38. Zori Server
On Zori Server you could drive a candy-colored Cadillac down a cloud into a forest of razor-leafed steel trees, then climb down a ladder into a cozy wood-paneled reading room and have your nails done by a wide-eyed robot.
Not much to say about this one. It’s a pretty standard tale of a teenager who runs into faeries – the nasty, deadly, tricksy kind – in a VR world. After all, if we can jack in, maybe other things can, too.
Song Pairing: This one is tricky, because most songs I know about VR worlds are the ominous, “technology is scary and controls you” kind. Or else they’re about online love/sex, which is fine, but is not what this story is about. Or maybe that’s just me not listening to genres that have nuance. In “Zori Server,” the VR community is mostly a positive thing, as long as you are aware of the dangers.
I guess I’m just gonna go with Star One’s “Down the Rabbit Hole,” which is vaguely Matrix-y but doesn’t mess it up with words.
40. Sage and Coco
But looking at her, even at her worst, gives me this sharp assurance, stronger than any magic I’ve ever done. Whatever good I can give her, I will.
“Sage and Coco” is a story about witches! Witches who are raising an adorable baby together and have to protect her from some sort of demon thing. I’ve been told that the witches in the story are more like real-life witches than standard urban fantasy witches. I did do research, both online and by quizzing actual witches with whom I was acquainted at the time, but I also took many artistic liberties. It’s still a work of fantasy, not realism, magical or otherwise.
I have always really enjoyed writing characters with limited speech and seeing how much meaning I can still convey. Sage, being a fairly typical toddler, gave me lots to play with in this regard.
“Sage and Coco” was published on the Kazka Press website, which appears to be defunct now. Readers should be warned that there is a sexual assault in a character’s backstory in this one, though it is not shown on the page.
Song Pairing: The song I associate with this one, thanks to the protective mommy protagonist, is Alanis Morissette’s “Guardian“.