In 2017, I published the following stories:
All the flash that I published this year happened as a result of reading too many IT HAPPENED TO ME columns at XOJane.com, and then seeing an ad for a “yoni wormwood steam” at a spa. “You should do it!” my partner at the time said. “Do it and then write a column about it!” I could write it off on my taxes, I thought. Then I thought I should save my money and possibly having to explain to an IRS auditor why I’d tried to deduct the costs of steaming my junk, and just write some SFnal IHTM flash instead. Those were happier times. The first two were published first at my now-defunct Patreon and then at Fireside Fiction, and the third was published solely at Fireside.
- “It Happened To Me: My Doppleganger Stole My Credit Card Info, and then My Life”
- “It Happened To Me: I Melded My Consciousness With the Giant Alien Mushroom Floating Above Chicago”
- “It Happened To Me: I Was Brought Back to Avenge My Death, But Chose Justice Instead”
- “Presque Vu” in Liminal Stories: a story about queer anger, queer community, ghosts, and the unique terror of our times. I’ve tried to write this story and these characters multiple times; I wrote this version about a month after the 2016 election, and it shows. This story would be eligible for the Hugo, Nebula, and maybe the Shirley Jackson, in the short story category. (It’s just under 7,000 words.)
- “Which Super Little Dead Girl (TM) Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out!” in Nightmare Magazine. A story in the form of a personality quiz, about girls who are murdered, and then come back and form a superhero team. It’s about friendship! Also the void. Also also about everything I hate in the horror genre and how it treats dead kids. I really want to turn this into a comic, so if you’re an artist and into this idea, call me. Until then, this story is eligible for the Hugo, Nebula, Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Tiptree awards. (It’s 2,000 words.)
- Cicada Magazine reprinted “A Silly Love Story,” which was first published by Daily Science Fiction in 2012, with an interview in which I name-dropped Gay Pride Babadook and said I’d like to haunt politicians by farting at them.
- FlameTree Publishing reprinted “The Shape of My Name,” which was first published by Tor.com in 2015, in their Time Travel Anthology.
- “Ad Astra Per Aspera” in Capricious Magazine’s Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue.
- “Odontogenesis” in Fireside Fiction
- “Kitchen Sink Gender” in Letters From the Rest of Us, an essay anthology of trans and nonbinary writers.
In the Pipeline/Out on Submission
- “Disturbed Ground” — a collection of vignettes about a strange patch of woods near a suburban development
- “The Fainting Game” — short story about a girl who discovers a strange power when playing a stranger game
- “Nameless” — a piece flash fiction about forgetting
- “A Catalogue of Time Bubbles” — an interactive novella in the form of a Wiki, about what happens when bubbles of frozen time start manifesting in everyday places.
- “Space Weasels! 3 Million BC!” — a novella about archeology and the construction personal histories. Also space weasels.
- “Patchwork Prometheus: Posthuman Themes in Transmedia Narratives” — research essay, to be presented at ICFA in 2018.
I usually add my top stories of the year to these posts, but unfortunately, grad school means that my reading time is severely curtailed. Still, a handful made it through the fog of work and sleep-deprivation.
Suddenwall by Sara Saab is a story for this world and these times: after a genocide, two former soldiers make their home in a sentient city, which can wall off anyone it decides violates the peace. (This story can be nominated in Best Short Fiction categories.)
My favorite novel was probably Sam J. Miller’s The Art of Starving. I’m entirely unapologetic about how much I fanboi Sam’s writing, and this story — about a queer teen who believes that his eating disorder is giving him powers — killed me, revived me, and then just kinda gently stroked my hair while I sobbed uncontrollably. (It can be nominated in Best Novel categories or in YA categories.)
I had a similar death-by-feels from K. M. Szpara’s “Small Changes Over a Long Period of Time.” Vampire gender feels. Body feels. Consent feels. Desire feels. Sexy feels. Trans feels. Fucking A. (This can be nominated in Best Novelette.)
Football In 17,776 blew my mind. The premise is not, hmm, exceptional as far as SF/F readers are concerned. Its execution, however, is amazing, and the stories that it tells are gloriously human, deceptively simple, and moving. (I will be nominating this story for the Hugo in one of its Best Dramatic Presentation categories.)
Gone by Sunny Moraine and The Bright Sessions are the best podcasts I’ve listened to this year, for very different reasons. Gone is close, claustrophobic, intimate, beautifully strange. The Bright Sessions has a big cast with a complicated plot that makes full use of its ensemble. They’re both excellent.
2017 has been a fucking year, hasn’t it? I’ve found myself bouncing between horror, rage, and hysteria with alarming regularity, often within the same day. My partner and I also broke up this summer, and, well, grad school is an ongoing exercise in seeing how much work I can cram into my waking hours. (Who needs sleep or regular meals anyway?) I’ve continued my trend of packing in extra work on top of my courses and my teaching; I’m the fiction editor of my program’s literary magazine, heading up negotiations for the teaching assistants’ union, and sitting on approximately 23141 committees for the grad students’ organization for my department. Plus, calling my elected officials and telling them to stop driving the country into the ground has apparently become a long-term, unpaid, unfulfilling gig.
I also have been doing a hell of a lot of writing. I’ve seen my friends and family often. I’m traveling a lot. I’m dating someone incredibly sweet and kind and caring and– I’ll stop there, lest I turn into an oozing glob of gooey feelings. I’m not sure what it says about me that despite the underlying terror of this year, I feel like I’ve been at my best. Not just that — but my best is pretty damn good, and getting objectively better. I have some Deep Philosophical thoughts about that, but I’ll save it for a night that’s full of wine and friends, and not a blog post for the internet.
We’re living in strange, bloody, and scary times. I don’t know what to hope for, exactly, but I know what I believe in: good friends, the power of community, and the truth of art. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to deter humanity from cheerfully self-destructing. Pause and rest if you need it; breathe deeply, cry, laugh hysterically, and punch the occasional wall. Keep doing what you can, as best you can.