Short stories I’ve enjoyed: the end of 2017

This is not my year-end post! This is just the stuff I read and liked toward the end of the year. Year-end is still coming! Brace yourselves, kids. There’s…a lot. It’s been a good time to read short fiction.

The Old Woman Who Hands You An Apple, Betsy Aoki, Uncanny
“Lanny Boykin Rises Up Singing,” Jess Barber, Reckoning 2
The Atomic Hallows and the Body of Science, Octavia Cade, Shimmer
And the Village Breathes, Emily Cataneo, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
“The Bull Who Bars the Gate to Heaven,” Zella Christensen, Reckoning 2
Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work, Tina Connolly, Uncanny
The Lies I’ve Told to Keep You Safe, Matt Dovey, Daily Science Fiction
“Rumplestiltskin,” Jane Elliott, Reckoning 2
“Excavate,” Melody Gordon, Fiyah Issue 4
“Barbara in the Frame,” Emmalia Harrington, Fiyah Issue 4
Le Lundi de la Matraque, Claire Humphrey, Strange Horizons
“Earthspun,” Krista Hoeppner Leahy, Reckoning 2
“The Last Exorcist,” Danny Lore, Fiyah Issue 3
Ruin Marble, Arkady Martine, Mithila Review
Flare, Kathryn McMahon, Ellipsis
Making Us Monsters, Sam J. Miller and Lara Elena Donnelly, Uncanny
The Water and the World, Premee Mohamed, Mythic Delirium
Learning to See Dragons, Sarah Monette
National Geographic on Assignment: the Unicorn Enclosure, Sarah Monette, PodCastle
Stealing Tales, Mari Ness, Daily Science Fiction
The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, Finbarr O’Reilly, Clarkesworld
“Riley and Robot,” Arnica Ross, Fiyah Issue 4
Elemental Love, Rachel Swirsky, Uncanny
A Lovesong from Frankenstein’s Monster, Ali Trotta, Uncanny
“Fourth-Dimensional Tessellations of the American College Graduate,” Marie Vibbert, Reckoning 2
Twelve Pictures from a Second World War, Nghi Vo, Strange Horizons
The First Stop is Always the Last, John Wiswell, Flash Fiction Online
“Cracks,” Xen, Fiyah Issue 3
Texts from the Ghost War, Alex Yuschik, Escape Pod

my writing in 2017

One of the things that is sort of perpetually on my list and never makes the top of my list is having my website redone. It would be nice to have my bibliography searchable by various factors–genre, subgenre, story series, etc. At the moment, I put stories on it by when I sell them, I put the links in when they go live, et voila.

Not optimally convenient for anyone, including me. I know. And at some point I will Fix This, or more likely pay a professional to Have It Fixed. Today is not that day. So today I am sorting through, and I am reminded that some things take time to see the light of day, or some things get reprinted later. Which is cool.

So here’s the new fiction I had out in 2017:

“Drifting Like Leaves, Falling Like Acorns,” Analog, Jan/Feb 2017.
The Psittaculturist’s Lesson, Daily SF, January 2017.
Out of the Woods, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2017.
The Hand of Loki, New Myths, March 2017.
Running Safety Tips for Humans, Nature, April 2017.
Vervain, Grasshopper, Sun, Daily SF, April 2017.
“Vulture’s Nest,” Analog, May/June 2017.
“An Unearned Death,” F&SF, July/August 2017.
Across Pack Ice, a Fire, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, August 2017.
Planet of the Five Rings, Nature, September 2017.
The Influence of the Iron Range, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, October 2017.
I Won at NaSuHeMo!, Daily SF, November 2017.
“The Shale Giants,” Reckoning 2, December 2017.

Blue Ribbon was reprinted in Lightspeed in September, which was great, because its previous publications were both print and therefore harder to get to. Yay reprint.

I also wrote an essay for the People With Disabilities Destroy SF project, Malfunctioning Space Stations. That’ll appear in the final version as well, but it was part of the Kickstarter.

My essay How Far Are We From Minneapolis? wasn’t reprinted per se, but the way Reckoning works, its initial printing is in ebook form at the end of one year, and the online form goes up in the next year. So you may not have had a chance to see it until this year; there it is.

I’m seeing ten short story sales for the year (although hey, if anyone wants to add to that…). Ten new stories written (again, that number may go up in the next week, although I am weak and exhausted in the aftermath of a cold, so I’m not pushing it hard) and a lot of revision and a large chunk of novel. I think one of the things that becomes clear the longer I go is that raw word count, sheer numbers, are not the best measure of what kind of year it’s been.

