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The (not very) old and the new

Earlier this year Sunday Morning Transport published my story Exiled to Gravity. Now as part of their Storyflod event, it’s free for everyone to read! I hope you do, and I hope you enjoy it! It’s got a young woman discovering that the truth about her relationship with her mother–and herself–is not what she thought it might be. (What’s a storyflod? It’s like the Icelandic Christmas tradition of Julabokaflod, where we all wallow in words for the dark of the year. What a great tradition! Yay!)

And speaking of wallowing in words–I’ve got my first 2024 byline available for order! “Lost on a World Tree” is in the January Issue of Not One of Us, officially issue #77. You can order a copy here!

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Favorite short work of 2023

As always I do not limit my favorites to five–I’m not a nominating slate, you can make your own nominations. I’m just telling you what I’ve liked. I’m happy to say I’ve liked a lot! I’m thrilled that there are names here that were on last year’s list and names here that were not on last year’s list! I’m thrilled that there are new places to find stories and that some of the places I found stories last year are still good! And yeah, I have to say that I’m sad that there are people whose stories are their last and magazines whose stories are their last. But this is a post about the good–short stories, novelettes, and some poems. I hope you find something to love here. I know I did.

Our Grandmother’s Words, M.H. Ayinde (BCS)

Notable Escapes, Leah Bobet (Strange Horizons)

“At the Heart of Each Pearl Lies a Grain of Sand,” Marie Brennan (Sunday Morning Transport)

Yours, Wickedly: A Story in Thirteen Letters, Stephanie Burgis (Sunday Morning Transport)

flood fish/pumpkin moon, Grace Cahill (The Deadlands)

The Naming of Knots, M. A. Carrick (BCS)

The Sand Knows Its Way Home, L. Chan (Reckoning)

Merciful Even to Scorpions, Kay Chronister (BCS)

“Equal Forces Opposed in Exquisite Tension,” John Chu (New Suns 2)

“What I Remember of Oresha Moon Dragon Devshrata,” P Djeli Clark (The Book of Witches)

Held at the Roots, Jennifer Crow (Kaleidotrope)

Perhaps in Understanding, Anamaria Curtis (Uncanny)

Five Easy Hairstyles for Snake-Haired Girls, Jelena Dunato (Small Wonders)

“John Hollowback and the Witch,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Book of Witches)

After encountering the grey whales in El Burbujon, Laguna Ojo de Libre, Naila Francis (Reckoning)

“Forever the Forest,” Simone Heller (Life Beyond Us)

Junebug, Sarah Hollowell (Apex)

The State Street Robot Factory, Claire Humphrey (Apex)

“Between Truth and Death on the Murmansk-Saint Petersburg Line,” Zohar Jacobs (Sunday Morning Transport)

“The Corruption of Malik the Unsmiling,” Naseem Jamnia (Sunday Morning Transport)

“Catechism for Those Who Would Find Witches,” Kathleen Jennings (The Book of Witches)

“The Five Lazy Sisters,” Kathleen Jennings (F&SF Mar/Apr)

My Bonsai Lover in Winter, Rachael K. Jones (The Deadlands)

The Sound of Children Screaming, Rachael K. Jones (Nightmare)

The Big Glass Box and the Boys Inside, Isabel J. Kim (Apex)

Better Living Through Algorithms, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld)

The Year Without Sunshine, Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny)

Still Life With Slain God and Lemon, Anne Leonard (Translunar Travelers Lounge)

“Juan,” Darcie Little Badger (New Suns 2)

“Dragons of Yuta,” Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (New Suns 2)

Steve Irwin and the Unicorn, Theo Nicole Lorenz (Strange Horizons)

“Bayanihan,” Maricar Macario (F&SF Sept/Oct 23)

A Princess With a Nose Three Ells Long, Malda Marlys (Fantasy)

His Guns Could Not Protect Him, Sam J. Miller (Lightspeed)

“The Far Side of the Door,” Premee Mohamed (Life Beyond Us)

Imagine Yourself Happy, Premee Mohamed (Small Wonders)

