Ship of Smoke and Steel, by Django Wexler

Review copy provided by Tor Books. Also I’ve known Django for several years, we’ve taught a workshop together, he’s marrying a friend of mine, it’s all…like SFF generally is, there.

So. If you’ve liked Django’s MG work, and/or you’ve liked his adult work, but you thought, y’know, this stuff is just too shiny and perky for me? Good news, he is writing this YA series that makes his previous series look like the teddy bears are having their picnic. It is all Django all the time, and then more stabbing with magical blades. Also giant crabs.

If you have not read Django’s previous stuff and are not sure what sort of thing this might be: stabbing with magical blades! Giant crabs! Treachery and scheming and forbidden sources of magic! Self-propelled sentient ships of doom!

It’s not quite as dark as I’m making it out to be. (It’s pretty dark.) One of Django’s common themes that crops up here too is people finding out that they’re better than they thought they were, finding reserves of goodness either on their own or with a bit of inspiration or coaxing. Also this is a kissing book, and not all of it is meaningless and Machiavellian. (Some of it totally is, though.)

The ending is very open, so I’m anxious to see what comes next in this series.

Books read, early January

Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Reread. This is going to be a clear theme in this fortnight’s reading: I was preparing for the humor panel I was doing at ConFusion, and I didn’t want to talk about whether things did or did not hold up when I haven’t read them in [checks notes] [hides under desk]. Seriously, that long? wow. Anyway! I am very pleased with how the humor of this book arises from a surreal sense of the universe, and I am astonished at how much the recent show managed to keep the tone and basically only the tone of the book. Each is very modish, very of-its-time–but in the same way, for different times. Weird. Good.

John Appel, Jo Miles, and Mary Agner, eds., Skies of Wonder, Skies of Danger. It would probably be the most politic, when talking of an anthology filled with friends and cordial acquaintances, to say some vague nice things and move on, but honestly I think A.J. Hackwith’s “Lips of Red, Lips of Black” and Jennifer Mace’s “Thou Shalt Be Free As Mountain Winds” were the stand-out stories in this volume.

Robert Aspirin, Phule’s Company. Reread. I was mostly pleased with how this held up. Mostly. The message of “we need to all work together and share our highly varied strengths to succeed” and “underdogs go!” was still there…but in places it read like “we need all the stereotypes to work together and….” And what’s with a happy ending that’s basically “rich dude finds a loophole to get his rich family richer”? The part that has really not held up well here is “look at how much this rich guy is bypassing regs because he knows best.” Uh. We see how that goes in reality, and it’s way less funny.

Paul Bogard, The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are. This…was not the book I was looking for. I enjoyed it! You might enjoy it too! But it’s a great deal more of Paul Bogard Has Dirt-Related Emotions than In-Depth Look At Soil Science.

Aliette de Bodard, In the Vanishers’ Palace. I love the worldbuilding on this. Love it so much. Oh wow. I kind of don’t want to talk about any of it, because I want you to discover it for yourself. Eeeeee this worldbuilding eeeee yay.

Jonathan Drori, Around the World in 80 Trees. This was such a beautiful volume, visually as well as in prose content. It’s just what I needed, like the book equivalent of walking in a green cool forest.

Esi Edugyan, Washington Black. This is a beautiful wrenching historical novel about a young enslaved man who is assigned to assist his owner’s brother in scientific experiments and hot-air ballooning. I enjoyed every page of it, and there were several places where I am thrilled to announce that I had no idea where it was going next. Not science fiction but science-important fiction.

Amy L. Handy, War-Time Breads and Cakes. Kindle. Okay, so my friend Justin is a weird influence, and I will download basically anything from Gutenberg. This one is from WWI and talks a lot about stretching (but not eliminating!) yeast and flour and sugar, techniques involving potato sponges and like that. I did not come out of this wanting to do the things in it, but it’s really good as worldbuilding influence, and also quite short.

Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant. Reread. I feel like this is one of the mid-period books where Pratchett was finding his feet again. He did good things here with policing and diplomacy and race and relationships, but…not as good as he would do with those themes later. Still fun from start to finish. And it sets me up for my favorite of the grown-up books next.

