According to the author, the story entitled "Umbrella Men" is an urban fantasy about a magical umbrella — or two — which may have been involved in some of the 20th century's pivotal moments. The issue will be on newsstands in late December.
"This was a lot of fun to write," wrote McDaid in the press release. "History always looks like conspiracy in retrospect. It gave me an opportunity to explore some big themes while telling a very personal, human story."
McDaid's story originated from a workshop he took several years ago, he said.
"Science fiction writer Terry Bisson taught a workshop at the New School for Social Research in 1994, and one of his writing prompts was, 'a story in which giving someone an umbrella leads to world peace.' It made me wonder what kind of umbrella that would have to be," he wrote.
The Portsmouth writer also went beyond just constructing the magazine story. He created an online, fictional blog, thedarkumbrella.com, which is written from the point of view of one of the story's characters.
McDaid is an award-winning author, receiving the Theodore Sturgeon Award for his 1995 debut story, "Jigoku no mokushiroku," which appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction. His 2005 story, "Keyboard Practice," which also appeared in F&SF, won the Media Ecology Association's Mary Shelley Award.
His hypertext novel, "Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse" (Eastgate Systems, 1992), was reviewed in the New York Times. In addition to his fiction writing, McDaid is a citizen journalist who covers Portsmouth at his hyperlocal site, harddeadlines.com.