“So Spake the Mirrorwitch,” Premee Mohamed (The Book of Witches)

The Kingdom of Darkness, Sarah Monette (Uncanny)

The Spoil Heap, Fiona Moore (Clarkesworld)

Discreet Services Offered for Women Ridden by Hags, Stephanie Malia Morris (BCS)

Somewhere, It’s About to Be Spring, Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld)

Enchanted Mirrors Are Making a Comeback. That’s Not Necessarily a Good Thing., Mari Ness (Fantasy)

A Chronicle of the Mole-Year, Christi Nogle (Strange Horizons)

To Dust Returned, Rita Oakes (BCS)

To Whomsoever Remains, Brandon O’Brien (Uncanny)

“The Dangers We Choose,” Malka Older (Life Beyond Us)

“The Plant and the Purist,” Malka Older (New Suns 2)

Little Apocalypses, Aparna Paul (Reckoning)

The Changeling and the Child, Pooja Peravali (BCS)

There’s a Door to the Land of the Dead in the Land of the Dead, Sarah Pinsker (The Deadlands)

Ivy, Angelica, Bay, C.L. Polk (Tor.com)

What Will Bring You Home, Jenny Rae Rappaport (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

SQUAWKER AND DOLPHIN SWIMMING TOGETHER, T.K. Rex (Reckoning)

Till the Greenteeth Draw Us Down, Josh Rountree (The Deadlands)

“Amrit,” Kiran Kaur Saini (F&SF May/Jun)

Blooms, Grace Seybold (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Always and Forever, Only You, Iona Datt Sharma (Strange Horizons)

“Cowboy Ghost Dads Always Break Your Heart,” Stefan Slater (F&SF Jan/Feb)

Drained,” Sonya Taaffe (Not One Of Us #74)

Construction Sacrifice, Bogi Takács (Lightspeed)

“Cyclic Amplification, Meaning Family,” Bogi Takacs (Life Beyond Us)

To Carry You Inside You, Tia Tashiro (Clarkesworld)

“Approved Methods of Love Divination in the First-Rate City of Dushagorod,” Kristina Ten (F&SF Jul/Aug 23)

“The Cost of Doing Business,” Emily Y Teng (The Book of Witches)

I Should Have Been a Pair of Ragged Claws, Alice Towey (Fantasy)

Five of Cups, Ali Trotta (The Deadlands)

What It Means to Love a City, Mo Usavage (Reckoning)

“Silk and Cotton and Linen and Blood,” Nghi Vo (New Suns 2)

She Blooms and the World Is Changed, Izzy Wasserstein (Lightspeed)

“Defective,” Peter Watts (Life Beyond Us)

“Manic Pixie Girl,” AC Wise (The Other Side of Never)

Bad Doors, John Wiswell (Uncanny)

The Three O’Clock Dragon, John Wiswell (Tor.com)

The Father Provincial of Mare Imbrium, E. Lily Yu (Uncanny)

In Memories We Drown, Kelsea Yu (Clarkesworld)

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Favorite short work from the end of 2023

This is not my year-end round-up of short pieces! That will come soon! This is just my late fall/early winter faves!

Held at the Roots, Jennifer Crow (Kaleidotrope)

Five Easy Hairstyles for Snake-Haired Girls, Jelena Dunato (Small Wonders)

Junebug, Sarah Hollowell (Apex)

“The Corruption of Malik the Unsmiling,” Naseem Jamnia (Sunday Morning Transport)

My Bonsai Lover in Winter, Rachael K. Jones (The Deadlands)

The Sound of Children Screaming, Rachael K. Jones (Nightmare)

The Year Without Sunshine, Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny)

Imagine Yourself Happy, Premee Mohamed (Small Wonders)

Ivy, Angelica, Bay, C.L. Polk (Tor.com)

What Will Bring You Home, Jenny Rae Rappaport (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

To Carry You Inside You, Tia Tashiro (Clarkesworld)

Five of Cups, Ali Trotta (The Deadlands)

In Memories We Drown, Kelsea Yu (Clarkesworld)

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Short stories of summer

Here are some short stories (and maybe a few poems, and some longer short works) I’ve enjoyed this quarter! Please feel free to recommend more in the comments, I make no pretense that I’ve gotten to everything good that’s come out this year.