Spider Robinson, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon. Reread. I am one of the people who had a lot of social associations around the Callahan books, so I really wanted this to hold up well. It did not. Hoo boy did it not. There is gratuitous racism, both explicit and implicit. The gender politics are wretched, and are specifically enumerated so that you can’t think “well but maybe he just hasn’t said that…” nope. Nope! The way that the first woman to come into Callahan’s is treated is simultaneously breathtakingly awful and really transparent as a primer for how I, as a young woman, was expected to behave in science fiction fandom. It was so upsetting. In fact, one of the general things I took from even the better stories in this volume is that this was never so much funny as it was fannish. Lots of not-particularly-clever puns and bonhomie, not so much humor structure beyond that. Sigh. Sorry, teen self.

John Schoffstall, Half-Witch. Generally quite charming, inventive, more medieval than the people trying to feign medieval fantasy by a long shot. I hate to call stuff out that is literally one tiny sub-scene, but…I felt like the sexual violence in this book was handled rather badly. But it was such a small sliver that it didn’t make the entire book not worth having. (On the other hand, it was such a small sliver that WHY.)

E.P. Thompson, Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law. I do love me some E.P. Thompson. This was more Anti-Nomianism R Us than in-depth William Blakiness, but William Blake is widely available, and I do like the infinite branches of Protestantism, at least as a field of study from a distance.

Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog. Reread. Much to my relief, I still found this entertaining. Willis skews toward farce in a direction that can be hard to pace in prose writing, but for me To Say Nothing of the Dog is still on the correct side where the “one MORE thing OMG” aspect of farce really comes through and doesn’t drag into “this is just repetitious, not funny.”

Books read, late December

Elizabeth Bear, The Chains That You Refuse. Reread. I usually have one book of short things (poems, essays, short stories) going at any given time, and this time I just needed something that would reliably not smack me in the face and would have “old friend” characters. This delivered.

Elizabeth Bear and Katherine Addison, The Cobbler’s Boy. Kindle. A murder mystery featuring crypto-Papists and a 15-year-old Christopher Marlowe. Fun times, a very fast read.

Lawrence Buell, The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Buell is fairly satisfying about Thoreau and those who came after him, and this book is particularly good in talking about American women writers who are not as discussed as Thoreau but contributed significantly to American nature writing in their time–and are available on Gutenberg, so stay tuned.

Stephanie Burgis, Snowspelled. This is a fun and light-hearted romance-mystery-fantasy in–and here is where my buttons are thoroughly pushed–a massive snowstorm. You could hardly fit more snow in this book if you used a plow to stack it up very high and let the neighbor kids sled off it. The ending is a bit less satisfying than the rest of the book–proving things is hard–but not so much so that I’m not going to immediately seek out the other published volume in the series.

Michael J. DeLuca et al, editors, Reckoning Issue 3. Kindle. The mix of stories, poetry, and essays in this issue is excellent. The types of each vary a lot (although several stories reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki’s environmental thinking; I mean that in a good way). My favorites included Octavia Cade’s “The Feather Wall” and Osahon Ize-Iyamu’s “More Sea Than Tar.” Danika Dinsmore’s poem in the editorial slot was a lovely choice for that, and Adelia MacWilliam’s “Paddling in the Sound” also struck me particularly well.

George Eliot, Adam Bede. Kindle. The prospect of reading George Eliot on the airplane appealed to me mightily, so I just picked one more or less at random. It turns out that Adam Bede was Eliot’s first novel, and there are some places in the ending where you can see her figuring out the form or…not quite getting there. The ending does not work as well as a portrait of humans as the rest of the book, for me. But the middle has some extremely solid excellent stuff about compassion and loving others around us for who they are and not who we wish they were. While I wouldn’t start here (START WITH Middlemarch!!! You could be reading Middlemarch right now!!!), I’m very glad I read it and will probably continue to while away happy hours of travel with her oeuvre.

Emiko Jean, Empress of All Seasons. This is an interesting YA fantasy with strong worldbuilding (…sort of a theme for this fortnight…). There is an aspect of it that started to be unsatisfying to me in theme/implications halfway through the book, and then just as I was getting restless about that aspect, the ending did not go where I thought it would go and all of a sudden the theme issues were entirely resolved for me into “YAY doing its OWN THING.”

