To Read: A Short Fiction Gatherum of People Who Are Not Me

I used to do a lot more of this! I don’t have as much time – but I still love to read short fiction and recommend it on twitter & in person, mostly and here sometimes. Meantime, keep an eye on blogs like Natalie Luhrs’ “IN SHORT” for great recs…

Here’s a gathering of mags and stories I’ve been reading lately.

The entire Sundown Towns issue of Fiyah Magazine. Look. Listen. Subscribe. (the previous issues too!)  &  The Gods and Monsters series at The Book Smugglers, including stories by Tonya Liburd, Jessi Cole Jackson, and Alison Tam (who did a book bite right here)

  • Waiting on a Bright Moon, JY Yang ( : “The body arrives during the second refrain. It slaps on the receiving dial with the wet sound of rendered flesh, and the processing officer, a young woman fresh from the originworld, screams.”
  • Crows’ Eye, Sarah Hollowell (Fireside): “Ruby doesn’t like the lake.
    Everyone else likes it fine, including her sister, Dip. It’s her favorite part of their property. When they were kids, she told Ruby it was actually the eye of an ancient, enormous crow, and that one day it would wake, shake their house and the forest off its back, and fly away….”
  • After Burning, Wren Wallis (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) : “It’s impossible to keep a secret from the Sons, of course, and so Almas is wearily unsurprised when the black huntsmen arrive on the second day….”
  • Can’t Beat ‘Em, Nalo Hopkinson (Uncanny): ““Yeah, that’s some clog,” the plumber said. She pulled the metal–and–rubber snake out of the bathroom sink. Marisella wrinkled her nose at the gunk sticking to it. Whatever it had caught on in her drain had warped the metal and torn away bits of the rubber.”
  • Excerpts from a Film, A.C. Wise ( “Alone in his office George Harwood watches the dailies. She’s there in the background. After so long, he almost dismisses it as a trick of his imagination, or maybe the Laphroaig at his elbow, ice warming and cracking in the glass. But no, she’s there, his Mary.”
  • Starskin, Sealskin, Shveta Thakrar & Sara Cleto (poem, Uncanny)
  • Caligo Lane, Ellen Klages (a reprint, breaks my heart every time – at “Even with the Golden Gate newly bridged and the ugly hulks of battleships lining the bay, San Francisco is well-suited to magic. It is not a geometric city, but full of hidden alleys and twisted lanes. Formed by hills and surrounded by water, its weather transforms its geography, a fog that erases landmarks, cloaking and enclosing as the rest of the world disappears.”
  • The Ache of Home, Maurice Broaddus (Uncanny) “The Indy Metro bus came to a shuddering halt and deposited Celeste Burroughs at her stop. A plastic shelter enclosed a bench printed with the words “Embrace Mortality.” Celeste looped the cord of her earbuds around her thumb then unwound it, careful not to pull the cord free from her pocket, where it trailed, not plugged into any device. Listening to music in public violated her sense of personal boundaries. The inserted earbuds were her shield against the catcalls and unwanted attempts at conversation both on the bus and on her walk home.”
  • Mix Tapes from Dead Boys, E. Catherine Tobler (Lightspeed) “The derelict hangs in Neptune’s blue orbit, a chip of shadowy flint from a distance. Up close, it’s old and rusting, myriad old systems cobbled together, and Hadley swallows her nervous and exhilarated heart a dozen times as she latches the pod to its belly, makes a hard seal at the airlock, and geckos her team inside. “
  • A Nest of Ghosts, a House of Birds, Kat Howard (Uncanny) “The letter from my grandmother arrived twenty years after she died. It—and its contents—were completely unexpected.”
  • Sci-Fi, Tracy K. Smith (the new U.S. Poet Laureate! – Poem, Poetry Foundation)
  • Small Changes Over Large Periods of Time, K.M. Szparza (Uncanny) “I’m trying to piss against a wall when the vampire bites me. Trying because drunk-me can barely hold a glass,…” (adult)
  • Read Before Use, Chinelo Onwualu (Uncanny) “The basement of Satellite City’s main library was made up of several levels dug deep into the earth. Even this early, several hours before dawn, each level was filled with scholars poring over old documents, students fetching and carrying, and stewards and handmaids scurrying about. Alia flashed her cartouche at the attendant on duty and wound her way down the wide stairs to the level where one of the most extensive collections of pre-Catastrophe literature in the land was housed.”
  • The White-Throated Transmigrant, E. Lily Yu ( “On a grim Tuesday in November, when the world seemed empty of mystery and magic, indeed, empty of all beauty, Winona Li drove down the two-lane country road that counted for a highway in this area, heading home from a second interview. The copper sting of failure sat on her tongue. At the midpoint of a wood whose laced branches cast gloom upon the road, a small, quick thing fluttered across the windshield of her Impala, thumped the glass, and fell.”
  • Shape without Form, Shade without Color, Sunny Moraine ( “Starlings whisper from the bamboo.
    Sometimes sense emerges. It’s nothing but pattern recognition run amok, nothing but old instinct performing where it’s no longer needed, but the experience is pleasurable. If you stand in the driveway at dusk and remain silent, let it settle around you like a gray blanket, then make a single small movement, the sound explodes. They are easily startled. More, they hiss warnings to each other with their wings. They too are governed by instinct. When they come they mark the last days of fall and the first of winter. They do not arrive but with the cold; they bring the chill with them, clinging to their feathers.”
  • Children of Thorns, Children of Water Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny) “It was a large, magnificent room with intricate patterns of ivy branches on the tiles, and a large mirror above a marble fireplace, the mantlepiece crammed with curios from delicate silver bowls to Chinese blue-and-white porcelain figures: a clear statement of casual power, to leave so many riches where everyone could grab them.”

This is just a grab from my reading logs – hopefully you’ll find a few you love too. What’s your favorite short fiction read lately?


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