I am delighted to announce that my story “Between Dry Ribs” will be The Best Horror of the Year volume 9, coming in June from Night Shade Books. The story originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of The Dark.
My short story “Goner” is out now in the March/April 40th Anniversary issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.
Here’s a taste:
There had been no sounds from his mom’s room for twenty minutes, so Char fished his sneakers out from under the bed and carefully slipped the splinter from under the strap. It was as long as the last joint of his forefinger, dry and strangely soft, and of a black so deep all detail was lost even to the macro vision of his phone. Under that magnification, one end was flatten and fractally fuzzed, like a feather. The other end tapered to a point so fine it had no visible end; it faded from view like Mr. Clark had done this morning, flung to the sky.
Char had found the splinter on the skylight dome where it lay cracked on the Clark’s deck. He had almost said something but had instead slipped it into his shoe, proffered up the plastic dome instead. It’s not like Mr. Clark could glue the splinter back on, Char thought later.
Char touched his fingertip to the splinter’s point. There was no resistance, no sense of puncture; the point simply slide through the skin into his flesh. So smooth was that penetration that the splinter slipped almost all the way in, and something in its structure resisted Char’s attempts to pry it back out, even with tweezers. He finally wrapped his fingertip in band-aids and went to sleep and dreamed of looking up at a night sky through a rectangle of glass that mirrored him all in black.
I’m delighted to announce that my story “Twelve and Tag” will be reprinted in an upcoming issue of Neil Clarke’s Forever Magazine. The story originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Asimov’s SF magazine, was included in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best collection from Prime Books, in an audio version at StarShipSofa, and in Czech in XB-1, translated by the wonderful Jitka Cardová.
Forever Magazine is a great way to catch up on stories you might have missed and are no longer in print!
I am pleased and proud that my story “HigherWorks” is in amazing company in Neil Clarke’s THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF THE YEAR – VOLUME 2 from Night Shade Books. The story originally appeared in the December issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. This story was difficult to pull together—it’s got an angry core under a goofy candy-coated exterior, and while it features some of my favorite characters, they stubbornly refused to cooperate with the plan. So I am delighted that the story will have a second life in this anthology.
I published three new stories this year: one horror short story, one fantasy short story, and one science fiction novelette. If you are the sort of person that nominates stories for awards, well, here ya go. If you are the sort of person that reads (or listens to) stories for pleasure, well, here ya go some more.
Between Dry Ribs
The Dark, February 2016 – 6000 word Short Story – A study of the healthy benefits of a good sauna.
Quick Sips Reviews says: “The action is gripping, intense, and bloody, and the story as a whole manages to be scary, shocking, and yet nicely balanced. For fans of horror, this is definitely one to check out.” Full review here.
SFRevu says: “Imaginative and chilling.”
Maria Haskins lists it in 9 weird & wonderful science fiction & fantasy short stories: “So creepy, so ghoulishly, fiendishly suspenseful, and so darn strange: it’s a fantastic read.”
The Wind Shall Blow
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, October 2016 – 6500 word Short Story – Inspired by an old Scottish Border ballad my father sings, and also a sort of sequel to Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower.
Rocket Stack Rank says: “The attention to historical detail is exquisite.”
Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 2016 – 11900 word Novelette – A group of refugees in London twenty-five years from now have a very strange day. The future is displacement.
This issue is just hitting mailboxes and bookstores; reviews to come!
You can buy the issue here, or look for it at bookstores and newsstands.
- Bloom read by Greg Bossert at Asimov’s Science Fiction, January 2016
- Between Dry Ribs read by Kate Baker at The Dark, February 2016
- Two Things About Thrand Zandy’s TechnoThèque read by Katherine Inskip at StarShipSofa, October 2016
Reprints and translations:
Finally, I had two reprints in English and one in Czech this year:
- Twelve and Tag (reprint), The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2015 Edition, edited by Rich Horton, Prime Books, June 2016
- Twelve and Tag, (trans. Czech by Jitka Cardová) XB-1 Magazine, June 2016
- The Leaves Upon Her Falling Light (reprint), The Best of BCS, Year Seven, September 2016
A great audio adaptation of my story Two Things About Thrand Zany’s TechnoThèque is out now at StarShipSofa, read by Katherine Inskip. Thanks as always to StarShipSfoa’s Jeremy Szal and Tony C. Smith. The story originally appeared at the online magazine Unlikely Story’s special issue The Journal of Unlikely Cryptography.
My story The Wind Shall Blow is now online as part of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Eighth Anniversary Issue, including a fantastic audio adaptation read by Alasdair Stuart.
This story was inspired by a 500 year old Scottish Border ballad my father sings, and is a sequel of sorts to a 50 year old song from a very different folk tradition.