Neil Kent, The Sami Peoples of the North: A Social and Cultural History. If you want a beginning book on Sami history and culture, this looks to me like a pretty solid one. If you’ve already got the basics, you probably don’t need this book to repeat them. Unlike some histories it does extend into the present day or fairly close to it, with important yoik musicians and other figures of the last few decades discussed.

Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Warrior. I sometimes do very poorly with similar titles, and so I went most of a year without noticing that the Akata W— book people were talking about was not the one I’d already read and enjoyed (Akata Witch). Enlightened, I went and got this book. It’s a lot of fun, interesting, good worldbuilding, good characterization.

Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum, A Day of Small Beginnings. This is a multigenerational novel about the ghost of a devout Jewish woman haunting three generations of a Jewish family not her own as they move from Poland to the US and then rediscover their Polish roots. It’s a beautiful example of moving writing about religion that is not attempting to proselytize. Also it’s very singular; or at least I don’t know of other books with this general shape of plot. I’m very glad I stumbled upon it.

Sherwood Smith, ed. It Happened at the Ball. Discussed elsewhere.

Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. Every time I get a Rebecca Solnit book, it moves to the head of the queue immediately. This one did not take many pages to make it clear why. Solnit’s ideas about environment, idealism, and practical consequences are broader, deeper, and more clearly expressed than the other writers I’ve been reading on those themes. Such a joy.

Tasha Suri, Empire of Sand. This is intense and vivid YA fantasy with strong worldbuilding and major upheaval in the plot in just the ways I like. Definitely looking forward to whatever Suri does with the sequel.

Molly Tanzer, Creatures of Want and Ruin. This is the sequel to a book that was very special to me, Creatures of Will and Temper. It’s the kind of sequel that allows for a large time gap and different characters, so the touchstones that were my own buttons to push have been replaced by a different set. I have every hope that this will be someone else’s very special book, and I’m always glad to see a series where someone is doing quite different things in each book.

Sara Teasdale, Rivers to the Sea. Kindle. This book of poems felt very young to me. A lot of them were about Old Love and New Love in the sorts of ways that people who haven’t loved anyone for more than about six months tend to write about, extremely breathless and full of broad pronouncements. Some of it was quite good of that type, and then there were the moments where the image part of the Imagist poetry broke free of the sweeping statements.

Lynne Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, and Michi Trota, eds., Uncanny Issue 26. Kindle. I have a story in this issue, and I make a policy of not reviewing things I have work in.

Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Ayme Sotuyo, et al, Lumberjanes: Parents’ Day. A lot of stuff that has been foreshadowed or otherwise hinted at came to fruition in this volume, featuring bunches of family members and–of course–supernatural incursions into summer camp hijinks. And friendship to the max. Can’t forget the friendship to the max.

Present Writers: Pamela Dean

This is the latest in a recurring series! For more about the series, please read the original post on Marta Randall, or subsequent posts on Dorothy Heydt, Barbara Hambly, Jane Yolen, Suzy McKee Charnas, Sherwood Smith, and Nisi Shawl. This particular post should also bear the caveat that Pamela Dean is a dear personal friend of mine–although my love of her books predates that friendship by a decade or so. (And we’ve been friends for…gosh, I need to go lie down now, that is a long time.)

I do love her books. Unusually, I can say that I love every single one of her books. My favorite has shifted over the years, with each book taking a turn. Right now I think it’s The Dubious Hills: the contained domestic nature of it, the acutely observed human relationships–including small children as full humans but not the same full humans as teenagers and adults–the way that the worldbuilding is folded into every line of the language. The first time doubt enters into the casual conversation, every single time I reread it, I get shivers at how deftly this is done. Pamela’s work is not often praised for its structure, but The Dubious Hills is structured marvelously start to finish.

It is also quietly inventive. The things Pamela thinks of are not full of bells and whistles. They are in some ways the opposite of good elevator pitch material–because they are incredibly easy to make sound less ingenious and imaginative than they are. I don’t know of another book that is more deep and more thoughtful about the powers and limitations of the protections offered by someone’s love than Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary. The coming of age story I know that is truest to my own personal coming of age is Tam Lin. And I end up pressing them into people’s hands: just try it, I whisper. Just give it a try. Because “it’s a ballad retelling” and “it’s about the devil’s science experiment with a teenage girl” don’t really cover it, not in the slightest.

