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I suppose these are large, friendly letters

Don’t panic! At least not about criticism of your fiction. I have a new essay out in Uncanny today, From Panic to Process: What Taking Criticism Actually Means.

This is a bigger topic than one essay could hold, so I have all sorts of further ideas about fans taking gracefully criticism of works they love dearly, organizing and sub-organizing types of critique notes, and more. But this has the beginnings of the “taking criticism” conversation for me.

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Among the best

I’m very pleased to tell you that one of my stories from 2020 (“The Past, Like a River in Flood”) has been chosen by Rich Horton for inclusion in his Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2021 Edition. The table of contents can be seen on Rich’s blog, here.

When I wrote that story, I was thinking about natural disasters I had witnessed, some quite close up, and some institutional failures they’d left in their wake. I didn’t really want a story about institutional failure and its human cost to be quite as timely as it turned out to be, but…I’m glad the story resonated, all the same, and I’m still very proud of it. And so happy to be in a volume with so many other stories I enjoyed, and some that are new to me, some I’ll be glad to discover.

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And that’s final

The good readers of Asimov’s magazine get to vote on their favorite stories, poems, and artwork each year, and you can see the finalists for the Asimov’s Readers’ Award for 2021 here, with links to read the works online.

I mention this not just to be nice but also because my poem, Chalk and Carbon, is one of the finalists in the poem category. So you can read that now! Thanks, dear Asimov’s readers!

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Getting back to the roots

This is technically not my first publication of ’22 but my last publication of ’21: this story came out for subscribers in the December ’21 issue of The Deadlands.

But! It is now available for free to you, the general public! Here you are, Roots of Lamentation. In which there are more rivers in the Greek hell than we usually get to talk about….

Please note that The Deadlands is a magazine dedicated to fiction about death and the afterlife, so this is a story dealing with death and grieving; judge when you want to read it accordingly.

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Year in Review 2021

Well, I went and ran my mouth about how other people needed to take the time to be proud of what they’ve accomplished in this year, and…if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions. I say all sorts of stupid crap about being kind to oneself, too, it’s terrible what I set myself up for. All right, okay. Here goes.

The thing a lot of people are saying about how surviving, getting vaccinated, being kind to other people, those things are the achievements for the year: that’s really true. It really is. But also I managed to arrange retreat time for myself to work on a novel I’m still pleased with–and I managed to identify when working on it was being really terrible for me and stop for awhile, and I consider that an achievement as well.

I also wrote a book completely for fun, unexpectedly, and revised it, and beta readers so far seem to like it. So that’s a thing I did this year. And also a bunch of short stories, an essay, some poems when I couldn’t make them stop, and bits and bobs of other things. And major planning for other other things. So yeah. Not an easy year, and I kept from calcifying, and I feel good about that. And here’s what I published:

In the Garden of My Ancestors’ Statues (Kaleidotrope): A long time in coming. I began to feel for the trolls, for their feelings in stone, and this is what happened.

The Billionaire Shapeshifters’ Ex-Wives’ Club (Fantasy): I wanted to make my friends laugh. I am not, by temperament, a romance writer, though I have edged much closer to it of late. So this is a bit…post-romance.

Beyond the Doll Forest (Uncanny): About curses, and upon whom they rest. About tiny precious things. About the wilds.

So Your Grandmother Is A Starship Now: A Quick Guide for the Bewildered (Nature Futures): Space: the final transition. These are the voyages of your gran, your auntie. Maybe you someday.

Look Away (Daily SF): It’s a disaster, but it’s not your disaster, right?

Planned Obsolescence (Nature Futures): Friends, it’s a robot-dinosaur combination platter.

Oppenheimer in Valhalla (Deadlands): Norse mythology and Manhattan Project-era physicist nerdery: friends, this is my wheelhouse. It’s also a poem.

Quieter Songs Inland (Analog): climate change when public policy doesn’t quite catch up with the important people in one’s life in time

A Worm to the Wise (Grist Imagine 2200): climate change and finding–making–new soil for new dreams when your old dreams won’t grow

MONSTROUS BONDS and its stories–okay this in itself was an entirely new accomplishment. I have never done a chapbook before. It was a lot for me, and I’m really proud of it. Within it there are five stories. Two of them are reprints. The three new ones are:
Shrapnel from my Cousin’s Kaiju Battle: $229 Plus Shipping: family, ingenuity, friends in strange places, shaping the environment to fit new needs
Accountable Monsters: only we really understand ourselves, strange as we are
The River Horse Who Almost Ate Me, and His Lawyer: when you’re the friend in need, be sure you can be a friend indeed, even if your new friends need some unusual deeds

Without a Password (Nature Futures): signals of belonging, working together in all new ways

The Last Navigator (Daily SF): the closed system of generation ships, taking us somewhere new

Chalk and Carbon (Asimov’s): across spacetime, a love poem

Star Corps Crew Manual Section 15-A37: On Mental Dislocation (Nature Futures): you’d think we’d get some regulations for this sort of thing, it keeps happening

Re-Wilding Time (Star*Line): in an infinity of possible worlds, a poem that has room for conservation

The Precarious Now (Uncanny): an essay about the nuts and bolts of writing things in the present and near-present when it’s moving particularly quickly

Roots of Lamentation (Deadlands): there’s more than one river in the Greek underworld for a reason