A new poem from me, Afterwards, now up at Mithila Review. A non-genre poem written some time ago, that seems eerily fitting for today.
This is probably not the best day to release a little bit of fictional horror into the world, but to be fair, this story was written well before the first human contracted COVID-19 and was accepted just a couple of weeks later, so here we are.
On the other hand, rereading it now, it seems almost perfectly themed for the day. Also completely unintentional.
Wings, now up at Daily Science Fiction.
My short story, “Gorilla in the Streets,” which originally appeared in Diabolical Plots, Year Five last April, is now available to read online here.
This was originally meant to be just a quick joke story riffing off something said on Twitter, but as so often happens, once I started typing, it grew into something more. Probably the most personal story I’ve published in quite some time.
Even if it’s about a gorilla.
And 2020 starts off with the very last issue of Syntax and Salt, which contains my very first – very short – short story of the year, The Dust That Falls Between the Light, along with work by Artiv K, Brian Hugenbruch, E.I. Richardson, Victoria Feistner, Natasha Burge, Jennifer Mace, M. Bennardo, Jessie Ulmer, and Joanna Galbraith.
It’s mid-December, which seems a decent time for participating in this annual ritual:
The Girl and the House, in Nightmare, April 2019, a story of, well, a girl, a house, and Gothic tropes. It received a number of very kind reviews and appeared on some recommended reading lists.
Gorilla in the Streets, in Diabolical Plots, Year Five. This also made its first appearance in April, but so far, hasn’t received as much attention – quite possibly because it’s only been in the anthology so far, not online.
It will be available online starting in January. Update: Now available to read online!
Feather Ties, in Daily Science Fiction, March 2019. A little look at what happened after the events of the fairy tale of the golden goose.
Breaking the Enchantment, Daily Science Fiction, July 2019. Probably my most popular flash fiction story of the year, a little gender bent story about – what else – breaking an enchantment.
The Wolf, Daily Science Fiction, August 2019. A tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The overtones – disturbing, sexual and otherwise – are deliberate.
Sunflowers and Blood, in Automata Review, August 2019. This had the misfortune to be published while I was in Ireland this summer, in the middle of all of the excitement with my broken wheelchair, Aer Lingus and Worldcon, and thus, ended up getting overlooked by pretty much everyone, including me, alas.
Transformation, Afterwards, in Daily Science Fiction, November 2019. A little look at what happened after the princess kissed the frog.
Just one poem this year, the late entry Gretel’s Bones, out in Strange Horizons, December 2019.
On Fairy Tales, the other most popular thing I did this year: finishing up a two year essay series Tor.com, which covered everything from the surprisingly incestuous history of well-known fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk to the less well known, elaborate, intricate tales penned by the French salon fairy tale writers to occasional detours into the history of animation and the Technicolor process. And some poetry.
Dragonriders of Pern reread for Tor.com. A look back at the first three Pern books by Anne McCaffrey.
So, less than in previous years – which happens after a year spent largely sick. But next year sees some new stuff in Uncanny, Lightspeed, Syntax and Salt, Kaleidotrope, Mithila Review, Wizards in Space, The Baum Bugle and possibly more, as well as poetry and (hopefully) snippets of works in progress on my Patreon. Stay tuned!
I love the happy endings of fairy tales. But they always leave me wondering: what happened after this? Oh, sure, the story says they lived happily ever after, but is that true? Were they really able to forget everything – and laugh? Or did that laughter – that joy – that happiness – have a bitter edge?
Coincidentally, two of my small works inspired by those endings just went up over the last couple of days: Gretel’s Bones, about – wait for it – Gretel and bones, and Transformation, Afterwards, about what happens after the princess kisses the frog.
Little Red Riding Hood has never been one of my favorite fairy tales. When I was a small kid, I much preferred the stories of the princesses with the beautiful dresses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty) or the tales of the girls who went out on adventures and rescued their brothers or princes (East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon, The Seven Swans, though calling “weaving together nettle shirts” an adventure of any sort is probably a bit much). Little Red Riding Hood had a bright red hood, but that was about it for the clothing, and then a wolf ate her, and then someone else shot the wolf. Not really my sort of story.
As a grownup, I could appreciate the warning in the tale from Perrault and the Grimms. But appreciating the warning didn’t necessarily make me value the tale all that much.
Still, something about the story nagged at me – enough that I’ve ended up using it as inspiration for a poem or short story or two. This is the latest, The Wolf, up at Daily Science Fiction today. Enjoy!