The long wait for a new Pamela book is almost over, and I am so very excited, because I know some things about Going North, and I know it’s going to be amazing. And we are so very lucky that she is present and doing these things, and I can’t wait to see what next.

ConFusion schedule

Hurrah, the schedule is available! Here’s your closer look at where you can find me:

An Author’s Guide to Newsletters. Friday, 2:00, Erie. Angus Watson (M), Lawrence M. Schoen, Marissa Lingen, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Natalie Luhrs. Keeping up with the shifting landscape of social media can be a tall order for busy writers. E-mail newsletters are a simple, effective way to let your most engaged fans know where to find you and your work. Our panelists have tips on how to set up and maintain an effective newsletter.

The Trouble With Susan (and Donna and…). Saturday, 10:00, Ontario. Marissa Lingen (M), Navah Wolfe, Karen Osborne, K. Lynne O’Connor, Cat Rambo. Many beloved genre stories don’t treat their female characters well. Our genre is full of stories that punish female heroes with debasement and tragedy and unhappy endings, either implying or stating outright that the heroines with whom we identify were too ambitious for their own good. How do we reconcile our love for these stories and characters with the poison pills that come with them? Can we keep loving stories that don’t love us back?

Reading. Saturday, 11:00, Rotunda. A. Merc Rustad, Marissa Lingen, Annalee Flower Horne. I will probably be reading from the story that will have just come out in BCS that week, but who knows. There is no way to find out but to be there. (Or to ask me nicely. That…is often a way actually.)

New Trends in Post-Collapse Fiction. Saturday, 5:00, Dearborn. Marissa Lingen (M), Andrea Johnson, Michael J. DeLuca, Petra Kuppers, Anaea Lay. The prospect of a world where the march of social and technological progress has drastically reversed course seems a lot closer than it used to be. What has changed in the way we imagine post-collapse futures? How do post-collapse futures of the past and present exist in conversation with the social and political worlds in which they were written?

Writing Humor in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Saturday, 4:00, Southfield. Steve Buchheit (M), Tim Boerger, Marissa Lingen, Clif Flynt, Joe R. Lansdale. The Princess Bride is a classic of fantasy humor. What makes humor in speculative fiction work? What “funny books” really aren’t? Let’s look at American vs. British humor, which topics have aged well (or not so well!), short form vs. novels, and all the other things that make speculative humor more than pies in the face for elves.

Murder, Meanness, and Other Solutions from Deep in the Edit Mines: How to Help Fix Each Other’s Work Without Taking Over. Saturday, 8:00, Allen Park. Marissa Lingen (M), Jennifer Mace, K.A. Doore. How can we best use creative teamwork in solo projects? When your writing friends are stuck, where’s the line between helpful and pushy? Is murder really the answer to every problem–and is it sometimes helpful to have a friend come through the door of your manuscript with a gun in hand when you don’t know what to do next? (Spoiler: yes.) (Spoiler: that friend is Kai.) (This is an Armada extravaganza and by my fifth programming item of the day I expect to be at least a little goofy. Which of course Macey and Kai and I would never be otherwise….)

This has been edited since I first posted it because of times changing. I have no idea whether they will change again. If there’s something you want to see particularly, please check the schedule when you get there to make sure it’s all where and when you thought.

Stories I’ve liked in 2018

The Glow-in-the-Dark Girls, by Senaa Ahmad (Strange Horizons)

The House on the Moon, by William Alexander (Uncanny)

The Oracle and the Sea, by Megan Arkenberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Psychopomps of Central London, by Julia August (The Dark)

The Velvet Castles of the Night, by Claire Eliza Bartlett (Daily Science Fiction)

She Still Loves the Dragon, by Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny)

Mountaineering, by Leah Bobet (Strange Horizons)

The Feather Wall, by Octavia Cade (Reckoning)

To This You Cling, With Jagged Fingernails, by Beth Cato (Fireside)

The Mansion of Endless Rooms, by L. Chan (Syntax and Salt)

By the Hand That Casts It, by Stephanie Charette (Shimmer)