Yours, Wickedly: A Story in Thirteen Letters, Stephanie Burgis (Sunday Morning Transport)

The Naming of Knots, M. A. Carrick (BCS)

The Sand Knows Its Way Home, L. Chan (Reckoning)

Merciful Even to Scorpions, Kay Chronister (BCS)

“Equal Forces Opposed in Exquisite Tension,” John Chu (New Suns 2)

“Between Truth and Death on the Murmansk-Saint Petersburg Line,” Zohar Jacobs (Sunday Morning Transport)

“Juan,” Darcie Little Badger (New Suns 2)

“Dragons of Yuta,” Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (New Suns 2)

“Bayanihan,” Maricar Macario (F&SF Sept/Oct 23)

The Kingdom of Darkness, Sarah Monette (Uncanny)

To Dust Returned, Rita Oakes (BCS)

“The Plant and the Purist,” Malka Older (New Suns 2)

SQUAWKER AND DOLPHIN SWIMMING TOGETHER, T.K. Rex (Reckoning)

Till the Greenteeth Draw Us Down, Josh Rountree (The Deadlands)

“Approved Methods of Love Divination in the First-Rate City of Dushagorod,” Kristina Ten (F&SF Jul/Aug 23)

What It Means to Love a City, Mo Usavage (Reckoning)

“Silk and Cotton and Linen and Blood,” Nghi Vo (New Suns 2)

The Three O’Clock Dragon, John Wiswell (Tor.com)

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You Are My Sunshine and Other Stories, by Octavia Cade

Review copy provided by the publisher.

I’ve heard a lot of discussion of climate horror in recent years. While the stories in this volume are plenty horrified, the dominant emotion is not mostly horror. It’s what I’d describe as anguish. There are so many animals, so many plants, so many habitats in decline or obliterated, and Cade is not looking away from it, she’s showing not just the devastated futures but the devastation from them. There are a few stories that are more upbeat, more whimsical, more of the places people are pulling up their socks and going on. But in order to get there we’re going to have to go through the hard years, and Cade is not flinching away from that part, not for a moment.

I think one of my favorite things about Cade’s writing has always been her grounding in both poetry and science. This is a work of prose, but the poetic language and the science grounding both inform it, both give it different kinds of precision, and I love that. I love that even when it’s ripping me to pieces. I love it perhaps especially then.

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Short stories (and poems) I’ve enjoyed this spring

Notable Escapes, Leah Bobet (Strange Horizons)

“At the Heart of Each Pearl Lies a Grain of Sand,” Marie Brennan (Sunday Morning Transport)

“What I Remember of Oresha Moon Dragon Devshrata,” P Djeli Clark (The Book of Witches)

“John Hollowback and the Witch,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Book of Witches)

The State Street Robot Factory, Claire Humphrey (Apex)

“Catechism for Those Who Would Find Witches,” Kathleen Jennings (The Book of Witches)

Better Living Through Algorithms, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld)

Still Life With Slain God and Lemon, Anne Leonard (Translunar Travelers Lounge)

Steve Irwin and the Unicorn, Theo Nicole Lorenz (Strange Horizons)

“So Spake the Mirrorwitch,” Premee Mohamed (The Book of Witches)

A Chronicle of the Mole-Year, Christi Nogle (Strange Horizons)

Little Apocalypses, Aparna Paul (Reckoning)

There’s a Door to the Land of the Dead in the Land of the Dead, Sarah Pinsker (The Deadlands)

“Amrit,” Kiran Kaur Saini (F&SF May/Jun)

Blooms, Grace Seybold (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“Drained,” Sonya Taaffe (Not One Of Us #74)

Construction Sacrifice, Bogi Takács (Lightspeed)

“The Cost of Doing Business,” Emily Y Teng (The Book of Witches)

She Blooms and the World Is Changed, Izzy Wasserstein (Lightspeed)

“Manic Pixie Girl,” AC Wise (The Other Side of Never)