This post is an attempt to link up all my 2013 stories in one place, because I’m losing track of publications this year. The good thing about me writing a lot of stories: I’m saving you from the tragedy that would happen if I tried to write all these shorts as novels, which is what I’d otherwise be doing. Or maybe I’d try to cram them all into the plot of one novel. It would be a suck novel and it would have both giant worms and honey mummies in it, as well as volcanos full of animated sacrifices, hippocamps, lovers foiling eachother’s plans, and sentient cocktails.
So these stories are really an attempt to save readers from That Novel. Really.
So, here, a series of links to this year. In terms of categories, these are all over the map. Horror, fantasy, SF, and all pretty loose in terms of genre and lit. They’re probably also in the Weird category, most of them. I wrote about love all year, apparently. Love is interesting. I also wrote about falling out of love. I wrote about long relationships with terrible flaws. I wrote a love triangle with a dead person. (Okay, dead might also count as a terrible flaw.)
I also wrote about dark things. I always think I’m not writing dark, and then discover people creeped out in the corners. There are several stories like that in here. While I’m at it, I want to say how much I love the Lightspeed & Nightmare model of the author spotlight focused solely on the story. It’s so much more fun to talk about a specific story than to talk about overall career stuff (which model often yields the same interview over and over) and these interviews were all really fun to do. I stuffed them full of research glee. If you like the stories, you should read the spotlights too.
So, the current list: a few dark love horror SF fantasy celestial stories…I’m not sure this is the whole list. I don’t *think* I’ve forgotten anything, but it’s actually horribly possible I have.
I spent the first few months of 2013 writing a young adult novel at warp speed. I sold the novel in June, thank all gods of fire and wifi, and about the time I finished a draft of it, tons of stories came out, basically one a month.
MOVEABLE BEAST (Unnatural Creatures, April 2013): this is a little lark of a story about a teenage girl stuck in a crappy nowhere town that surrounds a forest. Inside the forest, there’s a beast. The town is charged with guarding it. This one is a story I started working on years ago, but I couldn’t quite figure out what the beast was. Finally, last summer, I did. It’s a mostly funny story, but no one will be surprised when I say that the inspiration for the beast came from Macbeth. Apparently dark and funny live together in the same ramshackle house in my head. It’s in Unnatural Creatures, the charitable YA anthology I co-edited with Neil Gaiman, and all profits benefit 826DC. This kept their doors open, I’m told, and that’s pretty awesome. Lots of other great new and old not-quite-natural history-y stories in there too, by people like Nnedi Okorafor, E. Lily Yu, Peter Beagle, Chip Delany, and many more. The story isn’t available online, but I linked to the anthology above. You should get it – the illustrations by Briony Morrow-Cribbs are exquisite, and it’s a great introduction to strange for younger readers, and older ones too.
THE TRADITIONAL (Lightspeed, May 2013): a post-apocalypse Gift of the Magi anniversary gift story, with giant worms, blood, guts, and romance. In my head this one was very sweet and romantic, but in reality people cut each other open, and dive into worm throats, and, well, yeah. I mean, love, it’s weird. It’s also about a female player, and a guy who tries to outplay her. Here’s the Author Spotlight from Lightspeed.
THE KRAKATOAN (The Lowest Heaven & Nightmare Magazine, July, 2013): This might be my favorite thing I’ve published this year, but it’s also the least categorizable. It came out in The Lowest Heaven, an SF anthology in which each author got a celestial body to write about. Mine was Earth. This is a story about reverse observatories – or, volcanoes – human sacrifices, and a kid who’s got no clear place in any universe. It’s got a lot of astronomy stuff in it, but it’s also horror, hence the Nightmare mag reprint. I recommend you get a copy of The Lowest Heaven too – the Jurassic London anthologies are consistently among the most physically beautiful books I’ve ever seen, and they’re also full of great stuff. Here’s The Krakatoan’s Author Spotlight from Nightmare. Here’s a review from Strange Horizons.
SUCH & SUCH SAID TO SO & SO (Glitter & Mayhem, AUGUST, 2013): Written for the Glitter & Mayhem anthology, this is a noir riff with sentient cocktails, talking animals, and a lot of boozy woozing around. It’s got a police officer, the woman he love(s)(d) and some bad drinks. This one was ridiculously fun to write, not least because I did a draft of it at ICFA, while sitting beside the pool surrounded by a bunch of smart writers, whose brains I picked mercilessly. Sofia Samatar, Theodora Goss, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Nancy Hightower and Kat Howard all helped confirm the plot of this one as I neared the finish line, screaming into my strawberry daiquiri. (It was days late already.) The sentient cocktail thing happened because I was joking around on Twitter about what I was going to write for this alt-nightlife anthology, and that came out of my fingers. Then I had to write it, having no idea what the story was. Sometimes that method works out. I think it did here, plus it was fun to play with noir tropes like: “She liked her drink too much.” Not available online, but here’s a link to the anthology.
BIT-U-MEN (The Book of the Dead & Lightspeed Magazine, November, 2013): The hardcover Book of the Dead – I think there might be a few limited edition copies left – is actually mummified. So cool. The book itself is all mummy stories, from people like Gail Carriger, Adam Roberts, Paul Cornell, and many more. This story is a love triangle set in 1920’s Chicago, and it involves mellified man, and the invention of the Bit-U-Men candy bar. So, yeah, basically it’s a confectionary cannibal story/alt history of the 20th century seen through the eyes of a honey mummy. What can I tell you? It might be too up my alley. I was almost not allowed to write it, because I felt so wicked using all that cool stuff in one story, and in truth, this one kind of really wouldn’t mind being a novel. Here is an author interview about this story, and I hope you read it, because it’s full of kind of rad research links.
THE PSAMMOPHILE (The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, November 2013) – This story came about because I saw a submission prompt for weird fiction about insects, and I couldn’t imagine I didn’t have something like that in my laptop. I didn’t have time to write a new story, because the deadline was the next day, but I found a birthday present I’d written for my sweetheart in the style of Thomas Browne’s Musaeum Clausum, and in it, there was a sand insect inhabiting an hourglass. And because I’m me , and he’s he, the birthday present was totally a short story. If you ever wondered what it might be like to get a lovey dovey letter from me, this is a pretty good approximation. Here is an interview about the story, and writing, etc containing book recommends, a christmas soundtrack of songs about diners and woe, and a lot of other things…
WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MISSING (Apex Magazine, December 2013): This is a story about neurological disorders, memory, and hippocamps. It’s sad, but it’s full of flying horses and a beach, and book-eating by professors. It’s in Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas’ last Apex issue, and I’m so pleased I sold it to them. Here’s a podcast version of the story, and here is a long interview about it, which I hope you read! It’s full of fun and sad and all kinds of things.