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, by Zen Cho (B&N SF&F)

Odontogenesis, by Nino Cipri (Fireside)

Octopus, by Martha Darr (Fiyah)

Court of Birth, Court of Strength, by Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Forest Spirits, by Michael J. DeLuca (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Bondye Bon, by Monique Desir (Fiyah)

Contingency Plans for the Apocalypse, by S. B. Divya (Uncanny)

Rapture, by Meg Elison (Shimmer)

Thunderstorm in Glasgow, July 25, 2013, by Amal El-Mohtar (Fireside)

Time, Like Water, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Rubin)

The Word of Flesh and Soul, by Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com)

Carboundum > /Dev/Null, by Annalee Flower Horne (Fireside)

The Things That We Will Never Say, by Vanessa Fogg (Daily Science Fiction)

Stet, by Sarah Gailey (Fireside)

Furious Girls, by Juliana Goodman (Fiyah)

A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies, by Alix E. Harrow (Apex)

The Guitar Hero, by Maria Haskins (Kaleidotrope)

Ten Things I Didn’t Do, by Maria Haskins (Pseudopod)

Periling Hand, by Justin Howe (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

More Sea Than Tar, by Osahon Ize-Iyamu (Reckoning)

Five Functions of Your Bionosaur, by Rachael K. Jones (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

Midnight Burritos With Zozrozir, by Rachael K. Jones (Daily Science Fiction)

When I Was Made, by Kathryn Kania (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying, by Alice Sola Kim (Tin House)

The Thing About Ghost Stories, by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny)

A House by the Sea, by P.H. Lee (Uncanny)

The Coin of Heart’s Desire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Lightspeed)

Robo-Liopleurodon!, by Darcie Little Badger (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

A Complex Filament of Light, by S. Qiouyi Lu (Anathema)

The Foodie Federation’s Dinosaur Farm, by Luo Longxiang (translated by Andy Dudak) (Clarkesworld)

A Cradle of Vines, by Jennifer Mace (Cast of Wonders)

Object-Oriented, by Arkady Martine (Fireside)

Ava Paints the Horses, by Ville Meriläinen (Cast of Wonders)

More Tomorrow, by Premee Mohamed (Automata Review)

The Thing in the Walls Wants Your Small Change, by Virginia Mohlere (Luna Station Quarterly)

The Chariots, the Horsemen, by Stephanie Malia Morris (Apex)

Cerise Sky Memories, by Wendy Nikel (Nature)

Birch Daughter, by Sara Norja (Fireside)

Blessings, by Naomi Novik (Uncanny)

drop some amens, by Brandon O’Brien (Uncanny)

Don’t Pack Hope, by Emma Osborne (Nightmare)

Even to the Teeth, by Karen Osborne (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

The Bodice, the Hem, the Woman, Death, by Karen Osborne (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

50 Ways to Leave Your Fairy Lover, by Aimee Picchi (Fireside)

I Frequently Hear Music in the Very Heart of Noise, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny)

The Court Magician, by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)

Canada Girl Vs. The Thing Inside Pluto, by Lina Rather (Flash Fiction Online)

it me, ur smol, by A. Merc Rustad

The Sweetness of Honey and Rot, by A. Merc Rustad (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Tamales in Space, and Other Phrases for the Beginning Speaker, by Gabriela Santiago (Strange Horizons)

An Aria for the Bloodlords, by Hannah Strom-Martin (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Sonya Taaffe’s די ירושה (Uncanny)

Four-Point Affective Calibration, by Bogi Takács (Lightspeed)

Spatiotemporal Discontinuity, by Bogi Takács (Uncanny)

Yard Dog, by Tade Thompson (Fiyah)

My Name Is Cybernetic Model XR389F, and I Am Beautiful, by Monica Valentinelli (Uncanny)

Dear David, by Yael van der Wouden (Long Leaf Review)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Memphis Minnie Sing the Stumps Down Good, by LaShawn M. Wanak (Fiyah)

Unplaces: An Atlas of Non-existence, by Izzy Wasserstein (Clarkesworld)

Small Things Pieced Together, by Ginger Weil (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

Abigail Dreams of Weather, by Stu West (Uncanny)

Disconnect, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny)

Ruby, Singing, by Fran Wilde (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

The Sea Never Says It Loves You, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny)

In the End, It Always Turns Out the Same, by A.C. Wise (The Dark)

Fascism and Facsimiles, by John Wiswell (Fireside)

Last batch of short fiction enjoyed from 2018

I’m going to do a comprehensive post of all my short fiction recs from 2018 later this week, but meanwhile here’s the year-end stuff.

