Short Stories I’ve Enjoyed (Pandemic Spring Edition)

Eleanna Castroianni, Who Goes Against a Waste of Waters (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

L. Chan, Sonata (Metaphorosis) — Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Rjurik Davidson, Benjamin 2037 (Tor.com)

Claire Humphrey, We Are the Flower (Podcastle)

Nicole Kornher-Stace, Getaway (Uncanny)

R. B. Lemberg, To Balance the Weight of Khalem (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Arkady Martine, A Being Together Amongst Strangers (Uncanny)

Devin Miller, Fox Red, Life Red, Teeth Like Snow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Aimee Ogden, Never a Butterfly, Nor a Moth With Moon-Painted Wings (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Emery Robin, Ambient and Isolated Effects of Fine Particulate Matter (Reckoning)

Allison Thai, Caring for Dragons and Growing a Flower (Podcastle)

Emma Törzs, High in the Clean Blue Air (Uncanny)

Fran Wilde, An Explorer’s Cartography of Already Settled Lands (Tor.com)

John Wiswell, Alien Invader or Assistive Device? (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

John Wiswell, Gender and Other Faulty Software (Fireside)

Goats and Solace

Two new things of mine for you to read today!

First up is a brand-new short story from the Decameron Project, Loosestrife. It’s got genetically engineered goats in it, and nobody is worried that a virus will kill anyone they love. We have enough of that right now. We need some goats. I wanted it to stand alone, but I fear there will be more of these goats coming. Again, this is absolutely free to everybody. If you feel like supporting the Decameron Project and are able, please do so, but we wanted these stories to be publicly available regardless of ability to pay.

Next is the first entry in a project Reckoning Magazine is doing, The Solace of Connection. The publisher of Reckoning sent past contributors questions about our creative process in the face of this global event, inviting us to share our responses with Reckoning readers, so here’s mine.

Short stories of early 2020

As always, please feel free to chime in with what you’ve enjoyed in the comments. I haven’t gotten to even close to everything, so omissions should not be taken as pointed but as opportunities.

Stephanie Burgis, Burning Bright (Daily SF)

Rebecca Campbell, Thank You For Your Patience (Reckoning)

Rae Carson, Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse (Uncanny)

L Chan, Field Reports from the Department of Monster Resettlement (PodCastle)

Aidan Doyle, The Tail of Genji (Robot Dinosaur Fiction)

Catherine George, Calling on Behalf of the Dark Lord (Translunar Travelers Lounge)

Essa Hansen, Save, Salve, Shelter (F&SF)

Innocent Chizaram Ilo, Rat and Finch Are Friends (Strange Horizons)

Alex Irvine, Chisel and Chime (F&SF)

Jennifer Mace, Upon What Soil They Fed (Syntax and Salt)

Tony Pi, These Wondrous Sweets (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Aimee Picchi, Advanced Word Problems in Portal Math (Daily SF)

C.L. Polk, St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid (Tor.com)

Waverly SM, The Last Good Time to Be Alive (Reckoning)

John Wiswell, Tucking in the Nuclear Egg (Nature Futures)

Toasted Cake Podcast presents

Some years back I had a story called Quality Control in Nature Futures–an upbeat little piece about supervillainy, mad science, and redirection.

Now it’s back in a new form! I hope you enjoy the podcast version through Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake Podcast. Tina was looking for fun and optimism, I thought this would fit the bill, and she agreed! We hope it brings you a smile too.

Decameron Project

I’m very excited about a new project I’m involved with: the Decameron Project! Maya Chhabra, Lauren Schiller, and Jo Walton put this together, and it’s an effort of many writers to have new fiction content daily while we’re going through this socially distanced time.

All the content will be free, but you can make a free-will donation to support the writers, like myself, who are offering this work–it’s the only way we get paid. I’m working on a brand-new short story that will be unique to this project (genetically engineered goats!), and I’m so heartened by the prospect of coming together, even at a distance, to make beauty and joy in hard times. I hope you enjoy the Decameron Project.

Letters from my absence

While I was out of town at ConFusion and surrounding fun, I had a story come out in Beneath Ceaseless Skies! Every Tiny Tooth and Claw (Or: Letters from the First Month of the New Directorate) is available for you to read. There’s also a podcast of it, and since it’s an epistolary story there’s not one but two readers.

I had so much fun writing this, and when I’ve read it at conventions it’s been very gratifying to hear people laugh and gasp and generally react, so I hope you enjoy it too.

Favorite short fiction of 2019

These are not sorted by anything but authorial last name. There are novellas, there are flash pieces. If you’re wondering why there’s a slight difference in formatting, the answer is that the ones I read early last year got formatted slightly differently, and I am too exhausted in the aftermath of my appendectomy + shingles to reformat everything to match each other, so as long as the link works I figured we could cope. I did try to find the places where autodefect had changed people’s names to adjectives or other charming alterations. Onward! Enjoy short fiction! I have already started compiling my 2020 list….

