Showing posts from 2019

Short fiction recs! October and November 2019

It's nearly the end of December, and I'm only now writing up this post. I binge read books this fall, and read less short fiction than usual. But here's some of what I did read, and love, in October and November. Magic, beauty, gentleness, and love "The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts" by Charles Payseur in Strange Horizons Aboard the ghost ship  Nine Lives  there are the living, the dead, and a great many cats. This is a story that lives up to its name, and presents a world like none I've seen before: a weird, wild, wonderful world of ships that sail between the stars, powered by ghost-passengers and crewed by both humans and cats. It's a rollicking story of a race to ferry a dead Emperor to paradise, with wishes (wishes for anything!) as the prize. It's the story of Jourdain, a half-ghost haunted by trauma. And it's a story, ultimately, of joy and beauty, told amidst dazzling world-building. “The Boy on the Roof” by Fran

Book review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a road trip through 1920s Mexico and through Mayan myth; it's a quest-adventure, a fairy tale, and a lovely coming-of-age story. It begins in a dusty Mexican small town, where eighteen-year-old Casiopea Tun waits on her tyrannical grandfather and scrubs floors for her sneering, wealthy relatives a la Cinderella. Casiopea dreams of escape, of the glamor of the Jazz Age which is passing her by. She wants to wear short, pretty dresses like the women that she's seen in newspapers; she wants to dance the Charleston, to swim in the sea, to drive an automobile. And then escape comes to her in a way that she never expected, when she opens the chest her grandfather keeps and releases Hun-Kamé, the Mayan god of death himself. . .   What follows is a fresh and original road trip with witches, demons, sorcerers and gods—something that reminded me at times of Neal Gaiman's American Gods , but with a focus on actual indigenous myths and gods. Casiopea i

Book review: Spider Love Song and Other Stories by Nancy Au

I first came across Nancy Au’s work when I read her short story, “Odonata at Rest” in the (now sadly on-hiatus) speculative fiction journal, Liminal Stories. “Odonata at Rest” remains one of my favorite stories from that brilliant journal: a gentle, shimmering story of unexpected connections, with a delicate air of fabulism. When I found that Nancy Au’s first collection of short stories was out, I was thrilled for the chance to read it. Spider Love Song and Other Stories does not disappoint. These seventeen stories slide from realism to outright fantasy, and all points in between. They are centered primarily upon Chinese-American communities in contemporary California, and many, like “Odonata at Rest,” seem to occupy a liminal space between realism and fantasy; even when events are wholly explainable by reality, they seem outlined by the uncanny. In “How to Become Your Own Odyssey, or The Land of Indigestion,” a father eats in his sleep, cleaning out the refrigerator, eating “w

Award eligibility post for 2019

Well, it’s that time of year when writers make posts about their award eligibility for the year. I had four new stories published in 2019. I admit that “The Message” and “The Red Cloak” are particularly dear to my heart, but I’d be honored if you took a look at any of them.  “The Bone Lands”  (fantasy, 3821 words).  Kaleidotrope , January 2019. I sought you on a plain of whistling bones. I walked through towers made of giants’ femurs, and under the great curved arches of a leviathan’s ribs. A journey to the underworld. A story about what love can and cannot do. Reviewed by SFRevu: “A beautiful tale about the power of love.”  “The Message”  (science fiction, 4236 words).  The Future Fire , February 2019. They say I’m too young to remember what this country once was. They say I don’t remember that brief period of hope and freedom, which bloomed just briefly between dark ages. When it seemed like the world might actually come together to solve its problems. Whe

Book review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Allix Harrow

As one can guess from its title, The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a story about doors. Doors with a capital “D”—portals to other worlds. And although it’s a fantasy novel about physical doors that literally link worlds, it’s also about how books and stories are also portals to other worlds and other lives. It’s a gorgeous, lyrical story about magic, and it’s also a story about family—about the ways they love us, and how they can hurt us and disappoint us while still loving us. It’s a story with two soaring, romantic plot lines that will have you believing in True Love. Above all, it’s a tender and heart-felt tale of a young woman slowly realizing the truth of lies she’s been told all her life, and learning to recognize and claim her own strength. The book starts in the summer of 1901, when seven year-old January Scaller finds a mysterious blue door in an overgrown Kentucky field. She goes through it, and discovers another world. But when she comes back, she finds that her gu

In celebration of fall: reprint of my story "Wild Ones" at Curious Fictions

In celebration of fall, yesterday I put up my autumnal fae tale, "Wild Ones," on my author page at Curious Fiction. Curious Fictions is a site that gathers a wide range of stories and posts from authors of different genres. . . and also allows readers to directly tip/donate to authors! Anyway, Curious Fictions has now made my story one of their featured stories! “Wild Ones” is about mothers and daughters, growing up and growing old, autumn, a faerie queen, and the Wild Hunt. And about the wildness in us all. It's one of my favorite stories that I've written, and was first published in 2018 in Bracken Magazine. You can read it there, and now you can also read it at Curious Fictions here  .

New story! "The Red Cloak" is out in Truancy Magazine

It’s a new story day for me! “The Red Cloak,” my retelling of the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, is out now in Truancy Magazine. Truancy is a lovely journal devoted to publishing " revised folktales, legends, myth and other traditional narratives that have been made new by your retelling" or original fiction that makes use of these mythic/folkloric elements. I'm proud to be appearing for the first time in this journal, alongside other lovely stories and poems. At the end of the published story, I talk a little about inspirations/intentions. Let's just say this is a dark story. Then again, the tale of Red Riding Hood, and the Grimms' fairy tales in general, has always been dark.  

Quote: Shakespeare. Mood.

"The breaking of so great a thing should make A greater crack." --William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (quote seen in yesterday's tweet from the account @Wwm_Shakespeare)

Short fiction recs! August and September 2019

The world is a mess out there, it seems. But if you need a break from the hectic, often demoralizing news cycle, you could do worse than seeking refuge in stories. Here are some stories I read through August and September: strange, lovely, magical, and often woven with themes of revolution and hope. Stories of Magic, Darkness, and Love “How the Trick Was Done” by A.C. Wise in Uncanny Magazine Here’s the secret, and it’s a simple one: dying is easy. All the Magician has to do is stand with teeth clenched, muscles tight, breath slowed, and wait. The real work is left to his Resurrectionist girlfriend, Angie, standing just off stage, night after night, doing the impossible, upsetting the natural order of the world.  An absolutely gorgeous, magical tale of Las Vegas magic, love, death, and revenge. A Magician callously fires his assistant and takes on a Resurrectionist who helps his career to new heights. But as she learns more about him, she begins to doubt her role.

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