“Coolies” – The Story Behind the Story

Elements LJ sizeBelow, dear reader, please find bonus content for Suzanne’s book: ELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction.

This series of posts provides stories-behind-the-stories for each tale in ELEMENTS.

Sitting in the 1st slot in the Table of Contents is: “Coolies”

On Spec Coolies covCoolies  is the first story in ELEMENTS, and one of my personal favourites, probably because in it, Canada  is at war with the United States. Crazy, right? Why would the little guy take on their big neighbour to the south?

And here’s the kicker: we’re winning!

I wanted to explore the idea that our two countries would be so polarized on an issue that we would take up arms. In this case, the issue is the existence of stem cell factories where organs and other body parts are grown for surgical transplantation.

Near the Alberta/Montana border, we meet Marvin, a sergeant in the Royal Canadian Regiment who leads a coolies detail–soldiers responsible for harvesting organs in the battlefield.

Since our armed forces already make so many sacrifices for our country, I thought I’d push their sacrifice one level deeper. In the few minutes after their deaths, their bodies can be used to save their wounded comrades.

Fun Fact

Jack McD StarhawkBefore I finished writing Coolies  I read the first few pages aloud at Con*Stellation a convention in Huntsville, Alabama.

The amazing and talented Jack McDevitt was in the audience.

After we all finished our readings, Jack told me he loved the story and couldn’t wait to read the rest.

His enthusiasm gave me the drive to finish Coolies  and to not give up on submitting until I sold it to OnSpec.

Elements LJ sizeELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction  is available in Canada and the USA from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Table of Contents for Elements

I’ve always enjoyed learning how authors create the stories they publish, and I’m not alone. It’s no surprise that the most popular question authors hear is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

To answer that question in my own way, I’ve added extra content here on the blog as a bonus for my readers.

Elements  contains 21 short stories — 14 reprints and 7 new to the collection.

If you click on a story title, the link will take you to extra content!

Introduction “What Becomes a Legend Most” by Sandra Kasturi

Originally appeared in On Spec, Volume 20, Number 4, #75

The Wind and the Sky
Originally appeared in Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Issue 5

Elements-5.5x8.5-100dpi-c8March of the Forgotten
New to the collection

Storm Child
Originally appeared in Cicada, Volume 9, Number 6

Courting Ice
New to the collection

Hot Furball on a Cold Morning
Originally appeared in Doorways Magazine, Issue 6

Jelly and the D-Machine
New to the collection

Everyone Needs a Couch
Originally appeared in Oceans of the Mind, Fall 2003

Waste Management
Originally appeared in Challenging Destiny, #21

Fuzzy Green Monster Number Two
Originally appeared in Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Issue 12

Destiny Lives in the Tattoo’s Needle
Originally appeared in Tesseracts Fourteen, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop
Originally appeared in Clarkesworld, Issue 68, May 2012

Tattoo Ink
Originally appeared in The Shadow Box e-Anthology, Brimstone Press

Gray Love
Originally appeared in Chimeraworld #2

The Tear Closet
Originally appeared in Tesseracts Thirteen, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Hell’s Deadline
Originally appeared in Book of Dead Things, Twilight Tales

Mod Me Down
New to the collection

The Needle’s Eye
Originally appeared in Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell, Lewd I Did Live, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

The Flower Gathering
New to the collection

Muffy and the Belfry
New to the collection

New to the collection

Book tour for Elements

Ongoing appearances for Suzanne Church and her book Elements:

What Scares You? Book Discussion on Stephen King and Other Scary Authors with speakers Lou Rera and Suzanne Church Thursday, October 29, Noon to 1:00pm
Central Branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Ring of Knowledge, main floor, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, New York

Horror Writers’ Association Reading and Q&A Thursday, October 29, 7:00pm
Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, 2 Park Drive, Stouffville, Ontario

SFContario 2015, Aurora Awards ceremony on 22, 2015
The Ramada Plaza Hotel, Toronto, Ontario

37th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts 2016, March 16 to 20, 2016
Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida

Ad Astra 2016, April 15-17, 2016
Sheraton Parkway North, Richmond Hill, Ontario

ChiSeries Reading in June

Suzanne will be reading at the monthly ChiSeries Toronto event on June 18th at the ROUND Venue (152A Augusta Ave) starting at 8:00PM.

Held on the third Wednesday of each month, the ChiSeries Toronto events are run by ChiZine Publications and take place in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

For more information about this event, visit the ChiSeries Toronto page or check out the Appearances page on this site.

Order Elements  from Amazon.ca

Elements-5.5x8.5-100dpi-c8Elements is now available at Amazon.ca

Suzanne Church is a shining new star in the Canadian science-fiction firmament. Her wonderful stories will move and delight you.

—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

Suzanne Church’s fiction is charming, dark, powerful, and stylish, sometimes all at once.

—Kij Johnson, Nebula winning author of At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories

Order Elements  from Chapters

Elements-5.5x8.5-100dpi-c8Elements  is now available at Chapters online

Suzanne Church is a bright new star on the speculative-fiction horizon. I’m very excited to see this mesmerizing collection, which shows the fabulous range of Suzanne’s talent and includes ‘The Tear Closet,’ one of my favorite stories in recent years.

—David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder as a Fine Art

Alien world after different setting, and in all of them, you are right there, up close and personal. Feeling, understanding . . .

This is not just another collection of stories! Yes, there’s an Aurora award-winner here, but every last tale in this book is a powerful glimpse of a reality very different from our own. Some of these glimpses are dark, some wry—but all of them are rides both unforgettable and worth taking.

You’ll read some of them many times. I guarantee it.

These stories grab hold tight, and hang on for dear life. And beyond.

—Ed Greenwood, New York Times bestselling creator of The Forgotten Realms®