Morgan Al-Moor, The Beast Weeps With One Eye (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Elizabeth Bear, Deriving Life (Tor.com)

Elizabeth Bear, Erase, Erase, Erase (F&SF)

Elizabeth Bear, A Time To Reap (Uncanny)

M. E. Bronstein, Elegy of a Lanthornist (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Octavia Cade, The Feather Wall (Reckoning)

Chen Qiufan, Coming of the Light (Broken Stars)

John Chu, Beyond the El (Tor.com)

John Chu, Probabilitea (Uncanny)

Deborah Coates, Girls Who Never Stood a Chance (F&SF)

Tina Connolly, A Sharp Breath of Birds (Uncanny)

Nicky Drayden, The Rat King of Spanish Harlem (Fiyah Issue 9)

Meg Elison, Hey Alexa (Do Not Go Quietly)

Ruthanna Emrys, Cassandra Draws the Four of Cups (Strange Horizons)

Theodora Goss, The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly (Uncanny)

A. T. Greenblatt, Give the Family my Love (Clarkesworld)

Gregory Neil Harris, “The Midnight Host” (Fiyah Issue #12)

Alix E. Harrow, Do Not Look Back, My Lion (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Amanda Hollander, Madness Afoot (F&SF)

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

Rachael K. Jones, Oil Under Her Tongue (Do Not Go Quietly)

Cassandra Khaw, What We Have Chosen to Love (Do Not Go Quietly)

Jonathan Kincaid, The Ishologu (Fiyah Issue 9)

Carrie Laben, Postcards from Natalie (The Dark)

Jon Mayo, A House With a Home (Anathema)

Jo Miles, Your Guide to the Ever-Shrinking Solitude on Planet Earth (Nature)

Mimi Mondal, His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light (Tor.com)

Ada Nnadi, Tiny Bravery (Omenana)

Karen Osborne, The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power (Uncanny)

Charles Payseur, Undercurrents (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Aimee Picchi, Search History for Elspeth Adair, Age 11 (Daily Science Fiction)

Rivqa Rafael, Whom My Soul Loves (Strange Horizons)

Jenn Reese, A Mindreader’s Guide to Surviving Your First Year at the All-Girls Superhero Academy (Uncanny)

Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, This Is Not My Adventure (Uncanny)

Merc Fenn Wolfmoor writing as A. Merc Rustad, With Teeth Unmake the Sun (Lightspeed)

Nibedita Sen, Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island (Nightmare)

D. A. Xiaolin Spires, Nutrition Facts (Uncanny)

Rachel Swirsky & P.H. Lee, Compassionate Simulation (Uncanny)

Lavie Tidhar, Venus in Bloom (Clarkesworld)

Eugenia Triantafyllou, We Are Here to Be Held (Strange Horizons)

Greg van Eekhout, Big Box (Uncanny)

Nghi Vo, Boiled Bones and Black Eggs (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Ginger Weil, The Day Our Ships Came In (Daily SF)

David Wellington, “Mummy Fever” (Spirits Unwrapped)

Kathryn Weaver, Darling (Metaphorosis)

John Wiswell, The Lie Misses You (Cast of Wonders)

John Wiswell, The Tentacle and You (Nature Futures)

Fran Wilde, A Catalog of Storms (Uncanny)

Fran Wilde, The Unseen (Fireside)

Xia Jia, Goodnight Melancholy (Broken Stars)

Caroline Yoachim, Just Coffee, Every Morning (Daily Science Fiction)

Caroline Yoachim, A Wedding Gown of Autumn Leaves (Daily Science Fiction)

My year in writing review, 2019

Honestly this is a very weird one for me to write, because this year split down the middle for fairly obvious mental reasons. A major loss that changes your life will make it feel like you’ve had two very different years in one, so looking back and saying, “Really? that was this year?” Well, really, self: it was. I have really written two middle-grade novels and a novella this year, and an assortment of essays, poems (?! when did that happen?), and stories. I would give an exact count, but it’s only December 9, and the odds that I finish something else short before December 31 are fairly good, so let’s say…at least fifteen pieces of fiction shorter than a novella, as of right now.

If you said to yourself “throwing herself into work,” you would not be far wrong. But mostly it has been in a very good way, in a positive and inspired way. In a year when one of the things I wrote is my dad’s eulogy, I’m pretty proud of not just what I’ve written but the spirit I’ve written it in. I’m making myself a lot of revision work for the second half of the year and for 2020, but that’s all right too. (Even though I am also eager to write more new things. And have some clear ideas on that front.)

As for what’s been published, buckle in, it’s a list. On the fiction side, I got to continue to work with editors I have enjoyed working with very consistently before and also get familiar with a few new faces. Here’s what I was up to:

“The Thing, With Feathers,” Uncanny, Jan/Feb 2019.

“The Deepest Notes of the Harp and Drum,” Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019.

“Painting the Massive Planet,” Analog, May/June 2019.

“Wrap Me In Oceans Wide,” Strange Horizons, 17 July 2019.

“How We Know They Have Faces,” Nature, 24 July 2019.

“Purposeful,” Daily Science Fiction, October 2019.

“In the Ancestor’s New House,” Spirits Unwrapped, edited by Daniel Braum (Lethe Press).

“Filaments of Hope,” Analog, Nov/Dec 2019.

“Family Album,” Nature, 13 November 2019.

I also had fiction reprints in print and podcast format and translations into Chinese and Spanish. I appeared on podcasts. I got interviewed. I sang, I danced, I juggled. (Okay, I did not actually juggle. I sing and dance a lot. It’s a thing.) Meanwhile in nonfiction, in addition to this blog I continued to write a little more for other places, and I like it:

That Never Happened, Uncanny Issue 27 (March/April 2019).

Beyond Cinderella: Exploring Agency Through Domestic Fantasy, Tor.com, 2 May 2019.

Beware the Lifeboat, Uncanny Issue 29 (July/August 2019).

I have a couple of things coming out in January, with more beyond that, and of course a lot of what I wrote in 2019 is either on submission or being prepared for submission. There’s a lot of momentum here, is what I’m saying. And that’s a good thing.

Happy reading.