A few weeks ago I took inventory of what I had half-done, and I discovered that I had a huge pile of short stories mostly finished. Like, when I listed them longhand in beautiful ink, most of a page. That was satisfying in a sensory way, and it helped me get organized–I finished three in two weeks. But it also pointed out how choppy this year has been for me. How it has been structured to break up flow almost as well as if it had been designed that way. Which gives me some ideas about a way forward, because–I like those stories. I don’t want them to languish half-finished, three-quarters finished. I think it’s important to my process and to my anxious-trending brain not to get into a mode where I’m writing down a to-do list where I have to finish every last story I start the minute I start it, where every life event that might interrupt something requires an immediate return to exactly what I was doing before regardless of what has inspired me since. But it’s worth noticing, it’s worth trying to work around.

So…chaotic year. Rough seas this year. And yet quite a lot out of the turmoil. Quite a lot indeed, and more to come. There are a lot of cliches about creative energy coming from turmoil, but that takes a seriously non-trivial energy input. How much I’ve been able to do that this year has varied a lot. I keep fighting for it. I will keep fighting for it.

I’ll have more to say about other people’s fiction I’ve enjoyed in 2017 closer to the actual end of the year, because I spend the end of the year traveling and there’s a lot of reading I still want to get through. So stay tuned. But this is more or less the year I’ve had, and I’m good with it, under the various circumstances.

Another bit of progress to reckon with

This week’s writing-publishing news that has already gone on the more rapid social media is that I sold a story, “The Shale Giants,” to Reckoning for their second issue, which will be coming out soon in ebook form, then more slowly as linkable stories and in a print copy. I loved their first issue, and I’m really excited to be part of their second.

I Won at NaSuHeMo!

I have a new story up at Daily Science Fiction today: I Won at NaSuHeMo! So if you’re doing NaNoWriMo and want a quick break from it–or if you just like short superhero stories–go on over and give it a read.

Seriously, whatever goals you’re pursuing this month, all the best to you and please be kind to yourself in the pursuit.

And go read my story.

Electoral faery fantasy

I have a new story out today in Beneath Ceaseless Skies: The Influence of the Iron Range. For those of you who went to Readercon, it’s the story I read half of at my solo reading there–so this is your chance to find out how it all ends after the stunning cliffhanger I left you on! Even if you didn’t–go, read, enjoy!

My editor, Scott, thought it was particularly satisfying to run this story just before elections in the US. I agree. In my district we “only” have school board elections–but after listening to the candidates’ forum, I have very strong opinions on those school board candidates. If you’re eligible to vote and able to get there, please remember to do so! November 7 if Election Day for most US districts–please check to see if there are local issues on your ballot even if you haven’t heard of anything larger scale. Local issues matter! Your vote makes a huge difference at the local level! Okay, back to your regularly scheduled storytime.

Stories. Liked by me. Recentlyish. Like ya do.

You know how this goes by now: I make no pretense of comprehensive reading, even of the magazines for which I’ve linked a story. This is some stuff I’ve read and liked. If there’s something you’ve enjoyed lately, please feel free–encouraged, in fact–to link to it in the comments. This is just a roundup of stories (and maybe a poem) I thought well of. Yay! If you thought well of some stories (and maybe a poem or two) since last time I did this, by all means please share.

Feeding Mr. Whiskers, by Dawn Bonanno (Fireside)

Dire Wolf, by Michael J. DeLuca (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Man-Size, by Gwynne Garfinkle (The Sockdolager)

The Last Cheng Beng Gift, by Jaymee Goh (Lightspeed)

We Came Here to Make Friends, by Martha Hood (The Sockdolager)

If a Bird Can Be a Ghost, by Allison Mills (Apex)

And Sneer of Cold Command, by Premee Mohamed (The Sockdolager)

Plain Jane Learns to Knit Wormholes, by Wendy Nikel (Flash Fiction Online)

Birth, Place, by Brandon O’Brien (Uncanny)

Stories We Carry on the Back of the Night, by Jasper Sanchez (Mithila Review)

Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny)

You Can Adapt to Anything, by John Wiswell (Daily Science Fiction)

Blue Ribbon

Today’s reprint has particularly good timing! Lightspeed is running a story of mine that has never been available online before, Blue Ribbon. (It previously appeared in Analog and in Year’s Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction.) Why is this good timing?

Well, for non-Americans, it’s a story to enjoy on a Tuesday, okay, sure. For most Americans, it’ll be something to ease you back into your work week after the Labor Day holiday weekend. Who could argue with that kind of timing? I hope you enjoy it!

But for those of you who are missing your State Fair now that it’s over. For those of you who were 4H kids in particular. Yes, this is my story of 4H kids in space. It’s not the perky tale of “and then I won the prize, hurray!” that that thumbnail might suggest, but I’m pretty proud of it all the same. And the day after the State Fair seems like just the right time for it to be more broadly available for the first time.