Showing posts from 2020

Review: Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, edited by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn

  I read the first story in this anthology, “The Genetic Alchemist’s Daughter” by Elaine Cuyegkeng, when it was reprinted on the horror site Pseudopod (here, you can read it for free there right now ). And after reading Cuyegkeng’s story I immediately went and bought this book, so I could continue reading strange, sharp, wonderful stories of Asian horror, written by Asian writers and centering Asian women. Editors Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn have assembled a wonderful collection, dark and unsettling and fierce, that examines womanhood—and more specifically, the experience of womanhood as an Asian woman —from a variety of angles.   These stories encompass far-future science fiction, secondary-world fantasy, and stories set in worlds far closer to our own. There is absolutely creepy, spell-binding horror, but there’s some humor as well. Many stories draw from traditional myths and legends. The authors come from a variety of backgrounds—Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Filipi

Award eligibility/Publication roundup for 2020

  Well, it’s that time of year when writers make posts about their award eligibility for the year. Some things are very different this season. . . but some things are the same, and we’ll take a sense of normalcy where we can. I had three short stories published in 2020. I’d be honored if you took a look at any of them.   “The Breaking” in Mithila Review , March 2020 (5835 words)   A story about angels, the breaking of the world, siblings and family, what some people see and what others refuse to see or hear. Of the stories I published this year, it’s the one that’s closest to my heart. It was written way before the pandemic of 2020, yet now has an eerie resonance with it. It’s one of the very few stories I’ve written where the characters are explicitly Thai-American (yes, I’m Thai-American). My story notes can be found here , and include a link to a recipe for khai jiao, the Thai-style omelet featured in my story.   Some lovely things people had to say about it: Recommended

New story out! "Winter's Heart" in Hexagon Magazine

    I have a new story out this week! “Winter’s Heart” appears in the latest issue (Issue 3) of Hexagon Magazine. It’s a story about a Snow Queen’s acolyte, frozen hearts and apples, and of what returns in the spring. You can read it for free by downloading the issue here ! The entire issue is made up of gorgeous and thoughtful stories, and I urge you to read the whole thing through. Hexagon is new on the speculative fiction scene this year, but they’ve already distinguished themselves with a fine curation of stories (no, I’m just not saying that because they’ve published me!) I look forward to seeing where they go in the future. And as for the picture above? You may remember the news stories last year after the image above went viral. It’s a picture of a “ghost apple,” taken in an orchard not far from my home. And yes, it’s one of the inspirations for my wintry fairy tale.  

Short fiction recs! Sept-October 2020

  It’s already the end of November, and I’m only now posting this recommendation list of stories I read in September and October. I have no specific excuse for my lateness, only gestures vaguely at the world at large . But this weekend for me is a quiet one, with drizzly gray days perfect for curling up with tea and stories. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re staying safe and well. And here are some lovely stories to read.   “The Angel Finger” by K.C. Mead-Brewer in Craft-Literary Most nights, Morgan lies awake thinking about cutting off her sister’s finger. The extra one on Angela’s left hand, the one she calls her angel finger. A brilliant, absolutely nerve-wracking and unnerving piece of contemporary rural gothic. K.C. Mead-Brewer is one of my favorite writers, and much of her fiction occupies a liminal space between the genres of horror/fantasy and literary, and this is one such example. “The Angel Finger” isn’t quite fantastical; there aren’t any supernatural elements—o

Review of Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora

  Review of Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, published by the independent press, Aurelio Leo   Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora brings together 13 stories from authors across the African continent and throughout the African diaspora. There’s a huge range of tones, settings, genres, and themes in this collection. There’s hard science fiction, fantasy adventure, and absolutely unsettling, truly creepy horror. Some of my favorites are the stories that cross and blur genre boundaries, mixing elements of science fiction, fantasy, and horror into epic, unclassifiable tales of strong emotion and searing imagery. Recurring themes include the legacies of slavery, colonialism, patriarchal oppression, and ongoing economic exploitation. But these are also stories of survival, and in some cases a strange and stirring kind of transcendence.

Short fiction recs! July--August 2020

  The world is driving me crazy, but you know what helps? Beautiful fiction, which can offer both escape and catharsis. And putting this list together—that helps, too. There are stories here of gentleness, hope, and magic. And darker stories, but of no less beauty. I hope you find something here that might help you.   Stories of Magic, Beauty, Comfort and Hope “The Ransom of Miss Coraline Connelly” by Alix Harrow at Fireside To the parents or guardians of Miss Coraline Connelly: Right now you’re thinking, Where is she? because this is what every parent thinks when they find an empty crib and a raven with a scroll in its beak. I have stolen enough children to know.   This is so utterly delightful! The Queen of the World-Below finds that a little human girl is far more than she expected to handle (and as anyone who’s parented a toddler through those high-energy years will recognize). But the story also unexpectedly goes beyond humor and fae charm to real poignancy as well, as i

Short fiction recs! May-June 2020

Why do so many of us love horror stories? I think that part of it—maybe even the major part—is that horror in fictional form offers a kind of control and catharsis of our fears that we can’t find in real life. When the horrors of the world seem more pressing and overwhelming than ever, some of us are—counterintuitively—drawn even more to dark fiction. The majority of stories in this roundup could be classified as “horror.” But there are stories of hope as well, and even some that manage both.   Dark Tales of Body Horror, Hunger, Secrets, and More “Sleeping in Metal and Bone” by Kristi Demeester at The Dark It is summer the first time I dream of hooks at the end of my fingers. The cold metal buried in the soft tissue and then curving outward into a small, delicate point. How I creep through the shadowed damp of our backyard, the odor of soil rich and deep as I hunt through the underbrush you’ve promised for years to clear away, and snare tiny, wriggling creatures before st