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5 Short Story Collections from 2023

Five collections/anthologies of short stories that I read and loved in 2023.    Like Smoke, Like Light: Stories by Yukimi Ogawa The title of this collection is apt, for Ogawa’s stories are indeed like light or smoke: delicate, shifting things of beauty; slippery, hard to pin down or grasp, hard to capture into boxes or labels. These are strange, hybrid stories that blend fantasy, folklore, horror, and science fiction. There are wonderful monsters galore, as in “Hundred Eye,” a story about a thief with a hundred eyes on her long arms, and “Rib,” a story about a skeleton woman who helps an orphaned little boy. In “The Flying Head at the Edge of Night,” a head does indeed fly about unconscious each night and must be tracked down by its body each morning. There are misfits and outsiders of all types in these stories, including an artificial intelligence (AI) in “Nini,” who discovers a forgotten goddess in a space station. Some of these misfits are merciless, wreaking a deserved and c

Book review: He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan

  He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan is my first great read of the year. I suspect it will be among my top reads of all this year and is in fact one of my favorite reads of all time.   Although “favorite” may seem an odd choice of words here. He Who Drowned the World is dark. Almost unrelentingly dark. It’s the sequel to Parker-Chan’s thrilling She Who Became the Sun , which was also marked by darkness and cruelty as it told the story of Zhu Yuanzhang’s rise to power in a queer, gender-flipped alt-historical and lightly fantastical retelling of the founding of the Ming Dynasty. In the sequel, we follow Zhu and others as they mercilessly plot and fight for the throne. Madam Zhang, the unofficial power behind the powerful Zhang family, is seemingly Zhu’s most formidable threat. In a world where women of her status are expected to be decorative dolls, Madam Zhang takes full advantage of what power she’s allowed, making herself into the most beautiful and entrancing of dol

Short fiction recs! Oct-Nov 2023

Some stories that I read and loved, from October through November.    Fantasy “Four Words Written on My Skin” by Jenn Reese in Uncanny Magazine When the Fae stole my wife, I followed them into the dark woods to win her back.   A short but achingly sharp and lovely piece about finding what’s been lost. The Fae stole the narrator’s wife, but the narrator has been losing Jess for a long time, before the Fae ever appeared. What follows is a confrontation with the narrator’s own responsibility for that loss, for the distance that’s grown between them. And, at the end, a glimmer of hope—the decision to choose to love. Beautifully told.     “Six Versions of my Brother Found Under the Bridge,” by Eugenia Triantafyllou in Uncanny Magazine Technically it was built on top of a river that had been dredged and filled in some fifty years ago which made the ground under the bridge degraded and pretty dangerous. But rumor had it—and by rumor Olga meant Maria’s oldest cousin who had be

Award Eligibility Post for 2023

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The year is drawing to its close, and it’s that time when writers make posts about their award eligibilities for the year. I had three pieces published in 2023. I would be honored if you took a look at any of them.   Nonfiction essay “Hungry Ghosts in America, ” published in the anthology Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror , edited by Lee Murray and Angela Yuriko Smith.  This is my first published foray into the personal essay form, and in truth it was one of the hardest, most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever written. Still, I am honored to be published alongside this group of brilliant, brilliant women. Unquiet Spirits revolves around myths, monsters, and spirits of Asian culture, and the personal meaning that these spirits have for their contributors. These pieces are fearless, heartbreaking, brilliant, and moving. The final product is gorgeous, and I’m so proud to be part of this unquiet sisterhood Review from   Horror World:   “ Unquiet Spirits  is an int

New story! "Microseasons of the Dead" now out at The Future Fire

 I have a new story out today! "Microseasons of the Dead" is live at The Future Fire Magazine, on this last day of October. It's a slightly experimental, dreamy piece inspired by the microseasons of the traditional Japanese calendar, and I'm so glad it's found a good home. 

Short fiction recs! July--Sept 2023

Some short fiction that I read and loved, from July through September.    “The Sand Knows Its Way Home” by L. Chan at Reckoning Magazine He would have told them that the village of his youth was a small and perfect thing, but what is a small and perfect thing compared to the growing appetite of a nascent mega-city? That appetite was all it took for them to murder a village. This is not the story that the groups come here to listen to, not when they have the sparkling sea before them and the shining city behind.   Cheng Boon once lived in a fishing village on Semakau Island. But Singapore’s government took his village’s land to create a landfill, relocating all the village’s inhabitants to the mainland. Now Cheng Boon gives tours of his former home to students and other curious visitors. One day one of the tourists catches his eye, and Cheng Boon realizes that he has something in common with another man who has lost his home. . . A delicately lovely piece about displacement and