Most of Grendelsong Issue 2 is now live on the website, including my piece The Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps, featuring unsatisfactory relationships and maps of a non-geographical nature. This is in some respects a counterpart to a poisonous little flash piece from 2014, Aqua Vitalis. Anyway, you can now go and check out (almost) the whole issue! It is all great, though I think my favourite story is Octavia Cade’s Carnival Microbial; as I said before, it’s so inventively icky.
To all intents and purposes, I took October off to watch Person of Interest. Whoops. John Reese: sucker for a pretty woman who knows how to frame an inconvenient witness with a brick of cocaine. Anyway, I had two stories out this month: (1) Soteriology and Stephen Greenwood in The Journal of Unlikely Academia, featuring textual criticism, academic passive-aggression, Latin puns and quite a lot of links. If you don’t feel like following all of them, maybe just start here. I love the issue as a whole, so do check out the other stories. (2) A piece of drowned-town flash, The Girl who Talked to the Sea in Unsung Stories. This one is really about the drowned towns along the Norfolk coastline.
Unearthly Landscape by A Lady by Rebecca Campbell (dresses, painting, filigree cosmic horror)
Directions by Fred Coppersmith (underworld, quest, instructions, whoops sorry no revenge for you)
Witches and Wardrobes by Anna Anthropy (interactive, clothes, anxiety)
And Other Definitions of Family by Abra Staffin-Wiebe (pregnancy, self-sacrifice, humour)
Minotaur: An Analysis of the Species by Sean Robinson (ethnography, analysis, minotaur)
Follow Me Down by Nicolette Barischoff (orphan, incubus, heartwarming)
Alviss the Dwarf by David A. Hewitt (Loki, courtship, trickery)
To Claim a Piece of Sky by Crystal Lynn Hilbert (shapeshifter, weapon, freedom)
There are Rules by William Stiteler (ritual, food, savants)
Dance of the Splintered Hands by Henry Szabranski (gods, hands, adventure)
What Happened to Lord Elomar During the Revolution by Kelly Jennings (three wishes, revolution, victory)
Mother Made a Lovely Feast! by Laura DeHaan (Tam Lin, hallucinations, R’lyeh)
In case you missed it, I had a couple of short stories out this month: (1) Voice and Silence appeared in The Sockdolager this month. It’s a dark little piece featuring kittens being horrible to even smaller animals, among other things. If you cohabit with cats, you may appreciate it. (2) Rites of Passage appeared in Kaleidotrope. It’s a dusty desert adventure featuring empire-building, false amber, Ann and a dragon, among other things. (Helpful note: when I say “dragon”, I’m thinking of something that looks rather like this.)
The Unicorn by Amanda C. Davis (poem, unicorn, magic)
Your Future and Mine by John Grey (poem, space, not so glamorous as you thought)
Ghostalker by T.L. Huchu (practical necromancy, vivid landscapes, cultural references)
The Closest Thing to Animals by Sofia Samatar (artists, jealousy, friendship)
Prospero by Bruno Dias and Edgar Allen Poe (interactive, red death, masque)
The Peal Divers by Francesca Forrest (poetry, sunken churches, sound)
Grandmother by Leslianne Wilder (poetry, grandmother, ageing wolfishly)
Note to the Caretaker by Lisa Bellamy (poetry, mole, earth artistry)
Scythia by Marinelle G. Ringer (poetry, myths, Greece and Rome)
Hide Behind by Jason Kimble (monster, mystery, jackalopes)
Storm on Solar Seas by T.L. Huchu (space shipwreck, cannibalism, unhappy ending)
Lock and Key by Mike Reeves (assassination attempts, vizier, lady alchemist)
Dustbaby by Alix E. Harrow (end times, dust bowl, old worlds)
The Oiran’s Song by Isabella Yap (war, abuse, prostitution, demon)
Plasma Frequency are holding a kickstarter to fund their return.
The Strange Horizons 2015 fund drive has launched.
Lightspeed is open to fantasy subs until 31 October.
The Book Smugglers have a call for novellas.
— Lackington's Mag (@Lackingtons) September 30, 2015
Urk, September already. Of course the first day of September is sunnier than any day in August. Maybe that’s why I went on a dark reading kick in the middle of last month.
