Underland Arcana: Deck Two

This month, Underland Press released Underland Arcana: Deck Two, collecting the Underland Arcana stories from the past year. “Bones Placed in Apposition” is among them.

I am very pleased to have this dapper hammerhead sitting on my bookshelf. If you would also like this dapper hammerhead sitting on your bookshelf or swimming on your e-reader, copies can be acquired from the publisher and a range of retailers.

Cover of Underland Arcana Deck Two

The Brave New Weird shortlist

The awesome folks at Tenebrous Press are kicking off a new award anthology showcasing new weird horror. (What is “new weird horror”? Matt and Alex call it “a Horror subgenre focused on progress, creatively capturing themes and questions that bleed into fiction straight from the modern reader’s life and future. It acts as a challenge to break new ground in terms of form and content and to engage with the unknown.”)

I am incredibly stoked that “Used Armor Smell” made the nomination cut. My little story is in some truly excellent company.

Winners will be announced in a few days, and the anthology drops in February.

Award eligibility post, 2022 edition

It’s that time of year again. 2022 is winding down and it’s time to flog award-eligible work—or at least make a note of it in one handy place. So if you’re reading with an eye to nominating for the Hugos, Nebulas, Stokers, Locus, etc., etc., here is a list of my published stories in order from most to least chonky.

“The Relative Positions of Dead Things in the Dark” (approx. 6,900 words) features a family outing on a derelict spacecraft used for crime. It appears in ParSec Issue 4 (July 2022) edited by Ian Whates. You can buy the e-book (or a subscription) from PS Publishing.

“Bones Placed in Apposition” (approx. 2,300 words) is about fossils and scientists with dueling visions of the past. It appears in Underland Arcana Issue 7 (June 2022) edited by Mark Teppo. You can read the story for free online, buy the issue, or buy the anthology that collects this year’s stories.

“Ruminants” (approx. 1,300 words) is about a weird goat roaming around an even weirder California town. It appears as part of the multimedia shared world anthology Los Suelos, CA, a project conceived by Lauren LavĂ­n, Joshua Duke, Ian Kappos, Karter Mycroft, and Barton Aikman, and released upon an unsuspecting world in February 2022. You can read my story online.

“Harriers” (approx. 1,000 words) is about a pair of werewolves on a violent mission. It appears in the flash fiction anthology The Dire Dark (November 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can buy the anthology as an ebook or paperback.

“Used Armor Smell” (approx. 1,000 words) is a science fiction story about a squishy human soldier and eir less vulnerable armor. It appears in the flash fiction anthology Dread Space (June 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can buy the anthology as an ebook or paperback.

“On the Beach” (approx. 900 words) is a selkie’s experience of love, loss, and climate change. It appears in Wyld Flash (June 2022) edited by Mark Bilsborough. You can read the story for free online.

“In Transit, Beautiful” (approx. 600 words) is a SF-adjacent tale of space junk and determining your place in the universe. It appears in The Antihumanist Issue 3 (January 2022) edited by Tim Dubber. You can read or download the story for free online.

“Detox” (100 words) is about what happens when you’re locked out of your virtual reality. It appears in Martian (August 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can read the story for free online later this month or buy the issue.

“Tethered, in Darkness” (100 words) is about a generation starship’s passenger facing the end of the voyage. It appears in Martian (April 2022) edited by Eric Fomley. You can read the story for free online or buy the issue or annual anthology.

I did have other publications in Martian Year One, Underland Arcana Deck Two, and the forthcoming Holiday Leftovers, but those are reprints. I’m no longer eligible for the Astrounding Award (in the nearish future, I will be posting some of the authors who are). For purposes of citizenship and geography, I’m a USian living in Pennsylvania.

Whatever stories and authors you end up nominating, happy reading!


The Dire Dark is out today, the latest in Shacklebound’s series of flash fiction anthologies. My story about werewolves in a military company is what happens when you start a story too soon, then decide that the opening bit works just fine as a little standalone (and are lucky to find an editor who agrees). You can buy the book from the publisher or Amazon.

