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Short fiction recs! Jan-Feb 2021

  It’s March. As people have been saying online, it feels as though it’s always been March. A year since the pandemic truly hit American shores. Time has been distorted since then, and the last few months here in America have felt particularly surreal, twisting and pulling time out of all recognition.   But after a bitterly cold freeze, it’s warming out now where I live, and Spring hesitantly steps near. And some amazing fiction has been published in the last few months—dark, angry, strange, beautiful, and lit with hope. Here’s some of what I’ve loved.   Stories in Strange Horizons "The Karyobinga Sings to Jiro" by Ryu Ando Are we truly all the same person?  he said aloud to the darkness.  Is my pain everyone’s pain? A just-over-flash-length-piece of grief and mystery. Jiro is an elderly widower in a dying small town, grieving the loss of his wife. He lives alone, and his son is trying to get him to move. And then one day a mysterious bird appears in the night,

New story! "Fanfiction for a Grimdark Universe" in Translunar Travelers Lounge

  (Note: updated on 3/07/2021) "Fanfiction for a Grimdark Universe" is my latest story, now out at the wonderful Translunar Travelers Lounge . This story is about exactly what the title says, and it came about in early 2020 when I was spending too much time on the fanfiction site, Archive of Our Own. As I read fanfics in the early days of our global pandemic, I thought about how the grimmest, darkest of media have the fluffiest, cutest, softest of fanfics. I thought of how we consume and process dark stories. Of how some fans rewrite endings and scenarios, placing their beloved characters into more lighthearted worlds, while others lean into the darkness.   As I wrote this story, it also became about other things. About stories in general, about we look to stories to tell the meaning of our lives, of how we find inspiration—and perhaps even courage--in stories. A reader, the writer Rajiv Mote, on Twitter actually describes my story more eloquently than I ever could. As h

Short fiction recs! Nov-Dec 2020

  Do you need an escape? I think most of us do. Here are some short stories I read and loved in late 2020; perhaps you’ll find escape in one of them.  “You Do What You’re Told” by J.A.W. McCarthy in Apparition Lit The woman who comes to Diana’s window is an improvement, or at least a bit more accurate this time around: light brown eyes, wide forehead, even the little patches of flaky skin where her earlobes meet her jaw. The woman stares through the glass, searching for Diana on the other side of her own reflection. She knows she doesn’t have to knock.    A strange, surreal tale of a woman being stalked, of an unknown man repeatedly creating his own image of who she is—of who he thinks she is. It’s a disturbing tale, quietly nightmarish. But the ending is also deeply satisfying. A tale that quietly digs in, and doesn’t let go.     “Sunrise, Sunrise, Sunrise” by Lauren Ring in Apparition Lit Every day, it goes like this: I wake to golden light, with the surface of a star ju

2020 Media Roundup: Books, Poetry, Music, TV

  What a strange, surreal year 2020 was. Like many people I know, I found my attention span shot to pieces, and there was a period of time when books (normally my most beloved and trusted refuge) failed me utterly. I simply didn’t have the concentration to read them. 2020 was a year that other forms of media and art stepped in for me. It was a year that found me listening to music again, when I hadn’t really. . . in years. It was a year that found me falling into the rabbit hole of Chinese historical fantasy dramas (I may never come out). And while my mind was too scattered to focus on long fiction, it found comfort in poetry. I read a lot of poetry. I still managed to read some short fiction. And eventually, I found my way back to the long form as well. Here are some of the books and art that got me through 2020. BOOKS As I said above, I read embarrassingly few novels this year. I would start, and my mind would often skid right off the page. But these are the ones that I finis