Three Adventures of Simon Says by Daniel Ausema (playground rhymes, familiar horrors, cute adventures)
How to Recover a Relative Lost in Transmatter Shipping, in Five Easy Steps by Carrie Cuinn (family, work, killer last lines)
And this is the song it sings by Megan Arkenburg (road trip, highway monsters, ghost stories)
An Army of Angels by Caspian Gray (inadvisable loyalty, Frankenstein’s angel, horrible things in the closet)
Ishq by Usman T Malik (grandmother, sister, floods, ghosts)
Bog Dog by Seras Nikita (rural horrors)
Shiva, Open Your Eye by Laird Barron (squamous elder things)
The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins by Molly Tanzer (sorcerer, treachery, cutest awful incest, humour)
The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter by Angela Slatter (ghosts, murder, poison)
Magdala Amygdala by Lucy A Snyder (upstanding virus-zombies, relapses, whoops)
I Make People Do Bad Things by Chesya Burke (gang violence, creepy kids)
Where It Lives by Nathaniel Lee (grief, loss, children coping badly)
Terrible Fish by Dora Badger (murderer, mirrors, actually cancer)
Palimpsest by Frances Rowat (enslaved desert creature, days of misrule, the king in yellow)
This is not a metaphor by Christie Yant (curse, troll, metaphor owning its status as metaphor)
Replete by Maggie Butt (poem, sea view, winter)
The Cure by Malinda Lo (escape through vampirism)
The Conversion by Barry King (alien, assimilation, extremely weird)
The Matter with Mr Levene by Louis Rakovitch (ghosts, landlords, letters)
Snake Game by Vajra Chandrasekera with Tory Hoke (ghosts, soldiers, interactive)
New SFF magazines: Farstrider, fantasy, 1000-4000 words, $0.03 per word, actually closed already for subs but launching in January. Sub-Q, an interactive fiction magazine paying pro-rates that gives me an opportunity to find out just what interactive fiction is! Sub-Saharan Magazine, African flavour SFF, 1000-2000 words, token payment.
Uncanny Magazine Year 2 Kickstarter has funded but there are still stretch goals (deadline 10 September).
Call for subs for the Escape Artist event Artemis Rising II: original SF/F/H fiction at $0.06 per word from women and non-binary authors, submissions open during September.
Call for subs for the anthology Cthulusattva: Lovecraftian Tales of the Black Gnosis (up to 7000 words, $0.03 per word, stories from the cultist’s perspective, deadline 15 December).
Not much here, because I got back mid-July and slept for a week, or maybe a little more. Let’s just say that if something happened between April and now, I probably missed it. One thing that did happen in the last couple of weeks was that I had a very small piece of Virgiliana up at Two Words For: Durus Amor, about that time Dido met Aeneas in the underworld.
The Skinner of the Sky by M. Bennardo (profligate prince, lighthouse, weird fiction)
A new token SFF market, Capricious, is open for fiction and nonfiction subs (3000-5000 words, $50 per piece).
Fireside Fiction is opening for subs 1-30 September (1-4000 words, $0.12 per word).
Canadian dark SFF anthology series Post-Scripts to Darkness moved to an invitation-only, online magazine model.
A new $0.6-per-word fun SFF online ‘zine opened up: Mothership Zeta, part of the Escape Artists stable, edited by Mur Lafferty, Sunil Patel and Karen Bovenmyer. Quarterly, with limited submission windows (already opened and closed for #1, in fact), emphasis on “fun”.
The Selkie by David K. Yeh (selkie, adventure, Nazis, witches)
The Whale of Penlan Tork by Stevan Earnshaw (experimental, Greek chorus, sea journey, whale; full disclosure: I really have no idea what was going on here, but I rather loved it anyway)
The Rud Yard by Vajra Chandrasekera (the President then expressed a preference, if it came right down to it, for literal assassination over character assassination, because he just found the latter so offensive)
A Screech of Gulls by Alyc Helms (otherworld Venice, extortion and gull-murder, bleak or what)
A Winter-Piece to a Friend Away by John Berryman (poetry, seasons, subtle rhythm)
Lepanto by G.K. Chesterton (exhilarating martial poetry from the dawn of WW1, Don John goes to war, well I never promised it would all be new)
Any House in the Storm by Tais Teng (rivalry, architecture, spiky characters, rapprochement)
Strange Horizons is shut to fiction subs for April.
New speculative podcast, The People’s Ink, is open for subs (focus on the Pacific Northwest for preference, $0.02 per word, original and reprints).
Submission periods for Lightspeed Queers Destroy! projects have been announced, along with a brief general submissions window (June/July).
More royal Macedonian tombs at Vergina! (Greece, like Italy, has more archaeology than it can afford, unfortunately.)
A piece in TLS on archaeological destruction in Iraq etc. by Eleanor Robson (“The fact is that ancient stones can wait, as they have waited for millennia; they depend on the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people need us more”).