Cover of The Dire Dark

A quick note on social media

So…things are not looking that great for Twitter. It’s always been a fraught space, but the prospective sale to Elon Musk raised concerns about it getting worse in certain ways, and now it looks like mismanagement may crash the platform. I’m planning to keep my account active and expect to keep using it until the site becomes unusable (I’m @APHowell) but I’m personally bummed because the one social media platform I make regular use of is going to go the way of…well, previous social media platforms I made regular use of.

I don’t have a lot of followers and don’t follow a lot of people. (This is one of the reasons my description of Twitter as a “hellsite” is affectionate, not a reflection of trauma or real life consequences; not everyone is so lucky.) While I’ve used it for professional networking, I’m not financially incentivized to be on the site. So I count as “bummed.” Other individuals and industries face more existential threats. (Here I’m specifically thinking of authors and the rest of the publishing ecosystem—Jason Sanford’s recently written about this—but those are by no means the only groups effected.) And that’s before we touch on the worldwide implications of the utility and fragility of platforms like Twitter.

Anyway, I doubt I’ll be using another platform as heavily as I’ve sometimes used Twitter, but I figured I should start a list of other places/platforms/modalities where I can be found (or not).

  • Mastodon: A few years ago I joined mastodon.social to check it out. I came to the conclusion that the entire setup was uninteresting (picking a community first remains counterintuitive, and the whole decentralized, federated thing is a barrier to entry/reach/engagement and fraught in many ways). But some folks I follow on Twitter joined wandering.shop, so now I am @aphowell@wandering.shop. I can see myself adding this to my routine checks of forums and suchlike.
  • Dreamwidth: I have one that I use more than any social media platform aside from Twitter…which is not saying much. I plan to continue to use aphowell.dreamwidth.org, though this blog (aphowell.com/blog/) remains my primary.
  • RSS: Why yes, this very blog does have an RSS feed.
  • Tumblr: I was never into Tumblr, though I do have an account (@adainph-blog) I basically never use. Will I use it more now? Doesn’t seem terribly likely, but not impossible.
  • CounterSocial: I joined recently as @APHowell, and so far it looks like a messier Mastodon less tailored to my interests, so I doubt I’ll spend much time attempting to adjust the hems.
  • Cohost: Joined as @aphowell to look around, but they seem to be having some issues and I am not hearing a lot of buzz from people I follow, so right now I suspect this will just be another dormant account.
  • Instagram: Mostly unused, due to being part of the Zuckerverse; I am disinclined to put the app back on my phone. (Though now that it’s offering to let me post images from a desktop, the chances of my using it have risen from “nil” to “not completely impossible.”) Sometimes I look at other people’s pictures. My account is @a.p.howell.
  • Facebook: This one’s a non-starter. I stopped making use of my real life account years ago, due to a combination of decreasing usability, increasing toxicity, genocides, and a disinclination to post kid pictures as they aged.
  • MeWe: I looked into this as a Facebook replacement and based on the groups quickly formed the impression that it was crawling with Nazis. I have zero interest in seeing what it’s like now.
  • TikTok: There are a whole lot of issues with this platform, but the main reason I don’t use it is that I have not made the “pivot to video” as a user, much less a creator.
  • YouTube: Basically everything I said about TikTok applies here, except for longer. I do have an account, as I’m otherwise part of the Google ecosystem, and may end up using it in the future; but for the time being, this is not a good way to find me.
  • Discord: I am on a few servers, including SFWA’s, but have no plans to start one. I tend to swoop in and catch up a bit, rather than spend a lot of time with the thing open.
  • Newsletter: I don’t have one at the moment. I don’t have the bandwidth for writing much original content, and it feels like a dribble of short fiction in magazines and anthologies doesn’t really justify a newsletter. Maybe in the next year or so. (In the meantime, WordPress provides the option to follow the blog via email.)
  • Ko-Fi: I have one @aphowell, but at the moment do not do anything tip-based. (I mean, sure, if you want; but I sell my stories to publication venues, not direct to readers.)
  • Patreon: I had one for a while and basically used it as a place to post pictures of flowers and my late dog. If I have actual grist for the mill, I may resurrect it at some point; but for now, my pattern of output doesn’t justify it.

I think that’s it for now? I’m planning to do some rejiggering to the website in the next couple months, so that’ll maybe give me a chance to decide what the social menu should look like, based on new usage patterns. But in any case, this site will continue to be my primary online home.