Bicycles and Broomsticks – Kickstarter live now

Bicycles in a museum display

Bikes in Space is back! This is a more-or-less annual publication by Microcosm Publishing, and aside from the bicycles and the speculative fiction implied by the series title there’s always a strong feminist theme. This issue’s theme is bicycles and broomsticks.

And I am back in it. My story is called Layings Out and Lyings In, and features a couple of no-nonsense witch-midwives, one of whom is an early adopter of that marvellous invention the safety bicycle. I had a good deal of fun writing this one.

This is all, well, kicked off by a Kickstarter campaign, and backing the Kickstarter is certainly the quickest and probably the easiest way of getting hold of the book. I should also say that, the more the Kickstarter campaign raises, the more I get paid for my story – so, if you were planning to get it anyway, getting it earlier is more profitable for me.

Unfortunately international shipping is getting ever more ruinous and prohibitive, but readers outside the US can at least get the book itself posted to them, and liaise directly with the publisher to work out other add-ons. Those inside can add on all sorts of goodies (personally I’m casting an envious eye at all the Bikes in Space back issues). Either way, here’s the campaign page. Take a look.

(The bicycles in the picture are in the transport museum at Dresden, which is well worth a look if you’re ever in that neck of the woods.)


Well, you know what it’s like,
having a mother with Causes –
Or, I don’t know, maybe you don’t,
maybe you never gave up your Sundays,
stood out in the rain with a banner,
cried out in the streets for your rights –
or someone else’s –
Anyway, mine had plenty:
She was always out there,
smashing the patriarchy, putting down
the mighty from their seat,
that sort of thing. ‘Jesus,’ she said,
‘a woman’s body’s her own, her soul’s her creator’s.
Don’t you forget it.’ Or, ‘What this
country needs is revolution.
Lift up the humble.’ She thought big.
So I was surprised when, at the wedding,
she said to me, ‘They’re out of wine.
What are you going to do about it?’
‘Mother,’ I said, ‘this isn’t the time.’
Meaning, of course, that I had bigger fish to fry.
‘Jesus,’ she said, ‘there’s one thing
you haven’t yet learned about changing the world.
You begin where you are
and you use what you’ve got.’
So I did. That’s where it started.