Today marks the release of Both Sides: Stories From the Border, edited by my bud, Zero Saints and Coyote Songs author Gabino Iglesias. It’s an anthology I’m proud to be in, because of the relevancy of the subject matter, but also because I’m sharing space with some incredibly talented writers.
And I’ll be honest—a part of me feels like a bit of a charlatan to be in here! Because I’m a white guy, and a born and bred New Yorker, and I know voices most suited to tell stories about true hardship and suffering often don’t get that chance in this industry.
Not to say writers can’t push themselves and tell stories that don’t align with their experience and privilege. Those stories just need to be handled with thought and care. They need to reach for those feelings that are universal—in the story I wrote, about being a dad, and the feeling that I’d do anything to protect my daughter, and the fear and frustration I feel at the kind of people who call themselves patriots but, in reality, act against everything America is supposed to stand for.
“The Other Foot” was also supposed to be a prequel of sorts to my next novel, which imagined a world where solar flares had wiped out the planet’s power grids. Fun fact: It’s a very real thing that could happen, and we are not prepared for it! I did a ton of research on how long it would take the US to get its grids working again if they were completely fried, and the answers ranged from maybe ten years to… possibly never.
Another fun fact: Mexico’s power grid isn’t as sophisticated as the grid in the US. Plus, there’s less rocky ground, so all that solar energy would dissipate into the soil. So they would take less damage, and could be repaired much quicker. To think of a world where suddenly Americans were the ones fleeing to Mexico… that struck me as interesting.
That book has been back-burnered (you can read about what went wrong here and how I pivoted to time travel here). And this was more of a side-adventure in that universe. The book would have been set in a New York City that was operating on gaslight era technology. So, it’s a remnant of something that isn’t happening—at least not in the way I originally conceived it.
But it’s a story I’m proud of, and I’m glad that Gabino found it worthy to make the cut, sitting alongside Isaac Kirkman, Shannon Kirk, Alex Segura, Nicolás Obregón, J. Todd Scott, Christopher David Rosales, Daniel A. Olivas, Cynthia Pelayo, Johnny Shaw, Rios de la Luz, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason, Nick Mamatas, and David Bowles.
I hope I did justice to both my fellow writers and to the subject matter.
Get your copy here. Buy it from an independent bookstore if you can. Support the authors in this book.