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Showing posts from December, 2018

Book Review: Next Curious Thing by Ephiny Gale

I first came across Ephiny Gale’s work last year when I read her story,
“In the Beginning, All Our Hands are Cold,” in the journal Syntax and Salt. It’s a strange and wonderful tale, about a village where children are born without hands. . . but when they’re old enough, they walk to a forest to pick out the hands that fit them just right. It’s a surreal, eerie concept, but a surprisingly warm and gentle story. It’s a story about friendship, about the paths that you choose, the paths you didn’t foresee, and the inevitable heartbreak that comes with love and life. It brims with light and love and was one of my favorite stories from 2017.
So, I was delighted to learn of Gale’s first published collection, Next Curious Thing, which was recently released by Foxgrove Press. “In the Beginning, All Our Hands are Cold” opens the collection. What follows are twenty more stories, ranging from a few pages to novelette-length, encompassing stunning horror and warming sweetness, all lit with a striki…

Short fiction recs! October and November 2018

December has flown by, Christmas is upon us, and I’m only now getting to my roundup of fiction read in October and November. Better late than never, as they say. Here are some of my favorites from the previous two months. 
Stories of horror and hope, darkness and light
Asphalt, River, Mother, Child” by Isabel Yap at Strange Horizons
The goddess Mebuyen keeps her house near the river, where the dead walk toward their final destination. But the dead are no longer moving on. They are not walking down the river. So Mebuyen takes them into her house, and tries to figure out why. . .
This is an aching story which addresses an ongoing, real-world horror. Yet even as that horror is made plain, the narrative holds compassion toward multiple characters. The victims are rendered in vivid, heartbreaking detail, but one of their murderers is also shown as human. There is an entire system at fault here, larger than any one individual. This is a beautiful and astonishing work: delicate, restrained, co…

New publication! Reprint in Passages: Best of NewMyths Anthology

Five years ago, my first paid story was published. It was also my first published story in the fantasy genre; up until then, I had danced on the margins of fantasy, writing “literary” stories that only hinted at magical realism.
Five years later, I unabashedly declare myself a genre writer. And that first fantasy story that I published so long ago is reprinted today in Passages: Best of NewMyths Anthology. This collection curates the best fiction and poetry to appear in NewMyths magazine over the last ten years. It's available in both print and e-book. I’m proud and honored to appear in these pages, alongside such writers as award-winning poet Christina Sng, novelist Beth Cato, and more.
Five years seems so long ago, and also the blink of an eye. I feel that I’ve come very far in my writing. I also thought that I would be further along; I underestimated how tough the science fiction/fantasy publishing market is. And I’m grateful for all the small successes I’ve had. That first publi…

Thanksgiving--Road trip to Pennsylvania

We drove 600 miles to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. Eastward across Michigan, down through the northern edge of Ohio, past Pittsburgh and into central Pennsylvania. All the miles rolling past the car window. The dry fields of late autumn, tinged now and then with snow. Bare-limbed trees, and then groups of trees still clothed in warm, russet browns. All the rivers we crossed. Fog over the rivers. All the spaces of the Midwest. This is what I love being reminded of: all the bare space in America, the cities just isolated islands of population in a vast sea of fields and rivers and interconnecting highways.
Then fields giving way to rolling, russet-clad hills. Pennsylvania—what I’ve seen of it--is beautiful.
Travel is broadening, they say, and how is it that only on this trip did I learn that Pennsylvanians put French fries in their sandwiches? It’s a Pittsburgh thing, my sister explained. And I learned that gas stations in Pennsylvania are known for their food; the Tu…