As 2018 winds down and award season kicks in, it seems like a good time to review my published work this year, and revisit the stories I most enjoyed reading.
When I consider the three stories I’ve had published this year, I realise that they all blend genre in some way. Dark fantasy or horror? Science fiction or horror? Fantasy or science fiction? These are questions I’ve seen readers asking; editors asked them too. It makes them difficult to categorise, but I’m really proud of how my ability to blend genre has grown and is continuing to grow as a result.
F&SF March/April 2018; 4500 words
Every few months—and sometimes, every few weeks—a new country, a new school. From the scattered islands of Orkney to the dry heat of Kiryat Yam and everywhere in between, with never enough time to make real friends. Small hostels and rented rooms, packing and unpacking the same valuables: a figurine of Triton, his shoulders barnacled; a Feejee mermaid replica that reeked of dust and old glue; a painting of Suvannamaccha, bigger than Ellen herself, with every scale rendered in shimmering gold leaf. When Ellen first saw it, she ran her fingertips over the tail.
“¡Para!” Sebastián snapped, slapping her hand away. “They are not toys!”
The issue this appears in is available to buy from F&SF’s site. I believe it has also been made available to SFWA members via the forum. If you require a reading copy for awards purposes, please do get in touch!
Lightspeed July 2018; 5900 words
Constable Kershaw has not uttered any overrides, nor issued a warrant to access her memory logs, but Celia understands nonetheless that she is expected to stay, to sit and answer his questions like a suspect. It surprises her, this treatment. Like she’s human.
“Are you chilly, Constable? Shall I light the fire?”
This is available online for free via Lightspeed’s site, and they’ve provided an audio version for download as well. Of all my fiction published so far, Waterbirds is the one of which I’m most proud.
Nightmare August 2018; 5000 words
Layer by layer, by texture by smell by sound, I dredged up an image of Charlie: a boy of thirteen with a buzzcut; hard eyes and a loud mouth; dirty fingernails; surprisingly delicate tendons at the nape of his neck, the soft hollow between them. I hadn’t seen him hanged, didn’t like to picture the rope chafing him there, where the toughness fell away and he looked like a little bird.
This is available online for free, and there is an audio version to download. A surprisingly personal story for me, it was lovely to see it strike a chord with readers.
Thank you so much for reading my stories, and thank you for your consideration!My recommended reads:
- The House of Illusionists by Vanessa Fogg
- Asphalt, River, Mother, Child by Isabel Yap
- Speak Easy, Suicide Selkies by E. Catherine Tobler
- Dead Air by Nino Cipri
- Quietly Gigantic by K. C. Mead-Brewer
- A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow
I also hope to see some combination of Shimmer and E. Catherine Tobler for Best Zine and Best Editor. I can’t think of a better send off for this magazine and the efforts of its editor than a nod of the highest order.