In case you missed it, all the Lackington’s #5 fiction and illustrations are now live on the website, including my short story. (Whole issue kindly reviewed by Charles Payseur! I am still at the stage where I carefully avoid looking for reviews, because reviews are for readers not writers, knowing other people have read my fiction makes me feel naked, and a negative review would certainly ruin my mood for weeks, but this one was flagged up on Twitter so I couldn’t not look… after several days of vacillating.)
A Lover by A.W. Marshall (flash, birds, gifts, cats, murder)
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg (civil war, apocalypse, ambiguously-evil-sorceror, novel)
The Gaeneviad by Boulet (comic, gods, heroes, humour, Zeus, Hades, little old ladies)
Dave the Mighty Steel-Thewed Avenger by Laura Resnick (urban epic fantasy parody, prophet, opossum, humour, law school)
The Best Little Cleaning Robot in All of Faerie by Susan Jane Bigelow (science, magic, spaceships, fairies, humour)
The Nalender by Ann Leckie (gods, lizard, river, treasure, whoooops)
PodCastle 348: Testimony of Samuel Frobisher Regarding Events on Her Majesty’s Ship CONFIDENCE, 14-22 June, 1818, With Diagrams by Ian Tregillis, read by Ian Stuart (nautical fantasy, horror in the vasty deeps, sirenic tentacles)
Fireside Fiction is open for flash subs from 15 March–11 April.
Nebula Award nominees announced. Congrats all!
PodCastle has a new submissions manager (remember: every time a mag moves to Submittable, an angel gets its wings) and new (pro!) rates: $0.06 per word for original fiction 2000–6000 words, $0.02 per word for reprints.
Anthology call: Ghost in the Cogs, steampunk ghost stories ($0.06 per word, reading period 1 March to 1 April).
More tombs! This one Mycenean and perhaps not so controversial.
Ugh, January. I hate January: unfailingly a black pit of misery and disappointment, without even Christmas to look forward to. Speaking of black pits, in case you missed it I have an end-of-the-month fairytale in Lackington’s Issue 5! Note: does not in fact feature black pits, as such, although it is pretty dark.
Other things seen and read in January:
Scarecrow by Alyssa Wong (crows, transformation, guilt, horror)
Unconventional Advice for the Discerning Reader by Sophie Wereley (advice, helpful or otherwise; in theory you can read the whole story at the DSF site, although I’ve never been able to, but I did like this when it turned up in my inbox).
Floaters by Robert Lowell Russell (brutal sci-fi, PTSD space marines)
Animal Magnetism by Shannon Peavey (ghost, snail, communication issues)
Anarchic Hand by Andy Dudak (demon puppet, dystopian future, downsides of cryogenesis)
Podcastle 344: Other Worlds Than These, with flash fiction by Nick Scorza, Tina Conolly, Peter Wood (podcast, flash, alternate universes, portals, wizards, books).
Go to the Dead Rabbi’s House by Louis Rakovich (golem, subtle creep)
Necessary Evil by Stephen J. Barringer (clans, curses)
Editorial changes at PodCastle to go with reorganisation at Escape Artists generally. For selfish reasons, I went “awww” at the PodCastle news, but wish Dave and Anna all the best and the same to their successors, Kitty NicIaian and Dawn Phynix. And PodCastle is open to subs for the theme Dirty Jobs (deadline March 15).
My prayers are answered! Possibly everyone else’s prayers too, going by immediate reaction on Twitter. C.C. Finlay has taken over as the forever editor at F&SF, which means e-subs stay open. At least until I submit All The Things and he changes his mind hurriedly.
Interfictions is open from 1–15 Feb for poetry, non-fiction and art subs only.
Tor.com is closing to subs from 1 Feb to 1 March. (Given their wait times, if they felt like switching to a non-email-based submission system where you could check they’d actually received and were still holding onto subs, I should be very grateful. What? It worked with the F&SF thing.)
New Scottish semi-pro SF zine, Shoreline of Infinity, is calling for subs. The guidelines aren’t too clear, but the “Why us?” page suggests future SF is the way to go here (if only I wrote any of that).
Amazing news from that tomb in Amphipolis: the bones belong to 5 different people! (Plus, I gather, although it doesn’t say so in that link, a horse. Fun speculation over at Dorothy Lobel King’s site. Less speculative overview at The History Blog.)
Things seen and read this month (rather short, because it’s one of those busy months). Plus a review of my short stories from 2014, because it’s the end of the year, after all.