I’m delighted to report that I’ve sold my fantasy short story The Wind Shall Blow to Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
BCS is, in my opinion, the best secondary-world fantasy venue out there right now, and Scott Andrews and crew are always a delight with which to work.
The Wind Shall Blow is the third story I ever wrote, back in 2009, though the current version is much improved. It was inspired by a folk song my dad sings, and is a sequel of a sort to a much more recent song, the identification of which I leave to the reader.
Here’s a taste:
Regan slid herself past Andrew to the corner of the bar, for a view of the fire and what were surely the sources of the strange voices: two figures like engravings, all black and white and long thin lines. One had long straight hair bound back with leather, the other was all angles and ragged edges, both of them pale and smooth of face.
Marta followed her look a shake of her head and a finger crossing her chest. “Weird ones, those two. Howled in with the wind last night.”
One of the blacksmith’s boys, Regan could never remember which one was which, looked over his shoulder, and smirked at Regan. “Could be your brothers, eh? The magpie’s got a clan, at last.”
‘Magpie’ was not the foulest name she had in town, but perhaps the cruelest. Stealer of gold, raider of nests.
“Or her sisters. Too pale they are for honest men’s work,” said Andrew. But he said it quietly, with an eye to the strangers’ swords—long as a Highlander’s with basket hilts and wicked curves—and the brace of pistols on the table.
“George Brewer said they rode in from the south. English spies, most like,” said a blacksmith.
“No spy’s going far looking like that,” his brother replied, “‘less they’re spying in a graveyard. Irish, I’d say,” with a look at Regan, “mercenaries, after the bounty on the moss-troopers. Corpse pickers, that lot, and drawn to the war.”
“Savages from the Indies, across the sea,” said Marta, “and pagan as a Highlander, mark my word.” There was a chuckle at that all round.
“Whatever else they might be,” said Regan, “they’re showing silver.” The group looked over as one, and indeed, one of the two men by the fire, the spikey one, was tapping a coin on the table, an eyebrow raised between ragged hair and a ragged grin.
I’ve sold my novelette HigherWorks to Asimov’s Science Fiction. Here’s a taste:
On the far side of the crossing are two uniformed officers of the UK Immigration Service, conspicuously not cops courtesy of their berets and their semi-automatics. The two are staring straight at them through the stream of crossing pedestrians.
Mrs. John Dee wedges herself between Dyer and Shimago. “You’re not seriously waiting for the walk light?” she says. Then she follows their gaze and adds, “Oh. Oh dear. But they can’t stop us unless they have cause.”
Shimago says, “Crossing against the light is cause.”
“And not crossing is suspicious behavior,” Dyer says.
As if summoned by her statement, the two UKIS officers step off the curb. Dyer fights the sudden urge to look over her shoulder; looking like she’s going to run could escalate a bad situa- tion into a fatal one.
And then she looks anyway, because she knows what she’ll see: the fragile-faced woman, from the canal, from the catacomb wall, standing in carbon black relief against a white sunlit store- front. Not a woman, though, is it? Not a rival nano cook, not some patent-tracking bounty hunter in from the US. It’s something else entirely, that outline drawn flat against the concrete like an opening, like a door. With no conscious decision Dyer takes Mrs. John Dee’s hand, tugs her to- ward the figure even though it’s already fading to a shimmering afterimage. There’s a real door there, though, behind the figure’s promise and Dyer grabs the handle, looks back to see if Shima- go is following.
The impossible shape is now standing in the crossing, still no more than a silhouette: the gleam of leather below and eyes above, and as the UKIS officers step up behind her the bright sudden slash of a smile.
And as she smiles there’s a pop pop pop from overhead, loud enough to sting, smoke and a shower of glittering fragments. A beat of silence, then the crowd in the street rears up screaming and crashes down together like a wave. Another round of pops. Still on her feet, Dyer can see that it’s the street surveillance drones blowing out, one by one, but for the folks on the ground it’s cause for more panic. The UKIS officers struggle to keep their footing as they track Dyer through the scrum. One fails and takes the other down with him. The impossible woman’s hair fades with the smoke; the gleam of her smile fragments like the falling debris.
Mrs. John Dee tugs Dyer’s hand. She and Shimano are already through the door.
My story Twelve and Tag, originally published in the March 2015 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, will be appearing in Czech in XB-1. Many thanks to Foreign Rights Editor Martin Šust and translator Jitka Cardová! XB-1 previously translated and reprinted my story “Slow Boat”.
And the English version of Twelve and Tag is available for pre-order now in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 Edition, edited by Rich Horton.
And there is an excellent audio adaptation of the story at StarShipSofa.