Stories You Should Read

Heyo, readers. You are readers, right, and not the bots that crawl across my website like sad ghosts touching the faces of the living with feathery, unnoticeable hands?

Right, so if you’re a reader, I’d like to highlight three eminently worthwhile short stories that appeared this week thanks to the marvel of the Internet. I’m going to discuss them in reverse alphabetical order by author, because my last name starts with a ‘U’ and I spent my formative years being one of the last ones called in any situation requiring alphabetizing. Reverse-alphabetical order is my small revenge for years of slights. One of them, anyway.

First up we have “The Devil in America” by Kai Ashante Wilson at Tor.com. I’m terrible at reviewing fiction in a way that doesn’t devolve into cliche, but know that this novelette is a beautiful terror and you should read it.

Next, we have “Water in Springtime” by Kali Wallace at Clarkesworld Magazine. This story is lyrical, creepy and shows just why Kali recently inked a two-book deal. You should read it.

“Repairing the World” by John Chu is available at Apex Magazine. I was lucky enough to read an early version of this story, and like all of John’s work, the images and movements of it have stuck with me ever since, a sure sign of great fiction. So yes, you should read it.

Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that, while all these stories are available for free, the publications that make these possible rely on the support of readers like you and me. Consider subscribing and help keep the future filled with quality speculative fiction.

About Some Quality Short Fiction

I’m a bit behind in recommending some of the quality short fiction that’s come out lately. Rather than make overlapping Facebook posts that conflate with one another, I’m going the focused route and combining my recommendations into one mega-post.

First off, my friend and super-talented Clarion classmate Greg Bossert has had two short stories come out in recent days. The first, Smartmob is in the February issue of Shlock Magazine. It’s Greg’s first published horror story and very much worth reading. Plus there’s an interview with Greg and a story by Nathan Ballingrud in the same issue. 

Greg also has a cool and clever cyberpunk story that I was fortunate enough to read as an early draft at Clarion called Two Things About Thrand Zandy’s TechnoThèque. You can find it in the latest issue of the Journal of Unlikely Cryptography.

The estimable Dustin Monk, gentleman and scholar, also has a story (The Street of the Green Elephant) appearing in the latest issue of Shimmer. They even have an interview. Issue 18 of Shimmer is also notable because it’s guest-edited by the great Ann VanderMeer, and it also features a story by Jeff VanderMeer. (I’ll have more to say about his great new novel, Annihilation, soon.) You can get a copy of Shimmer #18 here.

 

Tuesday Funk post-mortem

I had the pleasure of reading at the estimable Tuesday Funk this week. I might have overlooked posting advance notice, but you can read the retrospective here. There may be video at some point, too.

I read an excerpt from my strange Wisconsin cycle. This is time it was the first third of “Punch Them Down”, a tale of the last of the north woods tree-punchers.

I have a love/hate relationship with reading. It’s nerve-wracking and exciting in equal measure. I’ve never crashed and burned in accordance with my pre-reading anxiety, instead coming away excited and gratified at the chance to share something new. Tuesday Funk is a great venue for many reasons (outstanding readers, excellent hosts, beer) not least of which is the audience’s willingness to come along for trips through the varied worlds of science fiction and fantasy.

Upcoming Reading

I’m happy to announce I’ll be reading at WisCon this year* alongside some very talented writers. Look for me Sunday morning. More details to follow as the program firms up. WisCon is a Midwestern tradition with a great focus and setting.

* that’s 2013. It’s been awhile since I updated, huh?

The Story Behind the Lambshead Story

io9 has a gallery of art, photos and behind-the-scenes goodness from the terrific and grand Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities anthology up here. It’s worth checking out.

So too the book, available from Amazon, Mysterious Galaxy, etc. You will find my short entry, American Night Quilt, toward the back, preceded by a plethora of great writing and wonderful art.

Next up in Clarion marvels

Further proof that the universe is awesome arrives with the news that John Chu’s wonderful story, 30 Seconds from Now, is available in the latest Boston Review. It’s a fitting venue for a terrific story about possibility, filled with John’s trademark precision and insight. Find and read now.

Jagannath arrives at last

The mail carrier brought a long-anticipated wonder last night: the latest issue of Weird Tales. It’s full of the dark and fantastical goodness that has been its trademark under the expert guidance of Ann VanderMeer. A special treat this issue (#358) was a chance to enjoy Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath. I had the pleasure of reading and critiquing an early draft of Jagannath while at Clarion in 2010, and it is as delightfully weird and hallucinatory as I remember; a story that evoked wonder and envy in equal measure.

If you’re not already a subscriber, you should pick up the issue here. While you’re at it, think about setting aside some time to read Weird Tales #359 when it’s released. It will feature an amazing story from another Clarion classmate, Tamsyn Muir, that I can’t wait to read again. Full disclosure: I have a story in there, too.

I’m back

After a lengthy lull caused by my poor choice of (former) web hosts and registrars, combined with the widespread forgetting of passwords, I’m pleased to be back at the helm of the site. Woo! Feel the magic.

While I’ve been away, I’ve missed highlighting some quality fiction by good friends and Clarionites.

Dustin Monk’s El Camino in the Therefore I Am anthology.

Leah Thomas’ Shards in Daily Science Fiction.

You can read charming and hyper-multi-talented Leah’s piece right now, just by clicking that link up there. Plus, while you’re doing that, you can download Therefore I am – which has more than just Dustin, although he’s obviously the highlight because he’s an excellent writer and all around great guy – to your e-reader so it’s ready when you’re done with Shards and want something else to read. Such efficiency.

The Class of 2011

Clarion announced the lucky 2011 students today. Congrats go out to: Rebecca Adams, Brooke Bolander, Jim Brady, AnneMarie Buhl, Todd Castillo, Jacob Cholak, Gillian Daniels, Peta Freestone, Dennis Ginoza, Joshua Lewis, Mark Philps, Christopher Stabback, Jasmine Stairs, Andrew Stewart, Erin Stocks, Timothy Susman, Brooke Wonders, and James Worrad.

Getting invited to the 2010 class was a bright, wonderful moment; attending qualifies as one of the best experiences of my life. Also: difficult, painful, exhausting.

Congratulations again and good luck. I hope it works out as well for all of you as it did for me.

(Note: I’m _sure_ my class was the best, but yours could be great. Make the most of it. Embrace that Clarion experience.)