The Mercy of Theseus by Rachael K. Jones (road trip, paradox, podcast)
The Ravens’ Sister by Natalia Theodoridou (ravens, fairytale, war)
Pay Phobetor by Shale Nelson (mind hack)
Hibernal by Megan Arkenberg (poetry, summer boys, autumn a dark queen)
The Whalemaid, Singing by Sonya Taaffe (poetry, mermaids)
Cantor’s Dragon by Craig DeLancey (infinity, stairways to heaven)
The Deverry books were such a formative experience for me. I discovered them when I was still trawling for books in the children’s section of my local library, and when the series was still in an “oh, just a couple more to go!” state of “totally almost complete, you guys!” Anyone who reads ASOIAF will understand I spent the next ten years anxiously waiting for what eventually turned out to be another seven or eight books to appear. Between that and Kate Elliott’s annually expanding Crown of Stars series, I am now rather more wary of starting on things still being written, but the books themselves are wonderful and I will always have a very special place in my heart for both sets. So: go look? And consider supporting the fundraiser?
C.C. Finlay will be guest-editing another issue of F&SF. He writes lovely rejections and has a two-week submission window that accepts e-subs (!!!! If F&SF took e-subs as standard, I would submit everything to them. Unfortunately I have this aversion to posting paper mss. to America for the sake of a form rejection, so instead am quietly hoping Mr. Finlay ends up editing all the issues. Well, all right, two a year would be acceptable, I suppose).
Unlikely Story has a special call for an Unlikely Academia themed issue (ending 12 March).
MY FICTION FROM 2014
Featuring enchanted thread,* inventory management, creepy cat noises, inadvisable poetry,* poison,* desert jokers, aqueductpunk elephants. In that order.
The Words of the Maguš to Kūruš, King of Kings (Lightning Cake Lit, 24/09/2014)
7 Noises Heard While House-Sitting Alone, In The Dark, That Would Be Alarming If I Didn’t Know What They Were (Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, 15/09/2014)
Aqua Vitalis (Lakeside Circus, Issue 2, August 2014).*
Bitter Water (Triangulation: Parch anthology, July 2014).
Elephants and Omnibuses (Lackington’s Magazine, Issue 2, 13/05/2014).
* Stories involving Ann, in one form or another. These are not in chronological order for Ann; at some point, when I have enough to make it worthwhile, I will put a list together.
Every other week or so, I see something about how much short fiction there is out there and how there need to be more reviewers reading it. Well, this isn’t a blog, I’m not a reviewer, this isn’t a review – but I do read short fiction in a fairly random way, and when I read a story I like, I do usually say something, usually on Twitter. And then it gets lost immediately, of course, because Twitter’s a busy place. So I thought I should collect links here to pieces I’ve read and enjoyed and which other people might enjoy too, starting with things I read in November. Also some other useful odds and ends, because why not?
Níðhöggr by Vajra Chandrasekera (Mother had said We had to be home by Götterdämmerung)
Once, Upon a Lime by E. Catherine Tobler (frog, fairytale, pearls, perfume)
Caretaker by Carlie St. George (dead stars, ghosts)
Who Is Your Executioner? by Maria Dahvana Headley (beetles, creepy Victorian photos)
More Embers than Feathers Filled the Firmament by Penny Stirling, illustrated by Kat Weaver (birds, language)
A Chance of Cats and Dogs by Ken Scholes (old world, new world, shapeshifters)
Not the Grand Duke’s Dancer by Emily B. Cataneo (undead ballerinas)
Victoria’s One Way Ticket by Emily B. Cataneo (dying robots)
Ahas, Tala by M. Sereno (poetry, stars)
A Whisper in the Weld by Alix E. Harrow (ghosts, steel mills)
Bill and I Went Hunting Today by Louis Rakovich (contemplative robot spouse-substitutes)
Diabolical Plots is looking for fiction submissions (closing date Dec 31).
Lackington’s has a theme for Issue 7: Skins.
Clockwork Canada is open for subs (anthology of steampunk stories set in Canada by Canadian authors).
Terraform, a new SF market paying $0.20/word, opened up this month (if only I’d written more than one SF story in the history of ever).
Lightspeed has a special call for SF submissions: Queers Destroy Science Fiction! (closing date 15 Feb).
She Walks In Shadow (anthology of stories about Lovecraft women, by women) is open for subs (closing date 15 Dec).
Plasma Frequency Magazine has a special call for anti-apocalypse stories (closing date 15 Jan).
Kaleidotrope is opening early for submissions (1 December).
A lot of really exciting things were found in a tomb at Amphipolis.