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Short stories I liked midyear 2021

The Red Mother, Elizabeth Bear (

The Station of the Twelfth, Chaz Brenchley (

Below Salt-Heavy Tides, Andi C. Buchanan (Mermaids Monthly)

Radioactivity, Octavia Cade (Uncanny)

For the World’s More Full of Weeping, Andrew Dykstal (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

The Revolution Will Not Be Served With Fries, Meg Elison (Lightspeed)

Cause and Manner, Jeannelle Ferreira (Deadlands).

Redwood Houses, Amelia Gorman (Climbing Lightly Through Forests)

Alexa, Play Solidarity Forever, Audrey R. Hollis (Fireside)

The Case of the Turned Tide, Savitri Horrigan (Grist: Imagine 2200)

City Lights As Myth, Yong-Yu Huang (Strange Horizons)

To Rest, and to Create, L.A. Knight (Fiyah Issue 19)

Frequently Asked Questions About the Portals at Frank’s Late-Night Starlite Drive-In, Kristen Koopman (It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility)

Letters from the Ides, Jennifer Mace (Reckoning).

Ossify, Jennifer Mace (Climbing Lightly Through Forests)

My Custom Monster, Jo Miles (Fireside)

The Shape of Wings and Feathers, Jenny Rae Rappaport (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Meditations on Sun-Ra’s Bassism, Yah Yah Scholfield (Fiyah Issue 19)

As I Wait for the Killing Blow, M. Shaw (Fireside)

How to Find Yourself in a Fairy Tale, A.C. Wise (Daily SF)

Guidelines for Appeasing Kim of the Hundred Hands, John Wiswell (Fireside)

The Tyrant Lizard (And Her Plus One), John Wiswell (Drabblecast)

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Yes, the pun will make you squirm.

Today’s new story is a special case: Grist magazine is having a special climate fiction issue called Imagine 2200, and for it they selected my story A Worm to the Wise.

Frankly it is not easy to focus on hope and optimism this year, so I’m very pleased to have managed this story with its focus on soil science and community. I also love what Grace Abe did with the illustration. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the issue, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this one.

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This was your plan, not mine

Today I have a new story out! Nature Futures has published Planned Obsolescence.

This story is for my friend Merc, who likes the stuff in it. It is also for my friend Mike. Most of my Nature shorts are for Mike. But Merc is still around to read it, and the Mike in question is John M. Ford. Sometimes half a conversation is better than none. This is me looping Merc into my conversation with Mike.

Anyway I hope you like it, even those of you who know neither of them. (But you can read both of their stuff when you’re done with this!)

This one has AIs and…what they do when they find out they’ve been made deliberately mortal.

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Spring short story recommendations

Quintessence, Andrew Dykstal (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Kuemo of the Masks, Naomi Libicki (Giganotosaurus)

My Mother’s Hand, Dante Luiz (Constelacion)

Photolinguistics, Jennifer Mace (Reckoning)

The Badger’s Digestion; Or the First First-Hand Description of Deneskan Beastcraft by an Aouwan Researcher, Malka Older (Constelacion)

Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny)

The Music of the Siphorophenes, C.L. Polk (F&SF)

All Worlds Left Behind, Iona Datt Sharma (Khoreo)

Thirteen of the Secrets in my Purse, Rachel Swirsky (Uncanny)

Comments on Your Provisional Patent Application for an Eternal Spirit Core, Wole Talabi (Clarkesworld)

Phases of the Moon, Alice Towey (Fireside)

Bathymetry, Lorraine Wilson (Strange Horizons)

Unseelie Brothers, Ltd., Fran Wilde (Uncanny)

For Lack of a Bed, John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots)

Gender Reveal Box, $16.95, John Wiswell (Fireside)

The Machine Is Experiencing Uncertainty, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor (Escape Pod)

When Your Being Here Is Gentler Than Your Absence Hard, Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

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Favorite stories, first quarter 2021

Wait, am I doing story recommendations in an organized fashion, aligned with the calendar and stuff? Eh. When it’s convenient, sure, I guess. It’s still mostly “I’ve accumulated a bunch of links on my to-do list and would like to clean them out again,” but let’s pretend it’s an End Of Q1 thing, it makes me feel accomplished. I’m actually behind where I would usually expect to be on reading periodicals, but there’s always time to catch up. Or not, the world is vast and beautiful. And, this time, full of poetry.

Trojan Road, Leah Bobet (Plenitude)

Salvage Song, Julia Da Silva (Reckoning)

Fractured, Aimee Kuzenski (Translunar Travelers Lounge_

Birds Are Trying to Reinvent Your Heart, Jennifer Mace (Baffling)

From the Embassy of Leaks to the Court of Cracks, Catherine Rockwood (Reckoning)

We Are Not Phoenixes, John Wiswell (Fireside)