though I changed his name slightly, Joe the Barber is my barber. He gives me a hell of a haircut.
- One last shoutout. In a funny coincidence (or maybe it wasn’t), Escape Pod editor Mur Lafferty, the reader Cheyenne Wright, and I are all pals of former made-up games blogger Rachael Webster. In fact, that’s Wright who drew the main portraits on her site. So, shout-out to Rachael in Japan, or wherever she’s gone since then.
So yeah, read the story! Let me know what you think!