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Short Fiction Recs! August and Sept 2018

October is here, first drizzly and gray, now bright but sharp with cold. It’s time to bundle up in sweaters, make stews and soups, and cuddle with good stories and a cup of tea. Here to keep you company are some stories I loved from late summer and the earliest fall.

Stories of darkness, healing, love, and passion

“The Last Epic Pub Crawl of the Brothers Pennyfeather” by L. Chan in The Dark
Chan is one of the most wildly inventive writers I know, and this story shows off his pyrotechnics of imagination, his poetic language and humor. . . as well as a delicacy of emotion that is all the more powerful for its restraint. Bob and Bill are the Brothers Pennyfeather, a duo of ghost hunters/exorcists who have been trained in their Work by their mother. After a job gone terribly wrong and mutual absence, the brothers reunite for one last epic pub crawl. Creepy ghosts abound at each pub they visit, and brotherly snark and banter enliven the night. But there’s something much deeper going on than a…

A Vietnamese translation of one of my stories! Promo for Lilies of Dawn! And more

My story, "The Things That We Will Never Say" was translated into Vietnamese! The translation is now out in the Vietnamese science fiction fanzine, SFVN, translated by Long Nguyen, and you can check it out here. This is perhaps one of the coolest things I've yet had happen as a writer. I can't read or understand a word of Vietnamese, but it's thrilling to know that my story is now available to readers in a different language. The layout of the magazine is just gorgeous--check it out!

In other self-promo news:
My latest story, “The House of Illusionists” in Liminal Stories, has been getting some very kind comments. It was featured in the Barnes and Noble Science Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog, and it has now also been listed on the Nebula Reading List! “The Things That We Will Never Say” is on the Nebula Reading List list this year, as well!
And finally:
The lovely writer Francesca Forrest has a new novelette out today, The Inconvenient God, published by Annorlunda Books.…

Quote: from Call Me By Your Name

"I'm not wise at all. I told you, I know nothing. I know books, and I know how to string words together--it doesn't mean I know how to speak about the things that matter most to me."

     "But you're doing it now--in a way."

     "Yes, in a way--that's how I always say things: in a way."     

     --from Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman


Book review: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife is a smart, fierce, propulsive thriller and an unsparing look into a future that seems all too real. In this book’s timeline, drought and climate change have devastated the American Southwest; Texas has basically gone to hell, and other states are waging something close to literal war over access to water from the Colorado River. The borders are shut down—state borders, that is. Nevada doesn’t want drought refugees from Arizona, Arizona doesn’t want refugees from Texas, and California (powerful and still water-rich) doesn’t want the poor from anywhere else. Borders are enforced with fences, checkpoints and state militias. The lucky rich live in enclosed “arcologies”—self-sustaining luxury towers with greenery and waterfalls, fed by recycled water and sealed off from the outside world. In this gritty, dust-blown future, the stories of three characters intersect. There’s Angel Velasquez, hired gun for the corrupt Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) …

Some promo bits: story in NewMyths "Best of" anthology and more

So, some promo news!
My latest story, "The House of Illusionists," was featured in Maria Haskins' review column on the Barnes and Noble Science Fiction and Fantasy blog! This story means so much to me. And it's a huge honor to be featured alongside such amazing writers. Check out the whole list and all the other featured stories if you can! 
And in other news… the science fiction and fantasy journal NewMyths has launched a Kickstarter to fund publication of a “Best of” anthology covering its past ten years. And my fairy tale story, “Snow’s Daughter,” has been picked for the anthology! "Snow's Daughter" was the first genre publication I ever had, and also the first paid fiction publication I ever had. Editor Scott Barnes' acceptance, and his encouraging words, meant so much to me as a beginning writer. I'm thrilled to have "Snow's Daughter" appear in this anthology. It will appear alongside work by by such wonderful writers as Beth Ca…

Book Review: Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

I read this book a while ago, yet was reminded again of it recently. There are a handful of books which I know have truly changed the way I write. This is one of them.
Jenny Zhang’s first collection brings together seven short stories, each narrated by a young girl or woman, the daughters of Chinese immigrants to America in the 1990s. The stories are linked by recurring characters; most of the families described once shared a single room in a flophouse in New York City. The parents attempt to eke out a living by doing such things as selling umbrellas on the street, delivering restaurant food, or teaching English in an underfunded inner-city school. The children are left on their own for long periods of time while the parents work, yet parental love is never in doubt. Family love is felt fiercely, often uncomfortably so. These are often uncomfortable stories: there are scenes of devastating poverty, flashbacks to the Cultural Revolution, and sexual abuse (perpetuated by troubled childr…