2017 Recommended Reading List

Short Stories

Monster Girls Don’t Cry, by Merc Rustad

The Light We Carried Home, by Kay Chronister

Prosthetic Daughter, by Nin Harris

With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips, by Beth Cato

Anabasis, by Amal El-Mohtar

O Stone, Be Not So, by José Iriarte

They Will Take You From You, by Brandon O’Brien

The Falling Game, by Ian Muneshwar

Sun, Moon, Dust, by Ursula Vernon

Queen of Dirt, by Nisi Shawl

The Sound of, by Charles Payseur

Carnival Nine, by Caroline Yoachim

Utopia, LOL?, by Jamie Wahls

The Ghosts of Europa Will Keep You Trapped In a Prison You Make for Yourself, Matt Dovey

Of Letters They Are Made, by Jonathan Edelstein

The Martian Obelisk, by Linda Nagata

The Stone Weta, by Octavia Cade

If a Bird Can Be a Ghost, by Allison Mills

Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand, by Fran Wilde

These Constellations Will Be Yours, by Elaine Cuyegkeng

Shadow Man, Sack Man, Half Dark, Half Light, by Malon Edwards

The Sound of His Voice Like the Colour of Salt, by L Chan

The Heart Seed, by Joanne Rixon

Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Bennett North

Hare’s Breath, by Maria Haskins

An Equal Share of the Bone, by Karen Osbourne

The Atomic Hallows and the Body of Science, Octavia Cade

Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work, Tina Connolly


A Human Stain, by Kelly Robson

Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time, K.M. Szpara

Waiting on a Bright Moon, JY Yang

The Bridgegroom, Bo Balder

I Am Not I, by G.V. Anderson (F&SF)

The Birding: A Fairy Tale, by Natalia Theodoridou


All Systems Red, by Martha Wells

The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang

The Red Threads of Fortune, by JY Yang

A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power, by Rose Lemberg (Part 1 and Part 2)

River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey

17776, by Jon Bois


Under the Pendulum Sun, by Jeannette Ng

The Stars Are Legion, by Kameron Hurley

Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donelly

The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett

The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller

Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee

The Guns Above, by Robyn Bennis

Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz





It’s the most award-eligibility time of the year

Looking back on my career this year surprised me. There are so many long lonely lulls in writing life that it’s easy to spend twelve months feeling like nothing is going on. But I’m deeply proud of the body of work I’ve had the good fortune to have published in 2017.

All of my work this year falls under the Short Fiction metric of any award’s umbrella; you can check out the My Stories page linked at the top of the site for a full list, but here I’ve linked what I consider the highlights. This is also my second year of eligibility for the Campbell Award, and I’d be very grateful for your consideration on that front, too.

Seb Dreams of Reincarnation” (Escape Pod): Hopepunk science fiction, about the importance and difficulty of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

The Cold Lonely Waters” (Shimmer): Mermaid astronauts want to know if they’re alone in the universe.

Elena’s Angel” (Apex): A young artist seeks escape from the heavy obligations and expectations of having a muse.

When One Door Shuts” (Diabolical Plots): A woman whose family is obsessed with the loss of her dead twin sister gets what she wants … sort of.

Thanks for your kind consideration, and don’t forget to hop over here too for a list of my best and favorite reads of 2017!

Have a little melancholy sci-fi romance

My story “Fire Rode the Cold Wind” is up at The Sockdolager this week! The summer issue has fully eleven lovely stories in it, and I’m so pleased to have this little piece in such fine company.

The origin of this story was actually the Random Title Generator, which is one of my favorite ways to start a story without a lot of a baggage going into it about how I think it should turn out. The original title the generator spewed out was “Fire Rode the Cold Worlds” and the contrast between fire and cold immediately suggested to me the mismatch of culture and expectation that the story winds up being about, and from there it latched on to a pre-existing thought I’d scrawled down in my notes about a person having a secret name only ever shared between them and the most important people in their lives. What if the person you want to share your most intimate secret with doesn’t understand what you’re trying to give them?


Back pain, cold feet, a couple thousand words

My grandpa was a paratrooper during World War II. He never saw combat; the war ended when he was in a boat headed across the Pacific. But the parachuting practice did a number on his back, and he complained a lot of the loss of sensation in his feet. “How can they hurt and be numb at the same time?” he said sometimes. He didn’t talk about being overseas much. That was pretty much the most I remember hearing from him about it.

On most things, my grandpa–my whole family–and I don’t see eye to eye. We’re polar opposites on politics, religion, all the fun stuff that blows up at the Thanksgiving table, or would blow up, if we still lived in the same state. But I have always thought about that quiet complaint of his a lot: “how can they hurt and be numb at the same time?” And I wrote a story called “Seb Dreams of Reincarnation” about that.

The story is live at Escape Pod now, where you can give it a listen or a read–the narration by Matthew Hamblin is wonderful and made me a little weepy over my own words, especially at the very last line. I hope you enjoy it; this story means a lot to me.

New stories in August!

If you’re feeling crushed by August heat and humidity*, might I suggest a refreshing sip of fiction? Lean in close to the face of a frozen pond and see what it has to say, in my story titled (aptly enough) “The Pond” out in the current issue of GlitterShip! And take a plunge in a chilly snowmelt stream in “What He Offered the River” in August’s Deep Magic.

Content notes for the above: “The Pond” revolves around a child’s fairly recent death, and there’s an oblique reference to suicide in “What He Offered the River”.

*Apologies if you live in the Southern Hemisphere – would recommend a hot cup of cocoa or tea while you settle in with either of these.

MOAR STORY: “The Forty Gardens of Calliope Grey”

Beautiful narration by Dani Daly to bring my first-ever audio fiction to life: “The Forty Gardens of Calliope Grey” is up at Cast of Wonders!


This story idea originated from the Random Title Generator, with some loving modification; it is a little more upbeat than a lot of the melancholia I like to write (which is not to say it’s melancholy-free, of course. I am what I am) and it should be suitable for any young readers you have on hand–there’s one “hell” but otherwise free of swears. Please give it a listen if you get a chance, or follow the link for a text-only version if you can’t do audio fiction. I hope you enjoy it!

“Elena’s Angel” live at Apex


Look at that gorgeous cover! More free fiction for your delectation and delight! Well, maybe not so much delectation this time; this is one of the more personal stories I’ve written and I’d say definitely the most personal I’ve had published. It was one of the easiest stories I’ve ever written because of that, which also makes it one of the scariest to have published. Anyway: “Elena’s Angel”, up for free at Apex now. I hope you enjoy it and the rest of the wonderful issue!