Short fiction recs! June and July 2019 (also a novella and novel)

This fiction round-up is terribly late, what with a summer of traveling and family and also just plain summer laziness on my part. But here goes: short fiction that I read and loved in June and July.
Stories from The Dark Magazine
“On Highway 18” by Rebecca Campbell
I love the slow-burn that is characteristic of Campbell’s work, and this is a great example of it: a seemingly realist portrayal of adolescent friendship and restlessness on Vancouver Island in the pre-Internet era of mixed tapes and Guns ‘n Roses. But from the beginning there’s a note of disquiet, which grows slowly as the piece progresses. Petra and Jen are best friends on the island, and they spend hours driving together, hanging out in the parking lot of 7-Eleven, going to parties in the woods. But Petra is headed to college, and Jen is not, and not all friendships are forever. There are hitchhiking ghosts in this piece (or are there?), and rumors of living girls who hitchhike to untimely ends. There’s a buzz of underlyin…

Book review: Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad is a gorgeous, immersive novel, ambitious and epic in scope while also intimate in its focus on individual character lives. This is a story that spins through time--from the tale of an American missionary in old Siam to the story of political upheaval and the massacre of student activists at Thammasat University in 1976; from the present-day where a middle-class college student considers plastic surgery to get ahead in the job market to a future where most of old Bangkok has been drowned by flood waters but the rich can upload their minds into a virtual paradise. Above all, this novel of many stories is about the city of Bangkok itself—"Krungthep” as it’s called in Thai, and as it is referred to throughout the novel.
The organizing structure of this novel only slowly becomes clear. Each chapter opens with a different viewpoint character, and there are many (including a chapter told from the perspective of stray dogs and one told from t…

Notes from family vacation to the UK: A Literary Pilgrimage

It was a literary pilgrimage, of sorts.
It had been over twenty years since I last set foot in Great Britain. I was a college student back then, in Cambridge for six weeks on a summer study-abroad program. I was taking courses in poetry. I was in love with the English Romantics, and I was in England for the first time.
Twenty-five years later, I was back with my husband and children. Our daughters’ first time in Europe. We wanted to do touristy things—the Tower of London, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey (we never did get to that last, but it’s another story). We took a boat ride on the River Thames. Became familiar with the Tube. Walked through Piccadilly Circus, Soho, Chinatown, and all over until our feet hurt. We saw the great contrasts of London, the startling juxtapositions of history: the ancient walls of the Tower of London, over a thousand years old, on one side of the Thames; the glittering Shard, that thrusting skyscraper of glass, on the other side.

We saw the ravens at the …

New story! "Wings" is now out in the debut issue of Translunar Travelers Lounge

Very happy to say that I have a new story out this week! “Wings” is something of a variation on the Tam Lin myth; it’s a story of shape-shifting lovers. It’s also a story about the gift of stories and language, and of what transcends words. “Wings” appears in the debut issue of a wonderful new magazine, Translunar Travelers Lounge.  This first issue contains the work of a number of writers I admire, and of writers I don’t yet know but whom I’m looking forward to reading. Check it out if you can!

Updates: summer and Best Science Fiction of the Year anthology out now!

It’s been busy—hosting family from out of town, little cousins running shrieking through the house while their big cousins (my daughters) try to keep up. Fights and tears and laughter. Bubbles and water gun fights and Fourth of July sparklers in the driveway. A beach trip and dim sum and cakes and talking talking talking around the dining table.
In the midst of it all, this book came out: Neil Clarke’s The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 4. My story, “Traces of Us,” first published in the online magazine GigaNotoSaurus, is reprinted in this anthology. It’s an honor I never would have dreamed of.
Jeff Somers at the Barnes and Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy blog listed this anthology as one of the best science fiction and fantasy books of July 2019. He had this to say:
If you’re going to trust one editor to pick the best science fiction and fantasy stories of the year, Neil Clarke is a good bet—in addition to his shepherding of award-winning magazine Clarkesworld, he’d assembled a book…

My story, "Wild Ones," reprinted in Bracken: An Anthology From the First Five Issues

Bracken Magazine is one of my favorite magazines. The editors there select absolutely beautiful, lyrical fiction, poetry, and artwork, all “inspired by the wood and what lies in its shadows.” This is work that often breathes in the liminal space between “literary” and “speculative,” work that slips between genres. I’m absolutely thrilled that my short story, “Wild Ones,” (first published in Bracken in 2018) now appears in Bracken: An Anthology of the First Five Issues. This is a paperback collection of selected art, poetry, and fiction that embodies the Bracken aesthetic. My short story appears alongside gorgeous work from Gwendolyn Kiste, K.T. Bryski, Emily Stoddard, and more. The lovely cover art is from Jana Heidersdorf. If you can’t buy the collection, I hope you still check out the magazine! (issues are free to read online).

Short fiction recs! April and May 2019. Also 2 book recs.

Midway through June and I’m behind on my fiction reading (and writing!) as usual. Still, here is some of what I’ve read in the past few months.


Necessary Reading
Riverbed” by Omar El Akkad at Terraform (reprinted from the anthology, A People’s Future of the United States”)

In a future America ravaged by climate change and decline, Dr. Khadija Singh has returned to Riverbed, an internment camp in Billings, MO where Muslim-Americans were interned purely for their religion. Singh and her family were Sikh, not Muslim—yet that matter was overlooked in light of their complexion and appearance, and they were rounded up and held there as well. Now it’s decades later; Dr. Singh has Canadian citizenship and America is ashamed of what it did—the old internment facility now houses a museum, tours are given, and events planned for the 50th anniversary of the facility. But Dr. Singh has not come back to participate in commemoration events. She’s not in a mood for forgiveness. She’s seeki…