The Glow-in-the-Dark Girls, by Senaa Ahmad (Strange Horizons)

The Feather Wall, by Octavia Cade (Reckoning 3)

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, by Zen Cho (B&N SF)

Forest Spirits, by Michael J. Deluca (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

The Word of Flesh and Soul, by Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com)

Ten Things I Didn’t Do, by Maria Haskins (Pseudopod)

More Sea Than Tar, by Osahon Ize-Iyamu (Reckoning 3)

Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying, by Alice Sola Kim (Tin House)

The Thing About Ghost Stories, by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny)

Ava Paints the Horses, by Ville Meriläinen (Cast of Wonders

Birch Daughter, by Sara Norja (Fireside)

Don’t Pack Hope, by Emma Osborne (Nightmare)

An Aria for the Bloodlords, by Hannah Strom-Martin (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

My Name Is Cybernetic Model XR389F, and I Am Beautiful, by Monica Valentinelli (Uncanny)

2018 year in review (the writing version)

Years are too big a thing for me to fit in one post, so expect the post about other people’s work later this week. This is just the stuff I published and how I feel about it.

Because the reprint of one of the print stories went live today, you have an internet copy available for you to read, hurrah! That’s Left to Take the Lead, originally in Analog and now appearing in Clarkesworld. Other Analog stories in 2018 included “The Jagged Bones of Sea-Saw Town,” “Finding Their Footing,” and “Two Point Three Children.” Of those, “Left to Take the Lead” and “Finding Their Footing” take place in the same universe, which they also share with several previous stories.

“The Jagged Bones of Sea-Saw Town” was one of the stories inspired by my 2016 trip to Sweden. Another was Objects in the Nobel Museum, 2075, which appeared in Daily Science Fiction. The stories inspired by this summer’s travel are just starting to come clear in my head, so it’ll be interesting to see where those go in the next few years.

The next cluster of stories was in Nature. They published Say It With Mastodons, Seven Point Two, and My Favorite Sentience. Usually Nature-length stories are my way of working out science fictional ideas without letting myself get sidetracked, and that was true here, but “Say It With Mastodons” was also an example of my recent musings about collaborative partnership/collaborative romance, and I’m very proud of it.

Uncanny Magazine was also a good home for my writing this year. I did more essays this year than I have in ages, and I liked doing it. Developing that nonfiction voice is definitely on my radar for next year. Work in Uncanny included the essays Hard Enough, The Seduction of Numbers, the Measure of Progress, and Malfunctioning Space Stations. They also published two of my short stories, Lines of Growth, Lines of Passage and This Will Not Happen to You.

“This Will Not Happen to You” was in their special Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue, and it was the second of my stories in 2018 that dealt with disability more directly and more personally than I’ve ever done before. The first was Flow, which found its home in Fireside Magazine. I am so grateful to them for every detail of that, for understanding that story and wanting to give it an outlet and for its beautiful commissioned illustration and all of it. “Flow” was personal. It was terrifying. And it was so very much worth doing.

What else has been going on with my writing in 2018? Well, I finished a novel whose provisional title is The Broken Compass, although I have a whole page of alternate titles in my notebook. (I’m pretty sure that’s a good title, but it remains to be seen whether it’s a good title for this book.) My astute and energetic beta readers and agent will help me continue to revise this thing, and meanwhile I’ve made a start on a new novel project as well.

I finished nine short stories–this is why I don’t write year-end posts in November, because two of those were in the last week of the year. I’ve also got several stories waiting in the wings to come out in the early months of 2019, and I’m writing more essays, as I said I would.

To tell the truth, I’m not that great at looking back on things I’ve done with pride. I’m working on that. This year has helped. But I’m much, much better at looking forward to things I’m going to learn to do better, and this year has helped with that even more. Excelsior.