Book review: Mahimata by Rati Mehrotra

Note: This review is based on an advance review copy obtained from the author. 
Markswoman, Rati Mehtrotra’s debut novel, introduced a unique world, a post-apocalyptic fantasy-Asia that was a bewitching blend of science fiction and fantasy. In the aftermath of a distant Great War, five Orders keep peace among the numerous clans of Asiana—Orders of warriors telepathically bonded with their magical knives, which are made of a metal called kalishium left behind by a mysterious alien race. But the outlaw Kai Tau threatens Asiana’s peace; he has stolen terrible dark weapons—guns made of kalishium. Kai Tau has raised an army and means to destroy the Orders and take Asiana for himself.
The first book was a strong debut, with engaging characters and a fast-paced, twisty plot. The sequel, Mahimata, is even better.
Mehrotra carefully set up her game pieces in Markswoman. Now the game begins in earnest, and the plot flies. There are twists and turns, and revelations within revelations. There is a m…

Story reprint sale! To the anthology, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volume 4!!!

I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, “Traces of Us,” will be reprinted in The Best Science Fiction of the Year—Volume 4, edited by Neil Clarke.
Neil Clarke, the founder and editor of Clarkesworldand editor of multiple anthologies, is an absolute force in the science fiction field. I’m so honored that, of all the stories published in 2018, he chose my story as among the best. And I’m so honored and thrilled to be appearing in this volume alongside so many of writing heroes, stars like Ken Liu, Aliette de Bodard, Sofia Samatar, Lavie Tidhar, Alyssa Wong, and more.

Click on this link to see the full table of contents and links for pre-ordering. It won’t be out until July, but I just had to share this now.

December 2018 Short Fiction Recs

Toward the end of 2018, a wealth of new magazine issues and stories were released. I couldn’t possibly keep up with it all (hello, I still haven’t even looked at the December issue of Anathema yet), but here’s some of what I did read and love.
Bracken Magazine I’ve found Bracken Magazine a delight since its first issue. The latest issue features two lovely, magical stories, as well as gorgeous poetry and art.
“Garden of Grudges” by Gwendolyn Kiste
This is the story of a bitter woman whose grudges grow from the ground, tainting the harvest. And it’s the story of the children affected by her, and of what her oldest daughter must do to save them all. This story is both dreamy and sharp, magical and oh-so-real in emotional terms. Exquisitely written and painfully incisive—one of my favorite yet from this talented writer.
“Ocean” by Su-yee Lin
Another dreamy tale of a mother and daughter. The narrator hears the ocean, even though there is no ocean in the middle of Shanghai. As she seeks it ou…

New publication! "The Bone Lands" in Kaleidotrope

Happy 2019 to all! I have a new short story out for the new year, in the winter issue of Kaleidotrope. “The Bone Lands” is about a journey to an underworld, an otherworld. It’s also about love, despair, the lengths we’ll go to save each other, and how some things can only be done on our own. I hope you give it a read!

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…