I’m super pleased to announce that I have hired a sub-editor! Jacinta Bowler is an established science communicator who is going to be working with the Vault to gain more experience with fiction. Thanks to your generous donations to our Patreon and Ko-Fi, I’ve been able to pull together enough funds to pay her a proper really-small-part-time sub-editor salary!!!
I’m thrilled to get the chance to work with her and continue the amazing scicomm work that the Vault has been doing in 2019. So, with no further ado, it’s time to introduce you to the whole team (all 2 of us!) behind the Story Seed Vault.
Curator & Editor
Alex Jane Massey (they/them)
Alex Massey is a writer, editor, historian, and researcher from Sydney, Australia. They currently reside there with a cat, a cat lady, and a Canadian. Their work has appeared in ADDitude Mag, Story Seed Vault, Archer Magazine, Love Letter Podcast, and Fifty Word Stories. They can be found hiding behind decorative foliage at parties or on Twitter @angry_pidgey.
Jacinta Bowler (she/her)
Jacinta Bowler is a Melbourne-based science writer and podcaster. She has written for SBS, ABC, Brisbane Times, and is currently working as a writer and fact checker at ScienceAlert. She fact-checks people at parties and drinks more tea a day than any mere mortal could handle. Find her on Twitter @jacinta_bowler.
Like what we do? Want to make sure I can pay our staff and writers so they don’t die of exposure? You can support us on Patreon, buy us a Ko-Fi, or give directly to our PayPal! We really appreciate every single cent, and it helps us in a meaningful way every day.
Did you know that the Vault has a Patreon? I’ve just given our Patron’s exclusive early access to a new blog post! This month, I’m asking if creating dystopias based on possible disaster is worth it. Could it make the reader feel like change is hopeless? Click here to read more: Is Dystopic Sci-Fi Just Suffocating Hot Air?
At this stage in our growth, the Vault finds ourselves at a point where we must plan for a sustainable future. Our costs are growing – we’re paying for over 100 stories a year and with plans to publish an anthology in the works, we need to begin thinking about income.
Currently, it costs approximately $1200AUD a year to run the Vault, and the majority of that comes from my own pocket (including our writers fees). We could add a paywall or ads to the site, but frankly – I dislike both those options. They disrupt the reader’s experience and don’t match our ethics of diverse and accessible fiction. With the new fee structure on Patreon, we’ve decided to pursue two avenues for donation.
We’ll be staying on Patreon but have set goals which reflect the cost of running the site and paying our writers. You can find us on Patreon at patreon.com/storyseedvault
If you’d prefer to make a donation directly, we’re also on Ko-Fi! We’ve put the same goals up there as well, so there is full transparency on how much the Vault needs to stay afloat. Our Ko-Fi page is linked here ko-fi.com/storyseedvault.
Every donation is a significant contribution and helps the Vault out in a noticeable way. We appreciate all support and are excited to continue making exciting diverse science fiction for a long time to come!
Editor of the Story Seed Vault
After ripples were detected in the fabric of space time, intergalactic engineers were flooded with urgent requests to design a cosmic iron.
In 2017, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory detected gravitational waves for the third time. Described as ripples in space and time, the waves were generated when two black holes collided to form a larger black hole. In this story, Alex Massey combines this discovery with the knowledge that clients can rarely resist a good pun when making research requests.
//Alex Massey @angry_pidgey lives in a house with a cat and an unshakable thought that they left the iron on. They haven’t used one in years.//
Yesterday, the President froze. Consensual telepathy used by the White House comms team is under DDoS, causing panic on the neural network.
Brain-computer interfaces have been popularised in science fiction for decades, and recently, many companies have begun to focus R&D efforts on this concept. In an interview about Neuralink Corp, Tesla founder Elon Musk described how users “would essentially engage in consensual telepathy”. In this story, Alex Massey ponders the impact of consenting to multiple message requests on the user’s brain.
//Alex Massey would like a computer in her brain, but doesn’t like the thought of anyone else controlling it. She can be found @angry_pidgey//
Two summers a year, the Perovskite Orchestra performed Vivaldi. Audiences sat entranced by solar powered instruments that played themselves.
Research teams all over the world are experimenting on a new solar cell made from perovskite. The fastest advancing solar technology to date, perovskite is exceptionally stable against air exposure, sunlight, heat, and water and could be a great candidate for solar windows. Alex Massey contemplates other uses for perovskite in this story…. what if we began to use it to power other objects… like robotic instruments?
//Alex Massey is a freelance writer and editor of the Story Seed Vault. She can be found on Twitter @angry_pidgey//
“I’m sorry” said the AI.
The doctor paused “Why?”
“You’re going to have a heart attack”
The police missed the tiny burn marks on his hand.
AI has featured in a number of science fiction stories since the genre started. Now, scientists have found that self-taught computers can perform even better than standard medical guidelines at predicting heart attacks. While this research has its limitations for practical application, it could help save more people in the future. //Alex Massey//
Elliot loaded her work interface, heartbeat racing. Defeat her Boss on NIGHTMARE mode, and she’d get her bonus. Everything was a game now.
If you’ve every played Minecraft, you’ll be familiar with NIGHTMARE mode, the level beyond difficult. Recently, computer games have been used by scientists to research animal camouflage, personalise therapy, and to reconstruct the architecture of brain cells. One researcher suggested that the knowledge generated by game culture could be used to improve individualised optimisation of workplace performance. While this is possible, the consequences of this knowledge could be quite bizarre. //Alex Massey//
Her neural link powered on as she ascended rapidly up the cliff face. Linked-in spectators gasped, their minds floating, dancing, with the rock.
Researchers at the QUT have debunked the myth that those that do extreme sports are adrenalin junkies with a death wish. Instead, it appears that they can ‘induce non-ordinary states of consciousness… at once powerful and meaningful’. BASE jumpers and climbers provided details of their lived experience, inspiring this story. //Alex Massey//